Outings across the capital take an unconventional direction with an alternative walkabout courtesy of London Loo Tours. The founder has ventured as far as Indonesia’s World Toilet Summit on her quest for knowledge about public amenities, and now bestows her insights on those looking for a spot of alternative tourism. Tourists and Londoners alike can choose either the Original Tour, from Waterloo to the West End, or the Bloomsbury Tour, leaving from Euston Square. Depending on the tour selected, the expedition will take participants to converted public conveniences. The guide will dispense unusual and little-known facts along the way, such as the history of the plumber who founded Thomas Crapper and Co, one of London’s early sanitary engineering companies. His turn-of-the-century facilities await visitors at Wesley’s Chapel, near Old Street.
Choose from the following options for a London Loo Tour:
£6 for one person (50% off)
£11 for two people (54% off)
£22 for four people (54% off)
Groupon Asks London Loo Tours’ director Rachel Erickson how she came up with the idea for her business.
G: What inspired you to start this business?
“I finished drama school and was looking for things to do. I’m an American on a ‘Graduate Entrepreneur Visa’, which means I can start my own business ventures but not work for anyone else. I have to be innovative or I’ll get kicked out of the country. I’ve always had an interest in free toilets (because I didn’t like paying 30p a go!) and I have a pretty good grasp of the city’s facilities. So the tour started as a joke, and got more interest than I ever imagined it would.”
G: What is your favourite site to visit, and why?
“There are so many to choose from. I like toilets that are creative as well as functional. The Cellar Door Cabaret bar has got to be up there on the list. Not only is it located in a former toilet, but it has very cool modern toilets of its own (with doors that are see-through until you lock them!) Plus, the staff are incredibly nice and make amazing cocktails.”
G: What is your favourite thing about the tour’s subject matter?
“It’s universality! Toilets are something that literally everyone in the world needs, and we all use them. I have also discovered that everyone has a story: no matter what their opinion on the tour, they will have a favourite toilet or a worst experience. It’s a subject that brings people together and opens them up: usually everyone is friends by the end of the tour. London is a particularly good place for the tours, as many innovations in the toilet as we know it are the work of English inventors, from George Jennings to the ever popular Thomas Crapper.”
G: Which is your favourite tour, and why?
“The Waterloo tour is my favourite because it covers such a range of different things: we talk about everything from Roman history right up to modern pop-up urinals. The Bloomsbury walk has a greater focus on Victorian and Edwardian toilets and public health.”