I was looking for something different to help my dad celebrate his 65th birthday and retirement and I couldn't have picked a better trip. A few months ago now, I'd seen one of the SmallCarBigCity minis in a street next to the Market Porter whilst stood outside watching the world go by opposite Borough Market and knew that my dad would love one of these tours. He'd owned and maintained minis in his youth, and when I was a child I recall that his brother had owned a customised mini Cooper with in built telephone and leather interior, so my dad had huge affection for them. When I googled the website I noticed that there was a Beatles tour which made my mind up to book, as my dad was a massive Beatles fan too.
I'd left the trip a complete surprise to my parents, asking them to head up to St.James tube station, and The Old Star pub opposite, our collection point. They were intrigued when they saw a classic red mini parked outside and only realised when Robert (the company owner and our guide) introduced himself and the trip, that they'd soon be escorted around London to the sound of a Beatles sound track.
Robert was an excellent guide and driver, weaving in and out of the London traffic to show us the hidden gems of London. It truly is a beautiful city. Along the way there are many intriguing and funny tales related to specific buildings or streets which Robert shares on short stop-offs. For my parents, re-visiting some of their old haunts triggered many happy memories of their early courtship and marital years when my mother worked in Mayfair.
For me, my highlights were going to Abbey Road for the first time in my life where we re-enacted the famous pedestrian crossing scene (much to the annoyance of local drivers no doubt!) and also Little Venice, which Robert mentioned in passing and took us along to when I said I'd never visited that area of London. The beauty of the tour is that you can tailor it, but as it turned out the route that we took was absolutely spot on for my parents as it took in so many areas that they knew like the "back of their hand" from years past.
We finished up back at St. James and said farewell to Robert, who sweetly said that the tour had been like a trip with friends. I think my parents' observations and comments along the way made for an interactive trip, which probably made it more enjoyable for Robert. I hope he didn't find it too hard to get a word in edgeways, but it really demonstrated just how into the tour my parents were, and they are still enthusing about the trip next day and no doubt will be for a while to come! They can look back on this as a fitting marker of my dad's retirement and the start of enjoying a new stage of their lives where they can do fun things like this mini tour.
It made practical sense to pop into The Old Star pub for a reflective drink. I was relieved that the beaming faces and "feel good" factor that this present had created confirmed that I'd made a perfect decision in booking this tour.
And for anyone doing the trip in the morning, I also booked Inn The Park restaurant in St. James Park for a gorgeous lunch - highly recommended.
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