I heard about ‘Muslim History Tours’ a few years ago and have been trying to go on one of the tours for a while now but never managed to… until last weekend. Carry on reading to see how the experience was and my thoughts…
Muslim History Tours are a company leading the way in halal tours in London. The company is run and led by Britain’s first professionally qualified Muslim tour guide, Brother AbdulMaalik Tailor. The halal tours are designed to offer a range of ways for you to explore London including by foot, river cruise, bus or in an iconic black taxi cab. The tours are based upon years of research and offer an incredible insight into the links London has with Muslim history.
As a Muslim Londoner I have visited many attractions and places in London, but was not aware of the amazing and inspiring historical links some of these places have with the Muslim history of London and Britain. The tours of London include Central London and the City of London, as well as other areas of London including Acton and Walthamstow. The company also offer day trips and experiences out of London including to Woking, Brighton, Windsor and York. If you are looking for something a little more special they also arrange private tours or Halal afternoon tea experiences. Muslim History Tours also offer tailor made packages to help Muslim travellers who are visiting London and the UK including suggestions on places to stay, eat and pray.
Muslim History Tours offer a huge range of different services and experiences in London and the UK. For more information about Muslim History Tours check out their website – http://www.muslimhistorytours.com/en_GB. In this article I will be focusing on the London Sightseeing Bus Tour.
Price: I am going to be very honest and say one of the main reasons why I put off going on the tour for so long was the price. Many times I looked into the walking tours and then decided against it. The adult price for the walking tours of London is £30 each. I am aware that that company is a new and niche company and so needs to cover its costs but I felt that is was very pricey for what was on offer.
However when I saw a special offer for the sightseeing bus tour and I decided to go for it. The discounted price for the bus tour was of £15 per adult – which I think is a great price for a bus tour of London. You need to book the tour and pay beforehand online.
Itinerary: The tour I went on was on a Sunday and started at London Central Mosque better known as Regents Park Mosque. The meeting time was 9:30 and we set off around 10:00am once everyone had gathered. I received an email a few days before with details of where we could park on the day – which was a great help Alhamdullilah 😀 We were also advised to bring snacks for the journey 😀
Once the bus arrived the group of around 30 adults and children all climbed on board. The seats on the bus are unreserved and so unfortunately the top deck seats got taken very quickly. We spent most of our journey on the lower deck until the last hop off stop when we managed to get seats upstairs.
We were told that the tour would last around 4 hours and would have different hop off and on locations along the way. Unfortunately we were not given a map or any information about the route we were going to go along. Along the entire tour there was live commentary from Brother AbdulMaalik Tailor providing interesting information about Muslims in different part of London.
We started off with some information about how Islam was first introduced to London and the first Muslims in London. The first place we passed by was the site of the first mosque in London. It was a house mosque, located on Albert Street in Central London and was established in 1895.
We then moved to our first hop off site – a beautiful Turkish bathhouse dating back to the Victorian period. It is located in Bishop’s Gate and hidden amongst towering glass buildings. The bathhouse was beautifully designed like a traditional mosque and has survived two world wars. It was used as a bathhouse until the 1950s and is now used as a private venues for corporate events.
The Victorian Bath House
Our next hop off location was the site of London’s oldest coffee shop, which was founded in 1652 by a Muslim Turkish entrepreneur.
We then moved on to Whitehall and were shown a unique Turkish cannon, which was captured by the British Army while in Egypt in 1801 and sits on the grounds of Whitehall. The cannon is engraved with Arabic writing – something you would probably miss had it not been pointed out to you.
The Turkish Cannon at Whitehall
One of the last places we passed by was the home of Abdullah Quilliam. Quilliam was a famous English convert to Islam who established England’s first mosque in Liverpool in 1887.
There were lots more sights and places we went by and lots more facts we learnt about including places you can pray throughout London. I am not sharing all the facts on this post so that those who attend the tour have some findings and facts to look forward to. However I can say it was a very informative tour. I took notes throughout the tour on my phone of things I wanted to research further once I got home.
As the tour came to an end we returned back to the Masjid – just in time to pray Zuhr salah 😀 Most of the people on the tour came into the Masjid to pray and discuss how the tour was. It was a lovely chance to meet Muslims from different backgrounds.
London Central Mosque
Final Thoughts: I think overall the Muslim History Tours are a great idea and venture. You can see that Brother Tailor is very passionate about Muslim history and is doing an amazing job of gathering information and passing it on to others. The tour is very informative and serves an important purpose in ensuring people are aware of London and Britain’s history with Muslims and Islam. I think the still has some way to go to establish itself in the league of other traditional tour companies but has so much potential Mashallah 😀