London Loo Tours and dating website Do Something offer a unique dating experience, in addition to Loo Tours’ regular offerings. // © 2013 Jose Farinha
Visitors to London who have already seen all of the city’s typical highlights — and who have an appreciation for bizarre humor — may enjoy London Loo Tours’ three-hour walking tour of London’s public toilets. The tour aptly begins at the Waterloo station and takes visitors through the streets of London, providing insider tips on where to find the best public toilets in the city. The guide also provides an explanation of the history and politics behind public toilets and sanitation, with plenty of trivia and humor thrown into the mix.
The tours are led by toilet enthusiast Rachel Erikson, whose fascination with the public facilities of London began while she was living on a student’s budget in the city — she quickly became familiar with the locations of the nearest public toilets. Her interest led her to research the hidden story behind public toilets, from their origins and present-day use to public health and social justice. The tours are offered to small groups of up to 13 people.
Stops along the tour include The Cellar Door, a former underground toilet once frequented by writer Oscar Wilde and now converted into a cabaret bar; the Knight’s Templar, which has one of the most luxurious ladies’ rooms in London; and the Jubiloo, a public toilet installed for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 that even has its own Facebook page.
On the tour, Erikson answers questions about toilets that you probably never thought to ask: Does the Bible reference toilets? Why did Queen Elizabeth I have a flushing toilet 200 years before most other people? Why do the British call it a loo?
Erikson also gives her tours a socially conscious spin by pointing out the importance of sanitation worldwide. One of her goals is to raise awareness about the 2.6 billion people still lacking access to basic sanitation.
The regular tour runs every Tuesday, and some Saturdays, and costs $12 per person. Erikson recently partnered up with the dating website Doing Something to offer Fright Night Loos, a once-a-month group tour that provides a unique group dating experience, combining a pub-crawl with toilet trivia.
Erikson also offers private bookings for tours and special events, such as birthday parties and corporate team building, and works with travel agents. She is currently developing a family-friendly version of the loo tour that she hopes to offer in the coming months.