The pirates, artists, and punks of four historic London villages come alive via video tour

Emma Parker of Coutours is taking Mastercard cardholders on a virtual tour of London's vibrant historical villages, from Greenwich to Hampstead, and Victoria Park to Chelsea, exploring how these hamlets have managed to keep their old identities intact over the years.


London is a city that typically takes time to get to know—unless, that is, you have an extraordinary local to take you around its most interesting parts. Enter Emma Parker, the founder of Coutours, a company known for original tours of historic London that highlight the city's beauty, curiosities, and eccentricities.


Coutours tours go beyond the traditional, leaning more toward a captivating story than a humdrum history lesson. She's created a fascinating four-part video series exclusively for showcasing London's historical villages and how they've managed to preserve their identities and atmospheres over time.


The journey starts in South London in Greenwich, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a distinct maritime feel. Sea captains, pirates, and privateers would have worked and lived here back in the day, and the village is home to the Old Royal Naval College and the Cutty Sark, the world's fastest tea clipper ship that's now on display in her own special dry dock. Parker will take you past these sites and more. Stops include The Queen's House, which is one of the oldest buildings in this Royal Borough, The Royal Observatory at the top of the hill within Greenwich Park, and Placentia Palace, the birthplace of multiple monarchs.



In the next video, Parker will guide you through the "hidden" North London village of Hampstead, known for its old-meets-modern architecture and its bucolic heath that offers exceptional views of the city from a pristine patch of green three miles away. You'll learn about all the famous celebrities who have called Hampstead home, from Ringo Starr, and Ridley Scott, to Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham Carter, and virtually venture into the village's ancient woods with picturesque ponds and stately homes.


After that, Parker will lead you through Victoria Park Village, a place with all the amenities of a quaint hamlet, but with an East End attitude to pubs and a chequered history from the swinging sixties. You'll see the village's namesake park and its boating lake, eye-catching Victorian homes, and more, while discovering how it kept its architectural history intact while the adjacent neighbourhoods filled with high-rise flats and drab terrace housing. Plus, Parker will shed light on how the 1960s turf wars with the infamous Kray twins left their mark on the area, along with other tales about Victoria Park's past.


Finally, the series concludes in West London's Chelsea, where you'll discover what it was like before it became home to more millionaires per square foot than any other area of the UK. From humble fishing village to essential thoroughfare between royal palaces, Chelsea later served as a fixture for London's punk culture, not to mention some of the most well-known Tudor and Pre-Raphaelite artists. Parker will delve into it all, bringing you a version of Chelsea you've never seen before.


Mastercard cardholders will be the first to embark on this journey through historic London's remarkable villages. Each video will feature a downloadable PDF detailing the village's key sites to inspire you to explore the village yourself on foot when you have the chance. To join Emma Parker of Coutours on these outstanding online outings, sign up to, the only place you'll be able to find them.