Either in print, online or on your TV screens, the ‘Trail gets noticed. Here are some of the places it’s mentioned.
KING 5 (US television station) London Spy Tour
The 'Trail on TV! Seattle reporter Jim Dever (and trusty cameraman Mike) joins Mr. X on the 'Trail, highlighting some of the key spots featured on the tour. Recorded in June 2012, this short feature was broadcast during the London Olympics in August 2012, and re-broadcast in December that year.
The National Post (Canada, newspaper) London Olympics: Going to the Games? Why not hit the Spy Trail while you’re at it
Toronto-based writer Nancy Wigston comes on the 'Trail and finds it 'better than the movies'.
The West Australian (newspaper) Spy On A Secret London
Writer Steve McKenna joins THE INTELLIGENCE TRAIL, providing an excellent taster as to what to expect on tour, whilst pondering some of the issues covered.
Passport (US Gay travel magazine) Gay Spy Central: London’s St. Ermin’s Hotel [pdf]
New York journalist Gretchen Kelly meets with Mr. X of THE INTELLIGENCE TRAIL when staying at the St. Ermin’s Hotel – the spy hotel of London spy hotels - to talk about some of the antics of the Cambridge Five and the hotel’s association with them and the spying game in general.
Group Travel Organiser magazine Expert View (link to follow)
Brian Gray, Head of Marketing for THE INTELLIGENCE TRAIL provides some insight and opinion regarding group tour provision and customer focus.
The Week (Australian News Weekly) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Journalist [pdf]
Brief excerpt from an article by Steve McKenna which appeared in The Sun-Herald.
The Age (Australian newspaper) Sidetracked in Spooks Central
This article featuring the ‘Trail also appeared in the Charlotte Observer, San Antonio Express, and the San Francisco Chronicle in the USA.
(Note: The original article in the San Antonio Express featured several inaccuracies. Having spotted these, the writer was contacted and duly corrected them for the other publications.)
Group Travel Organiser (magazine) The ‘Trail advertises!
You can see the first advertisement for the ‘Trail on page 28 and a brief outline of what to expect on tour with a mention on page 33 – even more so if you want a peak at the one and only Mr. X!
Taste For Travel (travel blog) Sex, Lies, and Lots of Spies
This article came about from a previous blog posting about the St. Ermin’s Hotel refurbishment which had been commented on. Before you know it, further dialogue ensued with a promise to lift the lid on some of the saucier spy secrets – classic ‘Sexpionage’ territory if you like.
(Note:The choice of including the still image of Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll in Hitchcock’s version of ‘The 39 Steps’ lies firmly with the blog owner. Through no fault of her own this added to an already incendiary spat in the summer of 2011 on one of the LinkedIn discussion groups. Whilst probably not appropriate to be mentioned here, it IS great after-dinner speech material, for both the surrealism and laughs it created!)
Wend: To Journey (travel blog) The Intelligence Trail
It’s great to see travel bloggers coming on the ‘Trail and enjoying themselves to the extent of writing about their time on tour. Here’s one such example from a Canadian traveller in London long enough to meet at the rendezvous point.
Positive Propaganda in the ‘Trail’s case! It is always the intention to deliver a first-rate experience, and thankfully, this has been achieved, judging by the feedback received.
It goes without saying that your feedback is much appreciated, whether to discuss any particular aspects or just to give your general thoughts. It’s all gratefully received, and you’re thanked in advance for your time and thoughts if you choose to get in touch.
The following are GENUINE testimonials provided by ‘Trail customers over the years. You can find more (again, GENUINE) reviews on TripAdvisor, which you can access on further down on this page.
"The Intelligence Trail is a very well researched and interesting insight into the history and evolution of the secret world of intelligence gathering and espionage. Conducted in and around Whitehall, it was fascinating to visit the various sites of interest whilst being briefed on the famous (and infamous) by an articulate and well informed guide. Highly recommended." Major, Royal Marines, Defence School of Intelligence, UK
“The Intelligence Trail in London was a truly memorable experience. Brian Gray delivered an in-depth and fascinating tour that took me to locations both famous and infamous, and he made the past come to life with his anecdotes and intimate details. As an author, I am unable to spend thirty seconds with a subject matter expert such as Brian without asking a question; he had all the answers and he took me deeper into the history of London's intelligence community than I could have imagined.” Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times Bestselling Co-author of ‘Threat Vector’- By Tom Clancy with Mark Greaney, and national bestselling author of The Gray Man
“Mr. X certainly knows his stuff: From the moment Mr. X mysteriously appears at the rendezvous, he captivates his audience with tales and secrets of the entangled web of the spy world. Interesting facts and Mr. X’s wit and knowledge on this subject makes the events complete value for money and many a talking point! Social Co-ordinator, Atkins Limited, UK
“We thoroughly enjoyed our Spy Tour in November 2011 with our indomitable and extremely knowledgeable guide Mr. X. Indomitable because it certainly was freezing that day in November and we walked around London for no less than 3 hours! And extremely knowledgeable because Mr. X has an encyclopaedic knowledge of all things espionage in British history. He's incredibly impressive and there was no question we had that he could not answer (and my husband is a spy and WW2 buff!). Mr. X is also very personable and his descriptions and details (including really juicy tit-bits) are so entertaining. We just loved it and can highly recommend him especially, if you are like us, and love everything related to the Cold War and espionage ("Spooks") and also interested in another perspective and dimension of London - which is shockingly full of secrets, drop boxes, codes. Who knew?” Vivian SM, California, USA
“Want to do something different in London? What’s been going on behind some doors that shall remain nameless? Some of it will be revealed by Mr X if you take the Intelligence Trail tour. Interested in some of the past spies and spy organisations and think you know it all? Then I challenge you to spend the afternoon with Mr X and his phenomenal memory for the past, the present and maybe the future of spying and listen to the stories of intrigue and deception. You may be astounded at the antics behind those innocent doors. Join Mr X for a tour of mystery and intrigue. We did and had a marvellous tour that we would recommend to anyone.” Jack & Anne-Marie, Sydney, Australia
"I signed a friend up for the Intelligence Trail spy tour. We both had a great time during this unique tour. Mr. X took us around central London, pointing out buildings that have played a prominent role in the history of espionage in London. His stories and anecdotes were as interesting as a John Le Carre novel. I recommend this tour wholeheartedly to anyone with an interest in spycraft and history. This is the closest that most people will get to 'Spooks'!" Shawn M., London
"This tour is excellent! A great way to learn about the hidden history and intriguing mysteries of MI5 & MI6 that are scattered throughout London. The guide was really enthusiastic and knowledgeable and really brought the stories alive on the streets and alleyways of the city. If you're interested in any era of intelligence…this is the tour for you. I would highly recommend it." Corinne T., Philadelphia, USA
"What I liked about the tour is that it stays on the right side of speculation: taking evidence and filling in the untold stories of Britain's efforts in WWI and II and especially the long, uneasy Cold War. No crackpot theories and tall tales here (the internet's full of them!) - this talk is about the details that only became known (or became declassified) years after the events. A good look into some of the personalities that inhabited the twilight world of espionage from the early days, and a few reminders that even the best...sometimes mess up!" Mab, Reading, UK
"I came across the tour accidentally in Time-Out during my last stay in September 09. As an avid reader of LeCarre, Deighton, and Fleming I immediately fell for it. I enjoyed the tour tremendously. Living in Berlin (during the Cold War the other hot-spot of espionage), I especially cherished the well researched stories of the West-East struggle. Mr. X manages to bring across his fascination with spies and spy-catchers and their history very well. For anyone interested in history, politics, international affairs, and behind the scenes information this tour is a must." Gerhard D., Berlin, Germany
"I thought it was a very worthwhile use of my time - the guide has a very in-depth knowledge of the subject plus a passion for it as well which really makes it a walk that is not-to-be-missed by anyone in London! This should be on anyone's list of walks to do in London." Lisa T., London, UK
"Five stars! After having passed through London immeasurable times, en route elsewhere, I decided to spend a week there in September 2009. Of all the wonderful experiences I had (Bath, Stonehenge, Westminster, The Tower, The London Eye, British Museum, National Gallery, Buckingham Palace, The Lion King in the West End, Guinness in the pubs, great food, great people and shopping!!), few things compare to the palpitations and flat-out incredulity I experienced through this tour, with Mr. X!! Picture it: night, in London, walking through empty streets, which though lit, still manage to give you the shivers. Why, you ask? Because that nondescript building in front of you was the old Scotland Yard, and you're probably being watched by well-placed field agents from the New Scotland Yard. Those guys at MI5 saw you looking a bit too closely at a certain Downing Street address, and when you got to Jolly St. Ermin's, why did the bartender wink at you like that? This is an amazingly fun and entertaining way to see how the world looks through the eyes of a spy. Do yourself the favor and book this tour now, you won't regret it. It was one of the highlights of my holiday (along with meeting the clandestine Mr. X!). I presume you'd like your martini shaken ...?" Marilyn C., San Francisco, USA