Running around cities with monotone tour guides in large groups is now a thing of the past. SideStory, an innovative new travel site, provides a service that goes beyond any other – allowing you to book exclusive cultural experiences with elite practitioners and writers from the art, fashion, food and design industries in their home city.
SideStory was co-founded by former Wallpaper* publisher Gord Ray, ex Wallpaper* City Guides editor Rachael Moloney and Virgin's Giovanni Donaldson. Ultimately a travel concierge, the company connects creative industry professionals ('insiders') and enthusiasts; for example, if you want to visit some of the very best galleries in London, why not do it with Grace Adam? An artist and teacher who works at the Royal Academy and the Tate, her trips include taking a tour of outdoor art installations and visiting the Geffrye Museum for a historical insight into objects from the home.
SideStory is set apart from regular tour providers by the indispensable advantage of employing insiders offering expert knowledge drawn from their personal and professional experiences, to tiny groups (of no more than four). They 'represent an important evolution in travel', Moloney explains. 'Discerning travellers are becoming ever more demanding in what they want to experience on a trip.'
Other possible in-depth experiences include learning the secrets of getting great shots on the hoof with Mexican photographer Antonio Olmos, a photojournalist who has covered global human rights, conflict and environmental issues for myriad magazines, newspapers and NGOs; being introduced to lauded up-and-coming designers and discovering how editorial shoots are formed with Wallpaper's very own interiors editor-at-large Benjamin Kempton; exploring the new shopping mecca of Marylebone Village with freelance fashion stylist Hannah Teare; and gallery hopping with art critic Joshua White (remember to ask him about his 'five minutes of fame' with Andy Warhol).
SideStory is currently a London-only enterprise, but the company is keen to expand to other creative cities. Watch this space.