London is a city known worldwide for its wealth of cultures, its iconic buildings, its status within the world of art, fashion and music and its position as a worldwide sporting hotspot. It’s almost impossible to feel like you’ve ‘done’ London but you can go some way to feeling like you’ve ticked off plenty of landmarks with a tour of the city. Whether it’s a full sightseeing bus tour, a walking tour or a more specific tour of a certain landmark or point of interest, there’s no shortage of options available to help you to navigate and negotiate your way around one of the world’s most action-packed cities. Here’s our guide to 7 of the best!
Open Top Bus Tour
In the initial stages of a visit to London, buying a ticket for a hop-on hop-off bus service can be a great way of orientating yourself in a city of the scale of the UK’s capital. They allow you to sit and gain an understanding of the proximity of certain landmarks, but also the chance to jump off when something really catches your eye! See all the major attractions, including Big Ben, the Shard, Trafalgar Square and the Royal Albert Hall whilst getting a feel for the city’s streets. It’s worth doing your research and shopping around when it comes to picking the best tour for you. You’ll often be able to find discounted rates online, particularly if you plan ahead and book in advance. Tours will generally all stop at similar locations, but make sure you take the time to look at the bus routes to ensure you don’t miss out on seeing something that you know you’re desperate to see.
Find out more about London Bus Tours here
London Walking Tour
Whilst you may think London’s busy streets and bustling nature are unsuited to exploring the city on foot, to get a true picture of the city and its intricacies, it’s necessary to look past the well-known and well-trodden tourist hotspots focussed upon by the majority of the media relating to London. Walking tours are a great way of exploring the plethora of places of interest that London has to offer, as well as enjoying some of the more quirky and obscure features which make London the thriving, varied city it is. If food and drink is your thing, and you’re keen to get a taste of a true British pub, check out Westminster Walks – a site and guided walk provider which will help you to explore central London on two feet, taking in the best of the City of Westminster and its various famous districts.
Tour of Parliament
For a tour of a different kind, head to perhaps the most important building in the UK – the Houses of Parliament. Over the course of a 90 minute tour and under the stewardship of a knowledgeable guide, you’ll find out how parliament works and gain an insight into one of the world’s most fascinating and complex institutions. Take a look at the Commons and the Lords Chambers and picture yourself as an MP, fighting the corner of your constituents, before moving onwards into Westminster Hall. It’s a great way of introducing children to the world of UK politics and to bring something so commonly seen in the media into reality. Tours are generally available throughout the year when Parliament is not in session, and tickets can be purchased at a lower price when booked in advance.
Find out more about visiting The Houses of Parliament here
Sherlock Holmes Tour
Sherlock Holmes, perhaps the world’s most famous detective, hails from London’s Baker Street and the city forms the backdrop of a number of the modern day interpretations of the work of Arthur Conan Doyle. Immortalised in more than 200 films since his creation in 1887, the story of Sherlock Holmes has fascinated fans and observers for over a century and a trip to London allows the opportunity to retrace the steps of Holmes and his trusted assistant Watson. The Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour of London provides a two hour visit to a number of locations featured in the books, films and TV adaptations of the detective’s many remarkable escapades.
Sporting Stadium Tours
If sport is more your thing, you’re spoilt for choice should you wish to get a closer look into one of the many sporting stadia which London is able to boast. Wembley Stadium is generally known as the city’s premier sporting venue, and a tour provides behind the scenes access to many of the areas generally reserved for some of the world’s footballing superstars. You’ll be taken through the players’ tunnel, the press room, the dressing rooms and scout out some of the best seats in the ground as you follow in the footsteps of numerous famous names. If football isn’t your thing, and other sports like cricket and rugby are more of interest, both Twickenham and the Lord’s Cricket Ground also provide excellent tours of their historic facilities – both offering visitors the chance to learn more about some of the most iconic venues in world sport.
For more details on sporting tours available throughout London click here
River Cruise Tours
Conveniently, plenty of London’s most famous and iconic landmarks are set along the banks of the Thames, meaning a great way to see the city is via a relaxed boat trip down the river. There are a number of options to consider when planning for a London-by-boat tour – from trips with expert guides, to cruises with fine dining and plenty in between. Whichever choice you make will certainly offer an alternative and somewhat slower paced way of seeing the great city (unless of course you choose one of the high-speed options which will see you zipping along the water’s surface!). If you fancy breaking up your tour along the river and want to stop off at the multiple attractions which feature along the way, City Cruises offer a hop-on hop-off river pass, with boats that enjoy panoramic windows and live commentary to help you along the way, educating you about the illustrious sights you are taking in.
Ride the Tube
The wildcard choice! If a guided tour isn’t really your thing and you prefer the excitement of exploring a city via your own expertise, hop onto the London Underground and make your way around the city in the style of a true Londoner. Constructed over 150 years ago during the peak of the Victorian era, the underground remains as one of Britain’s greatest feats of engineering, and any trip to London isn’t complete without exploring the labyrinthine tunnels that comprise it. For more details, including tickets and prices, click here.
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