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London: Sightseeing Tours

London: Sightseeing Tours

London has a fascinating history that extends back to the 1st century A.D. when the city was first built by the ancient Romans.

Since then, there have been countless changes and events that have shaped London into the dazzling city you see before you today.

Sightseeing tours in London provide you with an interesting insight into the city’s history, as told through the eyes of a local.

Discover secret spots on a walking tour through one of London’s many enthralling neighborhoods, participate in a host of games and treasure hunts, or watch the city unfold before you on a bus tour.

Walking tours

One of the best ways to explore the city is on your own two feet. Walking tours in London enable you to travel down back alleys to corners of the city otherwise forgotten about while immersing yourself in authentic British culture.

A typical walk through the center of the city transports you to iconic attractions, such as Buckingham Palace where you can watch the royal guards performing their daily rituals and see whether the king is in residence.

You may also stroll past the Houses of Parliament, which were almost destroyed by Guy Fawkes in the 17th century, as well as London’s largest clock — Big Ben.

Alternatively, opt for a themed excursion, such as a Changing of the Guard tour or a street art tour through the city’s creative East End.

Those who are seeking a little adrenaline-fueled action can learn about the darker side of London on a Jack the Ripper tour or a ghost tour, while fans of the magical world of Hogwarts can traverse the streets, seeking out Harry Potter locations.

There are a range of guided walks for everyone, including free walking tours for those on a budget.

Thames River

The Thames River runs through the center of London, separating some of its most celebrated sights and hosting a myriad of attractions along its banks.

While you can walk along the South Bank and admire the London Eye up close, another way to explore the city is from the water.

Glide along the water leisurely or choose a jet boat tour, which whips you along the river at an alarming rate to discover London from a different perspective.

The most classic routes of these Thames River sightseeing tours in London are from Westminster to either the Tower of London or Greenwich.

On your way downstream to the Tower of London, you’ll see Big Ben and London Bridge among other lesser-known monuments, such as the OXO Tower.

Alternatively, continue your excursion and travel all the way to Greenwich, in order to see the Cutty Sark or witness the neighborhood’s famed antiques market.

Hop on hop off bus tours

If you want to cover the most ground in the least amount of time, a hop-on hop-off bus tour is the method of transportation for you.

These passes allow you to simply jump on a sightseeing bus at any of its designated stops in the city and tour London from the seat of a double-decker.

When a landmark catches your attention, ring the bell and depart in order to explore your attraction of choice up close.

Enjoy an engaging audio narration as you pass by points of interest that may include Wellington Arch, Trafalgar Square and St. Paul’s Cathedral on this four-wheeled city tour of London.

London passes

With so many attractions and historic landmarks, the cost of a vacation in London can add up quickly.

However, one way to keep your expenditure down is by purchasing one of the available London passes, which allow you to see several sites for one all-inclusive price.

These passes are each valid for over 80 attractions, monuments and tours across the city, all of which you can visit at your own leisure.

From guided visits of Wembley Stadium to rock 'n' roll music tours, there is an excursion to suit every taste included in these tickets.

Discover the largest structure in the UK — the ArcelorMittal Orbit — or visit the handful of royal residences scattered across London as you create your own London city tour itinerary.

City tours

City tours in London visit a range of destinations, alongside a local guide who will provide you with a fascinating commentary on how London grew over the centuries to become one of the most recognized destinations in the world.

You can see traces of the ancient Romans, discover grand religious monuments and learn about the gruesome history of punishment, and execution that was rife during the Middle Ages.

Alternatively, opt for a photo tour in London, which will help you to capture a print-worthy shot to display in your home once you return from your city break.

Another way to experience the city’s many awe-inspiring destinations is from the seat of a classic car on a Mini Cooper tour of London.

Or, take a bike tour through London’s green spaces, including the historic hunting ground of King Henry VIII — Hyde Park.

Sherlock Holmes tours

Learn more about the eccentric Victorian detective on a Sherlock Holmes tour of the locations linked with his adventures, both in the nine published books and the television series featuring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Popular visiting spots on these guided walks through central London include the Sherlock Holmes pub on the Strand, Somerset House and Piccadilly Circus.

Some of these excursions combine a Sherlock Holmes adventure with a James Bond tour, so that movie fanatics can discover the locations behind some of television’s most iconic scenes.

Silent disco tours

If you want to experience London’s more energetic side, why not participate in a silent disco tour?

These fun-filled extravaganzas take you on a sightseeing tour through London, while dancing and singing along to your favorite musical numbers.

Follow a drag queen around Soho Square while bopping to classic hits from superstars including Madonna and Cyndi Lauper.

Or, hum along to a medley of tunes from hit West End musicals shows as you hop between the city’s theaters. Be loud and proud as you follow a wildly-dressed guide around the extensive market of Covent Garden.

Alternatively, if you’re in the city during December, you can even set your city tour to the backdrop of Christmas songs, bound to get you in the festive spirit.

Scavenger games

Get your detective shoes on and follow a treasure hunt around London in a themed scavenger game. Work together with your team to decipher a range of riddles and clues in order to uncover the next location, and continue your sightseeing tour.

While you can participate in a generalized London scavenger game, some find it more fun to try out a Jack the Ripper treasure hunt or trawl the British Museum looking for hints.

Whichever of these alternative city tours you choose, you’ll be sure to share some laughs with your teammates.

Ghost bus tours

There is another side to London, away from the excitement of the London Eye and the buzz of its shopping districts, which visitors can discover on a ghost bus tour.

These excursions take you around the city after nightfall to explore the haunted past (and present) of London’s most spooktacular locations.

Learn about the bloody murders and tortures that happened at some of the city’s most beloved monuments, such as the Tower of London, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Not for fearful tourists, these bus tours travel back in time to explore London’s bloodshed throughout the centuries, all the way back to Roman rule.

Escape rooms

Test your brain in one of London’s themed escape rooms, designed to both thrill and challenge you.

Don a headset and try out a virtual reality experience or opt for a more classic physical escape room with different themes that range from zombie apocalypses to the Da Vinci code.

Alternatively, head out into the open air for a self-guided tour through the city, aiming to find a secret exit as the clock ticks.

Scooter tours

Discover the sights without breaking a sweat on a scooter tour of London's highlights.

One of the most classic spots on this type of sightseeing excursion is the Tower of London, where King Henry VIII ordered his second wife, Anne Boleyn, to be executed during the 16th century.

The site now stores the precious Crown Jewels and attracts millions of tourists every year.

Other must-see destinations include the Old Bailey, where trials for notorious criminals have been held, including the “Yorkshire Ripper.”

Or, opt for a Segway tour through London’s Battersea Park where you can race your loved ones and enjoy a peaceful green haven among the hum of the city.