The 15 Best Tours and Activities in London [Walking and Bus Tours, Shows & More)

Changing of the Guard & Buckingham Palace Tour

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London is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world. From the eclectic cafes and art galleries in the east to the shops and theaters in the west, there is always something to see and do in London whatever the weather.

One of the best and easiest ways to see the city is through a guided tour. London has many attractions but is also home to some fantastic themed tours such as Harry Potter, Downton Abbey, or Ghost Tours. Here are the top 15 picks of tours in London.

Magical London: Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour

Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour

Duration: 2.5 hours

Rating: 4.6/5

Discover the secret hidden world of Harry Potter and other characters from the much-loved stories by J.K. Rowling. Take in some of the most iconic locations from the films as you travel through the land of the Muggles including the heart of Soho and Diagon Alley before heading out to visit a wealth of instantly recognizable locations.

These locations include over 20 historical landmarks that all had a place of pride in the films including Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station, Knockturn Alley, and the Millennium Bridge. Your guide will be a dedicated Harry Potter enthusiast who will regale you with stories along the way and be on hand to answer your questions.

Want to learn more about the Harry Potter tour, along with prices and availability? Click to check prices and availability.

Downton Abbey Tour Including Castle Entry & Lunch

Downton Abbey Tour including Castle Entry & Lunch

Duration: 8 hours

Rating: 4.4/5

Take a trip to the magnificent Highclere Castle, home to the Grantham family in the hit TV show “Downton Abbey.” Fans will love to follow in the footsteps of their favorite characters and take in famous locations as seen in the award-winning period drama.

A luxury coach will take you from London to the Cotswolds, where you will spend many hours exploring the castle, as well as the nearby village of Bampton, also known as Downton Village, for a delicious lunch. Step back in time and immerse yourself in the real-life locations from the TV series “Downton Abbey” before heading back to London.

Learn more about the Downtown Abbey tour, along with photos, prices, and availability.

Tower of London Ticket With Crown Jewels Exhibition

Tower of London Ticket with Crown Jewels Exhibition

Duration: Valid for 1 day

Rating: 4.5/5

The Tower of London is one of the capital’s most famous and iconic visitor destinations, and this tour allows you to jump the queue and see more for less! Built in 1086 by William the Conqueror, the UNESCO World Heritage Site has a fascinating history. To this day it is still home to the world-famous ravens and is guarded by the Queen’s Yeoman Warders.

The tour also includes entrance to the exhibitions, including the Crown Jewels, where you will be able to see over 23,578 gems, including the glistening Imperial State Crown. The Yeoman Warders will regale you with tales of intrigue and execution, and you can explore the Tower Green and well-kept grounds before or after your tour.

Click to read more about the Tower of London tour, along with photos, prices, and availability.

Churchill War Rooms Tour

Churchill War Rooms Tour

Duration: Valid for 1 day

Rating: 4.5/5

Just a few steps away from Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament, the historic War Rooms have been left in virtually the same condition as they were at the end of World War II. This means they are an almost perfect representation of the dark days of the Blitz and a comprehensive record of the Nazi bombing campaign that changed the London landscape forever.

Visitors on the tour can explore the warren of underground rooms and tunnels and learn more about the life and legacy of the former Prime Minister in the interactive Churchill Museum.

If you’re a history buff, this tour is right up your alley. Click to check Churchill War Rooms tour prices and availability.

Westminster to Greenwich River Thames Cruise

Westminster to Greenwich River Thames Cruise. Get Your Guide.

Duration: 1 hour

Rating: 4.4/5

See London from the water on this hour-long cruise along the Thames. Take in some of the city’s most iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, and the Tate Modern from the open deck of a smart-looking, modern, and comfortable river vessel.

The full cruise takes an hour to reach Greenwich from Westminster, and you can explore Greenwich Market, the Cutty Sark, The National Maritime Museum, and the Royal Observatory before making the return journey. For your convenience, there is a live audio commentary running for the duration of the journey to help you identify each landmark as you pass it.

Learn more about the River Thames Tour, along with photos, prices, and availability.

Chelsea Football Club Stadium and Museum

Chelsea Football Club Stadium and Museum

Duration: 1 hour

Rating: 4.5/5

A pilgrimage to Stamford Bridge, the home of Chelsea Football Club, is a must for fans of the team, and the beautiful game in general. This 1-hour tour includes a visit to the world-famous stadium and entrance to the on-site museum. Your guide will take you behind the scenes to show you areas usually only reserved for the players, and you will be able to feel the excitement of walking onto the pitch first hand.

Click to read more about the Stamford Bridge tour, home of the Chelsea Football Club, along with photos, prices, and availability.

Street Art Half-Day Tour

London Street Art Half-Day Tour

Duration: 2 hours

Rating: 4.8/5

The East End of London is well known for its eclectic and creative communities, and the street art scene is at its most vibrant here. This tour looks at the works of around 50 of the best street artists the city has to offer and guides you through the ever-changing landscape of urban masterpieces found in this part of London.

The tour route is regularly updated to ensure that visitors get to see the works of artists like David Walker, BC Crew, Phlegm, OZMO, Lister, Ronzo, and many more, and the friendly guide will be well versed in street art and the people that create it.

If you’re looking for a tour focusing on art and culture, be sure to check out this tour. Click to check Street Art Half-Day prices and availability.

Jack the Ripper Walking Tour

Jack the Ripper Walking Tour

Duration: 105 minutes

Rating: 4.5/5

Using exclusive, hand-held “Ripper Vision” projectors, this walking tour takes you back to the dark heart of Victorian London, as you retrace the steps of the city’s most notorious killer. Join your guide to investigate the gruesome crimes, and learn about the conspiracy theories behind the Ripper’s identity.

As you visit the locations of the grizzly murders and learn more about his victims, your guide will use modern methods of criminal profiling to reveal the man the police should have been looking for during the biggest manhunt in British history.

Murder mystery lover and history buffs alike will enjoy this tour. Click to check Jack the Ripper tour prices, availability, and photos.

Guided Wembley Stadium Tour

Guided Wembley Stadium Tour

Duration: 75 minutes

Rating: 4.5/5

From England’s glorious World Cup victory in 1966 to the unforgettable Live Aid concert in 1985, Wembley Stadium has been at the heart of some of the U.K.’s biggest and best events. Your tour guide will lead you through the stadium building and take you to places that most people never see, including the Players Tunnel, Press Room, the Trophy Winner’s Steps, the England Dressing Room, and the Royal Box.

You will also learn about some of the historic games that have been played there and have the chance to see historical treasures such as the 1966 World Cup crossbar, the Jules Rimet Trophy from 1966, and the tablets that commemorated London’s 1948 Olympic Games.

Learn more about the Wembley Stadium tour, along with photos, prices, and availability.

Comedy Horror Show: London Ghost Bus Tour

London Ghost Bus Tour

Duration: 75 minutes

Rating: 4.3/5

Buckle up for a terrifying tour on a Ghost Bus that will take you from the City to the West End and even south of the River to hear spooky tales from the likes of Westminster Abbey, Fleet Street, The Tower of London, and London Bridge.

Using on-board actors and technical trickery, this sinister sightseeing show delivers plenty of haunted places and unmarked burial grounds on The Necropolis Bus. Ghost, ghouls, and plenty of creepy laughter come standard on this tour that takes place on a traditional midnight black Necropolis Routemaster that was once used to carry the deceased.

Sound of interest? Click to check prices and availability for the Ghost Bus.

Changing of the Guard & Buckingham Palace Tour

Changing of the Guard & Buckingham Palace Tour

Duration: 2.5 hours

Rating: 4.3/5

This tour offers visitors the chance to explore the majestic State Rooms of Buckingham Palace and experience one of the most historic Royal ceremonies the city has to offer. The Changing of the Guards is an age-old tradition that draws visitors from all over the world, and on this tour, you will have a local guide explain the history and pageantry of the ceremony as it unfolds in front of your eyes.

In the State Rooms, you will be able to see some of the finest furniture in the world, while an audio guide describes the treasures on display and puts them into a historical context.

Interested in seeing an iconic piece of London culture? The Changing of the Guide is a timeless tradition made better by knowledge and history! Learn more about the Changing of the Guard tour, along with prices and availability.

London Rock ‘n’ Roll History Tour

London Rock 'n' Roll History Tour

Duration: 3.5 hours

Rating: 4.3/5

London is a city that is steeped in rock and roll history. For music lovers everywhere, this fully-guided mini-coach journey will take you to iconic places synonymous with great music and rock and roll royalty.”

Taking in all 4 corners of the city, your tour guide will take you to Ringo’s Hampstead house, the famed “Abbey Road” crossing, The Kinks’ Muswell Hill “shrine” and celebrity homes including those of Boy George, George Michael, and Sting. It will also take in the spot where Jimmy Page cut his first disc, where Joe Meek killed his landlady, and where The Clash cut “London Calling.”

The tour covers some of the city’s most famous gig sites and clubs including the legendary UFO, Klooks Kleek, the Rainbow, Marquee, 100 Club, Roxy, Ronnie Scotts, the Roundhouse, and the Hope and Anchor.

If you’re looking for a music-focused tour, this may be the one to explore. Click to check Rock ‘n’ Roll prices and availability.

Sherlock Holmes 2-Hour Walking Tour

London Sherlock Holmes 2-Hour Walking Tour

Duration: 2 hours

Rating: 4.7/5

Take a trip into the world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, and his weary sidekick, in this 2-hour tour that covers locations from both the original books and the recent BBC TV series. From 221B Baker Street to the gentlemen’s clubs and grand hotels that featured in some of the stories, this gentle walking tour is a must for Sherlock fans everywhere.

Grab your deerstalker hat and discover the London that inspired the original short stories, as well as the more recent filming locations from the modern interpretation starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

Interested? Learn more about the Sherlock Holmes tour, along with photos, prices, and availability.

Speed Boat Tour of the River Thames

Speed Boat Tour of the River Thames

Duration: 50 minutes

Rating: 4.8/5

This high octane 50-minute speed boat tour along the River Thames gives you a chance to see London in a totally new way. Your guide will regale you with amusing stories of the city around you as you zoom along the waterways from the London Eye to the Docklands, taking in some of the city’s most iconic waterfront landmarks as you go.

Pelt along at full speed on a top of the range river vessel, while being safely protected from spray in waterproof gear and a life jacket. As one of the most exciting and highest-rated tours in London, this unique way to enjoy your exclusive vantage point is not for the faint-hearted.

Learn more about the Speed Boat tour, along with photos, prices, and availability.

Climb The Roof of The O2 Arena

Climb The Roof of The O2 Arena

Duration: 1.5 hours

Rating: 4.8/5

Spend an hour and a half of your day scaling the heights of this prestigious entertainment venue, and take in the views out across this city from this magnificent vantage point. Your instructor will kit you out in a climbing suit complete with boots and harness before you begin your ascent of this incredible London landmark.

From a walkway suspended 52 meters in the air, you will be able to enjoy spectacular views out over the Olympic Park, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Canary Wharf, The Shard, and many other famous London landmarks.

Click to read more about the Climb the Roof tour, along with photos, prices, and availability.

Final Thoughts

Whether you choose to capture the city from the water or enjoy a slow stroll around some of London’s most iconic landmarks, this is a city that will meet you at your own pace. From kings and queens to the modern-day, London is still one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and it is easy to see why. Any one of these tours is a great way to take in lots of the city in a short space of time.

Use our Ultimate Travel Guide to London or the Best Hotels in London to help you explore the amazing fun to be had while visiting such an iconic city.

Looking for more tours in different cities? Explore our tour recommendations for New York City and Rome.


Article images are credited to Get Your Guide


FAQ

What is the best tour in London?

While picking the single best tour in London would be a challenge, here are some of the best tours in London.

  • Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour
  • Downton Abbey Tour
  • Churchill War Rooms Tour
  • Westminster to Greenwich River Thames Cruise
  • Chelsea Football Club Stadium and Museum
  • East London Street Art Half-Day Tour
  • Jack the Ripper Walking Tour
  • Guided Wembley Stadium Tour
  • London Ghost Bus Tour
  • Changing of the Guard & Buckingham Palace Tour
  • London Rock ‘n’ Roll History Tour
  • Sherlock Holmes 2-Hour Walking Tour
  • Speed Boat Tour of the River Thames

What is best bus tour London?

There are 3 major hop-on hop-off bus tours companies that operate in London that give you the flexibility to explore the city at your own pace.

  • Original Tour
  • Big Bus
  • Golden Tours

If a guided themed tour is what you are looking for we would recommend the Ghost Tour or Harry Potter Tour.

Where is the best place to see the Changing of the Guard?

The Changing of the Guard happens in 3 locations in London:

  • Buckingham Palace
  • St. James’s Palace
  • Wellington Barracks

The ceremony starts at 11 a.m. every day except Sunday where it starts at 10 a.m. It lasts for 45 minutes and is free to view.

The ceremony can get incredibly busy during the summer months so arrive early to secure your spot. One of the best vantage points is the steps of the Victoria Memorial outside of Buckingham Palace.

Amar Hussain

About Amar Hussain

Amar was born and raised in England, UK, embarked on an 11 country round the world gap year after graduation and then became well and truly hooked. The first gap year inspired a second which ended up being a 23 country down-the-world trip from Canada to Antarctica. Since then Amar has endeavored to turn his gap year into a ‘gap life’ and has spent the last 10 years traveling the 7 continents.

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1 comment

  1. For great (and free) views book a slot at the Sky Garden on the top of the Walkie Talkie building. And if you loved Harry Potter you really have to go to the studios, it’s quite magical.

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