London remains at the forefront of global tourism with millions of tourists flocking to the impressive city each year. With so much to do and see, our resident London expert has put together a quick guide to the top tours you should book yourself on to when you are you next in the Big Smoke for a London city break.
Get your bearings
As with any city break, it is always helpful to better understand the city’s layout. One of the best ways to do this is by jumping on a bus tour that will allow you to take in the major landmarks while getting familiar London. You will find leaflets at all major tube and train stations in central London as well as from salespeople walking the streets. Planning ahead will give you the chance to find the right tour for you (and save money in the process). The Original Tour is one of the most popular bus tours and you can find their pricing here.
If you want to do your own tour, download the app “City Mapper” to your mobile and get walking! Want to see more of the city in a shorter period of time? Hop on a Boris Bike (officially called Santander Cycles) and get exploring! If you dock your bike every 30 minutes at one of the hundreds of stations around the city, you can get 24 hrs of bike access for a couple of pounds.
Best view in town
Get your camera ready because London is an impressively photogenic city. Take a walk down the Thames path, cross over the many iconic bridges and capture the striking blend of modern architecture against a historic backdrop. If you are looking for an extra special experience and snap then read our review of The View From The Shard experience.
If you are looking for the best view in London then you need to choose the tour that soars above the rest: a helicopter tour of London. Take to the skies if you want to truly see what London is like; from the shiny finance district of Canary Wharf to the lush green Royal Parks, you can see it all from a birds eye view.
While the London Eye will put you above river-level, it doesn’t come close to the helicopters unique ability to show visitors the whole city including landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and St Pauls Cathedral as well as other famous spots such as Battersea Park and the Oval Cricket Ground. Take to the skies to see London like never before!
Not a fan of heights? Stay at sea level and get a unique perspective from the winding river Thames. Boat tour companies operate up-and-down the river with drop off points typically situated at popular tourist spots such as the Tower of London, Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. While the tourist tour boats are worth considering, a tip is to use the Clipper. The Clipper is part of the Transport for London fleet and provides an inexpensive, locals solution to river transport.
You can hop on and off at various points from east to west. With an on-board snack and drinks bar, comfy seats and wide river views, the Thames Clipper is a popular choice for commuters as well as visitors to the city. Save money and travel like a local on the water!
There is so much to see in the open air of London that it can be easy to overlook the indoor tours and attractions. Many museums are free and offer superb experiences for couples and families alike. The official visitor guide to London has a list of free museums in London so you can take a pick of those that interest you.
If you want to go deep in to London’s dungeons, visit Westminster Abbey, explore London Zoo or go up the tower at Tower Bridge then you will need to spend some money. Visiting multiple paid attractions during a city break can be expensive so check out The London Pass for discounted access across the major attractions.
Whatever tour takes your fancy, you are in for a treat when you take the streets, river or air in London!