When you want to make the most of a city like London at speed – especially if you’re on a quick city break, or simply have some time to spare between meetings – it’s best to keep things simple.
Exploring on foot can actually be much faster than using trains, buses or cars; and there’s also the opportunity to learn as you go along. Which is why there are some fantastic walking tours on offer in our capital.
We’ve picked out a few of our favourites...
For fans of magical worlds...
This award-winning Harry Potter-themed tour celebrates the popular books by exploring places that inspired author JK Rowling, as well as some of the locations used to make the films. You’ll see dark, winding alleyways evoking Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley; the bridges over the Thames featured in The Order Of The Phoenix; the ‘real-life’ Grimmauld Place; and the visitors’ entrance to the Ministry Of Magic. And lots more.
DETAILS: Available most days. Moves from London Bridge to Leicester Square and lasts up to 2.5 hours. £12 per person (£10 for children aged 11 and under).
MORE ABOUT MUGGLE TOURS >
For darker tastes...
The Jack The Ripper Tour
Discover the unsettling past of the Whitechapel area, as you visit the murder scenes of Jack The Ripper’s victims. You’ll also see the Frying Pan pub and Wilkes Street, which offer an insight into the dank living conditions and dark streets of the 1880s and 1890s; as well as the Ten Bells, the pub frequented by the victims and possibly also Jack himself. Hand-held projectors and photography are used to help you imagine exactly what life was like for the terrified residents of murky London.
DETAILS: Operates every evening at 7:30pm. Begins at the front door of the Whitechapel Art Gallery by Aldgate East Station (exit 3) and lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes. £12.50 per person.
MORE ABOUT THE JACK THE RIPPER TOUR >
For literary history lovers...
Dickens’ & Shakespeare’s London
London was both inspiration and workshop to Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare, arguably Britain’s most famous writers of all time. See the debtors’ prison that haunted Dickens; a burial ground for workers in brothels owned by bishops, which Shakespeare found bemusing; and a wide network of characterful inns and half-timbered Elizabethan dwellings.
DETAILS: Tours by appointment. Starts at the exit of Borough underground station and lasts 1 hour and 45 minutes, finishing alongside the New Globe Theatre. £10 per person.
MORE ABOUT DICKENS AND SHAKESPEARE TOURS >
For political enthusiasts...
Houses of Parliament
See stunning architecture and art as you discover a thousand years of historical and modern-day politics surrounding the House of Lords and House of Commons. This tour includes the Westminster Hall, which dates from 1097, as well as the Queen’s Robing Room, the Royal Gallery, the Lords Chamber, the Central Lobby and the Commons Chamber – which has seen plenty of debating action.
DETAILS: Operates most days, but check carefully when booking. £25.50 per person (£21 for concessions). Not recommended for young children due to tour length and amount of walking.
MORE ABOUT THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT >
For those who want something different...
Head into the East End to see evidence of London’s vibrant street art and graffiti scene; and learn about the diverse inspirations behind it. Several guides are artists themselves and are actively involved in the local community, so have plenty of stories to share about the cultural history of areas like Brick Lane and Shoreditch.
DETAILS: Tours are operated on a pay-what-you-feel basis, so you give your guide what you think the experience has been worth.
MORE ABOUT ALTERNATIVE LONDON >
Travel to London comfortably
City breaks can be hectic, so before you throw yourself into the vibrant madness of England’s capital city, sit back and enjoy getting there in comfort. MegabusGold offers a sleeper service with cosy individaul bunks, free wi-fi and a great staff, so you can make the most of your waking hours at your destination.
Book your trip now >