Take away the fear of missing out on your travels and book one of these London tours. Whether you’re looking for local food, a spot of history or the secrets of the city, these nine experiences will help you discover a whole new side to the capital.
London’s labyrinthine neighbourhoods are packed with memorable things to see, eat and do, but can be tricky to navigate. Leave the planning to the experts and tailor your time in London around your interests with one of these unique guided trips.
Uncover Her Majesty’s secrets on the London City of Spies Tour
This afternoon of conspiracy takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Meet at the Playhouse Theatre, where an expert on espionage history will guide you around London’s leading landmarks – from Number 10 Downing Street to the MI5 headquarters – exploring the darker side of the city. Make like James Bond at the end of the tour, and order a shaken-not-stirred martini in the historic Morpeth Arms pub – or even better, take advantage of the complimentary pint or glass of wine, and enjoy it over more tales of London’s most accomplished double agents and their fascinating exploits.
This two-hour art walk begins and ends at Old Spitalfields Market where you can indulge at one of the many outstanding food stalls. As you stroll through East London, your guide will paint a picture of the area’s alternative creative scene, explaining how it became such a haven for street artists. While you may not stumble across a Banksy on the tour, your knowledgeable guide will talk you through the urban art movement and point out works from roughly 40 different artists. Due to the spontaneous and ever-changing nature of street art, no two tours will ever be the same, so this is definitely an experience worth repeating.
This tasting tour starts at the Polo Bar in Bishopsgate from Monday to Thursday, and meets at Shoreditch Grind on Fridays and Saturdays. Whether you book in for some mid-week tipples or save yourself for a weekend session, you’ll be met by your orange-umbrella-toting guide for an afternoon of beer-sampling from London’s independent brewers. Learn how to properly taste beer, get insider knowledge about micro-brewing and learn which beers are industry favourites. Food is not included, but there will be many opportunities to sample some gastropub eats along the way, before ending at a secret venue.
The Bard might have preferred wine to scones and cream tea, but you can discover that for yourself on this tour of the world-famous Globe Theatre followed by a glass of prosecco and afternoon tea at the refined Swan Restaurant. The price also includes a ticket to the Shakespeare’s Globe exhibition on William Shakespeare’s life and work, which visitors are welcome to guide themselves through with the help of complimentary audio-guides, available in eight languages. Guided tours start at the Globe’s exhibition and tour entrance – it’s the one with the river-front view.
Join your guide for a culinary tour in front of the Evans Cycles shop near London Bridge station before heading off to your first stop: foodie hotspot Borough Market, which has been serving up the freshest produce for more than a thousand years. British cuisine isn’t necessarily known for its refinement, but this tour along the Thames will make you rethink the stereotype. Enjoy quintessentially British food such as fish and chips and Cumberland sausages made from a 150-year-old recipe, along with a selection of British cheeses and sweets along the way. The three hours of indulgence ends with a stop at a secret location where you will enjoy one last treat.
Along with classic fish and chips, this tour will let you sample the East End’s diverse best eats. Starting from Old Spitalfields Market, you’ll able to taste Bangladeshi curries from Brick Lane, Jewish beigels from a traditional bakery, cheeses from a 19th-century French cheesemonger, British classics from a 17th-century institution and the daily offering at the renowned St John’s Bread and Wine. At the end of the tour, your guide will also explain the East End’s cultural and culinary history over a pint (or two) at a local pub.
After booking this free tour, meet the group in bustling Covent Garden where you will then embark on a three-hour journey through London. Your tour guide will share the history of London’s most notable landmarks, giving you a better insight to the capital. In addition to Covent Garden, the tour also covers Trafalgar Square, St James’s Place, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and more. Suitable for all ages and accessible for people with mobility impairments, this tour will make your London trip unforgettable. While this experience is free, a tip for your exceptional guide is encouraged.
The meeting point in front of Winston Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square sets the tone for this two-hour tour. You may not walk away with a better understanding of Brexit, but your guide will detail the political history of the capital as you visit key sites like the Houses of Parliament and 10 Downing Street. If you love political drama, this tour is a must.
Book a private walking tour at £90 per-person and your guide will meet you at any central London hotel or a convenient tube station before leading you through the secret gardens and ruins of London. Some of the tour spots are so hidden that even born-and-bred Londoners might not even know they’re there. Highlights include the knot garden at St Mary Aldermanbury and the ruins of Christchurch Greyfriars, which undergo a transformation every spring when the flowers blossom.