Things to do in London

London Walking Tours

Whether you have two days in London or an entire lifetime, there are spots that demand your attention.

See all the best things to do in London by signing up for London walking tours designed to amaze, impress, and astound.

London Walks

You can get to know London by motoring in a taxi from place to place while reading your guidebook along the way. Go it alone and explore iconic landmarks like Trafalgar Square, royal palaces, Kensington Gardens, and Hyde Park.

However, many opportunities are available where expert guides take you on group or private tours of various locations and tell you about fascinating history in the process. Options like one of the following classic walking tours in London allow experts to tell you about the slasher legends, pubs, and waterfront happenings that helped give this city its 5-star status.

The Jack the Ripper Tour

The Jack the Ripper Tour transports tourists and historians to the eerie streets of Whitechapel. This experience is heightened with handheld projectors displaying life-sized images on the walls. Other tours highlight numerous murder sites and Ripper-related locations, offering more historical context.

Explore the different tours and choose how you want to delve into one of London’s darkest periods. You can visit the barbershop where a suspect once worked or follow the tragic path of a victim, retracing her final moments with the Ripper.

Ghost Walks

Ghost walks are walking tours that immerse visitors in haunted city sectors. Imagine specters so numerous that tours are divided by area. These walks often highlight famous sites like Greenwich. One standout tour uses tools to communicate with spirits and poltergeists, adding to the eerieness of the entire experience.

The virtual tour by Ghosts of the Old City deserves a special shout-out for anyone who isn’t into ghost tours, regardless of the reason Those worried about accessibility or wanting to avoid the London fog can enjoy spooky stories from their hotel bed.

Photographer: Michael Mouritz

Hampstead walking tour

Hampstead is a quaint neighborhood situated roughly four miles northwest of Charing Cross in London. The area blends residential spaces with verdant parks, boasting an array of small shops, renowned restaurants, and refined bars nestled within Georgian architecture. It exudes an old-world charm, offering plenty of unique activities in London anyone can participate in. Exploring Hampstead means tracing historical paths where you can discover former coaching inns that now serve as pubs and areas frequented by author Charles Dickens.There’s even a handful of spots that might remind you of scenes straight out of Mary Poppins.

Classic London

Classic London is an engaging tour that captures the essence of this iconic city, showcasing landmarks that have shaped its splendor. Visitors explore Westminster Abbey's hidden secrets, enjoy a local perspective of Covent Garden, and visit iconic sites like the Tower of London and the London Eye. This tour offers a comprehensive experience, much like a living greatest hits collection of London's most cherished attractions.

Pub Walks

Pub Walks represent a popular type of walking tour in London, a city in which pub culture is deeply intertwined with city life. These tours transform a simple outing for pints and prawn crisps into a social adventure, guiding participants through some of the city’s most beloved bars.

Along the way, travelers gather unique insights from their guides who share fascinating trivia about each pub and neighborhood. Additionally, for those interested in music, these tours frequently feature stops at venues hosting live performances, enhancing the lively music scene in London.

By the Water Tours

London is technically a land-locked city. Combine the majesty of the river Thames with the countless streams, ponds, lakes, and canals that weave through the Big Smoke, and you have a lot of waterfront property begging to be explored. If you feel drawn to these spots, look for tours that go by the water.

Some explore specific patches, such as a stroll around Little Venice (no striped shirt and straw hat required). Others, such as a tour of Royal London, incorporate bodies of water more incidentally, but we think those fountains and duck ponds still count.

Thames Riverside Walk

Thames Riverside Walk connects a series of historic and cultural sites, including the House of Parliament and Syon Park, along its 79.5-mile course. While attempting the entire path in one outing may be daunting, using tools like Go Jauntly allows for efficient route planning to enjoy top sights like Canary Wharf and the Royal Docks. This path offers a unique way to explore significant historical and cultural sites along the riverbanks.

Photographer: the blowup

Historical Tours

Way back in around 43 AD, Romans came to present-day England and established a new town they called Londinium. Walking tours of London’s most historic nooks, crannies, and castles cover highlights of what’s happened since.

Westminster and the Churchill War Rooms

Anyone who has taken 5th-grade history knows how much of an impact World War II had on the city of London. However, there’s a difference between reading about it in a book and experiencing the feel for wartime strategy and bravery as you walk into the subterranean Churchill War Rooms and make your way from bunker to bunker.

Bookend your tour with a stroll around Westminster, where you can see the Abbey and other must-hit spots, such as Big Ben.

Blood and Tears Walking Tour

Blood and Tears Walking Tour showcases a chilling journey into London's darkest corners, narrated by the seasoned Declan McHugh. This two-hour tour delves into the lives of 11 serial killers, offering profound insight into some of the most disturbing cases the city has ever encountered.

As you traverse the eerie pathways, each story unravels, enriched by McHugh's three decades of dedicated research. Forget simple crime stories; this tour promises an in-depth exploration of the macabre, with McHugh revealing every gruesome detail. Ideal for those who find solace in true crime podcasts, this experience transforms a typical Friday night into an immersive historical escapade, blending fear, fascination, and factual storytelling.

Changing of the Guard Walking Tour

The Changing of the Guard tour immerses visitors in a tradition that dates back centuries. This iconic ceremony, a significant part of Britain's Royal Family allure, is experienced from a prime vantage point.

The walking tour offers a guide who whispers details in your ear, ensuring you catch every element of this spectacle. Known for its rich history and grandeur, this tour is a must-see for every visitor's itinerary.

Kensington Palace Gardens with Royal High Tea

Kensington Palace Gardens hosts Royal High Tea, offering visitors a unique experience. Kensington Palace, a prime royal residence since the 17th century, currently houses William, Kate, and their relatives when in London. This renowned palace, known for its grandeur, makes enjoying scones and finger sandwiches at the pavilion outside an elite affair.

Kensington Palace stands out for its historical significance and royal residents. The palace's pavilion, characterized by its elegant setting, provides the perfect backdrop for a luxurious tea experience.

Kensington Palace's rich history and current royal inhabitants add to the exclusivity of the tea event. This makes the experience of having tea there truly distinguished and memorable.

Photographer: Rahul Chakraborty

Fictional Tours

Some walking tours in London take you far out of the realm of double-decker buses and fish and chips. You’ll visit fictional lands with their own iconic sights, sounds, and … owls?

Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour

The Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour offers fans an immersive experience through the streets of London. Sherlock Holmes guides you to key locations from Arthur Conan Doyle's books and popular adaptations by Robert Downey Jr. and Benedict Cumberbatch.

The walking tour begins at Piccadilly Circus, where Holmes and Watson had their first meeting. Sherlock Holmes, known for his keen observations, leads you to various landmarks, ensuring you capture memorable moments. This tour is perfect for fans eager to step into the detective's shoes and explore his world.

Harry Potter Walking Tour

Harry Potter Walking Tour offers visits to Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron through Get Your Guide. This tour includes interactive games like House competitions and trivia tests, providing entertainment as you wait. Harry Potter Walking Tour allows you to explore the Clink Prison Museum and see Daniel Radcliffe's school. Harry Potter Walking Tour ensures an engaging experience for fans, making it a must-try for all.

Cultural Tours

Hark! Here come some London walking tours with a theme. From tasty trips to restaurants and bakeries to a chance to traipse around the West End, these tours are dripping in culture, entertainment, and the occasional plate of buttery escargot.

Food and Culinary Tours

There are almost as many food tours in London as there are cups of tea, but that’s a good thing. That means you can find a walking tour that suits your taste buds or do several tours without worrying too much about overlap.

Secret Food Tours offers many options, including tours of Camden Food Market, the London Bridge area, Indian restaurants, beer gardens and pubs, Shoreditch, and SoHo. Depending on your route, you’ll get to taste everything from mango lassis to bacon and egg baps as you learn about the city one bite at a time.

West End Theatreland Tour

West End Theatreland Tour attracts over 16 million visitors annually to London's famous theater district. Theatreland Tour guides attendees to shows like Les Miserables and Frozen the Musical at renowned venues such as the Sondheim Theater and Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Theatreland Tour offers a free self-guided walking tour voiced by veteran actor Ian McKellen. Theatreland Tour, with Ian leading the charge, takes visitors through the district's highlights, sharing insights about its rich history and cultural significance.

Photographer: Eamonn Wang

Shakespearean London Walk

Shakespeare's Walking Tour offers a glimpse into the life and career of William Shakespeare, the historic playwright known for Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice, among other plays. Shakespeare, born in Stratford-upon-Avon, spent much of his career in London. On this tour, you can trace the very steps he once took through the historic city.

Shakespeare's Walking Tour with London Walks features a serenade by a lute, providing an engaging way to learn about the Bard’s achievements. This tour offers an immersive experience, highlighting Shakespeare's notable works and his influence on literature.

If you prefer solitude, a self-guided Shakespeare tour might suit you better. This tour includes visits to significant archaeological sites, like the original Rose Theatre in Southwark. Additionally, you'll see the Globe Theatre, famous for hosting Shakespeare’s plays after its construction in 1599.

Hidden London Secrets Tour

Hidden London Secrets Tour offers a journey beyond Big Ben, the Shard, and Canary Wharf, unveiling lesser-known aspects of the city. Sometimes, discovering the true essence of a city requires stepping off the typical tourist paths.

Get Your Guide’s Secrets of London tour mixes quirky sights and historical treats, including a scavenger hunt for old gas lamps and door knockers. The London Transport Museum tour explores back streets and off-the-beaten-path locales, showing how London evolved into today's urban marvel.

The Beatles Tour

The Beatles London Walking Tour by Golden Tours offers an immersive experience. The Marylebone and Abbey Road leg highlights key locations such as filming sites for "A Hard Day’s Night" and "Help!" You can even recreate the famous Abbey Road crosswalk photo.

The Soho and Mayfair tour includes stops at murals and studios used by The Beatles. Each step is enriched with the band's legacy, making it a must-do for fans. The Beatles’ influence is evident in every corner, from recording studios to artistic tributes, cementing their place in London's cultural heritage.

Street Art and Graffiti Tour

Street Art and Graffiti Walking Tour features the city's dynamic street art scene, offering a unique perspective on London's creative culture. The tour showcases nontraditional creators who turn streets into an outdoor gallery. Brick by brick, artists transform painted concrete into murals, making alleyways vibrant showplaces.

Street Art and Graffiti Walking Tour offers a unique and memorable experience. With Strawberry Tours, explore iconic spots like Brick Lane and Truman Brewery. These locations, known for mesmerizing street art, are considered the unofficial homes for this dynamic form of expression.

Photographer: Paolo Bendandi

Education & Discovery Tours

Sign up for a guided tour of one of London’s many museums, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, which offers free tours. At the British Museum, you can go around the world in just 90 minutes or focus on LBGTQ themes and histories via a rotating selection of key exhibits and displays.

The Female Voices tour is also popular, as are the African Heritage tour and a tour dedicated to Treasures of Europe.

Vintage and Antique Shopping Tour

Some of the 1,000 antique dealers in London operate independently in small storefronts or via stalls at the area markets, while others only come out for festivals or other shopping events. One of the best ways to take in the extent of London’s vintage and antique wares is to walk through hot spots, such as Portobello Road and Kensington Church Street.

Portobello Road, in particular, has achieved an almost fairy-tale level of fame due to the colorful stalls and varied goods hanging from kiosks and table-top shops. Get knick knacks for home or snag gifts that make way better souvenirs than yet another Union Jack mug.

Architecture and Design Walking Tour

The Architecture and Design Walking Tour showcases London's rich architectural tapestry. The city, spanning several millennia, boasts a diverse architectural landscape. Victorian-style homes, Tudor-era buildings, and modern geometric, reflective structures all vie for attention.

The walking tour introduces you to this variety, highlighting how leading architects like Zaha Hadid and Richard Rogers crafted some of these iconic structures. Architecture and Design Walking Tour offers a deep dive into the styles and stories behind these masterpieces, enriching your understanding of the city's unique architectural evolution.

Lace-Up Your Shoes and Discover Walking Tours in London

You can get around London by plane, train, or automobile, but in many cases, there’s no better way to get to know the city than by exploring it on your own two feet. From visiting haunted pubs to enjoying art, the places you’ll visit on these walking tours prove how limitless and diverse the city of London is.

To cap off your stay, work in a performance that’s as evocative as it is escapist. Cirque du Soleil shows in London are designed to help you realize the unimaginable. Are you ready to be dazzled by a soundtrack that echoes into your soul? Or acrobatic feats unachievable by the ordinary? Or perhaps you'd like to experience a story, one brought to life by a gathering of the extraordinary. 

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