1. Go sky high
There’s no better way to get a true bird’s-eye view of the city than on the London Eye. Enter a glass capsule and be whisked over 1,000 feet into the sky for a 360-degree view. You’ll see the River Thames snaking below you, along with famous landmarks such as Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Buckingham Palace. You can’t say you’ve been to London if you haven’t seen it from the Eye…
2. Take to two wheels
Cycling through the heart of London on a bike tour will show you so much of the city from a local’s perspective. Enjoy London’s green parks and see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. If the Queen’s Royal Standard flag is flying, it means she’s at the palace! You’ll cycle across the Thames, visit Covent Garden, and tick many must-see sights off your list in a morning’s ride. This tour is just the ticket if you’re short on time.
3. Immerse yourself in the past
The heart of London, Westminster Abbey, has been the center of royal and historical London for over 1,000 years. Admire the magnificent stained glass windows and soaring Gothic architecture as you learn about the coronations of the kings and queens of England. This is where Queen Elizabeth II got married in 1947 as well as, more recently, Prince William and Kate Middleton. If you’re a fan of great literature, stop at Poet’s Corner, where famous writers such as Charles Dickens and Geoffrey Chaucer are buried.
4. Go crazy for Harry
Harry Potter, that is… If you’re a fan of the famous books (and films), you’ll love immersing yourself in the world of Harry Potter on a magical walking tour. Get sorted into your Hogwarts House before seeing Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron Inn. Your walk takes you to real-life movie locations, such as the Millennium Bridge, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and the London Eye. You can even try to wizard your way onto Platform 9 3/4.
5. Tour the tower
Boasting over 1,000 years of history, the Tower of London is one of the most interesting places to visit in London. It has served as a palace, a prison, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On this tour, you can walk with a Yeoman Warder to hear tales of the Tower and see historical reenactments. After you’ve walked the grounds and met the ravens, head to see the real highlight: the Crown Jewels! The impressive display of precious gems and royal cutlery (golden spoons, anyone?) are sights to behold. Our favorite? The State Crown — it has over 2,800 diamonds and is just as sparkly as you’d expect.
6. Venture to the dark side
If you’re fascinated by gory stories, a Jack the Ripper walking tour will send shivers down your spine. Walk through the streets of London and hear all about this killer’s crimes in Victorian London. The tales come to life thanks to hand-held projectors, creating an eerie atmosphere around you.
7. Cruise down the Thames
Float along the famous River Thames all the way from Westminster to Greenwich. You’ll not only spot famous sights, but you’ll also learn more about the history of this fascinating city. Relax, take in the views, and see the city from a completely different angle. Once you reach Greenwich, you can visit the Royal Observatory and stand with your feet in different time zones on the Greenwich meridian.
8. Bridge the divide
Have you ever stood on a glass floor with a river rushing beneath your feet? You can on a visit to Tower Bridge. Take a self-guided tour of the landmark and learn about its history as you explore the high-level walkways at your own pace.
9. Keep a secret
If you want to marvel at tales of mystery and magic, take a secret walking tour. Explore hidden alleyways, see places from the Harry Potter stories, and travel back in time to Charles Dickens’s London.
10. Stand on top of the world
London’s The Shard building, which opened in 2013, stands an incredible 1,016 feet tall. Visit the viewing platform on the 72nd floor and see the whole of London spread out below you. Top off this bucket-list experience with a glass of Champagne, and say “Cheers!” to London.