The 11 Best Walking Tours In London For Every Interest
The best way to immerse yourself in a new city is on foot, a sentiment that is particularly true of London. The British capital has many historical details that can be missed from a moving bus, so it's recommended to embark on one of the city's great walking tours, which are often themed. Whether you want to explore London's status as a popular filming location, for movies like Harry Potter or James Bond, or learn more about its history, there is a walking tour for every taste. Some tours are free for visitors, but many require tickets bought in advance, so be sure to plan ahead. Whatever your interest, here are 11 of London's best walking tours, from street art to historic pubs to romantic comedies.
James Bond Walking Tour of London
Calling all spies: Brit Movie Tour's James Bond Walking Tour of London will hit all the notable filming locations from movies like "No Time To Die" and "Spectre." The tour also includes remarkable places from James Bond author Ian Fleming's life. The two-and-a-half-hour trek stops by the National Gallery, Whitehall, London's oldest restaurant, MI5 and MI6, with a professional guide who can spill all the secrets about filming the hit movies as you stroll. The tour dates and times vary, so check online ahead of your trip. This is best for adults and older kids, and some of the locations aren't accessible for parents with strollers.
Jack the Ripper Tour
Go back in time on the Jack the Ripper Tour, which strolls around Aldgate and Whitechapel, where the murderer used to terrorize women. The walking tour takes place in the evenings, of course, and explores the Victorian history of East London, stopping at various sites known to the killer. The paid tour takes place nightly at 7 p.m., and it's best to book online in advance. Afterward, grab a drink at the Ten Bells Pub, where one of Jack the Ripper's victims spent the evening before meeting her end.
The Beatles - In My Life Walk
For a Beatles fan, no trip to London is complete without traversing the famous Abbey Road crosswalk. Visit the renowned studio on Richard Porter's The Beatles - In My Life Walk, which runs twice weekly. Pass the band's former Apple Shop, and see various houses and apartments where the band members have lived. Porter, who runs London Beatles Walks, is an expert in rock history, with several Beatles-themed tours regularly available for fans. His Rock and Roll - London Walk is another good option for those who want to delve into the London lives of artists like The Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix.
Love, Actually Walking Tour
Brit Movie Tours boasts a comprehensive look at all the best rom-com sites around London on its Love Actually Tour with Last Christmas, Notting Hill & Four Weddings Sites. There are a lot of iconic spots you'll immediately recognize, including the famed "Love, Actually" bench and the Savoy Hotel from the end of "Notting Hill." Because the two-and-a-half-hour tour covers a lot of central London, it's also a great way to hit all of the big sites, like the London Eye and Covent Garden. There is also a separate Notting Hill Tour, which visits nine filming locations around the Notting Hill neighborhood.
See 30+ London Sights Tour
Instead of picking a specific theme, try a walking tour that is all about seeing as much of London as possible. London Top Sights Tours runs a five-hour marathon tour, See 30+ London Sights Tour, that hits more than 30 famous attractions around the city, from Buckingham Palace to the London Eye to the Houses of Parliament. Kids are free with a paying adult, and tours can be booked in advance online. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring along some rain gear, just in case.
Tour For Muggles
While most of the Harry Potter films were shot in a studio (which fans can visit), there are numerous locations around London associated with the fantastical movies. Tour For Muggles takes non-wizards to various shooting locations throughout the city over two hours. See Leadenhall Market, the Millennium Bridge, and more as your guide offers up Harry Potter trivia and facts about the filming of the movies. While the trek is suitable for kids, it's recommended for those over age seven (or who can endure two hours of walking).
Street Art & Graffiti Tour
Join Strawberry Tours on a free stroll to explore East London's street art, dubbed the Street Art & Graffiti Tour. The two-hour tour pass through areas like Brick Lane, Shoreditch, Fashion Street, Bateman's Row, and Spitalfields, where you can stop to admire works by street artists like Banksy and El Mac, Stik, and Space Invader. The tour is free and can be booked online in advance, with all tours meeting outside the Shoreditch High Street Overground Station. Check the Strawberry Tours website for updated dates and times.
St. James Jaunt
Explore the London area of St. James, located near Piccadilly Circus, to discover the past lives of literary greats. Put on by London Literary Tours, the St. James Jaunt takes visitors to see where writers like Virginia Woolf, Noel Coward, and Ian Fleming once lived, played, and worked. The tour lasts two and a half hours, typically twice a week. The guides are exceptionally knowledgeable, with lots to share about London's literary history.
Drink London Tour
Follow in the footsteps of Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare as you stroll to several historic London pubs on Liquid History's Drink London Tour. It departs daily at 2 p.m. from the St. Paul's Underground station and includes stops at several pubs, including Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. The tour also explores Fleet Street's history and legends, like the infamous Sweeney Todd. Participants can grab a pint or a pub snack at the various stops (at their own expense) or just indulge in the historical sights.
Changing the Guard Walking Tour
London's Changing of the Guard is a real spectacle, and Fun London Tours makes it easy to see it in the best way with their Changing the Guard Walking Tour. The tour meets outside the Criterion Theatre at the Piccadilly Circus tube station and strolls around to various stages of the daily ceremony, rather than forcing you to stand in one place for its entirety. It's fast-paced (wear comfortable shoes), but it's a great way to get immersed in the event. Tickets can be booked online. Be sure to check the meeting time, as it is earlier on Sundays.
Secrets of the London Underground
Uncover the hidden history of London's Underground, also known as the Tube. Secrets of the London Underground, led by Evan Evans, takes visitors from Baker Street Station, home to the world's original underground railway, through central London. It includes stops at Oxford Circus, Green Park, Piccadilly Circus and Westminster, as well as a glimpse of a former Tube station that once held Churchill's offices during the war. The tour, done one foot and via Tube (you provide your own travel card), lasts about two hours. It's perfect for those who want to literally go a bit deeper into London's past.
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