Taking a guided tour is one of the simplest ways to make the most of your short time in London – and however long you have, it will never be enough!

Booking an organised tour means you can sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds of this beguiling city. With all the planning, wayfinding and perhaps transport and entry tickets taken care of by an expert. You may not even have to queue to get into the attraction, either. 

But how do you find the best tours in London? There are so many to choose from! Well, this guide is here to help. Based on our recent travels in London, we’ve rounded up 17 of the best London tours so you can pick from a shorter, more concise list that’s all in one place.

Beginning with the top 5 trips to see the best tourist attractions in London, this list includes landmarks, food, themed and children’s tours and more. We’ve also included some of the best day trips from London so you can see other parts of the UK simply and in a time-efficient and cost-effective way.

Let’s start! Here are all the best London bus tour and walking tour options so you can discover London. First, we’ll take a look at the 5 best tours of London overall. 

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Top 5 Best Tours in London

London in One Day walking tour

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Destination: Central London
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Parliament Square, Westminster, London, SW1P 3JX
  • What’s included: Guided tour, boat trip, Westminster Abbey & Tower entry
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, transport, hotel pick-up, tips

This walking tour of the city lets you see much more than an open-top bus in London would, as you’re at ground level. You’ll start with a skip-the-line entry to Westminster Abbey, and will take in sights like Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and many more during the day.

Skip-the-line entry to the Tower of London is also covered, plus a post-lunch cruise on the Thames which passes the London Eye and iconic buildings like The Gherkin and The Shard. 

This tour also includes the famous Changing of the Guard, as seen from an expert’s vantage point. One of the best walking tours of London when it comes to seeing it all. 

A couple standing in front of a King's Guard at the Tower of London on one of the best tours in London.

Insider’s Westminster Abbey & Houses of Parliament tour

  • Duration: 3.75 hours
  • Destination: Houses of Parliament & Westminster Abbey
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Parliament Square, Westminster, London, SW1P 3JX
  • What’s included: Guided tour, Westminster Abbey & Parliament entry
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, transport, hotel pick-up, tips

See inside the British parliamentary system and the landmark Westminster Abbey with this tour. It’s one of the best London day trips to book when you want to experience both politics and royalty. 

A highlight of this London tour is the fact that it’s led by an experienced expert who should be able to answer any question you may have. Tickets to both sites are included and you can see inside the House of Commons and House of Lords.

Many of the best tours in London include Westminster Abbey.

Tower of London with Crown Jewels early access

  • Duration: 2.75 hours
  • Destination: Tower of London inc Jewel House
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Tower of London Shop, Tower Place West, Lower Thames St 
  • What’s included: Guided tour, Tower of London & VIP Crown Jewels entry
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, transport, hotel pick-up, tips

This tour grants you early VIP access to the Crown Jewels housed within the Tower of London’s Jewel House. You’ll also be one of the only people to see the Opening Ceremony.

A professionally guided tour of the Tower is also included, taking you to the White and Bloody Towers, the execution site and the Torture Chamber. You’ll also take a short walk along the walls of the famous tower. 

King's Guard at the Tower of London.

Borough Market Brunch Tour

  • Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Destination: Borough Market
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Needle Sculpture, London Bridge Walk, London SE1 2SX
  • What’s included: Guided tour, full brunch + wine, beer or cider
  • What’s not included: Transport, hotel pick-up, tips

If you want to include a foodie tour on your London itinerary, then this one of Borough Market is the best of the bunch. You can try all sorts of British favourites including fish and chips, cheeses and much more. 

The tour lasts for two-and-a-half hours and you can expect a full belly by the time it ends! Beer, cider or wine are also supplied to wash down your delicious food with. 

Private Tudor day trip with John England Tours

  • Duration: 8.5 hours
  • Destination: Hampton Court Palace & Hever Castle
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Hampton Court Way, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU
  • What’s included: Guided tour, luxury private travel, entry fees 
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, hotel pick-up, tips

Any of John England’s fabulous tours come highly recommended by us – as it’s one of the best London tour companies around. But if we had to pick one it would be this. The Tudor tour takes you to Hever Castle and Hampton Court Palace to follow the footsteps of history. 

Hever Castle is located in the scenic county of Kent, known as the Garden of England, while at Hampton Court you can learn all about the life of one of the most notorious British monarchs, King Henry VIII. 

Hever Castle.
TYPE OF TOURDESTINATIONSDURATION
Best full-day tours of London
💂‍♂️ London with Crown Jewels and the Changing of the GuardMain highlights of London8 hoursBOOK
💂‍♂️ London highlights semi-private tourMain highlights of London6.5 hoursBOOK
Best tours of London landmarks
🇬🇧 Tower of London and Crown Jewels guided tourTower of London incl Jewel House2.75 hoursBOOK
🇬🇧 Inside the Houses of Parliament and Westminster AbbeyHouses of Parliament & Westminster Abbey3.75 hoursBOOK
Best hidden gems of London tour
🚶‍♀️Private Hidden London walking tourEast End of London2.5 hoursBOOK
Best London food tours
🥪 Walking tour with afternoon teaCentral London3.5 hoursBOOK
🥪 Brunch tour of Borough MarketBorough Market2.5 hoursBOOK
🥪 The Full English foodie experienceBorough Market &
other London sites
4 hoursBOOK
🥪 Brigid’s afternoon tea bus tourCentral London sites1.5 hoursBOOK
Best London themed walking tours
🚶‍♀️ Jack the Ripper daytime tourEast End of London3 hoursBOOK
Best London tours for children
👶 One-day London tour for kidsCentral London7 hoursBOOK
👶 Tootbus London tour for childrenCentral London45 minutesBOOK
👶 Private child-friendly Tower of London tourTower of London3 hoursBOOK
Best day tours from London
🏰 Private day tour to Hever Castle in KentHever Castle5 hoursBOOK
🏡 One day Cotswolds tour from LondonThe Cotswolds9 hoursBOOK
🪄 Harry Potter Studios ticket and transportHarry Potter Studios7 – 8 hoursBOOK

Best full day tours of London

London with Crown Jewels and the Changing of the Guard

  • Duration: 8 hours
  • Destination: Tower of London, Changing of Guard, Westminster Abbey
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Parliament Square, Westminster, London, SW1P 3JX
  • What’s included: Guided tour, boat trip, Tower & Westminster Abbey entry
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, transport, hotel pick-up, tips

Take a longer walking tour through London to experience so much in one day. You’ll enter historic Westminster Abbey, where Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral took place in September 2022. 

The tour also includes a Thames boat trip, the Changing of the Guard from an exclusive vantage point and skip-the-line entry to the Tower of London. 

London highlights semi-private tour

  • Duration: 6.5 hours
  • Destination: Central London
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Covent Garden
  • What’s included: Guided tour, boat trip, Tower of London entry
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, transport, hotel pick-up, tips

Join a group or five others or less for this semi-private London tour. Setting out from Covent Garden, you’ll see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, enter and explore the Tower of London and see other iconic spots like Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square.

A cruise on the River Thames is also included, so you can see the sights while travelling along the river by boat. 

Boat sailing on the River Thames and the London Eye in the background.

Best tours of London landmarks

Tower of London and Crown Jewels guided tour

  • Duration: 2.75 hours
  • Destination: Tower of London inc Jewel House
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Tower of London Shop, Tower Place West, Lower Thames St 
  • What’s included: Guided tour, Tower of London & VIP Crown Jewels entry
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, transport, hotel pick-up, tips

See the world-famous Crown Jewels before anyone else does with this tour of the Tower of London. Your day includes a full guided tour of the entire Tower, and you can even walk on its walls. 

Exclusive early access to the Jewel House – home of the Crown Jewels – is also included. You’ll also witness the military-style Opening Ceremony and see the famous Beefeaters in their iconic red uniforms. 

Lady standing next to a London Beefeater.

Inside the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey

  • Duration: 3.75 hours
  • Destination: Houses of Parliament & Westminster Abbey
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Parliament Square, Westminster, London, SW1P 3JX
  • What’s included: Guided tour, Westminster Abbey & Parliament entry
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, transport, hotel pick-up, tips

You can see the final resting place of many British royals at Westminster Abbey – a magnificent structure that’s central to the life events of the British monarchy. 

The tour also includes the Houses of Parliament, where you can see inside the real-life Houses of the Commons and the Lords.  An expert is there with you all the way to give you exclusive insights into the British monarchy and systems of democracy. 

Westminster Hall.

Best hidden gems of London tour

Private Hidden London walking tour

  • Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Destination: East End of London
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Liverpool Street Station, London
  • What’s included: Guided storytelling walking tour
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, transport, hotel pick-up, tips

Explore the lesser seen side of London with this tour of the East End. You’ll walk in the footsteps of dangerous criminal Jack the Ripper, and see various sites associated with crime, punishment and other dark events.

You’ll also find out all about what it was like to live in London during the Blitz of World War II, and discover what the city’s plague pits are all about.  

London East End original street.
East End street

Best London food tours

Walking tour with afternoon tea

  • Duration: 3.5 hours
  • Destination: Central London
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Tower Hill Station, London
  • What’s included: Guided walking tour, afternoon tea
  • What’s not included: Transport, hotel pick-up, tips

This tour allows you to discover London, as well as partake of a traditional British afternoon tea – one of the greatest culinary pleasures the capital has to offer. Areas explored include the City of London, the Roman Wall near the Tower of London and many more. 

Scones with clotted cream and jam, cakes and sandwiches are served to break up the walk before setting off to see more hidden gems. These include religious, historic and cultural sites – and even a London pub or two. 

Brunch tour of Borough Market

  • Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Destination: Borough Market
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Needle Sculpture, London Bridge Walk, London SE1 2SX
  • What’s included: Guided tour, full brunch + wine, beer or cider
  • What’s not included: Transport, hotel pick-up, tips

Sample all the top culinary delights on offer in London by booking this brunch tour of the famous Borough Market. This is one of the most iconic foodie markets in the world, selling foods from all over the country and beyond. 

British dishes like fish and chips are yours to savour, and you can also try samples of cheeses and other delicious food products. By the end of the two-and-a-half hour tour you’ll be well-fed as well as educated! Wine, beer or cider are also included to accompany your culinary treats. 

Borough Market.

The Full English foodie experience

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Destination: Borough Market & other London sites
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: To be agreed
  • What’s included: Guided tour, food samples + beer, coffee or soft drink 
  • What’s not included: Extras, tips

You’ll sample so many British dishes on this foodie tour that you should be an expert by the end! It should also help you decide what to eat more of during the rest of your time in London. 

Savoury bites include cheeses, chutney, fish and chips, Cumberland sausage and Scotch eggs, while sweet treats to try include fudge, chocolate brownies, carrot cake and sticky toffee pudding. 

British beer.

Brigid’s afternoon tea bus tour

  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Destination: Central London sites
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Victoria Coach Station, London
  • What’s included: Bus tour, full afternoon tea 
  • What’s not included: Extras, tips

This open-top bus tour of London isn’t your average hop-on-hop-off city bus. Yes, you’ll see the sights, but you’ll also get to tuck into a fabulous afternoon tea comprising cakes, sandwiches and scones. 

The tour will take place on a Brigit’s Bakery vintage double-decker bus, and you’ll pass foodie and landmark sites like Harrods, Hyde Park, Marble Arch and Trafalgar Square as you travel. 

Find even more London foodie tours in this article

Brigid's Bakery Bus food.

Best London themed walking tours

Jack the Ripper daytime tour

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Destination: East End of London
  • Meeting time: 10:00
  • Meeting point: Whitechapel Underground Station, London
  • What’s included: Guided storytelling walking tour 
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, transport, tips

Take a walk around the Whitechapel area in the East End of London to see how people lived when the infamous murderer was roaming the streets. As well as discovering Victorian London, you’ll see street art, markets and historic buildings in one of the city’s most intriguing neighbourhoods. 

Meeting at 10 am, you’ll see the sites in broad daylight, and be done by lunchtime. There are lots of eateries in this area, including the Indian curry restaurants of Brick Lane and the surrounding streets. 

The Ten Bells pub in the East End of London.

Harry Potter tours of London

There are so many great Harry Potter tours in London that we’ve written a separate article listing seven of the best! Find the right walking or bus tour for you by reading it here

Beatles tours of London

The very best Beatles tours in London are detailed in this article too. Why not find the right Fab Four tour for you by taking a look right now? A day trip to Liverpool is even included. 

Best London sightseeing tours by bus or boat 

Best bus tours of London

There are a number of companies offering a regular or open top London bus tour. Read this complete guide for a detailed comparison guide to the best 15 tours available, so you can find the best bus tour of London for you. 

Best London river cruises

An alternative to taking the best tour or buying a ticket for a hop on hop off bus in London is to enjoy a boat trip along the Thames. It’s always a favourite activity and there are lots to choose from. See this detailed article to find your ideal Thames cruise.

Tower Bridge.

Best London Christmas tours

We’ve also covered the best Christmas tours of London in-depth, with our post on the 22 best festive tours of the UK capital. Read it here.  

Christmas angel lights in London.

Best London tours for children

One-day London tour for kids

  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Destination: Central London
  • Meeting time: 09:00
  • Meeting point: Westminster Abbey Shop, 20 Dean’s Yard SW1P 3JS
  • What’s included: Guided walking tour, entry to Tower & Westminster Abbey
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, transport, hotel pick-up, tips

Booking a tour that’s tailor-made for youngsters is the best way to introduce them to London’s wow-inducing sights. Rather than booking the best London bus tour for families, take a walking tour to truly tire them out!

This day tour for children lets them see Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square and more. It also includes the Changing of the Guard and the Tower of London. Entry to the Tower and Westminster Abbey is included and you’ll spend a couple of hours or so at each of these major attractions.  

Tootbus London tour for children

  • Duration: 45 minutes
  • Destination: Central London
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Any listed stop
  • What’s included: Bus tour of central London
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, transport, hotel pick-up, tips

If you want a whistle-stop tour of London for younger kids, this one’s perfect. It’s only 45 minutes long so they cannot get bored (surely?) and during that time they can marvel over a range of key sights.

These include Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street, Nelson’s Column and the River Thames. Green Park is also a stop, so perhaps start or end here if they really need to run around!

Kids standing with Westminster behind them.

Private child-friendly Tower of London tour 

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Destination: Tower of London
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Great Tower St, London EC3R 5BT
  • What’s included: Guided tour, Tower of London entry
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, transport, hotel pick-up, tips

The Tower of London is probably the number one London attraction for kids. Get to know it with this three-hour tour led by a qualified Blue Badge guide. It’s a private tour, so they can ask as many questions as they like (giving you some respite in the process)!

They’ll be charmed by the red-uniformed Beefeaters, thrilled by the Crown Jewels and awed or even possibly slightly scared by some of the historic sites. During the tour, they’ll also get to encounter the ‘Guardians of the Tower of London’ – aka the ravens who live here. 

READThings to do with kids in London

Best day tours from London

Private day tour to Hever Castle in Kent

  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Destination: Hever Castle
  • Meeting time: To be agreed
  • Meeting point: High St, Bromley BR1 1LX
  • What’s included: Guided tour, luxury transport, Hever Castle entry
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, hotel pick-up, tips

Swap the city for the Garden of England by booking this day tour. It’s among the best day trips out of London, and is brought to you by the wonderful John England tours, a company we rate very highly. 

Hever Castle is a true gem, and worth making a special trip out of the city for. You’ll also pass some glorious Kent countryside and villages along the way. The castle was Anne Boleyn’s childhood home and is located in the Weald of Kent. Anne of Cleves – Henry VIII’s fourth wife – also lived here during Tudor times. 

Hever Castle.

One day Cotswolds tour from London

  • Duration: 9 hours
  • Destination: The Cotswolds
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Mercure Kensington Hotel, near Earl’s Court Station
  • What’s included: Guided tour & transport
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, hotel pick-up, tips

If you want to see the wonderful countryside of the Cotswolds, then book this. It’s the pick of the one day trips from London, and will take you to key locations including Bibury, Burford, Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water.

You’ll have free time in each place to explore the honey-toned buildings, stop for refreshments in a cute tea room or shop at the antiques stores in Stow. This minibus tour includes a maximum group size of 16. 

Couple standing in front of Arlington Row in Bibury.

Harry Potter Studios ticket and transport

  • Duration: 7 – 8 hours
  • Destination: Harry Potter Studios
  • Meeting time: Varies
  • Meeting point: Bus Stop 1, Bulleid Way, Victoria, London, SW1W 9SH
  • What’s included: Transport, studios entry
  • What’s not included: Meals, drinks, hotel pick-up, tips, extras

Another of the best one day trips from London is a tour to the Harry Potter studios north of the city. This trip includes all transport, so you don’t need to worry about how to reach the site from London

Transport and your entry fee is included, so all you need to think about is how to spend your four hours there. Will it be a ride on the Hogwarts Express, a visit to the shops of Diagon Alley or all the famous sites at Hogwarts, such as the Gryffindor common room, Hagrid’s hut, and the Potions dungeon? 

Girl standing in front of Harry Potter studios in London.

Other day trips near London

If you still want to explore further, why not take a day trip to one of the following destinations? Click the link to access the full article on each place. 

Which tours in London will you take?

Whether you want to find tours taking place within the capital or day trips outside London for your stay in the city, there are certainly plenty of options. 

From the best open top bus in London for kids or an afternoon tea to walking tours of foodie haunts and historic sites, there are so many famous tourist attractions in London – as well as a few lesser-known ones. 

Wherever you choose to roam, booking organised tours can save you time and money that can be much better spent while in London. Such as at one of those tempting food markets, on a traditional pub lunch or when shopping at the top-end stores!