London tours are available in just about every form to satisfy just about any budget. They include options for every form of transportation you can imagine, and cater to general London history buffs or just about any popular or obscure special interest appeals to you.
A London bus tour is one of the most popular and efficient methods to get a good overview of the city so you have an idea of places you might want to spend more in depth time. The bright red double-decker buses are a fixture in the city, and they are nearly as famous as the signature black London taxis. A tour on one of these provides the kind of unobstructed view that you simply can’t get from a car. These are often included as features on vacation packages and promoted as orientation or panoramic tours. They generally include the most famous landmarks in the city, such as Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, and Buckingham Palace. They also include ongoing narrative by trained and licensed guides.
The panoramic London bus tour generally does not stop except for brief photo opportunities at landmarks. Visitors not traveling with a group find that the London bus tour allowing you to hop on and hop off at certain areas is ideal. These provide a scenic way to get from attraction to attraction, and time to stop and enjoy certain sites. This is a perfect London day tour for those who want to cover as much ground as possible during a short period. Some of the hop-on-and-off bus tours concentrate on museums, making stops at the British Museum, Kensington Palace, and the Natural History Museum. Typical hop on/hop off points include Trafalgar Square, Marble Arch, Piccadilly Circus, Embankment Station (formerly known as Charing Cross), and Victoria and Grosvenor Gardens.
In spite of the mass of vehicle traffic and efficient means of public transportation, this has always been a walking city, and London walking tours are very popular. These provide a more up close look at the city and allow the guide to point out fascinating pieces of history and architecture that you will never see from the top deck of a bus.
The city has a long, and often bloody, history that includes Jack the Ripper, beheadings of queens, and grave robbing. The best London ghost tour will travel after dark and will be led by a period costumed expert guide who is quite apt to also be a fine dramatic orator and actor, adding atmosphere to the haunted places you visit. These are almost always London walking tours that venture into the narrow cobblestoned alleys and lanes of East London that were frequented by Jack the Ripper. Related themes include Harry Potter walks, Dickens walks, Sherlock Holmes walks, and walks through Fleet Street in search of the demon barber Sweeney Todd. The Harry Potter tours are particularly popular with children, and are excellent choices if you’re enjoying a family vacation. You can also enjoy cemetery walks, Beatles walks, literary walks, and canal walks.
Other popular London walking tours include shopping and dining. London tours for shoppers will concentrate on one or more of the more famous shopping districts. These include the charming shops and boutiques of Covent Garden, the busy sidewalks of Oxford Street, neon bright Piccadilly Circus, the fine antique stores on Portobello Road, and of course the most famous department store in the world—Harrods. Some of the best food in London will be found in traditional pubs. Here, you will also find the best beers and ales in the land. Pub walks are very popular ways to discover the charm and tradition of the traditional English pub while enjoying pub staples such as fish and chips, steak and kidney pie, Scotch eggs, and bangers and mash.
Other very rewarding London tours are river cruises on the Thames, that generally ply the stretch of the river from about Vauxhall Bridge, past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben to the huge London Eye Ferris Wheel. Other tours include guided or self-guided bicycle tours. A bicycle is a perfect vehicle to explore the city’s many parks, especially Hyde Park.
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