London Sightseeing Tours – The Best Ways to Explore London for First Timers

January 25, 2017 6:38 pm

From comprehensive tours of the city, to walking tours tailored to your interests, to relaxing river cruises, sightseeing tours are some of the best ways to experience London, see the top sights, and learn the city history and culture.

Whether you’re looking for an overview of the city to kick-start your sightseeing, or want to learn about London’s history from the pros, London has lots of tours to choose from, so it’s easy to find one (or a few) that fits your sightseeing interests.

We put together a list of the best London sightseeing tours to help you choose which ones you want to do.

Save on Popular London Sightseeing Tours & More

Admission to a bunch of these London tours are included attraction choices on the London Explorer Pass®.

Choose as you go from top attractions and save up to 35% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.

See all available London passes, attractions & prices.

A few of the available sightseeing activities include…

  • Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus London Tour and River Cruise
  • Coca-Cola London Eye
  • London Eye River Cruise
  • Royal London Bike Tour by Flat Tire
  • Windsor Express Day Trip
  • Walking Tours
  • And more

Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus London Tour and River Cruise

Big Bus London Tour

A hop-on hop-off bus tour is one of the best ways to get acquainted with London.

You’ll see all the top attractions and landmarks, so you can make a note of places you want to go back to, or hop right off and explore by foot.

Hop on or off at any of the 50+ included stops along the tour route or stay on the bus for the full tour loop.

Your informative tour guide will narrate the route, pointing out sights and landmarks you pass along the way, making sure you see it all and learn the historical and cultural significance of everything you see.

Getting In: Hop-On Hop-Off Big Bus London tickets are available as an attraction option on the London Explorer Pass®.

Coca-Cola London Eye

Take a 30-minute ride around the iconic Coca-Cola London Eye observation wheel and get 360-degree panoramic views of London from your glass-enclosed pod. At the highest point, you’ll be 443-meters above ground with one of the best views of the city of London.

Each pod is equipped with interactive touch screens that feature information about sights you can see during your ride, including maps so you’ll be able to identify everything you see.

Some of the sights you’ll see include: Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Parliament, Royal Albert Hall, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus, the British Museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, the Shard, the River Thames, and more.

Getting In: Coco-Cola London Eye tickets are available as an attraction option on the London Explorer Pass®. Admission with the London Explorer Pass® includes admission to the Coca-Cola London Eye 4D Experience, a fun, multi-sensory city experience.

London Eye River Cruise

Take a 40-minute sightseeing cruise along the River Thames and explore the heart of London, the river itself.

This cruise features entertaining and informative narration, so you’ll learn all about London’s history and get some historical context for the sights you see along the way,  including: the London Eye, Big Ben, the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and more.

Getting In: London Eye River Cruise tickets are available on the London Explorer Pass®.

Royal London Bike Tour by Fat Tire

London Bike Tours with the London Explorer Pass

Explore the streets and pathways of London in a way that other tours can’t – on a guided biking excursion that takes you to some of the most popular sights in London.

You’ll get to see the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Royal Parks, Kensington Palace, Trafalgar Square, and more while your knowledgeable guide fills you in with the historical context of each site, fascinating London trivia, and some insider insights as a resident of the city.

Getting In: Fat Tire London bike Tours are an available attraction choice on the London Explorer Pass®.

Windsor Express Day Trip

Windsor Castle

Visit the Royal Borough of Windsor (home of Windsor Castle, official residence of Her Majesty the Queen), with round-trip transportation on this popular excursion from London.

Once you arrive to Windsor in your luxury motor coach, you’ll have four-hours of free time, so you can check out the historic downtown area with its quaint shops and restaurants, explore the grounds of Windsor Castle, or purchase admission to the Castle and go on a tour of the Royal Residence.

Getting In: Windsor Express Day Trip from London tickets are available on the London Explorer Pass®.

Wembley Stadium Tour

No visit to London is complete if it doesn’t involve a little football.

Take a guided tour of London’s beloved Wembley Stadium – the most famous stadium in the world and home to the English soccer team and annual FA Cup Final.

This tour gives you exclusive access to parts of the Stadium typically closed to the general public. You’ll get to see the Player’s Tunnel, English changing rooms, press conference room, and more as your guide tells you all about historic moments that happened right on the field of Wembley Stadium.

Getting In: Wembley Stadium Tour tickets are available as an attraction option on the London Explorer Pass®.

Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour

Fans of the show will enjoy a guided tour to over 20 sights around London featured in the Sherlock Holmes books and TV series.

In addition to taking you to recognizable places from the series, this tour is a great way to get to know London and experience it from a different perspective.

Some of the sights you might see include:

  • Sight where John Watson first hears of Sherlock Holmes from his friend Stamford.
  • Sights featured in the BBC Sherlock series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
  • Sights featured in the latest big screen adaptation starring Robert Downey Jr.
  • Locations mentioned in pivotal scenes from the Conan Doyle books, including The Illustrious Client,
  • The Bruce Partington Plans, A Study in Scarlet, and more.

Getting In: Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour tickets are an included attraction choice on your London Explorer Pass®.

Doctor Who Walking Tour

This unofficial 2.5-hour Doctor Who London Walking Tour is a comprehensive view of London by way of over 14 iconic filming locations featured in the popular Doctor Who television series.

Although this is a walking tour, you will need to have a Travelcard or Oystercard (see our Getting Around London post for more info on this) for a brief ride on the metro during the tour.

Getting In: Doctor Who London Walking Tour tickets are an included attraction choice on the London Explorer Pass®.

James Bond Walking Tour

James Bond Walking Tour

Fans of 007 will love following along on this Bond adventure of a tour.

You’ll get to see more than 10 iconic locations from many of the Bond movies, including SPECTRE (the most recent), Die Another Day, Skyfall, and For Your Eyes Only.

Getting In: James Bond Walking Tour tickets are an included attraction choice on the London Explorer Pass®.

Please note: part of the tour requires guests to have an Oyster OR Travelcard (valid for Zone 1) to hop on the bus.

Remember to Save on Sightseeing Admission

Many of the tours included above on our list of the best London sightseeing tours offer fun and unique ways to get to know the city and are available as attraction choices on the London Explorer Pass®.

Check out Where to Stay in London: The Ultimate Sightseeing Guide by HotelsCombined to complete your London experience.

From all-around the city walking tours, to narrated hop-on hop-off bus tours, cruises, and everything in between – you’ll be able to find a tour of London tailored to your sightseeing interests.

We hope you plan to add a few of these fun touring options to your vacation itinerary.

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