The Best Unique things to do in London: Take a Tour
The best tours out there are immersive, stick to smaller groups and make you feel like you have discovered a special local secret. We've compiled a list of our favourites.
It’s always fun to wander around a new city, slowly getting your bearings and finding your own way and a few treasures as you go. However, Check out real traveller reviews, ask for recommendations and do your research before booking a tour to make sure that you are travelling with a reputable company that arranges quality tourism experiences.
The really special tours skip the traditional tourist sights and focus on unique and unusual routes.
Read on for one of the most fun experiences you can have in London.
Harry Potter Walking Tours of London
If you prefer to stay right in the heart of the city but still want to have a wizarding experience check out “The Harry Potter Film Locations in the City” walk organized on Wednesdays by London Walks. Led by a charismatic actor you’ll see plenty of sights you’ll recognize from the movies including the Westminster locations featured in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Prisoner of Azkaban, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
You don’t even need to be a JK Rowling fan to enjoy this magical tour but for those muggles who love all things Hogwarts and beyond, this tour is required viewing.
On the Warner Bros. “Making of Harry Potter” tour you’ll get to see all the authentic props and costumes from the movie series. Imagine standing in the middle of the Great Hall as though you were about to enjoy an end of term feast or wandering around the streets of Diagon Alley.
Be sure to look out for some of the most famous establishments in this fictional shopping emporium like Gringotts Bank, Flourish and Blotts and of course Ollivanders wand shop.
You can also learn all about the magical creatures brought to life in the world of Harry Potter like the terrifying Basilisk, and a collection of Hagrid's favourite pets including Buckbeak the Hippogriff and Aragog the enormous spider, which took 15 people to operate in the movie!
To get to the studio you’ll have to travel a little way north-west out of central London to Watford, accessible from Kings Cross and Victoria train stations or just over 20 miles from Heathrow airport.
Downton Abbey Tours
Highclere Castle is the original and grand setting for the Grantham’s Downton Abbey stately home and is just as spectacular in real life.
On a Downton Abbey day trip from London, you’ll travel to Bampton, the village used in many Downton scenes and have a chance to enjoy the beautiful Cotswolds countryside before touring the setting of the many dramas upstairs and downstairs. Play at being the Lord or Lady of the manor or a lowly scullery maid as you have a chance to view a selection of State rooms including the Saloon, Library, Dining room, Music room, Drawing room and Smoking room.
You’ll also be able to walk up those famous stairs and peak inside the former bedrooms of some of England's aristocracy as you replay some of the more shocking storylines from the series. You’ll also be able to wander around the beautiful gardens where you can take some fantastic photographs of the castle.
A professional and knowledgeable guide provides lots of extra information about filming and true historical details of this amazing residence.
Walking tours around major cities are a great economical way to see a city and check off a few famous tourist attractions and sights from your bucket list. Why not choose a really unique and different take on a walking tour for share-worthy travel photos and a tale to tell your friends on your return home?
- Book yourself on a Graffiti Tour to explore the city’s unique streetscapes and learn more about the artists and their inspiration. Learn about world-famous Banksy as well as a host of other urban creators in this tour of East London’s street art. Best of all this tour is free!
- If you dare, take a trip back in time to learn about one of the worst serial killers in history. The Jack the Ripper walk leads patrons down Victorian alleyways as expert historians fill you in on all the gruesome details of the many crimes committed by this mysterious madman.
- London is home to more than 7000 public houses which offer a traditional welcome to the city, tour a few of them during a pub crawl organized by The London Pub Crawl company, including modern pubs and traditional ale houses.
Despite being known as a rainy capital, London doesn’t actually receive that much annual rainfall compared to many cities around the world, in fact, New York City and even Miami are rainier than London! However, the weather is changeable in England’s capital city and during the year you can expect cool winters and warm summers.
If you are planning on going on a walking tour dress in layers so that as you get warm you can take off or add an item of clothing for comfort. A rain jacket or umbrella can also be a good addition to include in your backpack just in case. Comfortable walking shoes are a must for exploring the city by foot and also be sure to pack sunglasses, a hat, and some change to tip your guide.