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London Walking Tours: Our Favorite Way To See The City

  • Europe

London is one of the most walkable cities in the world, and there’s no better way to explore the city than by foot. A London walking tours are a great option, as they provide information along the way to coincide with what you’re seeing. 

London is a gorgeous city with centuries of history, mystery, and old world charm. It’s full of historically and culturally notable things at every turn. And so many little details can just blend in. For example, red post boxes marked with the initials of the Monarch indicate when the box was installed. Church parish markers, manhole covers, and fire insurance placards indicating one’s financial status, 19th century sewer system “stink poles,” real cannon barrels, or metal stretchers from WWII repurposed as fencing… tons of things like this, are all right under your nose! 

People and a double decker bus in Piccadilly Circus, London
©Andie Mills

Even though we love to “get lost” and explore an unfamiliar city on our own,  guided tours really come in handy. They bring so much into focus for you that you might otherwise miss. And they’re also a great way to get to know the lay of the land in a new place! Below we’ll cover some options for group, private, and self-guided London walking tours to help you get the most out of your London experience. So slip on your Chelsea boots and let’s have a walkabout!

Rock Tours Of London

a photo of rock band Queen taken in Soho, London, next to a photo of Stephen and Andie in the same place and pose decades later
photo on right by Lee Sargent, Rock Tours of London

Rockers that we are, we took this private tour ourselves in 2019 and it. was. AWESOME! The “Classic Rock Walking Tour” is a 3-hour adventure taking you through Soho, Mayfair, and ending at Abbey Road in St. John’s Wood. Full of noteworthy locations from “Soho’s hidden musical past,” as well as more easily recognizable landmarks like the Beatles former Apple Corps headquarters building or the iconic crosswalk at Abbey Road. Our guide was a bloke called “Lee.” His knowledge is incredible, but even cooler is his featured aspect of the tour – recreating famous photos and album covers, at the original locations, with YOU as the rockstar! Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, Queen, Oasis, Beatles, etc. Take a look at his site  for more details, hit Lee up, and tell him Stephen & Andie from Los Angeles sent ya! 

Joolz Guides – Private London Walks

Julian McDonnell, a.k.a. “Joolz,” isn’t just a tour guide, he’s also a filmmaker, actor, and YouTuber – which is where we discovered him. All that stuff we mentioned above about “stink poles” and post boxes, etc. – we learned it all from him! During lockdown, we discovered and binged his YouTube channel, also called Joolz Guides. British idioms, history, culture, landmarks, you name it – dude’s knowledge on all things London is crazy. He’s entertaining AF and apparently a great hang. With a hearty “pip-pip, tally-ho,” he provides “unusual London walks to all the places you wouldn’t find in your average guide book.”  Check him out!

Harry Potter – Walking Tour For Muggles In London

people dressed as Wizards from Harry Potter
Award winning: Harry Potter Walking Tour for Muggles in London | photo via

Admit it, you’re a Muggle, too! This is an “award winning,” Harry Potter themed walking tour of London. It’s two hours and fifteen minutes long, and is great for the whole family. You’ll visit real-life parts of London that inspired author J.K. Rowling. Cool stuff, including the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron pub and inspiration for Diagon Alley, the Ministry of Magic visitor’s entrance at Great Scotland Yard, medieval Goodwin’s Court (the inspiration for Knockturn Alley), Westminster Underground (as used in the Order of the Phoenix), and more. We’re not gonna lie, this sounds like a  blast!

British Royalty Tour

Palace guards ride on horses in front of Buckingham Palace
Photo by Luke Ow on Unsplash

No walking tour of London would be complete without a little Royals-related sightseeing. This quintessentially British guided  tour packs more than fifteen British Royal Family sights into three hours, including four Royal Palaces and two parks, and plenty of stories about the Monarchy will be dished out along the way. You’ll start at the Ritz Motel and walk through Green Park to Buckingham Palace, and with any luck you’ll see the changing of the guard. From there you’ll walk up the Royal Mall past Clarence House, where Prince Charles and Camilla stay when they’re in town. Other Royal sights will include Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, Queen Victoria Fountain, and more! 

Try A Self-guided Tour Of Your Own!

This site has 22 different self-guided tours you can choose from, including a create-your-own option, which uses an online sightseeing map. You can choose from charming neighborhoods and famous bridges to street art and shopping, and more. Just download the GPSmyCity app to set off on your own walking tour of London! Each walk comes with a detailed map, photos, and background information for the featured attractions. The app’s navigation guides you from one attraction to the next, and it works offline. No data plan is needed when traveling abroad!

©Andie Mills

Any Walk Through London Is A Walk Worth Taking!

London is a real walkable city, and there are so many more tours available. These are just a few options that we like and hope will make you feel “proper chuffed.” No matter which you choose, any walking tour of London will surely be unforgettable. Oh, and be sure to mind the “Look Left/Look Right” signs at intersections before crossing the streets!

If you’re looking for itineraries we’ve got some for you to check out:

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