Best Walking Tours in London

by Heather Robinette / Aug 21, 2015 /
Heather Robinette's picture

Although London has many attractions, one of the most memorable for me was several of the guided walking tours I went on during my time in London. I went on four of many that are offered. I’ve put together some information about the walking tours to give you some insight into how they work and what to expect. You have the opportunity to see and learn interesting facts, while getting some great exercise and seeing parts of London you may have not seen otherwise. 

Best Walking Tours in London

Why take Guided Walking Tours?

You’ll find the guided walking tours are put on by several companies. Below is a link for the company we used that offers numerous guided walking tours. They range from Sherlock Holmes, the Beatles, and Shakespeare to areas of London, the Underground, and pub tours. The tours usually are offered year around on scheduled days. They typically last about two hours. Some of them are free, while others cost a small fee, but are well worth it. The tour guides are very knowledgeable and I enjoyed all four tours and the guides. All of the tours have a meeting point where everyone gathers and you can show up and pay the guide if there is a fee. They only request that large groups book ahead of time. The guided walking tours are a great way to experience London!

http://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/sightseeing/sightseeing-tours/walking-tour 

Harry Potter Walk

Harry Potter is one of my favorite book/movie series, so I was really excited to see different places in London where the movie was filmed. While I was in London, King’s Cross was under construction so Platform 9 ¾ was a small area that was placed outside for pictures. I know they have since moved it back to its actual location inside King’s Cross Station so you’ll have the chance to take a picture with the cart. Overall, it was a great tour and I really enjoyed learning about the different places they used and the changes they made for the movie.  

Platform 9 3/4. From best walking tours in London - the Harry Potter tour!

King's Cross Station - from best walking tours in London - HARRY POTTER!

Leadenhall Market - site of Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron! From best walking tours in London

Leadenhall Market - site of Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron! (above and below)

Leadenhall Market - site of Diagon Alley and the Leaky Cauldron! From best walking tours in London, including Harry Potter

Doorway to the pub - recognize it? Harry Potter! From best walking tours in London

Borough Market - Diagon Alley? From best walking tours in London

Borough Market - Diagon Alley

Millenium Bridge view - from best walking tours of London - including Harry Potter!

Millenium Bridge - Harry Potter! from best walking tours in London

Jack the Ripper Walk

The Jack the Ripper Walk was mostly memorable because of the scary stories that make up the history of Jack of the Ripper. The walk takes you around to different places where murders occurred, so be prepared for what you will hear if you decide to go on this tour. Prior to the tour, I had heard of Jack the Ripper, but I wasn’t very familiar with the story. I can confidently say that by the end of the tour, you will most likely have more knowledge about Jack the Ripper than before the tour. Our guide did a great job of sharing the history and was able to answer every question we asked him about it. Many times you will also find that the tour guide will dress according to the walk, which makes the experience that much more exciting. 

Catherine Wheel Alley sign, from the Jack the Ripper walking tour, one of the best walking tours in London

Catherine Wheel Alley, from the Jack the Ripper walking tour, one of the best walking tours in London

tour guide, Jack the Ripper walking tour, one of the best in London

Christ Church. From the Jack the Ripper walking tour, one of the best walking tours in London

Jack the Clipper. From the Jack the Ripper walking tour, one of the best walking tours in London

Soup kitchen for the Jewish Poor. From the Jack the Ripper walking tour, one of the best walking tours in London

Soup kitchen for the Jewish Poor

Mitre Square. From the Jack the Ripper walking tour, one of the best walking tours in London

Mitre Square. From the Jack the Ripper walking tour, one of the best walking tours in London

James Bond Walk

The James Bond walk ties in the books author, Ian Fleming, the character James Bond, and the movies. I was familiar with the movies prior to the tour, but learned quite a bit about the author and the books during the tour. Our tour started off at the home where the author was born and then we went by the US Embassy, which has several statues you’ll recognize, such as Eisenhower. There is also a 9/11 memorial nearby. If you’re familiar with James Bond, you’ll really appreciate the tour and all of the history you get to see and learn about on the tour. 

Green Street - from the James Bond walking tour - one of the best walking tours in London

Audley Square - from the James Bond walking tour - one of the best walking tours in London

Duke Hotel - from the James Bond walking tour - one of the best walking tours in London

Olympic Walk

Although I went on the Olympic Walk the summer before the Olympics, they still have the Olympic Walk tour that covers the Olympic Park and the history of the area. I really enjoyed learning about the history and how they used the Olympics as an opportunity to revamp that area of London. After going on the walk, I really enjoyed watching the 2012 Summer Olympics because I was able to see the park completed and spot different structures that were shown. 

Olympic Park - from the best London walking tours

Olympic Park - from the best London walking tours

Olympic Park - from the best London walking tours

Olympic Park - from the best London walking tours

 

 
Hopefully this information can help you in experiencing more of London. I didn’t know what to expect when I showed up for my first walking tour, but I wish I would have had time for more of them. The tours gave me the chance to learn more about London’s history, my favorite book/movie series, and a historic sporting event. I would highly recommend at least checking out one walking tour, you’ll never know what you might learn! 

 

Heather Robinette is the London Study Abroad Editor for Wandering Educators. She notes, "During the summer of 2011, I studied abroad for six weeks in London at the University of Westminster with Academics Programs International. I graduated from Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS in December 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. I currently work as a marketing analyst for a small company in central Texas. I am also pursuing my MBA. While I was abroad in London, I was able to create many unforgettable memories that I will never forget! My study abroad experience helped me gain various skills, but above all else, it helped me to learn more about myself and the world around me."
 

All photos courtesy and copyright Heather Robinette