Although London is a large, sprawling city, getting around the inner city sights is relatively easily done on foot. Flat and well-signposted, the city is well laid-out to be explored on foot and there are plenty of opportunities to stop and have a cuppa en route as you make your way around the attractions.
Take a look at our three recommended tours and find something to inspire you to take to your own two feet on your next trip to the city.
1) Iconic sights of London
Our first tour takes you from the heart of what’s known as Westminster Village through the heart of the UK’s administrative heart and back to Jubilee Gardens at the foot of the London Eye.
Starting at Westminster Tube station, you’ll see the tower of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament before heading down Abbingdon Street past St Margaret’s Church – a 11th century parish church that serves as the local church for the Palace of Westminster. After reaching the prestigious Westminster School, the route loops back towards the vast and imposing Westminster Abbey, where you can stop for a look around.
Heading into Horse Guards Road, you’ll pass the Cabinet War Rooms where Churchill held his War Cabinets during World War II and on to the Cenotaph at the start of Whitehall. After passing Downing Street on your left, where the Prime Minister and Chancellor reside, and Horseguards with its mounted sentries you’ll head to St James’s Park where you can stop for tea in sight of Buckingham Palace.
After walking towards the Palace, you turn onto The Mall and reach Trafalgar Square through the Admiralty Arch. After taking in Nelson’s Column and the plinths leave the square along Duncannon Street and find your way to the London Eye across the river via Jubilee Bridge. As your final stop on the route, get an ice-cream and enjoy the view of Westminster from across the Thames.
2) The shopping tour
If you’re in town to give your credit card a workout, take a walk through the heart of London’s finest shopping and find your way to some bargains.
Starting at Goodge Street Tube station, turn south down Tottenham Court Road to find some of the best electrical shops in the country. If you’re looking for cameras, phones or computers, you won’t do any better than here!
Once you hit Charing Cross Road, electronics stores become book shops with plenty to interest any bookworm. Foyles has a great selection of best-sellers and less popular works while Stanford’s Travel has maps and travel books galore.
Following along Gerrard Street will bring you to Chinatown, where there are dozens of shops selling Oriental goods and trinkets to take home. From there, head for Jermyn Street for fine gentlemen’s tailoring before heading for Knightsbridge and the shopping temple that is Harrods.
3) City of London Tour
Taking in some of the best sights in what’s known as the Square Mile, this tour brings you a whole lot of history. Starting out at the Tower of London, you’ll also see the famous Tower Bridge, which opens to allow large vessels up the Thames. From there, head to Monument, where the commemorative column marking the Great Fire of London can be climbed for spectacular views across the City.
Onwards to Bank, and you’ll see the Mansion House. As home to the Lord Mayor of the City of London, its grand columns at the entrance welcome members of the establishment to grand banquets in the heart of the City.
- St Paul’s Cathedral
Walking up Poultry and onto Cheapside, you will begin to see signs of the dome of St Paul’s, which has hosted many state occasions and royal weddings. Here you can take time to pause before walking back towards the river and finishing your tour on the south bank at the Globe Theatre, London home of Shakespeare’s players in 1599; a delightful cultural end to a historical tour.
London has a great many sights that can be toured on foot. Going above ground helps you see a different angle on the city and spot things you would have otherwise missed.