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15 Best London History Tours in 2024 (ranked!)

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Ready to book the best London history tours?

You’ve come to the right place because I’m covering the top London history Tours here.

How do I know?

I’ve lived in England since 2012 and have explored far and wide, so I know that one of the best things to do in London for history buffs is book a tour and explore.

Only quality tours are included in this list so you know that every tour you book is worth your money and time.

Don’t want to read to the end of the article?

The best tour of London History is: Roman Ruins to Blitz Bombings: A Walking Tour of London’s Fiery History.   

It has 5 out of 5 stars with over 100 reviews, so you can’t go wrong!

history tour in london

⏳ Don’t have time to read the whole list?

The best London history tour is the Roman Ruins to Blitz Bombings tour .

Click here to check prices and availability.

There are plenty of other London history tours to choose from, so let’s get right down to it.

In this list, you’ll find 15 of the top-rated London history tours so you know you’re making the right choice.

Hey! Want more honest UK tips and planning advice? Click here to join my London and UK Travel Tips Facebook group , where I can answer more of your questions!

Easy Guide: Best London History Tours

1. roman ruins to blitz bombings: a walking tour of london’s fiery history : history tours in london.

history tour in london

⭐️  RATING:  5 out of 5 Stars, 110+ reviews | ⏳  TOUR LENGTH:  2 hours | ✔️  BOOK NOW

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THIS TOUR

  • Walking tour
  • Small group tour 
  • Learn obscure trivia

History buffs might think they already know everything about London’s history.

This tour will dive even deeper than you ever have!

Even the most learned historians will learn something new on this tour.

Learn about more than 2,000 years’ worth of history.

This well-rounded tour will teach you about the Roman ruins, the Blitz bombings, Charles Dickens, and Anne Boleyn. 

Because it’s a walking tour, you’ll get to see the attractions up close. This is so much better than hoping to get a window seat on a tour bus!

At each of the 9 stops, you’ll be able to snap a picture and learn something interesting.

2. Natural History Museum London – Private Guided Museum Tour : history walking tours in London

history tour in london

⭐️  RATING:  5 out of 5 Stars, 79+ reviews | ⏳  TOUR LENGTH:  2 hours | ✔️  BOOK NOW

  • Guided Museum Tour
  • Tour Guide Exclusively For You
  • Duration 2 hours
  • Wheelchair Friendly

If you’re traveling with kids, consider booking this tour . They will have so much fun learning about history and you’ll also learn a lot!

While you can explore the museum on your own, there are benefits to hiring a guide.

They’ll tell you the highlights of each exhibit so you don’t have to read everything. This is especially great if you have kids running around.

He’ll also help you get through the museum efficiently.

Otherwise, you might spend all day there and glean the same amount of information.

3. The Authentic British Food and History Tour (Try many British Foods) : London history walks

history tour in london

⭐️  RATING:  5 out of 5 Stars, 24+ reviews | ⏳  TOUR LENGTH:  3 hours | ✔️  BOOK NOW

  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Coffee or Tea

Calling all foodies! If you want to taste the best of Britain while learning about its history, book this tour now .

This small group tour will bring you to the best versions of classic British grub.

While you’re trying the iconic food, you’ll also learn the history of Britain and its food.

You won’t have enough time to eat at all the good restaurants in the area.

Fortunately, the tour guide will give you plenty of recommendations for the rest of your trip!

You’ll walk by many historic landmarks but will spend most of your time at the Borough Market.

This is where you will find the best food in the city.

4. London Witches and History Walking Tour

history tour in london

⭐️  RATING:  5 out of 5 Stars, 23+ reviews | ⏳  TOUR LENGTH:  75 minutes | ✔️  BOOK NOW

  • Costumed ‘in-character’ guide
  • Harry Potter trivia

On this walking tour , you’ll learn about the witchy history of London.

Your knowledgeable guide will also be dressed in costume.

This is a good sign that they know how to have fun and will make sure everybody in the tour group is having a blast!

The guide will teach you a lot about history and magic.

You’ll especially learn about the witch trials and hauntings of London’s past. Which iconic landmarks have a spooky history?

And Harry Potter fans will be excited to catch a glimpse of some filming sites.

5. Kid-Friendly Natural History Museum & Dinosaurs Private Guided Tour in London : historic London walks

history tour in london

⭐️  RATING:  2.5 out of 5 Stars, 8+ reviews | ⏳  TOUR LENGTH:  50 minutes | ✔️  BOOK NOW

  • Blue Badge guide
  • Professional art historian guide
  • Professional Kid-Friendly Guide
  • Private tour

If you love history and have young kids, this is a good tour for you. The kids will have a blast and learn so much!

They won’t complain about being bored a single time.

But just because it’s for kids doesn’t mean you won’t learn anything.

Even history buffs will learn something new on this tour!

The guide knows the best parts of the museum.

This means that you won’t miss anything important. He’ll also be able to summarize all the important information so you don’t have to read every word on every sign.

6. History of London Photography Tour

history tour in london

⭐️  RATING:  5 out of 5 Stars, 8+ reviews | ⏳  TOUR LENGTH:  2 hours | ✔️  BOOK NOW

  • Led by a professional photographer
  • Amazing photo opportunities
  • Professional photography advice
  • Fascinating historical facts

If you’re the kind of traveler who loves to take gorgeous photos wherever you go, then you’ll love this tour .

Not only will you have plenty of photo ops, you’ll learn the best tips for capturing those pictures.

With 10 stops, you’ll see the quintessential corners of London.

You’ll learn some interesting tidbits about the area’s history.

And you’ll take astonishing photos that will look like they belong on a magazine cover!

Whether you love looking at photographs of the city or would rather be behind the lens, you’ll enjoy this tour.

And you’ll really love showing off the pictures to your friends when you get home!

7. The Beatles Magical History Black Taxi Tour London

history tour in london

⭐️  RATING:  5 out of 5 Stars, 29+ reviews | ⏳  TOUR LENGTH:   4-5 hours | ✔️  BOOK NOW

  • Private Transportation in a Licensed London Black Taxi
  • Air-conditioned vehicle
  • Bottled water
  • Parking Fees

Beatles fans will love this tour !

Music lovers in general will be able to enjoy learning the history revolving around this iconic band.

You’ll follow in the footsteps of these legendary musicians and learn about their history.

Spend some time at Abbey Road Studios and immerse yourself in music history.

You’ll even have a chance to get your picture taken while walking across the street!

Relive the ‘60s at Carnaby Street. See where Beatlemania was born at the London Palladium.

And visit 3 Savile Row where you can discover so much Beatles memorabilia at the place where they held their last live show.

8. Pub Tour London (Drinking History)

history tour in london

⏳  TOUR LENGTH:  1-2 hours| ✔️  BOOK NOW

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Small group
  • London history

This tour is limited to 6 people so you’ll be able to bond with the others as you drink your way through London!

You’ll explore London and even see a lot of parts that you might have missed. You’ll also learn a little bit about the history everywhere you go!

The highlight of this tour is Fleet Street.

Home to several historic pubs, you’ll learn about their history and their brews.

Be sure to enjoy a drink in the same places as Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Samuel Johnson.

9. The Natural History Museum of London: Private Half-Day Tour

Natural History Museum London. Large room with stone steps and ceiling windows.

⭐️  RATING:  5 out of 5 Stars ⏳  TOUR LENGTH:  3 hours | ✔️  BOOK NOW

  • Professional guide
  • Reserved entrance time
  • Personalized experience

The Natural History Museum in London is a must-see attraction!

It’s often considered the most important center for the research of natural history and sciences.

This museum is huge and can be hard to get through.

That’s why you should hire a guide to make sure you see all the important parts!

They can also summarize the information so that you can get the highlights without reading every single sign.

Since it’s a private tour, it can be personalized to your preferences.

Spend more time on your favorite exhibits and less time on those that you don’t find interesting.

10.   London’s Hidden Gems and Secret History Private Guided Tour

history tour in london

⏳  TOUR LENGTH:  3-4 hours | ✔️  BOOK NOW

  • Hotel pickup and drop-off

If you want to see parts of London that only the locals know about, go on this tour .

You’ll see landmarks that you’ve probably never even heard about before.

But by the end of the tour, you’ll know the interesting history behind each of these stops! 

The local guide will help you have an enjoyable tour and give you tips for the rest of your trip.

He’ll bring you on a route that you probably never would’ve found on your own.

He’ll also share all the inside information that even a lot of locals don’t know!

11. Brixton History and Culture Private Walking Tour : historical tours in London

history tour in london

⏳  TOUR LENGTH:  1.5 – 2 hours | ✔️  BOOK NOW

  • Local guide
  • Cultural history
  • Quintessential locations

If you love exploring the cultural scene, you’ll love Brixton.

This is the most diverse area of London.

Brixton is home to several types of international cuisine.

This neighborhood has a rich history of immigrants settling in.

You’ll also find a variety of art!

With 5 main stops, this tour will cover the main attractions of Brixton.

You’ll have a deeper appreciation for many of the cultures in this world.

You’ll also see the results of what happens when people come from all over the world to live in the same area.

12. World War II History in London Private Guided Tour : history tours London

Imperial War Museum

⏳  TOUR LENGTH:  2-7 hours | ✔️  BOOK NOW

  • Private Walking Tour of London WWII Sights 
  • 5-Star Licensed Guide who is fluent in your chosen language
  • Skip-the-line tickets to the Churchill War Rooms (only in 4 and 7-hour options)
  • Free admission to the Imperial War Museum (only in 7-hour option)

World War II buffs will enjoy this tour . Explore the main WW2 sites of London on this tour.

You can choose a 2-hour, 4-hour, or 7-hour option depending on how much you want to see!

The tour begins at Waterloo Place and includes a visit to Royal Naval Division War Memorial and the Palace of Westminster.

If you choose a longer tour, you will get to visit the Churchill War Rooms.

On the longest tour, you’ll also have admission to the Imperial War Museum.

If you have all day, this is the best way to learn about the Second World War! If you only have a few hours, you’ll still be able to learn a lot!

13. London History Taxi Tours

history tour in london

⭐️  RATING:  5 out of 5 Stars, 21+ reviews | ⏳  TOUR LENGTH:  4 hours | ✔️  BOOK NOW

  • Private transportation
  • London History tour
  • Several photo ops

Your knowledgeable tour guide will know his way around the city and be able to get you everywhere safely and efficiently.

He’ll pass by the most iconic London landmarks so you’ll have a chance to see everything on your bucket list!

This private tour is personalizable and flexible.

You’ll be able to adjust the itinerary to spend more or less time at different locations since there won’t be a ton of other tourists!

You’ll stop at 6 places, including Mayfair, Southwark, and the Financial Centre of London and the UK.

14. Unique Mayfair Lifestyle and History Walk – Private Custom Tour

history tour in london

⏳  TOUR LENGTH:  3 hours | ✔️  BOOK NOW

  • Private, personalized itinerary
  • Expert Local Guide
  • Additional suggestions for the rest of your stay

Mayfair is a quite trendy part of London. Experience the architecture. Enjoy the fashion scene. Explore hidden passages.

Not only will you visit art galleries and designer stores.

You’ll also learn about their history on this tour .

Visit Mayfair, Savile Row, and Bond Street.

Learn what makes them so iconic in the London art scene!

Stop by St. James’ Palace, Piccadilly Circus, and Fortnum & Mason. See how they are still influencing modern-day art.

You’ll have a chance to do some shopping and taste some tea.

You’ll also get to bond with other tourists who have similar mindsets as you.

15. 2-Hour Private LGBTQ+ History Tour of London with a Licensed Guide

history tour in london

⏳  TOUR LENGTH:  2 hours | ✔️  BOOK NOW

  • Private Tour
  • Professional qualified guide
  • Tour of Bloomsbury
  • London’s LGBTQ history and culture

This private tour accommodates up to 15 people who are excited to learn about LGBTQ history in London.

Explore the Bloomsbury district as you learn about the artists, writers, and philosophers who played a big role in shaping London’s LGBTQ community.

Your guide will share a wealth of information, including over 300 years’ worth of LGBTQ history.

Instead of the history lessons you’ve learned before, you’ll learn about history from a minority’s perspective.

This will help to shape your ideas about everything you know!

You’ll even learn some Polari, a secret gay language in London.

Want more London tours? Check these out!

  • 13 Best London Tours with Afternoon Tea
  • 5 Best London Speedboat Tours
  • 5 Best Tower of London Tours
  • 5 Best Westminster Tours in London
  • 5 Best Winston Churchill Tours in London
  • 7 Best Borough Market Tours
  • 7 Best James Bond Tours
  • 7 Best Black Cab Tours of London
  • 11 Best Royal Tours in London for Visitors
  • 11 Best London Art Tours
  • 5 Best Graffiti Tours in London
  • 11 Best Full Day London Tours
  • 9 Best Tours of London’s East End
  • 11 Best Private Tours in London
  • 17 Best London Food Tours
  • 17 Best London Harry Potter Tours
  • 11 Best London Bus Tours
  • 15 Best London Pub Crawl Tours
  • 9 Best Street Art Tours in London
  • 9 Best London Literary Tours for Bookworms
  • 11 Best Jack the Ripper Tours in London
  • 11 Best London Bike Tours
  • 11 Best Beatles Tours in London
  • 11 Best London Museum Tours
  • 21 Best London Walking Tours
  • 11 Best London Rock N Roll Tours
  • 7 Best Changing of the Guard Tours in London
  • 19 Unique London Tours
  • 5 Best Open Top Bus Tours in London
  • 7 Best London Helicopter Tours

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Historic London Tours

Guided walking tours of London's fascinating history

Five-star rated historic walking tours of London

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13 Best Historical Tours of London to Book in 2024

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Looking for the best Historical Tours of London?

From Westminster to the Churchill War Rooms, Jack the Ripper, Changing of the Guards, and East London Street Art , these intriguing history tours in London allow you to dive deeper into the city’s fascinating past and appreciate your trip even more!

Leicester Square Sculpture Trail

London is an ancient city with a beautiful historic character. Tangible elements of the city’s past can be found around almost every corner and alleyway. 

I’m a local in London, and I still feel like I have so much more to learn about the city!

The best way to learn about the charming, historical side of the city is by taking one of the top historical walking tours London has to offer! You’ll get an up-close perspective and discover the city in a fun and interactive way with an expert.

Best Historical Tours In London

Each tour travels through some of the interesting London walking routes and teaches you essential historical facts that even Londoners struggle to remember from their high school history class.

Most of these experiences are historic London walking tours, so be ready for a day on your feet! These historical tours of London are also led by London historians who are passionate about teaching and take pride in sharing their city with travelers!

1. Hidden London Walking Tours

On this tour, you’ll follow your guide along the quiet side streets of the city. Journey off the beaten path to London’s most unusual sights. 

Thumberland street Pretty streets in London

On the historical and unusual walking tour of London’s hidden attractions, you’ll get to;

  • Visit an old Cabman’s shelter. This was an area where cab drivers would go to seek shelter, food, or drinks during the second half of the 19th century. 
  • Discover the Temple Church, built by the mysterious Knights Templar (Assassin’s Creed fans will love this).
  • See London’s ‘Roman Bath’ and the abandoned Aldwych tube station. Explore the location of the legendary barber of Fleet Street, Sweeney Todd. 

This walking tour is full of weird and wonderful stops. You’ll be entertained by stories of history and mystery the entire way. 

Book a Historical Walking Tour of London’s Hidden Sites

2. East London Walking Tours

Discover the alternative sights of East London on this art-focused walking tour. This tour explores the diverse creativity of London’s most trendy neighborhood, admiring urban art and graffiti from around 40 artists along the way.

EAST END STREET ART WALKING TOURS guide

If you are artsy and interested in graffiti/street art, this tour is for you! You’ll even get to see first-hand the unconventional art of Banksy, ROA, Invader, and Shepherd Fairy in East London!

Meet your guide near the Old Spitalfields Marke and learn the history of the East End as you walk through streets covered in art. Your guide will give you a unique insight into the urban art culture of London. 

On the tour, you’ll walk through Brick Lane and the stylish Shoreditch area. Learn about the unconventional art of Banksy, ROA, Invader, and Shepherd Fairy. 

East London is one of the city’s most vibrant areas. If you’re looking for a walking tour London offers that explores the city’s edgy side, this tour is perfect for you. 

Book an East London Walking Tour

3. City of London – Historic Pubs Walking Tours

This Historical Pub Walking Tour of London takes you to four of the city’s most historic pubs, taverns, and alehouses.

Quench your thirst and mingle with your fellow beer and history enthusiasts as you learn about London’s proud beer culture – which goes back hundreds of years. You’ll even get to walk the ancient streets of London to a tavern that was established back in 1549.

Of course, you’ll be able to enjoy a drink or two along the way, too!

PRINCELET STREET tHINGS TO DDO IN eAST lONDON

On this historical tour of London, you’ll walk from historic Southwark to the bright lights of the West End – London’s theatre district.

Another perk is that the tour is kept small to provide a more personal experience.

Book a Historical Pub Tour London

4. British Museum & London Historical Guided Walking Tour

This walking tour is for the culture vultures and history buffs visiting London. It combines a trip to the British Museum with exploring the most famous historical places in London. 

The tour begins at the British Museum where you’ll explore 6000 years of human history through artifacts. A tour guide will lead you through this large museum and give you a more detailed understanding of the collections. 

A few of the highlights include seeing Samurai Armour, the Rosetta Stone, and the Mummy of Katebet.

After the museum, you’ll head to the streets of London to visit more of the UK’s most iconic sites.

These stops include Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, and more. Of course, your tour guide will be filling you in on interesting history surrounding each attraction and other fun facts!

British museum

This tour lasts for approximately 5 hours, so wear comfortable walking shoes!

If you’re a history buff looking for the best walking tours of London, you’ll gain a comprehensive historical overview of the city. 

Book a British Museum and Iconic Sites Historical Tour

5. Historic Spaces – City of London Walking Tour

Travel to eight of London’s green, open spaces and receive a unique perspective of the city’s history. You’ll see churches that lay in ruins, crumbling graveyards, and tranquil parks with many tales to tell. 

The tour starts at the rose gardens of St. Paul’s Cathedral. This church once held medieval royal burials.

Next, visit a brutalist development built to reinvigorate the city following WWII and a fascinating area used as a mass gravesite during the 14th century, which is actually a new discovery in London. It was used to bury those killed in public executions.

Finish up the tour by visiting a 17th-century theatre and a cemetery where dissenters and radicals were buried. 

This tour is an excellent guide to the non-touristy areas of London . It’s also a great option for people wishing to see a unique side of the city. 

Book a Walking tour of London’s Historic Spaces

6. Historic Shakespeare Pub and Theatre Walking Tour

Explore William Shakespeare’s life in London with a tour guide who is also a published author.

You’ll travel to iconic sites associated with the great playwright, including five pubs connected with Shakespeare. 

Visit the London theatres, where Shakespeare’s works have been performed, see the church where a member of his family is buried, and explore the sites of two of the most famous Elizabethan theatres. 

Shakespeares Globe London

Of all the history tours in London, this one is perfect for those who want to learn what the impact of Shakespeare’s success in London had on his family back in Stratford-upon-Avon.

You’ll hear about his incredible life and career from your knowledgeable guide and even have a drink at the only property in London that can be identified as being owned by Shakespeare.

Also, this tour visits the grounds of a medieval monastery where you’ll see the site of an indoor theatre that stood in Shakespeare’s time before finishing up with one last drink in a unique Art Deco pub nearby. 

7. Downton Abbey Walking Tour

On the tour, you’ll explore the quaint historical sites in London where the TV series “Downton Abbey” was filmed and get a glimpse into how the high-end citizens of London lived.

Visit charming and tranquil settings within London that have stood in for other UK cities like Liverpool and Manchester.

Learn how they were used as film locations. Hear fun facts and behind-the-scenes information about how this award-winning TV show was made.

You’ll be able to relive all your favourite moments from the show and even stand where Branson first confesses his love to Lady Sybil. The tour also visits the exterior of Grantham House where the character of Uncle Harold was introduced and looks into the restaurant where Edith dined with Gregson.

This is hands down the best London tour for fans of the hit TV show “Downton Abbey”.

Book A Downton Abbey Walking Tour

8. Jack the Ripper Tour in London’s East End

Jack the Ripper is among England’s most notorious serial killers. He terrorised the citizens (mainly women) of London during the late 19th century and sent shock waves through the city. 

On this walking tour of London, you’ll step back in time to 1888 and discover the world that the Ripper and his victims lived in.

Learn about the gruesome crimes that the Ripper committed, to social/historical context of the era, and visit the very sites where the murders took place. 

Your guide will fill you in on the facts and rumours that surround these disturbing unsolved cases. This is hands-down one of the best tours of London for fans of true crime. 

Book a Jack the Ripper Walking Tour

9. Westminster and the Churchill War Rooms

On this walking tour, you’ll explore the Westminster area and visit 20 of Britain’s most iconic and historical London landmarks, including Winston Churchill’s Bunker . 

Westminster Bridge

First, you’ll meet your group and start your tour in one of the Royal Parks of London –  the beautiful Green Park.

Then, before heading to Westminster, you’ll stop to witness the famous Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. This is a traditional London experience you don’t want to miss. 

Continue on to the stunning Westminster Abbey, getting a glimpse of nearby sites, including Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Queen Victoria Fountain, and Trafalgar Square. 

Next, visit the Churchill War Rooms. This was an underground nerve centre used by the British Prime Minister during WWII.

Discover the rich history of this fascinating place from which Churchill directed the Second World War.  

Book this walking tour of Westminster and the Churchill War Rooms 

10. Changing of the Guard Guided Walking Tours

The Changing of the Guard ceremony is a quintessential London experience. With a guided walking tour, you’ll get an in-depth look at this British tradition. 

Follow your guide through the busy crowds as you’re led to the best vantage point to watch the ceremony take place.

See the iconic red tunics and bearskin hats as the Queen’s Foot Guard march to the palace. 

You’ll be equipped with your own personal headset so your guide can entertain you with commentary about the ceremony.

Learn about the royal family and how this fascinating practice is carried out – from beginning to end. 

Book a Changing of the Guard Historical Tour

11. London Old City Walking Tour

On this walking tour, you’ll travel back to the very beginning of London. Discover the original square mile – nestled beside the River Thames.

LondonOldCityWalkingTour

This area has seen some of the most significant events in British history and it also contains some of London’s oldest buildings.

Learn about these important events as you travel to different sites. Some highlights include visiting the iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral, the site of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London.

Hear stories of the great fire of London, the plague, and the Blitz during WWII. 

You’ll also visit some of the city’s modern sites, like the Millennium Bridge, the Tate Modern Art Gallery, and the Tower Bridge. 

This tour covers a lot of history and provides an excellent overview of the city. 

Book an Old City Historical Tour of London

12. London Ghastly Ghosts 2-Hour Walking Tour

On this walking tour, you’ll discover London’s intriguing haunted history. This tour only takes place after dusk, setting the mood for a spine-chilling experience. 

You’ll start the tour at one of the oldest churches in London, All Hallows by the Tower. Your journey will take you from the Tower of London to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Along the way, you’ll hear stories of suffering, crime, and murder. That sounds like a really good night in my books – I’m a horror fan, so love all the gruesome details of ghost stories, murders, and everything in between.

London’s past is full of terrible tales and mysterious hauntings. Enjoy a spooky walk through this ancient city.

Wind through the dark streets and past desolate alleyways. Learn about the city’s ghosts, ghouls, and demons.

If you’re into murder-mystery and haunted history, this tour will captivate you. 

Book a Ghastly Haunted History Tour of London

13. London World War II Blitz Walk and Imperial War Museum

On this historic walking tour, you’ll learn about the impact of World War II on England. 

In 1940, London was bombed by the Germans continuously for 57 days. Follow your guide through the city streets and learn about the events that left part of London in rubble during WWII. 

See buildings where the scars of the attacks are still visible. Hear tales of heroism, including how ordinary men and women helped to save London’s beloved St Paul’s Cathedral from destruction.

This tour also includes a trip to the Imperial War Museum. Discover a vast collection of WWII-related documents, photographs and videos, military vehicles, aircraft, and military weapons. 

Book a London WWII Blitz Walk Tour

Conclusion: Best Historial Tours of London

That’s all for this round-up of the best historical tours of London.

There are quite a few London history walking tours that teach you about London’s fascinating past, and you don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate learning new facts about this ancient city. 

Whether you’re looking for a haunted history tour or a political walking tour , London has many exciting options to choose from. You can read more on London and London travel tips .

The best way to discover a city is with a local guide, and each one of the best history tours in London allows you to do just that! 

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The Best History Tours of London

London - the capital city of England, is synonymous with busy metropolitan life. Full of skyscrapers, buses and a lot of people, this modern city has a lot to offer. And if you’re into 21st-century living then you’ll definitely find it here; but tours of London can and do include a lot of history! A lot has happened since the capital was first established, and there are plenty of London tours that showcase events and places that will satisfy the curiosity of even the biggest history-lovers. Here are a few of our favorites…

WWII Westminster Secrets – Churchill’s War Rooms and Museum Tour

A London tour like no other, explore a different side to the city as you embark on a walking tour of the Westminster area with WWII in mind. You’ll pass iconic sites such as Big Ben, 10 Downing Street, Westminster Abbey and more, while your expert English-speaking guide regales you with stories about how these buildings and spaces were used during the war effort. See the Cenotaph National War Memorial too, which really brings these harrowing events home.

You will also head underground, beneath the city streets and into the wartime bunker where Sir Winston Churchill spent many a day and night. It will feel like stepping back in time to 1945, as the bunker remains unchanged save for the interactive exhibits that have been added to make your visit all the more interesting. If you are interested in war secrets, international history and how London impacted (and was impacted by) the war, then this tour is perfect for you.

The tour lasts for 2.5 hours and runs multiple times a week. You will be in groups of 20 or less, and your guide will always be on hand to answer any questions you may have! If you are a history lover planning to visit London, don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to see such important historical sites.

Interior Tour of Buckingham with Royal Walking Tour & Afternoon Tea

If you are interested in the royal family and their colorful history, then this tour could not be better suited to you. Built in the 1700s, Buckingham Palace is absolutely steeped in history and it still oozes charm today; originally a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham, it was acquired by King George III in 1761 for Queen Charlotte. Thus, it became known as The Queen’s House, and was gradually extended. Structural additions continued to be made throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, too.

This tour includes a royal walking tour to get you in the mood for visiting the palace. It’ll be a royally good day for sure as you enter the opulent palace, usually closed to members of the public, to explore the royal home of Queen Elizabeth II. Your tour will conclude with a traditional afternoon tea for a quintessentially British day out. Your English-speaking expert guide will be at your side to answer any questions you may have about the royals, the palace or the finger sandwiches. The tour is four hours long, includes skip-the-line entry and includes visiting the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace. This tour runs between July and September, while the Queen is vacationing at one of her other royal residences. Availability is limited so be sure to book early to avoid missing out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Tower of London and Private Audience with Authentic Beefeater Guard

The Tower of London is one of England’s most famous locations, and it has an almost unparalleled history. Guarded by Beefeaters (officially known as the Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London), it is absolutely iconic. The guards are ceremonial, and they are all retired members of the armed services. You will likely recognize their dark blue and red uniforms, and they are somewhat synonymous with London as a whole.

This is one of the best tours in London , starting early so you've got the whole day ahead of you and offering something completely unique: the chance to chat to and take pictures with one of the Beefeaters! This is a completely exclusive tour, and one that will make you the envy of fellow travelers with an interest in British history. See the crown jewels and the White Tower (another historical treat, as this is where the Princes in the Tower were held before being murdered by their uncle - allegedly) then have the rest of the day to yourself, free to explore the Tower of London at length before heading off to see what else the city has to offer.

In groups of 30 or less, meet a real Beefeater and gain some in-depth knowledge from both them and your expert English-speaking tour guide. Tour departure times vary, and the tour lasts for one hour and fifteen minutes. A favorite London city tour amongst history buffs, definitely!

Westminster Abbey and Changing of the Guard

There are some things that are on most travelers’ bucket lists and seeing the Changing of the Guard is definitely one them. It is an iconic ceremony where one batch of soldiers is replaced with another batch in a formal manner; the red jackets and tall black hats epitomize London itself in some ways!

Another iconic part of London is Westminster Abbey; this is somewhere that has seen multiple coronations, royal weddings and more. It is also the resting place of poets, authors, historical figures and monarchs from various centuries. The Abbey is practically dripping in history, and visiting is an absolute must if you’re a history lover in London!

In groups of 25 or less, explore Westminster Abbey and witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony, stroll through St. James’s Park and then, at the end, drink in the sight of Buckingham Palace. You will have an expert English-speaking tour guide with you, and you’ll be able to skip the line at the Abbey.

The city has a very rich history, and you can do plenty of historical sightseeing. London is one of the greatest cities in the world, and there is just so much to see and do; from these London city tours to simply walking through the streets looking out for iconic monuments, you’ll be immersed in world-shaping history while vacationing here!

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Posted on 21st October 2023 Categories London History

By: Author Alastair Reid Schanche

Discover the Capital’s Incredible Past On Self-Guided History Walking Tour of London

Discover the Capital’s Incredible Past On Self-Guided History Walking Tour of London

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A humungous history tour of London where all you’ll need is a healthy curiosity and a good pair of shoes.

Lace up your boots, history buffs. We’re about to take you on a walk of London’s long and winding history. Today you’ll see slices of London dating right back to the city’s true inception under the Romans, hear tales of grizzly deaths in the Middle Ages, adventure and vice. 

Best of all, it’s totally free and self-guided. You can pick your own pace and be your own tour guide. 

We’ve included information about the spots you’re visiting to fill out a picture of London throughout the ages. There are a few spots you might want to nip into along the way, The Tower of London and The Golden Hinde, or perhaps the art gallery and hidden Roman amphitheatre at the Guildhall but at the end of the day, you’re the boss. 

You can stop along the way for food or a break as you like, you’ll have plenty of options. If you’re walking during the week, Leadenhall Market has loads to offer. Otherwise you could hold on to near the end of the tour and hit Borough Market where you’ll find things open at the weekend too. 

But enough talk! Let’s get to it…

Practical Information about the Historical Walking Tour of London

London’s Roman Wall, Barbican

Shakespeare’s Globe, The Southbank

Distance 

8km or just under 5 miles. 

About two hours of walking, plus time for any of the attractions you want to see and maybe a break for lunch. We’d plan for around 4-5 hours but it can be done faster if you want. 

Difficulty of Tour

Easy to middling. There’s a lot of walking and some stairs but on the whole no rough terrain or major obstacles. 

Admission Fees

  • The Tower of London: £33.60
  • The Golden Hinde: £6.00

Places Visited on the Tour

  • London’s Roman Wall
  • The Guildhall
  • Monument 
  • Leadenhall Market
  • All Hallows by the Tower
  • The Tower of London 
  • Tower Bridge 
  • The Golden Hinde
  • Winchester Palace
  • Shakespeare’s Globe 

Accessibility

The tour is very accessible, you won’t be required to climb any madly steep hills or navigate any rough terrain, though it does require a lot of walking. 

If that’s not your cup of tea then feel free to pick the route up anywhere you like. Cutting out the section between Tower Bridge and The Golden Hinde will save you a lot of walking. 

If you need breaks you’ll be able to find plenty of places for food and drinks along the way as the tour snakes through central London which is full of pubs, cafes and restaurants.  

Stops on the History Tour of London

Stop one – london’s roman wall .

Romans London

We’ll start our tour where the history of London really begins in earnest: with the Romans. London owes much to these conquerors from the Italian peninsula, not least its name. The word London comes from the Latin Londinium, which is what the Romans would have called this city when they came here around 2000 years ago. 

Oh and by the way, when they came here they built the place. Much of what is old and important about The City of London (AKA The Square Mile) was laid out in the Roman era, including the wall you’re looking at. 

The walls they built still quite accurately mark where the City of London ends and the rest of London begins. They also picked the location for London Bridge and a very important civic centre we’re visiting next. 

→→ →→ 7 minute walk from the Roman Wall to the Guildhall. 

Walk west on St Alphage Garden towards Wood St. Turn left onto Wood St. Turn left after about 50 metres. Turn right towards Basinghall St and take the stairs after, about 50m turn left towards Basinghall St. 

Stop Two – The Guildhall 

Guildhall

This impressive building is The Guildhall. It’s the administrative centre of The City of London (not to be confused with Greater London) and the home of The City of London Corporation, stewards of the oldest continuous democracy in the world. 

The site was passed down through the many generations of London’s rulers. It began life as an amphitheatre in the Roman Era, was first used as an administrative site by the Saxons and has continued in that function for over a thousand years. 

The Great Hall dates back to 1440 and is truly stunning, and the original Roman amphitheatre’s foundations can be seen in the basement. Other than visiting the latter and the stunning collection of art at the Guildhall Art Gallery, you can’t just enter and wander about. You can book yourself on a tour though. Read all about that in the guide below… 

Read More: The History of The Guildhall: The HQ of the World’s Oldest Democracy

→→ →→ 12 minute walk from Guildhall to Monument

Walk south on Basinghall St towards Masons Ave. Turn left onto Gresham St and continue onto Lothbury. Turn right onto Princes Stand then left onto Threadneedle St and continue onto King William St and follow it to Monument St.

Stop Three – Monument

Fire of London Monument

Now you’re at Monument. This needle commemorates the history of the Great Fire of London. You might expect it to be a dour reminder of the people who lost their lives, and in some way it does remember them – but in truth, most people got away from the flames and in total only six people died. 

Monument is mostly about the devastation it wreaked upon those that survived, large portions of London being burnt to the ground. It’s also a hopeful reminder of the ability to rebuild and get back on your feet. 

Great architect of his day, Sir Christopher Wren , designed the needle. It was completed in 1667.  It stands 202 feet away from the place where the fire began on Pudding Lane. 

→→ →→ 6 minute walk from Monument to Leadenhall Market

Walk north on Fish St Hill towards Eastcheap, take the zebra crossing and continue onto Gracechurch St. Follow it until you see Bull’s Head Passage about 70m on your right. Take the passage and turn left onto Lime St Passage. Leadenhall Market will be in front of you. 

Stop Four – Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall Market gives us another opportunity to bring up the Romans. Yes, more of those guys (just in case you didn’t believe us about how much of an impact they made on London).

They first set up a bazaar here two millennia ago. That tradition has lived on to the present day, though the way it looks (and the things on sale) will have changed a lot. The market as we now know it was officially established in 1321. 

Legendary mayor Dick Whittington gets his name into these annals of history in 1402 by purchasing the market for the City of London Corporation (the folks who run the City of London from the Guildhall) making it into even more of a hub of commerce. 

The current style dates to the Victorian era and was designed by Horace Jones. In more recent history it was used as the exterior shot for Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter films. 

While you’re here, this might be a good spot for a bit of lunch or a break. You’ll have heaps of spots to choose from, take your pick. Our fav would be Old Tom’s Bar but, like many of these Leadenhall Market eateries, it’s only open Monday – Friday.

→→ →→ 9 minute walk to All Hallows by the Tower

Walk back the way you came but don’t Bull’s Head Passage, follow the road about 60m to Fenchurch St. Walk the same distance again and turn right onto Rood Ln. Turn left onto Eastcheap and continue onto Great Tower St 436. 

Stop Five – All Hallows by the Tower

All Hallows-by-the-Tower or St. Mary the Virgin or All Hallows Barking

The City of London is a place of many churches . Some of them are truly ancient, or at least have ancient roots. All Hallows by the Tower is so old that no one really knows its origins. 

The first record of it comes from a mysterious listing in the Doomsday Book (written in 1086) to the property of Barking Abbey being ‘28 houses and half a church’. That half a church is said to be All Hallows. 

The church survived the Great Fire of London, and its connection to this and one of our favourite London characters, Samuel Pepys , is why we love it so much. Pepys writes in his diaries – a must-read for any London history fan – that he watched the fire raging through his beloved city from All Hallows’ spire. Here are his words:

“I up to the top of Barking steeple, and there saw the saddest sight of desolation that I ever saw; every where great fires, oyle-cellars, and brimstone, and other things burning…  … as far as I could see it”

→→ →→ 3 minute walk to The Tower of London

Follow Gloucester Ct to the end, turn right and then left. You can’t miss it. 

Stop Six – The Tower of London 

Tower of London

A London location that needs no introduction, The Tower of London has been the stage for many of the city, and the country’s great historical moments. It’s played prison to dissidents and rouges from Guy Fawkes to the Kray Twins. 

Many have lost their lives in the execution chambers here but none are probably more iconic than Anne Boleyn, wife (or should we say ex-wife) of Henry VIII. 

The site as a defensive position on the riverside dates back to the Normans. William the Conqueror built a stone tower here in the 1070s to secure his power over the city. 

The tower you’re looking at is much more recent than that but is still home to some very long-standing traditions. The Ceremony of the Keys for one, is a key handover ritual that’s been performed every day for the past 700 years. 

Because we know you’re wondering, the last person to be executed here was Josef Jakobs. The year was 1941 and he’d been found guilty of spying for Germany and executed by firing squad. 

→→ →→ 5 minute walk from the tower of London to Tower Bridge. Follow the river east and take the stairs under the bridge to reach crossing level. Again, you can’t miss it. 

Stop Seven – Tower Bridge 

Tower Bridge London

It’s now time to head to the south side of the river. We’re going to do that by crossing London’s most iconic bridge. Yep, it’s Tower Bridge. 

Tower Bridge was finished in 1894 and was actually designed by a fella that’s come up in our tour already (no, he’s not a Roman this time) – it’s Horace Jones, the mind behind Leadenhall Market. Over 50 designs were submitted for the bridge but it was his that won out.

The bridge famously opens in the middle to allow boats to pass. The span of the bridge is 800 metres and the two towers that support it are 65 metres tall each. 

By crossing the bridge you’re becoming one of the 40,000 crossings made on average every day. 

→→ →→ 15 minute walk from Tower Bridge to The Golden Hinde

Follow the river west along Queen’s Walk. When it comes to an end take the stairs onto Tooley St and cross at the foot of London Bridge to take the stairs back down to the riverside. Follow Montague Cl to Cathedral St where you take a sharp right and follow Cathedral St 50m to The Golden Hinde.

Stop Eight – The Golden Hinde

Your walk along the riverfront should lead you past a pretty stunning galleon. That would be The Golden Hinde , or more accurately a replica of it. 

The Golden Hinde was the ship that Sir Francis Drake made his circumnavigation of the globe in. His trip was one of the greatest (and most questionable adventures) in British history. It was essentially a state-sponsored pirate raid. 

Drake’s mission was to steal as much Spanish gold as he could get his hands on and bring it back to England. He was so successful on the Pacific coast of South America he couldn’t return the way he came and was forced to circle the globe to get home. 

His haul made him and Queen Elizabeth enormously rich. From one Spanish ship alone he took the equivalent of £480m in today’s money… 

This boat was built from years of research on the plans and design of Drake’s ship. It was finished in the 70s, making its own circumnavigation of the globe from ‘74 – ‘79. 

→→ →→ 1 minute walk to Winchester Palace. 

You basically need to keep walking west about 30 seconds, no longer than a minute. You’ll see the ruins of Winchester Palace on your left. 

Stop Nine – Winchester Palace

The Rose Window Winchester Palace

Still with us? You’ve put in quite a stretch today. We’re nearly at the end of our tour. The penultimate stop is Winchester Palace . The Palace is certainly not in its former glory. All you’ll be able to see here now is some ruins of what was once the grand home of The Bishop of Winchester.

It was built in the 12th century and the section that you can see standing survives from that time. It would have once been part of the Great Hall. The property itself would have encompassed around ten acres of land. 

So what was the Bishop of Winchester up to in London? Back in the day, the bishops were often required to be in the capital on important business. Palaces like this would have been their city residences – looks like these guys weren’t fans of the vow of poverty…

These residencies would have been outside of the jurisdiction of London law, known as Liberties. The one you’re standing in now was known as the Liberty of the Clink and has a bit of a nefarious past. That’s because one of the bishops in the Middle Ages took advantage of his immunity to turn the neighbourhood into a red-light district. 

The women who worked the streets here became known as the Winchester Geese, and it’s widely believed that this is where we get the term ‘goosebumps’, though it meant something quite different back then. 

→→ →→ 7 minute walk from Winchester Palace to Shakespeare’s Globe. 

Walk west on Clink St towards Stoney St for 160m. Turn left onto Bank End and after 40m turn right onto Park St. Then shortly after turn right onto New Globe Walk. You’ll see the Globe in front of you. 

Stop Ten – Shakespeare’s Globe 

Shakespeare Globe

If there’s any historical location to top the Tower of London for the most iconic award on our tour, it’s probably got to be our last stop, Shakespeare’s Globe. 

This is a faithful reconstruction of the original theatre that The Bad would have had his plays performed. It’s only slightly off from the original location, the original having burnt down in 1613 after a pyrotechnical mishap set fire to the roof. 

This iteration is known as Shakespeare’s Globe and they put on some fantastic performances of Shakespeare’s work. One of our favourite things to do in London is grab a cheap standing ticket and experience the plays just like the common folk would have back in Old Bill’s day (without all the rotten tomato throwing of course). 

Read More: 14 Interesting Facts About the Globe Theatre We’ll Bet You Never Knew

Historical London Walking Tour Practical Tips and Map

  • Make sure you wear comfortable shoes. You will want them for this as you’re going to be on your feet a lot. 
  • You’ll be walking past heaps of cafes, pubs and restaurants so feel free to hop off the walk at any point and grab some food. If you make it all the way to Tower Bridge without having eaten, head to Borough Market . It’s very near The Golden Hinde and has so many great options for food. 

Historical London Walking Tour: Map

More Self-Guided Walking Tours of London

  • The Ultimate Self-Guided Harry Potter Walking Tour of London
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  • The Ultimate Self-Guided Charles Dickens Walking Tour of London

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Top London Tours for History Lovers

If you’re fascinated by London’s diverse and captivating history, you’re in for a treat. London offers a plethora of tours tailored to satisfy all historical cravings. From immersive architectural walking tours and enlightening river cruises showcasing the African history of the city to mouthwatering food tours in traditional London pubs, there’s something for everyone. Here’s our guide to top London tours for history lovers.

(WA= Wheelchair Accessible)

Explore the best of brutalist architecture and its history during one of the London tours for history lovers

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Explore London’s brutalist buildings

First, on our list of London tours for history lovers, you will discover some of London’s most iconic Brutalist landmarks. Explore this striking and dramatic architectural style prevalent throughout the 60’s and 70’s on this Brutalist Architecture and History Walking Tour , led by a knowledgeable guide, who will take you through the central neighbourhoods of London, providing insights into the history of post-war architecture. Chat about Modernist monumental architecture with like-minded people, discussing all about the cultural, social, and environmental impact it has had on the city. Along the way, you’ll visit legendary Brutalist buildings, like the Institute of Education and the National Theatre, delving deeper into the ongoing debate surrounding their future use.

London: Brutalist Architecture & History Walking Tour | Russell Square 

Winston Churchill's statue in Westminster.

Image Courtesy of Walks

See Churchill’s legendary headquarters

This Churchill War Rooms tour dives deep into the legacy of Winston Churchill’s leadership during World War II, shaping the world as we know it today. Explore Churchill’s legendary underground headquarters, where he made some of the most critical decisions ever alongside his team, which ultimately led to winning the war. Head beneath the streets of London to reimagine how life would’ve been in these historic spaces all those years ago. On city level, your guide will lead you to Churchill’s frequent hangouts and other vital locations that bear witness to the enduring impact of WWII on the city of London, telling historical facts and stories along the way.

Life of Churchill and World War II: London Walking Tour with War Rooms | Westminster 

Individuals enjoying one of the Black History Tours during one of the London tours for history lovers

Image Courtesy of Black History Walks

Learn about the Black history of London

Black History Walks deserve a top spot on our list of London tours for history lovers, offering a range of tours where you can get to know all about the rich Black history of London. All tours are led by expert guides (usually Tony, the founder), covering topics spanning more than 3500 years and 15 different areas, including Regents Canal, St. Paul’s, Mayfair, Soho and more. Perhaps you want to learn about the Black performers and productions that have graced the stages of London’s West End theatres, or you’d rather explore the Black presence in the renowned Wallace Collection; Black History Tours likely has you covered. Plus, it’s not just walking tours they offer; they also host a range of bus and river tours.

Black History Walks | Central London

Freinds enjoying their beer during the Pub History tour in London.

Explore the history of London’s pubs

London’s pubs have consistently played a key role in the history and heritage of the city ever since its earliest days, so it’s only fitting we include a pub tour on this list of London tours for history lovers. With around 3,540 pubs scattered throughout the city, it can be overwhelming to know which ones are even worth visiting. That’s where this Food Tour of London’s Historic Pubs comes in handy, where you’ll get to join a local guide on a leisurely walk through the historic City of London, hopping from charming pubs serving traditional pub fare and locations that once held the Crown Jewels, as well as establishments once frequented by literary legends. Enjoy traditional pub fare and drinks at each stop as you hear intriguing stories and insights about London unfolding with every step.

Tastes, Tales & Traditional Ales: Food Tour of London’s Historic Pubs | Holborn

Girls learning more about the Jewish culture during one of the London tours for history lovers

Get to know the Jewish history of East London

East London has a long and interesting Jewish heritage, and the best way to explore it is alongside an expert guide on a private Jewish History Tour . See the sites where the Jewish community thrived, starting with the Tower of London, which once served as a refuge and a place of imprisonment for Jews during the Anglo-Jewry expulsion. Follow your guide as you visit synagogues, soup kitchens, Yiddish theatres, and kosher shops that served London’s Jewish immigrants, particularly in the 19th-20th century, exploring areas where many Jews lived and worked throughout history. You can either opt for the two-hour tour, where you’ll hear stories and visit important Jewish sites, or the four-hour tour, where you’ll get to delve deeper into the tragedy of the Holocaust, including a visit to the Imperial War Museum and its Holocaust Galleries.

Jewish History Tour | Tower Hill | WA

Statues of women who brought upon changes in Britain are a hard miss during one of the London tours for history lovers

Image Courtesy of Women of London

Retrace the footsteps of the women of Bloomsbury

On this Women of Bloomsbury walking tour , you’ll discover the magic of Bloomsbury, a neighbourhood that has long attracted London’s cultural enthusiasts, intellectuals, artists, and writers. The tour will delve into the lives and legacies of remarkable women who have left their mark on history within this area, including following in the footsteps of celebrated writer Virginia Woolf, brave World War Two spy Noor Inayat Khan, influential abolitionist Mary Prince, pioneering dentist Lilian Lindsay, and numerous other inspiring figures. Discover their stories, accomplishments, and challenges as you traverse the streets where they once walked with your guide from Women of London, a women’s history walking tour company who we love working with.

Women of Bloomsbury | Covent Garden | WA

Barrels overlooking the aesthetic Covent Garden market.

Image Courtesy of Rebel Tours

Take a trip back in time on a Covent Garden walking tour

Uncover the captivating tales of London’s most eccentric and colourful personalities on this Misfits of Covent Garden walking tour , where you’ll take a trip back in time, learning all about the colourful characters that used to haunt the area. From its humble origins as Westminster Abbey’s vegetable garden, Covent Garden transformed into a bustling market, a thriving theatre district, the epicentre of vice and poverty, and even a slum that left a lasting impression on the renowned Charles Dickens. The tour is operated by female-founded Rebel Tours, a friendly bunch of professional tour guides, historians, and rebels who aim to tell stories in a refreshing and immersive way where you are an active part of the group rather than a passive tourist.

Misfits of Covent Garden | Covent Garden | WA

Fans learning more about rock and roll during one of the London tours for history lovers

Get to know London’s rock ‘n’ roll history

Last on our list of London tours for history lovers is this London Rock Music Tour , which will take you on a nostalgic journey through London’s iconic rock scene, through the vibrant neighbourhoods of Soho, Camden Town, Muswell Hill, Archway, and Islington, all playing an integral role in the city’s rich rock ‘n’ roll history. Explore the legendary gig venues and former recording studios that hosted The Beatles, and visit the residences of Ringo Starr and Jimmy Page. Retrace the footsteps of rock legends Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Queen, and other influential musicians as you uncover their old hangouts and key locations that played a pivotal role in their lives. See where Amy Winehouse spent most of her time in Camden, cross the renowned Abbey Road crossing to recreate the iconic Beatles album cover, and dive head first into the swinging ’60s scene in Chelsea, all with your enthusiastic guide on hand to tell you all about the old school rock ‘n’ roll days.

London: Rock ‘n’ Roll History Tour | Piccadilly Circus

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Top London Tours for History Lovers

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Jessica Dellow is an East Londoner who loves to travel the world and eat her way around the city. When she's not eating, cooking or hanging out in the local pub, you’ll probably find her walking one of her BorrowMyDoggy dogs in Victoria Park with a coffee in hand.

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Lady’s 5 Historical Walks in London You’ll Love Taking

Today I want to share my top picks for historical walks in London with you. These self-guided London walking tours are great ways to get into the city’s past and discover the layers of heritage that make the UK capital special. If you love history, they’re perfect London walks for you to take to explore the city’s past from ancient times to modern ones. Read on for the routes, maps, photos, and videos.

Historical Walks in London

Historical Walks in London

From Roman ruins in the City of London to Palladian residences in Greenwich, my self-guided historical walks in London will take you to some of the most iconic places in the city.

You’ll pass by big attractions like Westminster Abbey and lesser-known landmarks like the 12th-century Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great. Along the way, you’ll get a feel for London’s architectural history.

Fleet Street, London

But it’s not all old stuff. London is a living city, and its streets and squares are ever-changing. Interspersed among the heritage buildings you’ll find colorful street art, vibrant markets, and great shops, restaurants, pubs, and cafes.

Historic pub in Exmouth Market, London

I hope you enjoy these London history tours as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them. My self-guided London walks are fun ways to see the UK capital and get some exercise while you’re at it.

You can read about more lovely walks in the book London’s Hidden Walks as well. You can get it on Amazon here . There are more ideas in my London walking books post, too.

Dean's Yard, Westminster, London

1. City of London Walk

First on my list of historical walks in London is one in the City of London . This area has some of the richest history and most important heritage buildings in the UK capital.

Leadenhall Market, London

This walk will transport you through past and present, wide squares and hidden courtyards, historic halls and centuries-old pubs.

Along the way you’ll see everything from the Tower of London to St Paul’s Cathedral and The Monument to the Great Fire of London.

This walk is ideal if you want to delve into London’s deepest roots. You can find the directions, map, photos, and video on my City of London walking tour blog post.

St Paul's Cathedral, London

2. Greenwich Walk

Next on my list of historical London walking tours is Greenwich . This part of the city is known for its maritime history, royal residences, famous observatory, covered market, and great London views .

View from Greenwich Park, London

My self-guided London walk will take you from the River Thames to the Royal Observatory and through the markets and side streets.

Along the route you’ll take in everything from the Cutty Sark to the National Maritime Museum, Old Royal Naval College, and London skyline.

This walk is perfect if you like a mix of culture, shopping, and history. You can find the full route, map, photos, and video on my Greenwich walk blog post.

Old Royal Naval College, London

3. Spitalfields Walk

When it comes to east London history walks, my Spitalfields walk is a good choice. Spitalfields is one of the city’s most vibrant areas. Historic houses and buildings sit side-by-side with contemporary street art, markets, and pop-ups.

This London walk goes through the neighborhood’s colorful streets and hidden lanes. Along the way you’ll pass everything from 18th-century Huguenot silk weavers’ homes to pretty almshouses.

Spitalfields, London Houses

Sunday is the best day to be here, as the Sunday markets on and around Brick Lane are legendary. You can make a day of this walk if you take your time and explore them all.

This walk is perfect if you enjoy a mix of history and shopping. You can find the route, map, photos, and video on my Spitalfields walking tour blog post.

Historic London buildings in Spitalfields

4. Westminster Walk

Next on my list of historical walks in London is one in Westminster . This area is home to a lot of big attractions, including the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey.

Historic street corner in Westminster, London

My self-guided London walk will take you from Parliament Square to Smith Square and beyond. The route will guide you past historic highlights like the 19th-century Victoria Tower and the 14th-century Jewel Tower.

This walk is a great choice if you like London landmarks and hidden corners alike. You can find the route, map, and photos on my Westminster walk blog post.

Westminster Abbey and Big Ben

5. Clerkenwell Walk

My fifth historical walk in London goes through Clerkenwell and the surrounding area. This part of the UK capital is full of heritage. It’s home to some of the best restaurants and coffee shops in London, too.

My self-guided London walking tour in Clerkenwell will take you through historic passageways, under stone archways, and down an alley with an old pub hidden in it.

St Bartholomew the Great, London

As you go from Clerkenwell to Smithfield and Hatton Garden, you’ll pass everything from the 16th-century St Bartholomew’s Gatehouse to the 13th-century St Etheldreda’s Church.

You’ll also walk down Exmouth Market, one of the best foodie streets in London. It’s a great place to stop for a meal or drink along the way.

This London walk is just the thing if you like history and food in equal measure. You can find the route, map, photos, and video on my Clerkenwell walking tour blog post.

Cowcross Street, London

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these self-guided London walking tours as much as I’ve enjoyed coming up with the routes and maps. Historic details are some of the best things about London, and these tours are a great way to to see them.

Beyond the walks, I’ve published a lot more about London’s history. From a blog post with a historic London travel itinerary to a guide to London architecture history , there’s plenty to delve into.

Blackfriar Pub, London

I have more self-guided historical London walks in the pipeline, too. They’ll all end up here and on my London walking map once I’ve published them. You can bookmark this page or pin it on Pinterest to see the new ones as I add them. Happy walking!

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4 Comments on Lady’s 5 Historical Walks in London You’ll Love Taking

Thank you so much for your tour. I wish London to preserve its historical attitude in spite of the modern temptations. The buildings (especially the less good-looking), their arrangement can lecture on the city’s history. Thank you so much. Greetings from Minsk, Belarus (between Russia and Poland)

You’re welcome! I’m glad you like London’s history.

It was wonderful taking this tour from the comfort of my couch. Being there in person would be even better, but right now I would have to use a wheelchair to do the walk. Thank you for making it so real!

You’re welcome!

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21 Top Sites in London for History Lovers

Tour London with Context Travel

Walking tours of London available daily

If you’re visiting London, there are endless choices of things to do in the city. You can spend a day or even two just walking around the city and getting lost in its winding streets. But if you want to get beyond the tourist traps and see some truly historic sites, then read on.

Top Tour Sites in London 

What is the most historic area of London? It’s impossible to choose! London is a city steeped in history and offers a wealth of opportunities for history buffs to explore and discover. From the ancient Roman ruins to the medieval castles and palaces, from the grand churches to the infamous prisons, London has it all.

The city's diverse architecture is a reflection of its history, from the Gothic style of Westminster Abbey to the Art Deco of the Bank of England. You can also take a glimpse into the daily life of the past by visiting historic houses like Charles Dickens Museum or the Sir John Soane's Museum .

No history lover's trip to London would be complete without visiting iconic sites such as the Tower of London and the British Museum . But with Context, you can tour so many more less-known, but equally interesting historical landmarks. With so much history to explore, London is a city that will keep history buffs coming back for more. What are the best-known historical sites? Stay tuned as we virtually guide you through the best-known historical sites in London.

1. Tour The Tower of London

We have to start with The Tower of London – it is one of the most iconic and historically rich sites in London. Visiting the Tower of London is a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the rich history of one of the world's most famous buildings. We also can’t miss the opportunity to marvel at the Crown Jewels.

It has served as a royal palace, a prison, a treasury, a menagerie, and an armory throughout its 900-year history. It was founded by William the Conqueror in 1066 and has served as a royal residence and a prison for many important figures throughout history. Notable prisoners have included Anne Boleyn, Sir Walter Raleigh, and the Kray Twins.

The White Tower, built by William the Conqueror, stands here as an enduring symbol of the Norman conquest. And this iconic landmark is home to the famous Yeoman Warders or "Beefeaters" who have been the guardians of the Tower since 1485.

With Context, you can enjoy an exclusive tour of the Tower complex before the crowds arrive, by booking our Early Morning tour . Or you can meet new friends by booking our Small Group and Private Tower of London Tours – which has been one of our bestselling tours since 2003.

2. The British Museum

For history lovers, the British Museum is a must-see.

It has been around since 1753 and is known for its vast collections of art and artifacts from all over the world —  with more than 8 million objects in its collection! Three of the most famous items in the collection include

  • The Rosetta Stone: A stone with hieroglyphic text on it that helped Egyptologists learn how to read ancient Egyptian writing (and also how to make beer).
  • An Assyrian lion statue from about 865 BC (and you thought your commute to work was bad – these folks rode lions).
  • A bust of Nefertiti made around 1345 BC, which is one of the most copied works of art in history (wish I had her hair).

Tour the British Museum with a Context Expert to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the museum's collections. Our local experts offer insights and perspectives on these remarkable exhibits -- that you might not otherwise discover on your own.

Want your kids to learn more about all the wonders in the museum? We also offer a British Museum Tour geared towards kids aged 3-13.

3. Buckingham Palace and the National Mall

Echo the pomp and circumstance of history as you march down The Mall toward the stunning Buckingham Palace.

As you approach the Palace gates, you'll come face to face with one of the most famous residences in the world, the residence of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla. A place where centuries of monarchy and tradition are intertwined with the splendor of today, Buckingham Palace is a must-visit destination for any history lover.

This palace has been the official residence of the British monarch since 1837. The palace was originally known as Buckingham House and was built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703. It was purchased by King George III in 1761 for his wife, Queen Charlotte, as a private residence for their family. During the 19th century, it was expanded and remodeled by various monarchs, including King George IV and Queen Victoria, to create the palace we recognize today.

During World War II, the palace was used as a refuge for Londoners during air raids and also served as the headquarters for the Allied military leaders. Queen Victoria was the first British monarch to reside there permanently and since then it has become the center of the British Monarchy and the focal point for state occasions and ceremonies such as:

  • the Changing of the Guard
  • Royal Jubilee Celebrations
  • the state opening of Parliament
  • the Trooping the Colour.

It is also a major tourist attraction, and visitors can see the palace's State Rooms during the summer months by taking our tour .

The changing of the guard ceremony in London is known around the world for its precision and spectacle. Most visitors view the event from Buckingham Palace, but through this Audio Guide with Context Travel and London-based scholar and royal expert, Sean Moran, you‘ll experience it from three less common vantage points.

4. St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral , which is located at the top of Ludgate Hill in London, is the second-largest church in all of England. This famous cathedral was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and took more than 35 years to build.

It has become famous for its impressive dome and for being the site of many important events in British history. We offer a walking tour of the cathedral, which puts its remarkable legacy in Context.

The cathedral is also known as "the Cathedral Church of Saint Paul" or simply "St Paul's." It serves as a parish church for the City of London and an Anglican cathedral for both Oxfordshire (which includes Oxford) and Buckinghamshire (which includes Buckingham). The Archbishop of Canterbury—the head bishop for Anglican churches around Great Britain—is also based here at St Paul’s Cathedral.

This grand cathedral is one of the most iconic and historically significant buildings in London.

Its striking dome and impressive architecture make it a must-see for any visitor to London. The construction of the dome was not an easy task, Wren had to redesign the dome twice before the final version was accepted. The dome was finished in 1710 and then it took another 16 years to complete the entire cathedral.

Visitors can take a tour to learn about the history of the cathedral, and even climb to the top of the dome for a panoramic view of the city.

WWII Monuments to Visit in London

5. the churchill war rooms.

The Churchill War Rooms is a museum in London, England, located below the Ministry of Defence headquarters in the Whitehall area of Westminster. The museum is housed in a subterranean complex that was constructed in 1939 to provide a safe shelter for the British Government in the event of a major enemy air attack on London.

Context offers Small-Group Tours and Private Tours of the CWR on a daily basis.

Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms were the underground headquarters used by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his government during World War II. The complex consisted of four separate parts:

  • Cabinet War Rooms: This was the British government’s main command center and included a map room, the Cabinet Room where Churchill and his ministers met, and a series of offices and sleeping quarters.
  • The Transatlantic Telephone Room: This was a secure communications center where Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt could speak directly via a dedicated telephone line.
  • The Broadcasting Studio: This is where Churchill delivered his famous speeches to the nation, it also served as a Press Information Bureau and briefing room for journalists.
  • The Annexe: This is the portion of the War Rooms that were used as living quarters for Churchill and his staff. It includes bedrooms, bathrooms, and a kitchen. The Annexe was built to be an extension of the Cabinet War Rooms and was connected by a secret underground tunnel, It was in this area of the War Rooms that Churchill lived and worked during the darkest days of the war.

6. Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum is the perfect place to learn about the history of war and conflict in Britain. It covers everything from World War II to the present day and events such as India's independence movement and the Spanish Civil War.

The museum has several permanent exhibitions, including "Our World: Art Through The Lens Of Conflict" which explores how art and photography have been used to document war over time. There are also temporary exhibitions on display throughout the year. In addition to its permanent galleries, the museum regularly hosts special exhibitions like "Women at War 1914-1918".

The museum itself is housed in a striking building designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens (who also designed some of New Delhi's most famous structures). It makes for an impressive backdrop during your visit!

7. HMS Belfast

If you love history, then the HMS Belfast is a must-visit – a World War II-era naval ship that is now permanently moored in London on the River Thames. She was launched in 1938 and served as part of the Royal Navy's fleet during World War II. The ship was involved in several significant battles, including the Battle of the North Cape, the Normandy invasion, and the Korean War.

She was decommissioned from active service in 1963, and ten years later, she was saved from scrapping and permanently moored in London as a museum ship – which opened for visitors in 1971. HMS Belfast is now run by the Imperial War Museum and is open to the public.

Visitors can explore the ship and learn about its history, including the life of sailors and the ship's role in World War II and other conflicts. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by the Royal Navy and all those who served on HMS Belfast during the war.

8. Greenwich, just a short journey from London

During the Blitz, Greenwich, London was heavily bombed by the German forces.

Many historic buildings, including the Royal Observatory, were damaged or destroyed. The area also served as a crucial defense point, with anti-aircraft guns placed on Greenwich Hill to protect London from air raids.

Additionally, the tunnels underneath the hill were used as air-raid shelters, providing protection for the local residents. Despite the destruction, many of the important buildings and landmarks in Greenwich have since been restored and the area has become a popular tourist destination, with a rich history and cultural heritage.

Take a Context Tour of Greenwich to learn more about the remarkable legacy of this historic section of London.

9. Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament , is one of the most iconic buildings in London and has a rich and unique history. The palace was originally built in the 11th century and served as a royal residence for many centuries. It was heavily damaged by fire in 1834 and was rebuilt in the Victorian Gothic style we see today on the north bank of the River Thames.

The palace is home to the two houses of the British parliament, the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It's also famous for its impressive clock tower, known as "Big Ben," which is one of London's most recognizable landmarks. The palace has been the site of many historic events, including the signing of the Magna Carta, the execution of King Charles I, and the many debates and religious reforms of the 19th and 20th centuries.

During our Introduction to London Tour , we learn even more about the history of this remarkable palace.

10. Tower Bridge Visitor Center

History buffs are also sure to enjoy a visit to the Tower Bridge Visitor Center for an interesting look at how this iconic structure was built over 100 years ago by Edward VII.

One of the fun and unique features you’ll enjoy here is the glass floor in the walkway – it gives visitors an experience of walking above the River Thames. During the construction of the bridge, these unique walkways were used by the workers to transport materials and tools to the various parts of the bridge.

During World War II, London was heavily bombed by the German Luftwaffe as part of their campaign to destroy British infrastructure and morale – known as the Blitz. The Tower Bridge itself was not damaged during the Blitz, but it was an important symbol of British resilience and resistance. Many exhibits within the Visitor Center speak to this unique history.

The bridge was used to transport vital supplies and troops across the River Thames, and it was protected by anti-aircraft guns and searchlights.

Despite the constant threat of bombing, the bridge remained open throughout the war and was an important link between the different parts of the city. After the war, the bridge was repaired and restored to its original condition.

Today, Tower Bridge is one of London's most popular tourist attractions and a symbol of the city's strength and resilience during one of the darkest periods of its history.

Hidden Treasures for History Lovers

There are many lesser-known historical venues in London that offer a unique glimpse into the city's rich history. What is the most historic area of London? Read on to find out about several important venues, off the beaten path in London.

11. Leadenhall Market

This is a historic market in the City of London that dates back to the 14th century. It was originally used as a meat and produce market and was located at the heart of Roman London, known as Londinium.

It has a charming, traditional atmosphere and is known for its Victorian architecture and ornate cobbled streets. Throughout its history, it has been reconstructed and redesigned several times, most recently in the 19th century by Sir Horace Jones, and still remains a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

The market has been used for a variety of purposes, from wholesale meat and produce market to a center of insurance and shipping-related businesses, and even served as the filming location for Harry Potter's "Diagon Alley".

Today, Leadenhall Market remains one of the most iconic and historic markets in London. Our London Architecture Tour and London History Tour teach us even more about this remarkable landmark.

12. The Jewel Tower

Don’t mix these up with the crown jewels, housed further down the Thames. The Jewel Tower is a 14th-century stone building located in the Palace of Westminster, London.

It was originally built as a royal treasure tower, used to store the king's valuables, including his crown jewels. London’s Jewel Tower was also used as a treasury and as a storehouse for the royal family’s documents and archives.

The building has undergone several renovations over the centuries and was used for various purposes including housing the records of the Exchequer, the Royal Mint, and even as a workshop for the parliament. The Jewel tower is one of the few remaining parts of the palace that date back to the 14th century, it's a unique example of medieval architecture, and today it is open to the public as a museum.

The Jewel Tower is an important part of London's history and architectural heritage and offers a glimpse into the life and time of medieval England.

The Jewel Tower is located on the grounds of the Palace, specifically on the south side of the palace. It's situated near other famous London landmarks such as Westminster Bridge, and it's not far from the London Eye. The Jewel Tower is open to the public, visitors can access it via Abingdon Street, which is a short walk from Westminster Underground Station.

13. The Museum of London Docklands

This museum tells the story of London's river and port and the history of the city's trade and commerce. It is located in a restored 18th-century warehouse and features interactive exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia displays.

14.The Clink Prison Museum

This is a museum that focuses on the Medieval and Tudor history of the Clink Prison, one of the most notorious and feared prisons in London's history.

The Clink was built in the 12th century and was used to house and punish criminals until it was closed in the 17th century.

Today, visitors can explore the interactive exhibitions, see a reconstructed prison cell, and learn about the harsh punishments meted out to prisoners in Medieval London.

15. The Royal Air Force Museum London

This museum tells the story of the Royal Air Force and is located on a historic site that was once home to the world's first military airfield. The museum features a collection of aircraft, uniforms, medals, and other artifacts that relate to the history of the RAF.

16. The Monument to the Great Fire of London

Standing tall in the City of London is a Doric column built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London .

It was designed by Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke and built on the site of the first church which was destroyed during the fire, St. Margaret, New Fish Street. It is considered to be the tallest isolated stone column in the world, standing at 200 ft (61 meters) tall.

Travelers interested in climbing to the top for a panoramic view should expect to climb 300 stairs each way or wait in line for the elevator.

Medieval Sites to Tour in London

17. the white tower, home to the crown jewels.

The White Tower is a striking and iconic structure located in the heart of the Tower of London complex. Commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1078, it served as a royal residence, a prison, and a treasury over its 900-year history. The White Tower is a symbol of London's rich history and is a must-see for any visitor to the city.

At over 90 feet tall, the tower is an imposing sight, constructed primarily of Kentish ragstone and featuring four turrets and a central keep. Visitors to the White Tower can explore its many levels, including the Royal Armouries, where they can see the impressive collection of medieval arms and armor, and the White Tower Chapel, a stunning example of Norman architecture.

Along with the crown jewels, White Tower also holds many significant artifacts such as the White Tower prison cells, where many high-profile prisoners such as Anne Boleyn and Rudolf Hess were held, and the White Tower Museum, which showcases the history and the role of the Tower of London throughout the ages.

Learn even more about the tower by registering for Context’s Online Seminars about British History.

18. The London Wall

The London Wall was built to protect the Roman city of Londinium from invasion, and it was the largest Roman structure in Britain.

Travelers can see the remains of the wall at several locations in the city, including the Museum of London and the Barbican Centre. The remains of the wall provide critical context clues about daily life during the medieval era.

You can learn more about hidden archaeological clues to London’s History during our Hidden London Walking Tour.

19. The Roman Mithraeum

London is also home to ancient Roman remains such as the Roman amphitheater, a well-preserved 1st century BC structure which is believed to have seated around 8,000 people and was used for Gladiator fights. And the Roman Mithraeum is another Roman ruin located in the city.

During our history tour , we visit this landmark, which was built between AD 240-250 and is the only one known from Roman London. These ancient ruins are important examples of the city's rich history and legacy of the Roman presence in London.

20. The Temple

History lovers can embark on a journey back in time to the 12th century, where deep in the heart of the City of London, a magnificent complex of buildings known as The Temple awaits.

Nestled between the hustle and bustle of Fleet Street and the serene banks of the River Thames, it stands proud as one of the four Inns of Court, alongside the esteemed Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, and the Inner Temple.

Check out our walking tour which visits these remarkable landmarks.

But The Temple wasn't always the grand complex we explore today. Once upon a time, it was nothing more than a humble inn, established by the Knights Templar in 1185, to provide a place of rest and refuge for the countless pilgrims who flocked to the then-small village of London on the banks of the Thames.

Yet as time passed, this simple inn grew and evolved, taking on new forms, new shapes, and new buildings. In its prime, The Temple was a verdant oasis, boasting extensive gardens and tranquil courtyards, replete with cloisters for the heated disputations of barristers.

21. Westminster Abbey

Imagine the hustle and bustle of the city disappearing as you enter the picturesque St James Park, home to the ancient Westminster Abbey - a symbol of the country's rich heritage. Westminster Abbey is a medieval abbey that was founded in the 10th century.

It has become a major tourist attraction; pre-pandemic, the site welcomed more than one million visitors each year. The Abbey is famous for its beautiful Gothic architecture and for being the site of coronations of English monarchs, including King Henry VII after he defeated Richard III at Bosworth Field in 1485.

The cathedral was originally a Benedictine monastery and has since served as the site of many royal coronations, weddings and burials. Visitors can explore the medieval nave, the chapels, and the Cloisters, and see the tombs of many famous figures from British history.

Queen Elizabeth II was crowned here on June 2, 1953, by Archbishop of Canterbury Geoffrey Fisher with her husband Prince Philip beside her. The coronation of King Charles III will take place in May 2023. Westminster Abbey also contains memorials to many British kings and queens including Edward III, Henry V, Mary I (Bloody Mary), Elizabeth I, Charles II (The Merry Monarch), and Jane Austen among others.

Take a guided tour of Westminster Abbey with Context to learn even more about this iconic landmark. 

What have we learned?

London can be an overwhelming place to visit, especially if you only have a few days to try and see it all. Therefore, it's best to plan your trip in advance, so that you have an idea of what you want to see and where. This way, you'll know how many days or weeks you need for your trip and when certain attractions will be open so that you don't miss out on any historical sites or monuments.

What is the most historic area of London?

There are many interesting historical neighborhoods to explore during your trip to London. Let’s recap the most popular areas for history-buffs:

  • The City of London: This area is the historic core of London and is home to many of the city's most famous landmarks, including St. Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London, and the Bank of England. It has Roman origins and throughout the centuries it was the center of trade, banking, government, and religion.
  • Westminster: This district is home to many of the city’s most iconic attractions, including Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, and Big Ben. It has been the political epicenter of London since the 11th century, and is also home to Westminster Abbey, where many of England's kings and queens have been crowned and buried.
  • The West End: This is the heart of London's entertainment and shopping district, with many famous theaters, shops, and restaurants. It's also home to many famous squares such as Leicester Square, and Trafalgar Square which are popular areas for shopping dining – but have also borne witness to many key historical events.
  • Greenwich: This area is located on the banks of the River Thames in southeast London and is home to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich Mean Time, and the Prime Meridian. It also has a rich maritime history and was once a major shipbuilding and naval center, and home to the historic buildings of the Old Royal Navy College, the National Maritime Museum, and the Cutty Sark.
  • The Tower Hamlets: London’s "East End" is rich in historical landmarks and is known for its cultural diversity. This neighborhood has a strong connection to the city’s complex immigration and working-class history, with notable landmarks such as Tower Bridge, St. Katherine Docks, and the Museum of London Docklands.

Each of these 5 areas has its unique history and cultural significance, and it's worth visiting them all to have a complete experience of London's history.

Bonus Facts: A few more Hidden Gems for London History Buffs

Are you interested in learning about sites even further off the beaten path? Check out our London History Walking Tour which explores landmarks such as St. Andrew Undershaft Church, the Lloyd's Building, and the controversial Gerkin; we also stop by Leadenhall Market, Guildhall, and the Roman Mithraeum.

  • St. Andrew Undershaft Church, located in the City of London, is a historic church dating back to the 16th century. It is known for its tall spire and beautiful architecture and is one of the few remaining examples of medieval churches in the city.
  • The Lloyd's Building, which is located near St. Andrew Undershaft Church, is a modernist masterpiece and a unique architectural icon of London. It was built in the 1980s and is known for its distinctive, futuristic design.
  • The controversial Gerkin, formally called 30 St Mary Axe, is a skyscraper in the City of London that features a unique, pickle-shaped curved design that makes it easily recognizable.
  • As we mentioned earlier in this post, Leadenhall Market is a historic market in the City of London that dates back to the 14th century. It is a popular tourist destination and is known for its traditional architecture and charming atmosphere.
  • The Guildhall, which is located nearby, is a historic building that has served as a town hall for the City of London for hundreds of years. It is also home to the Guildhall Art Gallery and the Guildhall Library.

Key Takeaways

The city of London offers travelers a treasure trove of historical sites, each with its unique story. From the imposing Tower of London and regal Buckingham Palace to the historic Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral, there is something for every history buff to enjoy. The Roman remains throughout the city and the old London Bridge are also must-see attractions, providing a glimpse into the city's past. And finally, Greenwich and its Royal Observatory, give a sense of London during WWII and its rich cultural heritage. No matter what period of history you're interested in, London has a wealth of historical sites that are sure to impress. If you're planning a visit to London, be sure to include some of these top historical sites on your itinerary.

Other stories you may be interested in: 

  • The 9 Best Day Trips from London
  • 36 Hours of Things to Do in London
  • Best Parks to visit in London

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History Tours in London

History Tours in London

Explore comfortably.

The safest city tours with local experts

Top 5 History Tours in London

1 | highlights & hidden gems of london.

history tour in london

2 | Off the Beaten Track in London: Shoreditch Tour

history tour in london

3 | Treasures of London: The Royal Family Tour

4 | family friendly london city tour, 5 | city kickstart tour: london, all history tours in london.

history tour in london

Highlights & Hidden Gems of London

Off the beaten track in london: shoreditch tour, treasures of london: the royal family tour, city kickstart tour: london, family friendly london city tour, private tour around the british museum, explore london with a local of your choice.

Learn about their personal stories, and find out how you can explore London together

  • Hello I am Sorcha The Drinks Geek See more
  • Hello I am Luciana The Hidden Gems Expert See more
  • Hello I am Chris The London Historian See more
  • Hello I am Leonardo The Bookworm See more
  • Hello I am Sophie The Friendly Raconteur See more
  • Hello I am David The History Walker See more
  • Hello I am Anthony The born Londoner See more
  • Hello I am María Clara The Curious Journalist See more
  • Hello I am Tom The Storyteller See more
  • Hello I am Gregory The Urbanist See more

Tasty Local British Breakfast & Storytelling Tour

A morning tour in london's central market, sherlock holmes' london tour, find the tardis: doctor who's london experience, highlights of london's south bank, london's swinging sixties tour, private tour to blenheim palace - private day trip, unique mayfair style and history walk, private tour around the national gallery, more incredible experiences in london.

Check out other similar experiences in London and enjoy the city to the max.

27 Things To Do Today in London

What other travelers love about our local experts.

Yesterday we, mother and daughter from Amsterdam, took a great walkingtour with storyteller Tom. We visited London numerous times before, so Tom took us to the more hidden places. Anekdotes and a lot of history! Tom made it very personal by telling a lot about his own ancestors, very interesting. Go and walk with Tom!!

We had a great tour around London with Chris! A lot of great recommendations and useful information as well as interesting details about the history of London. Thank you Chris!

We had an absolutely wonderful day with Rosa! She is very knowledgeable and we are very happy with all the insight she provided. We cannot thank her enough, and will be sure to go on another tour with her 😊🥳

Anthony was wonderful! I was on a short timeline as I was on an 8 hr layover in between flights. Anthony helped me with advice on navigating to the city from the airport. Once there we crammed in a LOT in a short amount of time as we explored the sites. He’s a wealth of knowledge, takes great pictures, knows the best food spots and was fun to hang out with. Great experience and highly recommended!

Related London pages

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  • Tours in London
  • Activities in London
  • City Highlight Tours in London
  • Off The Beaten Track Tours in London
  • Food Tours in London
  • Shopping Tours in London
  • Art & Culture Tours in London
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Walking London History

Walking London History

Guided walking tours in London

Guided Walks in London

Sightseeing with a difference: discover London through fantastic guided walks . Informative, entertaining and illuminating tours that give you a real insight into London’s history .

“ David’s knowledge of the history and individuals involved was extraordinary and he made it all interesting and entertaining”

Your guide, David, is a committee member of the City of Westminster Guide Lecturers Association and used to be a visiting lecturer on their guiding course. He has a degree in history from the University of Oxford, and has a background in teaching and coaching. See the reviews .

Walking tours usually last between 90 minutes and two hours but tours can be designed to meet your interests and to suit your schedule.

Scheduled walks are available. Prices for scheduled group walks are £19.00 per person, £36.00 for two people, plus booking fees. Contact me directly for the fees for private tours.

“David was so knowledgeable and he showed us the most unique places in our area. Places and stories I had never heard being someone who lived here at one point. He is the BEST! Definitely worth booking for a tour” Caroline

Contact David for a private and/or bespoke tour. Prices for private tours are available on request.

Or phone 07970 852788

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the tour guy travel blog

The 11 Best London Tours To Take in 2024 and Why

Brie Greenhalgh Last Updated: January 18, 2024

London is one of Europe’s oldest cities, which means there is a lot to explore in and near the city. It can be difficult to decide just which tours you want to book. From Stonehenge day trips and Harry Potter tours to walking tours of London’s top attractions, here are the best London tours to take and why we think you’ll love them.

Pro Tip:  Planning what to do on your trip to London? Bookmark this post in your browser so you can easily find it when you’re in the city. Check out our  guide to London  for more planning resources, our  top London tours  for a memorable trip, and  how to see London in a day .

Should You Take a Tour in London?

Short answer: Yes, it’s one of the best places to take advantage of a passionate, knowledgeable guide who knows England’s complex yet lively history!

London has a storied past filled with Romans, crusades, and powerful monarchs who oversaw one of the world’s largest empires. While the city you see today is a fantastic blend of modern alongside ancient—meshed surprisingly well—it can be overwhelming to get to all the places you want to see, from the Tower of London to Buckingham Palace .

And famous sites like Stonehenge aren’t even in the city at all. So, if you’re coming from a country where you drive on the right side of the road (ahem), you might not feel comfortable driving on those lovely countryside roads. These are just a few reasons why booking a tour in London is worth i t. And our clients agree!

history tour in london

Not ready to book a tour? Find out if London tours are worth it .

The 11 Best Tours in and Around London To Take

If London has been calling your name, then make sure you’ve planned in advance what you really want to see. Why? Because London is really, really big with some of the most incredible attractions a day’s trip away too.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to look for ideal tours in London that make your day hassle-free, filled with memories, and unforgettable. Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Bath, Stonehenge—explore all of these and more on one of the best London tours!

1. London in a Day Walking Tour with Westminster Abbey and Tower of London 2. Early Entry Tower of London Tour with the Beefeaters 3. London Walking Tour with Westminster Abbey and Changing of the Guard 4. The Buckingham Palace Royalty Tour 5. Legends and Lore Tours of the Tower of London 6. Windsor Castle , Stonehenge, and Bath Day Trip from London 7. Exclusive Meet & Greet Tour with the Tower of London Beefeaters 8. Early Access Stonehenge Morning Tour from London with Inner Circle 9. The Magic of Harry Potter : Warner Bros Studios & Walking Tour of London 10. After Hours Stonehenge Inner Circle Tour from London 11. The Ultimate London Speedboat Adventure

1. London in a Day Walking Tour with Westminster Abbey and Tower of London

history tour in london

Westminster Abbey

Your full-day tour of London starts at Westminster Abbey with skip-the-line tickets and a guided tour of this ancient church. It’s the site of famous churches, funerals, and every British coronation ceremony since 1066 AD! There’s a lot to discover so you’ll appreciate having a guide who knows exactly where to spend your valuable time here.

Pro tip: If you head towards your meeting point early, you’ll have time to snap pictures of the imposing Big Ben clocktower at the Houses of Parliament!

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

After your visit to Westminster, it’s time to quickly head over to the Mall to watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony (certain days) or the Changing of the Horse Guard. You’ll get more than just a moment’s view of this famous event since your guide will lead you through the entire process at Buckingham Palace. Did you know only one set of guards wears the traditional black and red uniforms? Learn all about it, thanks to your guide!

River Thames Boat Ride

Now that you’ve walked through London’s central attractions, it’s time to head afield with the help of some transportation. A ride down the River Thames is the perfect way to see London from a new angle. Watch for Shakespeare’s Globe Theater re-creation, the London Eye, and Tower Bridge. You’ll travel to your next stop: the Tower of London.

Tower of London

Here your guide will unveil the deep history of Britain’s oldest fortress, which has Roman origins! Get to know the history of Thomas Moore, Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII, Walter Raleigh, and more. Plus, step into the museum where the ostentatious crown jewels are kept. This London tour makes all of this easy to do and incredibly rewarding too.

Highlights:

  • See the best of London’s top attractions in a single day
  • Skip-the-line entry at Westminster Abbey
  • Changing of the Guard ceremony (certain days)
  • Pictures of Buckingham Palace
  • Free time for lunch
  • Transportation to the Tower of London included
  • Quicker entry and guided tour at the Tower of London
  • Entry to see Crown Jewels
  • Free time to walk across Tower Bridge at the end of your tour

Not ready to book a tour? Check out our  London Guide for more resources.

2. Early Entry Tower of London Tour with the Beefeaters

beefeater talking with crowd

Open the Gates

For certain days in the spring and summer, you can enjoy a limited experience of watching the Beefeaters open the gates at the Tower of London. They’re an entertaining, though important, part of this historical tradition, you’re sure to laugh as they complete their duties with a few jokes. Plus, you get an early entrance before the crowds!

Your local guide can’t wait to show you the rest of the Tower of London. It’s both haunted and historic, so listen to their tales at the Beefeater’s Quarters and the Bloody Tower. They’ll help you navigate this massive estate easily.

And, of course, you’ll get to go inside the Jewel House to see the 140 pieces of the royal collection of valuables and jewels. From the White Tower to Tower Green, your tour of the Tower of London will be unforgettable.

  • Early entry to the Tower of London
  • Exclusive opening ceremony with Beefeater guards
  • Guided tour of the walls, grounds, and many buildings
  • Entry to the Jewel House for the crown jewels
  • Free time to explore the grounds or nearby Tower Bridge

Not ready to book a tour? Find out if a tour in London is worth it .

3. London Walking Tour with Westminster Abbey and Changing of the Guard

people and guide standing in Westminster abbey

Clients love our skip-the-line access to the famous Westminster Abbey where they can enjoy a few minutes of quiet time with their guide in the nave of the abbey before the public enters. This is the oldest part of the entire church, and your guide will share its unique history as you stand in near-quiet solitude here.

The abbey is also full of the tombs and effigies of many famous Brits dating back several centuries. The famous Poet’s Corner will intrigue you as you see whose names are buried there—some you’ll recognize and might even surprise you! Explore the tombs of kings and queens, then see the coronation chair in the Quire as you learn who gets to sit in those tiny seats.

Finally, you’ll also get a chance to see the famous Changing of the Guard ceremony. This happens every day in June and July, but only on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays the rest of the year. Your guide knows just how to help you see the most of this auspicious event and will explain exactly what’s happening too.

  • Skip-the-line entry to Westminster Abbey
  • Guided visit to Britain’s most famous church

Not ready to book a tour? Check out our  best Westminster Abbey tours to take and why .

4. British Museum Guided Tour in London

history tour in london

The British Museum is undoubtedly one of the world’s most significant collections. When I find myself in London, I always try to stay nearby so I can head in for an hour or so each morning, taking my time to explore each section in detail.

But not everyone has that luxury or that interest. If time is limited, or you want to ensure you don’t miss anything key without doing hours of research, then why not sign up for this expert-led two-hour guided tour?

You will be led through the expansive museum’s most impressive highlights, detailing the fascinating history behind each collection. Marvel at the amazing ceiling of the Great Court, learn about the famous Rosetta Stone, admire the Parthenon Sculptures, and explore the Ancient Egyptian galleries.

After your tour, you can continue exploring the rest of the museum’s many treasures on your own!

  • Learn about the history and significance of each collection
  • Expert, licensed guide
  • Informative walking tour of the British Museum
  • Admire the glass roof of the Great Court
  • See the famous “Rosetta Stone”
  • Witness the Parthenon Sculptures
  • Visit stunning Ancient Egypt galleries and collection of Egyptian mummies
  • See the Winged Bulls from Khorsabad

4. The Buckingham Palace Royalty Tour

people posing in front of buckingham palace

St. James Park and the Mall

Start with a guided stroll like a proper Londoner through a tranquil garden that has quite a past. Your guide has stories about its history as a deer park before it became a usable area for the public. Then learn how the important avenue leading from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square came to be. The Mall has been used as a processional and ceremonial road for centuries, and you just might feel like a royal as you walk it with your guide.

Buckingham Palace

This tour includes your ticket to Buckingham Palace, and it will be a meaningful experience since your guide has prepared you with stories and things to watch for as you explore inside. Only audio-guided tours are allowed in the summer, but you’ll have a leg up on the other travelers who didn’t have a morning guide with them. Envision life like a royal in the State Rooms and Throne Room.

  • Guided tour of St. James Park and the Mall
  • Entry to Buckingham Palace
  • Audio guide for Buckingham Palace

Not ready to book a tour? Check out how to visit Buckingham Palace .

5. Legends and Lore Tour of the Tower of London

best london tours

Cruise the River Thames

With a start in the famous Trafalgar Square, you’ll follow your guide to the River Thames to board a Thames Clipper boat. See London’s modern skyline with the beloved St. Paul’s Cathedral rising proudly between the skyscrapers as your guide explains each building. Get familiar with London’s other sites like the London Eye, Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, the Oxo Tower, Tower Bridge, and more.

The oldest fortress in London stands as a citadel on the River Thames near Tower Bridge. This unique structure has been built upon over the centuries since it’s first building, the White Tower, constructed by William the Conqueror in 1066 A.D.

Watch for the ravens and learn about the legend behind them and the British monarchy. Then try to distract a Beefeater guard before heading in to see the crown jewels. There are centuries of history, executions, and tragedy to learn about here, which is why your guide will be essential to enjoying one of the best London tours.

  • Entry to the Tower of London
  • Guided tour of the grounds and buildings
  • Entry to see the British crown jewels
  • Free time to explore the White Tower and Tower Bridge

Not ready to book a tour? Check out our  best Tower of London tours to take and why .

6. Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath Day Trip from London

The long walk at wonder castle is a definite on London tours

Round-trip Transportation from London

Make your day trip to Stonehenge easier by leaving the driving, transportation, and ticketing to a trusted guide. It’s a 2.5-hour drive out to Stonehenge, and if you’re not familiar with driving on the left side of the road, it can make for a stressful experience. Instead, when you book with us, you’ll feel comfortable as you sit back and let your driver do the work.

Windsor Castle

First, head to Windsor Castle, the former Queen’s favorite residence. Located just an hour outside of London, this castle and its grounds are a popular place to visit. If you’re a fan of the royals, it’s easily one of the best London tours to take.

While no guides are allowed inside the castle, you’ll be prepared with a narrative from your driver-guide ahead of time and your skip-the-line tickets. There are 13,000 acres here, and you’ll be free to explore the Grand Apartments, Queen Mary’s Doll House, and more.

Next, you’ll head over to Stonehenge, which is possibly Britain’s most famous ancient ruins. This 4,000-year-old structure is likely of Druid origin and fascinates visitors who marvel at its construction. You’ll have plenty of time to walk up to these mysterious stones and take pictures. Depending on the time of year, you might even have a chance to purchase some local strawberries to enjoy while you’re here!

Your final stop is at Bath, which is another city with deep roots from the Roman Empire. In fact, those Roman baths here are what gave this town its name, despite their original use by the Celts too. You’ll need to arrange your own tickets here, but if you’re not as interested in Roman baths, you might be tempted by the Jane Austen Museum.

This time in Bath is free for you to explore as you like after hearing all about it on your drive there. Be sure to check out any of the local restaurants your driver recommends!

  • London’s iconic sites outside of the city
  • Skip-the-line tickets to Windsor Castle
  • Time to explore Stonehenge
  • Lunch in Bath (on your own)
  • Options to visit the Roman Baths or Jane Austen Museum
  • Round-trip transportation from London

Not ready to book a tour? Find out if a Windsor Castle tour is worth it .

7. Exclusive Meet & Greet Tour with the Tower of London Beefeaters

Two men meet and great with a Beefeater on this London Tour

Private Meeting with a Beefeater

It doesn’t get more exclusive than a private 15 minutes with a Yeoman Warder (also known as a Beefeater). While these guards have a serious 20+ years of military career behind them, there’s nothing they love more than entertaining visitors with stories at the Tower in between their official duties. You can’t beat that!

Then you get to have your own guided tour of the rest of the Tower. From the Bloody Tower to St. Thomas’ Tower, Traitors Gate, and the White Tower, there’s more to explore than you can imagine. That’s why your guide is here to help you navigate and understand it all.

You’ll also get entry to the crown jewels that have wowed millions of visitors with their lavish decadence. Make sure to keep an eye out for the piece your guide tells you is the oldest in the entire collection—dating back to the early 1600s!

  • Private meet & greet with a Beefeater

8. Early Access Stonehenge Morning Tour from London with Inner Circle

history tour in london

Even if you’re an early bird, you might not want to navigate unfamiliar roads in the wee hours of the morning. That’s why you’ll appreciate leaving those details to a confident, local driver-guide. Catch an extra hour or two of sleep while you are safely transported to Stonehenge in the pre-dawn hours.

Stonehenge Sunrise

Watching the sunrise is always a magical moment. Make it even more memorable by seeing Stonehenge in that early morning light! These ancient stones are captivating any time of the day, but with this early morning tour, you get special access to Stonehenge before the general public. It’s a truly special experience that most don’t get to have.

Salisbury Cathedral and Magna Carta

A trip to Salisbury is up next, and you’re not too far away. This is the town where you’ll find the largest spire in the UK at the Salisbury Cathedral (Cathedral of St. Mary). Your guide will also tell you how to find an original copy of the Magna Carta, long regarded as the first accepted standard for human rights. You’ll have free time to explore this town and enjoy a break for lunch before heading back to London in the late afternoon.

  • Early access to Stonehenge before the public
  • Entry to Salisbury Cathedral
  • Free time to see Magna Carta and explore Salisbury

Not ready to book a tour? Check out our  best Stonehenge tours to take and why .

11. The Magic of Harry Potter: Warner Bros Studios & Walking Tour of London

history tour in london

London Harry Potter Walking Tour

You could wander through the streets of London trying to follow a random blog article’s recommendation to find Harry Potter’s filming sites. Or you could book a guided tour with a local Potterhead who knows just where to go and how to get there easily. From Lambeth Bridge to Southwark, see where Diagon Alley was filmed and the location for the Ministry of Magic (and much more).

Warner Brothers Studio

This is where booking a guide really comes in handy for a Harry Potter day tour. You can hop in a vehicle and let your guide easily take you to the famous Warner Brothers Studio outside of the city. Make your Harry Potter tour in London easy by leaving the details to us so you can just enjoy a few hours exploring the Harry Potter sets and gift shop here.

Then head back to London to depart at Platform 9 3/4! For Harry Potter lovers, the best London tours to take just don’t get any better!

  • Guided walking tour of top Harry Potter sites
  • See Diagon Alley, Ministry of Magic, Platform 9 3/4 and more
  • Free time at Warner Brothers Studio to see Harry Potter sets and shop
  • Round-trip transportation

10. After Hours Stonehenge Inner Circle Tour from London

best london tours

If you’re not an early bird but more of a night owl, then a sunset trip to Stonehenge is ideal. You’ll leave mid-morning with a small group on this full-day tour of some of England’s most ancient sites near London. And after a long day, you can relax while your trusted driver takes care of the driving.

Silbury Hill and West Kennet

England has its own mysterious manmade mound that is roughly the size of an Egyptian pyramid. You’ll find it at Silbury Hill, where your guide will take you first thing. Plus, you’ll stop at West Kennet Long Barrow to see an ancient burial ground that probably dates back to the Neolithic period (about 5,000 years ago!). These areas have so much mystery that it’s essential to go with a guide who can help you understand the significance of what you’re seeing.

Did you know there are mysterious circles of stones in Avebury too? They’re not quite as impressive as Stonehenge, but there are still some great mysteries to see here. Avebury is a charming town with a haunted pub. Your guide will definitely tell you all about it and recommend you eat a late lunch there too.

After your free time in Avebury, your driver-guide will transport you to the highlight of this tour: Stonehenge. What’s extra special about this tour is that your tickets give you guided access to the Inner Circle of Stonehenge for an hour after the public has already left. It’s the perfect way to enjoy this monolith in solitude at the end of the day. Then you’ll head back to London and let your driver do the hard work.

  • Visits to see Silbury Hill and West Kennet
  • Free time in Avebury with lunch on your own
  • Haunted pub tales
  • Entry to Stonehenge after the public leaves

11. The Ultimate London Speedboat Adventure

best london tours

Looking for a thrill? You might not envision an adventure activity in the heart of London, but here it is! Hop aboard one of London’s speedboats on the River Thames. You’ll zoom from one iconic monument to the next on an 800-horsepower speedboat. Best of all, your skipper is quite entertaining, so you’re sure to love the stories you hear as you take in the Shard, the Globe, London Eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, and more.

  • 800-horsepower speedboat with a skipper
  • Guided tour of River Thames sites
  • See Big Ben, London Eye, Tower Bridge, and more

history tour in london

Find the best places to stay

Where To Stay in London

Deciding where to stay at a great hotel in London can take some effort since it’s a massive city. Make your decision easier with our list of the best neighborhoods and hotels in London.

People taking a tour of the tower of London.

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About Brie Greenhalgh

Writer, editor, teacher, hiker, traveler, dreamer. With a book or pen in hand and a majestic sunset on the horizon, life is never short of fulfilling moments for Brie. She has a background in history and writing, and enjoys writing and editing for BobVila.com, The Tour Guy, and her own business.

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London History Tours

Guided walking tours in The City of London

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Walking tours in the City of London

City of London Wren church tower in Wood Street

Two thousand years ago the Romans built the first settlement here, and The City of London has been making history ever since. Saxons and Vikings, Normans, Tudors, the English Civil War, all have left their mark. One of the world’s greatest cities, and the best way to see it is by walking around.

The area inside the original Roman walls which is often known as “The Square Mile” or simply “The City” is the UK’s main centre for business and finance. This is where you’ll find the Bank of England, the Stock Exchange and many of London’s great institutions. It’s a dynamic modern city, with cutting edge architecture being carefully positioned around ancient historical buildings and the churches of Sir Christopher Wren. Around every corner, down every winding alley, is a story or historical character waiting to be discovered. Tales of fire, plague, treachery and death, all have their place here as well as joyful pageantry and eccentric ceremonies.

Your Guide to Walking Tours in the City of London

City of London tour guide mike daly

These walking tours are here to help you discover the City of London’s rich history. Join one of the public guided walks and tours. Or if you want to see something specific you can contact me and arrange a bespoke private tour for yourself. Bring your friends, family or colleagues. Come and see what The City of London has to offer.

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The History Hit Miscellany of Facts, Figures and Fascinating Finds

30 of London’s Most Famous Historical Attractions

Londinium, the big smoke, the great wen: london has experienced its fair share of change over its 2000-year history. here's our pick of some of the british capital's most famous historic sites to visit today..

history tour in london

Lucy Davidson

07 sep 2021, @lucejuiceluce.

Founded by the Romans in 43AD, London initially became an important city in Roman Britain . Although little remains from this period, some ruins remain, including parts of the Roman walls and the remains of a Roman theatre. After the Romans departed, the city’s influence waned until the site was refortified by Alfred the Great . The Norman conquest saw the city become increasingly important until it was established as the capital of England – a fact reflected by the many royal palaces and homes which still exist today.

Much of London’s history speaks for itself, with a wealth of historic sites providing an insight into the lives that thousands of years of Londoners have led. Here’s our pick of 30 of the most famous attractions – from Buckingham Palace to Highgate Cemetery – which you shouldn’t miss.

history tour in london

1. British Museum

The British Museum is one of the world’s foremost museums of history and anthropology. The museum has some of the largest and most revered collections from around the globe ranging from Babylonian stonework and Samurai armour to pottery and glass from the Roman Empire .

Three hour and children’s’ itineraries are available on the museum’s website and at the museum itself. Alternatively, free audio guides are available or visitors can book a highlights tour in advance for a fee, which take place daily. You can book this online or by calling the museum.

history tour in london

2. London Mithraeum

In September 1954 during the construction of a huge new office block for insurance firm Legal & General, builders discovered a Roman temple which sat on the banks of the long-lost River Walbrook (now a City of London street), an ancient tributary of the Thames and source of fresh water, vital to the running of the Roman city of Londinium.

The good news is that the owners of the original location of the temple, media behemoth Bloomberg have brought the temple back to life by way of ‘an innovative museum experience that will change the way we encounter archaeology.’ The resultant experience is both fascinating and superbly presented and definitely one to visit.

history tour in london

3. Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament or ‘Palace of Westminster’ is where both houses of the UK Parliament are located. Originally part of the great royal palace that had been home to English monarchs for over 500 years, Westminster Palace became the home of parliament in the 16th century after reign of King Henry VIII , when Henry moved the royal family out of the Palace of Westminster following a fire.

The original Westminster Palace burned down in 1834, and the building you see today is the result of the subsequent rebuilding by Sir Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin. The iconic clock tower, housing Big Ben, is probably the most famous part of this building and the complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site .

history tour in london

4. The Tower of London

The Tower of London, originally known as the White Tower, was commissioned by the first Norman king, William the Conqueror and work on it was underway by the 1070s. It was designed as a fortress-stronghold, a role that remained unchanged right up until the late 19th century. There is a great deal to see and do at the Tower: the beefeaters, ravens, site of the menagerie and just walking around it to soak up the history. Allow plenty of time for your visit.

history tour in london

5. Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery is a graveyard in London where the famous philosopher and political economist Karl Marx is buried. It is also the burial site of several other prominent people, including several novelists, artists, political activists and professionals. A list of famous internments can be found on Highgate Cemetery’s website. Guided tours of the East Cemetery, where Marx is interned, take place on the first Saturday of each month starting at 2:15pm and last around an hour.

history tour in london

6. Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is an iconic medieval structure and the site of many historic royal and national events, from coronations and weddings to burials and even deaths. Centrally located in London, Westminster Abbey was first constructed in the eleventh century by King Edward the Confessor , a Saxon king who dedicated this new church to St Peter.

To have an informed visit and to see the most interesting parts of the abbey, take a tour, as just wandering around can be overwhelming. Poets’ corner is one of the main attractions, it being the burial site of many prominent non-royal figures. One of the other most impressive sites is the Coronation Chair, produced in 1300-1301 under the orders of King Edward I . Its purpose was to accommodate the Stone of Scone, which the king had brought from Scotland .

history tour in london

7. Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum is dedicated to exploring worldwide conflicts throughout history. The exhibitions in the London Imperial War Museum cover, amongst other things, different aspects of the First and Second World Wars including military history, the Holocaust , women’s roles in the conflicts, wartime artwork and the political issues of the time.

The Imperial War Museum is particularly child-friendly, with temporary exhibitions such as a reconstruction of a World War I trench.

history tour in london

8. London Roman Wall

The London Roman Wall was built between around 190 and 220 AD and stretched for about three miles from Blackfriars to Tower Hill. This defensive wall protected what was then the important Roman city of Londinium. Prior to the building of the London Roman Wall, Londinium already had a fort, parts of which were now incorporated into the new wall.

Over the centuries, most of the London Roman Wall has been obscured by medieval additions and other development. However, there are some well-preserved parts which can still be seen today. The map highlights one of the more prominent remaining sections of the London Roman Wall, that at Tower Hill.

history tour in london

9. Cabinet War Rooms

The Cabinet War Rooms are part of the underground bunker complex in London where Winston Churchill and his government operated during World War Two. The Cabinet War Rooms were left untouched from 1945, when they were no longer needed, until the 1980s when they were restored and opened to the public.

Those which are open today include the cabinet war room, where Churchill’s war cabinet met, Churchill’s office, and his bedroom. This underground office block even included a canteen and a hospital. Visitors should allow at least 90 minutes to savour the atmosphere of this iconic Second World War site.

history tour in london

10. Kew Palace

Kew Palace was built around 1631 by merchant Samuel Fortrey. The 17th century palace is noted for its distinctive decorative brickwork and gables, and it is the oldest surviving building in the Kew botanical gardens .

The Palace was opened to the public in 1898. The ground and first floor rooms at Kew have been restored to reflect the Georgian era, while the second floor has remained untouched.

history tour in london

11. HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast is a Royal Navy light cruiser ship that played a role in both World War II and the Korean War. It is now open to the public in London under the remit of the Imperial War Museum. Launched in March 1938, HMS Belfast was commissioned by the Royal Navy in 1939, not long before the outbreak of World War II.

During the war, HMS Belfast took part in the blockade on Germany , patrolling northern waters from the Scapa Flow naval base in Orkney , among many other roles. HMS Belfast’s next wartime role would occur in the 1950s, during the Korean War, where she was one of the first ships to go into action to support American and South Korean Troops. HMS Belfast was involved in a few peacetime missions before finally being taken to London in 1971.

history tour in london

12. Jewel Tower

Originally part of the medieval Westminster Palace, the Jewel Tower was built in 1365 to hold the riches of Edward III , earning it the name of the ‘King’s Privy Wardrobe’. Following a fire in 1834, the Jewel Tower and Westminster Hall were the only buildings of the palace to survive.

Today, the Jewel Tower is open to the public under the remit of English Heritage. Visitors to the Jewel Tower can view its fourteenth century vault, an exhibition about Parliament’s history and view the remains of its medieval moat and quay. A visit usually lasts around half an hour.

history tour in london

13. 10 Downing Street

10 Downing Street in London has been the residence of every British Prime Minister since 1730, when it was presented to Sir Robert Walpole. Walpole, Britain’s first Prime Minister, and architect William Kent converted the three existing buildings of 10 Downing Street into a single large one, known collectively by its now famous address, connected to each other by what is known as Treasury Passage.

Since that time, 10 Downing Street has been the location from which Prime Ministers have run the country and entertained heads of state and governments from around the world. 10 Downing Street’s iconic black door hides a warren of offices and state rooms as well as numerous conference rooms, dining rooms, private apartments, kitchens and cellars.

Over the years, 10 Downing Street has undergone renovations and modernisations to bring it into the 21st Century. It is not possible to tour 10 Downing Street, except of course by invitation, although the official website does have a virtual tour. There are also several audio files available on the Downing Street website detailing the building’s history and that of its residents.

history tour in london

14. Banqueting House

The Banqueting House in Whitehall, near Horseguards Parade, is the only complete building of the Palace of Whitehall to remain standing. The original Palace of Whitehall was acquired from Cardinal Wolsey by Henry VIII and was a royal residence until James I came to the throne in 1603.

From 1654 until 1658, the Palace of Whitehall was the home of the revolutionary and statesman, Oliver Cromwell . After the restoration of King Charles II to the throne in 1660, the Palace of Whitehall once again became the royal residence and the Banqueting House once again was used for its original purpose. In 1698, a huge fire burned Whitehall Palace to the ground. Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to convert the Banqueting House into a chapel to replace the one destroyed in the fire.

history tour in london

15. Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace has been the official residence of Britain’s monarchs since 1837, at the start of the reign of Queen Victoria . With its 775 rooms, Buckingham Palace was originally built for the Dukes of Buckingham at the beginning of the eighteenth century.

In 1761, Buckingham Palace, then known as Buckingham House, was acquired by George III who rechristened it “The Queen’s Residence” and had it remodeled by Sir William Chambers. When the building passed to George IV , he continued the renovations, and, from 1826 under the remit of architect John Nash, began transforming Buckingham Palace into the building with which we are familiar today. These changes took around 75 years to implement. The first monarch to actually live there was Queen Victoria. Today, Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of Queen Elizabeth II.

history tour in london

16. Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace is a medieval palace once favoured by Henry VIII which has served as everything from a royal residence to a prison . In 1514, Thomas Wolsey , soon to be made cardinal, leased Hampton Court for a period of 99 years. He began rebuilding on a grand scale, converting Hampton Court into a lavish palace.

Upon the fall of Wolsey, Henry VIII took Hampton Court Palace for himself. Henry set about further renovation of Hampton Court Palace, rebuilding and extending the existing palace, at a staggering cost of over £60,000. The palace was used as a country retreat by Edward VI and Mary I . Elizabeth I used it as a venue for diplomacy and Hampton Court Palace was also used by James I, but none of them altered the buildings to any great extent.

history tour in london

17. Kensington Palace

Originally built for the Earl of Nottingham, Kensington Palace was acquired by King William III in 1689, after he and his wife, Mary II , had taken the throne from her father, James II . They employed Christopher Wren to rebuild and improve it.

Other monarchs enjoyed the atmosphere at Kensington Palace. These included Queen Anne , Mary’s sister, and her husband Prince George of Denmark. Her successor to the British throne, George I, had new state rooms built, and Queen Caroline, wife of George II, had the gardens laid out. In the time of George III, Kensington Palace ceased to be the monarch’s residence, and it housed some of the more minor Royals.

history tour in london

18. Nelson’s Column

Nelson’s Column is a tribute to one of the great men in British history: Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson , victor of many naval battles, including the Battle of Trafalgar (hence the name of the square). Constructed in the nineteenth century, Nelson’s Column commemorates the death of this iconic figure.

Nelson’s Column is the best known of the statues in Trafalgar Square. One plinth still awaits a permanent tenant, and is currently used for a series of exhibits by British artists.

history tour in london

19. Eltham Palace

Eltham Palace is a spectacular Art Deco palace built in the 1930’s alongside a 15th Century medieval hall. The Great Hall of Eltham Palace is still extant and was originally built for the Yorkist king Edward IV in the 1470s and his grandson, Henry VIII, spent much of his childhood here.

However, the ‘new build’ at Eltham Palace, dating from the 1930s is a wonderful example of Art Deco. When Stephen and Virginia Courtauld built their 1930s Art Deco mansion beside the Great Hall of medieval Eltham Palace, they created a masterpiece of 20th century design.

history tour in london

20. Tower Bridge

The impetus to build Tower Bridge began gaining momentum in 1876, when it was decided that there was a need for a bridge to the east of London Bridge to accommodate the increasing commercial development in that part of the city. A competition was launched for the design of this new bridge, as a result of which city architect Horace Jones and engineer John Wolfe Barry were chosen to collaborate on the project.

Tower Bridge was opened in 1894 by the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII). The walkways, much used by the population, were closed to the public from 1910 to 1982 as many ‘undesirables’ were using it. They were reopened in 1982 and now Tower Bridge offers a wonderful exhibition on its structure and engineering.

history tour in london

21. Battle of Barnet

The Battle of Barnet took place on the 14th of April 1471 and was one of the most decisive and bloody encounters of the Wars of the Roses .

There is little left of the battlefield now, but there is a monument on the A1000 road, which gives as good a view as any of the battlefield, which is now agricultural land, with little in the way of public footpaths. Like many of these medieval battlefields, the actual site is disputed, and is always under review.

history tour in london

22. The London Royal Air Force Museum

The Royal Air Force Museum (RAF Museum) in Hendon in North London has a series of exhibitions dedicated to the history of the RAF and aviation in general. Housing a fantastic collection of over 100 aircraft, the RAF museum has an impressive selection of planes including some of the most famous to have ever graced the skies.

Also on show at the London Royal Air Force Museum are a series of objects and structures from throughout the history of aviation, such as two World War I hangars, a World War II Battle of Britain exhibition and a timeline of aviation history.

history tour in london

23. Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum, better known as the V and A, in London is one of the world’s most prominent museums of design and decorative art.

Housing a vast array of items from around the world and throughout history, including Ancient Chinese art, Indian sculptures and medieval and renaissance masterpieces, the millions of artefacts and works displayed by the Victoria And Albert Museum span a period of over 3,000 years.

history tour in london

24. Big Ben

Big Ben is often thought to be the name of the iconic clock tower of the Houses of Parliament. In fact, ‘Big Ben’ is the nickname of one of the bells of this clock tower, originally called the Great Bell. It is unclear exactly where the name Big Ben originated, although it is thought that it was probably named after Sir Benjamin Hall, the man in charge of commissioning the structure. Another popular, although less likely, theory is that it was named after Ben Caunt, a champion heavyweight boxer of the mid nineteenth century.

In any event, most people now think of the whole of the clock tower as Big Ben. The clock tower of Big Ben was begun in 1843 and completed in 1859, while the clock was completed later that year and first sounded its bells on 7 September.

history tour in london

25. Kenwood House

Kenwood House is a picturesque historic stately home in North London run by English Heritage. Initially built in the seventeenth century, Kenwood House subsequently underwent a renovation in the mid-eighteenth century.

Today, Kenwood House is famous for its summer concerts, held in its extensive gardens. It also houses an impressive art collection, including works by Vermeer, Constable and Rembrandt to name a few.

history tour in london

26. Apsley House

Apsley House was the home of one of Britain’s most heroic figures, Arthur Wellesley better known as the Duke of Wellington. In fact, Wellington lived there following his most famous victory, that over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

Named after the Baron Apsley, who originally built it in the 1770s, Apsley House came to be owned by the Wellesley family in 1807. The Wellesleys extended and altered Apsley House, transforming it into the building we see today. Now managed by the English Heritage, Apsley House has a range of worthwhile things to see, such as its remarkable regency interiors and exhibits relating to the Duke of Wellington. There are many things at Apsley House which belonged to the Duke, including his impressive art collection, much of which once formed part of the Spanish Royal Collection and which includes pieces by several famous artists such as Canova and Velazquez.

history tour in london

27. Fenton House

Fenton House in Hampstead in North London was built in the seventeenth century and has since remained almost entirely unchanged. It is unclear who built Fenton House, but it has been continuously occupied over the period of three hundred years.

Today, Fenton House and its gardens are managed by the National Trust and the house includes exhibits of, amongst other things, porcelain and early keyboard instruments.

history tour in london

28. St James’s Palace

St James’s Palace has been the official residence of the British Sovereign since the reign of King Henry VIII. In fact, it was under Henry VIII that the redbrick Tudor structure of St James’s Palace was begun in 1531 on the former site of a hospital. It was mostly completed by 1536. Much of this original work remains today, including a gatehouse, parts of the state rooms and the Chapel Royal.

With its status of royal residence, St James’s Palace has played host to many an important event. Amongst these was the death of Henry VIII’s illegitimate son Henry Fitzroy in 1536, the signing of the treaty of the surrender of Calais by Mary Tudor in 1558 and the births and baptisms of numerous future monarchs such as Charles II, James II, Mary II and James Francis Edward Stuart.

history tour in london

29. Clarence House

Clarence House has been the London residence of several members of the British royal family and is now the home of the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. Built from 1825 to 1827 next to St James’s Palace, the prime location of Clarence House has made it the perfect place for royals to call home. The first member of the monarchy to live there was King William IV.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother moved in in 1953 and resided there for almost fifty years. Meanwhile, a newlywed Queen Elizabeth II also lived at Clarence House with The Duke of Edinburgh for a time in 1947.

history tour in london

30. Ham House

An opulent 17th century mansion, Ham House in London was once a bustling political playground for the courtiers of the Stuart dynasty from the reign of James I to Charles II.

Built by Sir Thomas Vavasour in 1610, Ham House epitomised the great competition for the favour of kings which was rampant during the seventeenth century and was often the battleground for courtiers competing for influence and power. In a time of intrigue and rivalry the material wealth of Ham House, still seen in the impressive collection of original furnishings and textiles, gives visitors a first-hand understanding of just what wonders were at stake for the glitterati of the English court.

Paige Minds The Gap

Visiting the Tower of London: Everything You Need to Know

A royal residency, place of execution, and home to the dazzling Crown Jewels. Built in the 1070’s, the Tower of London is shrouded in history. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Tower of London .

I’ve visited the Tower of London three times, and each time has been a delight. The first time was with my family, the second time with my friends while studying abroad, and most recently with Kevin on our tour of the UK and Ireland .

A visit to the Tower of London is a definite must if you’re visiting London ! In this guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting this impressive castle, including how to save money on Tower of London tickets, what to see while you’re there, and where to stay nearby.

Tower of London Overview

The Tower of London (officially called His Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, but that’s a mouthful!), is a historic castle in central London set on the north bank of the River Thames.

The castle has seen hundreds of years of history, from the Norman Invasion to executions. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site , the home of the Crown Jewels, and London’s most popular tourist attraction.

History of the Tower of London

Following the Norman Conquest, William the Conqueror built the Tower of London to defend his title from rebellion. It soon became the most secure castle in the country, and so it became the place to guard royal possessions like the Crown Jewels and the royal family during times of war.

William the Conqueror built the castle’s iconic keep, and the fortress took 20 years to build. Henry III and Edward I expanded the castle by adding curtain walls and by enlarging the moat.

Henry III painted the keep white, giving it the name the White Tower. These changes transformed the Tower of London into England’s largest and strongest concentric castle — a castle containing one ring of defenses inside another.

The Tower was where arms and armor were made until the 1800’s. The castle also controlled the nation’s supply of money by having all the country’s coins made at the Tower Mint until 1810.

The Tower has been an infamous prison and the site of royal murders, betrayals, and executions. Henry VI was murdered in the Tower during the War of the Roses, and the children of Edward IV were taken to the Tower never to be seen again. Henry VIII’s bride Anne Boleyn was accused of adultery and treason and was executed on Tower Green.

Touring the Tower of London: What to See

When you tour the Tower of London , you can wait for a guided tour led by a Yeoman Warder or you can storm the castle yourself. I’ve done both, and having the Yeoman-led tour is the best way to get the most information. But if you’re short on time, you’ll probably want to do a self-guided visit.

There is a lot to see and do on your visit.

At the Tower of London, you can see the ravens that effectively hold the whole of the United Kingdom together, based on a superstition that at least six ravens have to be on the grounds at all times or the kingdom will fall .

You can also meet the Beefeaters , the Yeoman Warders who have been in charge of guarding the Tower since the Tutors. I, of course, bought a Beefeater bear at the gift shop to commemorate the occasion.

Your tour includes entrance to see the Crown Jewels . You will also be able to learn about the Tower Mint, see the historic armor of past kings, walk the battlements, tour the medieval palace, unfold stories of torture, and learn about the British infantry regiment.

Visiting the Tower of London

Admission: Tickets to the Tower of London costs £33.60 for adults and £16.80 for children ages 5-15.

Admission to the Tower includes a tour with a Beefeater and entry to the Crown Jewels, the White Tower, the Chapel of St Peter, the Battlements, the Medieval Palace, the Bloody Tower, the Torture at the Tower Exhibition, the Fusiliers Museum, the Beauchamp Tower, and the Royal Mint Exhibition.

An audio guide can be purchased separately.

Hours: The Tower of London’s hours vary by season. You can view a list of opening and closing times here , along with planned closures. Last admission is typically an hour before closing.

Address: London EC3N 4AB, United Kingdom

Where to Find Discount Tower of London Tickets

My favorite way of getting a discounted ticket to the Tower of London is by using an attraction pass (because that means you’re also getting discounted tickets on other London attractions!).

Here are a few London sightseeing passes that will get you a discount on your Tower of London ticket:

  • London Pass
  • GoCity London Explorer Pass
  • London Sightseeing Pass
  • London City Card
  • London Big City Saver Pass

Top Tower of London Tours

There’s a lot to see in London! To take some of the stress out of planning your visit, opt for a guided tour. Check out this list of the top tours that include the Tower of London.

  • Tower of London Early Access Tour with Beefeater
  • VIP Early Access – Opening Ceremony Tower of London with Crown Jewels & Tower Bridge
  • Best of Royal London including Tower of London, Changing of the Guard , and Cruise

Hotels Near the Tower of London

Find a place to stay near the Tower of London. Here are the closest hotels to this impressive fortress:

  • DoubleTree by Hilton London – Tower of London
  • citizenM Tower of London Hotel
  • Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square
  • The Tower Hotel
  • Tower Suites by Blue Orchid

Tower of London FAQ

What is the tower of london.

The Tower of London is a historical castle and fortress in London that has served throughout history as a Royal Palace, Mint, Zoo, and Prison. It currently houses the Crown Jewels, is a popular London Tourist attraction, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Who lives in the Tower of London?

The Yeomen Warders and their families, the Resident Governor, and a garrison of soldiers live in the Tower of London today. There is a doctor, a chaplain, and even a pub.

When was the Tower of London built?

William the Conqueror began building the Tower of London in 1066. The White Tower was built in 1078.

Where is the Tower of London?

The Tower of London is located in central London, England on the banks of the River Thames.

How long is the Tower of London tour?

The Yeoman-led tour takes about 1 hour. The audio guide tour can be taken at your own pace.

What was the Tower of London used for?

The Tower of London has been used as a fortress, a royal palace, a mint, a zoo, the home of the Crown Jewels, a tourist attraction, and more.

How long to spend at Tower of London?

You should plan to spend at least 2-3 hours at the Tower of London. This will allow you to see the highlights. If you plan to tour the castle in-depth, then you might end up spending much of the day here.

Castle Count: 2

For another great castle to visit near London, check out Windsor Castle just a short day trip away in Windsor, England.

More London Resources

  • A Self-Guided WWII London Tour: 8 Top WWII Sites in London
  • King Arthur Tour from London: Top King Arthur Sites
  • 37 Free Things To Do in London
  • 2 Days in London: The Perfect Weekend Itinerary
  • 10 Incredible Day Trips from London, England
  • Getting Engaged in London: A Romantic London Itinerary

Ready to visit the Tower of London in London, England? Plan your trip with these tips.

  • Book your flight:  Find the cheapest flights using  Skyscanner , my favorite flight search engine.
  • Find accommodation: You can find top hotels in London using Booking.com.
  • Get packing:  Make sure you’ve packed everything you need with my packing list resources .

Have you visited the Tower of London in London, England? Tell me about your visit in the comments.

The post Visiting the Tower of London: Everything You Need to Know appeared first on Paige Minds The Gap .

A royal residency, place of execution, and home to the dazzling Crown Jewels. Learn more about visiting the Tower of London here.

history tour in london

Celebrate Women’s Achievements At These Free Tours Of The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum are honouring Women's History Month with free tours of their incredible collection, celebrating women's stories in science, biology, and beyond!

Jack Rattenbury

March marks Women’s History Month here in the UK, with London always buzzing with fantastic things to do throughout its entirety. One exciting offering comes from the Natural History Museum , who have organised specialised (and completely free) tours of the museum from female perspectives.

From groundbreaking advancements in fashion to delving into historic achievements made by women of colour, these insightful tours will be taking place throughout February and March to honour Women’s History Month.

So, whether you’re looking for an excuse to make your overdue return to the Natural History Museum , or wish to celebrate Women’s History Month in a fun and unique way, consider checking out these fantastic tours that are available to book online .

Displays at the Natural History Museum in London

Women in Science at the Natural History Museum

  • Women in Science Tour – Discover fascinating stories about women in science, including some who’ve worked at the museum itself. Learn about the evolution of women’s voices in the industry through the “gripping histories” housed at this adored institution.
  • Women in Science Tour: Space – Tour the museum’s fantastic space paraphernalia and hear all about the women “whose contributions changed our understanding of space.” From a rare meteorite to cutting-edge technology and science, you’ll learn about the work and research of female space scientists.
  • Women in Science Tour: Palaeontology – If you’re interested in fossils and ancient species, then this is the tour for you. From evolution to the first-discovered species, this fascinating tour unearths the past and present of female paleontologists, as well as their contributions to understanding life here on Earth.
  • Women in Science Tour: Fashion – Learn about the relationship between nature and fashion at this specialised tour of the museum’s renowned collection from a fashion perspective. From its impact on the planet to female pioneers in the industry, discover how the fashion and science worlds are rightfully intertwined.
  • Women in Science: Women of Colour – Hear riveting and inspirational stories about Black scientists and scientists of colour, as well as how they’ve contributed to the science world both at the museum and at large.

Inside the Natural History Museum in London

All of the tours will be taking place a handful of times throughout February and March . For more details, dates, and to book, click here to visit the Natural History Museum’s website. Tours are free of charge but donations are advised.

history tour in london

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More than 10,000 pro-Palestine demonstrators marched through London on Saturday

Thousands join pro-Palestine marches in London and Edinburgh

Demonstrations first in UK since UN’s international court of justice ordered Israel to ensure acts of genocide not committed in Gaza

  • Middle East crisis – live updates

Thousands have marched in London and Edinburgh as pro-Palestine demonstrators called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Saturday’s marches were the UK’s first national demonstrations since the UN’s international court of justice ordered Israel to ensure acts of genocide are not committed in Gaza.

About 10,000 marched in London on Saturday. Along with other protesters, Jewish groups backed calls for a ceasefire, displaying banners calling for the Israeli leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, to secure a hostage deal and chanting: “Netanyahu, shame, shame, not in our name.”

Other protesters carried banners that read: “End the killing”, “Free the children”, “Freedom to Palestine” and “Boycott Israel”.

Tens of thousands of protesters in London march in solidarity with the Palestinian people and to demand an immediate ceasefire to end the war on Gaza.

Thousands of pro-Palestine supporters also gathered in Edinburgh on Saturday in support of an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Arranged by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, spokesperson Mick Napier said: “Israel needs to act on last week’s Order of the World Court, which requires that it take measures to prevent further genocide, and stop preventing aid getting to the 2 million people of Gaza. The only way that is possible is with an immediate ceasefire, which is what we are calling for. While the Scottish Parliament has at least called for a ceasefire, the UK government, as usual, has been entirely complicit in Israel’s crimes.”

In London, Scotland Yard estimated about 10,000 demonstrators had marched through the West End, with the crowd swelling to 20,000 for the speeches in Whitehall. BBC reports described the atmosphere as “peaceful”.

Police said people were seen trying to disrupt the protest in Haymarket and a woman was arrested on suspicion of setting off a smoke bomb or flare.

A second woman, who was allegedly chanting slogans that may incite racial hatred, was arrested over a suspected public order offence.

Organisers had expressed concerns that the Metropolitan police would take a harsher approach compared with previous demonstrations, accusing the force of bowing to political pressure from the government to restrict the marches.

The Met said officers monitored the march for offensive placards, chants and banners and that it used CCTV to spot other offences and find suspects. It had previously announced officers would be authorised to demand the removal of face coverings they believed were being worn to conceal a person’s identity, throughout the borough of Westminster, from 10am on Saturday to 1am on Sunday. The force said this measure would not apply to religious face coverings.

Chris Nineham, the vice-chair of Stop the War, said: “This is yet another example of the police attempting to criminalise Palestine protests and in the process chipping away at civil liberties. They are deliberately trying to raise tensions and to create the impression that people marching for peace and an end to a genocide are a threat to society. It’s an absolute disgrace.”

Ppro-Palestine protesters marching in Edinburgh on Saturday.

After having told organisers on Wednesday the Met would not allow demonstrators to end with a rally on Whitehall, where marches have regularly ended, the force made a U-turn on Thursday and said the march could end near Downing Street .

A request for two end rallies, including one in Trafalgar Square, was denied, however, with the Met saying they would have hundreds of officers on duty but fewer resources than on previous march days to police the protests.

In a statement, the force said: “The vast majority of those joining protests have done so in a lawful and peaceful way but a minority have broken the law and arrests have been made [at previous marches].”

Deputy assistant commissioner Matt Ward, who is leading the policing operation, said: “We respect the right of people to protest, but other Londoners and visitors have rights as well.

“I understand the cumulative impact of repeated protests since October on businesses, residents and those who want to travel into the West End. Getting the balance between competing rights can be difficult, but we will do it independently, impartially and always within the law.”

Protesters marching on London on Saturday with a sign saying ‘Not in our name’.

Just over a week ago, the international court of justice ordered Israel to ensure its forces did not commit acts of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza . In an interim judgment, the president of the court, Joan Donoghue, said Israel must “take all measures within its power” to prevent acts that fall within the scope of the genocide convention and must ensure “with immediate effect” that its forces do not commit any of the acts covered by the convention.

Earlier in January, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign organised a march of hundreds of thousands of people through central London. Little Amal, a 4-metre puppet of a Syrian child refugee, accompanied protesters as they marched towards Parliament Square. The following weekend, hundreds joined a multi-faith peace march in solidarity with people affected by the conflict.

The Gaza health ministry says at least 27,131 Palestinians have been killed and 66,287 have been injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza since the 7 October Hamas attack on Israel, in which 1,200 people were killed and about 250 abducted. Satellite images analysed by the UN Satellite Centre show that 30% of Gaza Strip’s buildings have been destroyed or damaged. Unicef estimated on Friday that 170,000 children in Gaza were unaccompanied or had been separated from their families.

Saturday’s demonstration was the eighth National March for Palestine organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign since October.

  • Metropolitan police
  • Palestinian territories

More on this story

history tour in london

Pro-Palestine march in London will end near Downing Street, say police

history tour in london

Met accused of bowing to political pressure with Palestine march curbs

history tour in london

UK, US and other countries to pause funding for key UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees

history tour in london

Rish! rationalises his new bombing habit to a nonchalant Commons

history tour in london

Families of four Israeli hostages urge Rishi Sunak to push for their release

history tour in london

‘War hurts our hearts’: silent multi-faith peace walk held in London

history tour in london

Cameron to be asked to clarify claim he took no decision over Israel arms sales

history tour in london

Keir Starmer says Netanyahu ‘wrong’ to reject Palestinian state

history tour in london

Foreign Office lawyers ‘unable to conclude if Israeli bombing was lawful’

history tour in london

Unions tell Starmer of members’ anger over Gaza ceasefire position

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  2. Visiting the Tower of London: 10 Top Attractions

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  3. The Tower of London Historical Facts and Pictures

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  4. Tower of London: Where History Lives On

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  5. A Visitor's Guide to the Tower of London

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  6. National Gallery Tour

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COMMENTS

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  3. Uncover the Past: Best Historical Walking Tours in London 2024

    Top historical tour companies in the city offer a wide range of walking tours that delve into the rich history of London, allowing visitors to explore its fascinating past. Historical walking tours in London provide a unique opportunity to experience the city's iconic sights up close and learn about their significance.

  4. Historic London Tours: walking tours of London

    +44 (0) 7783 401 129 Historic London Tours Guided walking tours of London's fascinating history Click here to view my tours Five-star rated historic walking tours of London Welcome to Historic London Tours! About Historic London Tours Private London Walking Tours About Historic London Tours

  5. THE TOP 10 London Historical Tours (w/Prices)

    Historical Tours Questions? (888) 651-9785 Top London Historical Tours Historical Tours City Tours Cultural Tours Private and Luxury Archaeology Tours Private Sightseeing Tours Half-day Tours Full-day Tours Walking Tours Architecture Tours Rail Tours Plantation Tours Religious Tours Day Trips Photography Tours Literary Tours Night Tours

  6. 13 Best Historical Tours of London to Book in 2024

    1. Hidden London Walking Tours On this tour, you'll follow your guide along the quiet side streets of the city. Journey off the beaten path to London's most unusual sights. On the historical and unusual walking tour of London's hidden attractions, you'll get to; Visit an old Cabman's shelter.

  7. Private London History Tour

    Uncover London's tumultuous 2,000-year history in the company of a local historian on this walking tour, broadly covering the history of England's capital. Providing an overview of London from Roman outpost to cutting-edge world capital, this walk is history-focused, tracing the city's long ...

  8. THE TOP 10 Historical Tours in London (w/Prices)

    Home Things to do in United Kingdom Things to do in England Things to do in London London Tours Art & Culture Culture Historical Tours Questions? (888) 651-9785 Top London Historical Tours Historical Tours City Tours Cultural Tours Private and Luxury Archaeology Tours Private Sightseeing Tours Half-day Tours Full-day Tours Walking Tours

  9. The Best History Tours of London

    The Tower of London is one of England's most famous locations, and it has an almost unparalleled history. Guarded by Beefeaters (officially known as the Yeomen Warders of Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London), it is absolutely iconic. The guards are ceremonial, and they are all retired members of the armed services.

  10. Discover the Capital's Incredible Past On Self ...

    Stops on the History Tour of London Stop One - London's Roman Wall . We'll start our tour where the history of London really begins in earnest: with the Romans. London owes much to these conquerors from the Italian peninsula, not least its name. The word London comes from the Latin Londinium, which is what the Romans would have called ...

  11. Top London Tours for History Lovers

    Learn about the Black history of London. Black History Walks deserve a top spot on our list of London tours for history lovers, offering a range of tours where you can get to know all about the rich Black history of London. All tours are led by expert guides (usually Tony, the founder), covering topics spanning more than 3500 years and 15 different areas, including Regents Canal, St. Paul's ...

  12. 5 Historical Walks in London

    2. Greenwich Walk. Next on my list of historical London walking tours is Greenwich. This part of the city is known for its maritime history, royal residences, famous observatory, covered market, and great London views. My self-guided London walk will take you from the River Thames to the Royal Observatory and through the markets and side ...

  13. 21 Top Sites in London for History Lovers

    1. Tour The Tower of London We have to start with The Tower of London - it is one of the most iconic and historically rich sites in London. Visiting the Tower of London is a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience the rich history of one of the world's most famous buildings.

  14. 3 Awesome London History Tours to Book in 2023

    There are so many London history tours to choose from in this massive city, it's hard to know where to start. With thousands of years of history to choose from, there is a London history tour for every interest. But if you want really unique tours of London from a different perspective, here are 3 incredible tours to book today.

  15. History Tours in London

    The best History Tours in London of 2024. Experience the true heart of London with a passionate local host. Find & book the most popular History Tours today. London, England. History Tours in London. Explore Comfortably. The safest city tours with local experts. Learn more .

  16. Top 10 History Tours In London, England

    A Walking Tour of London's Fiery History. 3. Get enthralled by the ghastly stories of London's royal parks (from USD 18.0) There's no doubt that one of the things people associate London with is the presence of royalty. Aside from the palaces, much of London is also sprawling with royal parks.

  17. Walking London History

    Walking tours usually last between 90 minutes and two hours but tours can be designed to meet your interests and to suit your schedule. Scheduled walks are available. Prices for scheduled group walks are £19.00 per person, £36.00 for two people, plus booking fees. Contact me directly for the fees for private tours.

  18. The 11 Best London Tours To Take in 2024 and Why

    1. London in a Day Walking Tour with Westminster Abbey and Tower of London 2. Early Entry Tower of London Tour with the Beefeaters 3. London Walking Tour with Westminster Abbey and Changing of the Guard 4. The Buckingham Palace Royalty Tour 5. Legends and Lore Tours of the Tower of London 6. Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Bath Day Trip from London

  19. Walking tours in the City of London

    These walking tours are here to help you discover the City of London's rich history. Join one of the public guided walks and tours. Or if you want to see something specific you can contact me and arrange a bespoke private tour for yourself. Bring your friends, family or colleagues. Come and see what The City of London has to offer.

  20. 30 of London's Most Famous Historical Attractions

    Founded by the Romans in 43AD, London initially became an important city in Roman Britain.Although little remains from this period, some ruins remain, including parts of the Roman walls and the remains of a Roman theatre. After the Romans departed, the city's influence waned until the site was refortified by Alfred the Great. The Norman conquest saw the city become increasingly important ...

  21. Hidden historic sights you MUST see in London

    Everyone knows about the major history spots in London like the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey. But London has some incredible hidden gems of history that most tourists (and even...

  22. Visiting the Tower of London: Everything You Need to Know

    William the Conqueror began building the Tower of London in 1066. The White Tower was built in 1078. The Tower of London is located in central London, England on the banks of the River Thames. The ...

  23. THE 10 BEST London Historical & Heritage Tours

    Top London Historical & Heritage Tours: See reviews and photos of Historical & Heritage Tours in London, England on Tripadvisor.

  24. Walks & Tours

    A London Day includes a tour of the British Museum and a guided walk in the City of London. We give walking tours through London's church history and the British Museum to groups as small as four people. Apply for a London Day Private tours are also available. Enquire about a private tour. Other Tours Our other tours include:

  25. Honour Women's History Month At The Natural History Museum

    The Natural History Museum are honouring Women's History Month with free tours of their incredible collection, celebrating women's stories in science, biology, and beyond! March marks Women's History Month here in the UK, with London always buzzing with fantastic things to do throughout its entirety. One exciting offering comes from the ...

  26. Free Queer History LGBTQ+ Tour

    For more information on Private tours. Please note, ALL schools and educational groups should book a Private tour. View all Tours. Interested in learning about any of our London walking tours? [email protected]. +44 (0)7709 703141. Discover 2000 years of Queer History as we explore London's LGBTQ+ hub, home and playground.

  27. Thousands join pro-Palestine marches in London and Edinburgh

    In London, Scotland Yard estimated about 10,000 demonstrators had marched through the West End, with the crowd swelling to 20,000 for the speeches in Whitehall. BBC reports described the ...