Should you do a guided tour of London?

Tour guide

With so much to see and do in London, ranging from historical sights to grand architecture, elaborate family attractions, and some of the most diverse dining experiences and shops in the world, there are plenty of reasons why booking a guided tour can be a good idea.

And with so many different ways in which to experience your tour, whether on foot, on an open top tour bus, or as part of an organised trip with a multi-day itinerary, it is not hard to see why such experiences are so popular.

For those who book onto organised tours and weekend trips to London, you will often find that you benefit from budget accommodation in London, receive access to the best daily deals across the major attractions, and are given sufficient time to enjoy each stopping point before moving on to the next. Having said that, there is a charm to planning your own tour of the city, with many visitors foregoing such organisation in favour of their own unique adventure.

In this article, we’re considering the pros and cons of both options, in the hopes that by the end you will be able to determine the best course of action and plan for you.

Why guided tours are great – and so popular!

First and foremost, we cannot downplay the convenience of booking onto an organised tour experience, which covers everything from places to stay to onward journeys once you’re finished in London – booking you into the best hotels in Lancaster UK and other parts of the country depending on the length and type of tour you are seeking.

Beyond that, guided tours provide information and insight into what you’re looking at and what can be found in the local area – whether you opt for a complete UK or London tour with the same guide throughout every stopping point, or instead choose a guided tour of a single attraction to really make the most of your visit.

When you book onto a tour, you can also be sure that for the most part you are getting a good deal. Group bookings mean the most affordable prices, with most tour companies passing on these discounts to you as the booker, to make the offer more attractive to you. This means that you will generally benefit from the best prices across your experiences and attractions, food, travel, and sometimes even souvenirs.

Having said that, convenience isn’t everything – and there are a few things worth considering before you throw your entire trip into the hands of a guided tour company.

Things to consider with a guided tour

While a guided tour offers an excellent way of making the most of your trip to London, introducing you to sights and attractions that you might not have otherwise visited, and giving you insight into the history and story behind each destination, there are limitations to guided tours. Those who book onto guided tours follow a set itinerary which can sometimes leave little time for your own adventures and exploration.

Guided tours also seek out and book specific London accommodation offers and are sometimes exclusive in the kinds of attractions they include – for example historical tours, royal tours, and movie tours.

Why booking your own tour of London is a good idea in 2023

When you take control of your own trip to London, you benefit from the plethora of different attractions and experiences that the city has to offer – with the ability to book as many different sights in one day as you like. From selecting where you want to eat, to booking your perfect hotel stay in the Park Grand London Lancaster, sorting out tickets to all the attractions you want to visit, and even finding tickets to a West End musical while you’re at it, managing your own itinerary presents the freedom to explore the city your way.

Some of the best things to add to your to-do list

Whether you opt for a guided tour or decide to plan your own itinerary and visit to the city of London, here are just some of the places and attractions to add to your list.

  • The Sky Garden. While everyone talks about the London Eye and the Shard as presenting the perfect viewpoint over London, the Sky Garden is completely free and offers a 360 degree view over London from its location towards the east of the city. All you have to do is head online to secure your visiting time, before showing your email confirmation and stepping into the lift all the way to the top floor.
  • Harry Potter Studios. This one is accessible via train if you choose to work it into your own schedule, or you can book onto a tour which takes you from central London to the studios for a magical day before bringing you straight back again. Either way, the studios themselves are located in Watford which lies to the west of London, with the tour bringing together some of the best sets and props from all the Harry Potter movies under one roof.
  • ZSL London Zoo. Best worked into a walk around Regent’s Park, ZSL London Zoo is a fun place to spend an afternoon with the family – and trust us when we say the idea of penguins in central London never gets old!
  • Borough Market. A worthwhile stopping point at any time of day, Borough Market brings together cuisine and dishes from all around the world, with a diverse selection of producers and small independent businesses selling their wares everyday – whether you’re looking for a ready to eat meal or some ingredients to cook at home.
  • Buckingham Palace and Westminster. There are tours which focus exclusively on Westminster and the presence of the royal family in and around London – and you should definitely take the time to wander the Mall and take in the elaborate architecture of both Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, as well as the Houses of Parliament.

Whether you are team guided tour or want something a little less formal that you can organise yourself, the city of London has so much to offer for every visitor.