London is a vast metropolis full of twists and turns, meaning that it can be all too easy for people to get lost, even if they have visited before. The road layout can change on a weekly basis, making London a confusing place for anyone not up to speed with diversions and closures. For people who want to soak up some culture it can be very daunting. Luckily there is an answer.
Guided tours have been operating for many years. There are so many different types on offer, from open top buses to coaches, walking tours and themed tours. Tourists are able to see London’s iconic landmarks under the close supervision of an expert guide; someone who knows the lay of the land and can showcase exactly what is on offer.
A guided tour can be exceptional value for money. The sheer amount that a tourist can see in just one day is often more than they would be able to see by themselves. Coupled with the knowledge from the guide, tourists will take away memories that will last forever, which is invaluable in itself.
One such coach tour offers a full day of exploration with the added perk of a hotel pick-up in Central London, meaning that tourists do not have to rush to a specific area of London to join the tour unless they wanted to. The Park Grand Lancaster Gate is situated in the heart of Bayswater in Central London, a short distance from Lancaster Gate tube station. It is gently nestled among museums, galleries, Royal parks and the Royal Albert Hall. Tourists could spend the night in one of the hotel’s luxurious rooms, ensuring high levels of rest and relaxation, before being conveniently picked up by the tour company right outside the hotel door and taken around London on an air-conditioned coach.
There are three types of tour on offer. A typical day would involve the aforementioned hotel pick-up, or if desired tourists can go to Victoria Coach Station where the tour will commence at 8am. Once settled, the tour sets off to the Tower of London passing several London icons on the way, including the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben- an impressive London landmark, easily recognized throughout the world. Upon arrival, the tour is met by a Yeoman Warder in full regalia. They are also known as Beefeaters, who then take the tour for a private exploration of the Tower, including the glittering Crown Jewels, explaining the history of the Tower with passion and pride. There is time to take a little wander away from the tour before the next stage.
Following on from the Tower, the coach then heads towards The Mall and Buckingham Palace. Sometimes the tour will coincide with the famous Changing Of The Guard Ceremony, where the Queen’s Household Regiment, dressed in their bright red tunics and tall busbies march from St James’ Palace to guard and protect the Monarch outside her official residence. It truly is a sight to behold, however if this is not occurring while the tour is there, it is still possible to see the equally fantastic Horse Guard’s Parade and the actual Palace itself.
The next stage of this coach tour is a gentle river cruise along the Thames, sailing past St Paul’s Cathedral and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. After disembarking from the boat, it is time for lunch in one of the glorious pubs near Downing Street. Tourists need to remember to bring money for this , as it is not included in the cost of the tour. After lunch there is time to stop at Westminster Abbey to take photos.
The coach tour continues to the next attraction; St Paul’s Cathedral. Rebuilt by Britain’s famous architect Sir Christopher Wren in 1673, the Cathedral is a true symbol of London. A professional tour guide from the Cathedral takes over the tour, steering the tourists through the tombs of Nelson and Wellington.
The tour then carries on to County Hall, next to the London Eye on the south side of the river. Here the tour ends, however there is still plenty to do if the events of the day have not whet the cultural appetite. The London Eye itself is still very popular, having opened for the Millennium celebrations in 1999. It is still Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel, however it lost its world status a few years ago when a taller wheel opened in Singapore. The views from the top are spectacular, giving a bird’s eye view from all aspects. Suddenly Big Ben and Buckingham Palace seem like tiny specks from inside the wheel’s capsules. As it is such a popular attraction it may be wise to incorporate the flight ticket into the coach tour price, although it is possible to buy tickets online or at the Eye itself.
As the tour finishes in the evening, before heading back to the hotel it is worth checking out the restaurants around the area, or if feeling brave, an evening trip to the London Dungeons if they happen to be holding one of their after-hours events.
Although the tours are packed into a few hours, the quality ensures that tourists come away with an incredible experience with enough memories to last a whole lifetime. With so much to see and do in London, nothing could be better than seeing it in the style and comfort of an organized tour.