London In a Day: Tower of London Tour, Westminster Abbey & Changing of the Guard

144 reviews

8 hrs

Max 20

Why take this tour?

This comprehensive London city tour is dedicated to the quintessential sights of the city: Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, Changing of the Guard, a Thames river cruise and a full Tower of London tour with access to the Crown Jewels. You'll enjoy special access with a small group and expert, local guide whose stories bring the city to vibrant life around you. They'll handle all the logistics so all you have to worry about is taking pictures and asking plenty of questions.

Highlights

  • Created with Sketch.See all of London's top attractions in a single day
  • Created with Sketch.Step inside Westminster Abbey to see the graves of some of the UK's most famous people
  • Created with Sketch.Enjoy a beautiful Thames River cruise
  • Created with Sketch.Witness the Changing of the Guard from special vantage points
  • Created with Sketch.Skip-the-line into the Tower of London

See all of London in a single day

This full-day London City Tour begins with first-entry into Westminster Abbey, which means you'll get inside before most of the crowds show up. As you wander through its jaw-dropping, gothic nave, your guide will tell you the story of its rich and tumultuous history, pointing out all the historical details packed into every surface and corner. There are ancient orders of chivalry, tombs of people like Isaac Newton and Charles Dickens, and of course, all the details from the royal weddings. Whether you are a devotee of English history or just love a great story, this is one of the most compelling buildings in the UK.

When you leave the Abbey you'll cross St. James's Park and head over to W...

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This full-day London City Tour begins with first-entry into Westminster Abbey, which means you'll get inside before most of the crowds show up. As you wander through its jaw-dropping, gothic nave, your guide will tell you the story of its rich and tumultuous history, pointing out all the historical details packed into every surface and corner. There are ancient orders of chivalry, tombs of people like Isaac Newton and Charles Dickens, and of course, all the details from the royal weddings. Whether you are a devotee of English history or just love a great story, this is one of the most compelling buildings in the UK.

When you leave the Abbey you'll cross St. James's Park and head over to Wellington Barracks. While the crowds jostle each other to watch the Changing of the Guard in front of Buckingham Palace you'll see an even better version of the ceremony from your vantage point near the Barracks. It's here that the guards - who have been protecting the monarch for over 400 years - go through their elaborate preparations and uniform checks as a military band plays them out. Nowhere are ancient traditions on better display and you'll see them all from just a few paces away. If you go on a Saturday there is no changing of the guard, so your guide will show you Buckingham Palace and tell you all about its history as a royal residence.

N.B., The Changing of the Guard typically does not take place on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. If you take the tour on one of these days, you will go straight to the Changing of the Queen's Life Guard.

On the other side of St. James's Park, you'll see a much less famous but arguably more impressive guard changing; that of the Queen's Life Guard. These mounted cavalrymen appear on beautifully-bred horses and complete a highly ritualized ceremony in the aptly named Horse Guards Parade. As they go through the motions your guide will explain the illustrious history of these special military units and why they continue to perform traditions dating back hundreds of years.

From the Horse Guards Parade you'll walk over to Trafalgar Square, the historic central point of London. Standing beneath the famous lions that flank Nelson's Column, you'll learn about the navy that spread British influence around the globe, as well as the celebrity Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson whose fame, in his own time, rivaled that of any present-day celebrity. There are also a couple of surprises scattered around the square, like a tiny patch of American soil, and the smallest police box ever made.

You'll break for lunch around midday (don't forget to ask your guide for restaurant recommendations; they know the area well and can direct you to the best spots). After lunch you'll head down to the Thames to enjoy a scenic river cruise east past landmarks like the London Eye, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Shard and the Gherkin. The most iconic of them all is the Tower Bridge, which you'll walk across as your guide gives you the surprising history of this iconic sight (hint: it's not as old you might think).

The views (and pictures) from the bridge are lovely, but something even better is awaiting you on the other side where you'll use pre-reserved tickets to stroll past the crowds and begin a guided Tower of London tour. The first thing you'll notice is that it doesn't look like a tower. In fact, it was a fortress and royal stronghold for British monarchs for some 1,000 years. The history of the Tower of London is steeped in dark tales of imprisonment, torture, ghosts, jailbreaks, and royal blood feuds. These walls have seen scores of executions, murders, and strange disappearances. Heck, there was even a zoo here for many years.

Your guide will tell you the Tower's story, including everything from humorous anecdotes about the King's menagerie, to the grim story of two possible heirs to the throne who never made it out. This is British royal history at its most entertaining, a favorite for both children and history buffs alike.

To finish your Tower of London tour in style, your guide will direct you to the Crown Jewels - the largest collection of coronation regalia in the world. Although your guide is not allowed to accompany you inside, they will give you the stories and backgrounds of the must-see pieces so when you see them, their significance will be that much more apparent.

London is not an easy city to see or even get around in a single day. We have spent hundreds of hours planning this special itinerary to ensure that it gives you a comprehensive view of the history and culture of London, mixing the old and new, the traditional and the modern, to bring the city to life in a way that most visitors never get to experience.

This London city tour provides the ultimate day of sightseeing in Europe’s most vibrant capital city. With the help of your expert, local guide, London and its history are yours to savor.

  • Sites Visited
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Tower Bridge
  • Tower of London
  • Trafalgar Square
  • Nelson's Column
  • Changing of the Guard
  • Horse Guards Parade
  • St. James's Park
  • Tour Includes
  • Tower of London tour and tickets
  • Westminster Abbey tickets
  • Thames river cruise
  • Expert local guide
  • Headsets
Tower of London
Tower of London, as seen on our London City Tour
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Latest Reviews

Great tour and guide!!

London in a day tour was fantastic!!! Our guide was knowledgeable informative and kept the tour interesting through out the day.. The only disappointing time in our tour was Buckingham palace. It seemed like we got there late and could not position ourselves to see anything. I would certainly recommend your tour to everyone


FAQ

Can I take pictures in Westminster Abbey?
No. You are not allowed to take any photos while inside the Abbey. If you want a picture of the interior, you have to buy a postcard in the gift shop.
Can I take a bag into Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London?
Yes, but only small bags. Please note that for security reasons your bags will also be checked before you enter. Here is a list of prohibited items: Sharp items e.g. knives (including Swiss army knives) scissors, cutlery and screwdrivers Paint spray Padlocks, chains and climbing gear Items that make a noise (e.g. whistles) Banners, placards and flags Liquids that are not in sealable containers