Of all the places in the world that you could explore, London’s West End is without a doubt one of the best. Not only is this part of the city home to England’s Theatreland, it also boasts a myriad of monuments, historical buildings and fancy restaurants all just waiting to be discovered. Needless to say, the best way to truly get the grips with a new city, or even one you’ve lived in your whole life but have never properly explored, is to take a guided tour through it. Whether you opt for a bus, bike or simply your own two feet, here are some of our top suggestions for getting as much as you can out of your time in the West End.
Theatreland Walking Tour
First and foremost let us introduce the Theatreland Walking Tour. Perhaps the most quintessential West End tour on offer, this guided walk takes you through London’s most famous districts, such as Leicester Square, Covent Garden and the Strand, as you listen to the audio guide through an app on your phone. The tour is voiced by the legendary Sir Ian McKellen and will uncover the secrets of this fascinating part of London.
Free Tours by Foot: Soho, Piccadilly Circus and Chinatown
From a cesspit of filth and depravity, home to London’s least desirables, to the epicentre of culture and glamour, Soho and its surrounding area have made a remarkable transformation over the past couple of centuries. This tour offers you the chance to stroll through these once sordid streets as you learn about some of the scandals that once took place here and watch the districts metamorphosis into what it is today.
Twilight Soho Food Tour
If you’re a foodie then there is no better way to see London than through its culinary scene. This mouth-watering tour will take you away from the more commercial eateries to some local joints that serve up piles of fresh steaming food that will have you drooling before they even reach your table. Naturally, a meal isn’t complete with a beverage or two to wash it down so prepare yourself for an indulgent evening of food and booze.
Soho Punk Rock Walking Tour
Soho has such a vibrant and diverse past that there is a tour for pretty much anything, including punk rock. Whether you’re a former punk or simply take an interest in all things alternative, this guided walk is a great way to familiarise yourself with Soho’s edgy music scene. During the tour you’ll see venues where bands like the sex pistols first made a name for themselves as well as the coolest 70s hang-out spots.
Sherlock Holmes Tour
Consider yourself a bit of a Sherlock buff? Embrace your fandom by taking part in the Sherlock Holmes Tour of London as it guides you through many of the locations mentioned in Conan Doyle’s famous novels. From Holmes and Watson’s first meeting place and numerous other sites that inspired the author to filming locations for the various screen adaptations, this comprehensive tour is guaranteed to leave you feeling fully versed on the world of Sherlock Holmes.
Tours for Muggles
This tour is perfect for both children and adults, the only condition is that you love Harry Potter and want to know everything you can about his magical world of witchcraft and wizardry. The walk guides its participants through Central London, stopping off at various filming locations and literary sites. The whole time you will be briefed on the significance of where you are by the exceptionally knowledgeable guides who might as well have written the books themselves.
Are you going on any West End Tours soon? Would you recommend any others? Please leave a comment below.
Main Image Credit: Muggle Tours courtesy of Huffington Post
Image Credits: Theatreland Walking Tours courtesy of Official London Theatre
Image Credits: Soho, Piccadilly Circus and Chinatown Tour courtesy of Free Tours by Foot
Image Credits: Twilight Soho Food Tour courtesy of Eating London Tours
Image Credits: Soho Punk Rock Walking Tour courtesy of Flipside London Tours
Image Credits: Sherlock Holmes Walking Tour of London courtesy of Brit Movie Tours
Image Credits: Tour of Muggles courtesy of Tour of Muggles