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burgers

7 of Our Favourite Burger Places in London

Nowadays, food vans, gastropubs, and high-end restaurants all over London are serving their unique take on the classic American dish – burgers! Some are packed full of meats and cheese and smothered in sauce, while others are simple with just a few excellent ingredients.

With so much variety and so many offerings, seeking out the best burgers in London is no easy task. Here are our seven favourite burger spots in London right now.

1. Honest Burger

For the best variety in both flavours and locations, Honest Burger is the spot. Honest Burger started with a single location in Brixton in 2011, but has since grown to 20 locations all over London.

Munch on a traditional burger, a Korean burger, or a vegetarian fritter burger. But don’t forget a side order of rosemary-salted chips to share.

burger & chips

2. Mac & Wild

Mac & Wild is a Scottish steak and burger restaurant with two locations in London. All their meat is sourced directly from the Highlands.

Their most popular burger is the ‘Veni-Moo’, a monstrous burger with beef, venison, candied bacon, cheese, béarnaise, and caramelised onions on a brioche bun.

3. Burger & Beyond

Located in the Camden Lock Market, the Burger & Beyond food van shines amid a plethora of other meat vendors. All the beef comes from the farm they own in Colchester.

Burger & Beyond focuses on a few simple ingredients with fantastic flavour. A local favourite is the Cliff – a chuck and brisket patty aged 90 days with pancetta and tarragon mayonnaise.

burger

4. Burger & Lobster

The name says it all here. Burger & Lobster is an up-scale burger joint with truffles on their list of available toppings.

Their infamous lobster burger is smothered in garlic-butter, though the rest of the menu is simple with only a few different options.

5. Joe Allen Restaurant

Originally from the States, Joe Allen Restaurant came to Covent Garden in 1977 and has been a local favourite for American dishes ever since.

But there’s a twist – there is no burger on the menu. It is a local secret that must be ordered off-menu. It it’s available, this simple burger lets the flavour of the meat shine through with only traditional toppings and no seasonings.

halloumi burger

6. Stokey Bears

If you ask anyone in the Stoke Newington neighbourhood for a burger recommendation, you will end up at Stokey Bears with a crowd that never tires of this cool restaurant.

They are known for their extremely tall, decadent, mouth-watering burgers. The Grizzly Bear, multiple beef patties topped with double oak smoked bacon and smothered in Burger Bear bacon jam, is always a crowd pleaser.

7. Dip & Flip

Originally from South London, this small chain has spread throughout London and gained approval in each neighbourhood.

Upon first impression, the Dip & Flip menu offers straightforward burgers. However, each burger has the option to add a slice of roast beef or lamp atop the beef patty. As the name says, each burger can also be dipped, double dipped, or soaked in gravy.

Our team of London experts can point you to the best burger, breakfast, or beer in London. Contact Premium Tours today for more information on our fantastic London tours.

women shopping

Here’s Where to Shop in London

As well as being an incredible place to visit for history and architecture, London is also one the most fashionable cities in the world and is an extraordinary place to shop. Across the many boroughs, you’ll find classic British style, luxurious international designer names and hip vintage threads.

Shop some of the most expensive brands in the world under a richly decorated facade, or step into a record store basement for a one-of-a-kind mod look. The shopping opportunities in London are endless.

If you’re planning to shop in this store-dense city, read this guide for everything you need to know about where to shop in London.

The West End

The West End of London is comprised of west and central London, and it houses the largest and most diverse range of shops in the city. In the West End, you’ll find mid to high-end luxury covering a full range of budgets, from modest to limitless. The area is posh, luxurious and elegant.

Mayfair

Oxford Street

Oxford Street has over 300 shops and is known as the busiest shopping street in all of Europe. From fascinating department store window displays to affordable fashion stores, Oxford Street has some of the best variety in London stretched over two kilometres.

Oxford Street first established itself as a shopping epicentre in 1909 with the opening of Debenhams and Selfridges. Selfridges, known for its famous clock, also boasts an incredibly wide array of footwear and denim.

The locally renowned John Lewis department store has a low-price guarantee with over 20 departments on seven floors. Shop here for toys, kitchenware, fabrics and clothing at the best prices around.

Flagship stores of many international brands including Topshop, UNIQLO, Zara and Gap dot the area. If your purse strings are tight, browse Primark for fashionable bargains.

Shop on weekday mornings to avoid the typical chaos of this busy street. Note that the crowds are especially dense during the legendary January New Year Sales.

busy-london

Regent Street

Perpendicular to Oxford Street, Regent Street offers more large outlets with mid-range glamour. There are over 75 flagship stores of international brands including Banana Republic, Ted Baker, and many more.

Turn just off Regent Street onto Great Marlborough Street for a view of Tudor style on the exterior of the legendary Liberty London department store. After travelling through Asia, Arthur Liberty opened his store in 1875 to sell oriental fabrics to the people of London. Today, you will still notice a sprinkling of exotic products amidst the English ambiance.

Looking for a dose of fun? Check out Hamleys, the world’s best toyshop. Enjoy miniature trains chugging by your feet whilst model planes zip around above you. There are six floors of entertainment for every age.

Bond Street

The luxurious Bond Street is comprised of both Old and New Bond Streets, connected by the pedestrian-only South Molton Street.

Bond Street is where the rich and famous go on shopping sprees. This area is home to some of the world’s most exclusive designer names such as Prada, Armani, Versace and Louis Vuitton. In addition to expensive clothing, you’ll find exquisite jewellery on Bond Street including Cartier, Tiffany & Co. and Asprey.

For something different, check out the nearby Dover Street Market. Japanese designers created this anti-luxury space to mix art with high fashion. Though the prices are still high, perusing the all-white, ultra-modern space will provide entertainment and perhaps inspiration.

Marylebone

St. Christopher’s Place

The charming St. Christopher’s Place north of Oxford Street in the Marylebone neighbourhood is off the beaten tourist track. Meander the quaint, tree-lined pedestrian streets for an eclectic selection of boutiques.

This specialist shopping area is full of independent brands offering high-end fashion and some iconic British products. Shop for clothing and accessories at Jigsaw or Whistles. If you want something more unique with a twinge of history, buy yourself an impeccably crafted hat from Christys’, which was established in 1773.

With over 20 eateries, St. Christopher’s Place is also the perfect place for a shopping break. Take your lunch outside to sit in the courtyard and enjoy the al fresco charm around you.

Soho

Carnaby Street

In the 1960s, Carnaby Street in Soho was where teenagers rebelled from their parents in favour of the mod style. Time magazine coined the term ‘Swinging London’ with this trendy area in mind.

With over 140 shops, bars and restaurants, this colourful street is still iconic and appealing to young adults today. Great shopping events, pop-up shops and live music gigs draw in the hip, young crowd, while the collection of edgy stores keeps them coming back.

Among the boutiques selling bold vintage clothing, you’ll find brand stores such as Muji, American Apparel, Puma and Diesel. Visit Kingly Court for three storeys of delectable eateries if you need a bite to eat.

carnaby street

St. James

St. James Street

St. James Street has been the epitome of English gentlemen class since 1661. With some of London’s most well-known gentlemen’s clubs including Brooks’s, White’s and the Carlton Club, it is no surprise that this neighbourhood epitomises traditional English style.

Stop by John Lobb for high-end, luxury shoes. This family-run business offers impeccably made shoes paired with traditional English flare.

St. James Street also offers some of the oldest stores in the city. James J. Fox is the oldest cigar store in the world and Lock & Co. Hatters is the oldest hat shop in the world. Both shops even supplied their products to Sir Winston Churchill!

Jermyn Street

Want to continue exploring quintessential English gentlemen’s style? Take a turn onto Jermyn Street. Henry Jermyn, the Earl of St. Albans, developed this area in 1664 to offer menswear close to St. James Palace.

The area is still renowned for sophisticated menswear and is perfect for masculine gifts. Here you will find tailor-made shirts, smart suits and fine leather goods.

For the perfect bespoke shirt, look no further than Budd Shirtmakers. For the ultimate noblemen’s experience, shop the menswear in Hackett alongside their private gin bar.

Covent Garden

Covent Garden

In the Covent Garden neighbourhood, you’ll find an array of clothing stores plus three well-known markets. Walk through the quaint streets among vine-covered buildings and stroll into each of the three covered markets featuring arching skylights.

Jubilee Market contains the widest variety of goods and the East Colonnade Market sells handmade products. You will find children’s clothing, hand-knit scarves and even some magicians’ stalls for handmade tricks. The offerings change daily so keep an eye out for something special!

Lastly, the Apple Market focuses on artwork and household goods Tuesday through Sunday each week. On Mondays, the Apple Market sells a wide selection of beautiful, one-of-a-kind antiques.

apple market

South Bank

Gabriel’s Wharf

On the outskirts of the West End, escape the hustle and bustle in favour of the refreshing Gabriel’s Wharf in South Bank. This picturesque area hosts a variety of independent designer shops and art galleries.

There is an artsy, relaxed vibe despite the plain buildings. With a wide variety of cafes and restaurants, it’s the perfect place to stop for a cup of tea and enjoy the view of the River Thames.

Explore the nearby Oxo Tower for more small galleries and shops. What was once a power station to supply the Post Office with electricity is now an artsy tower with unparalleled views.

East London

Historically a dangerous part of town, East London is now hip, young and trendy. Shop this side of town for vintage clothing, quirky gifts, and retro antiques. You can see the best breakfast spots in East London here.

Hackney

Chatham Place

On the east side of London, Chatham Place runs north and south in the town of Hackney. As a newer shopping destination, the area is clean, sleek and modern.

Chatham Place houses a variety of luxury fashion brands at discounted prices. However, it’s best known for the Burberry Outlet. With up to 80% off, it’s no wonder that crowds flock here to stock up on this classic British brand. Try to arrive early to avoid the busloads of tourists.

This new area hosts a few other well-known brands as well. Shop Aquascutum for suits and outerwear. Check out Pringle, the classic Scottish knitwear designer, or shop quirky accessories at Anya Hindmarch.

Hackney Walk

On Morning Lane, perpendicular to Chatham Place lies Hackney Walk. This luxury outlet centre is the result of a major urban development project that was completed in late 2016.

Shop this impeccably organised area for up to 70% off a variety of designer clothes. You will find classic British wear at Joseph, luxury cashmere at Colombo, or menswear at Gieves and Hawkes. On one end, Nike has set up a superstore selling their famous sneakers and eye-catching athletic wear.

South Hackney

Broadway Market

Nestled between Regent’s Canal and London Fields in South Hackney is Broadway Market. Since the 1890s, this street has been a popular place for traders. Now every Saturday, a large market gathers where you can shop for everything from scotch eggs to vintage leather handbags. You can see more about London’s best farmers markets here.

The rest of the week it’s still possible to visit the many independent shops and pubs that line this street. There are a wide variety of exotic foods at the restaurants and unique goodies at the local shops.

On the canal side of Broadway Market, Broadway Books has NY Review titles, many small publishers and an impressive London section for travellers. For footwear, head to Black Truffles. They have an impressive range of quirky women’s and children’s shoes.

Stoke Newington

Church Street

Church Street in Stoke Newington is a hidden gem without a tube stop nearby. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Stokey’ by locals, this neighbourhood has a bohemian atmosphere, full of independent niche shops.

For the truly local experience, seek out the secondhand record store, Lucky Seven. Step into the basement for the true treasure – the hidden vintage clothing store, Lily Pad. For more retro clothes, check out Ribbons Taylor and Dirty Blonde.

Dalston

Dalston

Dalston is a young, funky area full of some of London’s best vintage shops alongside well-loved hair and nail salons. This neighbourhood oozes style.

The avant-garde fashion of LN-CC hides behind a long wood-lined hallway. For quirky vintage home goods, shop at Pelicans and Parrots. If possible, shop here in the late afternoon so you can end the day at the rum shack underneath with a happy hour drink.

For more hipster finds, Beyond Retro is a vintage superstore offering styles from the 1960s to the 1990s. Finally, stop by Oxfam. Although they have locations all over London, the Dalston Oxfam is somewhat legendary. Locals are known to stop by daily in search of the newest used designer threads.

Tower Hamlets

Brick Lane

In the Brick Lane neighbourhood, you’ll find buildings covered in soot and dust with walls covered in detailed murals. Everything in Dalston is edgy and artistic, making it a great place to shop for vintage bargains.

As home to London’s large Bangladeshi community, you will notice the street signs are in both English and Bengali, and will point you to the many well-known curry houses. In addition, there are trendy coffee shops, 24-hour bakeries, and the new Vibe Bar beer garden.

On Sundays, Brick Lane Market brings out the area’s vintage charm. Locals line the streets with stands selling a wide array of vintage bargains that rivals the selection in Dalston.

brick-lane

Old Spitalfields Market

Over 350 years old, Old Spitalfields Market is the original East London market. The market offers a wide range of goods from fresh produce to designer makeup and everything in between.

Inside the large airy hall, you’ll find independent stalls selling quirky, unique gifts, whereas the more established and well-known brands line the building outside. Among the vintage clothes and handmade jewellery, there are also well-made burgers and fancy cocktails in the nearby bistros.

Though the market is open every day, there are specialty days throughout the week. Sundays are always the busiest with the widest variety of unique goods, Thursdays are for antiques and Fridays are for art and fashion. Plus, a few days each month the market offers vinyl days, ideal for old record lovers.

Want to hit as many neighbourhoods as possible to get your fashion fix in London? London specialists Premium Tours know where to find all the best shopping in the capital. We also offer private cars for hire so you can enjoy your shopping experience in privacy and comfort. After a full day of shopping you’ll be in need of a pick-me-up so be sure to visit one of these lovely riverside pubs for refreshments.

park

7 Quiet Places in London to Get Some Peace

London is one of the busiest, most vibrant cities in the world, and life here is never short of excitement. After a fun-filled day exploring, why not recharge your batteries by taking a break from the hustle and bustle? Tucked away in the capital are some wonderfully relaxing, quiet places – here are seven of the best.

1. Kyoto Garden

Surround yourself with the beauty of Kyoto Garden in Holland Park, one of the jewels in stylish Kensington’s crown, and let your worries melt away. There are few more soothing places in London than this gem, which was inspired by Japanese promenade gardens. Stroll past blossom trees and pause by the waterfall to discover true calm.

parakeet in tree london

2. Museum of Happiness

Filled with floor cushions and lanterns, Camden’s Museum of Happiness is a relaxing space where periods of silence and stillness are encouraged. One of the museum’s key values is mindfulness, which is why it provides mindfulness meditation sessions. In a quiet, calm atmosphere, you’ll learn how to let go of stress and enhance your wellbeing.

3. Barbican Conservatory

Behind the Barbican’s concrete exterior lies an enchanting oasis just waiting to be discovered. The Barbican Conservatory is a tropical glasshouse that gives you the opportunity to find peace where you’d never expect it: in the middle of London’s fast-paced financial district. Experience silence broken only by birdsong and flowing water, and then relax with afternoon tea.

4. Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

Whether you’re most drawn to the awe-inspiring shrines, mesmerising carvings or manicured gardens, you can’t fail to find peace in London’s Shri Swaminarayan Mandir. Spirituality and tranquillity are central to this Hindu place of worship, commonly known as Neasden Temple. Meditate under the dome to fully immerse yourself in the calm, soothing atmosphere.

5. Russell Square Gardens

Bloomsbury is as famous for its elegant garden squares as its literary heritage. Some of the green spaces are closed to the public, but Russell Square’s Grade II listed gardens are open to all, and they just so happen to be the biggest and best! The tree-lined pathways give the area its magical mood, with dense foliage acting almost like a soundproof barrier, shielding you from the traffic beyond.

london park

6. The Victorians Display at the NPG

While some parts of Covent Garden’s National Portrait Gallery are busy, silence and serenity reign in the display devoted to the Victorians. It’s filled with portraits of the people who shaped the UK during one of its most significant historical periods. Why not spend time with the Brontë sisters (their famous triple portrait graces the wall in room 24) and swap the pressures of modern life for peace and quiet?

7. St Paul’s Cathedral

Seated on Ludgate Hill, St Paul’s Cathedral is not only an iconic London landmark but also the perfect place for quiet contemplation. The combination of Sir Christopher Wren’s stunning architecture and magnificent views makes St Paul’s truly breathtaking. A trip there is bound to reawaken your sense of wonder. St Paul’s is a key part of several of our tours, including the bestselling Total London tour. Our guides never tire of seeing the amazement on people’s faces when they enter.

Premium Tours will help you make the most of your time in London, whether that involves finding quiet spots or something completely different. For professional guides and VIP access to top attractions, book one of our fantastic London tours today.

 

sushi

5 Sushi Cafes in London You Need to Check Out

Food lovers have been flocking to London for years, thanks to its reputation for showcasing the finest cuisine from around the world. No wonder the capital is home to some of the best sushi cafés and informal sushi restaurants this side of Mount Fuji.

Head to the following eateries for Japanese dishes that are exactly as they should be: incredibly fresh and full of flavour.

1. Sushi Café

When you’re looking for popular London sushi cafés, how about visiting the Sushi Café in trendy Battersea? Just like its name, this eatery is straightforward and unpretentious, in the spirit of Japan’s informal izakaya venues. The café aims to provide one of London’s most authentic sushi dining experiences. Expect expertly prepared, classic dishes, such as salmon nigiri, sweet prawn sashimi and tuna hosomaki. Famous for its generous portions, the Sushi Café is ideal if you’ve worked up an appetite during a day’s sightseeing in London.

sushi-boat

2. Sticks’n’Sushi

We love Victoria – it’s not only the starting point for many of our tours but also the place to go for sushi with a twist! Sticks’n’Sushi boasts a unique combination of fish-based dishes and yakitori (i.e. skewered meats, including mouth-watering wagyu beef). So even if some of your loved ones aren’t fish fans, you’ll all find meals to tempt your taste buds at this relaxed eatery. For a platter that’s bound to please everyone, try the amusingly named Mixed Emotions, which features shrimp nigiri, chicken with chilli and other delights.

3. Itadakizen

There’s a gem of a sushi café near King’s Cross that proves you don’t necessarily need seafood to create fantastic dishes. What makes Itadakizen stand out is its focus on vegan, organic Japanese food – it’s proud to be the first eatery of its kind in Europe. Order a selection of vegetable and seaweed sushi (there are options for large and small appetites) and you’ll see that each piece is a work of art. Free food workshops support Itadakizen’s efforts to enrich people’s understanding of the relationship between diet and wellbeing.

sharing-sushi

4. Jugemu

Tucked away in Soho, you’ll find Jugemu, which shares its name with a Japanese folktale. Appropriately enough, this rustic venue is full of charm and wonder. Pass through the traditional noren curtains and make a beeline for the counter, where you can watch the skilled chef prepare sushi, temaki and other delicacies that are hard to beat. The halibut nigiri has even earned praise from a Michelin Guide inspector. Jugemu may be small, but it’s certainly making a big splash in London.

5. Sushisamba

If you love London as much as you love sushi, don’t miss Sushisamba in Bishopsgate. This vibrant venue has an unforgettable setting on the 38th and 39th floors of Heron Tower – but that’s only part of its appeal. The stunning menu, which brings together Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian culinary influences, is certainly capable of competing for attention with the panoramic views. The choice is phenomenal – you can feast on everything from snow crab to freshwater eel. If you can’t decide what to order, request the sushi omakase and let the chefs select delicious dishes for you instead.

salmon-sushi

Premium Tours knows the capital’s culinary scene inside out. That’s one of the many reasons why you can rely on us to make your trip extra special. For expert guides and VIP access to top attractions, check out our unmissable London tours.

Here Are Our Favourite Riverside Pubs in London

When the sun comes out, there’s nothing better than enjoying a drink outside while soaking up the views along the river. Famous for its traditional pubs, London also offers some great locations to laze away a summer’s afternoon right on the banks of the River Thames.
If you’re looking for a traditional pub atmosphere combined with fantastic waterside views and a bit of history thrown in too, here’s a selection of our favourite riverside pubs in London.

Prospect of Whitby, Wapping

With a popular beer garden and views of the Thames, the Prospect of Whitby in Wapping is one of the most famous historic pubs in London. Once frequented by villainous smugglers, pirates and thieves, London’s oldest riverside pub, which dates back to 1520, was also a regular drinking spot for Samuel Pepys and Charles Dickens.
The pub views have been sketched by both Whistler and Turner, while most recently the pub featured in one of the most famous episodes of TV classic Only Fools and Horses.

Trafalgar Tavern, Greenwich

Boasting fantastic views of the Thames from its magnificent Georgian windows, this 19th-century waterside pub is steeped in the maritime history of the area, and is the perfect spot to stop off for a pint before enjoying the attractions of Greenwich.
Another favourite of Charles Dickens, the pub is the setting for the wedding breakfast in his last novel Our Mutual Friend.

Anchor, Bankside

Adorned with colourful window boxes and hanging baskets, this quintessential British pub on the South Bank can be found between Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and The Golden Hinde.
Samuel Pepys watched the Great Fire of London from here in 1666. He describes seeking refuge in ‘a little alehouse on bankside… and there watched the fire grow’.
Today visitors can enjoy the views stretching along the River Thames to the City from the riverside terrace. But be sure to get there early, it gets very popular in summer.

The Dove, Hammersmith

This much-loved 17th century riverside pub in West London was where Charles II reportedly romanced his mistress, Nell Gwynne.
As well as a lovely riverside terrace boasting one of the prettiest views of the River Thames, this delightful pub also features in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the smallest bar room in the world.

The Gun, Docklands

Boasting some of the best views of the Thames in East London, this charming and atmospheric 18th-century pub in Canary Wharf was once a favourite of Admiral Lord Nelson, who would regularly arrange clandestine meetings with Lady Emma Hamilton in the upstairs room.

The Ship, Wandsworth

If you’re looking for a buzzing atmosphere and lively party vibe, head to The Ship near Wandsworth Bridge. This lovely 18th century pub has a spacious outdoor deck overlooking the River Thames and is very popular on summer evenings when visitors can enjoy live Irish music sessions and an outdoor barbecue kitchen.

Our London experts at Premium Tours know all the best riverside pubs around the capital. For more information and booking advice on our best-selling London tours, call us today on 020 771 31311 or visit us online.

Everything You Need to Know About Tower Bridge

One of London’s most symbolic structures and one of the most famous bridges in the world, Tower Bridge is a must-stop photo opportunity for almost every visitor to the capital, and should be included on your London tour.
But there’s so much more to this fascinating bridge than meets the eye. History, purpose, function and a stunning example of Victorian architecture, Tower Bridge has a character all of its own.
If you’re planning to visit this treasured and iconic London landmark, here’s everything you need to know about Tower Bridge.

History

Tower Bridge is not as old as many assume. This is probably because it is often confused with London Bridge further downstream, which has existed in one form or another for 2,000 years. Tower Bridge only dates back to the late 19th century.
In 1876, the City of London Corporation faced the challenge of constructing one more river crossing due to the high level of traffic arising from London’s East End commercial development. However, a traditional ‘fixed’ bridge couldn’t be built as it would disrupt the river traffic activities and cut off access to the port between London Bridge and the Tower of London.
Faced with this dilemma, a ‘Special Bridge or Subway Committee’ was formed and a design competition was announced to the public. The committee, chaired by Sir Albert Joseph Altman received over 50 ideas for consideration.

It wasn’t until 1884 that a final design was approved. Engineer Sir John Wolfe Barry, together with city architect Horace Jones designed a Gothic styled ‘bascule’ suspension bridge with two towers at both ends connected by 2 horizontal walkways. The hydraulically powered bascules could be raised to allow sailing ships to pass.
After receiving the go ahead from Parliament, the construction finally got underway in 1886. It took eight years, five major contractors and over 430 construction workers to build the bridge.
Horace Jones died in 1886 and was replaced by George D. Stevenson, who designed the Victorian Gothic framework in Cornish granite and Portland stone to match the look of the bridge with the Tower of London. The bridge was officially opened on 30 June 1894 by Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and his wife, Alexandra.

Facts and Figures

• The total cost of construction was £1,184,000 (around £120m today).
• The bridge is supported by two massive piers containing 70,000 tonnes of concrete sunk deep into the riverbed.
• The framework of the bridge, including the towers and walkways, consists of over 11,000 tonnes of steel.
• 31,000,000 bricks were used to construct the bridge.
• It takes just five minutes for each bascule to rise to their highest level (86 degree angle).
• Each tower is 213 ft. high.
• The total length of the bridge is 800 ft. long.
• The bridge connects Tower Hamlets on the north side with Southwark on the south side of the River Thames.
• The weight limit for vehicles crossing the bridge is 18 tonnes.
• The speed limit for vehicles crossing the bridge is 20 mph.
• The bascules are raised approximately three times a day.
• Around 40,000 motorists, cyclists and pedestrians cross the bridge every day.
• In 1974, the hydraulic steam-powered machines to raise the bascules were replaced with an electro-hydraulic system.
• In 2000, a remote computer-controlled raising system was installed.
• The bridge underwent a massive renovation project between 2008 and 2012. It now has a state-of-the-art protective coating system consisting of six layers of paint, and energy-efficient LED lighting.

Did You Know?

• The high-level, open-air walkways weren’t very popular when the bridge first opened. Due to the number of steps and dark lighting, they soon became the regular haunt for prostitutes and pickpockets. In a bid to rid the bridge of unsavoury types, the walkways were closed in 1910. They were re-opened in 1982 with an admission fee.
• In 1912, pilot Francis McClean, during an emergency, flew his Short Brothers floatplane between the bascules and the high-level walkways to avoid an accident.
• In 1952 as the number 78 bus was passing over the bridge, the process of ringing a warning bell failed, and the bridge began to open. The driver Albert Gunton, accelerated and managed to ‘jump’ the bus over a 3 ft. gap. There were no serious injuries and Albert was awarded £10 by the City Corporation for his bravery.
• In 1968, Flight Lieutenant Alan Pollock, in protest at the lack of aerial displays for the 50th anniversary of the RAF, flew a Hawker Hunter jet three times around the Houses of Parliament before flying under the top span of Tower Bridge. He was arrested on landing and discharged from the RAF.
• In 1977, Tower Bridge (originally painted brown) was re-painted red, white and blue in honour of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.
• Ships always have the priority. In 1997, Bill Clinton’s presidential motorcade was split between bascules when the bridge opened to allow Thames sailing barge Gladys to pass. A Tower Bridge spokesman said they had tried to contact the American Embassy about the scheduled opening but ‘they wouldn’t answer the phone’.
• In 2012, Tower Bridge became a symbol for the 2012 London Olympics. A set of Olympic rings weighing 13 tonnes were suspended from the bridge and the west walkway was transformed into a live music sculpture featuring 30 classical musicians positioned along the entire length of the bridge.
• Vessels don’t have to pay for the bridge to be opened. Passage is free for ships that are over nine metres in height, although 24 hours notice is required.
• When the bridge was first built, there were concerns that horses wouldn’t be able to pull their carts up the incline to the bridge, so horses were stabled at the bridge to provide extra help if needed.
• In Victorian times, so many dead bodies were washed up under the north side of Tower Bridge that it was nicknamed ‘dead man’s hole’. A mortuary was built at the bridge to temporarily house the bodies until they were collected by the coroner. Although the mortuary is long gone, visitors can still see a ‘dead man’s hole’ sign at the base of the bridge on the East side.
• As an iconic symbol of London, Tower Bridge has featured as a backdrop in many films and television series including Doctor Who, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Independence Day: Resurgence.

Visiting Tower Bridge

There’s so much more to visiting Tower Bridge than meets the eye. As well as seeing the magnificent Victorian Gothic architecture up close, visitors can also step inside and find out about the history of the famous bridge while enjoying breathtaking views of London at the Tower Bridge Exhibition.

Tower Bridge Exhibition

Travel back in time to the 19th century inside the Tower Bridge Exhibition. Entry is via a grand Victorian staircase or a four-level lift that will take you up to the north tower. The exhibition is fully accessible for all and is fully equipped for disabled visitors.
Visitors can learn about the construction of the bridge inside the Exhibition Room, which displays photos, exhibits and films including some of the 50 designs that were submitted.

Family Days

The Exhibition also hosts family days each month with hands-on interactive family-friendly activities to encourage exploration and imaginative learning. If you’re visiting with children, be sure to download the family trail app beforehand. It includes games, stories about the bridge’s history and fun interactive functions younger visitors will love.
The walkways are the settings for Tots at Tower Bridge play sessions held for younger children. Tower Bridge also holds regular yoga sessions on the glass floor walkways for both adults and children throughout the year.
There are British Sign Language guided tours the last Saturday of every month at 11am, for hearing-impaired visitors. And there are also early opening Autism Friendly sessions throughout the year.

Glass Floor Walkway

The highlights of the Tower Bridge Exhibition are the incredible high-level glass floor walkways on the east and west sides of the bridge leading from the north tower to the south tower.
The glass floors allow visitors a unique and spectacular view of London from138 ft. above the River Thames. Made up of six half-tonne panels on each level, the glass floors are perfect for getting a bird’s eye view of the bridge below, and maybe even a bridge lifting if you’re lucky to be there when one’s scheduled.
If you’d rather not look down, the walkways offer spectacular panoramic views of London including famous landmarks such as the Tower of London, HMS Belfast, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Monument.
On the east walkway visitors can enjoy the Great Bridges of the World exhibition featuring 40 of the most famous bridges around the world.

Victorian Engine Rooms

The exhibition includes a tour of the Victorian Engine Rooms, where visitors can learn about the unsung heroes of Tower Bridge and learn about the working history of the bridge and those who worked here. Over 80 workers were needed to maintain the bridge, which would have been raised around 20-30 times a day at the end of the 19th century.
Explore the coal-driven steam engines and experience the noise and smells of the historic steam engines that once powered the mighty bascules.

Insider Tips

• If you want to coincide your glass floor walk with a bridge lifting, the daily bridge lift times can be found on the official Tower Bridge website.
• Before you visit Tower Bridge, make sure you download the free app that includes a 360-degree video of the bridge being raised. You can also perform your own virtual bridge lift!
• The bridge and exhibition are fully accessible and equipped for disabled visitors. There are two lifts, one in the north tower and one in the south. Wheelchairs are also available to borrow.
• Toilets are located in both towers and the engine rooms. Disabled toilets are located in the south tower and the engine rooms.
• Benches are located along the walkways, in the towers and in the engine rooms.
• Blue uniformed staff are available for information and guidance throughout the exhibition.
• Glass bottles and glass items are not permitted near the glass floor.
• One of the best vantage points to snap a photograph of the bridge and watch one of the bridge lifts from afar, is on the South Bank or just in front of the Tower of London on the north side.
• The Tower Bridge Exhibition also features a gift shop. If you don’t have time to browse on the day, the official Tower Bridge website also has an online store.

Exhibition Opening Times and Admission Prices

Summer Opening Hours: April to September, 10.00 – 17.30 (last admission)
Winter Opening Hours: October to March, 09.30 – 17.00 (last admission)
Closed 24 – 26 December

Standard ticket prices (as of May 2018)

Adult £9.80
Child (5 – 15) £4.20
Disabled, Students, Seniors £6.80
Under 5s FREE
Family, group (10 or more), and joint Tower Bridge and The Monument ticket discounts are available.

How to get there

The main entrance and ticket office are based in the northwest tower. The Victorian engine rooms can be found on the south side at ground level. A blue painted line connects the two parts of the exhibition.
The nearest transport links to Tower Bridge are:
By Bus
Routes 15, 42, 78, 100 and RV1 all stop at Tower Bridge.
By Tube
To access the north side of the bridge: Tower Hill Station (District and Circle lines).
To access the south side of the bridge: London Bridge Station (Northern and Jubilee lines).
By Train
The nearest stations within walking distance to the bridge are London Bridge, Fenchurch Street, and Tower Gateway DLR.
By Boat
Riverboats stop at St Katherine Pier and Tower Pier on the north bank and at London Bridge City Pier on the south side.
By Car:
The nearest car park is located at Tower Hill coach and car park, 50 Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6DP, next to the Tower of London.

For booking information on Premium Tours’ fantastic range of best-selling London tours, contact our friendly travel experts today or visit us online.

Five of the Best Farmers’ Markets in London

There are many reasons why shopping at a local farmer’s market is so much better than going to a supermarket. Often organic and most definitely seasonal, produce from ethical and sustainable suppliers just tastes so much better.
A good farmers’ market connects farmers and small, independent producers directly with their customers, offering the freshest, just picked produce, free range meats and fish straight from the sea, all with guaranteed provenance and low food miles.
Here’s our top pick of the five best farmers’ markets in London.

1. South Kensington Farmers’ Market

Located just five minutes from South Kensington Tube, this lovely little market in Bute Street sets up stall every Saturday morning from 9am till 2pm.
FARMA approved, the market features just 18 stalls where you can buy fresh, seasonal products directly from local producers. Favourites include fresh, south coast fish and shellfish from Christchurch Fish; seasonal, just picked organic veg from Ted’s Veg; breads, cakes and pastries from Olivier’s Bakery; and free-range sausages from The Parson’s Nose.

2. Pimlico Road Farmers’ Market

Priding itself on provenance and low food miles this small market, which takes place every Saturday from 9am to 1pm, only sells produce that’s been grown, raised or fished within 100 miles of the M25.
Located in quaint Orange Square just off Pimlico Road, the 25-30 stalls offer a delightful array of products including unusual vegetables such as radish pods, seasonal tarts, delicious cheeses and even edible flowers.

3. Wimbledon Farmers’ Market

This family-friendly neighbourhood market on Havana Road is open every Saturday from 9am till 1pm and features seasonal cut flowers, organic meat and poultry, seasonal game, and a huge range of organic fruits and vegetables.
Head over to March House Farm stall and their wonderful selection of free-range rare breed meats and try one of their delicious beef or lamb ‘Hetties’.

4. Brockley Market

Open every Saturday from 10am to 2pm, this lovely South London market is well known for its delicious ‘street food’ vibe where you can tuck into burritos, sourdough pizza, beef patties and flatbread wraps.
The award-winning food market supports location traders selling seasonally sourced fruit and vegetables, freshly caught fish, raw dairy products, natural wines, native breed meats and locally roasted coffee to name just a few.

5. Borough Market

The most famous and oldest farmers’ market in London, Borough Market at London Bridge is a haven for food lovers, not only serving the residents of Southwark, but attracting visitors from all over the country.
The historic market features a massive range of exceptional organic and seasonal produce in a wonderful and lively atmosphere. Open every day except Sunday, the market offers a fantastic day out for visitors. Part of the Slow Food UK movement, many of the traders focus on distinctive local foodstuffs and sustainable products and are only too happy to pass on their culinary knowledge with shoppers.
The market also hosts a range of events such as cookery demonstrations and educational programmes.

Our London experts at Premium Tours can offer information and advice on the very best farmers markets across the Capital. Call us today on 020 771 31311 or visit us online.

19 Things to Do in London with Toddlers

London is an exciting, busy and bustling city. With so much to see and do, it can be tricky to know exactly what’s available to keep your little ones amused. Britain’s notoriously fickle weather is bound to make an impact on your visit, so whether we’re basking in glorious sunshine or it’s raining cats and dogs, having a great supply of interesting options is just what you need to keep the fun times going.

Luckily, most of the best London tourist attractions cater for young people, and more interesting places than ever are being created for our children, so you don’t need to feel like you’re missing out.
With that in mind, here’s our handy guide to 19 of the top things to do with your toddlers on your next trip to London, to keep them amused whatever the weather…

1. Buckingham Palace, Changing of the Guard

Taking place from 10.30am four days a week, this is an exciting spectacle for children and adults alike. Accompanied by music, the changing of the guard takes around an hour or so and is weather dependant, so check the ceremony schedule online first and get there early to beat the crowds. You can always do a bit of Queen spotting beforehand!

2. London Zoo

It’s never too early to start a fascination with the natural world, and London Zoo is a great day out for all the family. With under 3s going free, buy your tickets online in advance to get discounts and beat the queues. With plenty of interactive areas to get involved with and frequent feeding displays, there are over 660 species of animals to see. There are great family-friendly refreshment options, plenty of toilets and baby changing facilities across the site, as you would expect, along with plenty of indoors and outdoors seating areas to stop and re-group.

3. Museum of Childhood

Based in Bethnal Green, this museum is really well designed for family day out. Free admission is a good start and free family backpacks can be picked up from the reception desk, filled with age-appropriate items for children from 6 months to 5 years old, including activity ideas, a guide to the museum, and toys to interact with to bring the museum displays to life. With a great café offering child’s portions and baby foods, as well as delish cakes, coffees and lunches for the adults, everything is here for an easy day out.

4. Diana Memorial Playground

Based in Kensington Gardens, this memorial is brilliant – but busy. Open everyday from 10am, it’s best to arrive as early as possible to avoid queuing (yes, queuing for a park – that’s how good it is!). The main attraction is a massive wooden pirate ship adventure playground, surrounded by sensory trails, sculptures and tepees, all set in a beach surrounded by trees. For the younger visitors, there’s plenty of space to do their own thing and plenty of benches for the adults too.

5. HMS Belfast

Permanently moored as a museum on the Thames near Tower Bridge, this ex-warship is sure to impress if you have a big boat fan in your family! With under 5s getting in for free, they can sit in the captain’s chair and explore this massive ship through interactive displays and activities. There are toilets and baby changing facilities as well as a café and there’s a great gift shop too – perfect for those pocket money treats. You probably want to allow at least a couple of hours to explore the boat and then, when you’re done, you’re in the centre of the city with restaurants and public transport links within easy walking distance.

6. Sea Life London Aquarium

An opportunity to see the creatures of the deep is sure to wow the little ones, and with free admission for children under 3, it doesn’t cost the Earth either. A great escape if the weather isn’t so obliging outside, this is an impressive attraction for the whole family. There are feeding events daily and hands-on displays to keep toddlers entertained as you go around. It can get busy during school holidays so, if you have the option, aim for an off-peak visit to get the best views (and shortest queuing times).

7. Hackney City Farm

For over 20 years, Hackney City Farm has been giving Londoners a taste of country life in the city. If farm animals are more your toddler’s vibe – think goats, not gorillas – this is the place to be. Free to visit, there are regular activity classes for a small fee, such as children’s pottery classes and baby music classes, as well as all the fun of the farm to explore. If you’re particularly taken with a certain furry friend, you can sponsor an animal to contribute towards their care. For the grown-ups, there’s also an excellent shop selling honey from the farm’s own bees and freshly laid eggs.

8. London Transport Museum

What toddler, at some point, isn’t obsessed by buses? When the phase hits, this is the place to be – a museum exploring the history of London’s public transport network. Under 17s get in free and there is a full family guide to make sure you get the most out of your visit with the little ones. There are craft workshops, story times and hands-on exhibitions to enjoy. Its convenient location, close to Covent Garden, also means there’s plenty to explore nearby to make a real day of it.

9. Baby Loves Disco

As the name suggests, this is not a regular day out – it’s a family disco! A monthly event in London, these family discos are run across the country, with Fatboy Slim even playing at their Brighton Fringe event in 2016. Essentially it’s music adults can enjoy, played at a safe level for children from 0 years and up, with all the disco lights, bubble machines, drinks and snacks you could ever need. But don’t worry, if you don’t have the energy you used to, there are also chill-out areas for when it all gets too much and you need a sit down. Tickets need to be booked in advance, non-walking children get in free, and you can find event dates and locations on their website.

10. Covent Garden Street Performers

Magicians, street artists, singers, musicians and poets all showing off what they can do best line the streets around bustling Covent Garden. Make sure you have some coppers for the kids’ favourites and it’s an easy way to while away the hours (and there are cafes and shops right there for you, too).

11. St. James’s Park

London has an abundance of beautiful parks, but set against the stunning backdrop of Westminster, St James’s is ideal for you and the children alike. There is a wide array of ducks to feed, resident pelicans to watch, and vibrant flowerbeds to marvel at. And when that gets too much for the little ones, there’s a great café too, doing breakfasts, lunches and snacks.

12. The Dockland Light Railway (DLR)

To most people, this is just part of the public transport network of London, a way to get to work, or a normal mode of transport. But to a toddler, it is a magic train without a driver! The DLR trains are automated, which means your little one can have a go sitting at the front being ‘the driver’, while you enjoy the views. Much of the network is above ground, which means you can see some of the sights as you go, such as the Emirates cable car, Canary Wharf, and the planes coming in and out of London City Airport.

13. Science Museum

The Science Museum is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city, with displays and exhibitions on everything from antibiotics to space travel. While that does sound a bit grown up for toddlers, there are also designated spaces for the under 5s, including The Garden. Not an actual garden – it is in fact in the basement – it is an interactive space designed specifically for children between the ages of 3 and 6, where they can learn about science through play. Experts are on hand to help answer questions so you can make the most of your time there. The museum is free to enter, with family-friendly cafes open daily.

14. Tumbling Bay Playground

Part of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, the Tumbling Bay Playground is a park on an epic scale. Designed to create fun spaces from the natural environment, there are sand pits, rock pools and rope bridges between trees. There are also, of course, the obligatory slides and swings to keep everybody happy. Alongside, is the Timber Lodge community centre and café, with toilets, changing facilities and a range of hot and cold snacks and drinks for parents and children.

15. Natural History Museum

History lovers old and young have flocked to this great museum since its opening in the 1880s. The ornate interiors are breathtaking and the displays are curated to inspire and inform. Although the giant skeleton of Dippy the Dinosaur has been replaced by Hope the Blue Whale in the great hall, there is still so much to see for the avid dinosaur fans in your family. Free entry (to the main exhibitions), a kid-friendly café and specific themed events over school holiday periods means a busy and exciting day for you all.

16. Pottery Café

With cafes in Battersea and Fulham, Pottery Café has been going for 20 years and is London’s original paint-your-own pottery experience. With a massive range of pre-made items for you to decorate, and excellent coffee, cakes and snacks on offer, you can get creative with your little one here. All the paints are water based so safe for everyone – and washable! Booking is recommended and staff are on-hand (excuse the pun) if you fancy trying a handprint or footprint to commemorate a milestone for your little one.

17. Tate Modern

An art gallery may not be the first thing you think of when contemplating a toddler-friendly day out, but the Tate is not the norm when it comes to galleries! Its industrial setting means there are plenty of open spaces for toddlers to run around and burn off that excess energy, and with the dedicated family-friendly Start Gallery – a collation of the best-loved artworks – it’s a great introduction to the world of art. With a buggy park, baby changing facilities and various kid-friendly café and refreshment options, it has everything you need for an interesting and fun day out.

18. Brockwell Park

Visiting Brockwell Park, near Herne Hill in South London, is a great idea if the sun is shining on your day out in London. There is a large adventure playground including zip line, as well as a duck pond, paddling pool and recently refurbished lido for those odd occasions where it really gets hot enough to strip off! Brockwell Hall, dating from the early 1800s, is situated in the centre of the park and now houses a café for snacks, drinks and ice creams to top off an excellent trip.

19. Mudlarks, Museum of London Docklands

Mudlarks is a permanent exhibition at the London Docklands Museum, specifically targeted to children under 8 years of age, explaining the history and stories of the rest of the museum through hands-on activities and displays. With easy access, Mudlarks is on the same floor as the main entrance and right next door to the restaurant, café, toilets and baby changing facilities, so it makes for an easy and informative day out. Open every afternoon and all day during the school holidays, entry is free but you need a ticket that you can buy on the day or in advance online.

If you have been inspired to visit the vibrant capital city with your family, have a look at our amazing range of London tours, or call our team. We can help you to plan the ideal day in London for you and your toddler. If you are looking for the best free things to do in London then you can see our guide here

windsor castle lawn

10 Interesting Facts about Windsor Castle

Situated in the county of Berkshire, just 44 miles from the centre of London, Windsor Castle is one of the most well-known and favourite royal residences of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

If you want to find out more about the oldest inhabited castle in the world, then here are 10 interesting facts about Windsor Castle you may not know.

  1. In 1066 after the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror built a series of fortresses to secure the city of London and keep the unruly Saxons in their place. One of these was the Tower of London; another was Windsor Castle. The castle was strategically placed to overlook the River Thames and the surrounding Windsor Forest.
  2. Built as a fortress, the original castle was constructed from wood in the motte-and-bailey style. In the 1200s, it was reinforced with stone and withstood a two-month siege during the Barons War. Today, you can still see the murder holes in the Norman Gate from where invaders were bombarded with boiling oil.
    windsor castle
  3. Henry I was the first monarch to use the castle as a residence, while Edward III used money from his battle victories in France to make lavish expansions, making it the most expensive building project of the Middle Ages.
  4. Henry VII spent even more, around £300 million in today’s money, to update it. He used the castle as a playground for hunting, shooting and entertaining.
  5. Windsor Castle was a favourite of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. On 14th December 1861, Prince Albert died in the Blue Room here. In deep mourning, Victoria spent most of her time at Windsor or at Balmoral in Scotland and insisted his rooms were maintained exactly as they were when he was alive. She became known as ‘The Widow of Windsor’.
    windsor castle grounds
  6. During the First World War, George V wanted to distance the Royal family from their German heritage so, inspired by the Royal residence, he changed the family’s surname from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Windsor.
  7. The devastating fire of 1992 which highlighted the Queen’s ‘Annus Horribilus’, began in the Queen’s Private Chapel at 11.15 am on 20th November. The heat from a spotlight ignited a curtain it was leaning against. The extensive damage cost £36.5 million to repair.
  8. The Great Kitchen has cooked up meals for 32 monarchs including the Queen. Today there are 33 kitchen staff, 20 chefs and sous chefs, 3 pastry chefs and 10 porters. The clocks in the Great Kitchen are always set to be five minutes fast so that the Queen will never be served late.
    windsor castle turrets
  9. St George’s Chapel in the grounds of the castle is the burial site of 10 monarchs including Henry VIII and Charles I. On her death, the Queen will also be buried here.
  10. The chapel at Windsor Castle is the chosen location for the upcoming wedding ceremony between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. The young royals will tie the knot here on 19th May this year.

Our expert tour guides have plenty more facts and fascinating stories about Windsor Castle. You can see our tours featuring Windsor Castle here, or have a look at our London Tours Page for more general information.

london night

27 Fun Things to Do in London in the Evening

Historic landmarks, royal palaces and attractions galore, London is also full to the brim with fantastic eateries offering an array of international cuisines from across the globe, lively bars, gastropubs, and a wealth of museums and galleries to explore.

But the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. In fact, it just gets better. The UK capital really is the city that never sleeps, with a variety of fun activities to enjoy until the early hours.

Whether you want to continue your cultural experience, try innovative, quirky and fun places to eat and drink, or simply want to soak up the lively and buzzing atmosphere of the capital in the dark hours, London offers one of the best nights out you’ll ever have.

Here are 27 fun things to do in London during the evening and even into the small hours.

1. The Tower of London, Ceremony of the Keys

Every night at 9.50pm, the Ceremony of the Keys takes place at the 950-year-old Tower of London. Although you need to plan ahead and get tickets, the event is free to watch. The brief ceremony, which has been taking place since the 14th century, is performed by the Beefeaters and marks the official locking of the Tower.

But don’t worry about being locked in for the night. Once the ceremony is over and ‘all’s well’, they’ll let you out through a small side door.

2. London’s Museums

If you fancy visiting one of London’s museums after dark, there are plenty to choose between. Many museums have a weekly late night opening and most are free of charge, such as the British Museum Spotlight Tour that takes place every Friday evening. The Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum all have monthly after-hours access and special evening exhibitions.

For a more atmospheric visit, you can take a candlelit tour of Sir John Soane’s Museum in Lincoln’s Inn on the first Tuesday of every month.

natural history museum

3. Art Galleries

Housing one of the world’s most extensive collections of modern art from 1900 to the present day, the Tate Modern is one of the most visited galleries in the capital. If you haven’t got time to fit it into your day, you can visit the Thames Side gallery in the evening. It’s open until 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

The National Gallery, home to a world-class collection of art from some of the greatest artists in history including Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Renoir and Turner is open until 9 pm on Fridays. If you’re feeling creatively inspired, The National Portrait Gallery holds drop-in drawing classes on Friday evenings.

4. Haunted London Bus Tour

Step back in time and explore the dark and haunted streets of London from the safety of a vintage open-top double-decker bus. Then retrace the steps of Jack the Ripper in the sinister East End, and learn about the body snatchers while walking through the deserted Smithfield Market. Finish off with a comforting drink at the warm and inviting Sherlock Holmes pub.

5. Twilight Open Bus Tour

See the beauty of London lit up in the evening sky. Take an open top bus tour around some of London’s most popular landmarks such as the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s Cathedral, and see them illuminated in all their glory.

6. Walk along the South Bank

If you prefer to stretch your legs, a gentle evening stroll along the South Bank will give you a stunning view of the River Thames and London’s landmarks twinkling in the night sky.

london south bank

7. The London Eye

A ride on the London Eye will give you spectacular far-reaching views along the River Thames and across the sprawling capital. But watching the sunset and the city light up from up high is a truly special experience. You can even buy ‘Day and Night Experience’ tickets to enjoy the ride during the day, then once again in the evening.

8. Views from the Shard

Europe’s tallest building also offers ‘Day and Night Experience’ tickets to see the fabulous views during the day, and the sparkling lights illuminating the River Thames at night.

9. The Sky Garden

Another fantastic place to get sunset and night-time views of the capital is from the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street. Spanning three storeys, London’s highest garden can be visited for free and the atrium stays open until late at night. The 360-degree views are lovely during the day, but at night they’re spectacular. Enjoy an evening cocktail at the Sky Pod or City Garden bars while you’re there.

10. Thames River Cruise

Enjoy a closer look at London’s illuminated landmarks while sipping champagne and savouring a delicious dinner on a Thames dinner cruise. Whether you want a sunset cocktail or want a five-course meal with music, entertainment and dancing, an evening cruise along the Thames is an unforgettable experience.

the london eye at night

11. Late Night Shopping

Enjoy a spot of retail therapy among the bright lights of the West End. The department stores, designer boutiques and high-street brand stores on Oxford Street are open until 10 pm on Thursdays.

12. Piccadilly Circus

A popular tourist attraction during the day, Piccadilly Circus really comes into its own at night. Soak up the bustling atmosphere and the bright neon lights before taking a stroll around nearby Soho, Chinatown and Leicester Square.

13. Jazz and Italian Coffee in Soho

As well as its risqué red-light reputation, Soho is also famous for its vibrant nightlife. You’ll find some great bars and restaurants here, ranging from casual and quirky to high-end fine dining venues. Head to the iconic Ronnie Scott’s for a great evening of jazz before savouring a late night espresso at the buzzing Bar Italia.

14. Covent Garden

Covent Garden is just as lively and vibrant in the evening as it is in the daytime. Head to the cobbled central piazza and enjoy the amazing talents of the street performers, from the famous ‘living statues’ to magicians and musicians, before grabbing a bite to eat in one of the nearby eateries.

15. A West End Musical

London’s West End is famous worldwide for its theatre scene. Grab an early pre-show dinner, then enjoy one of the iconic musicals such as The Lion King, Les Misérables or Mamma Mia!

16. Hippodrome Casino

If you fancy a flutter in sumptuous surroundings, then a night at the Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square is definitely on the cards. This magnificent venue has four gaming floors, six bars, a music and cabaret theatre, and a fantastic restaurant that claims to serve the best steaks in London.

roulette

17. The Globe Theatre

Enjoy a night of Shakespeare at the faithful reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre on Bankside. The Bard’s most famous plays featuring some of the world’s most talented actors can be seen at incredibly affordable prices. You can buy a standing ticket for just £5!

18. Comedy Clubs

Not only can you laugh the night away enjoying some top comedy acts, but you can do it for free! The Angel Comedy Club at Camden Head and the Top Secret Comedy Club in Drury Lane host a range of top-class stand-up acts and shows with free entry and incredibly cheap drinks for a great value night out. Comedy clubs are extremely popular and tickets sell out quickly, so be sure to book early to avoid disappointment.

19. Immersive Theatre

Alternatively, if you want to get in on the action, you can take part in an immersive theatre show.  From murder mysteries and battle-against-the clock escape rooms to Agatha Christie courtroom dramas, there’s a range of thrilling shows and events that will have you battling your wits and visiting other eras in a fun night of escapism.

20. After Hours Shrek’s Adventure

The adventures of the loveable green ogre aren’t just adored by kids. Shrek’s Adventure London, near the London Eye, hosts after-dark adventures for adults only. Release your inner child with 10 live interactive shows peppered with hilarious adult humour and take a 4D bus trip driven by Donkey. Then finish up your evening with a tipple at the Poison Apple Pub.

21. Quirky Bars

London is full of quirky bars! Drinking out has never been such fun. Step back in time to 1920s Chicago and choose from a range of ‘prohibition’ cocktails at Bart’s on Sloane Avenue. Dress in a vintage outfit and dance along to music from the 40s and 50s in an underground station bar at Cahoots in Soho.

For a truly bizarre experience, spend a night out in a lavatory! The WC underneath Clapham Common station is a 100-year-old former toilet, and now serves a fantastic range of fine wines and cheeses on cubicle door tables, while offering live music on Sunday and Mondays from 8-10 pm.

vintage outfits

22. Mad Hatters Tipsy Evening Tea

Many London venues serve Afternoon Tea. But how about an ‘Evening Tea’ with a difference! Every evening the Sanderson Hotel hosts the quirky Mad Hatters Tipsy Evening Tea with an Alice in Wonderland theme.  Enjoy a delicious indulgence of savoury and sweet delights such as smoked salmon scotch eggs, vodka and cranberry tartlets and aged rum trifle, while sipping on speciality cocktails. The Hot Bouquet cocktail is a must try during cold winter evenings.

23. Pub Theatres

Enjoy a pint and a play in one of London’s pub theatres. Venues such as The Finborough Theatre in Earl’s Court and Upstairs at the Gatehouse in Highgate offer a great value night out featuring fringe theatre, comedy acts and edgy drama as well as discount drinks.

24. Haunted Pubs

Considering London’s long and turbulent history, it’s no surprise that there are a few haunted pubs around. Enjoy a pint and soak up the atmosphere while listening to spooky stories at the following pubs:

  • The Ten Bells in Spitalfields was the famous stalking ground of Jack the Ripper. Unchanged since the autumn of 1888, the pub is said to be haunted by the ghost of a Victorian landlord who was axed to death there.
  • The ghost of highwayman Dick Turpin is said to haunt the Spaniards Inn at Hampstead Heath, once his local pub.
  • The Viaduct Tavern near St Paul’s, once a gin palace, sits on top of former underground prison cells. It’s said to be haunted by the ghosts of previous inmates.

25. A Brick Lane Curry

If you’re a curry fan, then a trip down iconic Brick Lane is a must for a great night out. The vibrant and colourful Bangla Town, full of the unmistakable aromas of heady eastern spices, really comes to life in the evening.

As well as the main strip, there are lots of tiny side streets to explore with a wealth of lively bars and restaurants, not to mention the famous curry houses. Cinnamon and Sheba are two of the best known, with a wonderful selection of authentic Bengali dishes.

And if you’re feeling peckish after a hard night’s partying, be sure to grab a hot and fresh beigel from the famous Brick Lane Bakery.

26. A Late Night Dinner

London really is the city that never sleeps. No matter how late it is, you can enjoy a delicious meal with views at the Duck and Waffle in Bishopsgate. The restaurant, located on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, is open 24/7 and offers a special late-night menu featuring sharing plates of snacks, generous main dishes and champagne cocktails.

eating dinner

27. A Dino Snores Night at the Natural History Museum

A fun night out in London doesn’t just have to be for adults. Kids from ages 7 to 11 can enjoy the thrilling experience of a sleepover with the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum. Once the doors have closed, set up camp in the famous Hintze Hall gallery and spend an action-packed night exploring a torch-lit trail and taking part in workshops and science shows before settling down to sleep (if you can) at midnight.

You can find more information on our range of London tours here. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.