Top 3 Tours in London
There is a lot to see in the city of London and even more to see in the country of England as a whole. You can get overwhelmed with trying to find your way around and how much time to spend at each attraction. So I recommend taking a few tours. Here are my top 3 tour picks for London and beyond:
WB Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter
Literally a magical experience. It is well worth the visit if you are an HP fan, but even if you aren’t you’ll still be impressed with all of the movie magic that went into the production of the iconic film series. My friends have watched a few of the movies and one friend had read the books years ago, so they were a little apprehensive when they heard the tour was about 4 hours long! But, even they admitted that time flew by because there was so much to see. Cast members are available in every area to provide you with secret tips about the movie and the sets. You can visit platform 9 3/4, step inside the Hogwarts Express, take a stroll through Diagon Alley, enter the Great Hall at Hogwarts, explore the Forbidden Forest, ride a broom stick, and perform some magic of your own. There are also 3 gifts shops to explore and a food hall at the half way point of the tour to grab some Butter Beer and other treats. If you are a true fan, 4 hours is honestly not enough time. I would recommend not using a tour group and instead finding your own transportation to and from the WB Studio. That way you have as much time as you like to explore. Warner Brother’s wont kick you out of the Studio Tour but if you go with a tour group, the bus leaves the lot 4 hours after you arrive.
We booked our tour through Viator which I give 3 stars. It was easy to get to Victoria Station and it was easy to find our bus once we got there. However, our bus departed 20min late which was time we could have spent at the Wb Studio. Also, the bus left the WB Studio 20min late which means we got back to our hotel later than expected. Viator provides no food or drinks. You are basically paying an additional 64 English Pounds to pay for your bus ride too and from the Studio. It only cost 45 Pounds about $55 to enter the WB Studio Tour. Purchase your tickets here.
When you Google Harry Potter tour London, you’ll get a bunch of results for different tour companies offering to transport you to Leavesden where the actual WB Studio is located. Some will say the tour time is 5 hours, 7 hours, or 8 hours. That time includes getting to and from Leavesden, on top of the 3 1/2 hour average tour time inside of the WB Studio. So keep that in mind so that you don’t get overwhelmed by looking at the duration of the trip. Additionally, you’ll see on Google various Harry Potter walking tours. These are tours where you walk to places where certain scenes were filmed in London. We didn’t have time to do any walking tours but these are not the same as the WB Studio Tour where you get to see the original sets and costumes. So if you only have time to do one or the other, I would recommend doing the WB Studio Tour. As far as weather goes, most of the WB Studio is inside. The only part where you could get potentially rained on, is in the back lot at the half way point. So bring an umbrella and/or rain coat for that part. All things considered, the WB Studio Tour is a must see if your’e visiting London.
See a full highlight of the HP Tour on my Instagram.
The English Bus Tour to Stonehenge, Bath, and a Secret Place
The English Bus was lovely! We caught the bus near the London Eye. The location was very easy to find, and the bus came on time. We had a small, intimate group of about 12 people. Our tour guide was Nora, and she was very welcoming and knowledgeable throughout the trip. The bus is very comfortable with air conditioning, seat belts, and they provide plenty of water for the trip. You are able to take some good photos of the country side as you drive. We stopped at the Secret Place first and really enjoyed it. I won’t spoil it for you but you’ll get some lovely photos and you can also grab a few snacks or a coffee if you’d like. We spent about an hour exploring.Next we went to Bath which is a wonderful city. We had about 3 hours to explore there. My friends and I actually went inside of the Roman Bath house and I drank some of the Bath water. It was warm and mineral tasting but certainly helped with digestion for the remainder of the trip. There is some good shopping in Bath as well as nice restaurants and pubs so be prepared to eat a good lunch.
We ended the day with Stonehenge. It’s a beautiful and serine historical site. We were not disappointed. Mostly because Nora did an excellent job of setting our expectations and the tour center had loads of additional information on the area surrounding the stone circle. The trip lasted from about 8:45am to 8:30pm so it’s a full day of adventure. They send you a nice confirmation email the day before your tour with all of the information you need. You will need 20 Pounds to enter Stonehenge so make sure to get that before you go. I would highly recommend that you book a tour with the English Bus because of their amazing customer service and timeliness. You can book this particular tour by clicking here.
Eating Europe: London Old Docks- Historic Pub Crawl
If you want to experience some of the more historic pubs in London, I would recommend trying this tour by Eating Europe. I will warn you to be prepared to eat way more than your drink! My friends and I were thinking we’d be drinking loads of beer since it was a pub crawl. But it’s actually more of a food tour where you get a full portion meal at every pub, paired with a 1/2 pint of beer. We visited 4 different pubs and had a full meal at 3 of them, and a snack at the last stop. The meals were traditional English dishes like: Bangers & Mash, Fish & Chips, and Steak & Ale Pie. England gets a bad rep in America for having unappetizing food, but I was actually very pleased with all of the dishes. The Bangers and Mash were very flavorful and I don’t typically like sausage. Also, the meat pie was so good! The ale made the steak tender and packed with flavor. Paired with a flaky pastry, it made for a nice bite to eat.
Beyond the food and beer, you learn so much about the history of the Old London Docks and about each pub that you visit. Lee was a very entertaining tour guide and even told us a few pirate jokes. You walk everywhere so you get a good chance to burn off the food from each pub as you walk. We spent about 45 minutes at each location and about 20 minutes to walk to each. Warning: you will need an Oyster card to cross the river and get to the last 3 pubs. We didn’t know that and had to purchase one quickly at the station which held up the group a bit. So do that in advance. They sent us a confirmation email the day before our tour but for some reason the information about having an Oyster card was not included. Overall, the tour was very fun and it gave us the opportunity to explore a different part of London and to have some authentic foods. Click here to book your tour.