London is a busy and vibrant city with a colourful history.Whether you are interested in learning about the gruesome side of Victorian London or the history of the monarchy, or perhaps you just want an activity to encourage team building within a fun and relaxed atmosphere, there are many historic tours available that will appeal to people with different interests.
The Tower of London
The Yeoman warder tour (or beefeater as they are commonly known) is an entertaining and insightful tour of the Tower of London. A Yeoman warder will guide you through the history of the palace and the monarchy and provide information on the palace’s architecture, as well as grisly tales of the torturing of Guy Fawkes and the lives and deaths of Henry VIII and his wives.
After the tour you have the opportunity to wander around the Tower of London and see such sights as the ravens, of which seven currently reside next to the Wakefield Tower. Discover the history of the ravens and the legend surrounding them.
In the White Tower, the Fit for a King exhibition displays a collection of royal armoury dating back 500yrs, which has been used for both battle and sport. Historical displays include the silvered armour worn by Henry VIII which was decorated to celebrate his marriage to Katherine of Aragon.
To book online go to hrp.org.uk.
Blood and Tears walk
The blood and tears walk begins at Barbican station and proceeds through London’s darkened streets and alleyways, exploring the haunts of historical villains and serial killers, such as Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd. By the time you reach the end of the tour at Holborn tube station, you will have been regaled (and possibly terrified) by tales of murderers, grave robbers and the supernatural.
Tip: Remember to wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes as this tour lasts for 2hrs and moves at a fairly brisk pace.
Jack the Ripper Tour
Similarly, the Jack the Ripper tour will take you on a journey through London to visit some infamous locations from history, such as Mitre Square, where Jack the Ripper claimed two victims, and Hanbury street, the place where one of the Ripper’s victims was found, severely mutilated.
Buckingham Palace Tour
If horror doesn’t appeal to you, the Buckingham Palace tour is a more sedate option. From 30th June onwards, the palace opens it’s doors to the public for the summer months. Visitors can explore nineteen state rooms, which display paintings by artists such as Rembrandt and Canaletto. The tour ends with a walk through the south side of the garden.
To celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee, Buckingham Palace is exhibiting a collection of diamonds which have been worn by different members of royalty over the past 200yrs. Examples of jewellery on display include the Coronation necklace and earrings, which have been worn by Queen Victoria, the Queen mother, and more recently the Queen.
An exclusive tour is also available at the price of £65 per person and includes the official guidebook and a glass of champagne. The exclusive tour is led by an expert who will guide you through the history of the palace and the art and furniture on display.
Tickets can be booked through ‘the Royal Collection’ website.
D-Day Duck WWII Tour
The D-Day Duck tour is an adventurous ride by road and river that will show you around important WWII sights, such as St Paul’s Cathedral and the Cabinet war rooms. Listen to war stories from the Blitz before splashing into the River Thames and discovering the vital role of the Duck in the Normandy beach landings.
Each Duck can seat up to 30 people and are available for private hire from londonducktours.co.uk.
Charles Dickens London Tour
This is an opportunity for literary fans to walk in the footsteps of Charles Dickens and explore the parts of Victorian London that were the inspiration for novels such as Oliver and A Christmas Carol.
The knowledgeable guide will provide you with information about the novelist’s own rags to riches story, along with quotes from his famous books, that bring the history and perils of Dickensian London to life.
For more information go to dickenslondontours.co.uk.