Westminster Abbey and the Tower by boat
Moving between Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London via the River Thames, this private, half-day tour lets you chart the history of kings and queens, traders and traitors, and monks and soldiers at two of the capital’s most venerable sites.
The tour starts in Parliament Square, under the gaze of the Palace of Westminster, or the Houses of Parliament as it’s universally known. Likewise, the building’s clock tower, Elizabeth Tower, is known more for the bell that lives inside, Big Ben.
Here, you can uncover the history of the palace and pass the statues of national and international statesmen, including Sir Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln, as you walk across to Westminster Abbey.
Steeped in history, the abbey was founded by Benedictine monks over 1,000 years ago, before being expanded in the 11th century and rebuilt in its current Gothic architectural style 200 years later. During your time there, you can visit the medieval cloisters where the monks lived and studied, and walk through the soaring nave beneath its vaulted ceiling. Within this lofty space, you’ll find the Coronation Chair, which has been used in coronations since 1308, as well as Poets’ Corner and the grave of the Unknown Warrior.
You next walk to the pier to board a boat for an unhurried journey down the Thames to the Tower of London. From the water, you have the chance to view London and some of its historic buildings, such as Saint Paul's Cathedral, from an unusual perspective before disembarking in front of Tower Bridge near the Tower of London.
The afternoon is dedicated to exploring the Tower of London, one of the most instantly identifiable landmarks in London. Built in 1066 AD, it was originally a fortress and royal palace before being used as a prison. Over the centuries, it has also housed the Royal Mint as well as the Royal Menagerie, which kept a number of exotic animals, including lions, elephants, and even a polar bear that would fish in the River Thames, up until the 1800s.
As well as witnessing many notorious events, the Tower is also home to the Crown Jewels, a collection of priceless crowns, tiaras and diamonds that are still used by the Royal Family. The collection features the Koh-i-Noor Diamond, set within the Crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, as well as a 12th-century silver spoon that is one of the few items from the original crown jewel collection not destroyed by Oliver Cromwell.
At the end of the tour, your guide will either accompany you back to your hotel or you could continue exploring London.
Other experiences in London
These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.