LONDON PRIVATE TOURS CHOICE – PRICES & PRACTICAL INFORMATION

  • Description: day tour by private vehicle in London conducted by accredited driver-guide. Choose any 3 options.
  • Number of persons: Up to 7.
  • Typical timings: 8:30am-4:30pm.
  • Pick-up/drop-off: any central London hotel/residence.
  • Price: 1-2 passengers = £525.00*;  3-4 passengers = £560.00*; 5-7 passengers = £595.00*.
    *Not including entry fees. For some attractions it may be necessary for us to book standard tickets in advance.

WESTMINSTER ABBEY
Crowning glory, focus for royal events, and one of the world’s greatest churches. This private guided tour visits the place where kings and queens have been crowned for a thousand years. Your guide will take you through a gothic labyrinth where you’ll discover the tombs of the legendary royal women of the past, such as the Virgin Queen, Bloody Mary and Mary Queen of Scots. See too, the magnificent Henry VII Chapel ceiling. In more recent times, the Abbey was the venue for the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Prince William’s grandparents, the Queen and Prince Philip, married here too, as did his great grandparents, George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. It was also the venue for the memorable funeral of Prince William’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997. Something of a national mausoleum, the Abbey is also the final resting places of Newton, Darwin and Dickens.
Usually open Mon-Sat. Admission payable on entry.

ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL
Private guided tour of the Defiant Giant: Symbol of national pride, focus of London spirituality, and a glorious architectural masterpiece: 50 years to build, 300 years of history. Many important historical events have happened here: the funerals of national heroes Wellington, Nelson and Churchill. This was also the venue where Prince Charles and Lady Diana took their vows in their spectacular, but ill-feted wedding in 1981. The view of the famous sweeping steps may jog some memories, particularly that seminal moment when Diana stepped out of a golden fairy-tale carriage wearing ‘that’ dress. A major movie location, the church has been used in recent films such as Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes and National Treasure. The impressive interior boasts fantastic decor, wonderful monuments, and an inside view of Sir Christopher Wren’s magnificent dome, which, if you are feeling energetic, may be climbed for a superb bird’s eye view of London.
Usually open Mon-Sat. Admission payable on entry.

TOWER OF LONDON
Blood, Bling & Beefeaters! It’s ‘off with your head’ as we explore the Tower of London, London’s oldest building and a World Heritage site. Officially known as Her Majesty’s Palace and Fortress but once described by Shakespeare as ‘The Slaughterhouse’. The original ‘Tower’ was built for William the Conqueror almost 1,000 years ago, and as you will see, successive monarchs added their own defences over the years (to demonstrate their popularity!). The guided tour touches on the tragic tale of Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII. You will discover his cruelty knew no bounds. See the awesome Crown Jewels, king of bling! Seek out the mysterious ravens. Smile with a superb photo opportunity in front of Tower Bridge. And hear how the famous Beefeaters, also known as the Yeoman Warders, with costumes designed in Henry’s reign, look after a London landmark simply drenched in history.
Usually open daily. Admission payable on entry or in advance.

KENSINGTON PALACE
Royal history from the 17th to the 21st centuries. Set at the western edge of Hyde Park, known as Kensington Gardens, the palace was originally lived in by King William III and his wife Queen Mary. Subsequently by Queen Anne, George I and George II. Queen Victoria was born here, and at the tender age of 18, awoke here one day in 1837 to find out she was queen. The State Apartments were opened to the public on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s 70th birthday. The palace was famously the last home of Diana, Princess of Wales, and where her sons Princes William and Harry were brought up. Today it’s the London home of ‘William and Kate’ and ‘Harry and Meghan’ It was here in Nov 2017 , that Harry proposed to Meghan. Apparently, he got down on one knee while they were ‘trying to roast a chicken’! Also on display is a collection of Diana’s dresses and the Queen’s outfits. The Orangery in the garden is a pleasant place for refreshments.
Usually open daily. Admission payable on entry.

ROYAL STABLES
A tour of the stables known as the ‘Royal Mews’ adjoining the side of Buckingham Palace. Originally, the royal hawks were kept in ‘mews’ when moulting, but later this part of the palace was changed to the stabling quarters. Here you can find out about all the Queen’s horses and how they are looked after. This is a working stable for 30 horses and used on regular basis. The royal horses are exercised regularly and one may often catch them in action. As well as royal cars, we will also be able to view the magnificent collection of royal carriages, in particular, the Australian State Coach and the Irish State Coach which alternate in use by the Queen for the annual state opening of Parliament. Finally, the piece de resistance, the awesome Gold State Carriage – with wheels based on a Roman chariot – designed by William Chambers over 230 years ago, covered in 24 carat gold and weighing over 4 tons. It is still used today. Kids especially will enjoy this tour.
Usually open daily. Admission payable on entry.

CHURCHILL’S WAR BUNKER
Winston Churchill was the British Prime Minister during World War Two, and here, in his underground HQ, that terrible conflict is brought to life. This series of underground war rooms was completed just before the outbreak of war, accommodating map rooms, cipher rooms, switchboards and emergency living quarters used for the entire 1,562 nights of the war. From here, many of Churchill’s great speeches were broadcast. Almost all his directives and instructions were dictated in these rooms. Room 63 was a broom cupboard disguised as lavatory where Churchill had his hotline to President Roosevelt. It was set up using a revolutionary encryption device to mask conversation with ‘white noise’. A fascinating time capsule, the bunker closed down in 1945 and was not re-discovered until 1973. It also features the superb Churchill museum, featuring interactive exhibits, mementos from his life and the original door from No.10 Downing Street.
Usually open daily. Admission payable on entry or in advance.

HMS BELFAST
A life on the ocean waves: The battleship HMS Belfast is permanently moored on the River Thames and operated by the Imperial War Museum. She was named after the capital city of Northern Ireland and launched on St Patrick’s Day, 1938. By 1942, she was the largest and most powerful cruiser in the Royal Navy. In June 1944, she took part in Operation Overlord, the Normandy landings, and was the first ship to open fire on ‘D Day’. In June 1945, HMS Belfast was redeployed to the Far East to join the British Pacific Fleet. She saw further combat action in 1950-52 during the Korean War. The sights and smells of life on-board are certainly brought to life. Lots of knobs to pull and buttons to press for kids who like to pull knobs and press buttons! You can also have your photo taken in the punishment cell! Find out what it was like for Royal Navy sailors during WWII in this fascinating floating museum. A fascinating tour for young and old alike.
Usually open daily. Admission payable on entry.

SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE THEATRE
Big ‘O’ tour: Faithful re-creation of the famous 16th century theatre down by the riverside, scene of the Bard’s greatest triumphs. The original Globe Theatre was built in 1598 on the south bank of the River Thames – a crucible of cultural flowering – and demolished in 1644. The New Globe was completed in 1997 by the American film producer, Sam Wanamaker (father of Harry Potter actress Zoe Wanamaker), and transformed the local area of Bankside. Queen Elizabeth II came here during the first season. With a capacity of 1,600 (900 seats), the reconstruction time lasted 14 years longer than the original, using the original plans and original materials: a wooden frame, a thatched roof, and not a single metal rivet! Described as a fusion of 3 ‘A’s: actors, audience and architecture, it’s a working open-air theatre, exhibition and tour with shops and restaurants. In 2013, a separate Jacobean-style theatre was built inside the complex.
● Usually open daily. Admission payable on entry. Inhouse guides will conduct the tour.

LONDON EYE
Get ‘ around’ London with the city’s most popular paid-for visitor attraction. Indeed, the London Eye was recently voted the world’s most popular tourist attraction, attracting 3.75m visitors per year, more than the Pyramids of Egypt! But don’t worry about the queues, as line-busting fast-track tickets are always available. The world’s biggest and most famous observation wheel was erected to celebrate the Millennium. With engineering by the vehicle manufacturer, Skoda, it is 350ft high, turns at 1mph, and takes 30 minutes for a full rotation. There are 32 pods in total, the same number as there are London boroughs. With 26 people able to fit in a pod, the Eye can accommodate almost 1,700 people per hour. It offers unrivalled views of London. On board you can take in the vastness of the city. Kids can play the world’s biggest game of ‘I Spy’, and as a group you can be photographed as you ‘come in to land’.
Usually open daily. Admission payable in advance.

TOWER BRIDGE
Please don’t call me London Bridge! Tower Bridge opened in 1894 and was built to relieve congestion for commuters in the south east of London, while allowing shipping access to the ‘Pool of London’ where 1 million tons of goods were unloaded every month. It took 4 years to build at a cost of £1 million. Designed by Horace Jones, famous for his iron structures, who gave it medieval Gothic look to blend in with the adjacent Tower of London. It was an instant hit with Londoners, initially taking 60,000 people and 8,000 carts a day. Tower Bridge is actually five bridges in one: two suspension bridges at either end, two cantilever foot bridges on top, and the main ‘bascule’ bridge in centre. In 1982, it became an official tourist attraction with a fascinating exhibition housed in one of the foot bridges. Today it is the most photographed bridge in the world. Those with a penchant for engineering will love this tour.
Usually open daily. Admission payable on entry.

BRITISH LIBRARY
To the north of central London stands the British Library, a modern red brick building which contains 14 million books. If you were to see five each day, it would take you 8,000 years to see the whole collection. What we will see in this private guided tour of the Gallery Exhibition is just a tiny percentage, but it will feature some of the greatest printed items in history. Items such as an early Bible (the 360AD Codex Sinaiticus from Greece), the world’s earliest printed book (the 868AD Diamond Sutra from China), and Europe’s earliest printed book (the 1454 Gutenberg Bible from Germany). From Britain we have the 715AD Lindisfarne Gospels, an original copy of the 1215 Magna Carta; and a 1623 first edition of Shakespeare’s plays. Plus, royal letters and decrees, Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo sketches, Jane Austen’s writing desk, and musical manuscripts in the hand of Bach, Beethoven, and the Beatles. Much more besides in this priceless experience.
Usually open daily. Free entry.

BRITISH MUSEUM
A private guided tour of civilization’s hall of fame! The iconic British Museum was founded over 250 years ago in the academic heartland of London known as Bloomsbury. Recently remodelled, this independent institution prides itself on being the world’s first free public museum. Step into the Great Court and marvel at the magnificent glass roof. Below are the seven million objects that make up the greatest collection of antiquities in the world. This tour examines the Museum’s top 10 treasures from major world cultures. From Ancient Egypt, the Mummies, Statue of Ramesses and the famous Rosetta Stone. From Ancient Assyria, the sculptures of King Sargon’s Palace. From Ancient Greece, the Elgin Marbles. From the Pacific, the Easter Island Statues. From Britain, the Roman Vindolanda Tablets, the early Christian Hinton St Mary Mosaic, the Saxon Sutton Hoo Treasure, and the Viking Lewis Chessmen.
Usually open daily. Free entry.

MUSEUM OF LONDON
A Tale of One City. A private guided tour of this quiet museum in the heart of the City of London, which is a real hidden gem. Following a self-explanatory route through London’s History, the first exhibits tell the story of London from the prehistoric era through to ancient settlements.  Then come the Romans, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, all leaving their footprint on the capital. One particular highlight is a marble plaque from a Roman temple found in 2002 excavations. Dedicated to a Mr Celery, it features an early written form of the name London. The city has had its fair share of adversities, and the Black Death, the Great Fire of London and Blitz displays demonstrate the phoenix-like qualities of the great metropolis over the centuries. Most gruesome is the bloodstained waistcoat worn by King Charles I as he was beheaded in 1649. Many of the exhibits were discovered by the Museum of London’s own Archaeological service ‘MOLAS’.
Usually open daily. Free entry.

IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM
A private guided tour of this 20th century museum of conflict and reconciliation. Here you will find some of the most poignant reminders of war, based, somewhat appropriately, in a former asylum. As you approach the main entrance you are welcomed by two vast Royal Navy 15-inch guns which were used to fire on the German beach defences in Normandy during the D-Day landings in June 1944.  Inside, planes, tanks and other vehicles that actually saw action are on display. These include fighter planes such as the British Spitfire and US Mustang, British Churchill and US Sherman tanks. an original US Jeep, a German submarine, and a London bus that actually saw service during WWI. In addition, superb exhibitions reflect the brave experiences of soldiers & refugees alike. Experience the trenches of WWI or the bomb shelters of the London Blitz. There is a multitude of displays, an impressive art gallery and a fantastic shop to make your visit worthwhile.
Usually open daily. Free entry.

NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
A private guided tour of Dinosaurs, Darwin & DNA! How’s this for a two-for-one offer? The story of life on earth AND a tour of an architectural masterpiece. This South Kensington museum was built on back of the success of the 1851 Great Exhibition, the first ever world fair held just half a mile away in Hyde Park. The Natural History Museum building was completed 30 years later in 1881 by Alfred Waterhouse. Apparently, according to the architectural experts, it is a perfect example of 12th century North German Neo-Romanesque! Inside, amazing earth galleries tell the story of the world’s origins and its fate, while the silent zoo of stuffed animals is truly awesome. In addition, incredibly lifelike animatronic dinosaurs will keep the kids quiet for a while! There is also a live ‘creepy-crawly’ area, plus reptile and bird displays too.  Great for kids, fun and interactive. Hands-on Darwin Centre recently-opened. The Science Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum are nearby.
Usually open daily. Free entry.

SCIENCE MUSEUM
A private guided tour of this South Kensington museum covering inventions, technology and the future. Themed display highlights include: ‘Modern World’: man’s most famous inventions; ‘Secret Life of the Home’: a fascinating display explaining how domestic gadgets and appliances work, such as the washing machine, toilet, fridge, thermostat, etc; ‘Challenge’: features environmental displays encouraging us to think green; ‘Flight’: superb displays of man’s attempt to conquer the air; ‘Launch Pad’: a physics experiment centre for kids of all ages; ‘Future’: a sinister darkened area where Science plays God in the form of genetic engineering and cloning. Creepy! Rail enthusiasts will get all steamy-eyed when they see the original locomotives Puffing Billy and Stephenson’s Rocket. Great for kids, fun and interactive. Loads of stuff for budding Einstein’s. The Natural History Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum are nearby.
Usually open daily. Free entry.

VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM
A private guided tour of this South Kensington museum known as the ‘nation’s handbag’. The ‘V&A’ museum was built on back of the success of the 1851 Great Exhibition, the first ever world fair held just half a mile away in Hyde Park, and named in honour of the patrons, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Today it contains the biggest collection of decorative arts in the world and, to some extent, illustrates the story of the rich who seemed to have had far too much money to burn on furbelows, fripperies and follies.  The British Galleries feature designs commissioned and made in Great Britain roughly from 1500 to 1800. These ‘Taste Britain’ highlights include the Great Bed of Ware, Henry VIII’s writing box and James II’s wedding suit.  So much more besides. The well-stocked shop sells examples of decorative arts as well as books, stationery and souvenirs. The Science Museum and Natural History Museum are nearby.
Usually open daily. Free entry.

NATIONAL GALLERY
Masterpieces Tour: A private guided tour of one of the world’s greatest art collections. Attracting over three million visitors a year, the National Gallery forms a magnificent backdrop to Trafalgar Square and has been recently refurbished. Generally regarded as the National Gallery’s ‘greatest hits’, our Masterpieces Tour is a good overall introduction: Gothic, Renaissance and Mannerism are displayed in the West Wing, while the North Wing is a monument to Baroque and the Dutch masters. Rococo, revolution and romanticism is the theme of the East Wing, where we also find prominent British artists alongside the Impressionists such as Van Gogh and Suerat. Your guide will showcase the following priceless paintings among others: Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait, Holbein’s Ambassadors; Constable’s Haywain, Monet’s Water Lilies and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers. The paintings are covered mainly in chronological order to help show developments in style.
Usually open daily. Free entry.

TATE BRITAIN GALLERY
A private guided tour of the nation’s own art collection. On the north bank of the Thames stands this gallery, designed by Sidney Smith and founded in 1897 by Henry Tate, the magnate behind the sugar company, Tate and Lyle. In the main, it is a collection of mainly traditional British works up to the early 20th century. It includes the English Renaissance, Classicists and Pre-Raphaelites. However, there is some international art too. Just 15% of the rich and varied collection is on show at any one time. There is an early focus on portraits, later giving way to landscape, legends & history. Heavyweight highlights include the three great British Billies: William Hogarth (the most jingoistic of painters?), William Blake (the Cockney mystic) and William Turner, who bequeathed most of his collection to the nation and it is housed here, in the Clore Gallery. Plus, view the aquatic bints of Millais and Waterhouse and fill yourself with Bacon & Egg! That’s right… Francis Bacon and Augustus Egg!
Usually open daily. Free entry.

TATE MODERN
A private guided tour of self-styled ‘Power House of Art’. London’s most popular free visitor attraction is housed on seven floors of a huge converted power station. It contains one of the greatest collections of modern art in the world, as well as shops, cafés, and a magnificent view of the Thames. ‘Isms’ is the name of the game here: The colourful Fauvism of Matisse, the dynamic Futurism of Boccioni, the threatening Vorticism of Jacob Epstein, the multi-faceted Cubism of Picasso, the dreamy Surrealism of Dali, the material Expressionism of Pollock, the cold Neo-realism of Frampton, the industrial Minimalism of Flavin. And all under the umbrella of ‘Modernism’ (the 20th century questioning of symbolism, naturalism and aestheticism). Be shocked by the new. Overcome your fear of the abstract. Or smile at the emperor’s new clothes. From Dali to Da-Da, or Picasso to Pop-Art, if modern art’s your cup of tea, you can drink it here to your heart’s content.
Usually open daily. Free entry.