South Bank

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South Bank: Our most recommended tours and activities

River Thames Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Cruise

1. River Thames Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Cruise

Explore the River Thames as it weaves through the heart of London and discover fascinating history around every bend. Today, you can experience the splendor of this great city from the relaxed comfort of a modern, all-weather and wheelchair-friendly sightseeing boat. Informative commentary interlaced with colorful tales of the city's past will keep your mind engaged as you cruise down the Thames! Cruises depart frequently from Westminster Pier, Greenwich Pier, London Eye Pier, and Tower Pier, sailing every day of the year except Christmas Day. With a regular timetable, and evening cruises all summer, you can enjoy a full-day on the river in comfort. Hop on and off the boat as many times as you wish to explore sights such as the Cutty Sark, the Royal Observatory, Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern, Borough Market, South Bank Centre, and the London Eye. Or grab a refreshment from the on-board bar and relax as you sail past Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Bridge, the Royal Festival Hall, Cleopatra's Needle, Somerset House, the Millennium Footbridge, Shakespeare's Globe, Monument, H.M.S.Belfast, and much more.

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London: Family-Friendly Speed Boat Tour of the River Thames

2. London: Family-Friendly Speed Boat Tour of the River Thames

Experience a wild and fantastic River Thames boat cruise that is fun for all ages. You will climb aboard a high-speed vessel that offers non-traditional views of England's capital at speeds of up to 30 knots. You will be given a full safety briefing and a life jacket - just in case! Named by leading listings magazine Time Out as a "must-do" experience, both visitors and residents of London will be thrilled with this outing. Speed under the capital’s bridges, and marvel at landmarks such as the London Eye, Houses of Parliament and South Bank from an exclusive vantage point. Music floats through the air via the onboard sound system, as you power out toward the Docklands. High-brow banter is provided by an award-winning comedian guide, whose cheery anecdotes include narration about the headquarters of MI5 and the modern skyscrapers of Canary Wharf.

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London: Vintage Bus Tour and London Eye Ticket

3. London: Vintage Bus Tour and London Eye Ticket

Travel back in time on a 4-hour tour of London. The combined sightseeing tour includes a ride on a vintage double-decker Routemaster bus and a short trip along the River Thames. End your excursion with spectacular views of the city from one of the panoramic pods of the London Eye. Head off for a tour of the city onboard a vintage double-decker bus. Pass historic attractions such as the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and the Tower of London. Admire Sir Christopher Wren’s iconic St. Paul’s Cathedral. Swap land for water and take a short trip along the River Thames, looking out for Shakespeare’s Globe, HMS Belfast, London Bridge, and much more. Back on dry land, re-join the bus and head for Buckingham Palace, home to the British royal family. You will arrive in time to see the famous Changing of the Guard ceremony, as soldiers dressed in their iconic scarlet tunics and busbies march to military music. Complete your London excursion with spectacular views across London’s rooftops as you enjoy a full circuit of the London Eye, the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel. Settle into one of the 32 high-tech glass capsules, which take approximately 30 minutes to completely revolve, and see Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey from a unique, elevated perspective.

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London: City Highlights Bike Tour

4. London: City Highlights Bike Tour

Visit London’s must-see sights and attractions by bicycle as well as off-the-beaten-track hot spots that tour buses can’t reach. You’ll hear quirky tales about London’s amazing and sometimes bizarre history on this unique bicycle excursion. You’ll cycle at a comfortable pace along riverside pathways, dedicated bike lanes, and park routes. Possible tour stops include London’s major highlights, including the London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace. Other places of interest that you may see include Admiralty Arch, Trafalgar Square, Chinatown, Covent Garden, and St. Paul's Cathedral. Listen to amusing anecdotes about London from your knowledgeable guide, and make stops during the day.

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London: Old City Walking Tour

5. London: Old City Walking Tour

Travel back to the origins of London on this 3-hour walking tour and discover the original square mile that nestled beside the River Thames. Known to Londoners as "The City," it has seen some of the most important events in British history and is home to some of London’s oldest buildings. As you tour, you will pass Sir Christopher Wren’s iconic St. Paul's Cathedral, Shakespeare's Globe Theater, The Tower of London, and Mansion House. Wander through the maze of small streets, church courtyards, and river walkways that make up the old town, and breathe life into a history that stretches back almost 2,000 years. You will also see some of the modern sights, such as the pedestrian Millennium Bridge – also known as the “Wobbly Bridge” – leading from St. Paul’s to the fantastic Tate Modern Art Gallery set in a renovated power station. You will stroll alongside the River Thames to see HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge, hear stories of how London survived the blitz during World War 2, and visit the Church of the Knights Templar, of Da Vinci Code fame.

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London: Private Personalized Tour with a Local Host

6. London: Private Personalized Tour with a Local Host

Prepare to be amazed by London on this totally customized experience of the city. With your host, discover that this city is more than a place but a feeling.  You'll be paired with guides that are passionate about the place they call home and who choose to spend their free time sharing it with like-minded travelers matched to them. Wander through the tangle of streets and alleys to the city center and breathe in the rich aroma of coffee and delicious food wafting up from nearby cafes and street vendors.  At every turn, find pieces of London's rich history as you explore the city's iconic landmarks and attractions. Explore the cultural diversity of Westminster, one of London's super unique neighborhoods with an interesting balance of ancient history and modern living. Think hipsters, goths, and punks walking past Parliament.  Perhaps you see yourself taking a leisurely stroll along Southbank and being in awe of London Bridge. Browse the myriad of contemporary shops and designer boutiques, rock out at independent music venue, or indulge in the city's delicious food culture at one of its street food markets.

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London: Westminster Walking Tour & London Dungeon Entry

7. London: Westminster Walking Tour & London Dungeon Entry

Start with a walking tour of the Westminster area, where your tour guide will escort you to 20 different famous sites. Head through Green Park to Buckingham Palace, admiring the well-manicured trees and flowers along the way. At the palace, watch the world-famous Changing of the Guard Ceremony. Afterward, your tour continues as you see 17 other iconic London sights such as Downing Street, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and the Houses of Parliament. Then, head into the London Dungeon and prepare to be scared. Explore a uniquely thrilling attraction that will whisk you way back to the capital's perilous past. Walk through London's plague-ridden streets. Witness Guy Fawkes as he attempts to blow up Parliament. See Jack the Ripper's horrific Whitechapel. Explore haunting exhibits and sets in the vast underground vaults of County Hall on the South Bank. Watch talented actors bring history to life as they perform in shows with outrageous special effects. Ride the London Dungeon's 2 exciting thrill rides.  During your tour you will see 20 famous landmarks in 1 day, these include: Buckingham Palace, St James Palace, Changing of the Guard, Queen Victoria Fountain, Green Park (Royal park), St James's Park (Royal Park), Admiralty Arch, Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall, The Royal Horse Guard, Horse Guard Parade, Downing Street, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Parliament Square, and the London Eye.

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London 1- or 2-Hour Professional Photo Shoot

8. London 1- or 2-Hour Professional Photo Shoot

Experience London like never before and hire a professional photographer for an exclusive photo session against some of the city’s most striking backdrops. Choose between a 1- or 2-hour session, with a choice of focus for the session as well. Your friendly personal photographer will create stunning photos of you against London backdrops as you discover the city’s charms. The photo-documentary style of photography is unobtrusive and natural, and perfect for capturing special occasions or simply candid moments during your trip. In the vibrant street life of London, there’s plenty of photo-worthy scenes to be found at every street corner. You could be cycling around the city, taking a stroll along trendy shopping streets, relaxing in one of the many parks, reveling in London’s cultural offerings, or just kicking back and enjoying a beer and a meal at a traditional pub. Photo sessions are held in some of the most picturesque neighborhoods. The most popular itineraries include: • Jack The Ripper’s London: Take a walk through the East End of London and retrace the footsteps of Jack the Ripper. From Whitechapel to Brick Lane, you’ll have lots of photo opportunities in the dark heart of London's East End. Travel back in time to the late 1800s. Take a walk through the sprawling markets of Petticoat Lane and Commercial Road, and on to the darkened corners of Mitre Square and Bucks Row! • Royal London: Explore the area around Buckingham Palace and see the Changing of the Guard. See Westminster Bridge, Big Ben, the London Eye, and South Bank. • Beatles London: Re-enact the Beatles’ Abbey Road crossing and explore Carnaby Street, the London hub of the swinging 60s. Alternatively, the photographers encourage you to choose your own locations that suit your personality and style.

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London: Tour of Classic Romantic Comedies Filming Locations

9. London: Tour of Classic Romantic Comedies Filming Locations

Embark on a 2.5-hour Love Actually-themed walking tour. Visit 15 iconic screen locations of this famous holiday film as well as filming sites from other classic rom-coms including Notting Hill, Last Christmas, and Four Weddings and a Funeral.  Discover some secret corners of the capital and explore popular London areas like the West End, Covent Garden, and Westminster,  the South Bank, Covent Garden Market, Trafalgar Square, the London Eye, St Pauls Cathedral, and much more.  Along the route, have a chance to sit on the bench where Daniel (Liam Neeson) has a heart to heart with his son and the location of the ice skating rink at the start of the film. Drop by the studio that Mark (Andrew Lincoln) works at when Juliet (Keira Knightley) discovers his love for her. View the spot where Will Thacker (Hugh Grant) tries to persuade Ann (Julia Roberts) to stay in London in the movie Notting Hill and where Spike bravely halts the traffic en route.  See sites from Last Christmas including the shop that Kate (Emilia Clarke) works and take a stroll down the narrowest road in London. Explore sites from Four Weddings where Charles (Hugh Grant) tries to woo Carrie (Andie Macdowell). Along the way, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to take lots of photos, see the locations up close and see London through the lens of a rom-com movie. End this unique tour experience at the ‘other bench’ used for the other Love Actually scene featuring Daniel and his son having another heart to heart, this time by the Thames.

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London: Classic Gold 3.5-Hour Bike Tour

10. London: Classic Gold 3.5-Hour Bike Tour

Enjoy a 3.5-hour bike ride around the classic sights of London to see many of the city’s most historic sites. Meet your guide, then head off to start your tour by the amazing Big Ben. Admire the Houses of Parliament across the river, and continue past Lambeth Palace to cross Lambeth Bridge. Cycle past small red brick houses lining the streets, which offer an enchanting contrast to the imposing historical monuments. Appreciate the belfry of Westminster Abbey. Then cycle over to St. James’s Park. Catch the pomp and pageantry of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Then head back to central London to walk safely though Trafalgar Square, with Lord Nelson looking down from his column. Then, cycle over to Covent Garden. Take a break to watch some street theater in the market’s central piazza. Then, climb back on your bike for the ride though London’s legal district, and over to the colorful Leather Lane Market and Smithfield’s Market, London’s lively meat market. Pass Wren’s amazing St Paul’s Cathedral, and cross back to the south side of the Thames on the famous Westminster Bridge for the end of the tour.

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Other Sightseeing Options in South Bank

Want to discover all there is to do in South Bank? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about South Bank

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 2,965 reviews

We had a brilliant time on the speedboat. We are a family of 5 with kids aged 7, 12 and 14 and we all absolutely loved it. Our guide Mark was knowledgeable and hilarious, and the driver Roddy gave us a huge Adrenalin boosting ride!! We would highly recommend this ride to anyone!

Fantastic tour! Tour guide was brilliant and very informative, much better than a pre-recorded radio guide. Night tour in December is amazing with all the lights etc, highly recommended. A+

An amazing and one-of-a-kind experience on the Thames with Ross and Brad. The playlist was on point! Will definitely recommend!

We booked the family cruise excellent value for money, got to see all the sights, good onboard commentary, highly recommended

Nice comfortable seats. Reasonable price refreshments. Good commentary nice friendly staff