London In a Day: Tower of London, Westminster Abbey & Changing of the Guard

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Immerse yourself in the quintessential sights of London on this comprehensive tour of the city’s most popular attractions. From first entrance into Westminster Abbey to the iconic Tower Bridge; the splendor of Nelson’s Column to the squalor of prison cells in the Tower of London; there is simply no better easier way to see so all the main sights of London in a single day. We take care of the timing, logistics, and special access, so all you have to worry about is what questions you’re going to ask your expert, local guide.

Highlights
* Includes more entrance tickets than any other London in a Day tour; including Westminster Abbey & Tower of London.
* First entrance at Westminster Abbey means you get inside (and to the Coronation Chair) before the crowds.
* We see not just one but two changing of the guards - from the very best vantage points. (Please see Important Notes below regarding schedules.)
* Enjoy views of the Tower of London from the Tower Bridge.
* Admire the stunning Crown Jewels at the Tower of London. Visiting at one of the quieter times of day, you shouldn’t have to wait too long.
* Small groups of maximum 20 people and headsets for every guest mean you won’t have any trouble hearing or interacting with your guide.

Your day begins in Westminster Abbey, where you’ll take advantage of pre-reserved tickets to visit England’s most hallowed church, before most of the crowds arrive. As you stroll across the beautiful Cosmati pavements and peer up into the elaborate vaulted ceiling, your guide will introduce you to the church’s tumultuous history, which mirrors that of England. Every corner of the church is packed with historical interest and rich symbolism, including heart-wrenching war memorials, chapels maintained by ancient orders of chivalry, the tombs of national heroes, religious and royal relics, and of course, hundreds of years of royal weddings, coronations and funerals.

Leaving the spiritual heart of England, you’ll avoid the large crowds gathered in front of Buckingham Palace to watch the Changing of the Guard and head to Wellington Barracks instead. This is where most of the ceremony actually takes place, including the band’s performance and the highly-formal uniform checks. It’s even more surprising then that so few visitors come here to watch the Changing of the Guard, meaning you can get right within arm’s reach of the guards as they pass.

Now it’s time for little surprise. On the other side of the St. James’s Park you’ll step into the Horse Guards Parade to witness a much less famous, but perhaps even more impressive ceremony: The changing of of the Queen’s Life Guard, an elite cavalry regiment, mounted on exquisitely-bred, and specially-trained horses. As you watch the guards go through the ceremony, your guide will explain the significance of everything from the armor they wear to the colors on their uniforms.

Your next stop is Trafalgar Square, the geographic center of London and one of the city’s most iconic public spaces. While you marvel at the size of the bronze lions and enormous triumphal column, your guide will tell you about the naval history that gives the square its name as well as the dashing Admiral Nelson whose fame during his short life makes modern celebrities seem like total amateurs. You’ll also come across some unexpected curios, like the smallest police box in the world and a statue of George Washington that sits on a micro-plot of American soil.

After a break for lunch (your guide will recommend a range of great places to eat) you’ll reconvene for a short walk down to the Thames for a scenic river cruise that will take you past a number of London landmarks like the Shard, the Gherkin, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye and more. Disembark at the foot of Tower Bridge and cross the iconic attraction as you learn its unexpected history.

Your last stop, the Tower of London, is also the most impressive. With pre-reserved tickets at the quietest time of day, you won’t have to battle crowds to enjoy nearly 1,000 years of bloody royal feuds, improbable jailbreaks, jewel heists, menacing ravens, and even a ghost or two. Your guide, who has an expert grasp of British history, will regale you with the often hair-raising stories of this royal stronghold, jail, zoo, and sometimes execution block, including the mystery of two lost royal boys that still raises the hairs of everyone who hears it. There is no better, or more entertaining, way to learn about the dynastic battles that shaped England and created the country we know as the United Kingdom. At the end, you have time to see the Crown Jewels on your own.

As a final treat, when your guide departs they will give you ample time to see the Crown Jewels (which are inside the Jewel House in the Tower). These aren’t just the largest collection of coronation regalia in the world, they are also the only ones in Europe that are still in use by a Royal family.

Every attraction on this tour is a bucket list destination. By combining them all, we’ve put together the ultimate day of sightseeing in Europe’s most vibrant capital city. Your expert, local guide, will be with you every step of the way to give you to point out the world of facts, stories and interesting details hiding around every corner.

Inclusions
* Entrance to Westminster Abbey
* Entrance to Tower of London
* Changing of the Guard
* Horseguards Parade
* River cruise along the Thames
* Free time for lunch (at own expense)
* Headsets
* Small Groups of 20 people

Exclusions:
* Food & Beverages
* Gratuities
* Hotel Pick-Up/Drop-Off

Tour Duration
Approximately 8.5 hours

Important Notes
* This is a mostly walking tour. Comfortable walking shoes recommended.
* Gratuities to guides are appreciated but never obligatory.
* Please note that the tour meeting time is 15 minutes prior to the start time. No refunds or re-bookings can be provided for late arrivals or no shows after tour commencement or departure.
* Please be advised that Changing of the Guard can be cancelled last minute due to bad weather, and does not take place every day. On days this ceremony does not take place, guests will see the Queen's Life Guard Change, Horse Guards Parade.
* Photographs not permitted inside Westminster Abbey.
* Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate guests with mobility impairments, wheelchairs or strollers on this tour.

Meeting Point
This tour meets at the "Winston Churchill" statue, Parliament Square, Westminster, London, SW1P 3JX.There are 11 statues within Parliament Square. The Winston Churchill statue is the largest and is located on the north east corner of the square closest to Big Ben. The name 'CHURCHILL' is written on the stone base of the statue. The closest underground station is Westminster.

End Point
Inside Tower of London

No Seating plan available.

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Winston Churchill Statue

Parliament Square
London SW1P 3JX