London Travel Guide

With a population of approaching 9 million people and over 19 million visitors in 2016, you can imagine that at certain peak times, navigating your way round our capital can be intimidating! Planned well however, London will become a new friend on a school tour.

London school trip travel guide

An introduction to London

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life…" said Samuel Johnson in 1777. A brilliant quote that some 240 year on is still said to be true. What it really refers to is the infinite variety of experiences this enormous metropolis can offer.

Yes, it is very much the capital of England and the United Kingdom and headline attractions such as the Tower of London, The Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace are quintessentially British and a must see. But whatever your particular interest, no matter how obscure, in London you will find people, places and events that share your passion.

Students of all subjects in the curriculum will benefit from a school tour to London; History, Music, Drama, Art, Science and Business Studies could all follow a packed itinerary. Alternatively, you may prefer a more general sightseeing tour. It’s a world renowned city within easy reach for British schools that’s guaranteed to deliver lifetime memories.

All visits are covered by our externally verified Safety Management System and are pre-paid when applicable. Prices and opening times are accurate as of May 2018 and are subject to change and availability. Booking fees may apply to services provided by Voyager School Travel when paid on site.

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History

The Tower of London

The Tower of London is a must for all those wishing to understand the life and soul of British history over the last 1000 years. Kings and Queens of England lived, died and made their legacies at the Tower. London’s most historic landmark oversaw imprisonment, torture, execution and murder.

Visit the torture chambers, see where the collection of Crown Jewels are housed and take a stroll down to Tower Bridge, which offers excellent views over the Thames.

hrp.org.uk

The Tower of London crown jewels

 

Price £3.85 for Under 16's
Opening times

01 November - 28 February (winter)
Tuesday – Saturday 09.00 - 16.30
Sunday – Monday 10.00 - 16.30
01 March - 31 October (summer)
Tuesday - Saturday 09.00 - 17.30
Sunday - Monday 10.00 - 17.30

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham House as it was formerly known, came into Royal ownership only in 1761 when it was bought by George III for his Queen Charlotte. Only when Queen Victoria ascended the throne in 1837 did it become a palace and the official London residence of the Monarch.

You can tell whether the Queen is at home from the flag flying above the palace: the Royal Standard means in residence, the Union Jack means the Queen is elsewhere.

Time your visit to coincide with the changing of the guard, the best bit of British pomp and circumstance to happen every other day in the summer, weather permitting in the winter.
royalcollection.org.uk

Price

State Rooms only (15+):

Adult £21.60
Over 60/Student (with valid ID) £19.80
Under 17 £12.20

Opening times

21 July - 31 August 2018: 09.30-19.00

1 September - 30 September: 09.30 - 18.00

Trafalgar Square

Considered the very centre of the city of Greater London, Trafalgar Square is home to the Canadian, South African and Ugandan High Commission, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and of course Nelson's Column.

There's so much to see here, from the 'levitating' buskers that seem to entrance hoards of snap happy tourists, to the Fourth plinth, home to a rotating series of modern art works since 1999.

Soak up the atmosphere or come and hang out here prior to seeing a West End show...all the main theatres are a short walk from here. 

The Houses of Parliament

The Palace of Westminster as it's official title, is home to the House of Lords (Red) and the House of Commons (Green). Much like Tower Bridge, the palace is not quite as old as it might appear, a medieval building was destroyed by fire in 1834 and the current 'gothic revival' building was only completed in 1870.

A visit here will need to be organised well in advance and may involve a letter to your local MP. It's worth the effort though, the interior is equally as dazzling as the outside. And always remember not to call The Elizabeth (formerly 'Clock') Tower, Big Ben (which is in fact the name of the bell within, not the tower itself!)
parliament.uk

Saint Paul's Cathedral

The cathedral is one of the most famous and recognisable sights of London, with its dome, framed by the spires of Sir Christopher Wren’s City churches, dominating the skyline for 300 years. At 365 feet, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1962.
stpauls.co.uk

Price Group Rates (10+)
Adults (18+yrs) £16.00
Concessions (Students & Seniors) £14.00
Children (6-17yrs) £7.00
Opening times Monday to Saturday 08.30 to 16.30

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace was originally built by Thomas Wolsey in the sixteenth century, but when Henry VIII saw it, he was so jealous of the Cardinal's home that Wolsey felt compelled to give it to the King as a present. There are all sorts of myths surrounding the Palace, including stories of hauntings!
hrp.org.uk

Price Min 15 visitors
£9.10 per pupil under 16 yrs.
£14.60 16+ Student/60+.
£18.10 Adults
Opening times 25 March-27 October 2018
Monday - Sunday 10.00 – 18.00.
28 October 2018- 30 March 2019
Monday - Sunday 10.00 – 16.30

Windsor Castle

Shortly after William the Conqueror built the White Tower he also built a ring of 9 castles around London, strategically placed to encircle the capital and each was no more than a day's march from the next. One of those was at Windsor and over the next 1000 years it was expanded by many different monarchs to become the principle Royal Castle in the United Kingdom.

The queen much prefers to stay here rather than 'Buck House', and St George’s Chapel will be her final resting place, where she will be in good company...Edward IV, Henry VIII and Charles I are all buried here.
royalcollection.org.uk

Windsor Castle

Price Groups 15+
Adult £21.20
Over 60/Student (with valid ID) £19.30
Under 17/Disabled £12.30
Opening times March to October  09:30-17:15
November to February 09:45-16:15

The British Museum

Home to a huge array of famous artefacts including the Rosetta Stone, the key to deciphering Egyptian Hieroglyphics, and the Elgin Marbles, it’s advisable to schedule at least a whole morning, if not a day here to get a sense of the size of the collection.

The Norman Foster designed Atrium is very modern, a brilliant disguise to the ancient treasure it holds.
britishmuseum.org

Price Free
Opening times 10.00–17.30 daily
Fridays until 20.30

The Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum’s permanent exhibition on the WWI trenches is fantastic and gives an idea of what everyday life was like for First World War soldiers on the French battlefields. There is also an extremely moving and informative WWII Holocaust exhibition.
iwm.org.uk

Imperial War Museum

Price Free
Opening times 10.00 to 18.00 daily

Royal Museums Greenwich

Greenwich might be considered the 'engine room' of the British Empire, such has it's importance been for 500 years. Not only is the origin of modern timekeeping found here with Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the Prime Meridian sited at The Royal Observatory, but you'll also find the National Maritime Museum here, which charts 500 years of British sea adventure.
rmg.co.uk

Price National Maritime Museum - Free entry
Combined Ticket: For Observatory and Cutty Sark –
Please check on the website for different offers
Opening times

10.00 to 17.00 daily

Extended evening hours July to September

 

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Science

London Transport Museum

The London Museum of Transport offers a wide variety of exhibitions, talks and activities – ranging from design workshops to information past, present and future of London’s transport.
ltmuseum.co.uk

Price Between £40-£80 per education session per group.
Opening times 10.00 to 18.00 daily (Closed Friday)

The Science Museum

Hours can be lost in this brilliant museum where the emphasis is on interactive exhibits with subjects ranging from space technology to how a toilet works.
sciencemuseum.org.uk

Price Free (charges apply for IMAX and simulators)
Opening times 10.00 to 18.00

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History museum is home to life and earth science specimens comprising some 70 million items within five main collections: Botany, Entomology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology and Zoology. The museum is a world-renowned centre of research and is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons, and ornate architecture. Marvel at the building itself and the animals peering down at you from the roof.
nhm.ac.uk

Price Free
Opening times 10.00 to 17.50 daily

SEA LIFE London Aquarium

Housed in the magnificent County Hall and home to many endangered species, the SEA LIFE Aquarium is a great way to spend an afternoon if the weather is inclement.
visitsealife.com

SEA LIFE centre london

Price Seasonal variations - Contact your Voyager salesperson
Opening times Monday-Friday : 10.00-18.00 
Saturday-Sunday : 09.30-19.00

London Zoo

Found on the north side of Regent's Park, London Zoo is the world's oldest scientific zoo. Take a half day here to enjoy meeting the collection of 755 species of animals, the statue of Guy the Gorilla, the zoo's most famous resident, and a Grade I listed telephone box!
zsl.org

Price Under 16 yrs: £8.00
Post-16 yrs: £9.00
Additional Adults: £13.25
Opening times Opens 10.00 every day, closing times dependent on season

Body Worlds

One of the world's most successful traveling exhibitions; BODY WORLDS is an exciting journey through the inner workings of the human body and a lesson in health and science.
bodyworlds.com

Price

5-17 yrs: £9.50

Teachers free

Opening times

Sun-Thurs 09:30-19:00

Fri-Sat 09:30 - 21:00

A London Science tour? Find out more

Drama

Shakespeare's Globe

For those of you who don’t want to miss out on London’s most famous playwright, then take a trip down to the river banks and see Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition. The museum explores the life of the man, the London he lived in and the theatre for which he wrote. A guided tour will tell you all about the fascinating reconstruction of the Globe and will attempt to explain why it works as such a dynamic theatre space.

shakespearesglobe.com

Shakespeare's Globe

 

Price Group prices 15+
(an audioguide is included in your entry to the Exhibition)
Adult £16.00
Student (with valid ID): £12.50
Children (5-15) £9.00
Opening times Exhibition - Daily: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Globe Theatre Tours :
Monday 9.30-17.00
Tuesday – Saturday: 9.30-12.30
Sunday 9.30-11.30
Get in touch today!

Art

Tate Modern

Housed in an old power station Tate modern is a fantastic art gallery with the huge Turbine Hall home to installations by some of the world's leading artists. Throughout there is much to marvel at with 20th century giants such as Kandinsky, Mondrian, Picasso and Duchamp on display.

The new Switch House or Blavatnik Building extension, opened to the public in June 2016 and added over 20,000 square metres of additional space, along with a roof deck that affords spectacular views of the city.
tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern

Price Free - except for some exhibitions
Opening times 10.00–18.00, Sunday – Thursday
10.00–22.00, Friday – Saturday

Tate Britain

For a taste of some more British-centric art, visit the Tate Britain, which documents artistic development in the U.K. from 1500 until the present day. Once again, entrance is free except for the major exhibitions.

If you would like to see both Tate museums in one day, then why not try the Tate boat which takes you from one Tate museum to the other in a matter of minutes (Tate Britain is located around the Millbank area).
tate.org.uk/britain

Tate Britain

Price Free - except for some exhibitions
Opening times 10.00 to 18.00 daily

The National Gallery

The National Gallery, along with the majority of London's museums and galleries, is free entry. inside you'll find Constable, Turner, Michelangelo, Van Gogh and Rembrandt amongst many other masters. ensure you allocate enough time to get the most from your visit.
nationalgallery.org.uk

Price Free
Opening times 10.00 to 18.00 daily. until 21.00 on Friday

The Victoria and Albert Museum

For those of you who are interested in the development of fashion across the world and across time, the V&A, the world’s greatest museum of art and design is an excellent choice.

There are works by luminaries such as Michelangelo, Donatello, Rodin and Raphael, but the majority on display is dedicated to fashion and design: you'll see everything from Mongolian dress to the wedding dresses of previous Queens of England.
vam.ac.uk

Price Free
Opening times 10.00 to 17.45 daily. Until 22.00 on Friday.

The Saatchi Gallery

Over the years, the gallery has been responsible for launching the careers of the likes of Damien Hirst, and Tracey Emin. More than 2000 schools organize visits here annually, and with good reason. Saatchi’s philosophy of exhibiting unknown young artists gives inspiration to young creative minds.
saatchigallery.com

Price Free
Opening times 10.00 to 18.00 daily

 

 

 

Contemplating an Art tour?

Recreation

London Eye

Just like the Eiffel Tower, the London Eye was originally only ever meant to be a temporary structure, erected in 1999 for the Millenium celebrations. It proved so popular that it now sits in permanent residence on the south bank and is one of the capital's most visited attractions. One rotation lasts 30 mins, be sure to book ahead with your group.
londoneye.com

 London Eye

Price £9.95 
Opening times See website

Thames River Trip

Why not see London on an unforgettable boat cruise? Not only will you pass some of London’s most important buildings, but an expert will be on-board to give a comprehensive history of them. Go from Westminster Pier to Greenwich and get the full low-down on Somerset House, the Oxo building, the Savoy Hotel and everything in between.
thamesriverservices.co.uk

Price See website
Opening times See website for seasonal departure times

 

Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds is one of the most visited attractions in London. The eternal appeal of getting up close to life-like wax effigies of famous people continues unabated; expect queues on weekends and school holidays unless you have a reservation.

madametussauds.com/london

 

 

 

 

Price Primary School: £9.95, 
Secondary: £18,
Higher Education: £20 
Opening times See website for seasonal opening times

The London Dungeon

The frightening fun led by brilliant live actors is, in fact, built on riveting historical tales and stories of London’s murky underworld. Located in County Hall with the Aquarium and next to the London Eye, this could be part of a whole day’s activity on the South Bank.
thedungeons.com/london

Price Student £12.95
Teacher £21.00
Opening times 10.00-17.00 daily. Thursdays 11.00-17.00; Saturdays until 18.00

Oxford Street

Every world capital has it's shopping 'mecca' and Oxford Street is certainly where to head if you are in need of retail therapy. Almost 1.5 miles long from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road,  the street is home to Selfridge's, Top Shop's flagship store and over 300 other stores. If you need to escape the crowds dive off to Soho Square or into St James Park for a picnic. Interestingly, a diagonal crossing at Oxford Circus, the busy intersection with Regents Street, opened in 2009 and is currently the only one of its kind in central London.
oxfordstreet.co.uk

Covent Garden

One can imagine that standing amidst the sophisticated hustle and bustle of Covent Garden that you're actually somewhere abroad, Europe possibly, not in the heart of London. Another centre for retail, a little higher end than Oxford street possibly, with boutiques and jewelry stores aplenty, the atmosphere is always convivial with street performers wowing their audiences and cafe culture in full bloom on a sunny day. 
coventgarden.london

 Covent Garden

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