Explore the capital with a tour of London

When it comes to sightseeing, London's astonishing wealth of culture, history and architecture makes it one of the greatest cities in the world. However, the capital's size and the sheer quantity of sights and attractions on offer can make choosing what to see a daunting task.

london tours

Whether you're the energetic type or prefer relaxed comfort, there's a tour for everyone - and some will give you the opportunity to see the city in a whole new light.

By bus
Open top buses are a familiar sight in London, and The Original London Sightseeing Tour provides newcomers to the city the chance to see some of the most famous attractions from one of its most iconic vehicles - the red bus. While the buses are equipped with English-speaking guides, and recorded commentaries for non-English speakers, these hop-on hop-off tours allow visitors to stop whenever or wherever they please during the day.

If that doesn't take your fancy, why not try something a little more unusual? Climb aboard a classic vintage double-decker and see the spookier side of London with a Ghost Bus Tour. Haunted palaces and unmarked burial grounds are on the cards as the London Necrobus Company reveals the city's dark side - and with on-board actors and a little technical trickery, there will be more than a few surprises.

Alternatively, combine both land and water with London Duck Tours. Having viewed the major central sights, like Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament, the company's bright yellow amphibious vehicle will head straight to the water for an unforgettable trip down the River Thames.

By boat
The hop-on hop-off nature of bus tours isn't for everyone, and if you're after a more relaxed experience, a glide down the River Thames could be for you. Some of London's most stunning sights - the Houses of Parliament, St Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge to name a few - can be seen from the water, and with Bateaux London cruises, you can combine your sightseeing with lunch, afternoon tea or dinner.

An altogether more adrenaline-filled boat trip is provided courtesy of London RIB Voyages, who will take you on a thrill-ride through the capital aboard a speedboat, with a comedian tour guide to provide the laughs. It might be a tad chilly at this time of year, but the Sunday Times voted an RIB Voyage as one of the 50 best things to do in the UK.

By bike
Cycling is enjoying something of a popularity boom these days and come spring and summer, a cycle through the capital is a great way to see the city. Fat Tire Bike Tours are old hands at family-friendly, fun cycle tours, having started life showing tourists the sights of Paris, Barcelona and Berlin, and all London's major attractions will be on their route.

If you'd prefer to get off the beaten track though, Mind The Gap Tours offer small group guided tours, both on foot and by bike, and a gentle riverside cycle to Hampton Court makes for a fantastic family day out.

On foot
Given its size, doing London on foot could mean a serious hike. But for anyone with a specific area of interest, a walking tour is a great way to really get a feel for the capital and its extraordinary history.

London Walking Tours, for instance, offer tours ranging from Royal London to Dickens' London, Harry Potter Film Locations to the always popular Jack the Ripper Tour. And as well as these informative guided tours, there are a host of more unusual opportunities available.

Keen photographers, from beginners to intermediates, can join Camera Trails for a chance to shoot London with expert tuition on hand. With a London Treasure Hunt you'll find a few hidden gems amidst the famous landmarks, but you'll have to solve the clues to discover them. And if you prefer to do your sightseeing with a soundtrack, Cities in Sound offer high quality audio tours that transform your iPod into a tour guide, with music, interviews and city sounds to accompany you on your trip.