Beyond the city: private day-tours from London

Should you be visiting London from overseas any time soon, it may well be your plan to see some of the UK outside the capital too. Why not? With lashings of history, areas of outstanding natural beauty and a diverse and fascinating culture, Great Britain is an island that millions delight in discovering each year.

One way in which you might do this, should you make London your base, is via a day-tour. Travellers enjoy day-long tours from London to various places of interest every day of the year, whether by coach or by car. And, on occasions, such tours can be customised. For instance, some people are very specific in terms of knowing what tour they’d like to go on, whiles others only have a vague idea of where they’d like to go and what they’d like to see. A certain number of day-tour operators are flexible enough to accommodate customers’ different requests. Indeed, some operators – or agents –are able to fix up visitors with the likes of the following:

The best way to explore London

•  Personalised, private tours via car or touring coach

•  Tours – with or without a guide – to places or packages not usually available,such as Stonehenge (special access)

•  Sightseeing tours for long stop-overs between flights or between airports

•  Large-group day-tours and transfer tours

•  Transfer tours to and from cruise ports

•  And even multi-day tours of the UK.

Customisable options

With a private tour, you can choose where you go and what you want to see, of course, but you can also customise other aspects of the tour–such as exactly when you want to go, the pace of the tour and exactly what kind of guide you want or whether you want a guide at all. For instance, these are aspects of a potential tour you might consider:

•  Day-tours often tend to last between nine and 10 hours; usually you’re likely to be picked up at your London accommodation (such as, say, Shaftesbury Hyde Park International hotel) around 8 or 9am and arrive back in London at 5-6pm, but timings are always negotiable

•  A popular option, of course, is for a guided tour but an option that would likely save you money would be to arrange a tour where you charter a vehicle and driver alone and work to a pre-arranged itinerary; in such cases the driver can also effectively serve as a semi-guide

•  Tickets to attractions and lunch locations can be discussed and usually arranged by day-tour operators as well.

Driving

Drivers and guides

As mentioned above, people’s needs are likely to be different based on their whims, so while your preference among the day tours from London may require a professional driver for transportation purposes, it may not require an additional guide or commentary. Alternatively, you may prefer to have the whole shebang. These are the sort of options you’ll likely have to choose between:

•  Driver only – an experienced driver familiar with popular touring routes

•  Driver/ guide – a driver who can provide commentary during the day

•  Driver and a guide – this option may be a practical consideration for day-tours involving (large) groups where organisation during the day becomes an issue.

Popular destinations

If you’re not sure where you want to go on a day-tour from London, here are some suggestions to give you an idea or two:

Stonehenge

•  Windsor and Stonehenge – visit Windsor Castle in the morning, taking in Runnymede (for the Magna Carta), the Queen’s Farm Shop, Etonor, of course, Windsor Castle, then in the early afternoon head on to Stonehenge

•    Stonehenge and Bath – depart London early so you reach Stonehenge before most other tour buses arrive, then spend the afternoon in Bath, not forgetting to visit the world-famous Roman baths

•  Villages, pubs and the countryside – the nation’s green countryside and picturesque landscapes are all within easy reach of London, so get off the tourist trail, venture along country lanes and discover the finest countryside and villages

•  The Cotswolds (via Oxford, Warwick Castle or Stratford-upon-Avon) – with its exquisite grey stone, The Cotswolds area is a beautiful part of the English countryside; spend the morning either visiting Oxford, Warwick Castle or Shakespeare’s home town of Stratford-upon Avon.

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