The top 5 experiences you can't miss on a London tour

If watching all the London-centered festivities of 2012, from the Queen’s Jubilee to the opening ceremonies, whetted your appetite for a trip to England’s capital, rest assured that there’s never been a better time to embark on a London tour. London is a city for the ages, and you’ll find layer upon layer of fascinating history, often right alongside the amenities of a vibrant, modern metropolis.

There are a couple things to keep in mind. First, London is big. Second, there’s an almost infinite variety of things to see and do. Those two factors together mean that it can be challenging to navigate the city deftly enough to see all the very best it has to offer. However, if you’d rather relax than be on the run during your trip, it’s a good idea to seek the advice of experienced London tour professionals. With an 87-year-long history of its own, tour operator Tauck offers carefully crafted itineraries that make traveling a simple pleasure. All you need to do is sit back and enjoy the regal magic of London – and enjoy the added benefit of saving as much as 40 percent over independent travel.

Even if you’re ready to pack your bags, find a bit of extra inspiration by getting to know the top five experiences you can enjoy on a London tour.

1. Historic London: London may be one of the most cutting-edge cities in the world, but it stands shoulder to shoulder with the European continent’s great old-world cities in terms of historical sites. As you tour London, visit Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament to see some of the most iconic and memorable places in London’s history. Of course, simply strolling through the city will also lead you to unexpected historic sites and monuments – many houses are signposted with information about notable people – real or fictitious – who once occupied them.

2. A bit of the royal life: The relationship between America and the British monarchy is a complicated one, but the current fascination with the royals  means a visit to a castle shouldn’t be missed when on a London tour. Windsor Castle, just outside the city, has been home to the royal family for more than 900 years and features points of interest, like St. George’s Chapel and the Baroque State Apartments, that will make all those centuries come vividly to life.

3. A bird’s-eye view: Though it’s only been open to the public since 2000, the giant Ferris wheel called the London Eye has become a modern day icon. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to soar 450 feet in the air in a private capsule to experience what is arguably the best possible view of the city.

4. Culinary London: The city is home to some of the world’s premier chefs and respected restaurants. For the meal of a lifetime, try a restaurant like Maze Grill, helmed by renowned chef Gordon Ramsay. And no trip to London is complete without a traditional tea – Tauck’s London tours include an afternoon tea at the grand Fortnum & Mason department store.

5. The world’s best – and easiest – side trip: Part of the appeal of London is its status as a transportation hub. With easy access to flights, buses and trains, it’s a snap to take a side trip outside the city – or even to mainland Europe. Hop aboard the Eurostartrain and take a high-speed trip through the Chunnel to reach Paris, where you can indulge in fashion, food and sightseeing that will make your trip even more memorable.

For more information or to get a free ebrochure about London tours, visit Tauck online.