Living in the heart of the City, I am entirely spoilt for amazing things to do in London every day. I am never tired of telling people how extra-ordinary our Capital can be; there are no limits to the exciting things a tourist can do.
Samuel Johnson once said,
‘When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’.
I am in total agreement. Whether you are looking for West End musicals, a ride on the dark side with double decker buses, Sherlock Holmes or Kate Middleton lunch spots, the UK’s capital has something to offer everyone. I run a fantastic tourist based company in London (Ghost Bus Tours and The Classic Tour), and we have seen positive growth in the number of tourists wanting to take the tours. The fall in the value of the pounds after the Brexit referendum helped make London an even more attractive destination for visitors. In 2016, the total number of foreign visitors to London went through the 19 million mark for the first time. In fact, that total rose 2.6% - from 18.6 million to 19.1 million. The figures are taken from the latest data from the Office for National Statistics and indicate that there a continued surge in numbers in 2017.
The data reveals that visitor number has risen steadily since the Olympics and Paralympics of 2012. London is at the heart of a wonderful period in tourism for the UK. The number of visits is now 25% higher than five years ago.Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said in response to this data,
“I am delighted that more people than ever before are choosing to visit London, immersing themselves in all that our great city has to offer including an unbeatable array of restaurants, museums, shops, and theatres. This is further evidence that London is Open and has an appeal that extends across the globe.”
My feeling about this continued upward trend for tours in London, was confirmed from Forward Keys, (they record overseas travel agent bookings to London). Their independent data suggests a 10% increase in the numbers of overseas travellers coming to London. The huge choice is something our guests on the bus tours comment on all the time. Whether you live here or a first-time visitor, you will find something new to see - London’s classic landmarks with a new twist or getting a taste of the West End (even when you can’t get a ticket for a show) - see our incredible Christmas Lights Tour (and super cute video) - there are, of course, other tours available!
Part of the continued appeal of London, (as the capital of England and the United Kingdom) is a 21st-century city with a history stretching back to Roman times. The imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower, and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations, Royal Weddings, and funerals. The beauty of the River Thames, as seen from the top of an open top bus providing panoramic views of the South Bank and the entire city. Without question, London is one of the world's leading tourism destinations. In 2016 visitors to London spent a whopping £12.4 billion. This is more than 50% of what international visitors paid in the whole of the United Kingdom. London is also the third most populous European city by population, with a vast 8,673,713 people.
Tourism is a evolving and developing into new areas (our experiential tours as well the retro feel of the 1960's Routemaster bus) allowing the visitor (as well as those that live in the City) to experience something very different. There is no doubt that London is very diverse and exciting city with some of the World's best sights, attractions and activities. It is time to explore more and see things from a different viewpoint. Here are my top 6 reasons to visit and explore London -
1. The World Famous Sights
From the iconic Big Ben to the Tower of London, from Buckingham Palace to the London Eye - the list goes on and on. There is nothing quite like the experience of seeing the town from a double-decker bus and seeing some of the most recognisable sights in the world from its top deck. Take the time to do more than collect photographs. Collect some life long memories by engaging with these living buildings and people.
2. The Fabulous Nightlife
I may be getting older, but I am still excited by the energy of the city. There is something for everyone and any night owl will be rewarded with unusual bars, classic pubs, super clubs, theatres and the excitement of rubbing shoulders with Hollywood stars in town for a night out. Those stars are often taking a well-worn path to appearing in the West End Theatre. My night time joy is performing standup comedy - you really must see the best comedy (live) in the world - and maybe catch me telling some jokes!
3. The Incredible Shopping
I am not a huge fan of shopping, but I can understand why some many millions flock to Oxford Street or Harrods and fall in love by the boutiques around Carnaby Street or the madness of Camden Market. Get out there and leave the chain shops behind - celebrate the quirky and different shops in Covent Garden.
4. The Diverse and Wonderful Residents
London is a fascinating place to discover how friendly people can be - despite our reputation of the opposite. Our capital city is terrific because of the high diversity of engaging people that live here. There are extraordinary people doing amazing things everywhere you care to look - ask better questions, and you will find the real stories that matter.
5. The Dramatic History is Everywhere You Look
London is ancient and really shines through to those who care to look at its dark past. The nations character and culture developed within these city walls. Be a little scared by experiencing the wonderful London Dungeons or take a ride on the dark side with The Ghost Bus Tours. Go deeper and explore the alleyways and snickleways of the Legal district.
6. The Crazy Side of London
I still feel that exploring and discovering the smallest parts of a city yield the most exciting and valuable elements, the bits you weren't expecting. The joy of discovering peaceful green spaces and how very different and unusual the Boroughs can feel. It may feel crazy at times, but it is worth experiencing it on a new level by being open to the possibilities.
Tim T Dingle BSc (Hons) PGCE MBA Mediator
Chief Operations Officer
Chief Fun(eral) Director
Elizabeth House, 39 York Road South Entrance, 5th floor, SE1 7NQ
Tim Dingle BSc (Hons), PGCE, MBA, has been involved in education, management, comedy, research, the Law and training for the last 30 years. Tim is a former Headmaster of a top school and gained an MBA with a distinction (his dissertation was on body language and Interview skills).
He has a unique insight into teaching, leadership, comedy and management and has now written 26 books on a variety of topics including motivation, leadership, education, training, communication, interview success and business.
His background in management also includes being the Chairman on England Schools Rugby and an active member of the RFU and MCC. His academic pedigree (in Biology, Teaching and Business) combined with his Mediation skills, gained him a place on the Board of the Global Negotiation Insight Institute (which used to be the Harvard Negotiation project). He has lectured all around the world with keynote speeches at many national and international events. His facilitation skills are in constant use for difficult and complex problems. His training company works across a variety of sectors and is making a massive impact, dedicated to making everyone feel empowered, successful and having fun. He writes jokes as well as running a comedy club and training school in London.