Thousands of years of history, a vibrant, fast-changing fusion of old and new, and a well-deserved reputation as a multicultural melting pot – London is full of surprises.
Ideal for school trips, group getaways, social groups and educational residentials, whether you’re staying for a night, a week or longer, there’s plenty to get excited about when you’re planning a visit to the capital. You could take in the sights of Westminster, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace in just one morning. An afternoon could be spent at the London Transport Museum before watching the street performers in Covent Garden and Leicester Square. And that's just in one tiny part of the city!
Perhaps tomorrow you’ll acquaint yourself with the Tudors at Hampton Court Palace, take a gentle stroll through the oldest parts of the city before enjoying a picnic in the park, then take a Yeoman tour of the Tower of London? Schools can also visit the Parliamentary Education Centre to learn more about how the government works. Complete with parliament-themed learning rooms, augmented reality experiences, 360 degree projections and sound technology, it's a great interactive experience.
No trip to England’s capital is complete without popping over to see if The Queen is at home. Visit The Queen’s official London residence at Buckingham Palace for a glimpse inside one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today. During the summer you can tour the 19 lavishly furnished State Rooms, and during the rest of the year you can still see the famous exterior of the palace and watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony.
Whether you’re a muggle or a wizard, grab a chance to enjoy a few Harry Potter experiences while you’re visiting and you’ll feel magical in no time. It may be nearly 18 years since JK Rowling’s first novel was published but the books and films continue to captivate children and adults everywhere. In addition to a studio tour, walking tour, a bus tour and even a luggage trolley at Platform 9 ¾ on King’s Cross Station, new for 2016 is the acclaimed ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ play, it’s a must see, but book quickly - tickets will sell out in a flash!
National Gallery of Art
For hundreds of years London’s museums and galleries have been known the world over for their unparalleled collections of artefacts and antiquities – and now most of them are free to enter. Ideal for educational visits, climb aboard a red bus or jump on the London Underground and head over to the British Museum, the Imperial War Museum, London Canal Museum, the National Gallery, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, the V&A, the Natural History Museum, or the Science Museum, to name just a few. You’re completely spoilt for choice!
Tower of London
The Tower of London dominates the River Thames as it has done for nearly 1,000 years. The tube, red buses and black taxis still keep this metropolis on the move, but nothing stands still forever. Striking towers of glass and steel, including London’s newest landmark and Europe’s tallest building The Shard, have risen from the city’s 18th century docks, and across the river from the Victorian Gothic grandeur of the Houses of Parliament. The London Eye offers visitors stunning aerial views of London by day and night.
Events & attractions
Did we mention we can help you out with discounted tickets? We work closely with our attraction partners to offer you discounted prices and fast track tickets for world famous attractions including Madame Tussauds, London Dungeons, City Sightseeing Tours, Royal Historic Palaces, London Eye, the Tower of London, and West End shows such as The Lion King, Wicked, Aladdin and Les Misérables.
And the fun definitely doesn’t stop as the sun goes down. Great for groups wanting to experience the bright lights, be sure to venture out and see the city at night. London’s West End has had an insatiable appetite for theatre since the first West End venue in Drury Lane opened in 1663 and today it’s the largest theatre district in the world, with many international stars treading the boards night after night.
Group travel in London
For groups of 10 or more visiting the capital, Group Day Travelcards are available to purchase. Group Day Travelcards provide unlimited access after 9.30am Monday to Friday and any time on weekends or Bank Holidays within the zones on the tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and National Rail services as well as on all London bus services and trains. Group Day Travelcards are available to purchase from ticket machines in London or online here.
YHA group accommodation in London
From a school group, special interest group, a university group, a sports group or a group of friends looking to get away, finding group friendly accommodation in London is easy when you stay with YHA. On top of our safe and secure hostels and great group facilities, our friendly staff are pretty brilliant too. We’ll help you to catch the true personality of the city by sharing our love of London and knowledge of some of the lesser known hidden gems.
We’re here to allay your concerns of planning, paperwork, security issues, coach parking, breakfast, picnic lunch, evening meals, attraction tickets, and anything else you need assistance with. Our advisors will talk you through how we can support you and what we can arrange for you, to help organise the trip of a lifetime.
We have three Youth Hostels that offer budget accommodation and flexible meal plans that are perfect for groups of all shapes and sizes.
London activity options
City Exploration bolt-on
This unique adventure provides an exhilaratingly different way to explore the famous streets and museums of London. Your group will be met at the hostel by experienced staff from The Exploration Society and from here the adventure begins. Throughout the sessions participants will interact with locations and actors, working together as a team to solve intricate puzzles and complete the final missions.
If you're thinking about seeing a show whilst staying at our London hostels we can recommend a great way to make the event a little more special. Try our bespoke drama workshop delivered by the awesome folk at The Theatre Workout, London’s leading workshop and events company. Enjoy a bespoke 2-3-hour drama workshop which can be tailored to accompany any West End play or musical.