London is an iconically beautiful city, with a skyline that rivals any capital in the world and stunning, world-class architecture, all of this held together by the meandering Thames. It’s a sight to behold, and on a mini break it’s worth squeezing in some time to revel in its majesty.
Just as London is at the forefront of food, nightlife and pampering, it spares no expense when it comes to sightseeing. With exciting, romantic and entirely unique ways to explore the city, it’s a dream destination for any would-be traveller. On this week’s episode of "Jen’s Weekend: London" airing each Monday on RTÉ Player, host Jen Zamparelli gets a new perspective on London with Tom Read Wilson of Celebs Go Dating fame.
Hopping off of her Aer Lingus flight, Jen explores the city by sea, air and land, taking flight again in a helicopter ride, touring the streets in an iconic black cab and sailing on a speedboat along the Thames.
In a city so vast and impressive, there are endless ways to sightsee, but we’ve picked out our favourite ways to make the most of your weekend away.
1. Thames Rockets
London is dynamic, fast-paced and often thrillingly unpredictable. Navigating the bustling city often feels like a high-speed chase akin to something James Bond would do, so it’s fitting that one way to explore the city is by speedboat.
After beginning their tours in 2006, Thames Rockets is one of the highest-rated experiences in London, and with good reason. Like Jen and Tom, you can see the city from the perspective of the great river that helped it grow, peeking through foaming waves at landmarks you’ve never seen in the same way before.
Choose from a selection of tours, from children’s tours to after-hours evening experiences, and the original one that started it all, learn buckets of history and trivia about the city while roaring at speeds of 35mph in their showstopping red Rocket boats.
2. The London Underground Treasure Hunt
The Tube is the nervous system of London, a historical engineering backbone that saved lives in the Second World War and a vital resource for countless Londoners. It’s so iconic that it has its own merchandise, so it’s no wonder that some mastermind decided to use it to stoke the tourism industry.
On this tour, you and your teammates explore the intricate networks of the London Underground while in search for "the Holy Grail". Testing your strategy, teamwork and time management (much like the actual Tube), you must work together to decode clues, solve puzzles and navigate the course, all while avoiding the Secret Agents, who try to lead you astray.
It’s a memorable and unique way to learn about the famous city and see its hidden underbelly, as well as pick up some sweet London Underground merchandise.
3. The London Helicopter
If like Jen and Tom you’re tight on time, skip the lines and take the high road, with a helicopter ride over London’s awe-inspiring skyline. While certainly one of the pricier activities in the city, seeing the city from the air is a joyous thing, and a rare way to see one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
Choose from trips lasting between ten and 30 minutes, and see up to 35 iconic London monuments in ways very few people have. Although comparatively a short trip, the memories you make will last a lifetime.
4. World’s longest tunnel slide at ArcelorMittal Orbit
Designed by Sir Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is the longest tunnel slide in the world, a dazzling architectural sculpture and a thrilling way to get in some sightseeing.
One of the most recognisable visual legacies of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the slide whisks you through 20 miles of incredible views. You couldn’t choose a better location to see London from - the sculpture is the tallest structure in London.
With a see-through slide snaking around the structure, the slide is spectacular at night as well as during the day, and is perfect for weeding out your brave friends from the more timid.
5. Black Cab tour, Central London
When it comes to exploring a city and knowing the tourist traps from the authentic local haunts, it's the taxi drivers who are the experts. Bringing countless travelers, such as Jen and Tom, as well as locals, all over the city, they're treasure troves of information and your one-stop shop for where to go.
In a city as iconic, classy and bespoke as London, of course there's a black cab tour, and this is the one for you. Load into the sleek black cab and choose from a varied menu of bespoke tours, covering everything from the city's Jewish quarter to London scandals.
London is a city built on style, so if you must sight-see make sure it's with this, one of the classiest tours available.
Aer Lingus is proud to sponsor the new series Jen’s Weekend: London. Just like Jen, you can enjoy great four-star service on your weekend away to London with Aer Lingus. Choose from up to 50 flights departing daily from Dublin, Cork, Knock, Shannon and Belfast. Fares are from €27.99 one way. Smart flies Aer Lingus.
Watch Jen’s Weekend now on RTE Player.