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Are you looking for a slightly different view of London? Although many of the city’s most notable sites are above ground, you will find that there is a lot of history, remarkable works of engineering, and stories to be told, underneath the Earth.
In an underground tour of London, you can walk behind the scenes of the oldest metro in the world, take a quick peek into former air-raid shelters used during the second world war, and walk the dusty passageways that were once used by former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill.
If riding in black cabs and queuing at Madame Tussauds is not your thing any more, then try looking below the surface to escape the crowds.
To help you out, I’ve listed some of my favorite underground London tours that take you through lost tunnels and uncover parts of London you didn’t know were there.
- The Best Underground London Tours
- Final Thoughts on Underground Tours of London
- Save Money on London Attractions
Planning your trip to London last-minute?
Don’t forget to plan ahead when visiting London! Here are some of the top tours, hotels, and useful items you may need before your trip!
Top Experiences and Tours in London
- River Thames Cruise (a great way to see the city skyline!)
- The Tower of London Entry Ticket w/ Crown Jewels Exhibit (an unmissable attraction in London!)
- Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour (to keep the kids happy!)
- London Eye Entry Ticket (to avoid long queues)
Top Accommodation and Hotels in London
The Best Underground London Tours
You’ll discover a hidden world of secret tunnels, terrifying tombs, elaborate train routes, and ancient cave systems on one of these underground London tours.
1. Cabinet War Rooms
Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the Blitz with a trip down into the historic Cabinet War Rooms.
This warren of tunnels and bunkers under Whitehall was the headquarters for Britain’s war effort during WW2.
The tour starts by exploring the War Cabinet Room from where Winston Churchill planned Britain’s next move.
You can actually see the chair (complete with scratch marks on its arms) which he used during highly stressful meetings.
In the Map Room, nothing has changed since 16 Aug 1945, when the lights were finally switched off.
Wartime maps, colour-coded telephones, and even rationed sugar cubes remain exactly as they were when the war ended.
2. Chislehurst Caves
This network of 8000-year-old caves in the greater London area is an unexpected treat. The caves, which extend for 20 miles, were initially created as a result of flint and chalk mining.
You can take a lamp-lit tour deep into this labyrinth and explore the caves’ varied history; from their origins as mines to their subsequent use as an ammunition depot and then as an air raid shelter during WW2.
You can read more and check prices and availability here.
3. The London Bridge Experience and London Tombs
This spine-chilling historical tour takes you through the early days of London.
Begin by discovering the most haunted bridge in the world – London Bridge – then you’ll be taken through Roman, Viking, and Victorian times and you can watch Queen Boudicca defeat the Romans in battle and see the great fire of London erupt before your very eyes.
For a really frightful time, you’ll need to go deeper underground into the depths of the London Tombs.
This former plague pit has been given a Hollywood-inspired makeover and now boasts state-of-the-art special effects and live actors, to bring London’s bloody history to life.
Although The London Bridge Experience doesn’t have any age restrictions, all children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. The London Tombs is not suitable for children under 11.
We visited the London Bridge Experience with our 14- and 10-year-old. It was one of our teen’s favorite things to do in London. Our tween was a little scared. but she still loves sharing her memories from it.
4. Tour of the London underground
You’re sure to have a renewed respect for the tube after this two-hour tour of the world’s oldest underground metro system.
This feat of engineering has been transporting passengers for 150 years and you’ll be able to see its original plans along with the steam engines that were first used.
Along your route, watch out for the ghost station at the British Museum and discover the secrets behind the original hand-dug tunnels.
5. Brunel’s underground tunnel
Discover how Isambard Kingdom Brunel helped his father Marc build one of the world’s first tunnels under a river.
The Thames tunnel, which is 170 years old, was originally designed to allow people and horses to cross the Thames without obstructing the passing ships.
Once known as the eighth wonder of the world, the tunnel was reopened in 2010 as part of the London Overground.
You can now descend into The Grand Entrance Hall at the tunnel shaft and even discover a secret chamber.
Tours can be organized through the Brunel Museum.
6. The Hidden London Tours by London Transport Museum
If you want to get off the beaten path, then the London Transport Museum, operated by Transport for London, have several underground tours you can take part in.
The tours are designed to take people to disused stations and secret sites, it’s an urban explorer’s dream come true.
You can choose to visit any of the following stations on a small group walking tour:
- Aldwych Station, which opened in 1907 but closed in 1994, and was the former “end of the line.” It was used as a shelter during the Blitz and is now an abandoned tube station. It has been featured in several film and television, such as Sherlock and Atonement.
- Charing Cross, which is still in use today but became famous after it was used in the James Bond movie, Skyfall. This tour takes you to closed-off areas and the disused spaces of Charing Cross where you can learn about the station’s history and use in movie sets.
- Clapham South which opened after world war II and consists of eight deep-level shelters and miles of passageways.
- Down Street Station, also known as Winston Churchill’s secret station. It’s located between Green Park and Hyde Park Corner stations and was used as an air-raid shelter for the prime minister and was also the Railway Executive Committee’s bomb-proof headquarters.
- The lost tunnels of Euston. You can walk down the passageways and tunnels from Euston Station that are no longer in use, and still see vintage advertising posters adorning the walls.
- Go behind the scenes at Shepherd’s Bush station, one of the popular stations in London’s suburbs.
- Learn about modern day engineering with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Elizabeth Line from Tottenham Court Road.
- Kingsway trams tunnel tour. Before trains, the city used trams which consequently closed down. You can walk down the only remaining tram tunnel in London on this tour.
Final Thoughts on Underground Tours of London
I bet you didn’t realize how much of London’s underground world was accessible to tourists? I was pleasantly surprised too.
If you think about it, much of London’s history was served underground. During the 6-months of the Blitz, these underground stations were a place of refuge and safety.
Instead of being disused stations, they have been turned into attractions so tourists can see the city’s engineering triumphs and historical landmarks.
Whether you’re looking for a fun activity for a Saturday night or you’re curious about the history of the world’s oldest metro system, these tours are sure to be a highlight of your London trip.
Tours of London
Save Money on London Attractions
- The London Sightseeing Pass: Our favorite of the tourist discount cards is the London Sightseeing Pass for their flexibility and diversity. They offer entry to top London attractions, plus quirky local tours, and discounts on shopping and eating out. See more information and get your pass here.
- The London Pass By GoCity: gives you free entry to 60+ top London attractions, Hop on and Off sightseeing tour, and fast track passes at popular London attractions. Get your London Pass here.
More London Travel Tips
Are you planning a trip to London but need more inspiration for your trip? Then you may find these other guides helpful…
- Things to Do in London
- London Travel Tips
- Ultimate guide to getting around London
- Arriving in London Alone and Without Any Money
- 5 of the best accommodation options in London from budget to luxury
- Why you should plan a London vacation
- Is the London Eye worth it?
- 21 Places to visit in London
- 3 Day London Itinerary
Have you explored London’s underground before? What do you recommend? Let us know in the comments.