Not sure what to get someone going to London and want to give them a gift to make their trip extra special? Depending on their type of trip you can surprise them with fantastic London experiences or some practical gifts to really kick start their holiday.
Unless YOU’RE the one visiting London and want to get some amazing London gift ideas for your birthday, Christmas or a special occasion.
Let’s not keep you waiting and get started with the London gift guide with 25 ideas that travelers will love!!
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1# London Tour Gift Vouchers
I always believe experiences are the best gift to receive and London tours cover this perfectly. Not only are you giving them great memories but making sure your giftee has the best time in London.
London tours are great as they allow you to explore parts of the city you wouldn’t usually go. The tour guide will add insight into the history and culture of the place. There are so many different tours to choose from, here are some to consider:
Fun London Tours runs you can choose from Changing of the Guard, to seeing the old parts of London, to discovering London’s most notorious criminals. Check out the range of tours gift vouchers here.
Shoreditch is a hotspot to see for famous street art by the likes of Banksy, El Mac, Stik, Space Invader, Jimmy C, Dscreet and Phlegm. Why not get your giftee the best guide by getting them the East End and Street Art Tour. The tour guide will show where to find the best piece and see a bit more of the grungy side of London.
Discover London’s pubs with a Historical Pub Walking Tour. Not only will your giftee taste some of London’s finest brews in 4 of the city’s most historic pubs but learn the history and discover hidden backstreets.
2# A Magical Tour of Harry Potter Studios and Transfers
Get ready to board your giftee on the Hogwarts Express from Platform 9 3/4. Make sure you present this gift as Hogwarts letter to enhance the excitement!
A day out to Warner Bros. Studio Tour with a transfer will be magical and they get to see the behind-the-scenes walking tour of sets, props, and costumes used in the Harry Potter movies.
If they don’t have a whole day available then a walking tour around London will take you to Platform 9 ¾ trolley at King’s Cross Station, a stroll through Diagon Alley, visit the Leaky Cauldron, and much more.
3# Traditional or Unique Afternoon Tea Experiences
Afternoon tea is a must do in London. It’s a long-standing tradition and happens to be a fun thing to do. As the name implies, afternoon tea is tea and snacks in the afternoon. Typical food served includes finger sandwiches, crumpets, sausage rolls, scones and cakes. There are plenty of places in London that offer afternoon tea experiences.
If you think your giftee will enjoy a traditional British afternoon tea, then there are plenty of classic tea rooms to choose from. Here are some examples:
Luxurious tea at Fortnum & Mason – The afternoon tea is one of the most famous and iconic in London. They will put on their signature tea towers with a delicious plate of ever-changing pâtisserie, classic sandwich and perfect scones.
Afternoon tea at The Ritz is a classic thing to do in London. It’s one of the greatest hotels in the world, soak up the atmosphere with a glass of chilled Champagne and enjoy the delicious treats.
Personally, I like something a little quirkier, so themed afternoon teas are perfect! From science to Harry Potter themed afternoon tea there is one for you. Here are some examples:
Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Sandersons – Alice in Wonderland is my favourite theme in the world and the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is incredible!
G & Tea at Mr. Fogg’s – Gin lovers dream, this afternoon come with tea-infused gin pots.
Science Afternoon Tea at Ampersand – Inspired by the science museum they make the whole experience come alive with sounds, visuals and interactive. My brother and sister surprised me with this as a birthday present and I can say it was a lot of fun!
Two recommendation for vouchers site are Afternoon Tea or Virgin Experience Days. When searching you will come across some places like Cafe Rouge, Caffe Concerto, Patisserie Valerie and various others. These are chain restaurants and won’t be a unique experience so I wouldn’t recommend booking these places as a gift.
Tips for booking an afternoon tea experience on a voucher site. Read the terms and conditions before booking as you want to make sure the dates are redeemable for your giftee date of travel to London.
4# Delicious Food Experiences
London is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, and this is reflected in the diverse choice of places to eat. Honestly, London is a foodie’s dream!
Traditional British food meets international dishes to create a melting pot of cuisine, and the city offers an exciting culinary experience. Many of London’s restaurants offer unique dining experiences, some of my choices are:
- Virgin Experience has some great deals for Michelin Starred restaurants, normally they are three-course dining with a glass of wine or bubble, two to check out are, Galvin La Chapelle or Ormer Mayfair by Michelin-Awarded Chef Shaun Rankin.
- Alyn Williams at the Westbury – My boyfriend took me here for one of my birthdays and the food was incredible. We indulged on a three-course meal with cheese and wine. I dream about how good the food was still!
- An unmissable experience is a Thames dinner cruise. Take in the shining lights of the city as you sail down the River Thames, passing the stunning sights including Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf and Greenwich.
- Circus is a quirky cabaret restaurant located in Covent Garden. Enjoy Pan-Asia food whilst watching the amazing acts from performers in between food courses.
5# Boozy Cocktail Experiences
Alternatively, a cocktail experience is another great idea as you will be spoilt for choice in London. There are plenty of world class cocktail bars to choose from, many of them offering unique experiences.
Make your giftee’s trip extra special with a cocktail masterclass at one Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants. This fun experience involves learning how to crush, mix and stir different cocktails. They’ll get to enjoy a snack platter and glass of Bellini as well.
For more cocktail masterclass options you could try:
Theatrical cocktail experiences are super fun! At Alcotraz, the prison cocktail bar, your giftee will need to put their stealth skills to the test and smuggle in their liquor without the guards being aware!
6# Spoil Them With A Hotel Gift Voucher
If you really want to spoil your giftee, then a hotel voucher could do the trick. If they haven’t yet booked accommodation, then you could offer to pay for their stay. But if your giftee is celebrating something, or they simply deserve something special, then you could treat them to a luxury hotel break.
There are plenty of gift vouchers that combine a night’s stay with an experience such as The Shard or a Thames cruise. Check out the range of hotel breaks and experiences here.
#7 Shop at Harrods With A Gift Card
Chances are, you’ve probably heard of Harrods before. It’s the largest department store in Europe, covering 1.1 million square feet of retail space.
Established in 1849, it is located in the affluent district of Knightsbridge. Harrods has seven floors and 330 departments offering the best products in food, fashion, homeware and technology. You can find everything from designer handbags to artwork by Andy Warhol.
The store also has many restaurants to choose from, including a sushi bar, pizzeria or Harrods Tea Rooms. If your giftee likes shopping, you can get them a gift card to spend at Harrods. Find out more here.
8# Splurge On Theatre Tickets
No trip to London would be complete without a trip to the theatre. London’s West End is a world famous theatre district, with 38 theatres to choose from.
The very first theatre opened in 1663, and today it is arguably the world’s largest theatre district. From comedies to musicals to operas to dance productions, there is something for everyone in the West End.
Some of the longest-running West End shows include The Lion King, Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera and Mamma Mia! If you think your giftee will enjoy seeing a play, then you can purchase a theatre ticket gift card and let them choose their favourite show.
9# Uncover London Attractions
London has an incredible range of attractions to visit and see. While London is incredibly lucky to have a great range of free activities, your giftee may want to explore more of the iconic sights in depth.
These tickets can really add up cost-wise, so getting them as a gift would certainly be appreciated.
Before buying tickets, you may want to check if this works for them as some will be for a specific date and time.
If you’re heading to London with them, then I also suggest reading what to book ahead in London as I go in-depth when you should consider planning certain things.
10# Save With The London Pass
The London Pass is the ultimate gift. It grants you access to over 80 of London’s attractions. As well as historical attractions like Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London, the Pass also includes activities like the Science Museum IMAX, the London Zoo and the Wembley Stadium Tour.
It also includes hop-on, hop-off bus tours, as well as a Thames Riverboat cruise. There are different options for the London Pass depending on your desired duration and range from 1 Day Passes to 10 Day Passes.
If you know that your giftee will be taking in the sights as much as possible, then it’s a great way of helping them save money on attraction entrance fees. Find out more about the London Pass here.
11# Get Them Around London With A Visitor Oyster Card
Oyster card is the best practical gift you can buy. If your giftee travelling around then they’re likely going to need to use the public buses, trains or the Tube.
There are two options: Visit Oyster card or Travelcard. The Oyster card can be used in all zones, and you top it up with as much money as you like. The Travelcard is a pass which you pay upfront for and gives you unlimited rides for a stated number of days (1 Day, 7 Days, 1 Month, 1 Year).
You can buy an Oyster card or Travelcard online and have it delivered to your giftee so that it’s ready to use the moment they land. You can find out more information about the different options on the TFL website.
12# A Travel Umbrella To Rescue Them From British Weather
An umbrella, or ‘brolly’ as the Brits call it, is an essential item for anyone travelling to the UK. The British weather is unpredictable, and rain showers have a knack of turning up unexpectedly.
A travel sized umbrella is a great option as they tend to be more lightweight and fold up easily compared to full sized umbrellas. They’re the perfect size to fit in a backpack as well.
The only downside to a travel sized umbrella is that they’re not usually as strong as full-sized ones when it comes to withstanding gusts of wind. That being said, there are a good selection of travel umbrellas that have been designed to be wind resistant, such as this one from Amazon.
13# Save Yourself From The Drizzle With A Rain Jacket
Alternatively, you could get your giftee a rain jacket instead. Rain jackets are slightly more convenient than umbrellas, in that they leave your hands free.
If you think your giftee is likely to be out and about taking photos or using their hands to carry around shopping bags, then a rain jacket is probably a better option.
Rain jackets also offer much better protection from the wind and can keep you warmer. They don’t have to be bulky either – there are many rain jackets that are made from light, stretchy material and are easy to roll up and stick in a daypack. Check out this one from Patagonia.
14# Waterproof Travel Backpack
When exploring a city, a backpack is a must-have. It’s the most practical way of carrying around your camera, money, maps, guidebook, water bottle and anything else you need for the day. They’re also much better for your back if you’re going to be carrying around all your belongings.
Many backpacks are specially designed for day to day use and have an assortment of inner and outer pockets to make the most of the space. My tip is to find a bag that’s waterproof, as a little extra protection against the London rain won’t hurt. This compact backpack made from lightweight material is a great choice from Amazon.
15#Stay Charged With A Portable Charger
What’s worse than exploring a new city and having your phone die? You’ve got the Tube map up, you’re Googling best lunch spots in London, when suddenly your phone is out of power.
If you want to get something that your giftee will really appreciate, a power bank will do the trick. The problem with portable chargers is that a lot of them aren’t that travel friendly, as they can be quite heavy and bulky to carry around.
The ideal size to bring on travels is one that fits neatly in a pocket, so I’ve picked the Anker charger from Amazon as it’s compact and lightweight, but also has a great charging capacity.
16# Universal Power Adapter
This is an essential item that every traveller should have in their suitcase. There are different plug types around the world, which makes charging your devices tricky if you don’t have the right plug.
Travel adapters are designed so that they can be used in any country, and you can plug your devices right into them no matter what type it is. The power plugs and sockets in the UK are of type G, with a standard voltage of 230V and a standard frequency of 50 Hz.
This one from Amazon has four USB charging ports and one wall charger. It’s my go to when travelling the world!
17# Be Green With A Reusable Shopping Bag
London is a fantastic shopping destination. From world class markets filled with unique finds, to modern shopping centres, to local independent brands, there’s so much to be found in London.
As the UK charges for plastic bags and it’s a great way to help the planet then a reusable shopping bag is a great gift for those souvenirs or food shops.
Reusable bags come in many different shapes and sizes, and many of them have fun patterns and designs too. This one here lets you customise a shopping bag, and you can even upload your own print if you like.
18# Keep Hydrated With A Reusable Water Bottle Or Keep Cup
A big inconvenience when travelling is having to keep buying bottled water wherever you go, ending up with a huge pile of plastic bottles at the end of your trip. A great solution to this is to get a reusable water bottle that you can fill up wherever you go.
London’s tap water is safe to drink, so your loved one just needs to fill it up in the morning and they’re good to go.
If they’re more of a hot drinks person, then a reusable coffee cup or thermos is also a good idea. Many coffee shops in London encourage people to bring their own thermoses or flasks to cut down on plastic waste, and they sometimes offer cheaper deals if you bring your own cup. Check out Sigg’s collection of water bottles.
19# Organise Their Life With Packing Cubes
Packing can be stressful. Trying to strategically fit together clothes, shoes, books, toiletries and gadgets in one suitcase is like solving an impossible jigsaw.
Why not help your giftee have an efficient and stress-free packing experience by gifting them with some packing cubes? These are fabric containers used to pack your belongings, and their shape makes them easy to stack and arrange in a suitcase.
They keep the contents of a suitcase organised, and often have compression zippers on them so you can fit more into a smaller space. They usually come in a set of different sizes, like this one on Amazon.
20# Tech Case
When travelling, tech and gadgets are always vulnerable to getting damaged. If you’re not careful, they can get tossed around and broken pretty easily. Not to mention having to unpack and repack them when going through airport security. And don’t get me started on tangled cables.
This is why a tech case is always a good investment. This is a really useful gift that the receiver is bound to appreciate. Tech cases come with different pockets for your phone, ipad, batteries, chargers, earphones and passport, so your giftee can have an effortless and seamless experience. Check out this tech case.
21# Store Memories In A Travel Journal
If your giftee loves writing and all things creative, then a travel journal is a wonderful gift. Travel journals are great for recording memories and stories experienced on a trip. They’re a place where you can jot down notes and plan your day and are miles better than the notes app on your phone.
Travel journals don’t have to be a plain lined notebook either. There are many journals out there specifically made for documenting a trip. They come complete with maps, daily planners and itinerary sections, budget sections and pouches to keep hold of your tickets, brochures etc. Take a look at this one on Amazon.
22# A Travel Guide So They Know Their Way Around
I know what you’re thinking – who needs a guidebook when you have the internet? It might seem counterintuitive to lug around a guidebook when you could just look up the information on your phone.
Guidebooks are great not just because they’re offline, but because they have everything in one place – maps, advice, directions, recommendations.
Two of my favourites are 33 Walks in London That You Shouldn’t Miss and The 500 Hidden Secrets of London. They offer a different spin that the normal guide books like Lonely Planet with more off the beaten path options. Both can be bought on Amazon or in local book stores.
23# Help Them Understand the Cockney Lingo!
The term cockney describes the dialect of the English language that was traditionally spoken by working class Londoners. Cockney is known for its coded language born out of rhyming slang.
It was thought to have originated as a code used by criminals in the mid 19th century. It’s a really fascinating dialect, and if they have an interested in linguistics and British culture, then a book about cockney slang could prove to be a really fun gift. This book on Amazon would be a great read on the plane and learn some phrases or words that they might come across whilst in London.
24# Capture Memories With A Travel Camera
There is a huge selection of travel cameras out there to suit different price points, needs and experience. An all rounder is the Panasonic Lumix TZ200.
For a reasonable price tag, you get high image quality, a compact body, WiFi connectivity, 15x optical zoom lens and great colour and clarity even in low light. It’s a nifty little gadget that is perfect for carrying around on travels.
Look at the specs Panasonic Lumix TZ200 on Amazon.
I personally use Sony A6500 which has now been superseded and replaced with the A6600.
25# Comfortable Walking Shoes
Having comfortable walking shoes for London sightseeing is a must. Nothing puts a damper on a holiday more than blisters or sore feet do.
While outdoor hiking shoes are overkill, a good pair of closed-toe trainers should give the right support.
If your giftee has a favourite brand, then it’s a good idea to check their website to see what options are available for walking shoes.
Otherwise, I’ve put together a few suggestions both for men and women. The Omni Walker from Saucony is frequently highly rated for providing heel and arch support, here’s the Women’s and Men’s version.
If a friend or family member is going to be travelling to London, then buying them a gift to take is a nice little gesture. There are plenty of things that your loved one could use in London, and it doesn’t have to be something tangible either. Even a day out or experience could make their trip even more special.