iStock_000022119164Medium-1London & Partners detail the latest attractions, gallery exhibitions, hotels and theatre trips that prove why London is a world-class group travel destination

When the Mastercard Global Cities index report crowned London as the most popular visitor destination in the world in 2014, it brought Britain’s capital city to everyone’s attention. One year on, and the city’s expanding its ever-growing portfolio of group tour offerings, with plenty of new attractions on offer.

This year marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta and the 500th birthday of Hampton Court Palace, so expect plenty of exciting celebratory events. The city is also looking forward to the Rugby World Cup this September ­- a treat for rugby fans from around the globe.

With unique hotels, brand new venues, thrilling culture and brilliant shopping, London’s crop of fresh experiences will help you impress even the most seasoned client. Here’s a round-up of the best new restaurants, hotels and entertainment to inspire you to make your group trip extra special.

This year, fans of the DreamWorks Animation film Shrek will be able to embark on an adventure, as Merlin Entertainment opens its new attraction based on the most successful animated film series of all time.

This landmark attraction, featuring Shrek and friends, opens at London’s County Hall on the South Bank this summer, and is the first of six attractions that will be rolled out over the next nine years. It will feature a Shrek-themed interactive walk-through adventure, a character courtyard where visitors will be able to meet Shrek and his swamp friends, along with characters from the hit films Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon.

Opening in May 2015, Madame Tussauds London will transport you into your favourite Star Wars scenes. Star Wars at Madame Tussauds will be a unique, immersive experience featuring 16 of the most famous heroes and villains in scenes from some of the most iconic moments featured in Star Wars Episodes I – VI.

Enjoy an action-packed day out

Escape Rooms is the latest adventure-themed attraction to hit London, blending old-school problem solving with modern interactive technological twists that will make you believe you’re in a blockbuster action movie.

Ideal for everyone from gaming enthusiasts to corporate groups who strive to strengthen and challenge their team skills, Escape Rooms is deservedly creating a buzz among the events and tourism industry.

At City Academy, its five-day Performing Arts Workshop is a fun, action-packed course that will enable group members to explore aspects of dance, acting and singing. The course is designed to be enjoyable and rewarding, while building people’s confidence and communication skills. It’s a chance to step out of your regular comfort zone and work proactively as a team.

City Academy also offers a range of shorter courses, including the half-day ‘Fashion and design’ workshop, where groups are guided through the inspiration and design process, from developing mood boards to translating these ideas into clothing.

Relax in stylish accommodation

London has seen the launch of a range of stylish new hotels this year, with properties including the luxury Marlin Apartments, which offer six- and (soon-to-be) seven-service apartment developments across the capital.

Other openings to look forward to include the newly redesigned five-star Lanesborough Hotel, and the 120-room Gansevoort Hotel (famous for its New York hotel, which is coming to Curtain Road. Master sushi chef Nobu Matsuhisa also opens his first European hotel, the Willow Street Hotel, in uber cool Shoreditch this year.

A delicious way to experience London

This summer, join Chocolate Ecstasy Tours, founded by chocolate expert Jennifer Earle, on one of its six tours. Each outing offers a novel perspective of the region it explores, combining the history of the area with the history and production of chocolate – stopping en route to sample a selection of high quality truffles, pralines, caramels, bars and other treats.

Slightly less calorific are London’s peerless heritage tours, which explore centuries of history, including the capital’s royal palaces and parks. In 2015 Historic Royal Palaces marks the 500-year anniversary of Hampton Court Palace, revealing the complex, thrilling and often surprising stories of the palace and its people through a range of immersive events, live interpretation, commissions and artist residencies.

Explore London’s museums, galleries and theatres

For culture vultures, 2015 sees a number of brand new exhibitions. From October, the National Gallery hosts Goya: The Portraits, which will celebrate one of art history’s best-known artists, offering an insight into both the public and private aspects of his life. He was considered a supremely gifted portrait painter and an excellent social commentator, who took the genre of portraiture to new heights. Meanwhile, Tate Modern will reveal how artists around the world engaged with the spirit of pop art in The World Goes Pop, which runs from September.

Be among the first to see the long-awaited Bend it Like Beckham – the Musical, which makes its debut on the West End stage, or Catch Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at the Playhouse Theatre. Starring Olivier Award-winning actress Tamsin Greig (who’s starred in Episodes, Green Wing, Jumpy, God of Carnage) and directed by Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher (of South Pacific and The King and I fame), this hilarious and heartfelt musical, based on Pedro Almodóvar’s award-winning trailblazing film, celebrates women centre.

This season, Sadler’s Wells plays host to the poignant reflection on World War One by the English National Ballet. Lest We Forget features three works expressing the experiences of those who fought the war, and those who stayed behind. It’s been created by three of the most sought-after choreographers working today – Liam Scarlett, Russell Maliphant and Akram Khan.

Music fans will be delighted to know that award-winning musician David Byrne is curating the annual Meltdown Festival at the Southbank Centre this summer. He’ll follow in the footsteps of previous directors that include Jarvis Cocker, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Yoko Ono, Ray Davies and Ornette Coleman.

Make light of city travel

From September, travelling within the city will be easier as selected lines on the Underground will run round the clock on Fridays and Saturdays. This, in addition to the extensive network of London’s iconic red buses and black taxis, trains, river boats and 8,000 bikes through London’s cycle hire scheme, will make it easier for groups to explore.

Book now!

Looking to book your group visit? London & Partners can help you access everything the city has to offer. With its informative website, extensive listings and dedicated teams, it’s on hand to help ensure your groups get the very best out of London. Visit the dedicated Travel Trade website at visitlondon.com/travel-trade to find out more.

View on Tower of London from Thames

View on Tower of London from Thames