London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and it’s easy to see why. The city has something for everyone, whether you’re interested in history, culture, food, or just want to enjoy the sights and sounds of a bustling metropolis.
There are plenty of iconic landmarks to check out, like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Tower Bridge. Or you can explore some of the city’s more offbeat attractions, like the Churchill War Rooms or the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll be spoilt for choice in London. The city has every type of cuisine imaginable, from traditional British dishes to international fare. And of course, you can’t visit London without enjoying a pint (or two) in a traditional pub.
No matter what your interests are, you’re sure to have a great time exploring London.
1. Visit the Tower of London
The Tower of London is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It was founded in 1066 by William the Conqueror and has served as a royal palace, a prison, a place of execution, an armory, a zoo, and a mint. The Tower is now a tourist attraction and houses Crown Jewels.
The Tower of London is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission is £22 for adults, £9.90 for children ages 5-15, and free for children under 5. A family ticket (2 adults and 3 children) is £54.90. Highlights of the Tower include the Crown Jewels, the White Tower, the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula, and the Tower Menagerie.
As the world-famous fortification has served as a royal palace, a prison, an execution site, and a zoo! Its murky past is sure to fascinate everyone in your group.
2. Take a Ride on the London Eye
The London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, is a cantilevered observation wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. It is Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel and is the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, visited by over three million people annually. The structure is 135 meters (443 ft) tall and the wheel has a diameter of 120 meters (394 ft).
When it opened to the public in 2000, it was the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. Its height was surpassed by the 165-meter (541 ft) Star of Nanchang in 2006, the 165-meter (541 ft) Singapore Flyer in 2008, and the 167.6-meter (550 ft) High Roller in 2014. Supported by an A-frame on one side only, unlike the taller Nanchang and Singapore wheels, the London Eye is described by its operators as “the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel”. It offered the highest public viewing point in the city until it was superseded by the 245-meter (804 ft) observation deck on the 72nd floor of The Shard, which opened to the public on 1 February 2013.
This massive Ferris wheel offers unparalleled views of the city. Make sure to buy your tickets in advance, as the lineups can be quite long.
3. See a Show in the West End
London’s theatre district is world-renowned, and for good reason. From musicals to Shakespeare, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
The Show in the West End is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London. It is a spectacular musical theatre production that tells the story of a young girl who dreams of becoming a famous singer. The show features some of the most popular songs from the West End, including “Don’t Stop Believin’”, “I Will Always Love You”, and “The Phantom of the Opera”. The Show in the West End is a must-see for any fan of musical theatre.
4. Visit Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is a must-see when in London. The official residence of the British monarch, the Palace is a symbol of British sovereignty. Visitors can tour the Palace’s State Rooms, which are lavishly furnished with works of art from the Royal Collection, and see the Queen’s Gallery, which houses a changing exhibition of art from the Royal Collection. The Palace grounds are also home to the famous London landmark, Big Ben.
The palace is open to the public during certain times of the year. Even if you can’t go inside, the grounds are worth a visit.
5. Stroll Through Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of the largest royal parks in London, England. The park is divided in two by the Serpentine. Hyde Park covers 142 hectares (350 acres), and Kensington Gardens covers 111 hectares (275 acres), giving a total area of 253 hectares (625 acres).
Hyde Park is bordered by Kensington Gardens to the west, Mayfair to the north, Knightsbridge to the east, and Chelsea to the south. It is the largest of four royal parks that form a chain from the entrance of Kensington Palace through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, via Hyde Park Corner and Green Park, to St. James’s Park.
This massive green space in the heart of the city is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic lunch.
6. Explore the British Museum
This world-class museum houses artifacts from all over the globe. From the Rosetta Stone to the Egyptian mummies, there’s plenty to see. With over eight million objects from all continents, it is one of the biggest museums in the World.
The museum was founded in 1753 and has been based in its current location since 1823. It is free to enter and open every day except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
The museum is home to many famous artifacts, including the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon Marbles, and the Egyptian mummies. There are also numerous temporary exhibitions throughout the year.
With over six million visitors a year, British Museum is a must-see for anyone visiting London.
7. Shop on Oxford Street
Oxford Street is one of the busiest shopping streets in the world and is full of high street shops and department stores. The street is around 1.5 miles long and runs from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road.
There are a number of famous landmarks on Oxford Street, including Selfridges, John Lewis, and Debenhams. The street is also home to a number of iconic London bus routes, such as the number 8 which runs from Marble Arch to Bow. If you’re looking to do some serious shopping, then Oxford Street is the place to be. But be warned, it can be very busy, especially during peak times such as weekends and holidays.
This famous shopping street is home to hundreds of stores, from high-end retailers to budget-friendly chain stores.
8. People-watch in Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus is one of the most iconic landmarks in London. It is a busy junction where five main roads meet and is home to a number of famous theatres, shops, and restaurants.
The area around Piccadilly Circus is always bustling with activity, day and night. There are plenty of things to see and do in the area, so it is definitely worth a visit.
If you are looking for a bite to eat, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from. Or, if you want to do some shopping, you will find a number of high-street stores and designer boutiques.
The area is also well-known for its theatres and entertainment venues. So, if you are looking for a night out, you will definitely be able to find something to suit your taste.
Piccadilly Circus is definitely a must-see when visiting London.
This busy square is always bustling with activity. Grab a cup of coffee and people watch to your heart’s content.
9. Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the world’s most famous religious buildings and a symbol of London. The present building was completed in 1710 after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and is considered one of his finest works.
The cathedral is home to many important events and figures such as the funerals of Lord Nelson and Winston Churchill. It also houses the tomb of the Unknown Warrior. Visitors can enjoy the stunning architecture and views of London from the top of the cathedral’s dome.
Don’t forget to climb to the top of the dome for stunning views of the city.
10. Take a ride on the London Underground
The London Underground, also known as the Tube, is the world’s oldest underground railway network. It serves millions of passengers every day and is a vital part of the city’s transport infrastructure.
The Underground is made up of 11 lines, with 270 stations in total. It runs 24 hours a day, with frequent service throughout the day and night.
The best way to explore the Underground is with a Travelcard, which allows you to use all public transport in London (including buses, trams, and trains) for a set period of time. You can buy a Travelcard at any London Underground station.
The “Tube” is an efficient way to get around the city. Be warned, though, that it can be quite crowded during rush hour.
11. Walk Across Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is one of London’s most iconic landmarks. Situated in the heart of the city, the bridge spans the River Thames and offers stunning views of the cityscape.
Built-in the late 19th century, Tower Bridge is a Victorian engineering masterpiece. It features two striking towers, connected by two walkways, which were originally designed for pedestrians. These days, the walkways are open to the public and offer spectacular views of the river and the city.
If you’re visiting London, make sure to add a visit to Tower Bridge to your itinerary. It’s a truly remarkable feat of engineering and a great way to get a taste of the city’s history.
This iconic bridge offers stunning views of the city. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even walk across the glass floor at the top!
12. Visit Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century and is currently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle.
The Palace is open to the public throughout the year, with a range of tours and exhibitions available to visitors. The State Rooms, used for official and state occasions, are open to the public each summer, while the rest of the palace is open to visitors throughout the year.
Kensington Palace is also home to a number of museums and galleries, including the Orangery Museum, the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, and the Kensington Palace Gardens.
13. See Big Ben
Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London and is often extended to refer to both the clock and the clock tower. The official name of the tower in which Big Ben is located was originally the Clock Tower, but it was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.
The tower was designed by Augustus Pugin in a neo-Gothic style. Pugin designed the clock tower as an extension to a row of Gothic Revival-style buildings he had already designed for the Palace of Westminster. The Great Bell weighs 13.5 tons and was the largest bell in the United Kingdom for 23 years. The bell was cast on 10 April 1858 by Warner’s of Cripplegate and was the last bell cast at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry.
This massive clock tower is one of London’s most recognizable landmarks. Make sure to take a picture in front of it!
14. Ride a Double-decker Bus
A double-decker bus ride through London is a great way to see the city and get around. The buses are comfortable and the views are great. You can hop on and off at any of the stops along the route. Additionally, you can buy a day pass which allows you unlimited travel on all London buses.
A ride on a classic and iconic red double-decker bus is a must-do while in London.
15. Enjoy Afternoon Tea
If you’re looking for a quintessentially British experience, look no further than afternoon tea in London. This beloved tradition dates back to the early 19th century, and there are plenty of places to enjoy it in the city.
Start your afternoon at one of the city’s many iconic tea rooms, like The Ritz or Fortnum & Mason. Or, for a more modern take on the experience, try The Shard or The Savoy. Whichever spot you choose, be sure to order a pot of tea and a selection of dainty sandwiches and pastries.
Afternoon tea is the perfect opportunity to dress up and feel like a true Londoner. So don’t forget to wear your best clothes and enjoy this classic British custom.
So, these were the 15 things we thought you will enjoy doing in the city. Do you have anything else in your mind? Share your thoughts in the comments below.