We all know that there are tons of things to do in London. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a solid list of the BEST and MOST POPULAR things to do? Well, we’re here to help you out. We’ve done the hard work of scouting all the best places to see in London. It’s your turn to pick your favorites!
Super Sightseeing And Entertainment
Want to see London from the birds-eye view? This observation wheel is the biggest one in Europe. It’s located on the south part of the Thames river. And it’s guaranteed to give you a great view of many famous landmarks in London. You will also get to see a short film in 4D.
What are the pods made of? They are glass, from the ceiling to the floor! You will get a clean view of London from here. How crowded are the pods? You will have enough space to get up and walk around. You also have an option to get your very own pod!
Looking for a cheaper rate? Your best bet is to book your ticket online. And this will give you the option to skip the bad queues. You can expect smaller crowds sometime earlier than 10AM or in the afternoon past 3.
Looking for famous Shakespeare plays? This theater is the most famous in London. Many works from Shakespeare started out in the original Globe Theatre. But it burned down in the early 17th century. This new model was built in 1997!
You will notice a striking similarity between this one and the old one. This has been done on purpose. This new Globe Theatre keeps the age-old tradition of Shakespeare plays going! The setting is open-air!
Shakespeare’s birthday is on April 23rd. This is when the outdoors plays start! They keep going right into early October. Looking for Shakespeare outside of this time frame? There are indoor performances held throughout the year.
There’s an ongoing string of tours going on at the Globe Theatre between 9:30-11:30AM. You can catch them every 30 minutes. You’ll also be able to check out Rose Playhouse. This site is from the late 16th century and is under excavation.
This music arena is one of London’s best when it comes to live music. It’s in the shape of a shell and has been around since 2000. Up to 20,000 people can fit into this place. The O2 has seen acts from popular artists all over the world. These include Justin Bieber and Beyonce.
This auditorium was designed by Richard Rogers. It started off as a celebration to kick in the new millennium! Nowadays it has been reinvented to host all sorts of musical performances. Expect a good seat regardless of where you’re sitting. There are no obstructed views.
The O2 Arena stages sporting events as well. And comedy shows which are hosted by the venue Indigo. Need an adrenaline kick? Strap up your safety harness! You’ll have an opportunity to walk on top of the O2 Arena.
Do you have a green thumb? Just wanting to browse a big selection of plants? A visit to Kew Gardens may be a good answer for you. It’s not only the world’s largest plant collection. It’s also contains the biggest range of plants. Kew Gardens is located to the southwest of the center of London. You can get here in a tube ride within 20 minutes.
These gardens are used for both conservation and research. You will most likely enter into the gardens through the Victoria Gate. This is right beside a Victorian greenhouse filled with all sorts of tropical plants. You’ll have many footpaths too choose from on your garden adventure.
Don’t feel like walking? You have the option of hopping on the Kew Explorer. It goes around the border of the gardens. And it lets you jump off whenever you want!
Sackler Crossing is one of the main attractions. This bridge is curved across a lake. And you’ll find many small islands and wild birds. You’ll also see a Minka House surrounded by bamboo. The Temperate House is made of glass in a Victorian nature.
The Princess of Wales Conservatory is on the east-side of the gardens.. You’ll be able to see 10 climate zones displayed. You can find both swampy and desert-type zones here. Visiting in the summer? You’ll be able to catch a boat between the 2 piers of Westminster and Kew.
Looking for some tennis matches? Wimbledon is the oldest-running tournament for tennis in the world. Some of the best tennis players have had matches here. This place has seen Venus and Serena Williams. And Steffi Graf, Pete Sampras, and many others!
The All England Club of Wimbledon has courts covered in turf. Most of the action happens here in June and July. Looking for Grand Slam tickets? You’ll have to play your cards just right. Either arrive early on match days. Or set up camp overnight to make your way to the biggest matches.
Can’t make it to a match? You can still check out the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum. Here you’ll find all sorts of hidden gems from the great tennis players of the world. You can also find clips from big moments in the history of tennis. Look for vintage artifacts as well!
Emirates Air Line Cable Car
Looking for a cable car in London? This is the only one you’ll find. You’ll be able to see sights from high in the sky above East London. It was built in 2012 for the Olympics. But now it’s used as a means of transportation. You’ll be over 295 feet above a river. This entire journey will last for five minutes.
What else can you expect? Listen to a voice-over that will give you a history lesson on the Docklands. What big landmarks will you expect to see? Look for the Royal Observatory, Cutty Sark, and many others! You can also see the Thames Barrier.
How many tea clippers are left in the world? Only 1, and it’s the Cutty Sark! It caught on fire back in 2007. But has now been restored for full display. It sits on the south of the Thames River. This ship dates back to the 19th century. The Cutty Sark used to be the fastest ship in existence. It made trips to-and-from China, 8 times.
This ship was once used to trade goods such as beer, coal, and tea supplies. The creation of steamships was the downfall of tea clippers. This happened in the 1920s.
You’ll be able to get a decent idea of what the days were like on the Cutty Sark. Look for the sleeping quarters once used by the crew members. Check out the interactive maps as well.
Ready to see the hull of the ship? This presentation is saved for the end of the tour. The Cutty Sark is surrounded by glass and raised off the ground. This will give you a stunning view of the ship’s hull. The hull is completely plated in copper.
Looking for some of the best riverside sightseeing that London has to offer? You’ll be able to witness many landmarks on a boat tour. You’ll see the London Eye, Tower Bridge, and many other sights along the banks of the Thames River.
Plan on commuting? Your best option will be to take a river bus. You can take the RB1 if your main focus is sightseeing. But you won’t get a guided tour if you go this route.
Looking to loop around Greenwich and Westminster? City Cruises will provide this service to you. Are you looking to travel even further east to the Thames Barrier? Thames River Services will take you there!
Do you need an adrenaline-jump on your boat ride? Consider taking Thames Rockets. This is a speedboat tour guaranteed to leave you drenched. The vessels are turbo-charged!
The Royal Observatory
Reach for the stars at the Royal Observatory. It’s located right at the Prime Meridian. This observatory is up on a hill in Greenwich Park. It dates back to the late 17th century! You’ll be able to learn about the early days of telescopes. You’ll also learn about the early establishment of time throughout the day!
What can you find upstairs in the Royal Observatory? You will see one of Earth’s biggest telescopes (Great Equatorial Telescope). Ever touched a meteorite over 4.5 billion years old? You’ll get to do this at the Royal Observatory. It’s called the Gibeon meteorite. And it’s located at the Astronomy Centre. You can check out Peter Harrison Planetarium as well!
Warner Bros Studio Tour
Are you a Harry Potter fan? This is your opportunity to take a tour through the HP film sets! You’ll be able to witness all sorts of different shots from the famous wizard movies. You don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to enjoy this experience. You’ll learn a lot about film studios in general from this tour.
Looking for Dumbledore’s office? The Great Hall? Other famous locations in Hogwarts? You’re going to find them during this tour. You’ll take a glimpse into the many costumes used during the Harry Potter movies. Check out the green-screen special effects too!
New to Harry Potter in general? You will learn much about the fantasy world of wizardry from this magic tour. You may not want to bring young children along with you. This tour may remove the “magic” feel away from the movies.
Wondering about the perfect place to walk around for sightseeing? Try taking a walk down Regent’s Canal! It has been voted as one of the most attractive walking paths of London. The Canal itself was finished back in 1820. And it was used to deliver products from Northern England and into London. You can find many runners and cyclists enjoying the great views from this wildlife-rich area.
The path starts from Little Venice. It then goes into Blomfield Road and into the tunnel of Maida Hill. Much of the path goes through the north parts of Regent’s Park. The path finally ends when you arrive at the Camden Lock Market.
Prepare to walk right under an aqueduct. You’ll pass under a blow-up bridge that was originally destroyed back in 1874. Looking for a good view of London from high ground? Just head up Primrose hill. You’ll find it in proximity of the London Zoo.
Looking to tour this route from a boat? You’ll be able to get a canal boat if you’re visiting sometime between April and November. You won’t have to worry about missing too much on your sightseeing adventure. This is because the tour boats will be moving at walking speeds.
Regent’s Park and London Zoo
There are 8 total royal parks in London. Regent’s Park is one of them! This one is known as being the most elaborate of the eight. The land was originally going to be used as a palace for Prince Regent. But those plans fell through. Nowadays the park is a great place for relaxation and sport of all types.
You can find Queen Mary’s Gardens on the south side of the park. Also look for Italian gardens and the Open Air Theatre. You can catch some Shakespeare plays at this theater during the summer. Your walking options are vast. Expect to find acres of wild land in the park, all for you to explore.
Regent’s Park is also equipped for sporting events. Go boating on the lake! Play football or tennis matches at this location. Look for the London Zoo at the north of the park.
London Zoo is considered one of the top zoos on Earth. And part of this is because it’s one of the oldest existing zoos. You’ll find loads of conservation efforts here. You can visit big attractions such as the Reptile House and Penguin Beach. Make a stop by Gorilla Kingdom! Get creeped out with a spider walk through of the park! You can also check out the new attraction called Land of the Lions.
Bringing kids along? Children will get a chance to play the role of zookeeper for a day! Just be sure to book this activity in advance. The Park and Zoo are very family-friendly places.
Would you like to check out some greenery inside of a skyscraper? You’ll be able to do that at the Sky Garden! This is a fairly new attraction that started in 2015. Sky Garden can be found inside of the glass dome of the Walkie Talkie. What kinds of plants can you expect in here? Look for plants of the tropical and Mediterranean variety.
You won’t be seeing this as the best garden in the world. But it’s actually quite amazing for these plants to be growing so far away from the ground. The plants aren’t the only highlights of the Sky Garden. Be sure to check out the amazing views of London from here.
What will it cost to visit the Sky Garden? You’ll be able to visit for completely free! But you will need to make a reservation online. Try to reserve your place early in advance because this is a popular attraction.
Head to the southeast part of London to explore Greenwich! It’s located on the south part of the River Thames. Your adventure can start on the Greenwich Pier. This is where you’ll be able to spot the Cutty Sark. You’ll even be able to walk right underneath the river.
How can you go on an adventure up under the River Thames? Just visit the Greenwich Tunnel! It was originally made in 1902 for dock workers. But now it’s one of the top tourist attractions in London!
Looking for some kid-friendly activities that are also hands-on? You may want to consider the Greenwich Visitor Centre. You and your kids can learn all about the history of this area.
Want to see another beautiful structure designed by Christopher Wren? It’s worth giving a shot to the Old Royal Naval College. It was designed in the 1600s. Can you find any good shopping in this area? You sure can, and it’s at Greenwich Market. Expect to find antiques, many vintage items, snacks, and a variety of street foods.
This public square is among the most-known in London. This garden was originally designed in the 1600s by Inigo Jones. Produce stands were on display up until the 1970s. But now you will mostly find independently-owned gift shops. Designer stores and cafes are also becoming popular at the Covent Garden.
London’s nightlife used to consist of gambling houses and brothels. But now these places have been replaced by restaurants and bars. St. Paul’s Church is located right to the west of Covent Garden.
Covent Garden has made many changes over the years. But you can still expect to have a good time due to all of the people and activities going on. You’ll find no shortage of street performers in the garden either. Are you looking to fight the crowds? If so, you should try to avoid Covent Garden on the weekends.
Are you a night owl looking for a night of fun? If so, you should look into the night scene of Soho. This area has seen many different lights over its many years of existence. With so many popular activities, you’re bound to find something that will suit your night needs.
Looking for some booze? Be sure to hit up Bar Termini on the east side of Soho. You’ll find some popular cocktails and fancy gourmet coffees as well. Looking for a gay bar? Just head down to Old Compton Street. There will be many gay bars out there. Look out for the French House too. It’s a place of legend for grabbing some cold brews.
Still looking to satisfy that alcohol craving? Be sure to look into Blind Pig and Cahoots. You’ll be served cocktails and bar snacks at these places.
Looking for a good nighttime jazz show? Be sure to check out Ronnie Scott’s, which is a club that specializes in jazz. These showings are at nights around 8:30.
These are the reasons why Soho is known as the bread and butter of London nightlife. There are so many events. And they couldn’t all be listed here. So be sure to do more research if you’re really looking into having some fun deep into the night.
You’ll find a wide range of venues at Theatreland. London has seen theatrical plays being performed in its west end since the 1500s. But now you can find an extremely diverse amount of stage performances on constant display. You will possibly become overwhelmed with the amount of choices that you have to choose from. Some of the big-name musicals include elements from Disney and Shakespearean plays.
Feeling overwhelmed with all of the options out there? You can probably take a load off of your back by checking the online site for different showings and their times. You may be able to find discounted tickets by searching individual theater sites.
All Sorts Of Arts And Museums
The National Gallery
Are you looking for classical art? If so, this gallery is just what you’re looking for. It’s one of the top spots on Earth for fine art. The National Gallery started out having only 38 works of art. But that was in 1824. It now has over 2300 pieces to its collection. Nearly all European art schools are showcased here. This includes paintings from medieval times and works from impressionists!
You’ll find some of the gallery’s oldest paintings (13-15th Century) in the Sainsbury Wing. Popular historic artists are featured here! Be sure to check out some of Leonardo’s work. Van Eyck and Botticelli are featured in this wing as well!
Are you a fan of the Italian Renaissance style? You can find all sorts of pieces from some of the best painters in history! Look for works from the all-famous Michaelangelo! You’ll find paintings from Titian too. And also Holbein plus Correggio.
What can you expect from the National Gallery’s North Wing? You’re sure to find works from Dutch Old Masters! You’ll see artwork from the Flemish and Spanish as well! You can expect to find standout pieces of art from artists like Caravaggio and Rembrandt!
The gallery’s East Wing is worth checking out if you’re into impressionist work! Be sure to look for pieces from French impressionists. And works from post-impressionists. You can find pieces such as “Water Lilies” from Monet. And “Sunflowers” from Van Gogh!
Not sure where to start? You have the option of receiving a free guided tour! You can even design your own schedule and path through the gallery. This is done using Art Start. Looking for something to entertain the kids? There are free workshops for kids ages 5-12 on Sundays! The kids will get to make their own art right in the gallery!
The British Library
Looking for a good book? You have a good chance of finding it here! The British Library is the biggest library in the world. This big red brick building is 1 of 4 copyright libraries in the United Kingdom. Looking for an Irish or British book? This humongous library has every single one you can think of.
So are we talking thousands of books? No, we’re talking millions! There are over 150+ million items in this library. That number is increasing by 3 million annually. You can even check out the Reading Rooms! You’ll need ID and proof of address if you check them out. What if you aren’t a registered reader? You can still enjoy many works on display.
Looking for the biggest treasures in this library? Then you should head to the John Riblat Gallery! It’s open to everyone. So what exactly can you find here? Look for some of the world’s oldest bibles, Shakespeare’s earliest works, and an extremely rare copy of the Magna Carta! And there are lots of other treasures here as well.
The Tate Modern
Interested in finding some more contemporary art? Then you should make a stop by the most visited gallery in Britain. The Tate Modern is a power station that has gone through renovation. You can find many big-name pieces from Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and many others.
Guess what happened to the old turbine hall? It’s now hosting installations from the temporary style of art. How about the old oil reservoirs? These are now being put to artistic use. You can find video installations and electric art in these.
Want to take a boat ride? You’ll be able to do just that at the Tate Modern. This is how you can travel between the 2 galleries here. You can expect boat departure every 40 minutes.
Not sure how you will handle your art exploration? Just check out the website for the Tate Modern. It has a selection of apps that will help you navigate through the galleries. This app also has something for the kids. It’s an app that they can use to create their own works of art.
The British Museum
You could argue that this is the finest museum in the UK. It dates all the way back to 1753. This is when Hans Sloane stored some of his curious collections in the building. But nowadays the museum is one of the biggest tourist spots in the UK.
You will notice that the museum has a neoclassical style. You can tour the reading room in the Great Court. This same room was used by Lenin, Charles Dickens, and many others. You’ll be able to find many of Earth’s treasures in this Museum.
What are the main pieces found here? You can expect views of the Rosetta Stone and even some Egyptian mummies. And you’ll find Parthenon Sculptures! Look for all sorts of objects from Chinese rituals, ancient ceremonies, and lots more.
Interested in the weaponry from past civilizations? Witness tools from Maori made of jade. Check out the Department of Prehistory to learn all about the weapons of early people.
Looking for some work from more ancient civilizations? You’ll find out a little about the Mayan people through their sculptures. Check out some of the masks made by Aztec people!
Wondering about the cost? Don’t worry, because admissions are completely free. But you will have to pay if you want to check out the Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery. Planning to pay the price? You can expect the show to sell out with a popular showing.
Looking for a comprehensive set of art? Look no further! Tate Britain offers a huge mix of national art. Henry Tate established the structure in 1897. Most of this museum’s contemporary art has been moved to Tate Modern. But all other works remain at Tate Britain.
You’ll find recent works of British art here. Up-and-coming artists display their temporary exhibits. And you’ll find stuff all the way from the 1500s as well! Be sure to check out the museum’s stunning spiral staircase and dome-shaped roof.
Looking for historic paintings? You’ll find some from Hogarth, Constable, and many others. Check out the art from J.M.W Turner as well. Not all contemporary art was removed from Tate Britain. You’ll still find pieces by Tracy Emin, Henry Moore, and many other artists. You’ll get a chance to tour the Tate Britain in 1-hour intervals. And it’s 100% free!
The National Portrait Gallery
Looking for something original in the world of art galleries? You may have found it here. The National Portrait Gallery is one-of-a-kind. It’s loaded with portraits from strong British figures of the past. You’ll easily navigate the gallery because of its chronological ordering. You’ll find more than just paintings here. Look for many sculptures and photos as well as videos.
Big Shakespeare fan? You’ll have to keep an eye out for the “Chandos Portrait.” Many people believe this is the only painting of Shakespeare that exists today. Look for a sketch of 19th century author Jane Austen. You’ll be able to see royal paintings too! Watch out for paintings of Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Victoria.
Looking for art from the present days? You’ll find video portraits of some famous people. Check out the one of David Beckham taking a nap. You’ll even see a painting of musical artist Paul McCartney. This isn’t all that the National Portrait Gallery has to offer.
There are many photo exhibitions that are hosted by this gallery every year. Be sure to check their show times to learn more about specific tours.
The London Sea Life Aquarium
Want to explore the underwater world? You should consider checking this place out! It’s one of the largest aquariums in Europe. You’ll be able to see penguins! And sharks plus an assortment of tropical fish. You can tour through 14 different water themes here.
Wanna see an octopus? How about rain forest catfish, sea turtles, and stingrays? You’ll get a chance to see all of these at the London Sea Life Aquarium. Did you watch the Finding Nemo movie? You’ll get a kick out of seeing tanks filled with clownfish and blue tang fish.
You have to check out the sharks before leaving this aquarium. What kinds can you expect to find? Look for tiger sharks, black-tips, and many others. And check out the oddity bowmouth guitarfish! Watch the sharks swim overhead in the Ocean Tunnel.
How about the penguins? Search for a gentoo penguins in the Antarctic part of the aquarium!
All of the animals at London Sea Life are heavily protected. Most of these animals have been rescued. And can’t even be let back out into the wild. You’ll be able to peek these underwater animals without worrying about their well-being. You’ll even find some endangered species in the London Sea Life Aquarium.
The Saatchi Gallery
Looking for up-and-coming art talent? Check out some new material at the Saatchi Gallery. This place showcases loads of contemporary art. You can find all of the latest artistic trends at this fairly new gallery. It was first put on display to the public in the 1980s. Since then it has found its final settling place in the headquarters of the Duke of York.
Charles Saatchi’s original focus was for artwork from Americans. But he has recently been investing in new British artists. He played a part in the success of artists such as Gavin Turk, Damien Hirst, and many others. You’ll get a chance to learn more about Saatchi from touring his gallery.
This gallery used to stage only temporary exhibitions from young British artists. But now there are bigger traveling exhibitions in the mix. How will this affect your wallet? It won’t, because your admission will be free! Want your own private guided tour? You can have just that. But be sure to put in a notice of at least 2 weeks.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
This park is most recently known as the host of the 2012 Olympics. This area has been on the rise ever since then. Do you have an appreciation for architecture? If so, you’ll get a kick out of the well-designed structure. There are plenty of walking and biking trails here too.
ArcelOrmittal Orbit is the newest attraction to Olympic Park. Designed by Kapoor and Balmond, it’s the tallest art structure in the UK. It has a viewing station up top. And it’s great for viewing the park from a bird’s-eye view. You’ll be able to see the Olympic Stadium from this uprising. Be sure to look for the Velodrome as well. You can also see the Aquatics Centre from way up there!
The Orbit has a slide connected to its observation deck. Do you have the need for speed? Just head online and secure a spot for The Slide! You’ll be going 15 MPH on the biggest tube ride on Earth. Have a blast!
You have a few options for getting a guided tour through Olympic Park. You can always take the plain-Jane walking tour. But you will have the option of a boat tour too. Interested in learning a little more about this famous park? Be sure to sign up for a behind-the-scenes tour of this place!
The Natural History Museum
Want to explore some of the natural wonders of the world? You’ll be able to get interactive at this intense museum. The Romanesque structure was built in the late 1800s. If you like dinosaurs, you’ll get a nice shock right from the entrance. Just look for the huge cast of the Diplodocus dinosaur. There’s lots more that this museum has to offer.
You’ll be navigating the Natural History Museum by its themed zones. Looking for more dinosaurs? Just continue into the Blue Zone. You can sight animatronic dinosaurs and a huge T-Rex. Look for tigers and lions as well!
Wondering about the Green Zone? Here you’ll find a bunch of stuffed birds. One of these is the dodo bird. This museum also showcases a piece of mass from the moon! And an egg laid by an emperor penguin.
Want to explore some crystals and metallic materials? You’ll get a chance to do this in the Red Zone. Explore the wonders of volcanic energy as well.
The final part of your tour will fall into the Wildlife Garden outside of the museum. This is a very popular tourist attraction. Looking to beat the crowds? You’ll need to plan your trip sometime on a weekday. Or an early time during the weekend.
The Science Museum
Searching for a good place to let your nerdiness hang out? You’ll probably enjoy a tour of the Science Museum. This building has 7 levels to it, all ready to fill you with more knowledge. All ages are welcome here. What kinds of educational subjects are you interested in learning about? Lots of topics are covered in this huge museum.
Would you like to learn more about space? Energy Hall hosts the command module from Apollo 10. You’ll see the huge Spacelab telescope in the Exploring Space section of the museum. Be nerdy, my friend.
Lost track of time? Have no fears on the 2nd floor of the museum. Why? It’s because this floor hosts the Clockmakers’ Gallery. Look for the oldest collection of watches and clocks on Earth. Some of these pieces date all the way back to the 17th century.
Want to check out some old-school medical equipment? You’ll be glad of our improved age of medicine when you check out the Journeys Through Medicine part of the museum.
Looking to learn more about aircraft? Maybe you’re interested in hot air balloons or checking out a real 3D flight simulation? The 3rd floor will give you these opportunities. You’ll even spot a Gypsy Moth from 1930. You’ll be able to get interactive with the laws of physics on this floor. Just use the hands-on tools provided at the Launchpad.
Looking for even more entertainment? Check out the IMAX cinema on the Welcome Wing. You’ll get a chance to learn about the depths of space. And underwater life as well as the Ice Age! Bringing kids along to this event? Look for lots of creative toys in the museum’s gift shop!
The Victoria and Albert Museum
You can expect over 150 galleries in this huge museum of art and design. In search of sculptures? How about glass, textiles, and ceramics? Maybe you’re just looking for some pieces of nice jewelry and metalwork. Whatever it is, you’ll find it here at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
You can expect loads of artwork from Asia at the ground level. Look for sculptures from Hindu and Buddhist cultures. Learn some things about the Mughal Empire. You’ll even get to see the armor and weapons used by the Japanese in old times. Check out some porcelain from Korea. Be sure to peek the Ardabil Carpet from the 1500s! It’s located at the Gallery of Islamic Art.
Planning to venture up to the 2nd and 4th floors? You’ll find British work that spans from the 16th century all the way to the 20th century. But what can you find on the 3rd floor? Be prepared to see all sorts of jewels in the Jewelry Gallery. You’ll see jewels encrusted onto pendants, ornaments, and weapons.
Want to see how fashion has changed over the past 200 years? The Fashion Galleries will display this for you. Check out the Contemporary Glass Gallery in this museum as well! You’ll be able to find some cafes inside of this artistic structure. The cafes are covered in art as well! There seems to be a pattern here.
You’ll have free admission into the Victoria and Albert Museum. Looking for a day tour? These will be offered as options for you.
Grabbing A Bite And Hitting The Shops
This is not only the oldest food market in London. It’s also the most famous! Borough Market had its beginnings in the 13th century. You’ll see many top chefs gathering supplies here. There are also some really popular smoothie stands at this market. And a wide range of street foods! This place is a specialist in the food world.
You can find anything from seafood to sausage at this market. Look for popular items from Croatia. Ever eaten an ostrich? This market has them in burger-form! You’ll be able to find any spice you can think of. You can even spot some of the rarest cheeses from France. Baked goods can be found as well. You can have cakes fresh out of the oven!
You can spot all sorts of food vendors at the Borough Market. There’s no shortage of Indian curry as well as food from Lebanon. You can find food demonstrations located at Market Hall. They also host taste-tests and other workshops.
Looking for some alcoholic drinks? They can be found at one of the many outgoing places around Borough Market. Look for Spanish wine at Brindisa. Check out Feng Sushi right outside of the market too. Need that caffeine kick? Monmouth offers gourmet coffee for you.
St John Smithfield
Want to chow down on a true British cuisine? Michelin-starred St John Smithfield has a lot to offer for you. Their main focus is on the savory meats. This smokehouse can leave you stuffed at a cheap price. You can wear anything you want to the restaurant.
You’ll get a chance to taste the work of Chef Fergus Henderson. He doesn’t waste any parts of the animals. You can order bone marrow, tongues, and many other items. You’ll also have plenty of fresh produce options to choose from.
Are you looking for dessert? St John Smithfield offers those as well. And it’s a British traditional style that’s known for delivering on promises. You’ll also have a list of French wines to browse. You can do a walk-in. But your best bet is to make a reservation.
Have a proper tea arrangement here! This hotel is one of London’s most-known. You’ll get to enjoy cakes and sandwiches. And served with cream tea of course! Duchess Anna of Bedford started the tradition of afternoon tea in the early 1800s. This idea has really taken off. And The Ritz is a good example of that.
What can you expect at the Ritz? Look for Ceylon tea or Indian tea. This will be served in fine china. You’ll have an assortment of crust-less mini sandwiches to eat as well. Enjoy some cream and scones. And enjoy a nicely-baked cake on a multi-level stand!
Don’t expect a silent experience. You will hear peaceful piano music playing in the background as you enjoy your delicacies. The waiting staff is prepared to handle all of your service needs.
This is a fine-dining experience. Be prepared to dress formally. You’ll have to wear and tie and jacket if you’re a man. This is a very popular hotel! So you will need to book your seat in advance.
Looking for London’s retail heaven? Look no further. This market is actually split up into 4 main retail markets. They are centered around the Camden Lock. And they border Camden High Street. This place had its beginnings in the early 20th century, selling small quantities of food. But nowadays you can expect a huge range of food stores in the market.
Camden Market has lost some of its popularity over the years. But it is still one of the most popular places for tourists to visit. You will find all sorts of items to fill your shopping list. Looking to beat the crowds? You’ll want to stay away from this area on the weekends.
Want to check out some antiques? How about some Goth-style clothing stores and accessories from independent owners? Just keep your eyes peeled for Stables Market.
Do you have an old-school style? You can find vintage items and vinyls at the Electric Ballroom. You can find more popular clothing styles at Buck Street Market.
Want to test some street foods that are popular with the locals? Camden Lock Market will give you that opportunity. It’s known for being one of the best markets for street food in London. Look for a variety of traders preparing many different meals. Some examples include Korean burritos and boxes of curry. Check out the crab burgers too!
Soho and Brompton
Want to skip right into the main shopping streets of London? Then Soho and Brompton is just for you. Anything you’re looking for is just a street away. To the north of Soho is Oxford Street. This is where you can find all the biggest shopping for fashion accessories. Some popular brands for sale include Urban Outfitters, Gap, and Zara. You can find higher-class brands as well, such as Michael Kors and Burberry.
Bringing the kids shopping with you? They will have an opportunity to have fun as well! Be sure to swing your kids by the largest toy store in London: Hamley’s. You’ll also be able to find a bunch of individual fashion booths to the west of Soho.
Did you know that We Built This City is known as the best shop in London for souvenirs? Well, it is. You’ll be able to find gifts for all ages here.
Harrods is located in Brompton. You’ll be able to eat at its legendary food court and deli. This upmarket store features many designer items such as handbags. Looking for brands from the new emerging designers of the UK? Just take an eastern walk along Brompton. You’ll soon come across Harvey Nichols. And you will find all sorts of unique brands from the newcomers.
Learning London’s History And The Royal Ties
Churchill War Rooms
Are you a history buff or war fanatic? This museum is filled with history in times of war. It was a secret bunker in WWII. This subterranean bunker housed Winston Churchill and his entire war cabinet. The war was directed from these cramped rooms. This went on for 6 years! This all dates back to the summer of 1939 before the British declared war on Germany.
The Churchill War Rooms have not changed much since those times. The atmosphere gives off the vibe of the war times. Winston Churchill is the main showcase of this museum. You can learn about his personality. And also his career in politics and all-famous speeches.
An audio glide (free) will give off commentary and well as sound effects during the presentation. These underground rooms are filled with knowledge. Witness Winston Churchill’s secret phone line connected to Roosevelt.
The London Dungeons
Looking to learn some history of London’s morbid past? The London Dungeons are interactive and celebrate London’s past of disease and death. Are you a squeamish person? If so, this event may not be for you. You’ll learn about London’s history over the past 1000 years. But it mostly focuses on the terror-filled parts of the past.
This event is loaded with actors ready to give you an hour-and-a-half tour. Seasoned professionals created the sets in the dungeons. There are real rats in here! You will encounter all sorts of scenes, such as a doctor operating on a patient with the Black Plague. The actors will jump out at you! This event is not for the faint of heart.
The visuals aren’t the only special effects here. Expect creepy lighting and sound effects as well. There’s also a ride at the end of the show! It will lead you into a drop for the finale. This event is not intended for kids.
Looking for a discount? Just check online to get a cheaper admissions ticket. You can also combine your ticket with one of the main attractions such as the London Eye. This bundling will save you some money.
Want to stop and smell the roses? This royal park is one of the largest in London. You’ll see huge collections of flowers, well-kept lawns, a bunch of trees, and a beautiful lake. Hyde Park had its start in the early 17th century. It was used for hunting and executions back then. Nowadays you can find runners and cyclists navigating the site. And plenty of people walking and enjoying the view.
Karl Marx and George Orwell once drew audiences to this park. They did this in Speakers’ Corner (in the northeast corner). Hyde Park is 100% kid-friendly. Children can enjoy paddling in the fountain that honors Princess Diana.
New artists can showcase their work in Hyde Park. You’ll see these new art forms in the Serpentine Gallery and Serpentine Sackler. Be sure to check out Kensington Gardens as well.
The Houses Of Parliament
This Palace of Westminster consists of neo-Gothic-style structures. This is where you will find seating for the British parliament. This iconic building is located on the northern part of the River Thames. Parliament members bring forward their new laws here.
The big clock tower is a famous feature of the building. Most people refer to it as Big Ben. But it was renamed the Elizabeth Tower back in 2012. Interested in how the parliament works? You’ll be able to witness first-hand debates throughout the week. But you may have to stand in a line for a couple hours.
What happens in the Houses of Parliament at 12pm on Wednesdays? The Prime Minister’s Question Time! This is when the PM answers tough questions from opponents.
You’ll have plenty of opportunity for guided tours in the Houses of Parliament. You’ll have a chance at one on any Saturday (year-round). You can also catch a tour during certain parts of the summer (Parliamentary recess).
The Queen of England lives here whenever she’s in London! And she handles her state business here. As a member of the public, you won’t be able to see the Queen’s private rooms. But there are times in the summer when you can check out 19 different entertainment rooms in the palace!
Looking for a year-round event to attend? You’ll be able to browse the Queen’s gallery all through the calendar. Her collections of artifacts and personal art can be found here. Be sure to catch the Changing of the Guard. You can witness this without entering the palace.
Plan on going inside? You’ll stare into the Grand Staircase. You can browse the different sections where state banquets and other dining events are held. You’ll even get to peek into the Throne Room. Look for the artistic designs in the ceilings.
Looking for Prince William and Kate? They live at this palace! You’ll find gardens all around the outside of this place. Kensington is known for its beauty as a Jacobean mansion from the 17th century. Queen Victoria even grew up here. You have a slim chance of actually seeing Kate and William. But the palace and surroundings are worth viewing anyway.
Inside you can find an exhibit that features Queen Victoria. Many of her old items are on display. These include childhood dolls and a funeral gown. Curious about royal fashion? Kensington Palace displays 20th century styles from the ’50s all the way to the ’90s. You’d be able to see loads of antique furniture inside this mansion.
William and Kate aren’t the only ones living here. Their children stay in this palace as well. And so does Prince Harry and some of the other royals. You’ll be able to gain a lot of new knowledge about the royals by visiting Kensington Palace.
Hampton Court Palace
The Hampton Court is King Henry VIII’s palace. You’ll find well-kept gardens surrounding the outside of the building. This beautifully-decorated structure is a little over 10 miles south of London. Hampton Court has a Tudor-Baroque style from the 16th century.
You can expect to learn about this palace’s dark past. Henry VIII murdered two of his ex-wives while he was here. He also split up the Vatican and the Church of England.
What can you expect on the inside of the Hampton Court Palace? Look for paneled rooms with designs covering the walls. You’ll get to witness the delicate carvings of the roof in the Great Hall. Be sure to check out the all-famous Clock Court. It’s an astronomical clock from the 16th century.
The kitchens inside of the palace are huge. They were once used for serving food to thousands of people at a time. You can even tour the wine cellar of Hampton Court. Inside you’ll also find The Chapel Royal. People still worship there.
What can you expect in the gardens? Look for William III’s maze! You can challenge yourself to escape this piece of land art. It’s over 300 years old!
Looking for a break from all the bright outdoors scenery? Consider taking a trip into the hidden spaces of London. These include tube stations that are no longer in use. You’ll be checking out some of the “ghost stations” underneath the city. You’ll have four options to choose from when taking this tour.
The Down Street Station was used during WWII as a bomb-proof shelter. It’s located between Hyde Park Corner and Green Park. During the “Blitz” battle, Winston Churchill hid inside of these small tunnels. You’ll have the chance to explore these cramped spaces.
Euston Station has a huge maze of passageways underneath it. These have been hidden for more than 50 years. You’ll get to see a gallery full of old-school posters from a past era.
Want to check out a subterranean shelter? Clapham South can provide this experience for you. This is another structure used during WWII. These tunnels have also housed migrants from the Caribbean Islands.
All of these tours are in high demand. You should consider reserving your spot well in advance.
Windsor and Eton
Queen Elizabeth II lives in Windsor Castle whenever she isn’t busy in London. This location is only 30 minutes away from London by train. You will be witnessing the biggest and oldest home for royal members on Earth. Windsor’s earlier beginnings started in the 11th century.
Planning on taking a tour here? Expect to go through the State Apartments. Discover the huge collection of paintings from the Renaissance era in the King’s Dressing Room. Check out Queen Mary’s mini toy palace too! You also get a chance to see the gold roof of Albert Memorial Chapel.
Want to catch the Changing of the Guard? This event happens daily at 11AM. Just be sure to stand by around that time. You can expect a large crowd to gather for these events. If you want a good view, try standing to the right of the crowd.
Eton College is a private educational center. Its roots travel way back to 1440. You can learn all about the college’s history and alumni. Some notable members from Eton include 19 prime ministers. And many writers, explorers, and royals have attended Eton as well. Are you looking to tour Eton? Unfortunately it is currently under renovation. But there are still times throughout the day when you can catch a glimpse of the British elite.
Jack The Ripper Tour
Ready to take a morbid leap into London’s past? You’ll have the chance to learn all about one of London’s most well-known serial killers. Learn what it was like to live on the streets of Whitechapel in 1888. Discover all the mysteries behind these crazy murders!
You can find a handful of companies that will offer you a tour on Jack the Ripper. But the most famous of all is the one that’s been going on for over 30 years. You’ll get to dive into the investigation as you put together clues towards who you think Jack really was. You’ll get a chance to compare the crime-scene pictures with present-day Whitechapel.
Grab a bite and a drink at the White Hart Pub. This is where one of the suspects ran a barber shop in the 17th century. Walk along the real-life murder scenes of Jack the Ripper. This should go without question. But this event is not very kid-friendly. This is a nighttime event and you can expect it to start around 7:30PM.
This church is not only a stunning piece of architecture. It also plays a huge part in the history and culture of London. This Gothic-style place of worship was built in the 11th century! All but 2 English kings and queens have received their crowns at Westminster Abbey. You will have the chance to witness the grave of 17 royal members.
The grave here extends beyond royal members. You can find military figures of the past resting in Westminster. Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton are also buried here!
Royal weddings are hosted right in this abbey. Look for the chapel of Henry VII as well. You’ll find glass windows that have been stained to honor pilots who died in the Battle of Britain. Your best bet is to arrive here sometime before 9:30am. That way you will steer clear of the worst queues.
This is a piece of architecture straight from the late 17th century. It’s made of Portland stone and was erected in memory of the deceased from the Great London Fire of 1666. That fire engulfed the city in flames. And it destroyed more than 70 thousand homes. You may notice that there’s a series of flames on top of the Monument. These symbolize the fire itself.
A lot of thought went into this structure. You’ll get to experience it first-hand. Learn about how the Monument’s measurements relate to the fiery historic disaster. The Monument used to soar high above the capital in the 1600s. But now it’s surrounded by bigger modern-day buildings.
Looking for a little exercise? You’ll have the opportunity to climb the Monument. The spiral staircase includes 311 steps. You get an amazing view of London once you reach the top. You’ll be able to see sights from any direction. Ready to climb back down? You’ll get a certificate once you reach the bottom. Good job on your achievement and new experience!
St. Paul’s Cathedral
The original place of worship was obliterated by the Great Fire of London in 1666. But St. Paul’s Cathedral was made as a replacement. And the skyline of London is still dominated by this huge dome. This structure was designed by the famous architect Christopher Wren. You can find a Baroque-style design inside of St. Paul’s. Look for the Geometric Staircase!
What else can you find inside of St. Paul’s Cathedral? You’ll see fine carvings into the choir stalls. You will find an American Memorial Chapel. It’s in remembrance of the thousands of US citizens who were killed in WWII. Now it’s time to climb the staircase.
On your trip to the dome, you’ll come across the Whispering Gallery. You’ll be able to hear people talking from the other side of the wall. Next up you’ll find the Stone Gallery. Here you’ll find an enclosed platform for upper-level viewing. Are you up for a challenge? Consider climbing to the very top of the Cathedral to the Golden Gallery. This is where you’ll have a 360-degree view of London from a lofty point.
What can you find at the very bottom of St. Paul’s Cathedral? Expect to see many tombs in this crypt. You’ll find the final resting place of important historical figures such as the Duke of Wellington and Sir Christopher Wren.
You’ll be able to see the Choral Evensong events and a variety of other services for free. Enjoy your guided tour. It’s included with your admissions ticket.
The Tower of London
Like the idea of exploring a structure with loads of British history? You’ll have a chance to do this at the Tower of London. It sits on the north end of the River Thames. This tower has stood strong since the 11th century. Nowadays it’s an extremely popular tourist attraction.
You’ll be able to spot the Yeoman Warriors who have been guarding the Tower of London since the 1400s. You’ll have a chance at a free tour with these guys. Want to see some royal jewelry? If so, be sure to check out the Waterloo Barracks. Here you will find the Crown Jewels. Look for the all-famous Koh-i-Noor diamond inside of the Queen Mother’s crown.
Be sure to check out the White Tower as well. You’ll be able to witness Royal Armories. Check for the suits of armor that Henry VIII wore as a young adult and as a royal.
You’ll find all sorts of interactive displays when walking the inner walls of the fortress. Henry VIII killed 2 of his wives here. You’ll be able to learn all about this in the main tower entrance.
The Tower Bridge
Interested in the relationship between architecture and bridges? You’ll be able to put 2-and-2 together when you check out the Tower Bridge. This drawbridge features an iconic design of 2 towers. The Tower Bridge is Victorian engineering at its finest. These neo-Gothic structures are a little over a century old. But they are so visually striking that it seems they’ve been around for multiple centuries.
You’ll notice that this bridge can be quickly raised in only 3 minutes. This is due to a mechanism that is powered by steam. Big boats will have no issues passing through here. Looking to catch the bridge in one of its times of lifting? Well, you’ll need to check the time schedule online. The lifting takes place multiple times a day.
Looking for some hands-on experience? You can explore the hydraulic exhibits located in the engine rooms. Looking for more great visuals? Walk across the platform between the 2 tours!
Looking for the biggest skyscraper in London? No need to look any longer! The Shard will offer great views of London from the highest point possible. You can easily notice the amazing architectural design that went into this structure. Its jagged-looking glass frame is similar to a shard of glass (where the name comes from) shooting into the sky. Renzo Piano is the architect behind this masterpiece. It was finished in 2012.
It’s recommended that you take the elevator to the Shard’s top level. Here, you’ll be able to experience the amazing observation deck. You’ll be able to view London from anywhere you stand. Prepare to see views up to 40 miles! The Shard does have a hotel inside, called the Shangri-La. This will give you the full experience of what the Shard has to offer.
Walk Those Streets!
Don’t just take everything on this list as set-in-stone activities! Sometimes the best events and activities can be found on your own by just walking the streets of big cities such as London. You’ll be able to get first-hand experience into London’s culture and personality.
Sure, you can learn all about London’s history from museums and palaces. And historical sites will be great at accomplishing this feat. But when you want to learn about London in the “here” and “now,” you’ll need to put your walking shoes on!
So, what is the best way to embark on this foot journey? It’s simple… just step outside and get moving! Try focusing on learning about what goes on in the day-to-day life of London. Who knows? You may even meet some great people who will join you on a brand-new chapter of your life.
We hope our article has helped you manage the overwhelming task of picking the best things to do in London! We truly believe there is something out there in the big city for everyone. Didn’t quite find what you were looking for here? Refer to the above section and keep on exploring the city on foot! It’s not always about what you know, but also about who you know. So go out there and make some great friends and great moments on your vacation to London!