Things to Do in LondonESB Professional/Shutterstock.com
London is full of things to do and see. From famous attractions such as the London Eye, the Palace of Westminster, the Big Ben and the Tower of London to much lesser known ones that are almost secret. There are also exciting shopping destinations, vast areas of green parkland in the middle of the city and much, much more.
Read on for inspiration and handy tips on places you just can't miss while you're in the capital. Many attractions on this list are free to enter, giving you another great reason to fall in love with London.
Buckingham PalaceDuring the summer months, Buckingham Palace — the official residence of King Charles III — opens the doors of its elegant State Rooms to the public. As well as proving a very fancy backdrop for many official royal engagements, the rooms contain some of the finest treasures from the Royal Collection, including paintings, sculptures and fine French furniture.
Read More...Address: Buckingham Palace, London
Phone: +44 20 7766 7300
Operating Hours: July–September
More Info: Prebooking tickets recommended. None but the most expensive guided tours you can buy online include admission tickets to the palace
Houses of ParliamentTake a tour of the Palace of Westminster, also referred to as the Houses of Parliament, and experience 1,000 years of history. Visitors are welcomed into the building through Westminster Hall, before following in the footsteps of the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament. Marvel at the Victorian splendor of the Lords Chamber and see the famous green benches in the Commons Chamber. Audioguides and tours are available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Mandarin.
Read More...Address: Westminster, London
Phone: +44 20 7219 3000
Operating Hours: Saturdays & weekdays when Parliament is not in session
London EyeAt a staggering height of 135 meters (443 ft), The London Eye offers a superb view of the capital's most famous attractions. A full rotation around the observational wheel in one of the glass capsules lasts some 30 minutes and it is so popular that each year it receives more visitors than the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramids of Giza. And once you've taken a 360-degree ride on the wheel you'll understand why.
Read More...Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London
Phone: +44 870 990 8883
Operating Hours: Daily 11am–6pm
London Bus Tour, Hop On – Hop OffEnjoy the Perfect Introduction to London.
Embark on an adventure with Big Bus Tours. Our Non-stop London sightseeing tour allows you to soak up the city's atmosphere with ease. Relax and enjoy fascinating facts about London's rich culture and dramatic history as you pass its famous landmarks and attractions. And, on selected Red Tour busses, pick up tops tips from our experienced guides to help you uncover London’s secrets and stories.
Our bus route has been carefully planned to ensure that you'll capture all the best sights of London, including Big Ben, the London Eye, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace.
Read More...Address: Green Park station, London
Phone: +4420 7808 6753
Big Bus Tours
British MuseumOne of the largest and most interesting museums in the world, the British Museum is home to some of the most treasured historical artifacts ever found. The extensive exhibition includes the Rosetta Stone, Assyrian treasures, Egyptian mummies and the museum's spectacularly illuminated Great Court, where you can find the museum's new restaurant. This restaurant is an ideal spot for taking afternoon tea under the court's spectacular roof. Free tours of the museum and guides are also available. The tours are led by knowledgeable experts in their field of study — don't miss this amazing learning opportunity.
Read More...Address: Great Russell Street, London
Phone: +44 20 7323 8000
Operating Hours: Daily 10am–5pm
Tickets: Free (some temporary exhibitions are ticketed)
River Thames CruiseSee London from a different angle by taking a cruise along the famous River Thames. Glide by some of London’s top attractions from Westminster to Greenwich, and listen to the entertaining live commentary as you pass sights such as the Shakespeare’s Globe, Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London.Charles Postiaux/Unsplash
Stonehenge, Windsor Castle & Bath from LondonDiscover three gems outside of London on a fun day trip to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and the historic town of Bath.
First, pay a visit to Windsor Castle, home to the British royal family, for a tour of the State Apartments and St George's Chapel. Then, continue to Salisbury, where you'll get to see the enigmatic Stonehenge rock formations. Later, explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Bath, known for its elegant Georgian architecture and Roman baths.
Tower of LondonTower of London is one of the most famous fortified buildings in the world. It's also a mysterious place full of dark secrets, strange stories and historic relics. Here you can admire the priceless Crown Jewels, explore the Medieval Palace, visit the infamous Bloody Tower, and go on a tour with a Yeoman Warder to learn about the many executions that took place here.
Read More...Address: Tower Hill, London
Phone: +44 20 3166 6000
SohoSoho is an absolute must-see, since it's so multifaceted. Dean, Frith, Beak, and Old Compton streets are lively around the clock, and long-running Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club can be found here. Shaftesbury Avenue attracts theatre-goers, while Carnaby, Oxford and Regent streets and the iconic Liberty's department store are there for your shopping needs. Music shops, small cafes and quaint bakeries are on every corner!
The energetic streets of Soho are the most popular nightlife destination. The neighborhood still retains a somewhat risqué vibe with bars, cafes and restaurants that cater to hip crowds of international creatives. Soho is also known as the center of LGBTQA+ community, so don't miss out on all the gay and lesbian party spots in the area.
Read More...Address: Soho, West End, London
Platform Nine & Three-QuartersLocals know King’s Cross as one of the city’s busiest train stations serving much of the country since 1852. The place became internationally famous when Harry Potter used the station on his train journey to Hogwarts. Take a picture with a trolley disappearing into the brick wall and get some wizarding memorabilia from the Potter-themed souvenir shop.
Read More...Address: King's Cross railway station, London
Operating Hours: The souvenir shop: Mon–Sat 8am–8pm, Sun 9am–8pm
Shakespeare’s Globe TheatreShakespeare's Globe Theatre is a reconstruction of the original open-air theater where playwright, William Shakespeare, first staged many of his famous plays such as Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Midsummer Night’s Dream.
On the banks of the Thames, just a few hundred yards away from its original location, the Globe stages classic and modern interpretations of Shakespeare's works as well as of brand new plays. There is also an exhibition with audio guides available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese as well as expert guided tours.
Read More...Address: 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London
Phone: +44 20 7902 1400
Operating Hours: Open at specific times for tours & performances
ChinatownLondon's Chinatown is a vibrant neighborhood full of authentic Asian restaurants, stores, supermarkets and secret bars, adorned. with red lanterns and red arches. Try some authentic buns at BaoziInn Romilly Street, Cantonese staples such as roast duck on rice at Café TPT or drop by Gerrard’s Corner for a generous portion of nostalgia and the adorable retro vibe. There is always something new to explore here!
Read More...Address: Gerrard Street, London
Natural History MuseumThe Natural History Museum houses hundreds of amazing exhibits from the natural world in one of London's most beautiful landmark buildings. Highlights include the popular Dinosaurs gallery, the model blue whale and the Cocoon specimen center special. Events and debates are held in the Darwin Centre high-tech Attenborough Studio, where you'll have the chance to meet important scientists.
Read More...Address: Cromwell Road, London
Phone: +44 20 7942 5000
Operating Hours: Daily 10am–5:50pm
Tickets: Free admission. Some temporary exhibitions are ticketed. Booking ahead is a good idea
Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry PotterStep into the magical world of Harry Potter and visit the film sets where the movies were shot in the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London — The Making of Harry Potter. On the tour, you can nose around Dumbledore's office, enter the Great Hall, walk down Diagon Alley, see how they made Harry Potter fly on his broomstick and watch special effect animatronics come to life. A must-do for fans of the world's favorite wizard.
Read More...Address: Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden
Shakespeare's Stratford-upon-Avon & Cotswolds Tour from LondonLeave the hustle and bustle of London behind to discover England’s storybook villages as you tour the charming Cotswolds and the medieval town of Stratford-upon-Avon.
Walk in the footsteps of England’s most iconic playwright as you tour Shakespeare’s birthplace and Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon.
Revel in the quintessentially English villages and thatched-roof cottages of the Cotswolds as you visit Bibury, Burford, and Bourton-on-the-water.
Jack the Ripper TourUncover the legend of the notorious Jack the Ripper on a spine-chilling London night tour.
Follow your expert guide through the dimly lit backstreets of Whitechapel and listen to the disturbing tales and conspiracy theories surrounding one of history's most infamous serial killers. See the streets of Victorian London brought to life with innovative RIPPER-VISION™ projections.
St Paul's CathedralThe 17th century St Paul's Cathedral on Ludgate Hill is one of the capital's most iconic buildings. Designed by the illustrious Sir Christopher Wren, St Paul's was the tallest building in London until as late as 1962. Use the touchscreen multimedia guides or take a guided tour to learn about the famous interior or, if you're feeling fit, climb up to the Whispering Gallery and try out the acoustics. From there you can carry on making your way up to the Golden Gallery atop the dome, where you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of London. You can also descend into the crypt where you'll find memorials of important historical figures such as Admiral Lord Nelson.
Read More...Address: St Paul's Churchyard, London
Phone: +44 20 7246 8350
National GalleryYou will find vast collections of some of the most famous, beautiful and awe-inspiring paintings in the world at the National Gallery. Treat yourself to some of the best artistic production there is and ever has been. Feast your eyes on masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Turner, Monet or Van Gogh.
Read More...Address: Trafalgar Square, London
Phone: +44 20 7747 2885
Operating Hours: Daily 10am–6pm, Fri until 9pm
Tickets: Free admission
Hyde ParkCovering over 350 acres, Hyde Park is a green haven in the center of London. The park is home to some 4,000 trees, a large lake, a meadow and ornamental flower gardens. It features a busy program of activities and events which include horse riding, skating, cycling, swimming and boating. Highlights to look out for include the Serpentine Bridge, the Joy of Life fountain, the Achilles statue, the Diana Memorial Fountain and Speaker's Corner.
Read More...Address: Hyde Park, London
Phone: +44 300 061 2114
Operating Hours: Daily 5am–midnight
Tickets: Free entry
Leicester SquareLeicester Square is a pedestrianized square surrounded by a number of nationally significant cinemas with some of the city’s biggest screens, as well as a variety of restaurants. The Odeon Leicester Square, Empire, Leicester Square is often used for film premieres, so why not do a bit of Hollywood star-spotting while you're in London.
The lush garden in the middle of the square is the perfect spot for cooling off in during the summer or resting your feet. Cinephiles should definitely check out the program of the Prince Charles Cinema. This independent cinema does screenings of cult films and marathon film runs.
Read More...Address: West End, London
More Info: princecharlescinema.com/PrinceCharlesCinema.dll/Home
Hulki Okan Tabak/unsplash.com
Brixton & the Electric AvenueBrixton's Electric Avenue got its name for being the first market street in London to be lit with electric lights. Today, the avenue is a diverse and eclectic food market, mostly specializing in African and Caribbean cuisine.
Apart from the food, the area is attracting bargain hunters in search of cameras, audio equipment, all manner of household goods, hair and beauty products and services, wigs, fishmongers, butchers, bakers, fruit and flower shops — you name it.
Brixton Village is a covered arcaded area of the market that brims with quirky shops, fruit and vegetable stands, and a plethora of cafes and restaurants.
Brixton Academy is an iconic venue that hosts some of the biggest rock and pop acts in the world. The venue was originally opened as a theater and cinema called the Astoria, but has since evolved into a concert venue: Madonna, Sex Pistols and The Smiths have all performed here.
Ted and Jen/Flickr (image cropped)
Hoxton & ShoreditchHoxton and Shoreditch are creative hubs brimming with colorful street art, hip cafes and bars, experimental galleries and popular nightclubs. Check out the many themed bars that serve endlessly inventive and delicious dishes from a long list of world cuisines. Vintage and design shops are plentiful.Ambitious Creative Co. Rick Barrett/unsplash.com
Brick LaneBrick Lane is the heart of London’s Bangladeshi community. Road signs here appear in both English and Bengali, and the restaurants are authentic and unpretentious. Some iconic restaurants like the the Bengal Village, Aladin, Smokestak, Hawksmoor, All Star Lanes canbe found here. Beigel Bake, where you can get a traditional Jewish-style filled bagel with salt beef or smoked salmon is an absolute must.Website: www.visitbricklane.org
Victoria & Albert MuseumThe Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington has a glorious collection of design and art: from Islamic art to fine European jewelry. From famous watercolors by artists such as John Constable to iconic fashion creations by Vivienne Westwood. Explore the permanent collection or visit one of the museum's world-class, and ever-popular temporary exhibitions. Look out for the quirky Friday Lates events that happen on the last Friday of every month.
Read More...Address: Cromwell Road, London
Phone: +44 20 7942 2000
Operating Hours: Wed–Sun 10am–5:45pm
Tickets: Free admission. Some exhibitions are ticketed. Book ahead
Sherlock Holmes MuseumThe official home of the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes is 221b Baker Street. According to the books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, he lived here from 1881 to 1904. The museum features Holmes' detailed study, life-size waxworks representing scenes from Holmes and Watson's adventures and a souvenir shop.
Read More...Address: 221b Baker Street, London
Phone: +44 207 224 3688
Operating Hours: Wed–Sun 10am–5pm
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Madame Tussauds LondonThere's plenty to keep you entertained at Madame Tussauds London, with more than 300 wax figures, the Marvel Super Heroes 4D movie experience and Spirit of London Taxi Ride. The uncannily lifelike wax figures of famous (and infamous) individuals from throughout history are the obvious highlight. From Johnny Depp and One Direction to Muhammad Ali and the Queen, you are sure to recognize everyone who makes an appearance. Who is your favorite celebrity?
Read More...Address: Marylebone Road, London
Operating Hours: Daily 10am–4pm
Hampstead HeathHampstead Heath is one of the largest parks in London. It sits atop one of the highest points in London, excellent views of the London skyline. The skyscrapers of Canary Wharf can be seen along with St Paul's Cathedral and other landmarks.
The Heath features grassy fields, wooded areas, and a number of large ponds. The water is never particularly warm, but do pack swimwear just in case the mood strikes you.
Operating Hours: Always open
Tate ModernHoused in a large former power station, Tate Modern is Britain's leading art gallery when it comes to modern and contemporary art. As well as the Tate's much anticipated exhibitions, there's a fantastic permanent collection to explore. It features works by artists as diverse as Matisse, Picasso, Rothko, Pollock, Warhol and Bourgeois.
Read More...Address: Bankside, London
Phone: +44 20 7887 8888
Operating Hours: Daily 10am–6pm
Tickets: Free admission. Some temporary exhibitions are ticketed. Advance booking is recommended.
British Film Institute — The BFIThe British Film Institute (BFI) is an absolute must for film aficionados. This film and television charitable organization shows films every day: from the latest and biggest blockbusters screened in their spectacular IMAX theater, to old-time classics and indie darlings in their smaller, more intimate halls.
The renovated BFI venue is located in Southbank, which is the perfect spot to take in the riverfront views and hang out in the creative company of local film and theater lovers. The BFI's waterfront restaurant and bar is great for dates or discussing the latest movie with friends.
Read More...Address: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London
Kew GardensLondon's largest UNESCO World Site, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is the largest conservation project of its kind in the world. Visit the Davies Alpine House and experience the high-altitude conditions that allow alpine plants to grow, take a trip the desert to the jungle at Princess of Wales Conservatory, marvel at treacherous carnivorous plants and take in sweeping views of London from atop the Great Pagoda.
Read More...Address: Richmond, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 20 8332 5655
Operating Hours: Daily from 10am. Closing hours vary monthly
SEA LIFE London AquariumLocated on the South Bank, right next to London Eye, SEA LIFE London Aquarium harbors one of Europe’s largest collections of global marine life covering more than 500 species, 14 themed areas and two million liters of water. The exhibition includes favorites such as seahorses, octopus, zebra sharks and clown fish.There are also interactive experiences, so you can see diving displays, watch the sharks being fed, or even try and feed the stingrays yourself. And don't forget to take a dive 'under the ocean' in the glass tunnel walkway.
Read More...Address: County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London
Phone: +44 20 7967 8025
Legoland WindsorBuilt on 150 acres of parkland, the LEGOLAND Windsor Resort is located just outside of London. It is home to more than 55 rides, shows, attractions and workshops, all geared towards children up to 12 years of age. This theme park is a great place for a family day trip. Jump on board a Lego submarine, take a good look at London's iconic landscape in miniature form, get soaked at the water rides and put your skills to the test at The Driving School.
Read More...Address: Winkfield Road, Windsor, Berkshire
More Info: The theme park has its own Resort Hotel with themed rooms.
Hampton Court PalaceHampton Court Palace was King Henry VIII's favorite royal residence. It is brimming with thrilling stories and beautiful sights. Inside the building you can visit the medieval Great Hall where William Shakespeare’s company once performed, as well as the huge Tudor kitchens and the Haunted Gallery. There is also much to see on the outside of the palace, what with the puzzling maze, the palace's beautiful gardens and a large park. Other highlights include daily tours and talks, as well as the annual Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.
Read More...Address: East Molesey, Surrey
Phone: +44 844 482 7777
WWT London Wetland CentreThe 105-acre WWT London Wetland Centre is a wildlife reserve on the outskirts of Central London. Here you will find plenty of rare birds, beautiful lakes, tranquil gardens and calming meadows to walk amongst and admire. Keep your eyes open because you might be lucky enough to spot a family of otters. You can also take a free guided tour before relaxing at the Water's Edge Cafe. There are indoor and outdoor adventure areas for kids.
Read More...Address: Queen Elizabeth's Walk, Barnes, London
Phone: +44 20 8409 4400
London DungeonLondon's history is filled with gruesome tales and scary characters. The London Dungeon attraction on the south bank of the Thames retells some of those bloody stories. Using costumes, 360° sets and a multitude of special effects, London Dungeon takes you through 1000 years of the city's gory, gruesome and terrifying past in 90 minutes. Look out for Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd along the way. This is not an attraction for those of nervous disposition.
Read More...Address: County Hall, Riverside Building, London
Phone: +44 333 321 2001
Museum of LondonDiscover the story of the world's greatest city at The Museum of London. The tale begins with prehistoric London, moving on to the influence of the Romans and Saxons on the city, and then on towards Medieval London. Along the way you will encounter civil wars, deathly plagues and rampant fires. Journey through the Galleries of Modern London along Victorian streets and marvel at the lavish Lord Mayor's Coach display.
Read More...Address: 150 London Wall, City of London
Phone: +44 20 7001 9844
Operating Hours: Daily 10am–5pm in the summer, Wed–Sun the rest of the year
More Info: Visit Museum of London Docklands to learn more about how the docks shaped the city
Tickets: Free entry
London MithraeumReopened recently at the very site of its original discovery, the ruins of this Roman Temple of Mithras are open for public visits in the basement of Bloomberg's European headquarters at number 12 Walbrook. There are also a few other exhibitions that include both historic artifacts and contemporary artwork. Entrance is free of charge.
Read More...Address: 12 Walbrook, London
Phone: +44 20 7330 7500
Operating Hours: Tue–Sat 10am–6pm, Sun noon–5pm, Mon closed. First Thu of the month 10am–8pm
More Info: Booking a spot in advance is recommended. Admission is free
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