Top Tourist Attractions and Things to do in London (U.K)
In this post we’ll cover some of London points of interest and top activities in London, if you’re planning a trip, this is a good place to start!
Being one of the top destinations in the world, the top tourist attractions in London draw more than 15 million visitors every year. Britain’s Capital is one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the world with unlimited entertainment and leisure.
Not only London is famous for its taste in music but also is such a colorful mix of different cultures and ethnicities. Today, the City is England’s financial focus and considered as the base camp of vast numbers of the world’s biggest banks. It is also the perfect capital to find a last minute break!
The western part of the City is also home to numerous intriguing attractions. In case you’re wondering, don’t rush yourself through this part of the region – you may miss some excellent places in London.
If you are still unsure of what to do in London, what to see in London, think no more. From royal castles to the parliament, from art galleries to the exotic Ferris wheel, you could never have enough days for unique things to see and do. Another quick fact you should know about is that most places are free to visit and so you’ll find many free things to do in London.
Here are some famous points of interest in London you need to know about.
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Table of Contents
- 1 Experiences and top things to do in London
- 2 Top Landmarks and attractions in London
- 2.1 Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard
- 2.2 The Tower of London along the Tower Bridge
- 2.3 The British Museum
- 2.4 Big Ben and The Parliament
- 2.5 London’s National Gallery
- 2.6 Victoria and Albert Museum
- 2.7 Piccadilly Circus and the Trafalgar square
- 2.8 The Two Tates
- 2.9 Westminster Abbey
- 2.10 Churchill’s War Rooms
- 2.11 Hyde Park
- 2.12 St. Paul’s Cathedral
- 2.13 Covent Garden
- 2.14 Hampton Court Palace
- 2.15 Greenwich and Docklands
- 3 What to eat and restaurants in London to try
- 4 Have extra time? Look at these day trips from London!
- 5 Practical information and London travel tips
- 6 So, what are you waiting for?
- 7 Are you on Pinterest? Pin these for later read!
Experiences and top things to do in London
Go on a themed tour around London
Are you a fan of Harry Potter, The Beatles, or heard the interesting tale of Jack the Reaper? Well, guess what – you can tour London and explore its magical streets following a themed itinerary of either one of these legendary icons. Just make sure you book the right one to enjoy the themed tour, one of the interesting things to do in London (scroll up to see our recommended themed tours!).
Feel like royalty while you sip on tea at The Orangery in Kensington Palace
Ever wondered how royals used to spend their afternoon tea? Why not experience this yourself and head over to Kensington Palace and have a lovely afternoon session at The Orangery with the whole shebang (beautiful views included!).
Explore Camden’s eccentric culture
A cultural hub located in the north of London, Camden’s way of life is indeed for those with a colorful soul. Known for its eccentric mix of styles (think rock, punk, and goth all in one place) and bold personalities, you’ll find great market finds, funky cafes, and streets lined with music shops and tattoo parlor all side-by-side. This is one of the must things to do in London, so don’t miss out on it!
Discover Soho’s unique charm
Are you interested in going out and experiencing the nightlife in London? Soho is your spot! A former red light district, Soho has indeed evolved into something that breaks the norms and grows into something that you’ll consider the wild child of London. Streets lined with numerous themed and cool bars and nightclubs, theatres, cafes, and tempting restaurants will catch your eye so make sure to put Soho in your things to do in London bucket list and at least spend one night exploring this district!
Top Landmarks and attractions in London
Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard
One of the top London landmarks, Buckingham Palace is not only famous for its classical building, but the Changing of the Guard offers a striking display to the visitors. Built in 1837, the building has been the residence of Royal Family since Queen Victoria’s succession. You can also be lucky to have a glimpse of her if the Royal Standard is up at the flagpole that means she’s in there.
The Tower of London along the Tower Bridge
The splendid Tower of London has played many different roles during the past years. Don’t be amazed because this tower has transformed itself into a palace from prison and a private zoo from a treasure vault through the ages. This glorious building holds the country’s rich history and heritage and offers the visitors hours of interest. This famous tower was built in 1078 by William the conqueror and preserves the royal jewels and armaments showcasing the unique history.
The British Museum
One of the top London tourist attractions includes the giant British museum that has more than 13 million artifacts from all over the world. Exquisite objects and jewels from China, different countries of Europe and Babylonia are showcased in this museum. Elgin Marbles and The Rosetta stone are the most famous yet controversial exhibits you can get to see in this exemplary museum.
Big Ben and The Parliament
One of the top tourist attractions in London, the iconic Tower Bridge is compelling as it sounds with a 318ft tower surrounding the huge clock and the emphatic bell known as The Big Ben. The Houses of Parliaments for the British government stretch along the Thames. They were once the site of the royal Westminster Palace. Visitors are often offered the tours of Parliament to get enchanted by the lively political debates and discussions. Yes, many places to go in London. But don’t miss this one of the most popular iconic London landmarks to explore.
London’s National Gallery
What to see in London? Well, London’s National Gallery is ranked as one of the top Art Galleries all around the world today is one of the most beautiful attractions of the city. They exhibit the unique European paintings gathered from 1260 to 1920. The collections of Dutch and Italian artists take this gallery to another level of interest. The animated sketch of Madonna and Child by Leonardo da Vinci is something you don’t want to miss out here.
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum was founded in 1852 containing almost about 145 galleries. These galleries exhibit around 5000 old pieces of art and artifacts such as glass, ceramics sculptures, and ironwork spread over an area of 13 acres. This museum is a part of the South Kensington group of museums that also include the famous Natural History Museum.
Piccadilly Circus and the Trafalgar square
Close to the London’s eye-catching theatre Soho, there are two well-famous squares known as Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. Trafalgar Square was built in 1805 to honor the victory of Lord Horatio Nelson over the French and Spanish. While some busy and irregular streets of London like Piccadilly, Regent and Haymarket run into the Piccadilly Square.
The Two Tates
When in doubt what to see in London – The Two Tate Galleries: Tate Britain and Tate Modern are one of the most exotic London’s tourist attraction having some serene art collections in them. Initially opened in 1897 as the basis of the collection of Britain’s National Art, it ended up as Tate Britain in Millbank and Tate Modern on the Bankside.
Westminster Abbey gives a new turn to the London sightseeing attractions because of its association with British Royalty and Christianity since the early 7th century. Westminster Abbey was found in 1065 by Edward The Confessor as a place of his burial. Almost after 700 years, this place had become a landmark of interment when George ll was buried here. Recently, it’s becoming popular for Royal Weddings.
Churchill’s War Rooms
Ever wondered where the intense battles during the World War ll were operated? Well if you have, you need to visit Churchill’s War Rooms. Winston Churchill directed the military campaigns and the defense of Britain through these perfectly preserved nerve-centers. The acute conditions highlighted in these rooms spotlight on the nerve-reckoning conditions in England during the war. The famous Wartime speeches that Churchill made during the war were improvised through the Radio Station in these war rooms.
London’s well-known attraction and most significant open space “Hyde Park” covering almost 350 acres with blissful sights were made in 1635. There’s a famous lake known as Serpentine built in 18th century specifically for boating and swimming and adds to the beauty of this park. There are a Speaker Corners in this park representing the Freedom Of Speech in the country. Apsley House that houses some of the magnificent collections of Wellington is also present in this park.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral sits on top of the Roman Temple and is without a doubt one of the most spectacular Churches and must-visit London landmarks today. The Great fire of 1666 had previously burnt the structure of this church, but the efforts of Sir Christopher Wren helped this building to become one of the masterpieces of English architecture.
The famous Covent garden of London encompasses a wide range of streets such as Neal’s Yard and Seven Dials having all kinds of shops, restaurants and market halls. The street performers are a real delight here. The market in Covent Garden has various shops having all types of finely made hand-crafted objects. London Transport Museum has all the historic trolleys, buses and trams for the visitors to get enchanted.
Hampton Court Palace
One of London attractions, Hampton Court is one of the great historical sites of Europe. The great halls of this Palace revise the ages back till Henry VIII’s time. Elizabeth I came to know about the defeat of Spanish Armada in this Palace. The Clock Court is an exciting feature here with an astronomical dial and dates back to 1540. The lush and blooming gardens here, especially in mid of May, are worth visiting.
Greenwich and Docklands
The Greenwich visitor center exhibits the history of British Marine and Naval power dating almost 500 years back. Queen’s House and the National Maritime Museum perfectly illustrate the accomplishments of the British Royal Navy. If you are thinking to do something unusual, you can be in two hemispheres at a time by putting each foot across the Meridian Line in the Royal Observatory.
The transformed Docklands is now the hub for many business and recreational parties. The Museum of London Docklands refreshes the memory of the Roman times by bringing the ancient artifacts to life.
What to eat and restaurants in London to try
Fish and Chips
Hear this out: you can’t leave London or the UK without having at least one meal with Fish and Chips! I’m serious, you can’t have better Fish and Chips elsewhere than from its origin. Where to get it? Most pubs have Fish and Chips and every English person you ask will tell your their favorite spot but if you’re heading to Camden or Shoreditch – you’ll find some good ones over there!
What makes English Breakfast different than other breakfasts in the world? It will fuel you till dinner. No kidding, this meal is so calorie dense from all the fat, carbs, and more fat and carbs that you’ll have enough food energy to last your 10-20km walkathon around London. What is a classic English Breakfast? It has bacon, eggs, beans, black pudding, sausages, toast, tomatoes, and mushrooms all in one plate! It is a nice breakfast to wake up to, to be honest. I’ll have English Breakfast every day if not only I care about my poor heart.
Where to get it? First off, try the hotel you’re staying at or cafes and restaurants near your hostel – you can find this type of brekkie almost everywhere in London but of course, if you really want to be extra specific then read this list and you make your choice!
I’m going to pour my heart yet again in this one, do not leave London without trying an Afternoon Tea! If you hate tea, ask for coffee. If you hate coffee, have water. Regardless, the overall ritual that is involved in an Afternoon Tea is indeed worth the experience. We had ours in The Orangery in Kensington Palace and fancy (and pricey) as it was, it was all worth it.
So, what is an Afternoon Tea, anyways? It is basically a tea-ritual where you’ll also get finger foods such as mini sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and small pastries. It is normally served mid-day to stall the hunger as back in the days, Brits eat their dinner quite late (8PM).
Where to get it? Check this list.
Have extra time? Look at these day trips from London!
A prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire and one of the archeological wonders of the world, you can visit Stonehenge from London easily either by tour or by heading wit Wiltshire via public transport. It will take you roughly about an hour and a half and the whole day to explore the area. So make sure to reserve a day for this excursion!
A student city located in central south of England, Oxford is a fantastic day trip from London if you’re interested to see more fine architecture and feel the university vibe. It wil take you only roughly about an hour to get to Oxford from London.
Known for its natural hot springs, Bath is best known for its (ironic enough) – its Roman Bath Houses. For only about an hour and a half away from London, you’ll transport yourself to the country side wilsth surrounded with undeniably beautiful architecture in Bath.
Practical information and London travel tips
Why should you visit London?
Not only it is the home of the Beatles, Your Majesty the Queen, and the ever-so-famous and iconic structures such as the Big Ben and the London Tower, but it is also a unique capital to visit as it offers so much more than what you can see. Go wander around and taste its famous fish and chips or get lost in its vast streets, you’ll certainly find so many things that will interest you immensely.
That said, London is indeed a big city thus it is easy to feel overwhelmed with all the top attractions you’ll see so plan your trip ahead of time and make sure to see some of the top things to see in London in this list.
When is the best time to visit London?
London is one of the cities in the world with astonishing architecture and it is best explored by food. But, how is the weather in London? Well, it sure does rain more often than it should but as long as you come prepared, that shouldn’t stop you from visiting this beautiful city!
The best time to visit London is in Summer (June-August) but expect larger crowds in its touristic areas but I personally came in the middle of Winter (December-February) and find it pleasant if you don’t mind the cold that much. Just make sure to come well prepared for the cold if you decide to come in Winter and bring warmer clothes with you!
That said, it is also great to come during Spring (March-May) and Autumn (September-November) and witness nature perform its magic and be amazed at how colors change during your stay!
Do you need a visa for the UK?
If you’re a citizen of one of the EU countries and a passport holder of these countries: Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland, USA, and Switzerland – you don’t need a visa prior entry to the UK, you can enter the country with just your passport. Other countries not mentioned will need some kind of visa to enter the UK. You can check out our UK visa guide to learn more how to apply for a visa – read it here.
Where to book your flights to London?
Check our handy-dandy guide on how to find the cheapest flights around the world – read it here.
Do you need an insurance?
Remember this: anything can happen! Read our take on why you need a travel insurance and how it can save you money when things go unplanned – read it here.
Where to stay in London?
Let’s face it, London is not a cheap country to visit but it doesn’t mean you can’t stay at nice hotels! We have compiled the best design hotels in London that will be a pleasure to stay at but in a nutshell, here are the top three that we recommended: Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, Number Sixteen Firmdale Hotels, and Boundary Hotel. These hotels are priced under €200 per night which is a bargain for a design luxury hotel located near awesome attractions and not to mention, the services they offer.
However, not all can just simply spend 200 bucks a night, especially if you’re traveling alone. So, we recommend staying at hostels if you rather spend most of your money on experiences. Here are our top recommendations: Cabot Inn, Generator Hostel London, and Clink78 Hostel. Hostels in London can be as low as €15 per night for a bunk bed and as high as €30 per night, depending on the season and as well as the hostel location.
How to save money sightseeing London?
Depending on how long you’re staying in London, it is best to utilize your visit effectively and wisely! London is a huge city and although some attractions are separated by a walkable distance, you still wouldn’t want to spend most of your visit locating these places and on top of that – waiting in line! The best way, and cheapest way, to navigate around is by purchasing an Oyster card (travel card) that will help you to take many places to see in London using the public transport.
That said, if you’re interested in most of the places to visit in London then make sure to purchase a London Pass (€163 for a 3-day pass plus 3-days topped up Oyster Card) and this enables you to see about 60 attractions for free and saves you time with fast-track entry to some of the popular attractions.
Short on time? Go on a tour in London!
Here are our top recommendations for London sightseeing tour around:
So, what are you waiting for?
London tourist attractions are spread all over the city. If you are in to see some exemplary sites, you should prefer staying in Central London. London points of interests are best accessible this way. You can use the fast Transit System to travel throughout the city.
Luxurious hotels such as The Goring, The Langham, and The Ritz London are the city’s specialty. But if you are watching over your budget, you should prefer staying at The Fielding Hotel or The Grosvenor Hotel that provide an excellent accommodation being friendly to your wallet.
The double-decker London sightseeing buses can be a good idea to visit different sites in London if you intend to stay for a short time. The tickets are available 24/7 and flexible ensuring a convenient and admirable trip according to your needs. Some easy and straightforward guided tours that let you visit the must-see sights in a day period are also offered by Bath Day Trip from London. In case you are a Harry Potter fan, you can visit the Warner Bros Studio to take a look at the majestic sets on which the movie was shot. Costumes and props are also offered to try out for some die-hard fans.
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