20 Top-Rated London Attractions & Activities

London is a fascinating city. Ancient laneways lined with historic landmarks, high-end stores, and award-winning theatre.

The beautiful streets weave around famous landmarks like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, enticing visitors to gawk and fill up their phone’s camera memory.

It’s no surprise that London is one of the world’s most visited cities, with over 20 million visitors every year. With so much to see and do in London, it’s hard to know where to start.

Should you visit one of the best museums (many are free), take a picnic in one of the many parks, visit a royal palace, or stroll through a stunning garden? Maybe you’d rather see a show, ride a horse through a forest, ride the London Eye, or have afternoon tea at Harrods.

Use our list of the greatest attractions and things to do in London to plan your next trip to this amazing city.

1. See the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace, one of Britain’s most famous landmarks, hosts the Changing of the Guard, London’s most popular pomp and circumstance show.

This colourful and free show of precise marching and song takes start at St. James’ Palace at 11:30am, and you may follow the band around The Mall as they march between destinations.

Buckingham Palace, completed in 1837, has been the Royal Family’s London home since Queen Victoria’s accession. If the royal standard is flying day and night on the building, the Queen is there. On rare occasions, she and other Royals may appear on the centre balcony.

While the Queen is away at her Scottish summer home, tourists can view the State Rooms, Queen’s Gallery, and Royal Mews.

2. See the Royal Jewels and go across Tower Bridge

The beautiful Tower of London has served as a jail, castle, treasure vault, and private zoo over the years. This beautiful World Heritage Site offers hours of intrigue for tourists inquisitive about Britain’s rich history – after all, it occurred here.

The 17th-century Line of Kings exhibits royal arms and armour inside the huge White Tower, constructed in 1078 by William the Conqueror.

The Crown Jewels display, the Beefeaters, the Royal Mint, and the grisly exhibitions concerning the executions on the grounds are among attractions. The Bloody Tower tells of mediaeval torture and the mystery of two princes who vanished years ago.

The neighbouring Tower Bridge, with its two massive towers 200 feet above the Thames, is a famous London sight (fascinating behind-the-scenes tours are available).

Walk over for the greatest Tower views and a sight of London Bridge (which many misidentify as Tower Bridge) farther up the Thames. Butler’s Wharf, a trendy part of town with many of eateries, is on the south side of the bridge.

3. Visit the British Museum

The British Museum has around 13 million ancient objects, making it one of the world’s best antiquities collections. With treasures from Assyria, Babylonia, China, Europe, and more, it’s hard to know where to start.

In addition to the contentious Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, the Mildenhall Treasure is a remarkable collection of 4th-century Roman silver known as the Mildenhall Treasure.

Aside from a well-stocked bookshop with an extensive selection of ancient history, archaeology, and art history volumes, there are shops offering toys, souvenirs, and replica sculptures and jewellery.

The museum also has a restaurant and a café for those who can stay longer.

Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury

4.Captivated by Big Ben and the Parliaments

The 318-foot tower holding the huge clock and its deafening bell known as Big Ben screams “London.” Big Ben is as recognisable as Tower Bridge, and its tolling provides the BBC’s time signal.

The Houses of Parliament, along the Thames, were previously the regal Westminster Palace, held by William the Conqueror.

The best view is from Westminster Bridge. After crossing the bridge, turn left and go towards the SEA LIFE London Aquarium (a fun spot to take kids). Take a group shot along the wall with Big Ben in the backdrop.

Tours of the parliament buildings allow visitors to observe live debates and political conversations. Whitehall, which stretches from Parliament Square to Buckingham Palace, has become linked with the British government.

5. The National Gallery of Art

It’s difficult to visit London without seeing the National Gallery. This famous, columned museum on the edge of Trafalgar Square is one of London’s top attractions.

The National Gallery in London is a world-class art museum with an almost full overview of European painting from 1260 to 1920. The museum’s holdings of 15th and 16th century Dutch Masters and Italian Schools are its finest assets.

The Entombment by Michelangelo, Venus and Mars by Botticelli, Sunflowers by van Gogh, and The Water-Lily Pond by Monet are among its highlights.

Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross

6. Visit the V&A Sculpture Museum

The V&A is part of a South Kensington museum complex that also contains the Natural History and Science Museums. The V&A, founded in 1852, is a 13-acre museum with 145 galleries spanning 5,000 years of art and associated objects.

Exhibits include pottery and glass, textiles and costumes, silver and jewellery, ironwork, sculpture, prints, and pictures. Sculpture, metalwork, ceramics, and glass; and Word and Image.

It’s hard to see everything in this massive museum in one visit, so prepare ahead of time what you want to see. An excellent way to learn about the V&A is to take one of the many free daily or thematic tours offered.

The Main and Garden Cafés are unlike other museum restaurant. The beautiful details on the floor, columns, and ceiling are worthy of art. The cuisine is really good.

Also, don’t miss the John Madejski Garden, where you’ll forget you’re in the middle of one of the world’s greatest cities.

If you’re in town on the last Friday of the month (excluding March and December), check out one of the exciting “Friday Late” programmes, known for their late-night food and drink events.

Cromwell Road, Knightsbridge

7. Piccadilly Circus & Trafalgar Square

Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square are also gates to Soho, London’s vibrant theatre and entertainment quarter. To get there, you’ll have to stroll through a maze of little alleys dotted with quirky stores, excellent cafés, frozen yoghurt parlours, and old-fashioned horse-and-buggy lanes.

Lord Horatio Nelson’s triumph against the French and Spanish at Trafalgar in 1805 inspired Trafalgar Square. The 183-foot granite Nelson’s Column overlooks the square’s fountains and bronze reliefs made from French cannons. The National Gallery and St. Martin-in-the-Fields flank the plaza.

On top of this slightly messy knot of traffic sits London’s most famous sculpture, the winged Eros gently perched on one foot, bow poised. “It’s like Piccadilly Circus,” people say.

8. Climb to the Shard’s Top

Since its debut in 2012, The Shard has become one of London’s most iconic and visited monuments. Although it stands 1,016 feet tall and has 95 floors, the Shard, called for its likeness to a shard of glass, blends in well with its surroundings, including the Tower Bridge.

The Shard also has a gorgeous Shangri-La Hotel and three fantastic restaurants, all with spectacular views of London. Those not staying can choose between inside and outdoor viewing platforms.

32 London Bridge Street

9. Draw Inspiration from Tate Britain and Tate Modern

The two Tates are a must-see for art fans in London. Tate Britain and Tate Modern are across the Thames. The initial gallery opened in 1897 as the core of a national collection of outstanding British art, and proceeded to acquire works, requiring greater room to adequately show them.

Tate Britain, on the north bank of the Thames, now houses its permanent collection of ancient British artworks.

The modern art collections are housed in a beautifully restored power station across the Thames. Both places are easily accessible by high-speed ferry. Better yet, cross the Millennium Bridge, a pedestrian footbridge near the Tate Modern. The vistas are amazing.

10. Walk the Westminster Abbey Halls

Westminster Abbey, also connected with British aristocracy, lies on a site associated with Christianity from the early 7th century. Edward the Confessor established Westminster Abbey in 1065 as his burial site.

For approximately 700 years, most sovereigns were not only crowned but also buried here. It is now famed for hosting Royal Weddings.

In addition to having England’s tallest Gothic nave (102 feet), it is one of London’s most visited tourist sites, with over a million annual visitors.

The Nave has almost 600 memorials, including the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior; the Transepts contain Poet’s Corner, with tributes to Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Dickens; and the grounds are lovely.

20 Dean’s Yard, Westminster

11. Go to Churchill’s War Rooms

The immaculately maintained nerve-center from which Prime Minister Winston Churchill led the British military campaigns and the defence of his motherland during WWII is a fascinating and evocative London historic landmark.

Their stark simplicity and constrained quarters highlight England’s terrible situation as Nazism spread across Europe.

Among the highlights are Churchill’s small sleeping cell and his makeshift radio station. Simple touches, like Clementine Churchill’s knitting yarn indicating the front lines on a map of Europe, bring the era to life. A self-guided tour takes around 90 minutes, and there is a café and a bookstore on site.

The Imperial War Museum also runs two additional notable London attractions. The Imperial War Museum London, in the famed Southbank cultural neighbourhood, may easily occupy a day with its fascinating exhibitions and collections of military vehicles, weaponry, and planes.

 In addition, the well-preserved WWII cruiser HMS Belfast may be examined on a guided or self-directed trip.

Clive Steps, King Charles St

12.Visit the Natural History Museum’s Dino Walk.

The Natural History Museum in London, founded in 1754, is one of the world’s most popular museums. Seen by its enormous Romanesque façade, a visit is not to be rushed. Arrive early to avoid crowds.

Many of the museum’s initial exhibits are still on display decades later, making up a large collection of over 80 million pieces covering everything from botany to zoology. Seeing the preserved specimens Charles Darwin acquired on his great voyages is a treat.

If you have time, start your visit with one of the official 30- to 50-minute guided tours. You’ll learn about highlights you may return to later to learn more about. Regular activities include kid’s workshops and late-night openings. On-site shopping and eating choices are available.

Cromwell Road, South Kensington

13. Hyde Park Picnic

Hyde Park, London’s largest green space, has been a tourist attraction since 1635. The Serpentine, an 18th-century man-made lake, is a park centrepiece. Speakers’ Corner, a historic arena for free expression – and heckling – is also in Hyde Park.

Apsley House, bought by the first Duke of Wellington following his heroic victory at Waterloo, is another Hyde Park monument. There are also presents from appreciative European kings and emperors, which are now on display in the museum. The Wellington Arch also honours England’s greatest hero.

Regent’s Park is another great London green spot. This 410-acre site is just a short walk from Westminster.

If you’re travelling with kids, don’t miss London Zoo, which is one of the most popular attractions for families in the city.

14. Climb St Paul’s Cathedral’s Dome

St. Paul’s Cathedral, London’s largest and most renowned church, lies atop the ruins of a Roman temple. Sir Christopher Wren constructed the new church after the Great Fire of 1666 destroyed the old.

St. Paul’s twin Baroque towers and 365-foot dome are now a gem of English architecture. If you’re up for it, climb the steps for stunning views of the dome’s interior, including the Whispering Gallery.

15 Best Markets in London

The greatest markets in London provide something for everyone: food, flowers, art, and clothing. While most are only open on weekends (including Fridays), some, like North London’s Camden Market, are open daily.

More than 100 vendors and eateries offer everything from gluten-free treats to handmade jewellery and boho clothes. You’ll discover an urban vibe here.

Borough Market is a gastronomic must-see in London. You’ll have to fight through crowds on weekends to get the best vegetables or a tantalising taste of jumbo paella at this renowned establishment near London Bridge.

Arrive early (no later than 10) for extra elbow room. The coffee queue might be blocks long, so get there first. Some booths open during the week, but most don’t until Friday morning.

Old Spitalfields Market is another favourite for beautiful flowers, antiques, art, jewellery, and more. Built in 1876, this is a fine Victorian Market Hall.

Maltby Street, Brick Lane, and Portobello Road are all popular marketplaces.

16. Buskers at Covent Garden

The Covent Garden market halls are only the start of the district, which includes Long Acre and other nearby streets, Neal’s Yard and Seven Dials, as well as Central Square, with its very creative and distinctive street performers.

Covent Garden Market’s halls and arcades are dotted with speciality stores and kiosks offering anything from tea to garish souvenirs. Some restaurants have patios where you may enjoy a delectable treat while people-watching.

The London Transport Museum is a kid-friendly sanctuary for individuals who adore all things automotive. This interactive transportation centre features historic buses, trolleys, and trams. “Fly” a London bus, or ride an old trolley. The Royal Opera House is also here.

17. Fly on the London Eye

The London Eye (officially the Coca-Cola London Eye) is Europe’s largest observation wheel. On a circle tour rising 443 feet above the Thames, its separate glass capsules give spectacular views of the metropolis.

The trip takes around 30 minutes, which is typically faster than waiting in line. Pre-book your time if you can.

You may also take the Emirates Air Line cable car between Greenwich and the Royal Victoria Dock for a bird’s eye view of London. The excursion is one kilometre long and takes ten minutes, allowing for stunning vistas and great selfies.

18. Hampton Court Palace – Henry VIII

Hampton Court Palace is one of Europe’s most famous palaces and a genuinely spectacular destination to see in London. The Spanish Armada was defeated in the Great Hall, which was built by Henry VIII (two of his six wives are said to haunt the palace).

Meet Henry VIII or Anne Boleyn, both of whom stroll the grounds and engage guests in fascinating antics throughout the day. Depending on when you come, you may be requested to participate in a court session.

If you want to feel more genuine, pick up an audio guide and wear a velvet cloak when touring the grounds. The palace’s famed Maze or the on-site café,

The State Apartments with their Haunted Gallery, the Chapel, the King’s Apartments, and the Tudor tennis court are well worth seeing. Miss the Tudor Kitchens with their big fireplaces.

The grounds include the Privy Garden, the Pond Garden, the Elizabethan Knot Garden, the Broad Walk, and an area known as the Wilderness.

Hampton Court, albeit a little out of the way, is a must-see in London. Forget about riding the tube; a cab or automobile service will make this excursion more than worthwhile.

19. Eat at Docklands and Cross the Meridian at Greenwich

Greenwich, formerly the centre of British naval strength, is today best known for the Cutty Sark, the last of the 19th-century tea clippers to cruise between Britain and China.

The ship lies next to the Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre, which features over 500 years of maritime history, and the Queen’s House Palladian palace.

The National Maritime Museum’s world-renowned collections depict the Royal Navy’s history. One of the most unique things to do in London is to stand astride the Meridian Line at the Royal Observatory’s Meridian Building.

This new international business and leisure district across the river is home to some of London’s most innovative new eateries. The superb Museum of London Docklands, housed in historic Georgian warehouses, brings the river, port, and its residents to life via interactive exhibitions.

20.Equestrian in Richmond Park

At Richmond Park, it’s hard to realise you’re in London (well, officially just outside). This lush natural beauty has it all: meandering roads, green woods, beautiful lakes, horse stables and trails, bike lanes, and picnic areas.

A scenic mountaintop surrounded by wild animals offers unrivalled views of St. Paul’s Cathedral. The Pembroke Lodge Tea Room serves hot tea and scones, or you may rent a bike and pedal across the 2,500-acre natural reserve.

Visit the Isabella Plantation, a beautiful Victorian woodland garden inside the park, in the spring (late April or early May). Its 40 acres of brilliant rhododendrons, azaleas, and camellias will make you feel like you’re in a fairy tale.


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