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Top 30 Things to Do in London | Landmarks, Attractions & Activities

If you’re visiting the UK capital and are seeking the top things to do in London, then you’re in just the right place! While this list includes the top 10 attractions in London, we also cover other popular places to go, unique things to do, and the best day trips from London. 

Intended to inspire your London travel planning, this guide includes all the icons you know about. It also includes some stand-out tours to take and places to visit in the Big Smoke – as London is often called by Brits. 

Whether you’re into art, history, theatre, food, shopping, nature, or simply snapping as many Instagrammable views as possible, London awaits. Read on to discover the 30 best things to do in London Town – as recommended by our team of local experts. 

Changing of the guard in the tower of London one of the most popular things to do in London.

If you only visit one historic attraction in London, make it the Tower of London. Seeing the Beefeaters, the ravens, the ancient buildings and the Crown Jewels is a quintessential London experience. You can also grab a sneaky glimpse of Tower Bridge at the same time, making this a two-for-one kind of deal!

Click here to book Tower of London tickets

a lady in front of a church.
Photo of Tracy in front of Westminster Abbey courtesy of Scalens Studio

The famous venue for royal coronations, weddings, and funerals is one of London’s most popular places to visit. Also close to the Abbey are the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. You can also capture shots of the iconic red telephone boxes in the area. 

Click here to book Westminster Abbey tickets

a man and a lady in front of the london eye.
Photo of Tracy and Doug in front of the London Eye courtesy of Scalens Studio

The largest cantilevered observation wheel on the continent is also the UK’s top paid tourist attraction. Seeing the city and the River Thames spread out beneath you while you ride is utterly unforgettable. We recommend booking fast track tickets to save time waiting in line. 

Click here to book London Eye tickets

st Pauls cathedral.

St Paul’s Cathedral isn’t just any old church. It was built on the city’s highest point, has a landmark dome, and is also an art gallery. If you’re able, it’s worth climbing to the top, via the Whispering Gallery. The cathedral is a London icon and, like Westminster Abbey, is the final resting place for many notable people.

Click here to book St Paul’s Cathedral tickets

🎡 London Eye – Ride with fantastic views over London. (Skip-the-line tickets available)

🏙 The ShardThe tallest building in the UK with commanding views over London.

⛪️ Westminster Abbey Gothic abbey where coronations and royal weddings are held.

💎 Tower of LondonInfamous prison and mighty fortress. The Crown Jewels are on display too.

Madame Tussauds Get up close and personal with over 250 waxworks of famous people.

London DungeonEnjoy a recreation of some of London’s goriest and macabre historical events.

🐧 London ZooWorld’s oldest scientific zoo and a popular attraction for families.

👑 Hampton Court PalaceKing Henry VIII’s favourite palace.

a statue in front of a large home.

Fingers crossed you get lucky with the weather, as breathtaking Kensington Palace has equally beautiful gardens. Princess Diana lived here, along with her sons William and Harry, and Queen Victoria spent a lot of time here too. Make sure you see the state apartments, jewel room, and Sunken Garden.

Click here to book Kensington Palace tickets

a woman in front of a palace.

Henry VIII’s kitchens and the most famous maze in London are among the attractions of Hampton Court Palace. It takes a little longer to get here, but it really is worth it. The peaceful surroundings alone make it worth the effort. Don’t miss the chocolate kitchens, the tapestries in the Great Hall, and the Cumberland Gallery.

Click here to book Hampton Court Palace tickets

a man and a woman at the view at the shard.

Since opening in early 2013, The Shard has become one of London’s top tourist sites. You can enjoy the View from the Shard by day or by night, and even drink, dine, or stay at this London landmark.

We recommend booking an evening slot here, to free up your time during the day.

Click here to book The View from the Shard tickets

The Globe theatre

There’s lots to see and do on the South Bank, and it’s more laid-back than the northern side of the River Thames. Look out for Shakespeare’s Globe, delve into contemporary art at the Tate Modern, or pick up a picnic at Borough Market. 

You’ll also find an interesting mix of  shops, cafes, and restaurants in this locale – and a fabulous Christmas market in late November and December. 

London boasts some of the finest museums on the planet – and many are also free to get into. The British Museum in Bloomsbury could keep you happy all day long, or dip into Sir John Soane’s, which is something of a hidden gem

If you find it hard to choose, head to South Kensington to explore the Science Museum, the arty V&A, or the magnificent Natural History Museum. 

National Portrait Gallery

It’s not only museums that London’s got going for it. Art galleries like the Tate Modern on the South Bank, the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, and the National Portrait Gallery close by can keep art fans amused for many hours.

Our small group spent some time with Yeoman Warder Matt finding out about life in the Tower

Taking place at the Tower of London, the Ceremony of the Keys is the reenactment of an ancient ceremony. Led by the Chief Yeoman Warder, the event takes place at seven minutes to ten in the evening.

It commences with a cry of ‘Halt, who comes there?’ A lantern, red uniforms and of course the keys also feature in this traditional ceremony. Historic Royal Palaces charges £5 per ticket, and you must pre-book online. 

But if you really want to experience the Ceremony of the Keys our favourite way is as part of a VIP small group tour with Walks. Book this very special experience (and one of our London favourites) here!

a man and woman standing next to a car
Out on a tour with Ollie in December 2023

We’re huge fans of Discover Real London’s black cab tours of the city. It’s an experience you’ll never forget, and you can expect a fun-filled day out, whatever the weather. The signature tour is a real crowd-pleaser, or go for a city sunrise tour, or London De-Tour, if you’re seeking something different. 

Click here to book Discover Real London tours (please tick the box to indicate you heard of them via this website!)

One of our favourite shots taken by Domi of Scalens Studio during a London photoshoot

There’s nothing like a professional photoshoot to ensure lasting mementoes of your London trip. Not to mention making sure you look your absolute best! We love the pictures Domi from Scalens Studio has taken of us. All sorts of packages are available, including the flying dress, proposal, and solo traveller deals. 

Click here to book a Scalens Studio photoshoot 

If you have a penchant for the gothic side of life, Highgate Cemetery could be the London destination to go to. It’s vast, and home to the graves of many famous folk. Look out for Karl Marx, Henry Moore, George Eliot, Charles Dickens, and George Michael, for starters. The 15 hectare site has about 53,000 graves.

Forming part of the Imperial War Museum, the Churchill War Rooms shows you where the British government planned their part in the Second World War. Led by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, of course. You can visit the Churchill Museum here, as well as the Cabinet War Rooms.

Book a small group tour of the Churchill War Rooms

Covent Garden is popular all year round

If you like a spot of retail therapy, then you must hit London’s shops at least once during your visit. Anywhere in the West End is good – Oxford Street has all the British favourites, while Regent and Bond Streets are more upmarket. 

Covent Garden is also a good choice, and also has daily markets. Carnaby Street is a little more unique, and you can find the stunning Liberty store between there and Regent Street. It has a Tudor style facade, and is famous for its arty fabrics. 

Take a bus tour of London to see the sights without stress. It’s a great way to start or end your trio, whetting your appetite at the beginning, or capping it all off before you leave. 

There are lots to choose from, including hop-on, hop-off tours and vintage vehicles. We can personally recommend an afternoon tea tour, which means ending up well fed at the same time!

Here are three of the best:

But our favourite has got to be Brigit’s Bakery Bus tour (see images above) Book afternoon tea and a tour with Brigit’s Bakery Bus and enjoy!

Take to the River Thames to see the city from a different angle. A boat trip is also a very relaxing way to travel, and you can hop onto an Uber boat at numerous piers. 

Alternatively, book an organised trip. With so many to choose from, here’s a few of our favourites.

London has some amazing markets to discover. Whether you stop to pick up some street food or end up with a bagful of bargains, there are superb stalls all over the city. 

The best include Portobello Market in Notting Hill, Columbia Road flower market, Borough Market, Camden Market and Greenwich Market. 

Find out more in our complete London markets guide

an afternoon tea.

The tinkle of cutlery on fine china, a pianist playing in the background, sumptuous surroundings – and that’s before we even mention the food! Afternoon tea is a very British thing and nowhere does it better than London. 

From the Diamond Jubilee tea salon at Fortnum & Mason to a five star hotel or an afternoon tea bus, there are so many ways to enjoy it. There are plenty of family-friendly, themed afternoon teas too. 

Find out more in the ultimate guide to afternoon tea in London

Seeing a show in London’s Theatreland – aka the West End – is unmissable for anyone who dreams of Broadway. This is one of the top places in the world to attend the theatre, so don’t miss it if you have even the slightest interest! 

Just being there is a memorable experience in itself, and there are so many theatres and shows to choose from. Try using the London Theatre Direct app to bag a bargain or last minute ticket. 

Sampling the delights of Borough Market

Why not tickle your tastebuds by taking a food tour of London? Again, there are so many to choose from, whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer savoury treats. 

We love the tour that combines traditional London pubs with sampling a range of lip-smacking fare, for example. Here are a few ideas.  

View of the London Eye from St James’s Park

From Hyde Park in the heart of the city to Hampstead Heath in the northern suburbs, there’s a London park with your name on it. Head to Regent’s Park for London Zoo and Primrose Hill views as well as the park itself, or stroll through St James or Green Park between visiting London attractions. 

Pack a picnic if the weather’s fine. Whether it’s from the upmarket food hall at Harrods near Hyde Park or an express supermarket, good times are guaranteed. Well, when the weather’s kind, anyway…

If you love all things botanical, then you cannot miss Kew Gardens to the west of the city. It’s a glorious place to be when spring or summer is in the air. As well as when the autumn leaves change colour, or the winter lights are illuminated. 

This UNESCO World Heritage site offers a treetop walk, the tropical Palm House, a vast arboretum, and three art galleries, as well as a whole lot more.  

Click here to book Kew Gardens tickets

a painted ceiling.

We adore Greenwich, and think it’s one of London’s best-kept secrets. There are numerous historic sites here, a thriving market, a huge park, and lots more. Don’t miss the Prime Meridian Line, either, where east meets west. 

a woman pointing at a castle/

Windsor Castle is surely the most popular day trip destination from London. This historic royal pile is incredibly popular. The town and Windsor Great Park are very pretty, too. 

The simplest way to see Windsor is with a guided tour, or you can buy train and castle tickets separately. Here are some recommendations.

Find out more in this guide to Windsor Castle or listen to our podcast all about Windsor

a woman in front of Stonehenge.

The famous stone circle of Stonehenge in Wiltshire is one of England’s most iconic and mysterious sites. Not only is it prehistoric, but no one really knows just how the stones arrived here from Wales. 

Click here to book a small group half day tour to Stonehenge from London with the English Bus Co. (the link will take you to an agency page – select the tour at checkout use the code UKTP5 for 5% discount)

a man and a woman in front of a row of cottages.

The gently rolling hills of the Cotswolds, contrasted against buildings constructed from the local honey-toned stone, make it easy to see why the Cotswolds is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 

Click here to book a one day small group Cotswolds tour from London with the English Bus Co. (the link will take you to an agency page – select the tour at checkout use the code UKTP5 for 5% discount)

Staying in Moreton in Marsh or Stratford we recommend booking a small group tour with Go Cotswolds – use code UKTRAVPLAN for 5% discount at checkout.

a man and woman in front of a church.

The elegant city of Bath offers astonishingly well-preserved Roman baths, elegant Georgian architecture, and so much history. It’s also got the Thermae Bath Spa, great shopping,and a famous tea room. For organised tours, Bath is usually combined with other places like Stonehenge, 

Click here to book a small group tour to Bath and Stonehenge with the English Bus co. (the link will take you to an agency page – select the tour at checkout use the code UKTP5 for 5% discount)

a lady standing outside Harry Potter studios.

For fans of the most famous wizard in the world, a trip to The Making of Harry Potter, aka the Warner Bros Studios, is essential. You can also take walking tours of London to see sites used in the movies – and one clever tour even combines both!

Click here to book a combined Harry Potter studios and London walking tour

With so much to see and do in London, the only problem is fitting it all in! Whether you’d rather shop till you drop, tour royal sites, or delve deeper into the city’s foodie scene, one thing’s for sure. It really is impossible to get bored in London. 

And anyway, if you do feel like an escape from the city, there are plenty of perfect day trip destinations within easy reach of the capital. It really is a winning combination

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