1. Home
  2. Tourist Guide
  3. Articles
  4. Adventure
  5. 30 best things to do in London

30 best things to do in London

19.01.2021
Best places to visit in London
© lunamarina / Shutterstock

London is a noisy and picturesque capital of Great Britain. Haughty and demure like an English aristocrat, and at the same time bright and incredibly beautiful. There are many attractions, historical and architectural destinations, and simply interesting sites in the city.

As any metropolis with a rich history, this city offers a list of must-visit attractions.

The Tower of London

The Tower of London is the oldest fortress in England and one of the major symbols of the country. It was built in 1078 by Norman Duke William I to intimidate Anglo-Saxons, won by his army. The fortress became unassailable later, during the reign of one of the most famous kings of England, Richard I. He ordered to add several towers to the building, construct two rows of fortification walls, and dig a deep ditch around them. For a long period of time, the castle had been used as a prison — noble-born prisoners, who displeased their sovereign, were kept there. Many of them were executed. A memorial board was placed on Tower Hill to commemorate the events.

Nowadays, the Tower is one of the official royal residences. Besides, the building is home to the Museum and the Royal Armoury. Here you can see a famous diamond Cullinan I — the largest clear cut diamond in the world. Guided tours are held by the museum attendants in the uniforms of the Victorian era. On special events, they wear Tudor holiday costumes — carnation jackets with white pleated collars.

The Tower of London
Tower of London - the oldest fortress in England © Bikeworldtravel / Shutterstock

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Currently, Queen Elizabeth II lives here. The Royal Standard is flown at royal residences when the sovereign is present. The castle welcomes tourists only in summer when the Queen is not in residence. The guided tour includes a visit to the luxury State Rooms and treasures of the Royal Collection, including the works by Rembrandt, Canaletto, and Vermeer.

Buckingham Palace at sunrise in London
Buckingham Palace © Pajor Pawel / Shutterstock

Westminster Abbey

The construction of a Gothic church, called simply Westminster Abbey, began in 1245 and was finished in 1745. According to the legend, the first church was erected here approximately in the 7th century AD, after a dream a local fisherman had — he saw Saint Peter in his sleep. In 1987, the building was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Church of Saint Peter can be easily called the British sanctuary — it is the place of coronation of British monarchs and royal weddings. Westminster Abbey is a burial site for monarchs, members of the clergy, prominent scientists, writers, and poets of Great Britain.

View of Westminster Abbey from Victoria Tower Gardens
Westminster Abbey © Pajor Pawel / Shutterstock

The London Eye

The famous London Eye is a huge observation wheel. Its height is 135 meters. The construction is considered one of the largest Ferris wheels in the world. The attraction is very popular among the tourists because it offers great panoramic views of London. You can admire the same view from the observation deck of another attraction of the city — The Shard skyscraper (its height is more than 300 meters). The observation wheel includes 32 glassed passenger capsules. Not more than 800 people can ride the wheel at the same time. The London Eye operates daily (except for December 25) from 10:00 am to 06:00 pm.

The famous London Eye
The London Eye © FenlioQ / Shutterstock

Brick Lane

Brick Lane is an incredible place and a shopping paradise. You’d better come here at the weekend when Sunday Up Market starts working. Often, fashion trends are born here. The diversity of extravagant clothes and vintage furniture will impress even an experienced shopping addict. It is a favorite place for designers and young artists, as well as photographers. Another local peculiarity is many curry-houses. The reason may be that many Bangladeshi and Bengalese live here. The district is even known as Banglatown.

Madame Tussaud’s Museum

Famous Madame Tussaud’s Museum is located in the richest district of London, Westminster. In the museum, you can see more than 400 wax figures of celebrities. The absolute resemblance with real people strikes and even frightens. Nowadays, thanks to the technologies development, not only moving figures can be made, but also the ones that can talk or even react to the visitors’ actions. An animated dark ride The Spirit of London will allow you to fully enjoy these wonders.

Madame Tussaud’s Museum
Madame Tussaud’s Museum © DaLiu / Shutterstock

Kew Gardens

These incredibly beautiful botanic gardens are recognized as the most diverse collection in the world. More than 600 plant species are found there. Kew Gardens are not only the largest UNESCO site in London but also an important scientific research center. More than 30,000 plants grow in the gardens. There you can also find one of the largest herbariums in the world with more than 7 million specimens.

Except for plants, there are other attractions in Kew Gardens. Among the sights are Kew, the smallest palace in England. Another interesting architectural monument is the Great Pagoda. It was constructed in 1762 by Sir William Chambers as from a design in imitation of the Chinese Ta. You can admire the gardens from a bird’s eye view if you climb to Xstrata Treetop Walkway — another local attraction.

Palm garden in a greenhouse garden
Greenhouse at the Royal Botanic Gardens © elRoce / Shutterstock

Hampton Court Palace

This palace and garden complex was built approximately in 1514 for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a favorite of King Henry VIII. In the second half of the 17th century, the construction was expanded — King William III dreamt to make Hampton Court English Versailles. The interior of the palace had been under construction for a long time, until the end of the 18th century. The building was finished after the death of King George II. The building fell into neglect, but during the reign of Queen Victoria the palace was restored and opened to the public. In 1998, Hampton Court Palace was transferred to the Government of Great Britain.

You can take a guided tour around luxury halls and rooms of Henry XVIII. A walk around a huge park outside the palace may be an interesting option. In its northern part, you will find the labyrinth where characters of the novel by Jerome K. Jerome wandered around.

Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace © Mistervlad / Shutterstock

St Paul's Cathedral

Nowadays, the imposing building of St. Paul's Cathedral is the largest Anglican church in Europe. St. Paul's Cathedral was opened on October 20, 1708, on the birthday of its creator, the architect Sir Christopher Wren. The building is notable for its unique architecture that no other cathedral in the world has. Its dome is recognized as a real architectural wonder. It resembles the dome of St Peter's Basilica in Rome.

The size of the cathedral is emphasized by the location. It is situated on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London. Even here, the cathedral building isn’t shaded by modern high-rise buildings and makes an unforgettable impression.

According to the tradition, St. Paul's Cathedral is a shrine. More than 200 prominent British citizens are buried there. Besides, nowadays, the cathedral is a residence to the Bishop of London.

Red buses pass the cathedral in the evening
St Paul's Cathedral © Pavel Rumme / Shutterstock
Shot of the cathedral through the terrace at dusk
St Paul's Cathedral © PoohFotoz / Shutterstock

Emirates Air Line Cable Car

This cable car connects the Greenwich Peninsula with the Royal Victoria Dock. The trip across the Thames will take 10 minutes and allow you to admire magnificent views of London. Take into account that during peak hours (from 07:00 AM to 10:00 AM on weekdays) cabins move faster and the trip lasts only 5 minutes.

Cable Car
Emirates Air Line Cable Car © Rainprel / Shutterstock

The British Museum

The British Museum was founded in 1753. The following world-known items are exhibited in its halls — Egyptian mummies, the Parthenon sculptures, and the Rosetta Stone. Expositions and exhibitions allow visitors to track more than 2-million-year history of the development of humanity.

Museum square covered with a glass dome
Great Courtyard of the British Museum © Alex Segre / Shutterstock

The National Gallery is located in Trafalgar Square. Its exposition consists of more than 2300 paintings including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Jan van Eyck, Diego Velázquez, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, and other famous artists. And there is another attraction near the museum — Nelson's Column.

One of the halls of the gallery with paintings
The National Gallery © Alex Segre / Shutterstock

Big Ben

Всем известен один из самых главных символов Лондона — знаменитый Big Ben. Эта уникальная башня построена в 1840 году, а ее узнаваемый неоготический фасад очень часто можно увидеть на фотографиях туристов. Осматривать «Большого Бена» разрешено только снаружи, внутрь вход закрыт.

Big Ben and Westminster in London at sunset
Big Ben and Westminster in London © Lukasz Pajor / Shutterstock

Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard became a real landmark of London. You can watch it in three locations: at Buckingham Palace, the Windsor Castle, and at the Horse Guard. The most popular destination is considered Buckingham Palace. To have the best place and make great photos, you should come here an hour before the start of the ceremony. The time can be checked on the official website of the British Monarchy.
Security at Buckingham Palace
Security at Buckingham Palace © seancooneyfoto / Shutterstock

The Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is located in South Kensington. Its collection includes more than 70 million items related to zoology, entomology, paleontology, and mineralogy. Some samples were chosen personally by Charles Darwin.

Hanging the skeleton of a whale in the lobby of the museum
Blue whale skeleton in the main lobby © Willy Barton / Shutterstock
People visit the Natural History Museum
Dinosaur skeleton © Mykolastock / Shutterstock

Tate Britain

Tate Britain is a network of galleries, where works of British art created from 1500 and until nowadays, are exhibited. Besides, the exposition includes masterpieces of world art. The collection has been started in 1900. Tate Britain is recognized as the tenth most visited museum in the world.

Painting room with paintings in the museum
Tate Art Gallery © Claudio Divizia / Shutterstock

Hyde Park

Hyde Park is a Royal Park located in the city center. The locals and tourists like to take a walk here. During the warm season, you can sit here on manicured lawns and walk along the Serpentine lake admiring swans. Speakers’ Corner, founded in the 19th century, is still open in one of the parkways. Anyone can go up on a podium and share his\her ideas or preach a sermon. The corner was frequented by a social activist Marcus Garvey and a writer George Orwell. And rumor has it that Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin also visited this place quite often.

Figuratively trimmed century-old bushes
Hyde Park landscape © pisaphotography / Shutterstock
People sit on the grass, have lunch
Hyde Park on a warm sunny day © Ingus Kruklitis / Shutterstock

Hampstead Heath

Hampstead Heath is a parkland located in the northern part of London, on its highest point. Green hills offer such beautiful panoramic views of the city that the authorities legally prohibited the construction of buildings here because they may block the view.

Green public space on a sand ridge
One of the highest points in London © Hellotica / Shutterstock

The Scoop

Baker Street is located in the Northern part of Westminster. In the 18th century, it was a district where the upper class lived. Later, it gave place to the commercial and retail property. There are two main attractions on Baker Street — the world’s first metro station, named Baker Street, and the house of the famous detective from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels — Sherlock Holmes. Nowadays, Baker street, 221b is a museum with wax figures of the characters from the novel about Sherlock Holmes. There is also a small gift shop there.

The Scoop - an unusual theater
The Scoop - the theater is located near the Tower Bridge © Pajor Pawel

Baker Street

Baker Street is located in the Northern part of Westminster. In the 18th century, it was a district where the upper class lived. Later, it gave place to the commercial and retail property. There are two main attractions on Baker Street — the world’s first metro station, named Baker Street, and the house of the famous detective from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels — Sherlock Holmes. Nowadays, Baker street, 221b is a museum with wax figures of the characters from the novel about Sherlock Holmes. There is also a small gift shop there.

Entrance to the Sherlock Holmes House Museum
Sherlock Holmes House Museum © Gimas / Shutterstock
Sherlock Holmes room interior
Sherlock Holmes Museum © S-F / Shutterstock

Shoreditch

Shoreditch is a district in the East End of London. It is a place of street art and unique installations; one of the favorite spots for hipsters in London. There are many Bohemian cafes, burger places, and falafel restaurants. Streets are always crowded with stylish passersby. Cobblestone Elder Street often hosts photoshoots with vintage cars. Among the most interesting Shoreditch destinations are Spitalfields Market, Brick Lane with many shops of design clothes, a futuristic shopping mall Broadgate Circle, and Christ Church with a cozy cafe Crete inside.

Two multi-colored bicycles
East London © 53NT / Shutterstock
Street art on an old brick wall in Hanbury Street
Street art in Shoreditch © barcelonaru.com
Shoreditch High Street at night
The A10 road connects Norton Fallgate with Kingsland Road © Christian Mueller / Shutterstock
Vintage bus as food van
Bob's Lobster retro diner van © Heather Shimmin / Shutterstock
Old van with hipster chefs
Van in trendy London Shoreditch © DrimaFilm / Shutterstock

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is considered one of the most famous and important squares in London. The Square's name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, naval victory of the British led by Admiral Nelson. It is located not far from Charing Cross tube station, at the crossroads of the main streets in Westminster — Whitehall, Strand, and The Mall. 

Nelson's Column stands at the square’s center. Its bottom is decorated with bas-reliefs depicting four outstanding victories of the military commander. They were smelted from the cannons of Napoleon's army. There are plinths with statues of the prominent British personalities on three corners of the square — George IV, General Sir Charles James Napier, and Major-General Sir Henry Havelock.

The Fourth plinth sculpture is changed every two years. London citizens choose it by vote. Designers, architects, and artists apply their works to the contest. The installation that received the most votes is put on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square.

There are several interesting attractions on the Square, including St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, the National Gallery, and Admiralty Arch.

Trafalgar Square at sunset
Nelson's Column © lunamarina / Shutterstock

Camden Town

Camden Town is a district of northwest London. Its main attraction is a famous market not far from the Regent's Canal. Here you can buy not only souvenirs but also fashionable, unusual clothes. The market is popular among teenagers and representatives of different subcultures. There are many pubs and clubs with live music in Camden Town. The most famous are Roundhouse and Jazz Cafe, where popular musicians perform quite often. You can take a break from the shopping and noisy bars in the manicured gardens of Regent's Park or London Zoo.

Camden lock market famous landmark
Camden Town © Lukasz Pajor / Shutterstock
Famous alternative culture shops
Camden Town © Pedro Rufo / Shutterstock
Camden Castle sign at the entrance to Camden Market
Popular destination for tourists © Lukasz Pajor / Shutterstock
Famous tourist attraction at blue hours
Evening Camden Town © Lukasz Pajor / Shutterstock

Piccadilly

Piccadilly Circus is a traditional meeting point for London citizens. It is one of the busiest road junctions in the world. Piccadilly is very popular among tourists because it is easy to get to any district from here. You can find a lot interesting at Piccadilly Circus and in the surroundings.

First of all, it is the Royal Academy of Arts, the London Pavilion, the Criterion Theatre, and the entertainment center the London Trocadero. A restaurant of the international network Planet Hollywood and a luxury Ritz Hotel are located nearby. Many celebrities stayed at the hotel, including Charlie Chaplin and Charles de Gaulle.

People and buses on Piccadilly
Famous public place in London's West End © Lukasz Pajor / Shutterstock
Regent Street at night
Piccadilly © YIUCHEUNG / Shutterstock
Subway sign, red bus in motion at night
Underground © PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek / Shutterstock

Oxford Street

Oxford Street is a world-famous shopping street. Each tourist, sooner or later, comes to this street when visiting the capital of Great Britain. The street became popular due to the abundance of affordable goods. Here you can find items for attractive prices, especially on sale days. Oxford Street is 2,5 km long and houses about 300 small stores. Also, here you can find almost all the large department stores.

Evening view of busy Oxford Street
Oxford Street is the main road in the West End © Daniel Vine Photography / Shutterstock
People and buses on Christmas Day at Oxford Street Зберегти переклад
Shopping on Oxford Street © alice-photo / Shutterstock

Harrods

Harrods is a department store. It is not only one of the largest and fashionable stores in the world but also the most famous London supermarket. It is among the three most popular tourist attractions of the capital along with Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster. The store occupies a 90 0000 m² site and has 330 departments, where you can find anything you are looking for. And it proves the Harrods motto "All things for all people, everywhere".

Harrods history is full of interesting facts. Some of them are typical English eccentricity. For example, a while back, you could buy a pair of women’s shoes set with diamonds for 62,000 pounds. A venomous snake had been brought in to guard the shoes. 

The prices are very high here. The store even introduced a dress code for customers that forbids dirty clothes or backpacks. We suggest you visit the store in the evening when a very beautiful illumination on the façade of a building is turned on.

Harrods view in the evening
Harrods © chrisdorney / Shutterstock

Leicester Square

Leicester Square is a pedestrianized square in the West End of London. It is a center of cultural and theatre life in the capital. Leicester Square is surrounded by 6 cinemas and more than 50 theatres. The square is the location for cinema festivals. A statue of William Shakespeare was constructed in the center of the square in the 19th century. You can find many restaurants, nightclubs, and pubs in Leicester Square.

Empire - large cinema in Leicester Square at night
Empire Cinema & Casino © Kiev.Victor / Shutterstock
Famous and popular casino and event venue
Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square in the West End © Willy Barton / Shutterstock

Soho

Soho is considered one of the favorites and the most visited places in London among both tourists and local citizens. It is a noisy and crowded area 24/7. Since the moment of its foundation in the 17th century, Soho has been considered a poor neighborhood. Nowadays, it is filled with restaurants, cafes, night clubs, bars, gift shops, and theatres. It bears the title of the main entertainment district in the capital.

View of people, bars, restaurants in London on a winter evening
Intersection of Moore Street and Romilly Street © vvoe / Shutterstock
Nightlife on the streets of Soho
Soho © christo mitkov christov / Shutterstock

Covent Garden

London Covent Garden is a historic district that makes you fall in love with it. It is always crowded with people; and its atmosphere fascinates from the first steps. Tourists can find something interesting at every corner — a large square with many fashionable shops, cozy cafes, and musicians’ performances. two interesting museums — the London Transport Museum and the Theatre Royal, and the Royal Opera House on Bow Street. But the main attraction of Covent Garden is theatres. There are 13 of them there, and they are almost everywhere.
Small lane with low colored dodas
Neal's Yard © Aleksandra Dworznicka / Shutterstock
Patio with a tree in a yellow barrel
Small lane Neal's Yard © Pinkcandy / Shutterstock
People sitting in the street and the entrance to the market
Covent Garden at dusk © mikecphoto / Shutterstock
Apple Market in Covent Garden Trading Floor
Apple market © Christian Mueller / Shutterstock
Traditional colorful houses under the morning sky
Homes in Covent Garden © Michael Ting / Shutterstock

Platform 9 ¾

Platform 9 ¾ is a famous magically concealed location at King's Cross Station. This title is well-known for fans of J.K. Rowling’s novels. It is the place where Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry students boarded the Hogwarts Express.

Platform 9 ¾ was built in 2012 when the station was reconstructed. Nowadays, you can easily find this spot — you won’t miss a line of fans who want to take pictures by the famous column through which you can get to the magical train.

Everyone who wants to take a photo receives a scarf of one of the Academy Departments and round glasses, the same Harry Potter had. There is a gift shop nearby, where the series fans can buy magical items and candies from the book.

Platform 9 3/4 sign and clock on brick wall
Platform 9 3/4 sign at Warner Brothers Studios © Anna Mente / Shutterstock
Visitors at Platform 9 3/4 and Hogwarts Express
Warner Brothers Studios - Harry Potter © anastas_styles / Shutterstock
Useful Tip: you can download free maps with the major tourist routes and attractions on the official guide website around London. They can save time and help to get around the capital of Great Britain.