Vacationing in London is a great experience. There are so many things to do in the city, from visiting the Tower of London and riding the London Eye to exploring the British Museum and walking along the River Thames. And that’s just scratching the surface! Whether you’re interested in history, and culture, or just want to enjoy some of the best food and shopping in the world, the things to do in London are endless.
Famous Landmarks in London
1. Tower of London
The Tower of London is a popular tourist attraction, and for good reason. This historic castle has served as a royal palace, a prison, and even a zoo! Today, visitors can explore the tower’s many rooms and corridors and see some of the crown jewels. There is also a special exhibit on medieval torture devices! If you’re looking for things to do in London, the Tower of London should be at the top of your list.
2. Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is one of the most iconic buildings in London. The palace has been the primary residence of the British monarch since 1837, and it’s where many important state events occur. Visitors can tour the State Rooms, which are lavishly furnished with works of art from the Royal Collection or explore the Palace Gardens, which are open to the public during the summer months.
3. Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey continues to be one of London’s most popular tourist attractions. Visitors can explore the Abbey’s centuries-old architecture, view the tombstones of famous historical figures, and even attend a service. However, there is much more to Westminster Abbey than meets the eye.
For instance, did you know that the Abbey has its own flock of swans? Every year, the reigning monarch is given a Swan Upping ceremony, during which the swans on the River Thames are counted and marked. Swans have been associated with Westminster Abbey for centuries, and today they continue to play an important role in its economic and cultural life.
4. St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is not only an iconic piece of architecture, but it also has a rich history dating back to the 17th century. Visitors can explore the cathedral’s many features, including the crypt, the Dome, and the Whispering Gallery. There are also plenty of photo opportunities inside and outside the cathedral. In addition, St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most popular wedding venues in London.
5. Tower Bridge
One of the most iconic landmarks in London is Tower Bridge. This beautiful bridge spans the River Thames and offers stunning cityscape views. Visitors can take a walk across the bridge or go up to the top level to get an even better view. If you’re looking for things to do in London, be sure to add Tower Bridge to your list!
6. London Eye
Among the things to do in London, don’t miss a chance to go on the London Eye. This Ferris wheel is one of the tallest in Europe and offers gorgeous views of the cityscape. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to see some of the iconic landmarks, such as Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. The London Eye is a must-see for any first-time visitor to the city.
7. The Shard
Standing at a staggering 1,016 feet, The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe and offers breathtaking views of the city. Visitors can ride to the top in one of the high-speed lifts or enjoy a meal or drink at one of the many restaurants and bars within the building. Whether you’re looking to soak up some history or simply enjoy the views, the Shard is a must-see when visiting London.
8. The Gherkin
This iconic building is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city, and it’s well worth a visit. The Gherkin is located in the heart of the financial district and offers stunning views of the cityscape. There are also several restaurants and bars located within the building, so you can enjoy a bite to eat or a drink with a view.
9. Big Ben
The Big Ben clock tower is located at the northern end of the Palace of Westminster, and its four clock faces are visible from all over the city. Visitors can take a tour of the tower to see the inner workings of the clock, and there is also a viewing platform at the top of the tower with breathtaking views of London. While in the area, check out other nearby attractions, such as Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.
Popular Museums in London
10. Natural History Museum
Situated in the city’s heart, the Natural History Museum is home to a vast array of exhibits, ranging from dinosaurs and fossils to animals and birds. Visitors can also learn about the natural world through interactive displays and hands-on demonstrations. Whether you’re a budding scientist or simply looking for things to do in London, the Natural History Museum is sure to inspire and educate.
11. The British Museum
The British Museum is a large museum with a world-renowned collection of artifacts from around the world. The museum is free to enter, and there is plenty to see and do. The Egyptian section is particularly popular, containing many ancient mummies and artifacts. There are also sections on Roman, Greek, and British history and art from various periods.
The museum is also home to the Rosetta Stone, which was used to decipher hieroglyphics. In addition to the collections, the museum also has a library, cafe, and shop. The British Museum is an excellent place to spend a day if you are interested in learning about different cultures and history.
12. The National Gallery
The National Gallery has a collection of over 2,300 paintings. From works by world-renowned artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Vincent van Gogh to more contemporary pieces, the National Gallery is sure to please the eye. And best of all, admission is free! Whether you’re an art lover or just looking for things to do in London, the National Gallery is a great option.
13. Victoria and Albert Museum
There’s no shortage of things to do in London, but if you’re looking for a truly unique experience, check out the Victoria and Albert Museum. One of the world’s largest art and design museums, the V&A spans over 12 acres and houses over 145 galleries. You can find everything from ancient Egyptian artifacts to paintings by Rembrandt at the V&A. And if you get hungry while exploring all the museum has to offer, don’t worry – plenty of cafes and restaurants are on-site.
14. Tate Modern
One of the must-see attractions in London is the Tate Modern. Located in a transformed power station on the banks of the River Thames, the Tate Modern is one of the world’s largest museums of modern and contemporary art. The museum features an ever-changing display of work by some of the most influential artists of the past century, including Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Jackson Pollock.
Amazing Markets in London
15. Portobello Market
If you’re looking for things to do in London, check out Portobello Market. This world-famous market is a great place to find unique gifts, souvenirs, and handmade items. You can also enjoy fresh produce, delicious food, and live music. The market is open every day except Sundays, so there’s always something going on.
16. Covent Garden Market
The historic Covent Garden Market dates back to the 16th century and is now home to various shops and stalls. You can find everything from fresh produce to traditional British snacks, and there’s always something new to see. Explore the market’s many nooks and crannies, and don’t forget to stop by the Punch and Judy puppet show! Covent Garden Market is a great place to spend an afternoon, and it’s just a short walk from some of London’s other famous attractions.
17. Borough Market
Borough Market has been in operation for over 1,000 years, and it is now a foodie paradise, with stalls selling everything from fresh produce to artisanal cheeses. There are also plenty of places to eat, drink, and shop, making it the perfect place to spend a day or two exploring.
And if you’re hungry while shopping, don’t worry – there are plenty of food stalls offering samples of their wares. Just be sure to leave room for lunch or dinner because Borough Market is also home to some of the best restaurants in London.
18. Camden Market
Camden Market is one of the most popular things to do in London. Located in the heart of Camden Town, the market is a collection of over 1,000 shops, stalls, and restaurants. Visitors can find everything from street food to vintage clothing. The market is also home to several art galleries and music venues.
Dining and Shopping in London
Looking for things to do in London? Look no further than Soho! This vibrant neighborhood is known for its food, nightlife, and theater scene. There’s something for everyone in Soho, whether you’re looking for a casual meal or a night out.
Start your day with breakfast at one of the streets’ many cafes and bakeries. Then, explore the shops and boutiques before stopping for lunch at a local restaurant. In the evening, enjoy live music at one of the bars or clubs, or catch a show at one of the numerous theaters. Whatever you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it in Soho.
Chelsea is a neighborhood in London that is known for its trendy shops, restaurants, and bars. It is also home to many art galleries and museums. The area is popular with tourists and locals alike. For those interested in fashion, Chelsea is a must-see – it’s home to iconic stores like Harrods and Harvey Nichols and countless other boutiques and designer brands. Foodies will be in heaven here, with everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to cozy pubs and cafes.
21. Oxford Street
Oxford Street is one of the most popular shopping streets in London. It is home to a wide range of shops, from high-end department stores to budget fashion retailers. There are also plenty of things to do in the area, from exploring the many museums and art galleries to taking a stroll in one of the many parks.
Things to Do Outdoors in London
22. Kyoto Garden
Kyoto Garden is a beautiful oasis in the heart of London. This serene garden was inspired by Japanese Zen gardens, and it features a tranquil pond, gravel paths, and carefully manicured plants. Visitors can stroll through the garden, relax on the grass, or enjoy a picnic lunch. Kyoto Garden is also a popular spot for photography, and its peaceful atmosphere makes it a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of London.
23. The River Thames
The River Thames is one of the most famous rivers in the world, and it runs through the heart of London. Visitors to the city can take a sightseeing cruise down the river or enjoy a meal at one of the many riverside restaurants. For those who want to get out on the water, plenty of boat tours are available, including hop-on-hop-off tour boats and more intimate river cruises. There are also a number of parks and gardens along the river banks, perfect for a leisurely stroll on a summer’s day.
24. Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in London. Situated in the city’s heart, the park is home to many attractions, including the Serpentine Gallery and the Speaker’s Corner. Hyde Park is also popular for picnics, walks, and other outdoor activities. In addition, the park hosts several events throughout the year, including concerts and festivals. Whether you’re looking for things to do in London or simply want to enjoy some time outdoors, Hyde Park is an ideal destination.
Things to Do with Kids in London
25. Warner Bros. Studio Tour London
If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, then a visit to Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is a must. Located just outside of London, the studio tour gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Harry Potter films. You’ll get to see firsthand how the sets, costumes, and special effects were created, and you’ll even get to step inside some of the movie’s iconic locations. Best of all, the studio tour is an interactive experience, so you’ll feel like you’re right there in the wizarding world.
26. SEA LIFE Aquarium
The SEA LIFE London Aquarium is a popular attraction and is home to over 14,000 marine creatures, from sharks and stingrays to giant octopuses and seahorses. The aquarium offers something for everyone, with over 50 different displays to explore. Visitors can learn about the importance of ocean conservation, watch turtles being fed, or simply marvel at the amazing array of sea life on display.
27. London Zoo
The London Zoo is one of the oldest and most famous zoos in the world, and it’s home to over 650 species of animals. You can see everything from lions and tigers to penguins and gorillas, and there’s also a fascinating reptile house. Whether you’re a passionate animal lover or just looking for something fun to do with the family, the London Zoo is sure to delight you.
There’s no shortage of things to do in London. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or culture, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. Iconic landmarks like Big Ben and Westminster Abbey are a must-see, and a ride on the London Eye is a great way to get a bird’s eye view of the city. Oxford Street is a paradise for those who enjoy shopping, and foodies will love exploring the many different cuisines in London’s diverse restaurants.
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of Wander With Alex, where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, and explore-- and, on occasion, escape! Alex’s mission is to help people travel a little easier.