Julie England 28 Comments

If you are planning a trip to London, how do you decide where to go? London is massive. It takes days, weeks really, to see the best of London and trying to figure out what to do can be overwhelming.

Here is a list of the best things to do in London, 50 to be exact. Don’t expect to see them all on your first trip to London, we didn’t either. But you’ll be back. London is the type of city you can visit multiple times and never get bored.

At the end of this post, we give recommendations of the 10 best things to do in London, to help you narrow down this mega list of sights. Or, skip ahead to our list now.

Table of Contents

The London Bucket List

1. Big Ben

Big Ben is one of London’s most famous landmarks. For a first timer in London, it’s thrilling to get that first glimpse of Big Ben.

Big Ben is the name for the largest of the five bells inside of the clock tower but nowadays, the nickname Big Ben includes both the bell and the clock tower.

This iconic tower sits on the north end of the Houses of Parliament. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Currently, only UK residents are allowed to tour the inside of Big Ben.

Big Ben London | Best Things to Do in London

Big Ben | Best Things to Do in London

The best way to see Big Ben is by strolling across the Westminster Bridge, from the London Eye, or on a hop-on hop-off bus tour of London.

2. Houses of Parliament

Sure, it’s great to see Parliament and its iconic architecture from the outside. But did you know that you can tour the Houses of Parliament and even attend the debates at the House of Commons or House of Lords? For more information, click here.

Parliament London | Best Things to Do in London

Parliament | Best Things to Do in London

3. Stroll across Westminster Bridge

For one of the most iconic views of London, stroll across Westminster Bridge. With the red double decker buses, black taxis, and stunning views of Big Ben and Parliament and the London Eye, this short walk is one of the best things to do in London.

Westminster Bridge London | Best Things to Do in London

Westminster Bridge | Best Things to Do in London

4. Westminster Abbey

Visiting Westminster Abbey is one of the best things to do in London.

Westminster Abbey | Best Things to Do in London

Westminster Abbey | Best Things to Do in London

This is where kings and queens are crowned, where famous people are buried, and where marriages take place.

More than 3,300 people are buried in Westminster Abbey. These include Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, Laurence Olivier, Stephen Hawking, and most of the Kings and Queens of England.

Westminster Abbey has also been the site of quite a few royal weddings. The most recent royal wedding was Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011.

On May 6, 2023, King Charles will be coronated at Westminster Abbey.

While here, you have the option to add on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries. It’s the best £5 you’ll spend in London. The views of Westminster Abbey are breathtaking and you’ll stand in rooms that were closed for hundreds of years, opening to the public just a few years ago.

Westminster Abbey is open from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, Monday through Saturday. The best time to visit is first thing in the morning, when crowds are low. For the best experience, book your tickets online in advance and get updated hours on the official website.

For information on how to plan your visit to Westminster Abbey, things to do while you are here, tips for the best experience, and to see more photos, take a look at our Guide to Westminster Abbey.

Westminster Abbey Photo | Best Things to Do in London

Henry VII Lady Chapel, Westminster Abbey

 

Poets Corner Westminster Abbey

Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey

5. Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is a royal residence. Since 1837, this is where the British monarchs called home.

Strolling along The Mall to Buckingham Palace is a must-do for first timers to London. This is also the place to watch the Changing of the Guard.

On a visit to London, you have the option to tour Buckingham Palace, and you can learn more here.

Buckingham Palace | Best Things to Do in London

Buckingham Palace | Ewelina W/shutterstock.com

 

6. Take a Stroll on The Mall

The Mall is the wide, tree-lined street leading up to Buckingham Palace. When a big event occurs in London, whether it’s a funeral or a marriage, people line the streets to watch the royal procession. This is the place to be, an iconic street in London, with Union Jack flags lining the road.

On most days, it’s just a quiet, pretty street. It is worth a leisurely stroll, especially if you will be visiting Buckingham Palace.

The Mall | Best Things to Do in London

The Mall | Best Things to Do in London

7. The Changing of the Guard

The Changing of the Guard is a ceremony that takes place between St. James’s Palace and Buckingham Palace. The ceremony starts at 10:30 am at St. James’s Palace, at 10:45 the procession enters The Mall and walks towards Buckingham Palace, and at 11 am the official Changing of the Guard occurs at Buckingham Palace.

You can watch this ceremony on The Mall and in front of Buckingham Palace. It helps to get here early (as much as an hour early during the very busy summer months) to get a good spot.

The Changing of the Guard occurs every other day at 11 am (usually Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday). In the summer, the Changing of the Guard may occur daily. This schedule can change and the ceremony will not occur in inclement weather. Click here for the up to date schedule.

8. The Horse Guards Parade at Whitehall

The Horse Guards is a large parade ground off of Whitehall. This space is used as part of the Changing of the Guards ceremony.

Horse Guards Parade | Best Things to Do in London

9. Churchill War Rooms

This is absolutely a must-do while in London. During World War II, Winston Churchill and his staff hunkered down under the streets of London and “ran” the war. In these bunkers, they were relatively safe from Nazi air raids. In this museum, tour the bunkers, see where they lived and slept, and learn about Winston Churchill. You do not need to be a history buff to appreciate this museum.

Visit the official website for updated hours and pricing. To get more out of your visit, you can take this semi-private tour.

Before your trip to London, I recommend reading The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson. It is about Winston Churchill’s first year as prime minister during the bombings by Hitler. This story is told by using the journals from Churchill’s inner circle and it provides a fascinating insight on the mind of Churchill and what it was like to live through this time period.

Churchill War Rooms

Churchill War Rooms | Best Things to Do in London

10. #10 Downing Street

#10 Downing Street is the headquarters of the government of the United Kingdom and the residence of the Prime Minister. You can only get a glimpse of the famous doorway from a distance, since the residence is protected behind sturdy fencing and armed guards.

11. Enjoy London’s Parks

London has several parks, all great places to take a break from city life.

When walking between Buckingham Palace and Westminster, consider strolling through St. James’s Park.

Hyde Park is much larger and it is popular for joggers. This is also the site of Winter Wonderland, a Christmas market and holiday amusement park that is open from the end of November through early January. If you are traveling as a family, bring the kids and feed the birds at the Serpentine, the lake in Hyde Park.

London Ice Rink | Best Things to Do in London

Ice rink at the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland

12. Take a Ride on the London Eye

For one of the best views of London, take a ride on the London Eye. For 30 minutes, as your pod slowly makes one revolution, you get a bird’s eye view of Parliament and Big Ben and the River Thames. In the distance, you can see St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Shard, and other famous London landmarks.

London Eye | Best Things to Do in London

London Eye | Best Things to Do in London

 

London Eye Photo

General tickets start at £32.50. Fast track tickets start at £55. You can either purchase your ticket immediately before boarding the London Eye or online in advance.

There are two different lines to board the London Eye, the general admission line and the Fast Track line. The Fast Track line is shorter and will board the pods before those in the general admission line.

Sunset tends to be the most popular time of day to ride the London Eye. If you plan to ride it at sunset, a Fast Track ticket may be worth it to save you some time (or get here early).

We have had good luck purchasing our ticket at the London Eye. Once here, you can see how long the line is. If it’s long and you don’t mind spending the extra money, purchase a Fast Track ticket to jump to the front of the line.

Get updated pricing and hours on the official website.

13. Take a Beefeater Tour at the Tower of London

The Tower of London dates back to 1066. It was used as both a prison and a royal residence and now houses the crown jewels. For an educational but slightly gory look at British history, don’t miss the Beefeater tours held daily.

A visit here can last between 1 to 2 hours.

I recommend taking a Beefeater Tour (Yeoman Warder tour) since it is very entertaining and you learn a lot about the Tower of London. This was one of Tyler and Kara’s favorite London experiences when they were 8 and 10 years old and well worth it whether or not you have kids. Once at the Tower of London, you will join the next available tour (no need to book it in advance).

For hours, pricing, and to purchase your tickets in advance, visit the official website.

Tower of London | Best Things to Do in London

Tower of London | Best Things to Do in London

14. Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is another London icon. Its medieval style makes many people think that is very old (it was constructed in 1894) but it was designed to complement its neighbor, the Tower of London. If you are interested, you can climb the towers for another bird’s eye view of London.

Tower Bridge London | Best Things to Do in London

Tower Bridge | Best Things to Do in London

 

Tower Bridge Walkway

Tower Bridge Walkway | Best Things to Do in London

Walking across the bridge is free, but if you want to climb the tower and walk across the glass walkway, you will have to buy a ticket. Tickets can be purchased online in advance or at Tower Bridge.

Ride the elevator to the top of the North Tower. From here, walk across the East Walkway and West Walkway, crossing the glass floors that have views down to the street. Descend the South Tower to road level. From here, it is a short walk to the Engine Rooms, where you can learn how the drawbridge was powered before modern technology took over.

With this highly rated tour, you get early, skip-the-line access to the Tower of London where you get to watch the opening ceremony by the Yeoman Warders, plus skip-the-line access to the Tower Bridge experience.

For hours and updated pricing, visit the official website.

15. Borough Market

Borough Market is open all year. With small restaurants and food shops, you can dine on everything from raw oysters to freshly baked bread to Taiwanese or Indian street food to French pastries.

Borough Market | Best Things to Do in London

Borough Market | Best Things to Do in London

 

Borough Market

In December, the Borough Market is decorated for Christmas. This is the perfect place to sample some new foods or shop for gifts for family and friends, ranging from olive oils to condiments to wine and liquor to foods from around the world.

It is open 7 days a week, except for major holidays. Hours vary by the day of the week, so get updated hours for your visit on the official website.

16. The View from the Shard

This 72-story skyscraper is the tallest building in London and the United Kingdom and the 7th tallest building in Europe.

The Shard | Best Things to Do in London

The Shard | Best Things to Do in London

 

View from the Shard

View from the Shard | Best Things to Do in London

The View from the Shard is the viewing platform is located on the top of the building, on the 68th, 69th, and 72nd floors.

If you like gazing across cities from a high vantage point, in London, it doesn’t get any better than this.

A visit here lasts 45 to 60 minutes, not counting any time you may spend in line to enter the Shard. We purchased Fast Track tickets in advance, which really came in handy and saved us time. If you don’t want to spend extra on Fast Track tickets, then we recommend booking your tickets on GetYourGuide, since they allow you to cancel your visit up to 24 hours in advance and get a full refund.

17. Tate Modern

At London’s Tate Modern, visitors view contemporary artwork from around the world, including paintings, sculptures, videos, and constructions. Works of art by Picasso, Dali, and Warhol are on display.

Tate Modern

Tate Modern | Best Things to Do in London

Visitors can stroll through the gallery free of charge and you can book tickets in advance to go to an exhibition on a specific artist. The Tate Modern is a wonderful gallery with much exciting and unexpected artwork to offer, and its exhibitions are inspiring for any art lover.

Get updated hours and upcoming exhibitions on the official website.

18. Take a Walk Across Millennium Bridge

Built in 2000, the Millennium Bridge is a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Thames River. It has been featured in several movies, such as Harry Potter and Guardians of the Galaxy.

It connects St. Paul’s Cathedral, on the north bank of the River Thames, with Tate Modern, on the south bank of the River Thames.

Millennium Bridge London | Best Things to Do in London

Millennium Bridge | Best Things to Do in London

19. St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Pauls’ Cathedral is another very famous landmark. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, the present day cathedral was consecrated in 1697 after the Great Fire of London in 1666 destroyed the old St. Paul’s Cathedral. The funerals of Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill were held here, as was the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

On a visit here, you will see the interior of the cathedral, the crypt, and climb the 528 steps to the dome for panoramic views of London.

St. Paul’s Cathedral opens at 8:30 am most days of the week. On Wednesdays it does not open until 10 am and Sundays it is closed to visitors. I recommend getting updated hours before your visit because these can change.

Purchase your tickets in advance on the official website. A visit here will last an hour to an hour and a half.

St Pauls Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral | Best Things to Do in London

 

London View from St Pauls

The view from St. Paul’s Cathedral

20. Monument to the Great Fire of London

On September 2, 1666, a fire started on Pudding Lane, lasted four days, and burned 86% of London to the ground. This monument commemorates that fire and how the city rebuilt from the ashes to become even grander than it was before.

Monument Great Fire London | Best Things to Do in London

Monument to the Great Fire of London

 

View of Sky Garden

The view from the Monument to the Great Fire of London

Climb 311 spiral steps to the top for a view of London. You can see the Shard, Sky Garden, and other famous London landmarks.

Before you go, get updated hours and pricing on the official website.

21. Sky Garden

Sky Garden, also referred to as the Walkie Talkie, is one of the newer skyscrapers in London. On the top level is an observation deck with panoramic views of London. Some people say that the view from here is better than the Shard.

Sky Garden | Best Things to Do in London

Sky Garden | Best Things to Do in London

 

Fenchurch Sky Garden

Fenchurch Restaurant

It is free to visit Sky Garden 7 days a week at certain hours, which you can get on the official website. It’s best to book your ticket in advance because they have a limited number of spaces.

There are also two restaurants, Darwin Brasserie and Fenchurch Restaurant. If you have a reservation at one of these restaurants, you do not have to reserve an entrance ticket.

We had lunch at Fenchurch Restaurant. The food and drinks are excellent.

22. Afternoon Tea

For a quintessential British experience, dine on finger sandwiches, scones, and small cakes at one of many hotels offering afternoon tea.

We had afternoon tea at The Dilly, at the Montagu Kitchen & Lounge at Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill, and at the Wellington Lounge at the InterContinental London Park Lane. This was in December, so they all had a Christmas theme.

For 10 of London’s best afternoon teas, click here.

Christmas Afternoon Tea London Photo

Christmas themed afternoon tea at the Montagu Kitchen & Lounge

23. The British Museum

The British Museum is one of the world’s top museums. This museum contains a massive collection of historical artifacts, including a portion of the Parthenon, the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies, and hieroglyphics.

A visit here typically lasts 2 to 3 hours, but you could spend all day here. This place is enormous and filled with historical treasures.

Admission is free but donations are accepted. For the best experience, book your time slot in advance.

British Museum

British Museum | Best Things to Do in London

24. Trafalgar Square

This is a public square in the Charing Cross neighborhood of London. This is another famous landmark, and home to Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery. Trafalgar Square is the center of New Year’s Eve celebrations in the city.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square | Best Things to Do in London

25. The National Gallery

London’s National Gallery is a world-famous art museum that sits in Trafalgar Square.

The gallery houses western European paintings that date from the 13th to the 19th centuries. Here, visitors view original paintings from artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Monet, Rembrandt, Turner, Cézanne, and Van Gogh.

In addition to its fine collection, the artwork is displayed in an elegant and spacious building that is designed to complement its magnificent paintings.

When visiting the gallery, you can freely stroll through the displays of paintings. You can also book tickets in advance to go to an exhibition about a specific artist. Even if you are not an art lover, the National Gallery has much beauty and history for all visitors to admire.

The National Gallery is free to enter. You can book a time slot in advance to save time waiting in line. Get updated hours and book your time slot on the official website.

National Gallery London

The National Gallery | Best Things to Do in London

26. The National Portrait Gallery

If you are an art aficionado, here’s another art museum for your list. This world famous museum houses portraits of famous British people. Like the National Gallery, it is located off of Trafalgar Square, although it is a separate museum.

With more than 215,000 works of art, the National Portrait Gallery contains the largest number of portraits in the world, according to the official website.

Currently, the National Portrait Gallery is closed for a major refurbishment project, but it is planned to reopen June 22, 2023.

Get updated hours on the official website.

27. Eat, Drink, and Shop at Covent Garden

Covent Garden is a district in the West End that is now a popular shopping and tourist site. Pop into the cafes, watch street performers, or simply roam the shops.

Covent Garden is a wonderful mix of shops and restaurants. Most shops are small boutique shops, but you’ll also find Apple, Chanel, Free People, L’Occitane, Pandora, and Tom Ford.

For food, purchase macarons at Laduree first e has accent, have a seasonal cocktail at Frenchie’s, taste the chocolate at Neuhaus and Godiva, or have mulled wine at Chez Antoinette.

For a full listing of shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars, visit the official Covent Garden website.

Covent Garden at Christmas

Covent Garden at Christmas 

28. Neal’s Yard

Neal’s Yard is a colorful alley in the Seven Dials neighborhood of London, not far from Covent Garden. It’s a lovely, hidden place and worth it just to take a photo. Go just around the corner to Neal’s Yard Dairy for some amazing artisan cheeses.

Neals Yard London

Neal’s Yard | Best Things to Do in London

29. The Underground

The Underground is London’s metro. It is fast, efficient, and easy to use. It’s the easiest and most convenient way to get around the city. Ride the Underground enough times and “Mind the Gap” may become your favorite British phrase.

Underground London

30. Photograph the Red Phone Booths

With smartphones in everyone’s pocket, who needs a public telephone anymore? These iconic phone booths could become a thing of the past. Pretty soon, you may be more likely to find one of these inside the British museum than on a London street. But creative people are turning these phone booths into micro businesses, selling coffee, ice cream, and more.

You can still see the red phone booths around town. Want a photo of a red phone booth and Big Ben? The best place to do this is on Great George Street, in between Parliament Street and Horse Guards Road. This is a popular thing to do so you may have to wait in line.

Big Ben London

Red phone booth and Big Ben

31. Take a Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Ok. So we don’t normally recommend bus tours, that is, unless you are in London. For first-timers to the city, this is a great way to see the main sites in just a matter of hours. You can choose to stay on the bus and get an overview of the city, or use it as transportation to get between sites.

This was one of our favorite London experiences…seeing Big Ben, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Whitehall, Piccadilly Circus, and so much more, all in just two hours. 

32. Take a Walking Tour of London

There are numerous options for walking tours in London. SANDEMANs offers free walking tours that get rave reviews. Those with an interest in Harry Potter can take a Harry Potter walking tour and those over 18 can take a Liquid History Tour of London. There are also Jack the Ripper tours, street art tours, and foodie tours.

On this tour, visit four famous pubs in Soho to see where The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, and David Bowie hung out. 

The list of walking tours in London is long. Here are a few more options.

 


33. Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is similar to Times Square in New York City. This meeting point, where several main roads come together, is a very busy spot in London. Enormous neon signs bath the area in colorful light and double decker red buses and cars continually stream by. Have a seat on the steps of the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain and watch London in action.

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus | Best Things to Do in London

34. Natural History Museum

London’s world-famous Natural History museum is a center of scientific excellence and an enjoyable destination for London travelers.

Since the museum is home to over 70 million species it has much to offer, including several billion-years-old dinosaur skeletons, the world’s first discovered T-Rex fossil, a meteorite as old as our solar system, and exhibits on mammals, human evolution, and on Charles Darwin’s discoveries.

Natural History Museum London

Natural History Museum | Best Things to Do in London

 

Dippy the Dinosaur

Dippy

The most popular exhibition in the museum, however, is of Dippy, a well-loved Diplodocus plaster skeleton.

In addition to its collections, the museum is set inside of a beautiful Romanesque structure that was intentionally designed to complement the museum’s exhibitions. As a result, the open church-like structure feels as much a relic as the items inside.

Due to its amazing exhibitions and magnificent building, the Natural History Museum is a must-see during your time in London.

Get updated pricing and hours on the official website, and book your time slot in advance.

35. Victoria and Albert Museum

This is another of London’s great museums. This is the world’s largest museum of decoration arts and design. Paintings, sculptures, medieval objects, jewelry, photographs, and costumes from around the world can be seen here.

Victoria Albert Museum

Victoria & Albert Museum | Best Things to Do in London

 

36. Take a Break in Kew Gardens

This is a giant botanical garden in southwest London. A half day here is a great way to take a break from city life. Tour the greenhouses and walk along the manicured property. This is a tranquil, pretty spot in London.

Kew Gardens

37. Eat Fish & Chips

Fish & chips is classic British food. You can find it at any pub, but one of the best restaurants in London for fish & chips is The Golden Chippy.

Fish N Chips

38. Stand in the East and West Hemispheres

In Greenwich, visit the Royal Observatory and see the Prime Meridian. Here is your chance to stand over 0° longitude, placing one foot in the eastern hemisphere and one foot in the western hemisphere.

You can also visit the planetarium museum. Since this observatory sits on top of a hill, you have a great view over Greenwich and the River Thames from here.

Prime Meridian Greenwich

39. Old Royal Naval College

This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Greenwich. It once served as a naval hospital and later as a naval college. Now, this site is being used as a filming location for many famous movies such as The King’s Speech, Patriot Games, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Avengers, and The Dark Knight Rises.

Naval College Ceiling

The Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College

40. Up at the O2

The O2 is an entertainment district with an arena, music club, cinema, and restaurants. Up at the O2 is a 90 minute experience where you get to climb onto the O2 roof. The views over London from the top are spectacular.

Visit the Up at the O2 website for full details, hours, cost, and how to schedule your visit. Tickets are also available through GetYourGuide.

41. IFS Cloud Cable Car

The IFS Cloud Cable Car provides another form of transportation across the Thames River. This cable car connects the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Victoria Dock. People love it for the views and the convenience.

42. Portobello Road Market

This is a world-famous market and a great place to visit if you like to go shopping for antiques. Portobello Road Market is open daily but the main day is Saturday. This area was also a filming location for the movie Notting Hill starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. 

On this walking tour of Notting Hill, you get to visit Portobello Road Market, famous filming locations, and celebrity homes.

Portobello Road London

Portobello Road | Best Things to Do in London

43. Churchill Arms

Churchill Arms is one of the oldest pubs in London, dating back to 1750. It gets its name because Winston Churchill’s grandparents were regular visitors here.

The exterior of Churchill Arms is decorated 365 days of the year with flowers, making it also one of the most photographed pubs in London.

In December, thousands of lights are strung along the outside of Churchill Arms and the inside gets a covering of lights as well, plus some Christmas decorations here and there, making it one of the most festive places to visit in London at Christmas.

Churchill Arms

Churchill Arms | mikecphoto/shutterstock.com

44. Camden Market

Camden Market is one of London’s best places to go shopping. This large market contains small shops, stalls, and restaurants. You can find everything from clothing to home décor to Mexican groceries to leather goods and Cuban cigars.

For a complete listing of the stores and restaurants as well as hours, visit the official website.

45. Cocktail Bars & Rooftop Restaurants

Here are a few of our favorite rooftop restaurants and cocktail bars in London. Make your reservations in advance.

The Library Bar at the Lanesborough Hotel. This upscale bar serves amazing craft cocktails in a cozy, elegant setting.

8 at the Londoner. This rooftop bar and restaurant serves creative cocktails and Japanese cuisine. We recommend the Lychee Rose cocktail, the beef tataki, and the lobster tacos. It’s pricey but everything we had was phenomenal.

The Rooftop. This rooftop bar and restaurant has awesome views over Trafalgar Square. It is located on top of the St. James Hotel.

Trafalgar Square Christmas Lights

The view from The Rooftop | Best Things to Do in London

The Aviary Rooftop Restaurant. Located on top of Montcalm Royal House, from this restaurant you get panoramic views of London. In the winter, dine in an igloo. 

Aviary London

The igloos at Aviary Rooftop Restaurant

46. Go shopping at a Department Store

There are several famous London department stores to visit and go shopping.

Harrod’s is London’s premiere department store. Seven floors are filled with luxury items to purchase from all around the world. They even offer afternoon tea. Harrod’s is located in Knighstbridge on Brompton Road.

Selfridges is a high-end department store that is located on Oxford Street. This store is famous for its creative window designs, so much so that they have been photographed and featured in Vogue, Icon, Harper’s Bazaar, and The New York Times.

The exterior façade of Liberty London resembles a Tudor building. Inside, for sale are men’s and women’s clothing, jewelry, and Liberty fabric, which is famous for its bold, colorful prints. Liberty London is located in the West End on Great Marlborough Street.

Fortnum and Mason started off as a grocery store, dating back to the 1700’s. It first sold exotic goods from around the world, imported by the East India Company. Now, it is one of the best places in London to shop for tea and biscuits.

Hamley’s is London’s largest toy store. If you are visiting London with kids, don’t miss this colorful, somewhat chaotic store. It is located on Regent Street.

Fortnum and Mason Christmas

Fortnum and Mason in December

47. Visit Ben Franklin’s House

For sixteen years, from 1757 and 1775, Ben Franklin lived in London. This house is the only surviving house that he called home. It is now a museum and can be visited while you are in London.

This house can only be visited on a tour, of which there are several to choose from. Learn more on the official website.

48. Shakespeare’s Globe Theater

The Globe Theater opened in 1599. For fourteen years, the theater thrived, presenting many of Shakespeare’s plays. In 1614, it burnt down. It was rebuilt again and used until 1642, when the Puritans of London shut it down. In 1644, the Globe Theater was demolished.

The building that stands today is a replica of the original Globe Theater. It sits just a few hundred feet from the original location. Now, you can tour the theater or watch a show.

Globe Theater

Globe Theater | Best Things to Do in London

49. Abbey Road

This is a must for Beatles fans. Stroll on famous Abbey Road and cross the street Beatles style.

The Beatles crosswalk is located on Abbey Road, next to Abbey Road Studios and the intersection with Grove End Road. To get here, ride the Underground to St. John’s Wood and walk west towards Abbey Road.

There’s even a webcam of the Beatles crosswalk.

50. Take a Day Trip from London

If you have a few days in London, why not take a day trip?

Windsor Castle, another royal residence, can easily be done in a half day from London. You can also add on Stonehenge, visiting Windsor Castle and Stonehenge on the same day.

Another popular London day trip is to visit Stonehenge and Bath. You can do this either by renting a car for the day, traveling by train, or taking a tour. Some tours include Stonehenge, Bath, and Windsor.

The White Cliffs of Dover is another popular day trip that takes one full day.

Finally, you can also day trip to the Cotswolds or Oxford.

Best Things to Do in London: On a Map

How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Our Top Ten in London

Here are our ten must-have experiences in London.

  • British Museum
  • Tower of London
  • Stroll across Westminster Bridge for iconic views of Big Ben and Parliament
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Have afternoon tea
  • Visit the Shard, Sky Garden, or ride the London Eye for a bird’s eye view of London
  • Tower Bridge
  • Covent Garden
  • Buckingham Palace

Connect all of these with the Underground and you have a nice introduction to London. And don’t forget to Mind the Gap!

Learn how to put all of these together in our 5 Day London Itinerary.

How Many Days Should You Spend in London?

Ideally, plan on spending a minimum of 3 days in London. As you can see, the list of things to do in London is very long, and it would take one busy week to get to everything.

Three days gives you enough time to see what’s listed on our London Top 10 List.

For a first visit to London, 5 days is a nice amount of time to spend here. You can use all five days to visit London or take a day and day trip to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Bath, the White Cliffs of Dover, or Oxford.

So far, we have visited London twice. Our first visit was in 2012 for 5 days. One of these days included a day trip to Stonehenge and Bath. Our second visit was in December 2022. We spent 7 days in London, repeating a few of our favorite experiences, day tripping to Windsor Castle, and exploring new spots in London.

Best Time to Visit London

For clear skies and the warmest weather, visit in June, July and August, but be aware that this is also the busiest time to visit London. May and September have very nice weather and slightly lower crowds. London in December is magical, with Christmas lights and markets and a very festive vibe in the city.

WINTER: Winter in London tends to be cold, cloudy, and drizzly. The average high temperature is 48°F and the average low is 40°F. Rain falls about 8 or 9 days a month, making winter one of the wettest times to visit London. Snowfall is rare, but when it occurs, it’s magical. We were lucky to experience London with a dusting of snow on our most recent visit.

SPRING: In spring, temperatures rise, the skies begin to clear, and rainfall chances go down. The average high temperature in March is 53°F but this rises to 67°F by the end of May.

SUMMER: Summer is the warmest, driest time of the year to visit London. The average high temperature is 73°F, but during heat waves it can get much warmer than this. In recent years, London has seen temperatures reach 100°F.

FALL: Fall is the reverse of spring. Temperatures cool off and rain chances increase. The average high ranges from 67°F to 53°F and October is one of the rainiest months of the year, with 9 days of rain.

Big Ben Snow

Westminster Bridge, Parliament and Big Ben during a rare snowfall.

Where to Stay in London

For advice on where to stay in London, we have a guide to the Best Hotels in London, which is organized by location and budget.

More Information about London

LONDON ITINERARY: In our article 5 Days in London, we include detailed daily itineraries for exploring London. You can do all five days or follow just a day or two, if you have less time in the city.

WHERE TO STAY: Take the guesswork out of where to stay in our article Best Places to Stay in London.

WESTMINSTER ABBEY: Tour Westminster Abbey in photos and learn how to plan your visit in our Guide to Westminster Abbey.

LONDON AT CHRISTMAS: For an overview of what to do, here are 15 things to do in London at Christmas. We also have guides to the best Christmas lights and best Christmas markets. Learn how to put it all together in our London Christmas Itinerary.

ITINERARIES WITH LONDON: London and Paris can be combined into a wonderful 7 or 10 day trip. With 10 days, you can also visit London, Amsterdam, and Paris.


If you have any questions about the best things to do in London, or if you want to share your favorite experiences, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Europe

If your visit to London is part of a bigger trip to Europe, here is more information to help you plan your trip.

FIRST TIME IN EUROPE: If this is your first time in Europe, don’t miss our article 7 Things to Know when Planning Your First Trip to Europe.

PARIS: For the top experiences in the city, read our article Best Things to Do in Paris. Learn how to visit Pere LeChaise Cemetery, plan your time with our 3 Day Paris Itinerary, learn where to get the best views of Paris, and read our Paris Food Guide for information on what to eat in Paris.

BEST OF SCOTLAND: Edinburgh, the Isle of Skye, and Glasgow all are essential places to visit on a first visit to Scotland. Learn how to put these all together into a 10 day Scotland road trip.

BEST OF IRELAND: For a list of top experiences in Ireland, read our post Best Things to Do in Ireland. Walk the Cliffs of Moher, drive the Ring of Kerry, visit Dublin, and explore the Dingle Peninsula. Learn how to put all of this together in our 10 Day Ireland Itinerary.

EUROPE ITINERARIES: If you have 10 days for a trip to Europe, check out our 10 Days in Europe Itinerary, which lists 10 itineraries for your next trip to Europe. If you have less time, we also have an article that lists 25 different ways to spend one week in Europe.

MORE CITIES AROUND THE WORLD: Visit more cities around the world with our guides to Rome, Paris, New York CityBarcelona, and Athens.

Read all of our articles about England in our United Kingdom Travel Guide.

 

London Bucket List Best Things to do

London Travel Bucket List

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Comments 28

  1. Avatar for Arvin
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    Mark

    Thanks for this article. We will spend our vacation in London next month but there are some places that we are not familiar. Good thing I found your article. So excited to visit the places you mentioned. Great work!

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    Becky

    Fantastic information! My husband and I started planning a trip to England prior to the pandemic so this post will definitely come in handy when it’s safe to travel again. Thank you!

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    Lori

    Great article! It has been many years since I went to London, and hopefully once traveling will open up without so many restrictions , I plan on going back!

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