Arguably one of the greatest cities in the world, London is bursting at the brim with things to see and do.
Having lived in London for two years and spent a lot of that time being a tourist, I know a fair bit about the city and what attracts people to it. So, I have challenged myself to come up with a list of 60 things to see and do in London.
This list is completely random and not in any order but will included the more obvious well trodden sights along with some you may not have heard of.
Even if you have visited London before, I hope you find something on this list that will make you want to go back for more!
St Paul’s Cathedral
Built in the 17th Century, this beautiful (inside and out) cathedral is one of the most recognisable sights in London.
The impressive dome, modelled on St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, rises 118 meters to the very tip of the cross on top and is one of the highest domes in the world.
Climb up into the dome for spectacular panoramic views of London or head down into the crypts to see the tombs and memorials of some of the UK’s greatest heroes.
Address: St Paul’s Churchyard, London, EC4M 8AD
Nearest Station: St Paul’s Tube Station
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat, 08:30-16:00
Book your skip-the-line ticket to St Paul’s Cathedral
One of the newest buildings in London, The Shard rises 306 meters into the sky making it the tallest building in the European Union (until someone else builds a bigger one).
Located in the new London Bridge Quarter Development, this mixed use skyscraper has 25 floors of office space, three floors of restaurants, 18 floors are occupied by the Shangri-la Hotel and of course there’s the indoor/outdoor observation deck on the 72nd floor offering unobstructed panoramic views of London.
Address: Entry via Joiner St,London SE1 9SL
Nearst Station: London Bridge Tube/Overground Station
Opening Hours: Sun-Wed 10:00-19:00 & Thurs-Sat 10:00-22:00
Avoid the queues and book you ticket online
Lovely Regents Park is one of the many green havens in Central London. What separates it from the others is the beautiful flowering gardens.
Covering 395 acres, you will enjoy strolling through Queen Mary’s Gardens which features more than 30,000 roses of 400 varieties, as well as the William Andrews Nestfield’s Avenue Gardens.
The rest of the park is taken up with sports facilities, an Open Air Theatre, London Zoo and Primrose Hill.
It’s also a great place to try to spot some of the 100 species of wild birds that the park is home to.
Address: London NW1 4NR
Nearest Station: Baker St, Regent St & Great Portland St Tube Stations
Opening Hours: Gates open 05:00 everyday, closing time varies depending on the month
Sprawling Hyde Park is the most well-known of the green spaces in London. Covering 350 acres, it is visited by millions of visitors and Londoners each year.
On any sunny day in the summer months you’ll find people enjoying a walk, having a game of football or lazing in the sun.
There are a number of famous landmarks within the park including Serpentine Lake where you can hire a row-boat, Speakers’ Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain along with countless statues.
Enjoy a coffee or bite to eat from one of the two cafes on the lake or just get lost walking around the miles and miles of pathways.
Address: London W2 2UH
Nearest Station: Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Lancaster Gate & Knightsbridge Tube Stations
Opening Hours: Gates open from 05:00-00:00 daily all year round
The Changing of the Guard
The Changing of the Guard takes place in the forecourt at Buckingham Palace and is a colourful spectacle of British pageantry.
Lasting about 45 minutes, the ceremony is basically as the name states, a changing of the guard. The royal band provides the music as the guards (and band) march and move into various formations before the guard is officially changed.
The guards, or Household Troops as they are formally known, have had the job of guarding the Sovereign since 1660.
From time to time this privilege is extended to regiments of the British Army, with most of these men having served overseas.
Top Tip: Summer is one of the worst times to visit London if you are really wanting to get a good look at the Changing of the Guard. Try visiting outside of summer is this is something you just can’t miss!
Address: Buckingham Palace, London SW1A 1AA
Nearest Station: Victoria, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner or St James’s Park Tube Stations
Hours: 11:30, daily during summer, every other day in winter, check the website to confirm schedule
Located in the Kensington Gardens at the far western end of Hyde Park, Kensington Palace is the current home of Prince William, Princess Catherine and their family.
In past the palace has been home to a number of well-known Royals including Williams late mother Diana, Princess of Wales.
Certain parts of the palace are open to the public such as both the King’s and Queen’s Apartments, various ever-changing Royal exhibitions and the lovely formal gardens.
Recently renovated, it is lovely inside and out with one of the nicest grand staircase I have seen. If you can, come in spring time to see the garden all in full bloom.
Address: Kensington Gardens London W8 4PX
Nearest Station: High Street Kensington or Queensway Tube Stations
Hours: 10:00-18:00 in summer, until 17:00 in winter
Secure your entry ticket now to avoid the queues
Museum of London
The Museum of London tells the story of, well, London (who’d a thought it). It contains more than two million objects in its collections and holds the largest archaeological archive in Europe.
Documenting London’s history from prehistoric times to the modern-day, its collections form a series of chronological galleries. These galleries contain artifacts, pictures, models and diagrams focusing mostly on archaeological discoveries, the building of the city, urban development and social and cultural life.
A lot of the displays are interactive making it interesting for all ages.
Address: 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN
Nearest Station: Barbican Tube Station
Hours: 10:00-18:00 daily
National Portrait Gallery
Located just off Trafalgar Square, the National Portrait Gallery comprises a collection of portraits of historically important and famous British people. In 1856 when the gallery opened, it was the very first of its kind in the world.
In the gallery you will find paintings, photographs, sculptures, caricatures and miniatures of people like Shakespeare, Edward VI, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to name a few.
Along with the permanent collection you will also find ever-changing temporary exhibitions.
Address: St Martin’s Place London WC2H 0HE
Nearest Stations: Charing Cross, Leicester Square and Embankment Tube Stations
Hours: 10:00-18:00, until 21:00 Thurs & Fri
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is a very cool place. It specialises in life and earth science specimens comprising some 70 million items within five main collections, botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoölogy.
Because the museum is so old (1881), many of the collections have great historical and scientific value, including specimens collected by Charles Darwin.
Some of the biggest attractions include its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons including the large Diplodocus in the central hall and the mammal exhibit including the giant Blue Whale that takes up an entire room and is impossible to photograph in its entirety.
You could easily spend a whole day getting lost in this museum.
Address: Cromwell Road London SW7 5BD
Nearest Station: South Kensington Tube Station
Sherlock Holmes Museum
The Sherlock Holmes Museum is a privately run museum located close to Regent’s Park. This Georgian town house at the address, 221b Baker St, is dedicated to the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.
Formerly used as a boarding house from 1860 to 1936, and covers the period of 1881 to 1904 when Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson were reported to have resided there as tenants.
There are a number of rooms to explore, each fully restored with furniture and decorations from the time when Holmes was reported to have been in residence. The most famous being the study overlooking Baker St.
Address: 221b Baker St NW1 6XE
Nearest Station: Baker Street Tube Station
Tate Britain is one of the four galleries in the Tate network of galleries in England, with Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives. It is the oldest gallery in the network, opening in 1897.
The permanent collection displays historic British art, as well as a range of contemporary work. Some of the rooms are dedicated to works by one artist, such as Tracey Emin, John Latham and Sam Taylor-Wood.
As well as these permanent collections, there is also a constantly changing program of temporary displays making it a great place to visit time and time again.
Address: Millbank SW1P 4RG
Nearest Station: Pimlico & Vauxhall Tube Stations
Hours: 10:00-18:00 daily
Nothing beats a British Pub for a pint and a bite to eat. Here you can enjoy a range of local and international ales while eating traditional pub food such as bangers ‘n’ mash, fish ‘n’ chips and the most popular Sunday roast.
Traditional pubs are usually small with intimate seating areas, small doorways and well-worn wooden furniture. They have character to boot.
Becoming increasingly popular over the last 15 years or so, is the gastropub. Slightly more upmarket than a traditional pub, expect to find a variety of local and international beers mixed in with hard to find craft beers. The menu is more upmarket too, with modern twists on the traditional pub meals and fusion style dishes. The setting will likely be more modern too.
Everyone who lives in London has their local or favourite pub that they frequent regularly. Having lived in London for nearly two years I developed my favourites. Here are a few of those that I hope you try out when visiting London.
The Leinster Arms – Small, friendly, traditional pub with a great classic menu including a delicious variety of sausages.
The Red Lion – This tiny pub, located in a passageway off Pall Mall, is mostly frequented by local wealthy gentlemen and is a great place to stop for a pint after a day of sightseeing.
The Windsor Castle – A locals pub a few minutes walk from Notting Hill Gate. Tiny doors, intimate seating areas, beer garden and delicious food.
The Kings Arms – Located in the lovely back streets of Waterloo near Southbank, The Kings Arms is a quintessential ale pub complete with prop up bar. There are lots of different ales to try and a great menu including pub classics and Thai food.
Why not book a a historical pub walking tour with a local!
Traditional Afternoon Tea @ The Ritz
What could be more British than a traditional afternoon tea. And the best place to partake in this simple British tradition is The Ritz.
Served in the spectacular Palm Court, you get the choice of several varieties of tea and a delicious menu of sandwiches and sweets including cucumber sandwiches and scones. It is truly an unforgettable experience.
Address: 150 Piccadilly W1J 9BR
Nearest Station: Green Park Tube Station
Hours: Sittings at 11:30, 13:30, 15:30 & 17:30 everyday
Booking are essential and can be made here.
Portobello Rd Market
One of London’s most notable street markets is Portobello Rd Market. Located in Notting Hill, a short walk from Notting Hill Gate, finding the market on a Saturday is simple, just follow the crowds of people walking from the tube station.
Weekdays are all about fresh produce and you will find it much quieter. Friday and Saturday is known for its second-hand clothes and antiques, with Saturday being the busiest day where you will have to fight your way through the crowds to explore this incredibly popular market.
Along the road there are lots of places to eat including food stalls, pubs and quite a few vegetarian cafes.
Address: Starts crn Westbourne Gr & Portobello Rd
Nearest Station: Notting Hill Gate Tube Station
Hours: 8am-6.30pm Mon-Wed; 8am-1pm Thur; 8am-6.30pm Fri, Sat
While in the area, check out this 2-hour guided walking tour of Notting Hill including Portobello Rd.
High Street Shopping
London has some great shopping opportunities from markets, small boutiques, department stores, high-end and of course popular big name brands.
Oxford St shopping starts at Marble Arch and runs down to Tottenham Court Rd and about half way along Oxford St you will find Regent St which runs down to Piccadilly Circus.
There are also lots of arcades and laneways to explore off these streets. On Oxford St visit popular department stores such as Selfridges, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer to find everything and anything or sample delicious foods from their food halls.
Along with these department stores you will find all the big name fashion and accessories brands such as Zara, H&M, Primark, Dorothy Perkins, Forever 21, Monsoon ……………I could go on for hours.
Head down Regent St for a more upmarket shopping experience. Brands like Levis, Ted Baker, Timberland and the Apple store can all be found here along with the famous Hamleys Toy Store.
Also just off Regent St is Carnaby St, where you will find upmarket Liberty Department Store and one off boutiques and designers.
Nearest Station: Marble Arch, Bond St, Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Rd & Piccadilly Circus Tube Stations
Hours: Shops are generally open 10:00-19:00 Mon-Sat & 12:00-18:00 Sun with late night shopping on Thurs
The Regent’s Canal provides a link from the Paddington arm of the Grand Union Canal to the Limehouse Basin and the River Thames in east London.
A great way to explore this canal is on a canal boat trip from Little Venice to Camden Lock. The canal boat cruises along leafy fringes of Regents Park, London Zoo and through the dark and mysterious Maida HIll tunnel, finishing in Camden Lock.
You can do a one-way or return journey in either direction and it makes for a great day out when combining it with a visit to Camden Markets.
Address: Little Venice Brownings Pool (Warwick Ave side) or Camden Lock Dingwalls Dock off Chalk Farm Road
Nearest Station: Paddington, Warrwick Ave or Camden Town Tube Stations
Hours: Summer departures on the hour from 10:00 to 17:00, less frequent in the Winter
Technically I am cheating here because London Walks offers more than just one thing to do in London. Choose from 100’s of walking tours in and around London. Each walk lasts about two hours, always depart from near a tube station and are guided by an expert London guide who will dazzle you with stories, myths and give you a history lesson or two.
I have done about a dozen or so and have walked away from each one a very satisfied customer.
Each tour is themed and there will be something to interest everyone including hidden London, Palaces, Camden, a ghost walk of the City, The Beatles, Kensington, war-time, Soho, pubs, I could go on for hours.
Check out the Website for more details on London Walks
Royal Albert Hall
One of London’s loveliest and most well-known Concert Halls, Royal Albert Hall is home to the yearly Proms concert and various other events throughout the year.
It is a beautiful building inside and out and was built to fulfill the vision of Prince Albert in 1871.
If you’re not lucky enough to get tickets to see a show here you can take a tour of the venue with an expert guide. Each tour lasts about one hour and covers the auditorium, the Gallery, the Queen’s private suites and the Royal Retiring Room.
Before catching a show, make sure to check out one of the best pubs near Royal Albert Hall, or try to time your day time tour visit with a pub for lunch.
Address: Kensington Gore SW7 2AP
Nearest Tube: South Kensington and High St Kensington Tube Stations
Hours: about 10 tours a day from 10:30-16:00
Book your guided tour with an expert guide here.
West End Theatre Show
London’s West End is second only in the world for theatre to Broadway in New York City. With that in mind you can expect to see some world-class shows in some of the most beautiful theatres in the world.
Everything from small plays to big budget world-famous shows can be found in the West End. Some of the best include Les Mis, The Lion King, Jersey Boys, Chicago, We Will Rock You, Phantom of the Opera, Billy Elliot, Stomp, Wicked and Mamma Mia to name a few.
Tickets are not cheap but you can get some good deals from the London tkts booth in Leicester Square.
Address: Various theatres throughout the West End
Hours: Evening and afternoon matinée shows
Check out the Official London Theatre Website to find out what shows are playing during your visit.
Big Ben & The Houses of Parliament
Officially known as The Palace of Westminster, Big Ben is the name of the bell in the giant clock tower at the end of the Houses of Parliament, where the UK Parliament meets.
This iconic sight is best viewed from the Westminster Bridge or from the south side of the Thames.
There have been various palace buildings on this site since the 11th century, some of which were burnt to the ground in London’s many fires. The current building was built in the 19th century.
Tours of the Houses of Parliament are available at various times throughout the year and residents of the United Kingdom can also apply to sit in and observe when Parliament is in session.
Address: Westminster SW1A 0AA
Nearest Station: Westminster Tube Station
This large, mostly Gothic, church is one of the most notable religious buildings in the UK and is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for British monarchs.
A religious building has stood on this ground since as early as 1080 but the Abbey you see today begun being built in 1245 as ordered by Henry III.
It is simply breathtaking both inside and out but it is inside that you will find so much to explore. Make sure you allow a good few hours to visit properly.
You may recognise Westminster Abbey as the place where Prince William and Princess Catherine were married in April 2011.
Address: 20 Deans Yard, SW1P 3PA
Nearest Station: St James’s Park and Westminster Tube Stations
Hours: Check this website before visiting for opening times
Skip the line, pre-book your Westminster Abbey Ticket including Audio Guide
Emirates Air Line
One of London’s newest attractions, the Emirates Air Line opened in June 2012 just in time for the Olympic Games.
This gondola ride stretches 1km across the Thames from the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks and offers beautiful views in all directions of London and the river Thames.
Address: Entry via Royal Docks 27 Western Gateway, E16 4FA or Greenwich Peninsula Edmund Halley Way, SE10 0FR
Nearest Station: Royal Victoria DLR or North Greenwich Tube Station
Hours: Mon-Fri 07:00-21:00, Sat 08:00-21:00, Sun 09:00-21:00
Kensington Roof Gardens
The Kensington Roof Gardens cover 1.5 acres on top of the former Derry and Toms building on Kensington High St.
Open to the public free of charge (when there are no special functions or private events happening), you can enjoy the three themed gardens (Spanish, Tudor and English Woodland) or have a meal or drink in the restaurant overlooking the gardens. There is also an exclusive members only club on Friday and Saturday nights.
Address: 99 Kensington High St, W8 5SA access via Derry St
Nearest Station: High St Kensington Tube Station
Hours: Advisable to call ahead to check the gardens are open
Like a rooftop bar? Check out this list of top rooftop bars in London.
Buckingham Palace State Rooms
The State Rooms in Buckingham Palace are open to the public each year in August and September when the Queens is taking her summer vacation.
With your admission ticket you can wander around 19 grand rooms that are used by The Queen and members of the Royal Family to receive and entertain their guests on State, ceremonial on official occasions.
You also get access to the gardens which are lovely. And why do as the British do and enjoy a scone and cup of tea in the pretty Garden Cafe.
Address: Buckingham Palace SW1A 1AA
Nearest Station: Victoria, Green Park, Hyde Park Corner and St James’s Park Tube Stations
Hours: August 09:30-19:00 daily, September 09:30-18:00 daily
Due to the limited season, tickets sell out months in advance. Book here to avoid disappointment.
Hampton Court Palace
Located in south west Greater London, the Royal Hampton Court Palace hasn’t been a Royal residence since the 18th century.
The palace was originally built for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in 1514 and then later passed onto King Henry VIII in 1529 and enlarged.
The beautiful palace interior is outshone by the incredible 750 acres of parkland that include 60 acres of formal gardens, a maze and the Great Vine.
Visiting Hampton Court Palace is well worth the extra effort it takes to get there.
Address: East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU
Nearest Station: Quickest way to arrive is via Southwest Trains from Waterloo in 35 minutes
Hours: Summer 10:00-18:00, Winter 10:00-16:30
Book your entrance ticket to Hampton Court Palace and Gardens here
One of the many iconic symbols of London, Tower Bridge is a combined drawbridge and suspension bridge crossing the river Thames.
The bridge consists of two towers tied together at the upper level by two horizontal walkways which these days are part of the Tower Bridge Exhibition.
Also housed in the bridge’s twin towers and the Victorian engine rooms, the exhibition uses films, photos and interactive displays to explain why and how Tower Bridge was built.
Visitors get to also see the original steam engines that once powered the drawbridge. As you can imagine, the views looking down the Thames are also pretty good.
Address: Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 2UP
Nearest Station: Tower Hill Tube Station
Hours: 10:00-18:00 in summer, until 17:30 in winter
Tower of London
The Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and turned into a prison in 1100. Some of its most famous prisoners included King Henry VI, the wives of King Henry VII, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard and Sir Thomas More. These days the Tower is a museum rather than prison.
A great way to see some of the grounds is with an entertaining tour hosted by the Yeoman Warders who will frighten and dazzle you with tales of the Towers past.
Another option is with a guided audio tour. This comprehensive tour will guide you through and the attractions, telling you stories and myths within the Tower walls and buildings.
Don’t forget to check out the British Crown Jewels which you can see on display as part of the Royal Collection. These jewels are still used by the Monarchy today.
In the centre of the tower is a lovely green space, perfect for a rest as you explore and also where you will find the famous resident ravens and gate keepers of the Tower. It is said “If the ravens leave the tower, the kingdom will fall………..”.
Address: Tower HIll EC3N 4AB
Nearest Station: Tower Hill Tube Station
Hours: Summer Tues-Sat 09:00-17:30 & Sun-Mon 10:00-17:30, Winter closing 16:30
Victoria & Albert Museum
The V&A Museum, as it is more commonly known, is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects.
Its collection spans 5,000 years from ancient times to the present day with pieces from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. Items include ceramics, glass, textiles, costumes, silver, ironwork, jewellery, furniture, medieval objects, sculpture, prints, drawings and photographs.
There is also a very pretty central garden where you will find museum visitors lazing in the sun in between taking in the exhibitions.
Address: Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL
Nearest Station: South Kensington Tube Station
Hours: 10:00-17:45, until 22:00 Fri
Located in East London, Brick Lane is home to London’s Bangladeshi community and is most famous for its curry houses. If you like a good curry this is the best place to find it in London.
Most nights of the week when you walk down Brick Lane you will be bombarded with restaurant staff out the front of their restaurants trying to get your attention and offer you a better value meal than the next restaurant.
As you can imagine the prices can get very low especially for what you get. I once had a two course meal including naan bread and rice plus one alcoholic beverage for £8. The food was delicious and plentiful!
Also in Brick Lane you will find the Brick Lane Markets on a Sunday as well as lots of street art, newly opened galleries and plenty of trendy new bars.
Address: Brick Lane, Shoreditch E1 6PU
Nearest Station: Aldgate East Tube Station
Hours: Markets Sun 09:00-17:00
Founded in 1834, a trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a quick stop at one of the world’s most famous department stores, Harrods.
The store has over 90,000 m2 of selling space in over 330 departments making it the biggest department store in Europe. It is massive and I wouldn’t recommend trying to cover the whole store on your visit as the majority of the items for sale you probably can’t afford.
It is however worth a quick look around some of the departments including the spectacular food hall selling delicious treats from all over the world as well as your typical British fare.
There is also a large souvenir department where you can purchase the iconic Harrods carry bag.
Address: 87-135 Brompton Road, SW1X 7XL
Nearest Station: Knightsbridge Tube Station
Hours: 10:00-20:00 Mon-Sat, 11:30-18:00 Sun
The first Routemaster bus service in London was in February 1956 and was well ahead of its time.
The layout of this iconic vehicle was very traditional for the time, with a half-cab, front-mounted engine and open rear platform where you would find the conductor and enter the bus.
Unfortunately the last Routemaster buses were withdrawn from regular service in December 2005. There is however still an opportunity to ride on one of these heritage buses on one route, line 15, still operated by the old Routemasters in central London. New modern reworks of the old Routemasters are also being rolled out across London.
Location: Line 15 runs from Trafalgar Square to Tower Hill
Hours: Every 20 minutes
Thames River Cruise
A great way to see any city built around water is from the water. And London is no exception. The Thames Clipper services run up and down the Thames between Putney and Royal Arsenal Woolwich piers with the most popular route being from the London Eye east to Greenwich.
Riding on the Thames Clippers is a great way to do a bit of sightseeing or a different way to get from place to place especially if you are heading to Greenwich for the day.
Along the way you pass all the major waterfront sights including Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament, The Tower of London, London Eye, The O2 and it passes under Tower Bridge. River Roamer sightseeing tickets are available also.
Address: Various locations along the Thames
Hours: Generally 06:00-00:00 every 20 minutes depending on the pier
Thames River Cruise Tour Options
Westminster to Greenwich River Thames Cruise – one-way or return sightseeing cruise from the centre of London to interesting Greenwich.
London by Night: River Thames Luxury River Cruise – enjoy a meal while taking in the sights of London at night.
Sparkling 2-Hour River Thames Sunset Cruise – enjoy a drink as you take in the sights of London at the most beautiful time of the day.
Afternoon Tea Cruise on the River Thames – enjoy a traditional English afternoon tea while taking in the sights of London.
The London Showboat: Dinner, Show & Sightseeing Cruise – enjoy dinner and a show while taking in the sights of London.
Speed Boat Tour of the River Thames – for those who want to see it all with a bit of adrenalin thrown in for fun.
River Thames Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Cruise – enjoy the city from the water and hop on and off as you please for a day.
Not a lot of people, especially visitors, know about the National Trail footpath running for 180 miles along the banks of the river Thames. I discovered it while searching for free things to do in London while I was living there and spent lots of weekends taking long walks along the Thames.
Starting at the Thames Flood Barrier at Woolwich in South East London, the path runs along the banks of the Thames to Kemble in Gloucestershire.
As it follows the banks of the river, the path is flat, making for easy walking and with much of the river being a busy waterway, there is usually plenty of activity to watch.
You obviously don’t need to walk the whole trail but why not head out to greater London for a few hours and walk along some of the lesser known parts of the Thames. I always found it to be a recharging, peaceful walk with beautiful scenery.
Check out the National Trail website for detailed information on the walking routes.
Lord’s is the home of Cricket in the UK and one of the most historic sporting venues in the world.
Today Lord’s is not on its original site, being the third of three grounds that Thomas Lord established between 1787 and 1814. His first ground was where Dorset Square now stands, his second was used from 1811 to 1813 before being abandoned to make way for the construction of the Regent’s Canal and finally the present Lord’s ground is about 250 yards north-west of the second site.
The ground can hold 28,000 spectators and is used for local county, T20 and international Cricket matches. The ground consists of a number of stands including the beautiful Members Pavilion and the unusually shaped commentary box.
Tickets to big international matches such as The Ashes between England and Australia can be very expensive but county and T20 matches are much cheaper and a great day out for sports fans.
Tours can also be taken of the grounds when matches are not taking place.
Address: St John’s Wood Rd, NW8 8QN
Nearest Station: St John’s Wood, Maida Vale, Warwich Ave, Edgeware Rd & Baker St Tube Stations
For ticket and tour information check out the Lord’s Website
Covent Garden is an area on the fringe of the West End popular for shopping, eating and most of all, the street performers that entertain large crowds of people everyday. The area is always buzzing with tourists and a few locals.
The large building in the centre of the square is the former Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market now converted into trendy restaurants and bars and a shopping arcade.
The surrounding area is again full of shops, restaurants and bars as well as many popular theaters and the Royal Opera House. It’s a great area to visit day and night and great place for a bit of people watching.
Address: WC2E 8RF
Nearest Station: Covent Garden Tube Station
Always full of people, Trafalgar Square is a popular meeting place and hang out for tourists and locals and is know as a place for public gatherings, demonstrations and New Year’s celebrations.
In the centre of the Square is Nelson’s Column which is guarded by four lion statues at its base.
The name comes from the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars over France which took place 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar near Cadiz in Spain.
You will find the National Gallery at the top of the square and the entrance to The Mall at Admiralty Arch running from the south west corner of the square.
Address: WC2N 5DN
Nearest Station: Charing Cross Tube Station
Shakespeare’s Globe is a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, an Elizabethan playhouse on the south bank of the Thames.
The Globe Theatre was originally built in 1599, destroyed by fire in 1613, rebuilt in 1614, and then demolished in 1644. The reconstruction is based on available evidence of the 1599 and 1614 buildings and was founded by the actor and director Sam Wanamaker and built about 230 metres from the site of the original theatre.
It opened in 1997 and is used to show various theatrical performances both remakes of the classics and modern plays as well as for educational purposes.
Year round you can also take a tour of the venue and visit the museum dedicated to William Shakespeare.
Address: 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT
Nearest Station: Blackfriars, Mansion House, Southwark & London Bridge Tube Stations
Book a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe here
I haven’t personally visited the London Dungeon as I am way too easily frightened but I know people who have and they all loved it.
Here is an except from the London Dungeon website which sums up what you will experience:
“We are the ultimate thrill-filled journey through London’s murky past, turning 1,000 years of history into 90 minutes of laughs, scares, theatre, shocks, rides, special effects, characters, jokes, mazes and storytelling.”
Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7PB
Nearest Station: Waterloo & Westminster Tube Stations
Hours: 10:00-17:00 Mon-Fri, until 18:00 weekends
Tickets to the London Dungeon sell out in advance Book yours now to avoid missing out.
Madame Tussauds has been popping up all over the world these past few years but London is its original location.
The museum displays waxworks of historical and royal figures, film stars, sports stars and infamous murderers with new sculptures being added all the time.
The fun idea of this place is for you to get up close with the famous people. Take photos of yourself in funny poses with people like The Queen and all your other favourite Royals, world leaders like Nelson Mandela and Barrack Obama, singers like Beyonce and Michael Jackson, sports stars from all around the world and actors such as Johnny Depp and my personal favourite George Clooney. It’s a lot of fun and very cheesy!
Address: Marylebone Road, NW1 5LR
Nearest Station: Baker St Tube Station
Hours: Daily 10:00-18:00 with extended hours at peak times
Every Sunday on the corner of Hyde Park at Marble Arch you will find Speakers Corner where open-air public speaking, debate and discussion are allowed.
Speakers get up on old milk crates and may talk on any subject, as long as the police consider their speeches lawful. Small crowds form around the speaks and of course where there is free speech there is strong debate.
After a few visits myself I noticed mostly people talking about their various religious beliefs, political issues both in the UK and abroad and a few odd conversations about the supernatural.
It’s interesting even just for a quick walk by on your way into Hyde Park.
Address: Marble Arch corner of Hyde Park
You have probably seen these giant ferris wheels popping up all over the world in recent years. One of the originals that is still pulling in big crowds of people is the London Eye.
Located on the popular South Bank area, a ride in one of the glass pods gives you incredible views across London in all directions and out into the surrounding countryside on a clear day (very rare).
If you can handle the cost, try taking a ride in both the day and the night-time. London is very pretty at night.
Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB
Nearest Station: Waterloo, Embankment, Westminster & Charing Cross Tube Stations
Hours: 10:00-20:30 extended over summer
This is another of London’s great green spaces. Hampsted Heath covers 320 hectares and is one of the highest points in London.
The views from Parliament Hill looking south are stunning and on a clear day you can see parts of the city.
Different to most of London’s other green spaces, Hampsted Heath is rambling and hilly, with ponds, woodlands, a lido, playgrounds, and a running track.
Nearest Station: Hampsted or Golders Green Tube Station / Hampsted Heath or Gospel Park Overground Stations
Kew Royal Botanic Gardens
Kew Gardens was probably the best thing I discovered in London. This incredibly beautiful place is set on 121 hectares with gardens of various sizes and styles, structures such as the red brick Kew Palace, the elegant Orangery, the great Pogoda and the amazing glasshouses plus a treetop walkway with nice views across the park.
Every season brings something different to see with Kew being home to the world’s largest collection of living plants.
It is a great place for a full day out with lots of walking trails, picnic spots and attractions to keep everyone happy and relaxed.
Address: TW9 3AB
Nearest Station: Kew Gardens Tube Station
Hours: Generally open 09:30-16:30 with extended hours in summer
Pre-purchase your ticket for priority access to Kew Gardens.
Old Operating Theatre Museum
The Old Operating Theatre Museum is one of the more unusual museums found in London. The Theatre is the oldest in Europe and can be found in the St Thomas Church which use to be part of the old St Thomas Hospital.
The museum shows the history of surgery and has a collection of artifacts revealing the horrors of medicine before the age of science.
If you’re looking for something interesting and off the beaten path in London then this is the place to go.
Address: 9a St. Thomas’s St. SE1 9RY
Nearest Station: London Bridge Tube Station
Hours: 10:30-17:00 daily
St James’s Palace & Park
Unfortunately St James’s Palace is not open to the public, but together with the gardens it is worth a look from the outside when you’re in the area.
Although the Palace is an official Royal residence, no Royals have lived there for almost two centuries with it being mostly used to host guests and functions.
St James’s Park gets millions of visitors each year and is the oldest of the capital’s eight Royal Parks. Along with a small lake full of ducks and geese the park includes The Mall and Horse Guards Parade and is at the heart of ceremonial London. It is the setting for many spectacular pageants including the annual Trooping the Colour.
When you are visiting Buckingham Palace it is easy to find St James’s Park a few minutes walk away and it is a nice haven away from the crowds, at least, when there isn’t a major event happening.
Address: The Mall, SW1A 1BS
Nearest Station: St James’s Park & Green Park Tube Stations
In my opinion, the British Museum is one of the best free museums in the world and is an absolute must visit on any trip to London.
The museum is dedicated to human history and culture with its permanent collection consisting of some eight million works and is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence.
It documents the story of human culture from beginning to present, covering items from all continents.
Address: Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG
Nearest Station: Tottenham Court Rd, Holborn, Russell Sq & Goodge St Tube Stations
Hours: 10:00-17:30, until 20:30 Friday
For lovers of art, you can’t go past the Tate galleries. The Tate Modern holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art.
With the Tate Modern being the most visited art museum in the world, it would be hard to be disappointed after any visit.
Address: Bankside, SE1 9TG
Nearest Station: Southwark & Blackfriars Tube Stations
Hours: 10:00-18:00 Sun-Thurs & 10:00-22:00 Fri-Sat
Most major cities around the world have an area they call Chinatown, where you will find a bunch of authentic Chinese restaurants, supermarkets and specialty stores.
London is no exception and has a great Chinatown with lots of great places to eat and shop. As London is one of the most multicultural cities in the world you can expect the food found in Chinatown to be authentic and delicious.
You will find Chinatown in Soho occupying the area in and around Gerrard Street. It’s a great place to go during Chinese New Year celebrations or any time of year for a nice meal and great atmosphere.
Address: Gerrard St, W1D
Nearest Station: Leicester Sq & Piccadilly Circus Tube Stations
Borough Market is London’s biggest and best food market showcasing top quality British and international food. A large portion of the stallholders are the growers and producers themselves making this a great place for foodies.
The Borough area has been known for its food markets since the 11th century with various food markets being held there over the years. The current market has traded since 1755 and has always had the same values, to provide high quality produce direct from the growers and producers.
It’s a great place to shop for ingredients, buy a few fresh essentials for the road, stop for a bite to eat or just browse at what is on offer.
Address: 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL
Nearest Station: London Bridge Tube Station
Hours: Wed-Thurs 10:00-17:00, Fri 10:00-18:00, Sat 08:00-17:00
Camden Market is one of London’s most popular weekend markets, offering fashion and crafts with a mix of people and foods from every corner of the world.
This isn’t just one market but a few, all joined together to form one big indoor/outdoor market set on the Camden Lock’s.
The history of the market dates back to the 1700’s and has changed a lot even in recent years with a major fire destroying a part of the markets.
It’s a very cool place and pulls big crowds so be sure to get there early.
Jack the Ripper Walk
Jack the Ripper walks are among the most popular things to do in London and run through the streets of the East End seven nights a week.
The gruesome tale of Jack the Ripper remains one of the greatest mysteries in the history of crime and makes for a fascinating and spooky tour.
An expert guide will lead you around parts of London connected to Jack the Ripper and his crimes telling you tales and myths along the way.
Nearest Station: Aldgate East Tube Station
Hours: 19:00 everyday
This is the most popular tour in London, book in advance here to avoid missing out!
Platform 9 ¾
Anyone who is a Harry Potter fan will probably have shrieked with excitement upon reading the heading above. Anyone who isn’t a fan is probably thinking ‘what the’?
In the Harry Potter books and movies Platform 9 ¾ is referred to as the starting point of the Hogwarts Express train that goes to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The train uses a secret platform know as platform 9 ¾ accessed through the brick wall barrier between platforms 9 and 10.
All of this is of course fictional, but due to its popularity you can visit Kings Cross station in the western departures concourse and take your picture with a half trolley sticking out of the exterior wall on Euston Rd with a sign saying Platform 9 ¾ above. It’s a novelty only true Harry Potter fans get excited about.
Nearest Station: Kings Cross Station
Opened in 1847, London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo and today houses a collection of over 700 species of animals with over 16,000 individual animals.
Located on the northern side of Regents Park, the Zoo is a great place to see the animals going about their daily business. Some of the highlights include the penguins, the gorillas, African favourites such as lions, tigers and giraffes, all different types of monkeys, elephants and reptiles.
Address: Regents Park, NW1 4RY
Nearest Station: Camden Town & Regents Park Tube Stations
Hours: 10:00-17:30 daily
Hire a Bike
You will find the Santander Cycle Hire points all over London and it is a great, cheap and healthy way to see the city or just to get from a to b.
The best things about using this service is you can return the bike to any docking station throughout London and it is cheap too.
A 24 hour period costs just £2 and you can drop off and pick up as many times as you like in that 24 hour period and you only get the one charge.
If it’s a nice day why not hire a bike and ride around London for a few hours, you will probably see lots of things you would have missed if you were on the Tube.
Address: Various locations across London
Hours: Available 24/7
Find a Santander Cycle Hire station here.
Most people know of The O2 as a venue for concerts, but there is a lot more to this entertainment complex than just that.
Inside the arena complex you will find restaurants and bars, The British Music Experience which is an interactive museum on the history of British music, a cinema complex and a few smaller venues playing host to local and international acts.
Just outside is Entertainment Ave where you will find more restaurants and bars making it a great place to visit both day and night.
Finally, for anyone who likes a bit of a climb and some great views, you can experience Up At The O2, a 90 minute climb taking you across the roof of the dome.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not
Super touristy, a bit expensive but interesting and a bit of fun is the perfect way to describe this attraction. There is a few Ripley’s located around the world with London being the biggest.
Step inside to discover over 700 artifacts across six floors celebrating things weird and wonderful discovered around the world. Get lost in a mirror maze, check out some fossilized dinosaur eggs or see how you measure up against the world tallest man.
You will find something to interest everyone and if you’re travelling with kids, it is hours of entertainment to keep them happy.
Address: 1 Piccadilly Circus, W1J 0DA
Nearest Station: Piccadilly Circus Tube Station
Hours: 10:00-00:00 365 days a year
Wimbledon is known around the world as the home of tennis and is the setting for one of the four major Grand Slam tennis tournaments played each year.
If you are lucky enough to get tickets to the event held in June each year, then you will be treated to some of the best tennis matches by all the big names while enjoying a Pimms and eating strawberries and cream.
During other times of the year you can still visit the venue with a guided tour and museum visit. You will find out more about the history of tennis, the Wimbledon Championships and how the grounds are prepared for the tournament each year.
Address: Church Rd, Wimbledon, SW19 5AE
Nearest Station: Wimbledon Tube Station
For more info on visiting Wimbledon for a tour and the museum check out this Website
East up the River Thames is the area of Greenwich. Most famous for being the place where the Greenwich Meridian line runs through, you will discover there is a lot more to this area than just that.
Of course a visit to the Observatory and the line is a must even just for the views. But while you’re there, make sure you check out the town itself with its historic market (closed Monday’s) and pubs, the Royal Naval College buildings which are perfectly symmetrical with beautifully painted frescoes inside and the peaceful green spaces along the river to walk and relax.
Greenwich is just far enough away from Central London to be a bit quieter while still being easily accessible.
Nearest Station: Greenwich Overground Station or Thames Clipper to Greenwich Pier
Chaotic, bright, in your face, touristy, over the top, these are just a few of the ways I would describe Piccadilly Circus. Despite this, first time visitors must visit this iconic heart of London area.
You have probably seen it in pictures or in the movies, it’s a popular spot and probably one of the most recognisable in London.
Bright lights and flashy billboards above, thousands of people forcing their way through the crowds below. There isn’t much else to see here but take just one walk through here to say you’ve done it!
Nearest Station: Piccadilly Tube Station
Hours: 24/7 action
There is always something to see and do along London’s South Bank. A few of these things I have mentioned throughout this series, including the London Eye and London Dungeon, are located on South Bank, but there is so much more to the area most visitors don’t seek out.
Among the other permanent attractions is London Sealife Aquarium, BFI IMAX and OXO Tower. Throughout the year South Bank serves up festival after festival keeping visitors entertained and bringing the locals back regularly.
You can catch a show at the South Bank Centre or National Theatre, the festive season brings mulled wine and treats from the Christmas Market, free live music throughout the year and once I saw some guys building awesome sand sculptures on the beach. Its great place for a stroll day or night.
Nearest Station: Embankment and Waterloo Tube
Where to Stay in London
Here are three accommodation options to suit all budgets that I recommend you check out. All are centrally located, highly rated and come with excellent facilities.
The Z Hotel Shoreditch
Located in Shoreditch, all rooms feature a 48-inch HD TV with free Sky Sports and Movie channels, free WiFi and an en-suite shower room with complimentary toiletries is also provided.
Check availability, prices and book
citizenM Tower of London
Located at Tower Hill. Each room is fitted with a flat-screen TV, Apple TV, free movies, free WiFi, a power rain shower and iPad controls. Some feature views of the Tower of London, the Shard or the London skyline.
Check availability, prices and book
Pullman London St Pancras
Located a 3-minute walk from the Eurostar terminal and 5 minutes’ walk from Kings Cross and Euston stations. The hotel boasts the Golden Arrow restaurant and bar, free Wi-Fi, fitness centre, and 24-hour room service.
Check availability, prices and book
Over to you!
Which of these things to do in London are you most interested in seeing and doing?
Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.