With its cosmopolitan atmosphere, top notch museums and historical sites, sophisticated cultural attractions, and thriving nightlife, London is a city for everyone. The things to see and do in London are as wide-ranging as they come and include cathedrals, film locations, palaces, and more!
Photo courtesy of barnyz
With so much to offer, it comes as no surprise that this sprawling metropolis is the most visited city in Europe. Between 20 and 30 million people descend upon the city every year to experience its one-of-a-kind offerings. These are the top 10 things to see and do in London, England.
One of London’s most well known attractions, Buckingham Palace was built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham. It became the residence of the royal family in 1837. This lavish, 775-room palace is home to the largest private garden in London.
Photo courtesy of Jimmy Harris
Tours of the palace are available from mid-July through September and on select dates in the winter and spring. Outside, be sure not to miss the Changing of the Guard. But one of the best things to see and do in London is marvel at the 19 state rooms where the royals host events.
Visit its Churches
One of the best ways to explore London’s extensive history is by visiting its churches. Westminster Abbey was founded in 960 AD, though most of its Early English Gothic architecture is from the 13th century. Seventeen monarchs and authors Rudyard Kipling and Charles Dickens have been interred in the abbey.
Photo courtesy of Aaron Bradley
Located on a site that has been a place of worship for over 1,400 years is St. Paul’s Cathedral. It boasts one of the largest domes in the world, at the top of which is the Golden Gallery. Climbing the 528 stairs to the top to get spectacular views of the city is one of the best things to see and do in London!
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As the intersection of five of London’s busiest roads, Piccadilly Circus is a feast for the senses. With its numerous restaurants, shops, nightclubs, bright lights, neon signs, and bustle, it’s no wonder it’s often compared to New York’s Times Square.
Photo courtesy of Jacob Surland
Do your best to brave the crowds and do some exploring. Visiting Piccadilly Circus at night is among the top things to see and do in London just for the ambience!
Enjoy British Cuisine
You can’t fully experience London without trying top-notch British cuisine. Once known for uninspiring food options, London has recently become a culinary hotspot.
Photo courtesy of Marceline Smith
Fantastic restaurants can be found around the city. Be sure to head to a pub for traditional British fare like pasties, bangers and mash, mincemeat pies, and fish and chips. Trying pub food is one of the top things to see and do in London!
Tower of London
To experience some of London’s darker history, I suggest visiting the Tower of London. History buffs will delight in the bloody tales told by the tower’s guards and the magnificent crown jewels exhibition.
Photo courtesy of Ian
Inside, visitors can also explore the 12 towers that are open to the public. One of the most impressive things to see and do in London is visit the White Tower, where artifacts from Henry VIII and other rulers are housed!
Travelers who want to get away from the concrete, steel, and glass jungle of London and get a dose of nature can do so at Hyde Park. London’s most famous park is an expansive stretch of walking paths, bike paths, lakes, and more.
Photo courtesy of Neil Howard
Top attractions include the Speakers’ Corner and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. Catch a live concert and tour Kensington Gardens and Kensington Palace. One of the best things to see and do in London is go paddle boating on the park’s Serpentine Lake and admire the swans!
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Shop Along Oxford Street
If you’re looking for London’s best shopping, look no further than Oxford Street. This shopping street, known as London’s best place to shop, is lined with more than 300 shops. With 500,000 visitors per day, it is also Europe’s busiest shopping street!
Photo courtesy of SridharSaraf
The department stores are perfect for those who wish to drop a few bucks. The street is also known for its beautiful window displays that change with the seasons. Visiting Oxford Street is one of the best things to see and do in London!
The British Museum
Some of the best things to see and do in London are the ones that are free, like the British Museum! Inside this history lover’s paradise, you’ll find 8 million objects including the Lidow Man, the Elgin Marbles, and the world-famous Rosetta Stone.
Photo courtesy of Patrick Lauke
The museum can be intimidating to navigate, so you might want to book a tour or rent an audio guide!
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Go on a Thames River Cruise
Snaking its way through London is the Thames River, England’s longest river. Because many of London’s top attractions were built close to its banks, a Thames River cruise is one of the best things to see and do in London!
Photo courtesy of Max Speed
A cruise down the river will offer unique viewing perspectives of the London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the Tower Bridge, and more! Book a tour in the afternoon for tea or go on one at night to see the city when it’s lit up!
Visit Harry Potter Set Locations
No trip to London is complete without visiting locations from the Harry Potter film series. Fans of the boy wizard will delight in stopping by King’s Cross station, where they’ll find a trolley sticking out of the wall at Platform 9 ¾.
Photo courtesy of Dave Catchpole
One of the most magical things to see and do in London is take an 80-minute drive northwest of the city to Leavesden Studios, where all 8 Potter films were filmed. There, fans can tour Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and more! Just book your tour well in advance of your visit—it sells out quickly!
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With such a wide range of activities and attractions, London is perfect for curious travelers. Whether you’re a fan of history, food, nightlife, or fictional wizards, London has something for you. Book a trip to London today to experience it for yourself!
Photo courtesy of barnyz
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