If it weren’t for the temperamental weather and lack of sun, I would probably find myself living in London (although, I love the city that much I’m still considering it). I’ve previously shared London’s top attractions, but there is much more to experience in the city than the tourist hot spots. Here’s 50 things to do in London!
1. Visit Buckingham Palace
…and be sure not to miss the changing of the guards! The event begins at 11:30 am, but to guarantee yourself a good view I’d recommend arriving at 11 am.
2. Have an afternoon tea
Whether you want to experience a contemporary, sky high, traditional or glamorous afternoon tea, London has it all! If you need some recommendations, check out London’s 10 best afternoon teas.
3. Watch a West End musical
London’s West End is second only in the world for theatre to Broadway in New York City. Find your new favourite West End musical; from heart-warming adaptations and award-winning scores, to hilarious musical theatre.
4. Enjoy a Sunday roast
It’s one of the most eaten-out meals in London with every pub and its neighbour claiming to do the best one.
5. Travel back in time at Dennis Severs’ House
The House is both a breathtaking and an intimate portrait of the lives of a family of Huguenot silk-weavers from 1724 to the dawn of the 20th Century. Well worth the visit!
6. Explore Notting Hill
I absolutely adore Notting Hill. Although millions flock here every August for the Notting Hill Carnival, the cosmopolitan neighborhood captivates visitors with its unique charm all year round.
7. Visit the markets
Buy a bouquet of flowers at Columbia Road flower market, brace yourself for crowds at Portebello Road market, eat all the food at Borough market and find a little bit of everything at Camden market.
8. Eat Indian food on Brick Lane
London has the best curry outside of Asia and the top curry houses all reside in Brick Lane.
9. Tour the Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House has secured its position as one of the world’s great opera houses following a turn-of-the-century refurbishment. Book in advance for a behind-the-scenes tour!
10. Visit the Harry Potter studios
Visitors can tour actual film sets and learn the special effects tricks used in the popular films.
11. Drink up on a rooftop bar
If you didn’t know, London is quite famous for it’s rooftop bars. Popular ones include Roofnic, Culpeper Roof Garden, Radio rooftop bar, and Vista.
12. Picnic in Hyde Park
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting the city on a warm, sunny day, grab some food and head to Hyde Park for a picnic. A great place to picnic is on the east side of the Serpentine Lake, which runs through the park. The park authorities have placed deck chairs that can be rented and it’s less crowded than the north, west and south sides.
13. Visit the British Museum
Easily the best museum in London in my opinion and it’s FREE!
14. Admire the lights at Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus is known for its big, spectacular LED outdoor advertising billboard screens on the north-western corner between Regent Street and Shaftesbury Avenue. With an appearance akin to a miniature Times Square in New York, this central London position reaches a worldwide stage as it is one of the most photographed sites in the world.
15. Enjoy a drink at Gordon’s Wine Bar
Established in 1890, Gordon’s Wine Bar is possibly the oldest wine bar in London. Still family run, signs of the bar’s long history can be found everywhere, from the cellar and candlelit tables, to the aged wooden walls covered in memorabilia and old newspaper cuttings.
16. Jump on a double decker bus
A quintessential London experience, no? It’s also one of the best ways to get around the city and not miss seeing any of it along the way!
17. Wine and dine at The Shard
London’s highest and best view is situated at the top of The Shard, on floors 68, 69 and 72. At almost twice the height of any other viewing platform in the capital, it offers visitors unparalleled 360-degree views for up to 40 miles.
18. Visit Covent Garden
Explore the old market, watch street performers, hear musicians. There’s plenty of free fun to be had in Covent Garden!
19. Ice skate at Somerset House
During Winter, the grand courtyard at Somerset House provides this 900-metre-square ice rink with one of the most impressive skating backdrops in town. It’s London’s favourite outdoor ice rink!
20. Discover the canals of Maida Vale (“Little Venice”)
Directly north of Paddington is the tranquil pocket affectionately known as Little Venice. The area is a popular tourist attraction mainly due to the picturesque canals with Narrowboat cruises.
21. Visit platform 9¾
Station authorities have set up a fake entrance for Harry Potter fans at King’s Cross Station and it makes for some really fun photo opportunities.
22. Have breakfast at cereal killer cafe
Cereal killer cafe is still one of the most unique cafes I’ve ever been to. They sell only cereal but have over 120 of imported choices from around the world, plus 30 varieties of milk, and extra toppings. Think Lucky charms and pop tarts! They even have a “Cereal Cocktail” selection, where each bowl is made of three to four different cereal flavours.
23. Visit Abbey Road
… and snap that iconic Beatles photo. Just beware of the traffic!
24. Go on a pub crawl
If you want to experience London after dark, pub crawls are a fantastic way to do so. Pub crawls in Shoreditch are my favourite, just be sure to start early as most pubs close rather early. Pounds, pints and plenty of good times!
25. Walk the Kings Road
Few streets have such mythical status as King’s Road. From being the place where all the 1960s cool cats hung out to the centre of the UK ‘76 punk explosion it was for many years the place to hangout and be seen. Every corner is incredibly rich with history.
26. Check out the street art in Shoreditch
Experience street art and graffiti on a guided walking tour of Shoreditch London, alternative art by Banksy, Eine, Sweet Toof, Stik and many more.
27. Visit Sky Garden
The Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street is a unique public space that spans three storeys and offers 360 degree uninterrupted views across the City of London. Visitors can wander around the exquisitely landscaped gardens, observation decks and an open air terrace of what is London’s highest public garden.
28. Tour the Tower of London
Despite the Tower of London’s grim reputation as a place of torture and death, within these walls you will also discover the history of a royal palace, an armoury and a powerful fortress.
29. Watch a film outdoors
There’s many outdoor cinemas open during summer Rooftop Cinema that pops up in Shoreditch, Stratford and Peckham; Backyard Cinema in Camden and the Luna Cinema that projects its classic movies in various locations.
30. Catch a game of tennis at Wimbledon
One of the world’s four annual Grand Slam tennis tournaments, Wimbledon is held in a southwest suburb of London over two weeks every summer. Players in pristine white, ball boys in purple and green, freshly cut grass, strawberries and cream and uppity sunburnt Brits.
31. Eat fish and chips
When it comes to fish and chips, nobody does it better than the Brits. No trip to London would be complete without a trip to a proper chippy.
32. Tour Tate Modern
Great art, on the Thames, brilliant architecture and the bar gives an amazing view of the city especially at sunset.
33. Cycle around London
That’s right, grab yourself a “Boris bike” and ride your way around the city and parks!
34. Shop at Harrods
I mean I’d rather just move in but shopping there works too. The Egyptian room is really quite a dream.
35. Watch the sunset from Primrose Hill
With its breathtaking views to the south of the city, Primrose Hill – up on the north side of Regent’s Park – is the ultimate London place to watch the sunset.
36. Return to Shakespeare’s London at the Globe Theatre
If you’ve ever watched Shakespeare in Love and wished to watch great plays such as Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet upon the same stage, then this is your chance.
37. Take a photo in a red telephone box
I know, incredibly touristy, but you can’t go to London and not get that iconic photo!
38. High street shopping
London has some of the best (if not, THE best) shopping in the world. Be sure not to miss Oxford, Bond, Regent and Carnaby Streets. Because of their close proximity to each other, it means you can get them all done in a day (just remember to wear comfortable shoes).
39. Private Tasting Capsule on the London Eye
While the London eye is a great way to see the city, many people complain it’s not worth the price and gets a little tedious. I would recommend booking a wine or champagne tasting experience on the London eye and you’ll get your own private capsule and take two full rotations.
40. Christmas markets
If you’re visiting over Christmas, you MUST visit the Christmas markets. London is magical during the holidays.
41. Visit Westminster Abbey
Kings, queens, statesmen and soldiers; poets, priests, heroes and villains – Westminster Abbey is a must-see living record of British history.
42. Climb St. Paul’s Cathedral
The Golden Gallery is the gallery at the highest point of the outer dome, 280ft (85.4 metres) in St. Paul’s Cathedral. Visitors who climb the 528 steps to this gallery will be treated to panoramic views of London that take in the River Thames, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
43. Go for a stroll in Regents Park
Although far less known than Green and Hyde Park, it is even more engaging. Surrounded by Palladian mansions and crescents, the layout is based on a series of concentric circles, and the flowerbed-lined lawns bisected by wide walkways for afternoon strolls.
44. Eat all the sweets at Fortnum and Mason
The most luxurious department store in the world, since 1707, Fortnum and Mason provides a treasure trove of hampers, tea, coffee & sweet treats. It’s like stepping into a magical world of all things sweet and you might never want to leave. Also, it’s a really great place to find some British souvenirs!
45. Hang out in Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath is one of London’s best loved green spaces. It includes Parliament Hill, Golders Hill Park (with a zoo and butterfly house), an open air Lido (open 365 days a year), swimming ponds, splash pools, and countless sports pitches and facilities. There’s also many surrounding garden pubs to grab a drink and bite to eat. It’s the perfect escape from the bustling city.
46. Visit Winter Garden
Set at the heart of the soaring 8-storey glass roof atrium with magnificent palm trees and beautifully picturesque surroundings, the Winter Garden is a wonderful haven in which to enjoy excellent classic British cuisine, combining Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences to create unusual flavours.
47. Walk along the Thames River
Follow the greatest river in England for 184 miles from its source in the Cotswold hills to the sea. Passing through peaceful water meadows, unspoilt rural villages, historical towns and cities, and finally through the heart of London to end at the Thames Barrier in Greenwich. It’s one of the most glorious urban walks in the world.
48. Climb Tower Bridge
The Tower Bridge dates back to 1894 and is one of the top attractions in the city. In 2014, a glass walkway was built to give visitors a unique view over the river and pedestrians below.
49. Have a drink at the secret underground tube bar
Did you know there is a secret underground bar in London that contains an entire tube carriage? It’s called Cahoots and it’s a 1940s-underground-themed cocktail bar. The attention to detail is kind of insane.
50. Take a day trip
If you want to venture beyond the city for a day, there are many places you should consider including Windsor, Oxford, Stonehedge, Cambridge or Bath!
Over to you! Is there anything you would add to this list?
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