50 Things You Must Do When Visiting London

things to do in london

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.

Shoreditch House
Shoreditch House

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!

Little Venice, London

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.

Outdoor Hot Tub Cinema
London’s outdoor hot tub cinema

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!

harrods

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.

regentspark

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.

Cahoots
Cahoots bar

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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  • Absolutely love this post!!! I definately have some more things to add to my to-dos for next years trip!
    MacailaBritton.com

    • Thanks so much Macaila, glad you found it helpful!

  • Despite living in the UK all my life, I’ve never visited London. I really want to walk along the River Thames! x

    Jodie // Jodie Loue

    • No way! You absolutely must!! Hopefully you get the chance to soon :)

  • What a great and extensive list! I’ve lived in London for three years, and honestly can’t think of anything to add! LOVE it! :)

    — LisaLDN.com

    • Thank you Lisa!! Would LOVE to live in London one day :)

  • So many things! I have been to London quite alot and always find new things to do.

    Emma | Emmys Beauty Cave | Bloglovin

    • Couldn’t agree more! The list is endless!

  • There is so much to do! It all looks so lovely!

    Jemima x
    anotherrantingreader.blogspot.co.uk

    • Doesn’t it?! London is full of fun activities :)

  • These are such good ideas! I’ve been to London so many times, I can’t believe how many of these I haven’t done yet!xx

    http://www.lucy-cole.co.uk

    • Thank you Lucy! There’s just so much to do in the city!

  • I live in London and I’m ashamed to say there’s a lot of these that I haven’t done!

    Sophie | Dreams and Colour Schemes

  • All of these sound like an absolute dream! It’s my goal to one day live in London, a girl can dream, right? I can’t wait to try these when I visit!

    Becky, xx // http://undertheseabeauty.blogspot.ca/

  • It’s a dream of mine to go to London one day. One day, I’ll be able to do these things!

    http://www.llindatt.blogspot.com

  • London is one of my all time favorite cities. I just love everything about it. I was shocked to see I’ve done a lot of these things! But omg the London Outdoor Hot Tub Cinema looks so awesome!! But laughing at the thought of it too!

  • Sybil

    great list!! totally using this if i get to London one day! :D

    Have a great day!

    Animated Confessions

  • Fab list! I work in London, near Shaftesbury Avenue so there’s always something going on! X

    Everything But The Kitchen

  • I really want to visit London one day, or maybe even move there. Awesome to do list!

    Ermal | http://ermal2000.blogspot.com

  • Bronwyn Ellis-Richards

    London is my favourite place in the world! It’s so important to remember though that there is more to it than the tourist attractions, the more you venture the more you love it!

    http://bronwynsbeautyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

  • A trip on the canals sounds perfect! Although I’m not far from london, it’s nice to see a different perspective on it. Perhaps I’ll go and be a tourist for the day!

    http://www.sophieetc.com

  • Loving this list!
    Jabeen x
    http://www.spilling-the-beans.co.uk/

  • I am going in April and I just bookmarked this list, thank you!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  • Love this! Can’t wait to visit London some day!

    -Kara // http://www.pepandprose.com

  • Thank you for the lovely suggestions! Will be heading to London in a month time and can’t wait to explore the city! x

    Wanny || thoughtsatweekend.blogspot.sg

  • trend-mixblog

    Oh I always wanted to visit London. Thanks for all of these great ideas! :)
    http://trend-mixblog.com/

  • I’m in London next month so this is great! Thanks for sharing!

    Love,
    Hannie Arden from missingwanderer.org.

  • Thanks for all these great ideas! I wanted to visit London someday.
    Good vibes, Fox
    check out my latest Vlog
    -www.rochellefox.com.au

  • Daniel Poon

    Thanks for the tips!!! Definitely going to re-read this post when I have a chance to go to london! x

    http://danielpoonvignez.blogspot.hk/

    Instagram: danielpoonvignez

  • Pisa

    What a great post! Thank you for sharing this great tips for a London trip!
    xx Pisa
    http://www.inlovewithmyclothes.com

  • Trang Do

    Such an amazing ideas! Thanks for sharing!

    Hugs,
    Love from http://www.trangscorner.com {a lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and food blog}

  • So many amazing things to do in London!! Love this city..

    Kisses,

    BLOG | Taislany

  • I live here and am ashamed to say I’ve not done half of these! It’s definitely given me a reminder there is so much still to see & I need to explore more of the city!
    Tara xo
    http://taradaniella.com/

  • What a fabulous list! I definitely wish I had this when I was living in London. Oh well, I guess I have an excuse to travel back, haha!

    Stephanie ● Sartorial Diner

  • So in love with your site. Glad I came across it!
    –Danielle
    http://www.sphereofdin.com

  • Such amazing ideas and tips! Definitely have afternoon tea and the underground tube bar looks interesting xo

    Jessica

    the way to my Hart

  • Such great tips ! That hot tub cinema looks like such a crazy, fun place! Would love to eat at Cahoots than go to the movies! Can’t wait to get back to London!

  • Wow so much to do!!

    Beauty Candy Loves

  • That’s an awesome list. I used to do one trip to London every year with my friends, and I haven’t been since I live in Asia. You’ve got some great ideas on what to plan here. I’ll keep that post in mind for my next London weekend (hopefully soon:))

  • John

    Great list. I’d add having a pint in a historic pub (like the Blackfriers). Cheers !

  • ishwari Nirgudkar

    Fabulous list and great ideas for a short trip! Cheers!!

  • This is a really great resource! Literally *just* booked my trip for the fall and this is great for itinerary planning!

  • this is great! I live in London and still haven’t done some of these things!

    G | http://www.teawithgi.com

  • Amanda Green

    Take a trip to the West Midlands and see Coventry Cathedral which was bombed during the blitz, also visit Warwickshire and see Warwick Castle and Stratford-on-Avon.

  • YAAAS love this girl! I am a Londoner but this has reminded me of all the lovely things in the city :) Perfect timing too, my best gal pal is coming over from NYC next month, so keeping this list in mind! Immy x

    http://www.immymay.com

  • Betsy Mayo

    if you’re interested in history, the Cabinet War Rooms are fantastic.

  • Shoreditch is absolutely amazing!

    For Sky Garden, remember to get your ticket beforehand, you cannot enter otherwise. I added this as well to my article on Fun things to do in London https://hostelgeeks.com/fun-things-to-do-london/

  • Simon Leto
  • Gregg

    Visit Benjamin Franklin’s House in Craven Street. The only house left on planet Earth where this multi talented genius actually lived & Americans ‘never’ go there! Go figure!

  • EssisDaddy

    Kew Gardens – flowers ‘n’ stuff, London Dungeons – scare the kids, Billingsgate Fish Market – fabulous place to visit, and last but most definitely not least, “Maggie’s cafe and restaurant” (adjacent to Lewisham railway station) for THE best fry-up in town, bar none.

  • Karen-Frances Richman

    An another absolute addition is a visit to ‘The Natural History Museum’ not only are the exhibits a feast for the eyes. The Architecture is stunning, and in fact is the largest structure made entirely of ‘Terracotta’ in the world !!