Famous for history, culture, architecture, shopping, and nightlife, the UK’s energetic capital of London is sure to leave you breathless. World-class museums, splendid art galleries, the River Thames, and a smorgasbord of global cuisines further add to the city’s appeal.
With so much to see and do, knowing where to start in London can be tricky. Plus, the city is known for being fairly expensive.
Don’t fret—we’ve compiled this list of the best places to visit in London to help you hit the highlights and balance the cost of your city break. We’ve also included a great mix of popular sites and hidden gems for a well-rounded experience.
Add these best places to visit in London to your bucket list and have an amazing time in the UK’s vibrant capital city.
Table of Contents
Best places to stay in London
Best Hostel in London: Hostel One Camden
Hostel One Camden has a friendly atmosphere and great facilities with backpackers in mind. There are mixed dorms for four, six, eight, and 12, and the price includes a delicious dinner each evening. Located above a traditional English pub, it’s easy to mingle and have fun. The hostel also arranges various cool events and trips and you’ll find an awesome chilled-out basement with a TV and games. Luggage storage, lockers, laundry services, and free Wi-Fi are other bonuses.
Best Airbnb in London: Private room in central location
This massive room is great for travellers who visit London for the first time. The apartment is located in central Leicester Square. There are lots of great places, cafes and restaurants around. You’ll also get free breakfast every morning. The main bathroom is shared, however, you’ll have a private toilet. If you’ve seen enough of the city, you can enjoy the free Netflix and Amazon Prime Video on your TV.View on Airbnb
Best Budget Hotel in London: The Coronation Hotel
Situated near Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre, The Coronation Hotel has en suite single, double, twin, and triple rooms. All rooms come with a TV, telephone, free Wi-Fi, and tea and coffee making facilities. You can buy breakfast for a surcharge. Reception is staffed around the clock and the hotel offers tour and ticket-booking services and basic business services like photocopying and faxing.
Best Luxury Hotel in London: Rafayel Hotel and Spa
For a luxury stay in London, stay at the top-class five-star Rafayel Hotel and Spa. Indulge in various treatments at the spa and beauty salon and enjoy delicious cuisine in the two onsite restaurants. Each spacious designer room is en suite and has large windows and a high-tech entertainment system. The comfortable beds all but guarantee a great night’s sleep. Other plus points include a fitness centre, meeting facilities, laundry service, river views, room service, and paid onsite parking.
Need a place quick? Here’s the best neighbourhood in London:
- Stand at the centre of bustling Trafalgar Square.
- Take a short walk to St. James Palace and Buckingham Palace.
- Marvel at St Paul’s Church.
These are the BEST Places to Visit in London
#1 – The Shard
Great place to visit in London for couples!
- Tallest building in the UK
- Dazzling piece of modern architecture
- Awesome views
- Featured in films and TV shows
Why it’s awesome: The Shard is almost 310 metres (1,016 feet) tall and is made from gleaming metal and lots of angled glass. Seemingly rising up from the River Thames, the iconic landmark was inspired by sleek spires. Completed in 2012, it’s not only the tallest building in the UK but is also one of the top five tallest buildings in Europe. Featured in movies and TV shows, the building is also celebrated for its environmentally-friendly features like its onsite combined heat and power plant that creates electricity and hot water for the building.
What to do there: Admire the striking building from afar and take plenty of pictures before going to London’s highest viewing platform to soak up the spectacular panoramic views. On a clear day, you can see for as far as 65 kilometres (40 miles). Enjoy a meal in one of the Shard’s exclusive restaurants and bars, such as Gong, Hutong, and Ting, all of which offer superb views of London and beyond. Give your credit cards a workout in the high-class retail arcade before leaving one of London’s most emblematic buildings. Be sure to return at nighttime to see the magnificent structure brightly illuminated.
#2 – Buckingham Palace
Possibly one of the most important places to visit in London
- Official home of the British monarch
- Beautiful architecture
- Ceremonial splendour
- Iconic London landmark
Why it’s awesome: Buckingham Palace is one of London’s most iconic attractions. The official home of Queen Elizabeth II, the splendid palace is used for many royal functions. Guarded by a smartly dressed royal soldier, clad in black and red with the unmistakable bear-skin hats, the original parts of the palace were built in the early 1700s. An impressive building from the outside, the lavish interiors are equally as awe-inspiring. Of the palaces 770-plus rooms, the stunning state rooms are open to visitors in the summer months. The grand gardens are a riot of colour in the warmer months when the numerous flowers are in full bloom.
What to do there: Walk along the wide and stretching Mall, the ceremonial route that leads to Buckingham Palace from Trafalgar Square through Admiralty Arch. Snap pictures of the grand building from the outside and see the Queen’s Guard standing to attention. Try and time your visit for the Changing of the Guard ceremony (held each Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday) and witness a fine British tradition as the soldiers switch places with much pomp. If you visit Buckingham Palace in the summer you can take a tour of the staterooms to experience the inner regal splendour and feel like royalty for a fleeting moment.
Quick tip – the British attitude towards the Monarchy is mixed and the Royal Family is not universally loved despite streo-types.
#3 – St. Paul’s Cathedral
One of the most religious places to see in London
- Historic Baroque-style church
- One of the biggest churches in the UK
- Professional choir sings at services
- Photogenic landmark
Why it’s awesome: St. Paul’s Cathedral is located at the highest point of the City of London. A listed building, it has a beautiful dome flanked by spires. Sitting on the site of an earlier church, the present church dates back to the 17th century. It has hosted the funerals of several famous people and also been used to celebrate a number of special occasions, including the Queen’s landmark birthdays and Silver, Gold, and Diamond Jubilees. An active place of worship, the interiors are opulent with lots of detailed religious art, a huge organ, memorials, and tombs.
What to do there: Gaze up at the mighty cross-topped dome and admire the stunning cathedral from the outside, taking time to admire the Roman-like decorative features, grand columns, clock, towers, and overall splendour. Step inside to admire the inner beauty. A sweeping nave leads to an ornate altar, the walls and ceiling embellished with splendid mosaics and carved wood panelling. Don’t miss the mighty statue of the Duke of Wellington sitting on the back of his trusty steed, Copenhagen. Descend into the crypt and you can pay your respects at the various tombs and memorials.
#4 – Westminster Abbey
A great place to see in London if you love architecture
- Traditional site of coronations and burials of British monarchs
- Splendid Gothic architecture
- Common venue for royal weddings
- Famous choir
Why it’s awesome: Westminster Abbey is a marvellous architectural gem. Once a Benedictine monastery church, the building dates back to 1200s and sits on the site of an earlier place of worship. The coronations of British kings and queens take place here, and it’s the setting for most royal weddings and funerals. A number of history’s influential people, including past prime ministers, scientists, and actors, are buried there, along with many late monarchs. The Gothic masterpiece has many glorious details inside and out. It’s one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations.
What to do there: Photograph the impressive Gothic building from the outside, taking note of the stained glass windows, arches, carvings, clock, towers, and all the finer details that help to make the building so attractive. Look above the main door and you’ll see statues dedicated to modern-day martyrs, including Martin Luther King, Janani Luwum, Esther John, and Wang Zhiming. Pass through the main entrance to admire the beautiful interiors, complete with grand pillars, religious art and sculptures, tombs, memorials, and various antiquities, such as the Chair of King Edward and the Coronation Chair. See the striking murals in the Chapter House, be wowed by the colour and details of the Lady Chapel, visit Poet’s Corner, and walk through the Cloisters. Take a moment for some serene reflection in the pretty gardens and pick up souvenirs in the gift shop.
#5 – The Tower of London
One of London’s coolest historical sites!
- Impressive architecture
- Important historical site
- Home to the Crown Jewels
- Steeped in rich traditions and interesting legends
Why it’s awesome: Sitting on the banks of the River Thames, the mighty Tower of London was established in the 1000s as part of the Norman Conquest. The White Tower was built on the orders of William the Conqueror. Over the years, it has been used as a fortress, royal home, prison, royal mint, treasury, and even a zoo! There are many sections of the tower to explore, with interesting nooks and crannies to poke about in. Rumoured to be haunted, there are plenty of intriguing tales to be heard about the tower. It is said that the ghost of the ill-fated Anne Boleyn roams the grounds. The Tower of London is home to the Crown Jewels, which are guarded by the ceremonial Yeomen Warders, often referred to as Beefeaters. Local lore says that the tower will collapse if the resident ravens ever leave.
What to do there: Take a self-guided audio tour of the Tower of London to uncover its history and darkest secrets. Hear gruesome tales of imprisonment and execution and feel a shudder down your spine as you look up at the Traitors’ Gate. See where Anne Boleyn was imprisoned and peek inside other cells. Dare to visit in the dark for an even bigger thrill. Snap pictures of the Beefeaters and meet the ravens—the other guardians of the tower. Admire the views from the high vantage points and be dazzled by the gleaming Crown Jewels. You can refresh and refuel in one of the onsite eateries and purchase souvenirs in the gift shop.
#6 – Hyde Park
A beautiful outdoor place to visit in London
- One of London’s Royal Parks
- Beautiful green space in the heart of the city
- Known for being a place for free speech
- Interesting water features and statues
Why it’s awesome: Hyde Park is the biggest of London’s Royal Parks. A pleasant place for a stroll, it’s a fantastic place to escape the busy streets and enjoy being outdoors. It’s also a top place for families, with lots of open space for kids to run and play. Old and young alike can cool down with a paddle in the Serpentine, a large recreational lake. There are diverse recreational facilities too, and there are several places where you can buy refreshments. The park sometimes hosts concerts at the bandstand and it has long associations with freedom of speech and debates.
What to do there: Relax in the green surroundings, admire the fragrant flowers, and see diverse monuments and statues, including the snaking Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial, the Cavalry Memorial, the Holocaust Memorial, and the unusual Jelly Baby Family. See the large Standing Stone, a gigantic monolith that some people say was once part of Stonehenge. Stroll through the peaceful Italian Gardens, visit the Bandstand, and listen to diverse opinions and debates at Speakers; Corner, a place where anyone can voice what’s on their mind. In the summer, plunge into the Serpentine for a swim, feed the ducks, and go boating on the shimmering lake. You can also enjoy tennis, jogging, and horse riding in the park, or simply sit and watch the world go by from a charming waterside café.
#7 – British Museum
A fascinating educational place to visit in London
- Free admission
- One of the biggest museum collections in the world, with around 8 million permanent exhibits
- Items from different time periods and from all over the world
- Family-friendly activities
Why it’s awesome: The British Museum was established in the 1750s and it has grown to become one of the biggest museums in the world. There are several million exhibits related to history, culture, anthropology, and other themes. The museum covers all time ages from pre-history up to the current day. It houses items from all around the world as well as from within the UK. There’s something to appeal to varied tastes, and there are displays and activities specifically aimed at younger visitors.
What to do there: Plan to spend at least a couple of hours discovering the British Museum’s diverse collections. Because the museum is so large and the collections are so broad, you might be wise to decide which areas interest you the most and focus your attention accordingly. The different departments to visit include the Departments of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, Middle East, Greece and Rome, Asia, Britain, Europe, and Pre-History, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, Coins and Medals, and Prints and Drawings. Join a tour to make the most of your visit and let kids have fun at diverse workshops and demonstrations. If you want to take a break and think about what you’ve already seen, visit the café or restaurant.
Quick Note – Staying safe in London
London is generally a safe city for travellers, though, as with most large cities, petty theft and pickpocketing can be a problem in crowded areas. Don’t leave bags unattended and make full use of hotel safes and lockers to keep your valuables safe. Don’t buy tickets from unlicensed street vendors and be wary of scams. Only use licensed taxis and avoid walking alone at night in quiet and dark areas. Parks are best avoided at nighttime too. Solo travellers, in particular, should keep an eye on how much alcohol they are drinking. Although most are generally peaceful, it is better to avoid protests and demonstrations.
And, with the practicalities covered, here are the best places to visit in London!
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#8 – London Zoo
Awesome place to visit in London with kids!
- Oldest scientific zoo in the world
- Fantastic attraction for families
- Home to almost 700 species of animals
- Attractive grounds
Why it’s awesome: London Zoo (also known as Regent’s Zoo) first opened in the late 1820s as a place for scientific research. It housed animals from the Tower of London, eventually becoming a place for the public to go to see a range of creatures from around the world. Today, the large zoo is split into several fascinating zones, which are home to nearly 700 different species of animals from all corners of the globe. Often a huge hit with younger visitors, you can observe a range of animals and learn more about different habitats, breeding, food, and the animal kingdom in general.
What to do there: Visit the zoo’s different zones and watch animals from around the planet. The Land of the Lions was designed to replicate Gir National Park in India and you can see animals from Sumatra in Tiger Territory. Explore the rainforest, African landscapes, and the outback, be awed by unusual creatures like the enormous komodo dragons, discover curious species in the reptile house, and get up close and personal with monkeys. Children are often particularly happy in the Butterfly House, B.U.G.S., and the specially created area of Animal Adventure, designed with younger visitors in mind. When it’s time to take a break you’ll find plenty of places to eat and drink around the large zoo and you can buy a range of animal-themed merchandise to remind your kids of their fun day out.
#9 – Lincoln’s Inn
One of the most underrated places to see in London
- Splendid architecture
- Major law-related establishment
- Long history and traditions
- Off the tourist trail
Why it’s awesome: Lincoln’s Inn is one of four Inns of Court in London. It is the biggest of the four traditional Inns and is known for being one of the most esteemed law organisations across the world. Every barrister must be a member of an Inn and attend regular events aimed at continuous professional development, socialising, and networking. The striking Old Hall was constructed in the 1400s, complete with ornate and elaborate wood panelling, high ceiling, and opulent chandeliers. The 19th-century Great Hall has an air of authority. The chapel has beautiful stained glass windows and other buildings of the complex include a library and imposing gatehouse. The buildings are spread through green grounds with well-manicured lawns.
What to do there: Stroll through the leafy grounds and watch barristers and judges as they sweep along the pathways, sometimes clad in full court attire including flowing robes and traditional wigs. Enjoy the serene ambience of the chapel and admire the stunning stained glass and religious statues. Take photos of the impressive buildings from the outside and visit the interiors as part of an organised tour. (Note, while the grounds are open to everyone you are not allowed to just wander inside unless on a tour.) Inside, you’ll discover fine works of art, including those by Hogarth and Watts, along with many grand details.
#10 – Museum of Brands
An unknown (but awesome!) place to see in London!
- Unknown attraction
- Historical view of retail and advertising
- Large collection of old items and packaging
- Quirky and unusual museum
Why it’s awesome: The Museum of Brands, located in Notting Hill, offers a fascinating journey back in time through its large collection of diverse items. Covering the present day back to Victorian Times, the museum contains more than 12,000 exhibits related to everyday life. Visitors walk through time, seeing how items, logos, and slogans have evolved over time, changing from being fairly simple to today’s sleek sophistication to target consumers. You’ll realise that sometimes, the most interesting aspects are the most mundane! There are packages from numerous well-known and smaller brands, as well as posters, games, toys, and more.
What to do there: Walk through time with the time tunnel experience, seeing how brands have changed over the years to appeal to an ever evolving society and remain competitive in a world full of multiple options. Notice how shopping habits have changed over the years and see the effects of major wars, the growth in women’s rights, and transportation on people’s shopping options and preferences. Some items are sure to inspire a twinge of nostalgia. Something of a hidden gem, the quirky museum offers an alternative view of history, focusing on the day-to-day life of people of the past. You’ll find an onsite café to beat any pangs of hunger or thirst.
#11 – Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter
Easily one of the most fun places to check out in London
- Enter the magical realm of Harry Potter
- See how movies are made
- Great family-friendly attraction
- Fun for people of all ages
Why it’s awesome: Housed within an old aircraft factory, Warner Bros. Studio is one of just a couple of places in the UK where large-scale productions can be made. Many movies have used the studios, including The Invisible Woman, GoldenEye, The Mummy, Tomb Raider, and Inception. Located in Hereford, just outside of London, the studios have a popular attraction: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter. Each Harry Potter film was made at the studios, and several other productions (including Sweeney Todd and Sherlock Holmes) made use of the olde-worlde Harry Potter sets. Visitors can see incredible sets, learn more about how the movie was made, and have lots of fun and unusual (some may say magical!) experiences.
What to do there: Leave the real world behind for a few hours and suspend reality as you enter the magical world of Harry Potter. You’ll see an array of fabulous sets, including Hagrid’s hut, Gryffindor common room, Potion’s classroom, and the male dormitory, and you’re sure to be impressed as you stand inside Dumbledore’s office and the expansive Great Hall. Walk along Diagon Alley, passing the shop fronts of Gringotts Wizarding Bank, Ollivanders Wand Shop, and Eeylops Owl Emporium, and see various props and costumes used in the making of the hugely popular film series. You can also get technical as you learn more about how the movies were made, including the use of special effects, makeup, models, and animatronics.
#12 – Houses of Parliament
One of the most incredible free places to go to in London
- Photogenic architecture
- Home to the UK parliament
- See the iconic Big Ben clock tower
- Learn about the inner workings of parliament and watch debates
Why it’s awesome: The Houses of Parliament, officially called the Palace of Westminster, is a stunning Gothic Revival building that was built in the mid-1800s. Sitting on the banks of the River Thames, the large building has more than 1,000 rooms. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Houses of Parliament is a glorious sight to behold, with its three main towers, many windows, spires, and turrets. There’s plenty of splendour inside too, with frescoes, carvings, fine architectural details, and lavish furnishings. It’s free to walk through the grounds and admire the building from the outside, and there are also several ways that you can enter the building for free too.
What to do there: Take plenty of pictures of the iconic building from the outside and walk through the pleasant grounds. Stop by Cromwell Green to see a bronze statue of Oliver Cromwell, a rather unusual sight given that Cromwell is a controversial figure in British history. Check the schedules and visit parliamentary debates for free, or book free tickets to attend question time with the prime minister (only available for UK residents). There are various free talks and events in the Houses of Parliament that are free for members of the public, though you should arrange your spot in advance to avoid disappointment. If you want to see more of the interiors and get an even greater in-depth understanding of parliament there are several paid tours that you can join too, including self-guided audio tours and guide-led tours.
#13 – Madame Tussauds
Cool place to see in London with friends!
- More than x lifelike wax models
- Original Madame Tussauds museum
- Great photo opportunities
- Feel a shiver in the Chamber of Horrors
Why it’s awesome: While there are several Madame Tussauds across the globe today, the Madame Tussauds in London was the original such waxwork museum. Open since the 1830s, the museum is home to many famous faces from throughout history, including monarchs, politicians, sports personalities, actors and actresses, singers, musicians, and more. The Chamber of Horrors contains grisly wax depictions of victims of the French Revolution, murderers, and high-profile criminals. At the entrance of the museum, there is a self-portrait of Madame Tussaud herself. The museum is one of London’s most popular tourist attractions and you’re sure to get many terrific photos of you and your friends posing with stars and other famous figures.
What to do there: Cosy up next to an array of famous faces for cool photos that look like the real deal. Pose with Prince Williams and his new wife Meghan, step out in style onto the Royal Balcony, and sit down for tea with royalty. Enter the glamorous world of Bollywood, rub shoulders with stars like Tom Hardy, Audrey Hepburn, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Adele, and Lady Gaga, and see sportspeople like Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, Tom Daley, and Muhammed Ali. Smile next to famous couples like David and Victoria Beckham and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, and see influential people from history, like Charles Dickens, Vincent Van Gogh, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and William Shakespeare. Look deep in conversation with world leaders past and present, including Nelson Mandela, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and Theresa May. If comic book heroes are more your thing, don’t miss the Marvel section, with characters like Spiderman, the Hulk, Iron Man, Wolverine, and the Invisible Woman. Step behind the scenes of a fashion show and strike a pose as you strut your stuff down the catwalk. Travel back through time on the Spirit of London ride and journey to the tropical Skull Island where you’ll come face to face with King Kong. Other immersive experiences include The Voice UK, Star Wars, and Alien: Escape. You can also learn more about wax modelling and the skills that go into creating the life-like models.
#14 – London Dungeon
One of the more unique places to visit in London!
- Spooky and scary thrills
- Experience London’s darker history and learn secrets from the past
- Come face to face with some of London’s most nefarious, notorious, and fearsome characters
- Exhilarating rides
Why it’s awesome: The original London Dungeon opened its doors in the 1970s. It has been through several changes and expansions over subsequent years and is today one of London’s most exciting attractions. There are 19 shows and two rides, with gruesome past events, brought to life by convincing actors and actresses. Awesome sets, dramatic costumes, and special effects add to the chilling and scary ambience. It’s definitely a place that will send a shiver down your spine and get the blood pumping through your veins!
What to do there: Follow the jester to descend underground into the cavernous depths below London’s busy streets. Ride on the Tyrant Boat and feel the fury of King Henry XIII, pass through the City Gates, and find yourself in a rat-infested tunnel right in the middle of the Gunpowder Plot with Guy Fawkes. Next, shudder in the Torture of Chambers before experiencing London in the times of the plague, or Black Death. Escape from the searing flames of the Fire of London and step into the infamous Mrs Lovett’s Pie Shop and come face to face with the demon barber, Sweeney Todd. Stroll through Mitre Square and hear spine-tingling tales of Jack the Ripper in Whitechapel Labyrinth. Experience a terrifying courtroom of old, try to make your break from the notorious Newgate Prison, and take the plunge on the exciting Dead Drop Ride. Finally, catch your breath in the Tavern.
#15 – The London Eye
One of the most romantic places to visit in London!
- Terrific city views
- One of the biggest observation wheels in the world
- Spot major London landmarks
- Romantic experience
Why it’s awesome: Sitting on the South Bank of the Thames River, the soaring London Eye stands 135 metres (443 feet) high. At the time of its opening in the year 2000, it was the biggest Ferris wheel in the world. Today, it is still one of the tallest observation wheels on the planet. A full revolution takes half an hour, during which time you can enjoy a bird’s eye view of many of London’s most famous landmarks. Rides are available during the day and when it’s dark, letting you enjoy different views of the city. Illuminated at nighttime, the London Eye is usually used for spectacular firework displays on New Year’s Eve.
What to do there: Board one of the 32 capsules and take a ride high over London’s streets with your beloved. Admire the panoramic views through the glass walls, spotting places like Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, the Shard, the Tower of London, and the River Thames. Although a basic ride is romantic in the right company, you can really ramp up the loving vibes and impress your significant other with the Champagne Experience, which gives you fast-track admission and a chilled glass of bubbly. If you really want to splash the cash and be fancy, it’s also possible to book a private capsule for just you and your sweetheart.
#16 – Richmond Park
One of the nicer places in London to sightsee!
- Famous for its resident deer
- Enjoy nature and the outdoors
- One of London’s Royal Parks
- Historic buildings throughout the pretty park
Why it’s awesome: Richmond Park was established as a royal reserve and hunting park in the 17th century. Now open to the public, the large 3.69-square-mile (9.6-square-kilometre) park is home to many friendly deer along with other interesting fauna and flora. A major place for wildlife conservation, there are woods, gardens, lawns, flowerbeds, ponds, trees, and other features. Visitors can enjoy various leisure activities and there are several historic structures dotted throughout the park. Peaceful and pretty, the park is an ideal place for families and couples to spend a couple of hours.
What to do there: Stroll through the pretty gardens and wider park area, come face to face with the deer, spot an array of wildlife, and soak up stunning views. The 7.2-mile-long (11.6-kilometre-long) looped Tamsin Trail is popular with walkers, runners, and cyclists, and bikes are available to rent within the park. You can fish in several of the park’s ponds upon purchase of a permit, and you’ll find places where you can enjoy horse riding, golf, and rugby too. Relax in the shade of a tree while younger members of the family-run and play or let off steam in the play areas. If you’re interested in history and/or architecture, visit the historic buildings within the park. The White Lodge is a Grade I listed building, built in the early 1700s as a hunting lodge for King George II. Today it is home to the Royal Ballet School. Other interesting buildings around the park include Pembroke Lodge, Holly Lodge, Bishop’s Gate Lodge, Thatched House Lodge, and Oak Lodge. Sit in quiet contemplation at Poet’s Corner and see the musical bench dedicated to Ian Dury. You can enjoy great views from Sawyer’s Hill and King Henry’s Mound.
#17 – Davenport’s Magic
Quite the quirky place in London!
- Unique attraction
- Magic school and shop
- Hidden gem
- Great for people of all ages
Why it’s awesome: Long before Harry Potter took the world by storm, Davenport’s Magic was meeting London’s magical needs. Established in the late 1890s, the shop still remains in the same family. Currently located underneath Charing Cross Station, the whimsical store is the best place for any budding magicians to learn more and be inspired. Spell books line the shelves and there are also instructional DVDs, cards, potions, and a wide range of other items that any self-respecting magician, sorcerer, sorceress, witch, or wizard may need. It’s like entering a completely different world! More than just a shop, the establishment also runs various workshops, demonstrations, and events, and is a place where magicians go to network and practice.
What to do there: Browse the fascinating collection of magical items and books and perhaps pick up a few unusual items as gifts or unique souvenirs. Learn more about the art (some might say science) of magic and soak up the sense of history. Take part in a magic class to keep some tricks up your sleeve to impress your friends with. There are workshops for both children and adults and you can learn things like card magic, coin magic, close-up magic, and mental magic.
#18 – Knightsbridge
A great place in London if you love to shop!
- London’s most exclusive shopping area
- Home to luxury department stores
- Fashionable with a sophisticated and elite air
- Perfect place to treat yourself
Why it’s awesome: Knightsbridge is one of London’s premium retail areas and it’s a must-visit for serious shopaholics, fashionistas, people who want to splash the cash, and also if you simply want to daydream and indulge in a little window shopping. There are many luxury stores in Knightsbridge, including the world-famous Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and flagship stores such as those of Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo. The area also boasts a number of esteemed restaurants, high-class hotels, and top-quality beauty salons. It’s definitely a place to feel fancy!
What to do there: Admire the stylish shop fronts and displays before entering chic stores to browse and buy a huge selection of designer and luxury goods. Whether you’re looking for apparel, footwear, jewellery, perfumes, cosmetics, gadgets, artisan chocolates, or something else, you’ll find the best of the best in Knightsbridge. Lap up the glamorous vibe and affluent ambience as you visit places like Prada, Jimmy Choo, Rococo, Versace, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Lulu Guinness, Chanel, and Gucci. For a huge assortment of different luxury goods and brands, visit Harvey Nicholls and the exclusive Harrods. Stop for a bite to eat in one of the area’s many upscale restaurants and maybe even treat yourself to a facial, manicure, or a new hairdo. Feel the thrill of anticipation and electric air in Bonhams auction house, peek into expensive antique dealers, and, after a busy day of shopping, enjoy the area’s sophisticated bars and nightclubs.
#19 – Stonehenge
A must visit place to visit not far from London on the weekend!
- UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Prehistoric site
- Surrounded in legends
- Spiritual site
Why it’s awesome: 88 miles away from London is Stonehenge, one of the most famous sites in the whole of the UK and a fabulous place to go for a trip from the capital. Located in Wiltshire, the iconic monument is thought to date back to around 2,400 BC. Gigantic monoliths stand in a circular formation and, while nobody quite knows for sure why the site was created, how it was made, and who made it, there are many fascinating theories and stories. Some people believe that the site was used for religious worship, while others believe that it had an astronomical function. There are also some people who think the site is connected with extra-terrestrial beings or supernatural bodies. Whatever you believe yourself, it truly is one of the UK’s most astonishing places.
What to do there: Take a train or drive from London and marvel at the sheer size of the individual standing stones, letting your imagination run wild as you think about what would have been needed to transport the stones to the site and then stand them up and arrange them information. Walk in the footsteps of ancient peoples and wander across Neolithic landscapes. Learn more about modern human’s distant ancestors in the Neolithic Houses as you see a variety of tools and other items from the Neolithic age. You can also see the skeletal remains of a man who lived some 5,500 years ago.
#20 – Shoreditch
A perfect place to visit in London if you are on a budget!
- Lots of cool street art
- Offbeat part of the capital
- Youthful, creative, and hipster vibe
- Plenty of unusual leisure activities
Why it’s awesome: Shoreditch is a cool neighbourhood in London’s East End. An entertainment area since the 17th century, it has seen much gentrification over the years, though it still has a somewhat edgy vibe. It’s one of the best places around London to see interesting public art, and walking around seeing the art and sights and soaking up the atmosphere won’t cost you a single penny. There are tons of eateries with affordable prices and you can browse in quirky stores, vintage shops, thrift stores, and other unusual retail outlets.
What to do there: One of the best things to do in Shoreditch is to simply wander the streets and find the abundance of cool street art. The art is constantly changing and evolving, so you’ll always find something new to admire. Start at Redchurch Street and Brick Street before moving into other parts of the neighbourhood. Take time to look in vintage shops and markets and sample some of the area’s delicious food. Brick Lane Market is a top place for foodies to satisfy their hunger. The Old Spitalfields Market is another top market to check out in Shoreditch. Pay a visit to the hipster favourite of Boxpark, where all stores are within shipping containers, pause to smell the roses (literally!) at Columbia Road Flower Market, and enjoy cheap drinks of an evening in a cool bar.
#21 – Chislehurst Caves
An awesome place to visit in London for half a day!
- Away from the typical tourist trail
- Huge stretch of caves and tunnels
- Featured in TV productions, films, and music videos
- Underground history and legends
Why it’s awesome: Located in nearby Kent, Chislehurst Caves stretch for 22 miles (35 kilometres) underground. The tunnels and caverns are manmade, created between the 13th and 19th centuries by mining activities. The subterranean chambers were used to store ammunition during World War One and were also used as an air-raid shelter. At their peak, the caves housed some 15,000 people fleeing bombing and had toilets, bathing facilities, lighting, a hospital, and a chapel. The caves have also been used as a cool music venue, with artists and bands like Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, and the Rolling Stones having performed there.
What to do there: Access to the cave system is by guided tour only. Grab your lamp and descend underground as part of a group tour to explore the huge network of tunnels and underground rooms. Hear tales about the caves’ past and imagine what it would have been like to spend substantial periods of time in the gloomy underground. Feel a chill as you hear about the ghosts who are said to haunt the caves. You can enjoy a pleasant stroll in nature in the woodlands above when you exit the caves and re-enter the sunshine.
#22 – Highgate Cemetery
A nice quiet place to see in London
- Steeped in history
- Ornate graves and memorials
- Serene and tranquil atmosphere
- Final resting place for many prominent members of society
Why it’s awesome: Highgate Cemetery is known for its splendid graves, monuments, tombs, and memorials. Indeed, it has some of the most attractive architecture and details of any cemetery in the UK. An aura of peace prevails and, despite being a place of rest for the dead, the grounds are very much alive with nature and wildlife. The cemetery also functions as a nature reserve. The cemetery contains the remains of some 170,000 people, including well-known figures from throughout British history. In use since the late 1830s, the cemetery has some strange tales associated with it, in particular stories about the so-called Highgate Vampire. This is one of my persona favourite things to do in London.
What to do there: Walk through the beautiful burial ground and admire the striking architecture and funerary details. Carvings, inscriptions, statues, busts, crosses, and archways are just a few elements you’ll find throughout the cemetery. Some parts are somewhat eerily overgrown while other areas are well-tended. You’ll see various flora and fauna as you explore the large and peaceful cemetery. Walk along the Egyptian Avenue, pay your respects at the War Graves and Fireman’s Corner, and see the graves of famous people. Socialist Karl Marx, singer George Michael, TV personality Jeremy Beadle, author Douglas Adams, composer Georges Jacobi, comedian Max Wall, actor Bob Hoskins, and criminal Bruce Reynolds are just a few people who have been buried (or whose ashes have been interred) at Highgate Cemetery.
#23 – Soho
A great place to visit in London at night
- Historic entertainment district
- Fashionable part of London
- Fun nightlife area and great for dining
- Gay-friendly venues
Why it’s awesome: London’s Soho has been a major entertainment area since the 19th century. Once a royal park, landmarks throughout the area today include St. Anne’s Church and St. Patrick’s Church. London’s thriving gay community can be found in Soho around Old Compton Street. There are many top-class restaurants as well as diverse bars and clubs. It’s definitely one of the best places in London for a top night out.
What to do there: By day, discover the quirky, hip, and trendy independent stores around Soho, including record shops, art, musical instruments, confectioners, clothes, and retro kitsch. Look out for the Seven Noses of Soho—random noses on walls and buildings that were originally placed in protest against CCTV surveillance. Get dressed up in the evening and have a fun night out in Soho. Start with a tasty meal in one of the neighbourhood’s excellent restaurants before hopping between cool bars and finally ending your night on the dance floor of a trendy club.
#24 – Brick Lane Market
A must-see for foodies!
- Excellent market for global cuisine
- Great for bargain hunting
- Affordable prices
- Historical roots
Why it’s awesome: Brick Lane Market opens on Sundays when many other markets around the capital are firmly shuttered up and empty. A market has operated in the same spot since at least the 17th century, and it developed a reputation for vintage goods, delicious food, and bargain curiosities. It’s also a great place for photography and for watching the hustle and bustle of everyday market life.
What to do there: Stroll around the atmospheric market and browse the wide assortment of goods on offer. You’ll find plenty of whimsies and unusual souvenirs if you wish to buy anything, but the market is also well worth visiting simply to look around and soak up the ambience. Foodies are sure to be delighted with the tempting food options and you can sample delicious fare from various parts of the globe. The market is especially known for its Asian goodies.
#25 – The Tate
A great place to visit in London if you are alone/travelling solo
- Four fantastic art museums across the UK
- Free to enjoy
- Home to diverse artworks from different periods and places
- Long history
Why it’s awesome: Two of the four Tate institutions are located in London: the Tate Britain and the Tate Modern. The Tate Britain dates back to 1897 and is one of the biggest museums in the UK. Housed within a beautiful Grade II listed building, the gallery has a large collection of British art spanning from the Tudor era to the present day. It is the home of the Turner Prize. The Tate Modern is housed in a former power station. It opened in 2000 and is the UK’s national gallery of international modern art. It features temporary exhibitions as well as the permanent collections.
What to do there: See pieces by famous national artists in the Tate Britain. Works include those by J.M.W. Turner, Constable, William Blake, and Hogarth. Some rooms are dedicated to one particular artist, such as rooms for Tacita Dean, Tracey Emin, and Douglas Gordan. Take a free tour of the museum for greater insights (available on the hour each day). Visit the Tate Modern to admire diverse contemporary pieces by artists like Robert Delaunay, Paul Klee, and Picasso. The different themed areas include In the Studio, Living cities, Media Networks, and Artist and Society.
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Explore all the best places in London
From popular tourist attractions to hidden gems, London has so much to see and do for people of all ages and with diverse interests. Visiting London needn’t break the bank when you include some of our recommended budget places to visit, and you’ll also find plenty of ways to splash the cash and treat yourself if that’s what you want. There’s something for romance seekers, friends, and families travelling with young children.
Covering history, culture, shopping, entertainment, art, nightlife, and more, add these best places to visit in London to your bucket list for a memorable time in the exciting British capital.
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