Just arrived in London and feeling overwhelmed with so many things to see but so little time to see them all? And yes we know your time is short, as London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Therefore we have come up with this list of the top attractions in London you simply can not miss, so you can spend less time planning and more time exploring this incredible city!
1. The Museums
London has some of the worlds very best museums. If you are a museum lover, you will be spoiled by choice in this city – and the best part of all, all the museums are free! A few of our favourites include:
One of the world’s oldest museums, the British Museum holds millions of objects. We recommend first-time visitors to check out the mummies, the Rosetta Stone, Lindow Man, the Lewis Chessmen and the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial.
Natural History Museum
Here you will find over 70 million plant, animal, fossil, rock and mineral specimens. The Natural History Museum’s Life Galleries are devoted to displays on animal life, from creepy crawlies to the plaster cast of a Diplodocus displayed in the Central Hall.
The Science Museum features seven floors of educational and entertaining exhibits, including the Apollo 10 command module and an awesome flight simulator. All you science lovers out there can not miss this interactive museum!
2. Buckingham Palace
One of London’s most iconic buildings, Buckingham Palace is one you can not miss. Built in 1837, the palace has been the London residence of the Royal Family since Queen Victoria’s accession. If you’re wondering whether the Queen is in, look at the flagpole atop the building – if the royal standard is flying day and night, she’s at home.
We recommend visiting in the morning as at 11.30am every day the Changing of the Guard takes place, it’s a very popular event to see so expect large crowds. Also, when she’s away at her summer palace in Scotland, visitors can tour the State Rooms, the Queen’s Gallery, and the Royal Mews.
3. Big Ben & Houses of Parliament
You can’t visit London and miss out on seeing the famous 97m tower housing the giant clock and its gigantic bell known as Big Ben. Below it are the Houses of Parliament, used for centuries by the Britain’s government and once the site of the royal Westminster Palace occupied by William the Conqueror. If you were interested, you can take a tour the Houses of Parliament, attend debates and watch committee hearings.
4. The London Eye
Built to mark London’s millennium celebrations in 2000, the London Eye is Europe’s largest observation wheel. Its individual glass capsules offer some of the most spectacular views of London as you slowly rise 135 meters above the Thames. Day or night the city will look incredible from that height!
Okay, this may not exactly be in London but it’s totally worth the day trip. Take the train out of London to Windsor Castle to visit the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. As the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II, and her preferred weekend palace, it has over 900 years of rich royal history.
6. Tower of London & Tower Bridge
The Tower of London offers a window into London’s gruesome and compelling history. Here two kings and three queens met their death and countless others were imprisoned. If you decide to visit don’t miss the colourful Yeoman Warders (or Beefeaters), check out the Crown Jewels, the tower ravens and impressive armour on display.
We also recommend heading over to the Tower Bridge, one of the most recognisable bridges in the world. Not only should you take photos of this stunning bridge, but also go inside for magnificent views over London from the walkway between the two bridge towers. Something unique is the 11m long glass floors, allowing you to observe the traffic over the Tower Bridge from above. It’s also a pretty cool experience to see the bridge open and close below your feet.
7. St Paul’s Cathedral
The largest and most famous of London’s many churches, St Paul’s Cathedral sits atop the site of a Roman temple. The twin Baroque towers and magnificent 365 ft dome of St Paul’s are a masterpiece of English architecture. If you’re up to it, we highly recommend walking the stairs to see spectacular views of the dome’s interior, including the Whispering Gallery.
8. Piccadilly Circus & Trafalgar Square
Two of London’s best-known tourist spots, these famous squares mark the gateways to Soho, London’s lively theater and entertainment district. Trafalgar Square was built to commemorate Lord Horatio Nelson’s victory over the French and Spanish at Trafalgar in 1805. In the middle of the square stands a 56m granite monument of Nelson overlooking the squares fountain. Surrounding the square is the famous Admiralty Arch, St Martin-in-the-Fields, and the National Gallery.
Piccadilly Circus marks the crazy intersection of several busy streets – Piccadilly, Regent, Haymarket, and Shaftesbury Avenue. So chaotic that the common expression “It’s like Piccadilly Circus” is now used to describe a busy and confusing scene – you just need to see it for yourself!
9. Harry Potter Tours
For all fellow Harry Potter lovers out there you need to travel to London! Many scenes from all 8 movies were filmed throughout London and JK Rowling herself gained a lot of inspiration from this beautiful city. There are many iconic filming locations scattered throughout the city. We recommend going on a Muggle Tour to find all the hidden spots.
10. Hyde Park
At 145 hectares, Hyde Park is central London’s largest open space with an interesting past. During the reign of Henry VIII in 1536 it became a hunting ground and later a venue for duels, executions and horse racing. The 1851 Great Exhibition was held here, and during WWII the park became an enormous potato field. These days, it’s an occasional concert venue having seen Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones and Madonna play there and of course a beautiful green space for tourist and locals to soak in the sunshine (if you’re lucky).
What is your favourite London attraction?
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