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Things to do in London

Things to do in  London

Welcome to London

Known for its rich history and architecture, London has bridged the gap to become a vibrant cultural hub with world-class museums, eateries, and performances.

Top 15 things to do in London

#1
Stonehenge

Stonehenge

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An archaeological marvel, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the world’s most enigmatic tourist attractions, Stonehenge draws up to 1.3 million visitors annually. The site itself—a circle of gigantic stones standing in the heart of the English countryside—is made even more impressive by its mysterious history. Although Stonehenge’s original purpose remains unknown, onlookers gather to admire the 3,500-year-old structure and ponder its astronomical, spiritual, or even supernatural meaning.More
#2
Tower of London

Tower of London

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From medieval torture to grim executions and infamous royal prisoners, the Tower of London has long found itself at the center of the city's dark history. Built by William the Conqueror in 1066, the historic castle has served as a Royal Menagerie, Her Majesty's prison, an execution site, a royal observatory, a Royal Mint, and a military storehouse over the course of its existence.More
#3
Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace

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Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence and administrative office of the British royal family since the 19th century and is one of the few remaining working royal palaces in the world. Access for the public is limited and exclusive but worthwhile for those who arrange a visit.More
#4
London Eye

London Eye

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The London Eye offers unparalleled views of central London's world-famous landmarks from its prime location on the Thames River waterfront, opposite Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. The gigantic, 443-foot-high observation wheel was built to mark the millennium in 2000 and quickly became one of the most popular paid attractions in the United Kingdom.More
#5
Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle

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Windsor Castle is the largest occupied castle in the world that is still used by the monarchy. Since William the Conqueror built a wooden fortress here over 900 years ago, this has been a royal palace and residence. Despite its daily use for royal business, much of the palace is open to the public and well worth a visit.More
#6
Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

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A UNESCO World Heritage site, with a legacy dating back more than 1,000 years, Westminster Abbey is among London’s most historic landmarks. The Gothic church is best known for hosting headline-grabbing events involving the British royal family, such as the Queen’s coronation, Princess Diana's funeral, and Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding.More
#7
Houses of Parliament & Big Ben

Houses of Parliament & Big Ben

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Few landmarks epitomize central London as perfectly as Big Ben, the iconic clock tower of the Houses of Parliament that's officially known as Elizabeth Tower after Queen Elizabeth II. Heralding Great Britain's political nucleus in Westminster, Big Ben stands as the striking centerpiece of the Thames waterfront and is backed by the historic Palace of Westminster, home to the Houses of Parliament.More
#8
Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

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With its Gothic towers and central bascule flanked by dramatic suspension bridges, Tower Bridge is both a remarkable feat of engineering and one of London’s most instantly recognizable landmarks. The famous bridge is a popular subject of London postcards, leading many to mistake it for London Bridge, which is actually the next one upstream.More
#9
St. Paul's Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral

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An architectural masterpiece with a magnificent dome, St. Paul's Cathedral is one of London’s most recognizable sites. The 17th-century cathedral boasts a rich history as host of the jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II, the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, and the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill.More
#10
Thames River

Thames River

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Flowing right through the heart of central London, the Thames River offers a dramatic backdrop to the city's famous skyline with landmarks lining its shores. Walk along the riverfront from Westminster to Tower Bridge and you'll pass London icons such as the London Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral, Southbank, Shakespeare's Globe, and the London Bridge.More
#11
Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

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Trafalgar Square—the living, breathing, and beating heart of London’s West End—plays an integral part in local life as a site of celebrations, protests, performances, parades, and public gatherings. Overlooked by grand, stately buildings such as the National Gallery and St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, this vast square is dotted with iconic fountains and statuary. Most famous among them is the 144-foot (44-meter) Nelson’s Column, which commemorates a British naval victory over France and Spain, and is guarded by four oversized bronze lions.More
#12
London Bridge

London Bridge

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Though often confused with its grandiose neighbor Tower Bridge, London Bridge is, in reality, more functional than fancy. It does, however, have a long history, with its first iteration having been erected by the Romans way back in AD 50. No visible trace remains of the original bridge, nor of the handful of structures that replaced it, including the one that became the subject of that famous nursery rhyme. Though the current 1970s-built concrete version is not quite as eye-catching, the views it offers of Tower Bridge are hard to top.More
#13
SEA LIFE® London Aquarium

SEA LIFE® London Aquarium

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Located in a colonnade-fronted, early 20th-century County Hall building (the former headquarters for the Greater London Council), the SEA LIFE® London Aquarium is one of Europe’s aquatic museums with 14 themed zones. Marine-life displays include walk-over glass shark tanks, transparent tunnels where sea turtles swim overhead, and kaleidoscopic coral reefs. Visitors also love the penguin exhibit, where it’s possible to observe adorable orange-beaked gentoo penguins waddling on land and swimming gracefully underwater.More
#14
Shakespeare's Globe

Shakespeare's Globe

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Meticulously constructed using period-appropriate materials to resemble the original Elizabethan Globe Theatre, which stood at a site just 656 feet (200 meters) away, Shakespeare’s Globe brings the theatergoing experience of yore to life. Plays—not exclusively Shakespeare’s, though the bard’s works do dominate the schedule—are staged in the atmospheric, circular, open-air auditorium.More
#15
Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard

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The Changing of the Guard is a centuries-old tradition that marks the official shift change of the Household Regiment—the Queen's guards stationed at Buckingham Palace. One of the world's most famous ceremonies and a top London experience, this ceremony gives visitors the chance to witness the grandeur of a royal march. Dressed in their iconic red suits and bearskin hats, the guards exemplify classic British pomp in a showing that's not to be missed.More

Trip ideas

A Fortnum & Mason Employee’s Guide to London

A Fortnum & Mason Employee’s Guide to London

London Rock Music Tour: A Virtual Audio Experience

London Rock Music Tour: A Virtual Audio Experience

Top activities in London

Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath from London
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Harry Potter Tour of Warner Bros. Studio with Transport from London
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Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick Castle Day Trip from London
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Stonehenge and Bath Day Trip from London
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London to Stonehenge Shuttle Bus and Independent Day Trip
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Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford Day Trip from London
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Warner Bros. Studio Harry Potter Tour with Superior Transport from London
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Lunch in the Cotswolds Tour from London
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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in London

star-4
Fantastic way to see the highlights of London
Debbie_P, Aug 2022
London In One Day Tour with Changing of the Guard with London Eye option
What a great way to see the attractions of London when you have limited time.
star-5
Perfect way to see London
Tiffany_S, Aug 2022
Big Bus London Hop-On Hop-Off Tour and River Cruise
What a perfect way to see London!
star-4
Full of facts and the unknown
Debbie_P, Aug 2022
Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes Tour of Haunted London
Got to lots of attractions while driving around London.
star-5
A great tour
Heather_N, Aug 2022
Big Bus London Open-Top Evening Tour
With limited time in London this was a great was to see the city with a personal touch.
star-5
A relaxed walking tour,...
Oleg_N, Aug 2022
Small-Group Tour: Historical Pub Walking Tour of London
A relaxed walking tour, where interesting pieces of history alternate with sitting in old London pubs enjoying traditional English ales.
star-5
Fun bus tour!
Danielle_G, Aug 2022
London Vintage Bus Tour Including River Thames Cruise with Optional Lunch
A good tour to see all the important stops in London.
star-5
Stunning views
Susan_C, Aug 2022
London Eye Standard Ticket
A definite must do when visiting London, followed by the wonderful food drink and things to do at South bank.
star-5
Beautiful day in lovely English countryside.
mabarry4, Aug 2022
Lunch in the Cotswolds Tour from London
Busy day to see 4 towns.
star-5
London Eye Great experience.
carol_w, Aug 2022
London Eye Fast-Track Ticket
Easy to see where to go and not long to wait.
star-5
Great Experience
TAJANI_F, Aug 2022
Kid-Friendly Private Tower of London Tour with Blue Badge Guide
This was a great way to see the Tower of London and learn about its history.
star-5
Highly Recommend this Tour!
Michele_O, Aug 2022
Private Tower of London Opening Ceremony with Changing of The Guard and Cruise
The Tower of London was self guided and then the Thames river tour was a great way to get to see the changing of the guard and then to visit the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
star-5
Great day
Anita_W, Aug 2022
Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath from London
This is a great trip if you want to see a lot in a short amount of time.
star-5
Fun time on The Big Bus.
Carla_K, Aug 2022
Big Bus London Hop-On Hop-Off Tour and River Cruise
We were able to tour London and were able to see many wonderful sights for a reasonable price.
star-5
Great trip, good food, great staff
jason_f, Aug 2022
Thames Lunch Cruise with 2-Course Meal
Highly recommend to add to your list of things to do in London.
star-5
Perfect
Laura_A, Aug 2022
Westminster to Greenwich Sightseeing Thames Cruise in London
A great way to see London when your stay is limited.
star-5
Pleasant, relaxing and enjoyable cruise.
David_A, Aug 2022
River Thames Evening Cruise
Just a pleasant, relaxing way to see the sites in a very comfortable environment.
star-5
we had a great time with...
robert_c, Aug 2022
London by Night Private Taxi Tour
Highly reccomended if you want to visit the city of london in the night.
star-4
Good option
Marcia_L, Aug 2022
Tootbus Must See London: Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour and Thames River Cruise
The Toot Bus was a great way to see London and was a welcome rest from all the walking we did.
star-5
Totally worth the time and money
ecouric, Aug 2022
Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, and Bath from London
This was a great way to see some sights outside of London.
star-5
Great way to see London...
Sarah_S, Aug 2022
High-Speed Thames River RIB Cruise in London
Great way to see London sites.
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All about London

When to visit

Weather is unpredictable in London, but summer can bring the odd heatwave. When the weather's nice, expect crowds to spill out onto the streets outside Soho's pubs (even more so than usual) and outdoor attractions like the South Bank, Trafalgar Square, and the city's parks to be even busier than usual. This is typically the high season for tourism, so airfare and hotels tend to be pricier.

Fall is the wettest season in London, with October seeing the most rain and mist. Plan for indoor activities like the Tate Modern, or if the sun is out, check out Shakespeare’s Globe open-air theatre.

Winter starts out bustling with a festive holiday season. However, once the New Year rolls around, London sees its slowest two months. Those who brave the colder temperatures can avoid the crowds and get the best rates for London’s most popular activities.

Spring weather is sunny and rainy in equal measure, but that doesn’t stop Londoners from making the most of the long "bank holiday" weekends for Easter and at the beginning and end of May. The London Marathon also takes place in April, so avoid the streets—it may be your best time to take a Thames River boat tour.

Getting Around

Walking: London’s streets are long and windy, often with pedestrian alleys and paths branching off. This makes for a fun way to explore the city, with lots of hidden gems tucked away on side streets. But if you’re used to cities with grid layouts, you may want to bring a map to navigate your way around.

London Underground: Colloquially called the Tube, London’s subterranean train system is color coordinated, affordable, timely, and far-reaching. Pick up an Oyster Card, which you can load with money, and use for contactless payments in all of London’s Tube stations.

Bus: You’ve seen them in photos. London’s iconic red double-decker buses are a practical choice for getting around if you’d like to see the streets of London on your commute. Similar to the Tube, the London bus system operates on a color-coded line system and accepts Oyster Cards for quick boarding and payment. Top tip: Buses are cashless, so be sure to top up your Oyster Card or buy a ticket from a Tube or train station in advance.

Taxi: London’s black cabs can be found throughout the city and at major Tube stations and airports. These spacious cabs can fit up to five passengers in the back, as the cabs have two fold-down seats that face backwards.

Traveler tips

London’s city limits are vast, and there is so much to see in each part. Staying in a hotel or accommodation close to central London is your best bet for easy access to all the city has to offer.

While far from India, London has a large Indian community, which means that Indian cuisine is among the best food you can get in the city. To sample the best of the best, head to Brick Lane, a street in the East End famed for its curry houses. But before you dine out, don’t forget that the United Kingdom has its own currency, the British Pound, so put away those Euros for another time.

A local’s pocket guide to London

Emma Knock

One of those rare Londoners actually born in London, Emma is a writer who’s only two degrees of separation from both Kate Moss and the Queen.

The first thing you should do in London is...

get an Oyster card—buses are cashless and there’s no time to faff around with paper tickets at the tube station.

A perfect Saturday in London...

starts with brunch (Caravan in King’s Cross is my go-to), involves a trip to a museum (make it the V&A if there’s a special exhibition), and ends in Soho for dinner and drinks.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

St. Paul’s Cathedral. It’s beautiful inside and the view from the dome is worth the 550-step climb.

To discover the "real" London...

go to a market. I love Broadway Market in Hackney for its Victorian history and proximity to the Regent’s Canal.

For the best view of the city...

head to Primrose Hill or Greenwich Park to see the skyline, but walk along the South Bank for an up-close perspective.

One thing people get wrong...

is thinking Londoners are rude because we walk fast and avoid eye contact on the tube. Start a conversation outside a pub and you’ll find it’s generally not the case.

People Also Ask

What should you not miss in London?

London has many unmissable sights, including UNESCO-listed attractions such as Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and Big Ben. Go on a Thames River boat or hop-on hop-off bus tour to glimpse the highlights, and save time to visit other icons like the British Museum, Buckingham Palace, and the London Eye.

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What is the most famous attraction in London?

Arguably the most famous attraction in London is Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, which stand overlooking the Thames River. That said, the city boasts many other iconic attractions, from Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London to Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, St. Paul's Cathedral, and Tower Bridge.

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What do Londoners do for fun?

There are many ways Londoners like to let loose, from visiting in-demand restaurants in Soho to unwinding over pints in one of the city's historic pubs. Centrally located attractions like Borough Market and the Tate Modern are ever-popular, though residents also head to East London to discover the city's hippest neighborhoods.

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What attractions can I see outside of London?

Many attractions are just a short distance outside of London. Discover royal landmarks such as Windsor Castle, Blenheim Palace, Hever Castle, and Leeds Castle, or plan a seaside excursion to Brighton, Whitstable, or Margate. Other highlights within day-trip distance include Stonehenge, Oxford, Cambridge, the Cotswolds, Bath, and Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare's birthplace).

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Is 2 days enough for London?

Yes, two days is enough to discover London's highlights if you sightsee efficiently: Embark on a hop-on hop-off bus tour, a Central London walking tour, or a Thames boat trip to see more of the sights in less time. However, London's wealth of tourist attractions makes planning a longer visit worthwhile.

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What attractions are free in London?

London offers a wealth of free attractions, including cultural destinations such as the British Museum, Tate Modern, National History Museum, and Victoria and Albert Museum. The city's Royal Parks are also free to explore, as are highlights like Trafalgar Square. Don't miss the free-to-view Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

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