You know what makes London so attractive?
There’s a near infinite list of incredible things to see and do – everything from the Tate Modern (where you’ll find the world’s largest collections of modern art), to Kew Gardens (housing virtually every plant on the planet). But in the interests of time, we’ve narrowed it down to the 36 best London attractions worth your time, from the experiences that are kind of touristy (but totally worth it) to a few off the beaten track.
Personally, we’ve always known London is one of the most exciting cities on earth, however, after reading the below, we’re confident you’ll feel it too…
Note: a lot of London’s most famous sights are easy to take in on foot. Check out our guide to great London walks.
1. Turn the world into ants at the Sky Garden
Remember London is your oyster and guzzle one down whilst doing it, at the adjacent Fenchurch Restaurant & Bar.
Details: 20 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 3BY | Find out more HERE
2. Pretend to be a king or queen at Hampton Court Palace
It’s like an episode of MTV Cribs but in the Tudor times. And you’re P. Diddy.
Details: Hampton Court Road, Town Centre, East Molesey KT8 9AU | Find out more HERE
3. Stand under one of the world’s biggest domes at St Paul’s Cathedral
Then let everyone know what you think in tiny whispers at The Whispering Gallery.
Details: St Paul’s Churchyard, EC4M 8AD | Find out more HERE
4. Clink glasses at a champagne afternoon tea at The Ritz
It’s in the former ballroom of one of London’s grandest hotels, with resident harpists and pianists doing their thing in the background.
Details: 150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR | Book HERE
5. Picnic with pelicans at St James Park
Given to King Charles II in the 17th Century and there ever since, they take a late lunch 2-2.30pm. And you should too.
Details: Horse Guards Road, SW1A 2BJ | Find out more HERE
6.Remember why you’re terrified of the ocean at Sealife London Aquarium
With over 500 different species of underwater creatures – from tropical fish to venomous jellyfish…. penguins, crocs and sharks – this aquatic London attraction really has every-fin…
Details: County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, SE1 7PB | Book HERE
7. Get dressed up and dance at Notting Hill Carnival
On the late August bank holiday, Notting Hill becomes alive with the sound of soca floats, steel drums and plenty of carefree rum consumption.
Details: Find out more right HERE
8. Go wild swimming in Hampstead Heath
The ponds are free and open all-year-round.
Details: Hampstead Heath, NW5 1QR | Find out more HERE
9. Chow down on a slice of sporting history at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
The championships only take place once a year but you can go to the grounds and appreciate the hallowed grass courts/meet a hologram of John McEnroe whenever you want.
Details: Church Road, SW19 5AE | Book HERE
10. Watch the sun go down from the top of Primrose Hill
It’s hella romantic and the twinkling view of the London skyline is hard to beat.
Details: 49 Regents Park Road Primrose Hill, NW1 8XD | Primrose Hill is open at all hours, except Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve where it closes at 9pm and 1pm respectively.
11. Learn the limits of your stomach at Borough Market
The market, the myth, the legend. London has a whole load of great street food markets, sure, but with stalls upon stalls of A-grade artisanal produce and critically-acclaimed restaurants hidden within, Borough is the granddaddy of them all.
Details: 8 Southwark Street, SE1 1TL | Find out more HERE
12. Crawl your way through The Bermondsey Beer Mile
15 breweries and bottle-shops known to bring even the hardiest of men and women to their knees.
Details: Across Bermondsey | Check out an unofficial list of all the venues right HERE
13. Sneak into the A Box at the Royal Albert Hall
Okay, maybe slightly ambitious, but inhaling the smells and sounds of arguably London’s most famous music hall is a must for any self-professed lover of acoustics.
Details: Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP | See the schedule HERE
14. Traverse through a million years in a single day at London’s Natural History Museum
This free London attraction counts more than 80 million animal, fossil, plant and mineral specimens among its ranks, plus a skeleton of a blue whale on display in the central hall.
Details: Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD | Find out more by visiting their website HERE
15. Pedal around the Serpentine Lake
Or row, if you can’t be bothered to use your limbs.
Details: Hyde Park, W2 2UH | See all the best places to go boating in London
16. Make friends with the fallow deer in Richmond Park
The park’s famous tenants weren’t exactly the most popular lot with the locals when they were first brought in by Charles I, back in the 17th century. But as it often goes in life, time healed the relationship, and now in the present visitors flock to the wild 2500-acre landscape to see the animals and their antlers in action.
Details: Kings Road, TW10 5HS | Find out more HERE
17. Show your feet no mercy at Shakespeare’s Globe
For the bargain price of five pounds, you can snare a spot in the yard as a groundling (think of it like moshing at a music gig in the late 1500s), standing metres away from the stage, and get a great snap of an iconic London attraction to boot.
Details: 21 New Globe Walk, SE1 9DT | Book HERE
18. Play restaurant roulette in Chinatown
You win some, you dim sum? Or something like that.
Details: Gerrard Street, London W1D 6JE | Find our guide to the best restaurants in Chinatown.
19. Geek out to a cult classic at the Prince Charles Cinema
This indie darling in Leicester Square is where the proper film purists go.
Details: 7 Leicester Place, WC2H 7BY | Take a look at our list of the finest cinemas in London
20. Think deeply about the Tate Modern’s free art exhibitions
The gift of great art doesn’t cost a cent here. It’s also one of the world’s largest collections of contemporary works.
Note: you can also jump on The Tate Boat down the Thames to it’s older sibling, the Tate Britain – an ode to the work of British artists over the past 500 years.
Details: Bankside, SE1 9TG | Find out more HERE
21. Mingle With Movie Stars At The BFI
The home of British cinema, known for its eclectic programming, including a glitzy premiere or two.
Details: 159 Brick Lane, London E1 6SB | Opening times: Open 24 hours
22. Find your inner zen at Kyoto Garden
Good job we’re so solid with Japan, eh? This peaceful patch of horticulture in Holland Park is a product of the longstanding friendship, boasting a waterfall, a pagoda and plenty of peacocks.
Details: Holland Park, Holland Park Ave, Kensington, W11 4UA | Find out more HERE
23. Test your bargaining skills at Portobello Market
With over 1,000 stalls, it’s one of the biggest antique markets in the world.
Details: 174, Portobello Road, W11 3DJ | Fancy exploring further than Portobello Road? Check out our guide to Notting Hill.
24. Wish you were wealthier at Harrods
Marvel around the floors and stroke things. Then nip down below to the food hall where you can grab a sarnie and one of their iconic green bags.
Details: 87–135 Brompton Road, SW1X 7XL | Find out more HERE
25. Hold up traffic on Abbey Road
Don’t let a couple honking cars get in the way of nailing that perfect Beatles’ album cover photo…
Address: Abbey Road, Westminster NW8
26. Savour every last drop of a martini at the Connaught Bar
We’re not going to lie, they’re eye-wateringly expensive. However The Connaught Bar isn’t just one of London’s best cocktail bars, it’s the world’s best bar as voted by, well, The World’s Best Bars and the dry martini is its weapon of choice – made table-side from a special, bespoke trolley.
Details: Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, W1K 2AL | Find out more HERE
27. Neck a butterbeer on the Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour
See where all the magic happened from inside Hogwarts itself to the original sets of Diagon Alley and the Forbidden Forest (which here you’re permitted to enter).
Details: Studio Tour Drive, Watford, WD25 7LR | Find our full Harry Potter in London guide here
28. Spend an hour at Trafalgar Square
Approximately 1 minute snapping a quick pic of Nelson’s Column and the lions and then the other 59 darting around the National Gallery exchanging looks with London’s largest collection of European art.
Address: 65 Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN | For more info, head here
29. Wake up and smell the roses at Kew Gardens
There’s 170 types of them in the rose garden here, plus virtually every other kind of plant known to man.
Details: Royal Botanical Gardens, W9 3AE | Find out more HERE
30. Spot your yard from the top of The Shard
When it comes to London attractions, The Shard is the tallest, standing at 306 metres. It’s got panoramic views of the city, as well as a pretty decent selection of restaurants and bars.
Details: 2 London Bridge Street, SE1 9SG | Find out more HERE
31. Practice your cockney rhyming slang at Columbia Flower Market
If your windowsill is looking a bit sad or you’ve had a fight that needs to be nipped in the bud….Columbia Road is where you want to be. The East London flower market is open every Sunday and, while the early birds may have their pick of the bunch, it’s also a shrewd move arriving after 2pm when the traders start slashing their prices.
Details: Columbia Road, E2 7RG | Find out more HERE
32. Catwalk down Carnaby Street
Under the arches of one of its flamboyant displays.
Details; Carnaby Street, W1F 7DL | Find out more HERE
33. Make up for any childhood disappointment at Hamleys
It’s five floors of mass-manufactured heaven for kids (and not so kids) of all ages.
Details: 188-196 Regent Street, W1B 5BT | Find out more HERE
34. Roam the Barbican Centre
Looks wise, this brutalist block of architecture isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but when it comes to possibility – thanks to its concert hall, cinemas, theatre, library, art gallery, and conservatory… – it’s got it in spades.
Details: Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS | To book ahead for performances, exhibitions and the conservatory, check out their website HERE.
35. Try pull an Albert Gunter at Tower Bridge
Orrrrrr just read about it, visit and stand amazed.
Details: Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 2UP
36. Go on a street art tour of Brick Lane
Then have a curry, because Banksy loves curry, right?
Details: Brick Lane, E1 6SA | Check out our ultimate Brick Lane guide here
37. See the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London
It’s a priceless experience…
Details: London EC3N 4AB | Find out more here
38. Take a stroll around one of the best parks in London
Whether it’s Hyde Park, Victoria Park, Battersea Park or one of the other 3000 parks dotted around the city, there’s no denying green is London’s second favourite colour (after grey of course).
39. Ride the London Eye
Then cast your own eye over the city below.
Details: Riverside Building, County Hall, London SE1 7PB | Find out more here
40. Go to the British Museum
And casually take in over two million years of human history and culture over the course of an afternoon…
Details: Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG | Have a look at our guide to the best museums in London
41. Be a culture vulture along the Southbank
By visiting some of the city’s best public art and performances spaces, including the Hayward Gallery, the National Theatre, and the Southbank Centre – then when you’re all out of cultural juice, toast to your exploits with a drink at the Queen Elizabeth Hall Roof Garden Bar & Café.
Details: The easiest way to reach the South Bank is to get the tube (Bakerloo, Jubilee, City and Northern lines) to Waterloo Station, head towards the river, turn right and walk.
A couple of London attractions down and you’ll probably find yourself getting peckish… which is where our guide to the best restaurant in every neighbourhood comes in.
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