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55+ Things to Do in London

London is such a huge city that even though I’ve been there several times, I’ve still yet to touch all the things to do there. If you’re visiting London for the first time, a second time, or an extended time, here’s 55+ things to do – because you can’t ever get bored in London.

Places to See

  • See Big Ben. Of course, this is a popular attraction for London and is not to be missed.
  • Visit the Palace of Westminster. More popularly known as the Houses of Parliament, be sure to stop by this other iconic building and consider taking a tour or possibly watching a debate.
  • See Westminster Abbey. Another iconic and popular spot is Westminster Abbey. Be sure to pay attention to the graves there, such as those of Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots. Also look out for Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton. So many people are buried there, it’s best to do research beforehand so you don’t miss anyone.
  • Stop in Trafalgar Square. There’s not a lot to do in the square but because of its close proximity to certain museums, it’s a good place to stop by and snap a few pictures.
  • Stop by Tower Bridge. Whether you take a few snapshots or choose to go inside, Tower Bridge (sometimes incorrectly called London Bridge) is an interesting mix of two styles: the medieval heritage of the nearby Tower of London, and the Victorian advancement of technology.
  • Look your best at Buckingham Palace. The residence of Her Majesty the Queen and Their Majesties the Corgis, Buckingham Palace is another must-visit spot in London. The State Rooms and Queen’s Gallery are more popular places to stop in but the Royal Mews (horse transport) is also available for viewing. I’d consider the first two must-dos.
  • Take in the atmosphere of Picadilly Circus. It’s not the most glamorous area but the flashing large lights at night are reminiscent of cities like Tokyo and New York City, so it’s worth a stop. There’s also luxury shopping nearby for those interested.
  • Take that picture at Abbey Road. Because why wouldn’t you? They also have some additional things to do there, like appear on their webcam and sign their graffiti wall.
  • Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral. An architectural masterpiece, St. Paul’s Cathedral is to London as St. Peter’s is to Rome.
  • Go to the lesser-known Westminster Cathedral. Different from Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral is a more modern (c 1600s) cathedral rich with artwork. It’s a better spot for people who want to avoid tourists.

Museums

  • Stop in the Churchill War Rooms. Yes, you can actually stop in the rooms where Winston Churchill directed WWII. How cool is that?
  • Visit the National Gallery. Off of Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery has some notable works from famous artists such as Cèzanne and Van Gogh.
  • Explore the National Portrait Gallery. If you’re into portrait galleries, London has one as well!
  • Take the tube to the London Transport Museum. A popular yet offbeat museum, the London Transport Museum is another stop for those interested in the history of transportation.
  • Survive the Tower of London. Diving back in time 1000 years, past the executions of many including Anne Boleyn, the Tower of London is a must-see for anyone in the city. Take note that there is a lot to see on the site so it might take a while to get through it all. You can also see the Changing of the Keys for free!
  • To visit Shakespeare’s Globe, or not to visit? Definitely visit! Shakespeare’s Globe is a great reconstruction of the original Globe with a small but informative museum.
  • Stop by the Tate Modern. If you like contemporary art, the Tate Modern is one of the leading museums in the world for such art. They have free collections and free access to a viewing level, from which you can see the city.
  • Stop by the Tate Britain. I consider the Tate Britain to be a better option since it focuses on the art of Britain exclusively, at spans through a lengthier amount of time. They also have free collections to visit.
  • Explore the British Museum. The British museum is one of my favourite museums in the world, and it can take hours on hours to get through all the intriguing displays they have.
  • Step back 180 years at Sir John Soane’s Museum. One of London’s house museums, Sir John Soane’s Museum is one of the most ornate houses and largest collections of any house museum.
  • See the city’s history at the Museum of London. Another one of my favourite museums in the world, the Museum of London is an easy-to-understand museum filled with artefacts from London’s history. I consider it another must-see for vacationers in London. Also be sure to search for the nearby Wall of London, which is a wall built around Londinium in Roman times!
  • Stop in the Imperial War Museum. The Imperial War Museum London is another popular museum dedicated to the study of conflict and how it affects societies and people.
  • Ask for more at the Charles Dickens Museum. One of the most famous authors in British history, Dickens’ fans must not miss his house museum.
  • Try not to vomit at the Wellcome Collection. A collection of medicinal and bodily curiosities, the Wellcome Collection is another popular destination and a great offbeat museum.
  • See the Sherlock Holmes Museum. Head to 221b Baker Street for the small but fan-worthy Sherlock Holmes Museum.
  • Visit Will & Kate at Kensington Palace. The residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kensington Palace has a few exhibitions to visit if you have time.
  • Visit the Design Museum. Focusing on modern designs, the Design Museum is an exhibition-based museum.
  • Go to the Postal Museum. A museum dedicated to centuries of postal history, the Postal Museum is another popular offbeat museum to see. Also, the Rail Mail Ride there is another popular extension on the museum.
  • Stop in the Victoria & Albert Museum. Another art museum, the V&A is actually one of my favourites in London. Stop by for an interesting range of artworks, many of which from centuries ago.
  • Visit the Natural History Museum. London also has a Natural History Museum. I haven’t been but I hear it’s truly fabulous.
  • Learn at the Science Museum. Isn’t it strange that for such a popular subject, there aren’t that many museums dedicated to science? Nevertheless, London has its own Science Museum which is another popular destinations for those looking to expand their minds.
  • Go to a Roman temple at London Mithraeum. Though London was a Roman city, not much of those times remain today. However, you can visit a Roman temple and see artefacts of Londinium (ancient London) at the London Mithraeum.
  • Get nostalgic at the Museum of Childhood. The Victoria & Albert also has a Museum of Childhood, which exhibits different types of toys from an array of eras. They also have the largest collection of dolls in the UK and a selection of doll houses, my personal favourite.
  • Stop at the Somerset House. In a beautiful Georgian building, Somerset House is home to a small art collection. I’d recommend stopping by but the collection isn’t too noteworthy, so if you’re limited on time, you should probably see another museum.
  • Make your way to the Jack the Ripper Museum. Intrigued by crime? The Jack the Ripper Museum might be a good stop for you.
  • Visit the Photographers’ Gallery. With a bunch of different exhibits on display at any time, the Photographers’ Gallery is a stop for those interested in the art of the photograph. I hear it’s also a popular destination with locals.
  • Stop at the Queen’s House. Not her actual house, though. Queen’s House is a historic royal palace-turned-art museum with a smaller collection.
  • Stop at the Jewish Museum London. Many cities have a museum on Jewish history and London is no exception.
  • Stop in the Serpentine Galleries. Yet another collection of modern art galleries, the Serpentine Galleries are located in Hyde Park.
  • Discover something new at Whitechapel Gallery. Known as “the artists’ gallery for everyone,” Whitechapel Gallery is another popular modern art museum.
  • Stop in the Wallace Collection. London has no shortage of art. The Wallace Collection is another art museum dedicated to the centuries of art before us.
  • Visit the William Morris Gallery. Are you a fan of William Morris like I am? If so, the William Morris Gallery is another destination to put on your London list.

Activities

  • See a theatrical performance. London is another hub to the theatrical arts, and there are several theatres to choose from. I’ve personally been to the National Theatre, but I’d like to see one at Shakespeare’s Globe. There are nevertheless so many theatres to choose from! I doubt even the locals have been to them all.
  • Go to the top of the Shard. If you’ve studied architecture, the Shard probably came up once or twice. Though it’s a bit expensive to get to the top, it’s also one of the new “must-dos” in the city. (For a free option, see Tate Modern above.)
  • See the entire city from the London Eye. Another icon of London, the London Eye is another costly activity but with amazing views.
  • Get your photo at King’s Cross. Not going to King’s Cross to take a train? Get your photo taken at Platform 9-3/4. Make sure to account for waiting time as lines are usually lengthy.
  • Escape the city in the city. Head to Hampstead Heath or the historic Kew Gardens to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I personally prefer those two as they are more beautiful and relaxing than other parks in the city.
  • Slide down a 178 metre tunnel. If you go out to the new ArcelorMittal Orbit, you can see fantastic views of London and then slide down the longest slide in the world. Fingers crossed it’s not one of those awful slides that hurts your butt.
  • Expand your horizons at the British Library. A library doesn’t sound super cool but the British Library has some great highlights in its collection, including Mozart’s music journal, the Gutenberg Bibles, 1215 AD copies of the Magna Carta, and original handwritten Beatles lyrics. Just think of what else this library holds!
  • See the Changing of the Guard. England has no shortage of tradition, and the Changing of the Guard is another example of just that.
  • See the Horse Guards Parade. You’ll probably walk by this parade ground at some point during your trip, so be sure to plan your visit so that you can see the changing of the Queen’s Life Guard.
  • Look for street art. East London is known for its street art, so be sure to look up and around yourself when walking through the streets so you don’t miss anything.
  • Visit Jimi Hendrix’s flat. So many people have passed through London, and the flat of Jimi Hendrix is another reminder of just that.
  • Stop by another famous person’s house. There are so many famous people who are from or have lived in London, it’s not even funny. Be sure to look up famous people and their landmarks in London so you can follow the footsteps of some of your own favourite people.
  • Go to an event. No matter what else is on this list, London is a vibrant, forever-changing city. Be sure to check out transient events to become a part of London’s history.

Honorable Mention: Go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. This is outside of London, so it can’t be on this list – but it’s Harry Potter so it can’t not be on this list.

Some Things to Know

London is expensive to get around but instead of using the tube, I recommend getting a daily bus pass. You can buy one at any tube station. It allows you unlimited travel on buses for £5. You have to buy one every day but it’s a bargain if you want to get around quickly. I also enjoy taking the bus because you’re not underground and can see the city around you. Also, double-deckers.

London is absolutely huge – one of the largest cities I’ve ever been in – so please take this into account when planning your itinerary.

London is also home to several chain restaurants and stores. It’s worth it to go out of your way to find locally-owned restaurants and shops. There’s actually some very delicious food waiting to be eaten in London.

Have you ever been to London? What do you think everyone should do while they’re there?


Posted on Saturday, March 16, 2019 in Destinations
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