I lived in London for 5 years with the knowledge that I would eventually have to leave again. So, I actively had a mindset of treating my stay as a ‘tourist visit’ where I would take any opportunity to explore this amazing city.
It goes without saying that London is truly rich and diverse in culture. It has a huge array of attractions worth visiting and areas just waiting to be explored, but the chances are that if you are visiting London you only have time for so much. So, here is my list of things you have to see and do while you are in London.
1. London All in One Free Walking Tour
Whenever I visit a new city I check for free walking tours, they are usually run by locals with great knowledge and insights, fortunately, the free walking tours in London are no different.
There are a lot of these free walking tours to choose from, I highly recommend the London All in One Free Walking Tour as it’s one of the best ways to get a broad feeling and understanding of London and see a lot of the main sights on foot.
A local while guiding you through the city while explaining some of London’s history and key events. The tour will take you past must-see sights such as Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and much more.
However, it’s worth noting that when they say ‘Free’ what they mean is, the tip is what it was worth to you in the end.
2. Borough Market
This was my go to place on weekends if I didn’t have any other plans, it high on my list of places to revisit when I go back. Borough food market is also a favorite amongst locals and food lovers. It is an absolute treat for your taste buds! Whether you’re looking for some amazing ingredients for your next meal or a lunch that will absolutely satisfy you, this is the place to visit.
3. Greenwich Park
Greenwich park is beautiful, it has an amazing mix of 17th century design as well as having a rich history dating back to Roman times. It is also home to the Royal Observatory, Prime Meridien Line, and herds of deer which you may be lucky enough to see during your visit. Whenever I had guests over visiting, taking them here was one of the highlights, the area is extremely nice and inviting.
4. Churchill War Rooms
It took me a very long to realize this existed, it’s easy to walk past the entrance of the Churchill War Rooms without thinking twice but I highly recommend taking a step through the door and going back in time! The war room is in a complex underneath the streets of Westminster and it is the exact location from which Winston Churchill lead the British through the war. What’s also fascinating is that the war room has been left untouched from the day the war was over.
5. Tower of London
With over 1000 years of history to explore, this should be on everyone’s list of attractions to visit! Discover London’s Castle, infamous prison, and royal palace. The Tower of London will both amaze and horrify you with its stories. Royalty lived here in absolute luxury, while prisoners both rich and poor were confined within the walls. It is also home to the sparkling Crown Jewels. They also offer audio guide tours which are perfect if you want to dive deeper into the rich history of the Tower of London.
6. Go to the Theatre
When it comes to theatre there isn’t a city in the world that can compare with London. Choose an evening and go see your favorite show. If you have a particular show in mind, then book in advance, but if you’re not too concerned over what show to watch, wait till you get there and book it on site, you will almost always get a great deal, especially if you go during the week.
7. Kew Garden
Royal Botanical Kew Gardens is London’s largest heritage sight! Visit 130 hectares of gardens and landscapes. The garden also includes a treetop boardwalk, a tropical greenhouse, a Waterlily House, and much more. It is the ultimate way to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city. If you are fortunate enough to visit London around Christmas then check out Christmas at Kew. It was my favorite time to go, they have a trail that they light up and it winds through the garden taking you past a variety of light and water shows, its spectacular.
8. Trafalgar Square
Visit Trafalgar Square and get a great picture with the famous fountains, Lions, and Nelsons Column. It’s a great destination to start off your day, at it’s close to a lot of great museums and its within walking distance of the famous Big Ben. just head over and then branch out in the direction you want to go.
9. Visit one of London’s many famous museums
One of the best things about London are the museums, they are vast, world class, and mostly free! Particularly worth mentioning are the British Museum which is dedicated to history, art and culture and always has great exhibitions, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum which is very interactive and interesting, the National Portrait Gallery, and Victoria & Albert Museum. London also has a large array of boutique museums and galleries worth looking into.
10. The View from the Shard
For a great view of London take a ride up the tallest building in the city for some spectacular views. Go up to the 69tth level in just 60 seconds and be rewarded with a view that goes well beyond London! I know it sounds like a mainstream tourist trap, but sometimes there’s a good reason why attractions are so popular!
Hopefully, this blog has given you a better idea of the things you should see and do in London. For more attractions and to get some help planning your trip, check out this traveloris.com.