Now, I know I’m biased but London really is an epic city! Literally, you can spend years here and still not have seen or done anything. Not only that, all the best things to do in London are dotted all across its gorgeous neighbourhoods, which is great if you want to stroll across our fair city.
From London’s incredible palaces, Royal Boroughs like Greenwich, cool Shoreditch speakeasies (in East London), the tastiest markets, international events like Wimbledon (in South London), to world-class shows.
You’ll be spoilt for choice!
Obviously, as I said, you won’t be able to squeeze everything in one trip. So, to make things easier, I’d recommend prioritising a handful of places and slotting others into your days. This way, you’ll be guaranteed to experience your must-see spots whilst also including a heap of other cool and nifty places.
Take a look, below, at the best things to do in London. Oh, and with all our posts, pop us a message if you need any other tips! Have the best time in our city!
1.) Bermondsey Street
Bermondsey Street is one of my favourite places in Central London to visit. You see, it’s got a totally gorgeous village feel whilst also being a relatively short walk from the riverfront at London Bridge.
It’s a great place to visit on a weekend afternoon when all the independent shops and intimate galleries are open. I totally love White Cube for an afternoon gander; especially as their exhibitions change so much.
Afterwards, pop into the Woolpack for a pint or the Watchhouse for a coffee in the historic Victorian building. Their coffee is so good.
2.) Buckingham Palace
Yeah, so everyone’s heard of Buckingham Palace, right? And, let’s be honest, visiting is one of the best things to do in London if you love the Royal family.
Yeah, you can take in the views from outside and The Mall around Trafalgar Square (and closer), these are all great! That being said, if you want to get a little closer, book tickets to head inside Buckingham Palace in the summer months. You’ll get to wander around the State Rooms, see the Throne Room and explore the Gardens.
We’ve visited twice and loved it!
3.) Camden Market
Plus, it’s a great place to go for lunch with all the small market stalls selling every kind of dish imaginable. You can easily spend a whole afternoon in Camden!
Also, for a tasty and traditional fish and chips, head over to Poppies. It’s one of the best (in my view) in London and I’m never disappointed. Grab a bag to go (or eat in).
Also, if you’ve got time, head to see a performance or live show at the Camden Roundhouse. They have events going on throughout the year and it’s one of our favourite live music venues in all of London.
4.) The Painted Hall
Tucked within the Old Royal Navy College, the Painted Hall has been around for centuries and is as impressive in person as it is in pics. Now, although it won’t get rammed with people if you do want to miss the majority of other visitors, head across a first thing in the morning. We headed over at 10 am and we had the whole place to ourselves for a good 10-minutes.
Afterwards, pop over to the Cutty Sark, Greenwich Market, the National Maritime Museum and visit Goddard’s for some traditional pie, mash and liquor.
Oh, and for some vintage treasures, head to the Junk Shop that’s a rabbit-warren of nooks filled with all types of antiques. We love it.
5.) Tower Bridge
Probably one of London’s most iconic sights to see, Tower Bridge is kinda hard to miss!
Of course, you can take a stroll across Tower Bridge, but you can also buy tickets and head inside the inner workings of the towers and walk along the suspended walkway high above. A visit will take around 45-minutes and a perfect place to visit for a more unique perspective of London’s most famous bridge.
6.) Tower of London
Just across from Tower Bridge, exploring here is one of the best things to do in London if you love history. You see, the Tower of London has been in London for centuries and has seen quite a heap of tumultuous events throughout the years.
Once inside, check out the Crown Jewels within the massive, vaulted, safe… they’re incredible. Oh, and stroll through the Medieval Palace and learn more about the Bloody Tower, too!
Also, for a totally unique visit, book yourself in for a “Changing of the Keys” ceremony that happens every single night. In fact, it’s the oldest surviving (and still going) military ceremony in the entire world. Tickets are free but fill up very fast. So make sure to book months ahead before you visit.
Afterwards, if you’re heading over Tower Bridge, head to Santa Remidio, a cute little Mexican restaurant on Tooley Street. They do a killer bottomless brunch… just be prepared to be tipsy!
7.) Leaden Hall Market
A stone’s throw away from the Sky Garden, Leaden Hall Market is one of London’s oldest markets, In fact, it dates all the way back to the 1300s!
As time has gone by, the market has transformed into a covered area filled with shops, eateries and bars which gets really busy around lunchtime and the early evening. Nowadays, most of the wares and watering holes are within stores themselves, but that doesn’t make it any less special to visit.
Now, a stroll here might only take 20 minutes (depending on if you stop for a drink) but it’s well worth seeing whilst strolling the City of London.
Oh, and don’t forget to visit the nearby Royal Exchange where you can stop for a tipple and tea.
Also, for some free views, book free tickets to the Sky Garden on top of the “Walkie Talkie” building within the Square Mile. You’ll get some stunning views around sunset.
8.) Borough Market
Okay, so, Borough Market might just be one of the city’s most iconic foodie markets to visit and a place you can’t miss when strolling the south side of the river.
Just shy of London Bridge, you’ve got a heap of fresh produce stalls, eateries and little restaurants that make it a totally great place to go for lunch.
Yes, it can get busy and it will be bustling but that’s all part of the experience. If you fancy a sit-down lunch, pop into El Pastor for some of the tasty Mexican treats.
Or, if that’s not your thing, pop into Padella for some delicious (and homemade) pasta dishes that are totally delicious. Just be aware that you will need to queue for a little while at peak times.
If you’ve still got room, it’s right next to 3Bis Gelataria (that’s so good), Monmouth Coffee for one of their brews and Neal’s Yard Dairy for their cheeses.
Alternatively, grab some of the pastries and brownies from the stalls in the market itself. You’re gonna leave stuffed.
Oh yeah, and in the evening, head to Casa da Frango, which serves up some of the tastiest piri-piri in London.
I know I keep going on about food here but definitely pop to The Gentlemen Baristas (Borough) for some great coffee and a light brunch, too.
9.) Natural History Museum
Museums are a big deal here! Trust me when I say they’re one of the best things to do in London at any time of the year.
You see, not only do they have world-class collections to explore; they’re also free to explore and visit. Over the years, I’ve spent days and days exploring them, with the Natural History Museum being one of my favourites.
Now, you’d need to give yourself days to see everything in detail but you can skim around the main exhibitions and focus on what you fancy in around three hours.
This makes it a great way to spend a morning before heading to the nearby Science Museum or the Victoria & Albert Museum.
10.) Tate Modern
Around a 15-minute walk from Borough Market, the Tate Modern is one of Great Britain’s most-visited and renowned art exhibitions. Housing seasonal exhibits and permanent collections, it’s a massive treasure trove of goodies that’s well worth visiting when rambling the riverfront.
Just be sure to check what’s on when you visit. Sometimes, they have some paid-for exhibitions that you might want to visit (alongside the free galleries).
12.) Tate Britain
A celebration of British art, Tate Britain is nestled right on the shores of the Thames. Tate Britain is totally free to enter (though some exhibitions are chargeable) and well worth taking a wander around, especially if you get caught out in a little rain.
Make sure to walk through the neo-classical Duveen Galleries and take a peruse at all the incredible art. We love it!
13.) Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square needs little introduction! Although Londoners might not frequently keep popping here, visiting is one of the best things to do in London if it’s your first time in the city.
Take a gander at Nelson’s Column, keep and keep your eyes peeled for the Fourth Plinth, it’s a massive plinth that changes frequently to include artistic work from artists all across the world.
Afterwards, visit the National Portrait Gallery and see their collections which number well into the thousands. It’s incredible to see, especially if you want to see world-renowned portraits and artists work.
From here, you can easily stroll over to Covent Garden and explore the little lanes and market area itself.
14.) Monument to the Great Fire of London
Sometimes forgotten by visitors to London, the Monument to the Great Fire of London is perched right within the city and a totally unique monument that you can scale. Built hundreds of years ago (in the 17th Century), the monument is right in the heart of the City of London.
With 311 steps to climb, it’s not for the faint-hearted but you will get some awesome views over the city of London. Well worth it!
15.) Brick Lane
Perched within East London, not too far from Whitechapel, Brick Lane is a great place to go on the weekend, especially for all the authentic curry houses that are in the area. Best of all, it’s filled to the brim with a mix of family-run spots that are totally unpretentious and so tasty.
After gorging on some of the best curries, head over to Dark Sugars for a tasty sweet treat. Their gourmet, chocolate making skills is nothing short of magic.
For vintage goodies, head just off Brick Lane (onto Cheshire Street) and visit Beyond Retro. Housing some of London’s best vintage finds, it’s a place you really can’t miss when in the area.
Already grabbed a curry in Brick Lane? You might as well keep up exploring the area around Shoreditch too. Over the last few decades, Shoreditch has really cemented itself as an area of London that’s great for quirky stores, markets, pop-up events and a heap of pretty neat bars and speakeasies.
As you stroll the streets, be sure to pop over to Spitalfields Market that’s got everything from foodie stalls, well-known fashion brands and independent sellers all around the main hall area. It’s one of the best markets in London for a good little peruse. Though don’t be expecting any thrift stall bargains here, prices tend to be a little higher.
Fancy getting away from the crowds (and the stores)? Pop over to Dennis Severs’ House, an intimate museum to visit that’s almost like stepping back in time. It focuses on telling the accounts of the affluent family of Huguenot silk-weavers that lived in this area hundreds of years ago.
Alternatively, head over to Columbia Road Flower Market to that sells everything from flowers (of course), antiques and bric-a-brac. It’s totally lovely but again, it’s not the kind of place you visit for a bargain.
17.) Eltham Palace
Often overlooked when visiting the best palaces in London, Eltham Palace is a gem of a place that’s perched within the Royal Borough of Greenwich. Now, it’s not right in the centre of historic Greenwich (where the Painted Hall is) so make sure to grab an Uber (20-minutes) or a short train ride and stroll (about 35-minutes) to get here.
You’ll get to explore the remains of the medical palace and also the newer, art-deco, elements of Eltham that are totally unique. Seeing Eltham Palace It really is one of the best things to do in London if you want to see a former royal palace that’s a little off-the-beaten-track.
Oh, and be sure to check out Mah-Jongg’s former rooms! It was the resident lemur that was a pet bought from Harrods many years ago.
18.) Covent Garden
Covent Garden needs little introduction! In fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s one of the more famous spots in London that visitors tend to visit.
Here, you’ll find the main market area, along with a heap of shops, stalls and restaurants that are pretty incredible. We totally love Petersham Nurseries to have a wander around and to grab something from their deli. Also, pop over to the Moomin Shop with Covent Garden Market and visit the Transport Museum that’s perched right on the square.
For a tasty lunch, head over to Barrafina (10-minute stroll from the market area) that serves up some of the tastiest tapas in London. Their fresh fish is just delicious.
If you’re looking for a world-class operatic or ballet performance, book tickets at the Royal Opera House which is easily one of the best things do in London. If that’s not your thing, you can head for a delicious meal at the Paul Hamlyn Hall which is iconic in itself. The setting is beautiful.
Oh, and don’t forget about booking a table at Clos Maggiore, a French-fusion restaurant that’s such a treat. Just be sure to book your table in advance of your visit, they tend to book up fast.
19.) British Museum
Totally vast and completely huge, the British Museum is a colossal place to explore in the centre of London (near Tottenham Court Road Tube Station).
Housing tens of thousands of artefacts, you’ll get to wander around historic Britain, ancient Egypt, see Japanese art and explore Benin artefacts from Nigeria. Honestly, you can see items from all over the world and it’s incredible to see. We’ve visited countless times and still not seen it all!
Of course, there are debates on how these items came to be within the UK that is detailed within some of the exhibitions, too.
Afterwards, take a stroll over to Circolo Popolare on Rathbone Place.
They serve up a killer carbonara and pasta that’s mixed in a parmesan wheel. It’s a cheese-lovers dream!
20.) Bond Street
Bond Street is synonymous with luxury shopping and it’s earned its place as one of London’s best places for high-end fashion, antiques and jewellery.
Just a few minutes walk from Regent Street, Bond Street houses spots like Fendi, Mulberry, Louis Vuitton, the Royal Arcade and countless other shopping spots. Just be sure to pack your cards, this isn’t a place you go for bargains (obviously).
For a tasty dinner, head over to Hakkasan that has some of their incredible Cantonese dishes!
21. ) Regent Street
Unlike Bond Street, Regent Street has a mix of high-end, iconic and global brands to choose from.
This makes strolling Regent Street is easily one of the best things to do in London when looking for flagship stores that’s around Picadilly Circus.
With spots like Burberry, Liberty London and Hamleys, it’s got a heap of different spots to explore.
Don’t forget Fortnum & Mason’s, too! It’s just off Regent Street and can’t be missed. Walkthrough Swallow Street (from Regent Street) and you’ll see it perched right on Picadilly.
Plus, don’t forget, you’ve got Carnaby Street that’s a stone’s throw from Regent Street with all it’s smaller shops and bars (around Kingly Court), too.
For evening drinks, Cahoots London is great to book in for cocktails, especially in their rail carriage!
22.) Catch a Westend Show
London is known the world over for its West End shows and performances. This makes it one of the best things to do in London, even if you’re only visiting for a day trip.
From decades-running shows to more fringe performances, you’re best to book your tickets in advance if you’re absolutely sure which performance you want to see.
That being said, if you’re a little more flexible, head over to the TKTS Booth in Leicester Square. It’s the only official reseller of London theatres and will sell unsold (same day) tickets at discounted prices. We do this all the time and always end up with a bargain and usually a great surprise with a show we hadn’t thought of seeing.
23.) Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Often referred to as “Kew Gardens”, the Royal Botanic Gardens is a great spot to visit in West London for a half-day trip.
The gardens are so vast and house thousands of species within its grounds and houses that are dotted all across the area.
Once here, be sure to take a wander to see Queen Charlotte’s Cottage, visit the Waterlily House, explore the Princess of Wales Conservatory and spend some time in the iconic Palm House. There’s also a pretty nifty Treetop Walkway near the Temperate House that’s great to see the gardens from up above.
Finally, be sure to see the Great Pagoda (restored from the 1700s) and check the Kew Gardens website for seasonal events that happen year-round.
24.) St Paul’s Cathedral
Built by Sir Christopher Wren back in the 17-18th centuries, seeing St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the best things to do in London if you love grand and imposing pieces of history.
Over the centuries, it’s held countless national events and weddings (like that of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales).
Take a wander around the Nave, towards The High Altar and the intricate Quire area of St Paul’s. Afterwards, head up to the Whispering Gallery with views inside the Cathedral.
Also, if you’re feeling up to it, scale the 300+ steps to the Stone Gallery for some impressive views over London.
Before you leave, visit the Crypt and see Nelson’s Tomb, the Duke of Wellington’s Tomb and the monument to Florence Nightingale, too. If you plan to visit you will need to pay a fee to enter (though, it is free for worship).
Afterwards, stroll over the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern to see one of the most visited modern art galleries in the world. It’s incredible and totally free (though some temporary exhibitions are chargeable).
Nestled in between Covent Garden and Regent Street, heading to Soho is one of the best things to do in London if you’re looking for a “night on the town”. You see, it’s filled with loads of restaurants, amazing bars and plenty of theatres.
With so many spots to choose from, it’s hard to just recommend a handful! We always find it best to take a wander and hop into a few places that have a buzz about them.
Plus, there’s a heap of LGBTQ+ bars around Old Compton Street that’s totally heaving on a Friday or Saturday… the whole street is buzzing with people.
For some live music, head over to Ronnie Scott’s, one of the oldest jazz clubs in the world!
Whilst here, take a wander to nearby China Town with all the tasty Asian restaurants and cool little bars that line the street.
Be sure to make a reservation at Opium for some cocktails that harkens back to 1920s Shanghai. We love it.
27.) Richmond Park
One of the Royal Parks of London, Richmond Park is a historic deer park that was created in 1600s London. Originally just a space for royalty, nowadays everyone is welcome to enjoy this glorious space.
Best of all, it’s one of the few remaining parks in London where the deer still roam freely. Not only that, as the fallow dear are relatively accustomed to spotting humans, you can actually see them with ease! Just don’t get too close, they’re still wild animals. It’s great to visit after exploring nearby Kew and well worth a gander whilst in the area.
Also, if you’ve got time, head across the Thames to visit Strawberry Hill House a cosy gothic castle that’s been restored and is pretty special to see. Make sure to head inside and wander the incredible rooms of this sometimes forgotten spot in London.
28.) Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament is probably one of London’s most iconic spots. Well, that, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace amongst others.
Of course, you can take a wander around the perimeters near Westminster Abbey and Parliament Square but you can also arrange free tours inside, too. Over the years, we’ve headed on a tour up to see Big Ben (the bell inside the tower) and watched Prime ministers Questions that happens weekly.
These are totally free and can be organised by your local MP if you’re resident within the UK. Obviously, at present, the Big Ben tour is postponed with the restorative work going on but I’m hoping they re-open this as soon as it’s ready. It’s so good!
Afterwards, take a wander to explore St James’s Park, see the London Eye, visit Westminster Abbey and visit the Churchill War Rooms that’s pretty incredible to see.