London; the capital of England and the United Kingdom. Home to famous attractions like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. Around 30 million people visit this iconic city every year and if you’re reading this post you might be one of them. I myself have been to London a few times and I love the city so much that I am planning to go back at the end of the year, but I know first-hand planning a trip to a big city can be overwhelming. There is so much to do that many don’t know where to begin, so I’ve created a list of some famous spots that will help you get started on planning!
Home to the Houses of Parliament and the world-famous Big Ben. Big Ben is the name of the bell that you hear ringing every hour on the hour… But unfortunately, is undergoing construction and won’t chime again until 2021 (except on special occasions). You will also find Westminster Abbey here, which is open to the public most days. I highly suggest taking an audio guide tour which can be booked here.
Take a ride on the London Eye
Did you even go to London if you didn’t take a trip on the London eye?? The giant Ferris wheel was originally created to celebrate the millennium but has now become a popular tourist attraction, mainly for it’s amazing city views. There are many booking options for the Eye that range from a basic ticket, to having a private pod for your party. We opted for the Champagne experience, made the view a little sweeter. Book your own London Eye champagne experience
Spend the afternoon getting lost in one of London’s most famous department stores. Shop ‘til you drop with several stores spread across numerous floors and once you’re finished (and probably hungry) head to the food hall for some delicious dishes.
Whether you’ve got money to spend or prefer to window shop, Oxford Street is definitely worth walking down. Not only is it London’s top spot for shopping (similar to Fifth Ave in New York City) but it is also Europe’s busiest shopping street. It has 300 shops and receives over 500,000 visitors every day.
A trip to London would be incomplete without paying a visit to the queen, well kinda. I’m talking about the beautiful Buckingham Palace, which has been home to the British Royal family since 1837. The palace has 775 rooms and spans over 39 acres, definitely a place fit for a Queen. It is one of London’s most sought-after tourist attractions and is not to be missed on your trip across the pond (or where ever you’re coming from). Some of the palace is open to tourists during the summer months, but if you’re visiting off season not to worry you can still watch the famous Changing of the Guard. The changing happens a few times every day and is a great opportunity to witness a historic tradition. Information on the Changing of the Guard ceremony
Tower of London
Throughout its history, the Tower of London has worn many hats, including royal residence, barracks, armory, prison and museum. A 900-year-old castle and fortress in central London that is most famous for housing the crown jewels. Whether you’re into history or not, if you’ve got the time in London I would highly suggest a visit here. Book your tour here
Big Bus Tour
If you’re limited on time in a big city like London, a Big Bus tour is the way to go. You can see several popular attractions with speed and comfort. They also provide headphones and commentary for each attraction, so you know exactly what you’re looking at! Depending on how long you’re in London for, you can buy your ticket for 1, 2 or 3 days. Book here
River Cruise on the River Thames
The River Thames flows through southern England and at 215 miles it is the longest river entirely in England and second longest in the UK. From the river you can see many famous locations, including Tower Bridge, the London Eye, and the Houses of Parliament. There are several options when choosing a cruise on the River Thames, including day sightseeing cruises and ones at night where you can see the city all lit up. There are also cruises that offer lunch/dinner and drinks or perhaps an afternoon tea cruise. The choice is yours. If you decide to get a London pass a sightseeing cruise is included, if not here are some options for river cruises.
A colorful walk through Notting Hill
A vibrant and trendy area that attracts Instagram models from all over the world. No seriously. If you need some Insta-worthy spots in London, this is one of them. It’s the perfect place to walk around and enjoy the lovely scenery. If you need a break you can stop at one of the trendy cafes and then make your way to the Portobello market, which is open Monday – Saturday 8 am – 6:30pm.
Do as The Beatles do
Calling all Beatles fans. Recreate the famous Abbey Road album cover, with a stroll across the iconic road. You’ll have to dodge some traffic, but do it for the gram right?! Seriously though all jokes aside, it’s pretty cool to be standing where these music legends once stood!
Head off to Hogwarts
If you’re a Harry Potter fan there are a few things to do in and around London that are not to be missed. First is The Warner Bros. Studio. Tickets should be booked in advance, so you can pick your preferred entrance time, tickets are around $54 (£45) and tours take around 3 hours. It’s a little bit of a hike from London, but for the diehard Harry Potter fans worth it. Next up is Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station. Here you can get a photo with the famous luggage trolley going through the brick wall. The trolley is accessible at all hours and you do not need to pay to take your own photo, however from 9 am to 9 pm daily you can have a professional photo taken. Queues can get busy so make sure you arrive early. And finally, take a tour of Oxford University. Not only will you get a tour of a prestigious university, but it is also a film site from the Harry Potter movies. Book your Warner Bros. Studio tour with transportation
These are just a few of many things to do in London. If you are planning on spending more than a few days, a London pass may be in your best interest. You pay one price for entrance to 80 + attractions. Book Here
I hope you enjoy your trip to London!!