Best Things to do in London
Best Things to do in London – London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is a 21st-century city with history stretching back to Roman times. At its centre stand the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames River, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city.
Best Things to do in London – Big Ben
Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the striking clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster; the name is frequently extended to refer to both the clock and the clock tower.
Big Ben is probably the world’s most famous clock. That iconic silhouette is instantly recognizable and is one of the most Instagrammed landmarks on the planet.
Six monarchs and 41 prime ministers have come and gone since the bells first struck their now familiar music across Westminster.
The Elizabeth Tower stands as a symbol of not only the United Kingdom but of democracy.
The bells of Big Ben have been ringing for over 160 years, despite the effects on the building of bombing during the Second World War, as well as weather and pollution.
The clock tower was built by the Victorians to the highest possible standards, using the best craftspeople and the finest materials. But like other buildings of a similar age, the Elizabeth Tower is suffering from problems that need to be overcome. Once the restoration is complete, the clock tower can continue to tell time for centuries to come.
10 Downing Street, the locale of British prime ministers since 1735, vies with the White House as being the most important political building anywhere in the world in the modern era.
Behind its black door have been taken the most important decisions affecting Britain for the last 275 years.
Downing Street is a street in the City of Westminster that houses the official residences and offices of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Situated off Whitehall, a few minutes’ walk from the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street was built in the 1680s by Sir George Downing.
For more than three hundred years, it has held the official residences of both the First Lord of the Treasury, the office now synonymous with that of the Prime Minister, and the Second Lord of the Treasury, the office held by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Best Things to do in London – Oxford Street
First for fashion, entertainment, technology and innovation, Oxford Street is the world’s biggest high street.
It offers 1.5 miles of unrivalled shopping, with more than 90 flagship stores, from fashion and beauty, to tech and homeware.
Oxford Street is the ultimate shopping paradise. Shop the very best high-street brands such as Topshop, Gap, River Island, Primark, X and the UK’s iconic department stores, including Selfridges, John Lewis & Partners, Debenhams, House of Fraser and Marks & Spencer.
With more than 500 restaurants within five minutes walking distance, you’ll have plenty of breakfast, lunch and dinner choices. Take your pick from alfresco dining at St Christopher’s Place and Market Place, to one of the many luxury hotels on Oxford Street.
Oxford Street is a major road in the City of Westminster in the West End of London, running from Tottenham Court Road to Marble Arch via Oxford Circus. It is Europe’s busiest shopping street, with around half a million daily visitors, and as of 2012 had approximately 300 shops. It is designated as part of the A40, a major road between London and Fishguard, though it is not signed as such, and traffic is regularly restricted to buses and taxis.
Best Things to do in London – Ride the London Eye
The London Eye, or the Millennium Wheel, is a cantilevered observation wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London.
It is Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel, and is the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom with over 3 million visitors annually.
At an overall height of 443 feet (135 meters), the London Eye was the world’s tallest Ferris wheel from 1999, when it was built, until 2006, when it was surpassed by the Star of Nanchang, in Nanchang, China.
It is one of London’s most popular tourist attractions for which an admission fee is charged and is sometimes credited with sparking a worldwide revival of Ferris wheel construction.
Eat, Drink, Shop at Convent Garden
Located in the West End of London, Covent Garden is renowned for its luxury fashion and beauty stores as well as award-winning restaurants and theaters..
A shopping and entertainment hub in London’s West End, Covent Garden centers on the elegant, car-free Piazza, home to fashion stores, craft stalls at the Apple Market, and the Royal Opera House.
Street entertainers perform by 17th-century St. Paul’s Church, and the London Transport Museum houses vintage vehicles.
Upscale restaurants serve European cuisines, and nearby theaters draw crowds for plays and musicals
The Millennium Bridge, officially known as the London Millennium Footbridge, is a steel suspension bridge for pedestrians crossing the River Thames in London, linking Bankside with the City of London.
It is owned and maintained by Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London Corporation.
The bridge has two river piers and is made of three main sections of 266′, 472′ and 354′ (north to south) with a total structure length of 1,066′.
Tower Bridge is London’s next must-see architectural marvel, not to mention the most famous bridge that crosses the Thames.
Construction on the bridge started in 1886, which means it’s practically modern by London standards, but Tower Bridge stands out for its stunning detail and moveable roadways that lift up when large ships need to pass through.
The views from the bridge are an added bonus. From the elevated sidewalks visitors get a prime view of the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral’s iconic dome and one of the newest additions to London’s skyline, The Shard.
Best Things to do in London – Shopping at Harrod’s
7 Tips for your Shopping at Harrod’s
The Food Halls on the ground floor are the most popular departments at Harrods. A wide range of fine delicacies is offered in 4 huge halls. The presentation and the choice of different meals and foods is of the finest sort only. It is also possible to buy and consume several meals directly there at some small restaurants with bar stools. The halls on their own are already worth seeing because they are designed with loving attention to detail.
The toy department with 8 different colored rooms is located on the 4th floor. All children and lovers of imaginative designed sceneries will be satisfied. They will encounter a wide range of new modern toys from recognized brands as well as classic offers like the Harrods teddy bear. The toy department is a part of the children’s section with approx. 7.400 m², which includes the Sweet Street.
The Egyptian Escalator is pretty much in the middle of the department store and it connects 7 floors. Numerous columns, wall reliefs and sculptures in Egyptian style can be seen along the escalator. It was completed in 1992 and the total construction costs were approx. 30 million £.
The Fine Jewellery department is located on the ground floor and shows nobel jewelry from famous brands such as Tiffany and Cartier. The brilliant and high-class jewelry will make every woman’s heart beat faster. Men will search for an emergency exit while an annual salary slides up on their wives finger.
The Superbrands department for ladies is located on the 1st floor and for men on the 2nd floor. In these areas you will find the top designer fashion of such famous brands like Gucci, Prada, Valentino, Alexander McQueen and Chanel. The unique presentation gives the luxury fashion the right frame.
The Harrods Gift Shop is located on the lower ground floor. It is a good place to buy the typical souvenirs on your London trip. Especially the tea boxes and the cookie boxes from their own brand are very popular.
A picnic in the park is very much liked by Londoners and is a British tradition. The close proximity from Harrods to Hyde Park offers perfect conditions for that. The Food Halls have a wide selection of delicacies from which you can choose and are perfect for a picnic shopping. The close Hyde Park has plenty of space in the green. The perfect end for an exquisite shopping stroll!
Cruise Down The Thames
Whether you opt for a luxurious dining cruise or an adrenaline-pumping speedboat experience, see London’s famous sites on a top river Thames cruise.
Basic Cruise: Westminster to Greenwich Sightseeing Thames Cruise – Buy Tickets at Viator“A simple way to see London’s skyline from the water without any particular muss or fuss.”
Hop-On/Hop-Off Cruise: Thames Hop-On Hop-Off River Cruise – Buy Tickets at Viator“Feel free to take advantage of the fact that the ticket is good for a full 24 hours.”
Dinner Cruise: London Thames River Dinner Cruise – Buy Tickets at Viator“One of London’s most luxurious river cruisers, amidst the backdrop of the gorgeous city itself.”
Lunch Cruise: Sunday Lunch Jazz Cruise in River Thames – Buy Tickets at Viator“While you eat and listen, the city skyline acts as a gorgeous living backdrop.”
Combo Cruise: London Ghost Tour with Thames River Cruise – Buy Tickets at Viator“Hear spine-chilling tales from the many famous (and infamous) buildings you can see from the boat.”
Speedboat Cruise: High-Speed Thames River RIB Cruise in London – Buy Tickets at Viator
Taste the International Flavors of Brixton Market
Brixton Market comprises a street market in the centre of Brixton, south London, and the adjacent covered market areas in nearby arcades Reliance Arcade, Market Row and Granville Arcade.
Brixton Village and the other arcade Market Row are the place to go for foods from around the world.
You’ll find Europe, India, Asia, Africa, South America and the Caribbean all represented.
There are cafés and restaurants dishing up all sorts of flavors.
And shops that sell everything from charcuterie and cheese to traditional Chinese medicine.
The British Museum
The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury area of London, England, is a public institution dedicated to human history, art and culture.
Its permanent collection of some eight million works is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence, having been widely collected during the era of the British Empire
The British Museum is both an architectural beauty and a trove of some of the world’s most noted antiquities.
In fact, many travelers it’s the best museum in all of London. What’s more, it’s free to visit.
From the Rosetta Stone to the Elgin Marbles to the Lindow Man, the British Museum is a history buff’s dream containing artifacts in the millions.
The immense collection can make an initial museum visit seem overwhelming.
The Tower of London
Although its exterior might be grim and even unimpressive (especially when compared to stately Buckingham Palace), the Tower of London’s interior is always bustling with activity. The tower, which actually comprises multiple towers – 12 of which can be explored by the public – offers something for everyone.
If you’re enchanted with the history of the monarch, don’t miss the famous crown jewels exhibition. Among the items you’ll see is the Imperial State Crown – which is still worn by the queen for each State Opening of Parliament – and the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross. If you have more than an hour to spend here, take an entertaining tour led by the Yeoman Warders (tower guards).
During the hour-long excursion (included in your admission ticket), the guards will regale you with tales of the tower’s bloody past.
Lastly, don’t forget to visit the White Tower, an iconic symbol of London’s heritage and one of the world’s most famous castles. Inside, you’ll find the 350-year-old exhibition, “Line of Kings,” along with artifacts from Henry VIII, Charles I and James II.
This medieval church, graced by many royal weddings and coronations, offers a magnificent peek at London’s far-reaching history.
Westminster Abbey is pretty much always busy – and the staff keeps you moving at a pretty swift pace – so do a little research ahead of time to avoid missing your personal must-sees.
For instance, if you’re a bibliophile, consider a visit to the Poets’ Corner.
This is the final resting place of famed authors Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling, among others.
If you’re fascinated by all the intrigue surrounding the British royalty, you might like to visit the shared tomb of enemies and half-sisters Elizabeth I and Mary Tudor.
Best Things to do in London – Piccadilly Circus Abbey
The portal to London’s buzzy West End, Piccadilly Circus lives up to its name. Regularly compared to New York’s Times Square, Piccadilly Circus is the meeting place of five busy roads and is the center of London’s hustle and bustle.
Whether it’s businessmen and women on their way to work in the morning, shoppers en route to the department store-clad Oxford Street (just a few streets north) or lively club and bar hoppers passing through at night, Piccadilly is always thrumming with activity.
Once the recreational stomping grounds for King Henry VIII, this long swath of green stretching from Kensington Palace in the west to Oxford Street in the east is now open to the public and a must-visit for travelers looking for a relaxing moment away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
Among Hyde Park’s meandering foot and bike paths and flourishing flora and fauna, you’ll find a few standout attractions that are worth exploring. Watch the swans and boats glide over the serene Serpentine Lake (or rent a vessel yourself), visit the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain or stop by the Speakers’ Corner, a site for public speeches and debates since the 19th century (previously used by Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and George Orwell).
If you continue on the memorial walk you’ll likely pass through Kensington Gardens where you’ll find the ornate Albert Memorial, the Italian Gardens and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground.
London’s National Gallery
The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900
The National Gallery Collection contains over 2,300 works, including many famous works, such as van Eyck’s ‘Arnolfini Portrait’, Velázquez’s ‘Rokeby Venus’, Turner’s ‘Fighting Temeraire’ and Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’.
All major traditions of Western European painting are represented from the artists of late medieval and Renaissance Italy to the French Impressionists.
13th- to 15th-century paintings: Duccio, Uccello, van Eyck, Lippi, Mantegna, Botticelli, Dürer, Memling, Bellini
16th-century paintings: Leonardo, Cranach, Michelangelo, Raphael, Holbein, Bruegel, Bronzino, Titian, Veronese
17th-century paintings: Caravaggio, Rubens, Poussin, Van Dyck, Velázquez, Claude, Rembrandt, Cuyp, Vermeer
18th- to early 20th-century paintings: Canaletto, Goya, Turner, Constable, Ingres, Degas, Cézanne, Monet, Van Gogh
Best Things to do in London – London’s West End Theater District
Catching a show in London’s West End theater district is just as necessary as watching a play on Broadway during a trip to New York City.
The quality is some of the best in the U.K., and the constant mix of new and classic productions with local and world-renowned (think Andrew Lloyd Webber, Benedict Cumberbatch) talent excites both visitors and locals alike.
Even if you don’t consider yourself much of a theater devotee, recent travelers said the atmosphere, specifically near the lively Leicester Square, where many of the theaters are concentrated, is worth a late-night wander.
Best Things to do in London – Camden Market
Londoners and out-of-towners alike enjoy spending a morning (or afternoon) at the Camden Market. Camden Market is actually multiple markets spread out in the neighborhood of Camden.
Open daily starting at 10 a.m., it sprawls with about 200 stalls carrying close to everything, from furniture to food and lots of fashion.
To the right of the high street, you’ll find stalls filled with ethnic cuisine, fashion and souvenirs, to name a few.
But head to the left and you’ll find a wider variety of food stalls, selling a range of delicacies from pressed juice to Portuguese desserts, and even hot dogs.
This area gives way to the long and winding stables market, consisting of vendors selling vintage home decor, leather goods and clothing.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
The cathedral is one of the most famous and most recognizable sights of London.
Its dome, framed by the spires of Wren’s City churches, has dominated the skyline for over 300 years. At 365 feet (111 m) high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1963. The dome remains among the highest in the world.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is arguably the second must-see church in London.
With its imposing dome, one of the largest in the world, St. Paul’s forms a predominant spot along London’s skyline.
It’s also a survivor: Although an older incarnation burnt during the Great Fire of London, Sir Christopher Wren’s dome (completed in 1711) survived numerous World War II bombings.