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Best Things to do in London

London is the capital of the United Kingdom and England. Located in the south of the country, it’s a great base for travelling the length and breadth of the UK. But first, you’ll want to make some time to spend there!

London is one of the most exciting cities in the world – think world-class museums, hundreds of green spaces, and some of the best places to shop, eat, and drink in the UK. Not only that but it’s also full of historic buildings such as the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and Tower Bridge.

If you’re looking for things to do in London, you’re never going to feel short changed.

In this post, our team of travellers will run you through the absolute best things to do in London. We’ve also included awesome day trips from London, for when you need an escape from all the hustle and bustle!

Let’s jump in!

Table of Contents

Top Things to Do in London

The Tower of London is a must see, as one of the most recognisable landmarks in London. This place boasts over 1,000 years of history and it’s the home of the British Crown Jewels. It’s also one of four UNESCO World Heritage sites in London. Keep an eye out for the resident ravens. It’s said that if they ever leave the tower, the kingdom will fall! From a practical point of view, it’s a good idea to visit the tower early in the morning. It can get very busy!

If you want to feel like a local during your trip to London, you’ll want to head to the pubs. Now, there are numerous pub tours of London, but why go on one where you can find the pubs yourself? This hidden tour will show you some of the coolest quintessential English pubs in the heart of London. You’ll stop for a pint (or drink of your choice) in four of the pubs which were popular drinking spots of Dickens and Shakespeare!

For those who are looking to get a bird’s eye view of London, the city’s eye should be on your itinerary! One of the tallest observation wheels in Europe, it’s located on the South Bank of the Thames – just over the river from Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. If you’re looking for a particularly special or romantic time on the eye, try and ride it around sunset, and make sure to get your tickets in advance!

There’s so much to do and see in London that you might be overwhelmed trying to make it all happen – that’s where this hop-on hop-off tour comes in! It stops at all the major London attractions, including Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and more. Your feet will thank you when you’re sat atop the top deck in the sun.

Free Things to Do in London

There are almost 200 museums in London – only 4 cities in the world boast more! But the best thing about London’s museums is that the majority of them are free. Head to the Natural History Museum to see one of the world’s most impressive dinosaur collections, The British Museum for over 8 million impressive artefacts or the Science Museum to keep the kids entertained. 

#6 Go for a walk in the park

Almost half of London is green space., so even right in the city centre, you’ve got some awesome places to catch a breath and surround yourself with nature. Head to St. James’ Park to search for the pelicans that were a gift from the Russian ambassador 400 years ago. Or, put your picnic blanket down by the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park and enjoy a delicious picnic lunch!

#7 Shops or window shop

London is home to some of the best shopping in the world, whether you’re looking to splash some cash or do a little window shopping. A must is Harrod’s in Knightsbridge, one of the most famous luxury department stores in the world. Or, see where the Royal Family get their grocery shopping at Fortnum and Mason! Travelling with kids? Don’t miss the biggest sweet shop in Europe – M&Ms World in Leicester Square!

Unusual Things to Do in London

If you want to take home a souvenir like no other from your trip to London, we might just have found the perfect class for you. This awesome Airbnb experience will see you learning the fine art of taxidermy – and don’t worry, it’s been ethically sourced! Not only will you get to create your own animal model, but you’ll also enjoy tea and biscuits with one of the city’s leading taxidermists!

Don’t fancy that walking tour in London? Cycling not your thing? One of the coolest ways to see the city (especially in summer) is by kayak. From the water of the Regent’s Canal, you’ll get a different perspective of the city. It may not have the big ticket attractions like the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, but that’s why kayaking is such a great escape – there won’t be any crowds to contend with! 

#10 Churchill’s War Rooms

Part of the Imperial War Museums, Churchill’s War Rooms give you a chance to see what it was like to live in London during the Second World War. The underground nerve centre below Westminster was where the Prime Minister and his team directed the war from, away from the ears of foreign spies! You’ll see everything from the Transatlantic Telephone Room all the way into Churchill’s kitchen.

Best Things to Do in London with Kids

#11 Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour and Transfers

Those who are touring London with kids may want to spend a little time away from the city centre. One of the best places to do that is at the Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour. Want to step onboard the Hogwarts Express? Drink butterbeer at the three broomsticks? Or get a photo outside of Harry’s childhood house on Privet Drive? All of that can be done on this awesome tour which leaves from central London!

#12 Madame Tussauds London

One of the most fun experiences in London, kids and adults alike are sure to love the iconic Madame Tussaud’s. Come face to face with some of the most famous people in the world, including the British Royal Family, movie stars, and characters from throughout history! There are also lots of cool interactive and immersive activities here for all ages.

#13 KidZania London Experience

Want to give your kids a minute to really run free? If so, let them loose in this place – KidZania! This kid-sized city has a whole manner of educational activities – they can tend new-born babies as a nurse, train to be a pilot, or read the news as though they’re on the BBC! There are more than 60 exhibits – who knows, your little one might find what they want to do in their future career!

Best Romantic Things to Do in London

#14 Visit to the Shard

If you’re travelling to London with your other half, you’ll need to do some extra planning to sweep them off their feet. So why not do it at one of the most recognisable landmarks in London: The Shard? This incredible building is over 300 metres high, making it the tallest building in the city! From the 72nd floor, you’ll be able to get awesome views from the 360-degree observation deck. Prefer not to be in the open air? The Shard Bar is a really special place for you to enjoy a drink or something to eat.

#15 Kew Gardens

Another of London’s four UNESCO World Heritage sites could be a place that you and your other half make some very special memories! Kew Gardens – also known as the Royal Botanic Gardens are so much more than a large collection of flowers and plants! You’ll see botanical art, have the chance to stroll along a treetop walkway, and even experience an exotic rainforest! This will certainly make up for any time you’ve forgotten to buy flowers for an anniversary or a birthday.

#16 Notting Hill Rom-Com Walking Tour

Richard Curtis has produced some of the most iconic British rom-coms, including Love Actually and Notting Hill. If you and the one you love have been seduced by those movies, this awesome London walking tour is sure to have the same effect. See the home of Love Actually’s Juliet, the blue door of Notting Hill, and countless other spots where Hugh Grant has been bumbling and charming. You’ll also get a chance to see Portobello Market, a great place to stop off for food once your tour is over!

Best Things to Do in London at night

#17 Jack the Ripper Interactive Guided Walking Tour

This one is not for the faint of heart! However, for all you true crime fans out there – this Jack the Ripper tour is just the thing to get you out of your hotel or hostel after dark! You’ll not only visit the sites where some of the Ripper’s heinous crimes occurred, but learn about 19th century London and even investigate the crimes yourself. The identity of the killer is still unknown, so who knows, you might crack the case!

#18 Comedy Horror Show: London Ghost Bus Tour

Want to learn about London’s ghostly past and have a laugh at the same time? One of the more unusual activities in London, this Comedy Horror Show aboard a London bus is certainly not to be missed. It’ll be narrated by a creepy conductor who knows all the spooky spots of the city, from the West End to South of the River. There are costumed actors and technical tricks too, so you can be assured of the scariest night time tour in town!

#19 Discover London’s Secret Bars

London has some of the best nightlife in the world, but it can be confusing finding bars and clubs, and finding cabs to take you back and forth. Instead, take this secret bar tour where your only focus will be enjoying the drink in front of you – some of the bars on this tour even have exclusive cocktails!

Great Things to Do in London in Winter

London’s weather can be pretty unpredictable during the winter, so here are three indoor activities that will leave you feeling not only warm, but also that you haven’t wasted a day in the capital!

#20 London Pottery Workshop

This pottery class means you can re-create that famous scene from Ghost (if you’re with your partner, at least) and come up with a unique personal creation to take home. You’ll learn skills such as hand-building and using the potter’s wheel. Most importantly, it’ll be a lot of fun!

#21 Afternoon Tea at Grosvenor House

If you’re thinking about doing something traditional when planning a trip to London, may we suggest afternoon tea? This quintessential British day out will see you enjoy finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, and of course – tea! There are many places you can partake in afternoon tea in London, but Grosvenor House is supposedly where a 19th century aristocrat ordered her servants to bring her tea and cake before dinner. Thus, afternoon tea was born! The tea lounge looks out onto the gorgeous Hyde Park, where you can go for a stroll after if the weather’s not too cold or wet.

#22 Homemade Ramen and Gyoza with a cook

Not traditional British cuisine, but what’s more warming than a bowl of hot soup on a cold winter’s day? This Japanese cooking class means you’ll get to learn how to cook not one, but two of Japan’s most delicious dishes – ramen and gyoza! Not only will you have a great time, but you’ll also learn a skill that you can take home and impress friends and family with. The ingredients can be found in your local supermarket, so you can recreate your recipes at home. 

3 Best Day Trips from London

If you’re spending longer in the capital, or simply want to take a day to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, here are three of the best day trips in London!

#1 Stonehenge

Just two hours from the centre of London, you’ll find one of the most mysterious and incredible attractions in the entire United Kingdom. Nobody truly knows who created Stonehenge or why, but there are plenty of theories. What everyone can agree on is that this huge stone circle is extremely impressive. The lightest stones are the weight of two cars, while some are 5 or 6 times that weight! And they’re not from close by either – some were brought from as far away as Wales! No wonder it’s though that it took over 1,000 years to construct this incredible monument, which you should definitely visit if you have the chance!

#2 Oxford

Another great option for one of the best day trips from London is Oxford. This city is world’s away from the hustle and bustle of London, and you may even feel like you’ve stepped back in time! Famed for its university, a walk or a tour around its campuses can show you some architectural gems, as well as filming locations for Harry Potter! It’s less than an hour from London to Oxford on the train, so you can easily get back in time for any dinner reservations you might have in the capital! 

#3 Lake District

Ambitious it may be, but if you’ve got a chance to see the UK’s best loved and most visited national park, it’s better to spend a day here than no time at all! This UNESCO World Heritage site is where to go if you want to enjoy hill-walking, climb the highest peak in England (Scafell Pike) or if you’ve just got a day, visit quaint and pretty towns like Keswick and Kendal!

Top Tours in London

#1 Harry Potter Guided Walking Tour

Find out which Hogwarts house you belong in and visit sites from the movies!

#2 Tower of London and St. Paul’s Exclusive Walking Tour

Kills two birds with one stone (no ravens please) with two of the top historic attractions in London on this tour!

#3 Westminster to Greenwich River Thames Cruise

See the city from the water and hop off at one of London’s four UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Maritime Greenwich.

#4 Shoreditch Graffiti Street Art Tour

See murals, alleyways, graffiti and street art in the colourful Shoreditch neighbourhood.

#5 London Electric-scooter tour

Who said it had to be tiring getting around London? This electric scooter tour is fun, interesting, and it won’t be too much on the legs!

#6 London’s Best Kept Secret Bike Tour

Get off the beaten track on the Wandle Trail through South London and end the day at a quaint riverside pub.

#7 The Authentic British Food Tour

Explore South Bank and Borough Market to see that British food deserves a little better than it’s unfavourable reputation on the international stage!

#8 London by Night: 90-minute open top bus tour

See London landmarks like Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, and Harrod’s lit up against the night sky.

Final Thoughts on the best Things to Do in London

So, that concludes our list of the best things to do in London. Whether you want to do a cooking class in a local’s home, take a walking tour around all the top attractions, or get away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a day, there’s something to do in London for you!

For more useful and handy London travel trips and tricks, check out Seen London. Our expert travel writers know not only all the best things to do, but some hidden gems when it comes to eating, drinking, and finding accommodation too. With our help, you’re sure to have an unforgettable vacation in London!

Now that we’ve helped you plan your trip to London a little more, all that’s left is for us to wish you an incredible trip to the British capital. We hope you have an awesome time!

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