With 27 million tourists a year, London is one of the most visited cities in Europe and is definitely one of the major cities you have to see once in your life. There is so much to see that even native Londoners don’t know every corner of the city. So how can you find your way as a tourist and know exactly what you have to see in London?
But you have our list for that, here are the best things to do in London!
- Big Ben
- Houses of Parliament / Westminster Palace
- Westminster Abbey
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Tower of London
- Tower Bridge
- Buckingham Palace
- The Shard
- Tate Modern and Tate Britain
- British Museum
- The National Gallery
- Piccadilly Circus
- Notting Hill
- Oxford Street
- Covent Garden
- Borough Market
- Camden Market
- Hyde Park
- St. James’ Park
- London Eye
- Thames River
The Big Ben is one of the symbols of London.
The name actually only denotes the largest and heaviest bell in the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster. It weighs a total of 13.5 tons and has been beating on the hour since 1859.
The name Big Ben is often used synonymously for the entire tower.
To mark the Queen’s throne, the tower was renamed Queen Elizabeth Tower in 2012, but for most Londoners it is still called Big Ben and is still one of the most famous buildings in London.
The 96-meter tower is located directly on the Thames and its four large clocks each point in a direction.
How to get to Big Ben:
The nearest underground station is Westminster, the Jubilee, District and Circle Line run here. From the station, you can’t miss the House of Parliament and the famous bell tower.
Houses of Parliament / Westminster Palace
Welcome to the seat of the British Parliament. The Palace of Westminster was the residence of the kings until the 16th century. The palace has been used for government purposes since 1512 and was reopened in 1834 after a devastating fire.
The palace is located in the City of Westminster, right on Parliament Square. Big Ben stands on the north side of the palace.
The main rooms among more than 1,100 are the House of Commons and House of Lords. Politics are made here, unfortunately not always the best.
You can visit the House of Parliament and even take part in debates and committees. On Parliament’s website various tours.
How to get to Parliament:
The next stop is Westminster. The Jubilee, District and Circle Line run here. It is approximately 900 meters to Trafalgar Square.
Westminster Palace is only 300 meters away from the Westminster Abbey church of the same name. Over a million visitors flock to the 700 year old church every year.
The walls of the building survived 17 monarchies and were the scene of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the wedding of Kate and William.
The many tombs in Westminster Abbey are particularly impressive. Many well-known figures in British history have found their final resting place here, including Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin.
How to get to Westminster Abbey:
The closest station is Westminster. The Jubilee, District and Circle Line run here. Another option is to get off at St. James park. The District and Circle Line also run here.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s is an integral part of London’s skyline and is located in the middle of the City of London, about 300 meters from the River Thames.
The dome of the huge cathedral is larger than that of St. Peter’s in Rome .
The Queen’s Golden Jubilee was celebrated in the church in 2002 and Prince Charles and Diana were also married here.
The whole structure is absolutely impressive – not only the architecture, but also all the paintings and exhibitions. A visit is highly recommended. If you climb the 500 steps of the spiral staircase, you can enjoy a great view of London from the top of the cathedral at a height of 111 meters.
How to get to St. Pauls Cathedral:
St. Pauls Cathedral has its own subway station, the Central Line runs here.
Tower of London
Remarkably beautiful: the tower, known as the royal palace of death and torture, sounds anything but inviting, but it should definitely not be missing on your sightseeing list.
Construction began in 1066 and until the 19th century the tower was mainly used for military purposes. It served as an armory, workshop, prison and execution site. The first London Zoo was also located here.
Even some kings once called the fortress their residence. Shakespeare and Edgar Wallace let their characters play in him.
Today you can visit a huge exhibition about the building and its history. Above all, however, the crown jewels of the royals, whose value is valued at over 20 billion (!) Pounds, attract visitors in droves. Can you imagine how that sparkles and glitters?
How to get to the Tower of London:
The closest tube station is Tower Hill. The District and Circle Line run here. The DLR travels to the Tower Gateway Station. It takes 15 minutes to walk from London Bridge Station (Jubilee and Northern Line) to the Tower. Likewise from Liverpool Street Station where most lines stop.
The road bridge over the Thames was named after the nearby Tower of London. Since 1894 the bridge has opened several times a day to allow ships to pass.
It also opened on special occasions such as the Queen’s Jubilee or Winston Churchill’s funeral procession.
Built to regulate port traffic in the 19th century, Tower Bridge is still an important connecting bridge between north and south, with 40,000 vehicles crossing it every day.
The pedestrian bridges, 42 meters above the Thames, are now a bridge museum and show everything about the construction and history of the bridge. If you dare, you should definitely hike over the glass floor. If you are lucky, the bridge will open exactly then.
How to get to Tower Bridge:
The next station is Tower Hill on the north side, which is served by the District and Circle Line. On the south side it is a 10 minute walk from London Bridge Station (Jubilee and Northern Line).
Nothing represents British history better than the royal family. The British are proud of their monarchy and they show it. All over the city you can buy printed mugs, posters and royal family figures.
So of course it’s a must to visit Buckingham Palace when you’re in London. The palace is the official residence of the British Royal Family. Foreign heads of state are also received in the palace.
How to get to Buckingham Palace:
The easiest way to get to Buckingham Palace is from Green Park (Victoria and Piccadilly Line) and Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly Line). It is a 10-minute walk through the green from both stations.
The 310 meter high skyscraper was even the tallest in Europe for a short time in 2012. It is located in Southwalk, near the Thames.
Offices, apartments, restaurants, shops and a 5-star hotel are spread over 72 floors.
There is an observation deck on the 69th floor from which you have a great view of London. And if that’s not enough for you, you’ll find a second viewing platform on the 72nd floor.
On floors 31, 32 and 52 you can enjoy star cuisine and great cocktails alongside your view of London. You don’t have to pay admission here, but of course the food and drinks have their price.
Would you prefer not to leave the building at all? Then you can also stay at The Shard. Between the 34th and 52nd floors, the Shangri La hotel offers luxurious rooms with a great view.
How to get to The Shard:
The Shard has direct access to the waiting area at London Bridge Station. The Northern and Jubilee Line run here.
Tate Modern and Tate Britain
Two of my favorite museums in London are Tate Modern and Tate Britain.
While the Tate Britain primarily shows art from the Tudor period to British modernism, the Tate Modern offers art and architecture by modern artists from all over the world.
Even if you’re not that interested in art, at least a visit to the Tate Modern is definitely recommended.
The architecture of the buildings alone is stunning and still makes a rainy day in London unique. On the tenth floor of the Tate Modern you also have a great view of the city and can see the St. Pauls Cathedral or The Shard.
And best of all, you don’t have to pay admission to both museums.
How to get there:
The Tate Modern is located on the south side of the Thames in Bankside and the stations Blackfriars (Circle and Distirct Line), Monument (Northern, Circle and District Line, DLR) or Southwark (Jubilee Line) are nearby .
The Tate Britain is a little further west. The next station is Pimlico, which is used by the Victoria Line. You walk about 10 minutes to Tate Britain.
The huge room in the middle of the museum is a must-see. My first visit there made me breathless, I had never seen architecture like this before.
The British Museum is one of the largest cultural history museums in the world and has had many of the most important antiques, sculptures and architectural works in human history since it was founded in 1753.
The museum is huge and even if you take your time, you won’t be able to see everything in one day. The exhibition is so exciting and worth seeing that it attracts six million visitors to the British Museum every year.
How to get to the British Museum:
The stations Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern Line), Holborn (Central and Piccadilly Line) and Russel Square (Piccadilly Line) limit the British Museum. The route to the museum is signposted from all stations.
The National Gallery
The National Gallery is an art museum right on Trafalgar Square in the city center. It is one of the most important and largest art galleries worldwide and includes a collection of over 2,300 works from the 13th to 19th centuries.
Around 6.5 million visitors a year want to marvel at the paintings of the British royals and their followers. It is fun to hike from century to century and put yourself in the portrayed position.
Among other things, you can marvel at paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet and Leonardo da Vinci.
How to get to the National Gallery:
The Charing Cross station is located directly on Trafalgar Square, from where you can walk to the Gallery in just three minutes. The Bakerloo and Northern Line run here. Other stations nearby are Piccadilly Circus (Bakerloo and Piccadilly Line) and Leicester Square (Piccadilly and Northern Line).
Welcome to the heart of the West End. The public square, completed in 1819, is considered the hub of London’s main streets. This is where Regents Street crosses Piccadilly Street.
The glowing billboards make you feel a little like Times Square in New York. For example, you can find one of the largest Coca-Cola advertisements in the world at Piccadilly Circus.
Due to its location, the place is very touristy, especially on weekends and in the evening, the crowds flock to the musicals. Nevertheless, the place is wonderful and you should definitely let yourself be carried away by the lights and the atmosphere.
How to get to Piccadilly Circus:
Piccadilly Circus has its own subway station. The Bakerloo Line and Piccadilly Line run here.
Notting Hill is definitely one of the most photogenic places in the city. The younger ones among us would probably say “instagramable”.
The streets of Notting Hill are characterized by colorful houses and flowers. Strolling through the streets of Notting Hill can make you feel a little like Julia Roberts or Hugh Grant in the film of the same name.
Along the Portobello Road is the market of the same name, which stretches along the road for over a kilometer. The market on Portobello Road is one of the most beautiful markets in London with second-hand fashion, antiques and goods of all kinds.
The main market is open on Friday and Saturday. During the week, residents buy fresh fruit and vegetables there. Sometimes you can see real movie stars as well as bargain hunters.
The Notting Hill Carnival takes place in August. Europe’s largest street festival presents itself as a huge parade with the most colorful characters: definitely worth seeing.
How to get to Notting Hill:
The easiest way is to drive to Notting Hill Gate. The Central, District and Circle Line stop here. Alternatively, you can drive to Westbourne Park Station or Ladbroke Grove Station (both Hammersmith & City and Circle Line), from where you can walk ten minutes to Portobello Road.
The first Chinese restaurants settled in London in the 1950s. The small district in the West End has been called Chinatown since the 1970s because it has so many Asian residents.
On the streets of the district you feel like you are in the Far East. Chinese characters can be seen everywhere, dragons and lanterns adorn the shops and baked ducks hang in the shop windows of the restaurants. Even the street signs are bilingual in Chinatown.
So if you want to take a short trip to Asia, you have the opportunity here.
In addition to countless Chinese restaurants, you can choose between Korean, Malaysian, Vietnamese or Japanese cuisine.
It is also exciting to visit a Chinese supermarket or one of the Asian bakeries on site, which delight with unusual cakes and other baked goods on display.
How to get to Chinatown:
China Town is relatively central in the West End. The closest stations are Leicester Square (Piccadilly and Northern Line) and Piccadilly Circus (Piccadilly and Bakerloo Line).
Oxford Street is one of the most important and famous shopping streets in the city and one of the best-selling in Europe. When it comes to shopping in London, the street is often the first port of call for tourists.
Oxford Street stretches 1.9 kilometers in the Mayfair district and offers everything from luxury brands to cheap goods
How to get to Oxford Street:
Oxford Circus station is in the middle of the street, the Victoria and Bakerloo Line run here. Other nearby stops include Bond Street (Central and Jubilee Line), Marble Arch (Central Line) and Tottenham Court Road (Central and Northern Line).
Covent Garden is a theater and entertainment district in the West End. Often only the old Apple Market in the car-free square is associated with the term “Covent Garden”, but there is so much more in the district.
The London Museum of Transport, the Royal Opera House, the London Film Museum and and the Seven Dials are just a few things to see in the area. In addition to all the museums and theaters, the Apple Market is one of the most beautiful photo opportunities in London.
The elegant halls invite you to stroll and stroll. Above all, the many singers and street showmen make the market something special. In Covent Garden you will find all kinds of entertainment options as well as an infinite number of restaurants and bars.
How to get to the Covent Garden:
Covent Garden has its own underground station. The Piccadilly Line runs here. It is only a 10 minute walk to Leicester Square and Chinatown.
Borough Market is a real London veteran. It has existed since the 13th century and has always taken place in the same place near the Thames.
Today the Borough Market is a very impressive food market, which is also used as a film set, e.g. B. for Bridget Jones or Harry Potter.
Fruit, vegetables, natural products, meat and fish are available at more than 130 stands. In addition to regional products, you will also find goods from all over the world. For example, the Germans living in London are happy about the German bratwurst, which is sold on site.
How to get to Borough Market: Borough Market is located directly at London Bridge Station. The Jubilee and Northern Line run here.
The Camden Market is not just any market. It consists of a collection of different markets on Camden High Street in the Camden district. Over 300,000 people visit over 1,000 shops in North London every week.
Vintage fashion, art, street food and small shops settled here 50 years ago and tourists love the little journey back in time to the 1970s and 80s as much as locals do.
The Camden Market is divided into three different markets:
- On the Buck Street Market, right next to the subway station, you will find a number of stalls with cheap bulk goods.
- The Stables Market, along Chalk Farm Road, offers alternative and vintage fashion, furniture and second-hand goods.
- The oldest market is located directly on the Regent’s Canal. The Camden Lock Market offers high-quality, self-made jewelry and clothing as well as decoration and the finest street food.
How to get to Camden Market:
The Northern Line goes to Camden Town or Chalkfarm stations to take you to the markets.
Hyde Park is one of the public, royal parks in the heart of London. With its 1.4 square kilometers, it is one of the largest and best-known inner-city parks worldwide.
The Serpentine Lake in the middle invites you to swim in summer. Many Londoners spend their free time here and enjoy the green. Treat yourself to a little break from all the tourist attractions and have a picnic in the park.
Take a look at the Princess Diana memorial garden, stroll through the park or visit the wonderfully landscaped flower gardens.
Salute shots are often fired in the park on the birthdays of the Royal Family. In addition, several open air events take place all year round.
How to get to Hyde Park:
The closest stations around Hyde Park are Hyde Park Corner (Piccadilly Line), Knightsbridge (Piccadilly Line), Marble Arch (Central Line) and Lancaster Gate (Piccadilly Line).
St. James’ Park
The oldest of the royal parks in London spans 23 hectares and is located in the City of Westminster district, in close proximity to Buckingham Palace and Downing Street.
With a little luck, you will find owls on the lake in the middle of the park, as well as many woodpeckers, swans and lots of squirrels. There are even pelicans. They are fed daily at 2:30 p.m.
A very pretty place is the romantic bridge in the park with a view of Buckingham Palace.
How to get to St. James ‘Park
The next station is St. James’ Park Station, here the District and Circle Line run. The Westminster station (Jubilee, Circle and District Line) is also not far away.
Harrods is the most famous department store in London and one of the most traditional shopping temples in the world.
The rich and beautiful have been shopping at Harrods since 1834 and for a long time the department store was also the official purveyor to the British royal family.
The escalators alone, which combine modern technology with traditional elements, will enchant you and make your stay in the department store something very special.
It is really easy to get lost in the huge building, as it is very winding and borders on business. Especially in the run-up to Christmas, the department store is a wonderful place to get into the Christmas mood and buy some gifts.
In addition to all the brands, there is also a souvenir department and a Christmas world, full of great souvenirs for at home.
How to get to Harrods:
The nearest underground station is Knightsbridge, which you can reach with the Piccadilly Line. Especially at Christmas, however, it is a good idea to drive up to Hyde Park Corner (also Piccadilly Line) and then set off on foot, before you can drink a mulled wine in the huge Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
The London Eye is now one of the city’s landmarks, as is Big Ben or Tower Bridge.
The 135 meter high Ferris wheel is the largest in Europe and is located in the heart of the city on the south bank of the Thames. Actually it should only be built for 5 years, but due to the great success it was left standing.
The gondolas offer space for 25 to 28 people and the journey takes about 30 minutes. Depending on the weather conditions, you can even look up to 40 kilometers on London’s sunny days, sometimes even up to Windsor the Royals.
How to get to the London Eye:
The closest stations are Westminster (Jubilee, Circle and District Line) and Waterloo (Bakerloo, Northern, Jubilee and Waterloo & City Line). It takes about 10 minutes to walk from both stations to the London Eye.
The Thames runs right through London and forms many small canals that are characteristic of the big city. With a length of 346 kilometers (215 miles), the river is the second largest river in Great Britain after the Severn, which originated in Wales. So you can say that The Thames is the longest river that is entirely in England.
The Thames is ideal for wonderful walks and boat trips . If this is your first time in London, then don’t miss the opportunity to take a boat trip with a guide. So you can find out everything you need to know about the various sights of London and you can relax your legs a bit and rest so that you are ready for other attractions afterwards. The Thames is beautiful to look at both day and night. When the illuminated buildings and bridges are reflected in the wide river in the evening, it creates a wonderful picture. Even during the day it is relaxed to watch the rippling water, which is reflected by the sun. If you are in London, there is no way around the Thames. And that’s a good thing, because the beautiful river is aan absolute must-see on a London vacation!