Once known as Londinium to the ancient Romans who founded it, the city of London is a leading global city and capital of the United Kingdom. Owing to its rich history and plethora of cultural attractions, London lures visitors from all around the globe. Today, London is home to a diverse population of people and is viewed as a world cultural capital. This Thames-side metropolis has much to share in the way of world-class museums, restaurants, and shops.
No trip to London is complete without a visit to Buckingham Palace. Even if you just visit to come eye to eye with one of its famed guards, the palace continues to be one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations. The palace itself dates to 1703 and contains a wealth of spectacular treasures. Be sure to check the palace schedule so you can book a tour of its staterooms when you’re in town. Some highlights of the tour include the breathtaking Ballroom and chandelier-strewn Throne Room.
The British Museum is a world-class venue that was founded in 1753. It is home to renowned collections of antiquities and art from all over the globe. When perusing this famous museum, keep a look out for some of its highlights, like the Rosetta Stone or the Crouching Venus statue. Other must-see British Museum attractions include the Parthenon sculptures, mosaic of Christ, the Assyrian lion hunt reliefs, the bust of Ramesses the Great, and the Easter Island statue.
Home of Big Ben, the Palace of Westminster is easily one of London’s most recognizable architectural attractions. Located on the north bank of the Thames, the palace, also known as the House of Parliament, is where the House of Lords and House of Commons meet to govern the country. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the palace, along with Big Ben and Westminster Abby are must-see attractions when you visit London. You’ll want to have your smartphone charged so you can snap loads of pictures when you visit.
Constructed by William the Conqueror in 1078 (and expanded upon in later years), the renowned Tower of London is another of the city’s most iconic attractions. The historic castle served as a prison and fortress from 1100 to 1952. England’s Crown Jewels have been preserved in the Tower since the time of Henry III. Many visitors to London enjoy taking the colorful tours of the Tower to witness its historic features and to learn more about some of its famous prisoners like Anne, Boleyn, Elizabeth I, and Lady Jane Grey.
A popular London meeting place, Piccadilly Circus is the portal to London’s West End. Locals and visitors alike head to this area to meet with friends, enjoy its restaurants and clubs, or simply to people-watch. Often compared to Times Square in New York City, Piccadilly Circus is one of the most vibrant settings in London.
Located on the banks of the River Thames, the London Eye is a giant Ferris Wheel that offers amazing views of the city for riders. Each year, nearly four million people visit this attraction. The structure opened in 2000 and, since then, has become a popular feature of the London skyline. If you can handle its great height (it’s 443 feet tall), be sure to take a ride to experience this quintessentially modern London thrill.
Hyde Park is a royal park as well as one of the city’s largest green spaces. First established in 1536 by Henry VIII, the park has been the site of some of London’s most renowned events, like The Great Exhibition, which was featured there in 1851. The park is open throughout the year and often hosts major city events like outdoor concerts. The park contains many statues and installations of public art as well as enchanting botanical scenery.
The ancient River Thames is a London attraction all its own. Many different tour operators feature Thames River cruises. Be sure to book one so that you can witness the city’s great architectural marvels by boat. Tour operators will point out highlights like the Tower Bridge as you cruise. Some operators will even stop so you can enjoy a visit to a Thames-side pub for fish and chips.
London’s double-decker buses are world-famous. Take one from your London hotel to visit the revered Trafalgar Square. The square is home to Nelson’s Column, one of the city’s most beloved landmarks. The monument celebrates Admiral Nelson, perhaps the most famous hero of the British Navy. The square also features beautiful fountains and other historic statues.
The original Globe Theatre, which dates to 1599, was destroyed by fire; however, the replica is a popular London attraction that celebrates the life of one of England’s most revered playwrights, William Shakespeare. The theatre offers performances of Shakespearian plays that include some of the best stage actors and actresses working in the UK today. When visiting, you’ll also want to tour this beloved attraction that has been created to look just as it did in Shakespeare’s time.
The V&A is a treasure trove of art and design, with over 2.3 million objects spanning 5,000 years. From fashion and textiles to furniture and sculpture, the museum's vast collection is a testament to human creativity. Whether you're an art aficionado or a casual observer, the V&A's stunning exhibits and beautiful architecture are sure to captivate you.
Covent Garden is a vibrant hub of activity. From its stylish boutiques and high-end beauty stores to its artisanal food market, there's something for everyone. Don't miss the street performers who bring the piazza to life with their entertaining acts. Whether you're shopping, dining, or simply people-watching, Covent Garden is a delightful experience.
Step into the Natural History Museum, and you'll be greeted by a gigantic blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling - a hint of the wonders that lie within. From dinosaur fossils to exhibits on volcanoes and earthquakes, the museum offers a fascinating journey through the natural world. It's a must-visit for both kids and adults.
St. Paul's Cathedral, with its iconic dome, is an architectural masterpiece. Inside, its awe-inspiring interior is filled with intricate mosaics and carvings. Climb up to the Golden Gallery for panoramic views of London. Whether you're attending a service or simply exploring, St. Paul's offers a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Camden Market is a feast for the senses. With its eclectic mix of stalls selling everything from vintage clothes to global street food, it's a paradise for shoppers and foodies alike. The vibrant atmosphere, quirky shops, and street art make it a unique London experience.
Soaring 310 meters high, The Shard offers breathtaking views of London. The viewing gallery and open-air skydeck on the 72nd floor provide a 360-degree view of the city. By day, you can see landmarks up to 40 miles away. By night, London's sparkling city lights create a magical panorama.
Housed in a former power station, the Tate Modern is a powerhouse of modern and contemporary art. Its vast collection includes works by Picasso, Warhol, Hockney, and many others. The museum's innovative exhibitions and stunning Turbine Hall installations make it a must-visit for art lovers.
Kensington Palace, a working royal residence, is steeped in history. Explore the opulent State Rooms, discover the story of Queen Victoria in the rooms where she was born and raised, and stroll through the beautiful Sunken Garden. It's a fascinating glimpse into royal life.
The British Library is a haven for book lovers. It's home to the Magna Carta, Shakespeare's First Folio, Beatles manuscripts, and more. With over 170 million items, from books and manuscripts to stamps and sound recordings, it's a testament to the world's knowledge and creativity.
The London Dungeon offers a thrilling journey through London's murky past. With its chillingly fun live shows and scary rides, you'll encounter notorious characters like Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd. It's a unique blend of history, horror, and humor.