London is a city of great beauty and adventure, yet it can be frustrating for several reasons. Large crowds and long queues threaten to derail any magical holidays to the great English capital. Knowing about the best sights can allow any visitor to plan an itinerary that will make a visit to London smooth and enjoyable. You will find below top ten things to do in London!
Top Ten Things To Do In London
1. The Tower of London and the Tower Bridge
English royal history doesn’t get any better than a visit to the Tower of London. With original buildings dating from 1078, the tower developed over the centuries and brought with it much infamy; it was a place of imprisonment, torture, and death for both criminals and royalty. The tower is now home to the crown jewels, many of which can be viewed by the public, along with excellent displays of historic weaponry. A tour led by a Beefeater, one of the Tower’s famous gatekeepers, is a must. Adjacent to the Tower is the beautiful and impressive Tower Bridge, well worth a visit and a few dozen photographs.
2.Visit a Free Gallery or Museum
One of the great things about London is that many of its top galleries and museums are free – great for those travellers seeking budget options in the UK and Europe. London has some of the best Museums in the world: the Tate Modern Art Gallery rivals the Museum of Modern Art in New York, while the Natural History Museum is also world renowned and will keep kids entertained. Other free museums include the British Museum, the Museum of London, the Science Museum, the RAF Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Tate Modern.
3. See a Performance at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
A brilliantly detailed restored version of Shakespeare’s original Globe Theatre can be found on the South Bank near the Tate Modern. Seeing a performance of one of the Bard’s plays in this amazing natural setting, which perfectly evokes 16th century live theatre, is a must for any Shakespeare fan searching for the history of the Bard in England. Plays run mostly during summer with tickets reasonably priced starting from under £10.
4. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
Big Ben, standing alongside the stately and stirring Houses of Parliament, should be near the top of anyone’s must-see list of London landmarks. This most iconic image of London is best appreciated from Westminster Bridge where a photo or ten will be required.
5. London’s Best Views from the London Eye
Located immediately across the river from Big Ben, it’s impossible to miss the striking circular London Eye. More than merely a gigantic Ferris wheel, the London Eye takes a full forty minutes for one rotation and carries visitors up in glass pods allowing perfect views of London. The pods hold around 15 people and allow a full 360 degree view of London from its prestigious centre. Booking tickets online, well in advance, is greatly advised.
6. A Royal Visit to Buckingham Palace
An obvious choice really, but for many good reasons; Buckingham Palace is the home of the Queen and one of the most famous Royal Palaces in the world. Various tours run, which should be booked in advance from the Royal Collection Website. The changing of the guard occurs most days, usually around midday, but check the changing of the guard website for specific daily times.
7. Dazzling Churches: Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of London, and thus one of the most important buildings in mostly Anglican England. With a dome inspired by St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, and an interior of great detail and eloquence, the Cathedral is well worth a visit. More impressive externally is England’s famous Westminster Abbey, although its interior is almost as ornate and jaw dropping. Note that both churches have a considerable entry fee: 15 pounds for adults at the Abbey and 11 pounds for St Paul’s Cathedral, which differs from most Cathedrals in Europe, which are generally free.
8. Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square
The public Squares of Piccadilly and Trafalgar are noteworthy for both their beauty and their significance as central points in London. Trafalgar is blessed with an amazing fountain and some excellent statues, including the renowned Nelson’s Column. Piccadilly Circus is like a miniature English version of Times Square in New York, but the setting and its old-city historical look is visually appealing.
9. Winston Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms
The bunker from which, during WWII, Sir Winston Churchill and his associates managed the British and allied defense has been restored and is now open to visitors. Heading below the surface and into the dark and intriguing history of England’s defense against the Nazis, this museum is very unique and offers an incredible insight into British history.
10. Cool Shopping at Camden Markets
Shopping markets are a dime a dozen in London, so it’s especially impressive that the Camden Markets should stand out from the crowd. Aimed at a more alternative sub-culture, the Camden Markets are the sort of place that any tourist can get great satisfaction from simply wandering around and soaking up the liveliness of the crowds. Almost anyone will find something worth buying and a great food market is adjacent, offering cheap food from almost any culture you can think of.