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40 Best Things To Do In London

From museums to neighborhoods, markets to parks. 

The capital of the United Kingdom is a testament to the expansive reach of the British Empire. From the former factories and skyscrapers of the East End (actually the oldest epicenter of the city) to the genteel neighborhoods and imperial monuments of the West (think Big Ben and Buckingham Palace), London represents a confluence of artistic movements, cultural renaissances, and bold innovations in the heart of Europe. Today, this sprawling, eclectic city is inhabited by lively bars and world-class restaurants that shape it as a truly global metropolis. 

With so much to do, see, and eat, it's hard to know how best to plan out your itinerary for optimal sightseeing—whether it's your first time visiting or your fifth. This list of the best things to do in London is a great place to start. 

But remember—no list of things to do can compare to a custom-built itinerary from Journy. Leave it to the experts to build a daily travel plan from scratch just for you—complete not only with activities, but also restaurants, cafés, bars, transportation, and accommodation.


1Eat Your Way Through Borough Market

Address

8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL, United Kingdom
For the first-time visitor, it's hard to figure out what among the stalls is worth the stomach space. While there are a few iconic market foods, that doesn't mean those are the ones you should be eating. Our local London experts have run through the must-visit market stalls to help you figure out which ones are right for you to fall in love with the market.

If You Don't Mind Waiting For Sit-Down Pasta, Dine At Padella

Padella is a restaurant located on the side of the market and hits the sweet spots between hip, not-expensive, and so-good-you'll-want-seconds. Since the restaurant is none too large and very popular, you're going to have to wait for your table.

Once you're sitting down, here's your game plan: start with the carpaccio or burrata, then move on to pici cacio e pepe, pappardelle with eight-hour beef shin ragù or fettuccine with 'nduja. Fortunately, the portions are sized like an Italian's primo piatto, giving you enough stomach space to devour more than one.

If You Don't Mind Getting Your Hands Dirty, Order A Grilled Cheese Sandwich From Kappacasein

Sure, a cloak of raclette oozing over new potatoes might give you the better cheese pull photo for your Instagram, but if you want crispy cheesy delight, Kappacasein's grilled cheese stuffed with garlic, onions and leeks is a must.

Made with Poilane's famous sourdough (which you can buy at Waitrose supermarkets in London), this sandwich comes with a thin layer of cheddar crisped on the edges for max deliciousness.

If You Want To Understand What All The Fuss About British Pies Are About,Get A Proper One At Pieminster

While Pieminster has become a mini empire producing proper pies, you know you'll get the freshest ones when you head to their Borough Market kiosk.

The options range from traditional meat pies to veg-friendly renditions, and all are delicious. Pies are heated to order and you can even get a range of traditional sides like mushy peas to go with.

If You're Craving Healthy Street Food, Grab A Dosa From Horn Ok Please

The name Horn Ok Please comes from a slogan frequently emblazoned on the back of vehicles in India. But in London, it's the name for some of the best vegetarian-friendly and totally delicious Indian street food. The offerings range from a dense moong dal dosas to the aloo tikka chaat, which has more textures and flavors than we have words to describe.

2Get a Dose of Modern Art at Tate Modern

Address

Bankside
A modern art gallery in the heart of London’s Southwark Borough, the Tate Modern is Britain's national gallery of international modern art. It’s part of the Tate family of galleries, which also includes Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, and Tate St Ives.

Access to the permanent collections are free, but special exhibits are paid (about £16 pounds and definitely worth it).

Special exhibitions in 2020 include a look at the life of Andy Warhol, and a massive display of the works of Steve McQueen.
Sounds like something you’d like to experience? Trust the experts at Journy to build an itinerary from scratch just for you with all the must-see sights and hidden gems.

3Visit The Tower of London

Address

London EC3N 4AB, United Kingdom
The Tower of London is a historic castle along the River Thames in London’s city center. 

Formerly a royal residence, the Tower is most famously known as a prison. It was here that Sir Walter Raleigh was held after a failed plot against King James I. 

The Tower of London is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and, as the home of the Crown Jewels, has become one of London’s most popular tourist attractions.

4Tour Westminster Abbey

Address

Westminster Abbey, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA, UK
Westminster Abbey is easily one of the most recognizable churches in Britain—and arguably the entire world. As the hub of British royal activity, this Gothic monstrosity—which is located west of the Houses of Parliament and Palace of Westminster—is the site of coronations and other significant ceremonies. Tours lead visitors through the Shrine and Tomb of Saint Edward the Confessor, the Royal Tombs, the Poet's corner, the Cloisters, and the Nave. 

5Shop (And Grab a Bite) at Old Spitalfields Market

Address

Old Spitalfields Market, Brushfield St, London E1 6AA, UK
Old Spitalfields Market has been a shopping hub for over 100 years and continues to house trendy, cutting-edge shops, restaurants, and cafes. Check out some of the boutiques (Androuet, Barbour), one of the restaurants (Bleecker Street Burger, Blixen,) or shop the stalls, whose vendors vary from day to day. Sunday are the big market days, while weekdays see less traffic and eclectic vendors.

6Visit Shakespeare's Globe

Address

21 New Globe Walk
The Globe is the premier location in London to see revivals of Shakespeare's classics. The theater stands a few hundred yards from the original globe where Shakespeare himself saw his plays first performed by English-playing companies. That building was shut down in 1642 when England’s Puritan administration ordered the closure of all the theaters. No longer of use, it was demolished to make room for tenements in 1644.

7Wander Around Neal's Yard

Address

Neal's Yard, London WC2H 9PJ, UK
Neal’s Yard is a hidden area near Covent Garden that’s easily missed if you're not looking for it. There are only two alleyways leading into the Yard, which give way to a colorful and quaint treasure trove in the center of London. Upon entering the secret haven you’ll be rewarded with the city’s sweetest destinations, such as Neal’s Yard Bakery, the Remedy Shop, a New Age bookstore, vegan cafes, and a relaxing tea room.

8Tour The Palace of Westminster

Address

Westminster, London SW1A 0AA, United Kingdom
The Palace of Westminster—also known as the Houses of Parliament—is the oldest royal palace in London, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of most recognized buildings in the world (due in large part to its clock face, nicknamed Big Ben). It’s located on the north bank of the River Thames. 

The existing Gothic palace—constructed in 1854 by famous British architect Charles Barry—is the current seat of British government, where the House of Lords and The House of Commons reside. Parts of the palace have, however, been in continuous use since the first half of the 11th century.

Today, you can marvel at the palace for free from the outside, or book a guided tour of the building or nearby Westminster Abbey, where some of Britain’s most famous figures are buried. 

9Spend an Afternoon at The British Museum

Address

Great Russell St
This stunning museum is a treasure trove for history buffs. Dedicated to human history, art, and culture, exhibits range from from 'Life and sole: footwear from the Islamic world' to 'Celts: art and identity.' The museum is organized into 10 curated departments. It would take at least a full day to see them all. If you are going to be selective, the Ancient Egypt section is a highlight.

10Take in Tower Bridge

Address

Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP, United Kingdom
When you see Tower Bridge, you might think it is London Bridge—the two are often confused by tourists. However, Tower Bridge is the more impressive of the two.

Originally built between 1886 and 1894, the Tower Bridge is recognizable thanks to its distinctive towers, which support the bridge. It also houses the paid Tower Bridge Experience, which includes the new glass floor and panoramic views from the high-level Walkways and Victorian Engine Rooms. 

The Tower Bridge is near the Tower of London and is an essential part of any walking tour of London.

11Walk Around Trafalgar Square

Address

Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London WC2N 5DN, United Kingdom
A short walk from Westminster Abbey is Trafalgar Square, an expansive public area filled with bustling crowds, art, and activity. The square is home to the National Gallery.

It’s also known for Nelson’s Column, a monument built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson who died in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. It’s flanked by four bronze lion statues on plinths, but it’s the fourth plinth that attracts the most attention since this plinth houses contemporary artworks, including, most recently, a gigantic blue cockerel.

12Marvel at St. Paul's Cathedral

Address

St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD, United Kingdom
St Paul’s Cathedral sits atop Ludgate Hill, the highest point in London, and has overseen royal celebrations of all kinds, including funerals and anniversaries.

Originally built in 604 AD, the cathedral has been built and rebuilt no less than five times in its history, most notably after the Great Fire of 1666. 

This working church still holds service every day, but with a sightseeing ticket you can visit during quiet times and see for yourself the intricate design of the dome and altar.

13Tour The Churchill War Rooms

Address

Clive Steps, King Charles St, London SW1A 2AQ, UK
The Churchill War Rooms is a London museum that makes up one branch of the Imperial War Museum.

Stop by to explore the secret headquarters of Sir Winston Churchill, which served as the underground hub of Britain’s war effort. 

Engaging and interactive, the museum portrays all ninety years of Churchill’s life. Make your way through the five ‘chapters,' and you’ll leave with an intimate understanding of his childhood, his time as British Prime Minister, and the ‘Gathering Storm’ World War II period.

14Go For a Ride on The London Eye

Address

London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom
The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the south bank of the River Thames—but this is no ordinary carnival ride. The entire circuit takes 30 minutes, and passengers ride in futuristic-looking, egg-shaped glass capsules that allow for amazing, 360-degree views of the city and all its famous landmarks. Lines are long, so be sure to buy your tickets in advance—you can even book a package that will let you sip Champagne as you take in the view! ProTip: It’s less crowded at night, and the views are even better.

15Get Lost in Harrods

Address

87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL, United Kingdom
Founded in 1849, this historic department store is a favorite of locals and tourists alike.

Their motto? “All things for all people, everywhere,” and it certainly lives up to it. From beauty to technology, perfume to fine jewelry—not to mention an extensive food hall—Harrods does it all. 

Looking for a winter wonderland? Visit the store at Christmas to see their elaborate decorations and famous Christmas tree.

16Walk Along Millennium Bridge

Address

Thames Embankment, London, United Kingdom
One of the most striking of the Thames bridges, the Millennium Bridge—officially known as the London Millennium Footbridge—was the result of a 1996 competition to find its design.

The steel suspension bridge links Bankside with the City of London. And if it feels a little precarious when you’re crossing it, there’s a reason for that. The type of suspension used in its construction has earned it the most British of nicknames: the Wobbly Bridge.

17Visit The National Gallery

Address

Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, United Kingdom
Founded in 1824, the National Gallery houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.

Situated in Trafalgar Square, this is a perfect addition for any traveler—first time or repeat visitors alike. 

See works by masters such as Vermeer, van Gogh, and Monet alongside exhibitions dedicated to Titian.

18Stock Up on Tea at Fortnum & Mason

Address

181 Piccadilly, London W1A 1ER, United Kingdom
One of the world’s leading luxury department stores, Fortnum & Mason is home to a host of gift baskets, premium tea and coffee, spices, and sweet treats. 

Grab high tea at their 300-year-old Diamond Jubilee Salon in Piccadilly, where you can sip one of their famous tea blends while you munch on finger sandwiches and perfect scones with clotted cream.

19Look For Antiques at Brick Lane Market 

Address

91 Brick Ln, London E1 6QR, United Kingdom
The Brick Lane Market is actually a collection of markets that gather on Brick Lane every Sunday—near the Tower Hamlets of east London. Here you'll find street stalls overflowing with antiques, clothes, and bric-a-brac at bargain prices. 

20Visit The Victoria & Albert Museum

Address

Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL, United Kingdom
The Victoria & Albert Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of decorative arts, from Asian ceramics to Middle Eastern rugs, Chinese paintings, Western furniture, fashion from all ages, and modern-day domestic appliances. The museum has more than 100 galleries, so you’ll have to pick and choose—or take one of their free, one-hour guided tours. Their rotating temporary exhibitions are also worth a look. 

21Browse The Stalls at Portobello Market

Address

Portobello Rd, London, UK
One of the world’s largest antique and fashion markets, Portobello Road features over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of collectible you can imagine. In the heart of the market, you’ll find food, fashion, and rare or unusual household goods. 

To the north, there’s vintage clothing and accessories, collectables, and bric-a-brac. On Saturdays at Portobello Green, you’ll find more new fashion and less vintage than any other day.

22Walk Along Oxford Street

Address

Oxford St, London, UK
Oxford Street is one of the most historic shopping streets in London—Selfridges built its empire here. These days, the street is home to the famous department store and loads more—Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, and budget shopping at Primark, to name a few. Be advised, Oxford Street can get extremely busy, especially during holidays. But for shopaholics, this is the place to be.

23Visit The Natural History Museum

Address

Cromwell Rd, London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom
With its glowing Victorian architecture, the Natural History Museum London is a sight in and of itself. But so much more awaits inside this beautiful building that’s filled with rich, sprawling exhibits covering every part of the natural world. A zone devoted to the dinosaurs will get your inner archaeologist all riled up, while the Darwin Centre will give you an up-close view of more than 28 million species of insects. The museum in its entirety cares for a staggering 80 million specimens spanning billions of years. 

It’s one of three major museums along Exhibition Road in London’s South Kensington neighborhood—the others being the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum.

24Wander Through Kensington Gardens

Address

London W2 2UH, UK
Kensington Gardens was originally a section of Hyde Park designated for William III’s residence at Kensington Palace. Today, the gardens are only separated by the Serpentine and the Long Water and feature many beloved areas like the Peter Pan statue and Princess Diana’s Memorial Playground. Check out the Serpentine Gallery with its sunken gardens and flower walk.

25Tour Kensington Palace

Address

Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX, United Kingdom
Located in Kensington Gardens, the palace is the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and Price and Princess Michael of Kent. 

It also houses a portion of the royal art collection, alongside several rotating and permanent art exhibitions.

The surrounding gardens are open to the public and feature the Diana, Princess of Wales, Memorial Playground, and a seven-mile-long Memorial Walk.

26Visit The Institute Of Contemporary Arts

Address

The Mall, St. James's, London SW1Y 5AH, UK
The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London is home to a lively showcase of vibrant art and experimental cinema from all over the world. Many of the works featured here explore themes that are frequently overlooked by artists of yore, making this the perfect companion to your London museum crawl. 

The Institute regularly hosts free workshops and discussions, so don’t miss out on your chance to get a masterclass in contemporary works in one of the city’s cultural hubs.

27Catch a Show at The National Theatre

Address

Upper Ground, London SE1 9PX, United Kingdom
London’s National Theatre is undeniably the jewel in the city’s theater crown. With its stunning brutalist architecture, three performance auditoriums, a temporary theater, a riverside bar, and several restaurants, it is a must for your to-see list of London. 

Aside from 25 new productions a year, the theater offers daily backstage tours. Every tour is unique, but you’re likely to see rehearsals, set changes, and actors wandering the corridors.

28Visit Piccadilly Circus

Address

Piccadilly Circus, London W1D 7ET, UK
Piccadilly Circus is one of London's most popular tourist destinations, akin to New York’s Times Square, due to the iconic advertising screens that wrap around the square on all sides. Sit (if you can get a seat) by the statue of Eros, or take some photos in front of the iconic advertising screens.

Oh, and if you’ve been trying to figure out where the name comes from—the square is named after the Piccadils, a type of elaborate ruff often seen around the neck of lords and leaders during the 17th century.

29Tour Westminster Cathedral

Address

42 Francis St, Westminster, London SW1P 1QW, UK
Westminster Cathedral is the seat of power for the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales—although to look at its striking design, you might think it is in Spain or Italy.

Built almost entirely of brick, without steel reinforcements, this stunning, red brick, neo-Byzantine cathedral is at once very modern, and of its time when it was opened in 1903. Mass is held daily, and tours are available for visitors.

It’s often confused with Westminster Abbey, which is an Anglican church.

30Witness The Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace

Address

London SW1A 1AA, United Kingdom
The official royal residence since 1837, Buckingham Palace is, quite literally, the home of the British monarchy. 

Today, much of the building is dedicated to the administration offices of Queen Elizabeth II, and is the center of many cultural celebrations (some famous weddings spring to mind). 

While your chance of seeing royalty is pretty low, you should aim to see the elaborate “Changing of the Guard” ceremony, which takes place at 11AM Monday - Saturday, and 10AM on Sundays. It usually lasts around 30 minutes.

31Peek Through The Gates at 10 Downing Street

Address

10 Downing St, London SW1A 2AB, UK
Number 10 Downing Street is the official residence of the British Prime Minister. 

Located just off Whitehall, it's a stone's throw away from the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace. Behind the famous black door, Number 10 is actually made up of two houses joined together, a small terrace house at the front and a much grander building behind, which overlooks Horse Guards Parade.  

Today the residence is an office for the Prime Minister, a meeting place for the Cabinet, a venue for state events, and, in a private flat on the second floor, a home for the Prime Minister’s family. Downing Street is closed to the public.

32Snap a Photo of Big Ben

Address

Westminster, London SW1A 0AA, United Kingdom
Big Ben, located right at the edge of Westminster Bridge, is a perfect spot to snap an iconic London photo. 

The 16-story Gothic clocktower is a national symbol, located at the Eastern end of the Houses of Parliament.

The clocktower is currently undergoing a facelift, but its grandeur still shines through the scaffolding.

33Browse The Leicester Square Market

Address

Leicester Square, London, UK
Leicester Square is an iconic, pedestrian square in the center of London’s West End and is known for being the cultural and entertainment hub of the capital. Collect your theater tickets and then take a stroll through the historic Chinatown area, before coming back to one of the many storied pubs in the area.

Oh, and keep an eye out for celebrities, as this is a prime location for movie premieres.

34Walk Around Notting Hill

Address

Notting Hill, London W11, UK
There is more to Notting Hill in London than the private gardens and quirky travel bookstores that the eponymous rom-com showed off—although, thankfully, there are plenty of those!

As you stroll along Portobello Road, take in the colorful houses and vibrant street markets (maybe even try to haggle a bit). Spend a few hours slowly exploring the local stores and shops and make sure to snap a few shots of this Instagram-worthy neighborhood.

For the best shot of the Victorian townhouses, cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways, head to these 3 spots:⁠
1) LANCASTER ROAD⁠
Put 27 Lancaster Road into Google Maps, and it'll take you to a picture-perfect purple house not too far away from the Ladbroke Grove Tube Station.⁠
2) ST. LUKE'S MEWS⁠
You'll find a stunning, bright pink house at 24 St. Luke's Mews right by Westbourne Park Road. This was the house in the Love Actually scene when Mark confesses his love for Juliet!⁠
3) FARMER STREET⁠
This tiny street runs between Hillgate Place and Uxbridge Street. It'll take you about 45 seconds to walk there from the Notting Hill Station and is lined with charming blue, red and yellow houses.

35Take a Harry Potter Studio Tour

Address

Watford WD25 7LR, UK
The Harry Potter Studio Tour is exactly what every die-hard fan needs to explore the wonders of the wizarding world even more. Step into the authentic sets for the Great Hall and Diagon Alley, and examine up-close the original props and costumes from the movies.

Part of the magic is that every trip is unique, with temporary exhibitions this year alone dedicated to Slytherin and the Dark Arts.

36Browse The Stalls at Leadenhall Market

Address

Leadenhall Market, London, UK
Set in a covered market place that dates back to the 14th century, Leadenhall Market is a modern retail paradise (and popular filming location) where you can eat, drink, and shop for top-quality men’s and women’s fashion, accessories, wine and spirits, jewelry, and French perfume. 

Harry Potter fans will instantly recognize that this was the setting for Diagon Alley in the series’ first film, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

37Take a Photo Along Abbey Road

Address

Abbey Rd, London NW8, UK
What do The Beatles, U2, and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers have in common? They have all recorded at the historic Abbey Road Studios. Those, and many, many other famous acts have spent time in the booths of these studios. 

For fans of The Beatles in particular, this studio represents a defining moment in the group’s history. You’ll be tempted to take a photo walking along the iconic crosswalk, but be careful of traffic!

38Tour Madame Tussauds

Address

Marylebone Rd, Marylebone, London NW1 5LR, UK
Want to spend a day with Beyoncé? How about an afternoon with Prince William? Then look no further than Madame Tussauds in London. 

The world-famous wax museum holds the likeness of all of your favorite famous figures: actors, singers, and musicians that are almost too realistic. Visit, take a selfie with your celebrity crush… and try not to get star struck.

39Visit The London Transport Museum

Address

Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 7BB, UK
The London Transport Museum is the place to find out what makes the trains run on time, and how people got around before the famous black cabs were on the scene. 

Aside from the evolution of transportation in London, the museum also showcases some of the hidden, or close to invisible, elements of London that make the city what it is, such as disused spaces of Charing Cross Tube station. Adventure behind closed doors of the Underground and walk under Trafalgar Square.

40Visit The Greenwich Neighborhood

Address

Greenwich, London SE10, UK
Greenwich is a quaint neighborhood in London which is mostly known for time. Why time? Well, Greenwich Mean Time is the name of the solar time that Britain operates on. 

The Royal Observatory in Greenwich sits atop the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude), from which other longitudes are distanced. Also in the neighborhood: a lovingly restored ship from 1869 named the Cutty Sark.

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