London is a fascinating city to visit with a rich history, glorious architecture, a multitude of landmark attractions, vibrant nightlife and a fabulous theatre culture.
The capital city of England is home to over 8 million people from a variety of backgrounds, it is this melting pot of cultures coupled with hundreds of exciting things to do which adds to its allure for visitors.
You can get the best from your visit by taking in some of the most interesting and diverse attractions listed below.
1. London Eye
The London Eye is situated on the south bank of the River Thames next to the Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament. It is also known as the Millennium Wheel and features heavily in London’s New Year’s Eve celebrations which are viewed across the world.
Visitors can jump aboard one of the 32 air-conditioned capsules and take in the cityscape from a variety of perspectives as the wheel slowly rotates.
The structure itself sits at 135 meters tall with a diameter of 120 meters, it is Europe’s tallest Ferris Wheel.
Over 3.75 million visitors take a trip on the London Eye each year as each capsule can carry up to 25 people, perfect for groups of friends who wish to view this incredible city from above, just don’t forget your camera!
2. Millennium Bridge
The Millennium Bridge links the area of Bankside to the City of London. At the south side of the bridge you can visit the famous Globe Theatre where various Shakespeare plays are performed on the outdoor stages during the summer months.
The south side is also home to the Tate Modern Gallery for lovers of contemporary art. Cross the Millennium Bridge into the City of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral comes into focus as you walk across the bridge.
Incredible views of the River Thames and the architecture on the banks can be admired as you walk.
The bridge walk is particularly spectacular at dusk when St. Paul’s Cathedral illuminates, and the bridge itself lights up, it is a truly magical experience.
3. Borough Market
Borough Market is deep in the heart of central London; it is the city’s most renowned food market. Nestled close to London Bridge station, the market is easy to reach via bus, underground or bicycle, it is open daily except for Sundays.
The market itself continues a London age old tradition of trading produce, the largest trading area, Three Crown Square is devoted to selling fresh produce including meat, fish, cheese, fruit and vegetables.
The perimeter stalls offer an eclectic mix of food and drinks from around the world catering to all nationalities living and working in London. Borough Market is keen to educate too, with a variety of cooking displays, food and drink talks and events, it’s the perfect place for the ardent foodie to visit.
Select your fresh produce and create your own picnic then venture to one of London’s great parks for an afternoon in the sunshine.
4. Brakeaway Bike Tours
It is fair to say that on a London Brakeaway Bike Tour you will have access to more areas and off the beaten track attractions in a few hours than you would in an entire day by other modes of transport.
A wonderful day out for families and groups of friends, the bike tour takes you to charming old London pubs, allows you to explore the city’s intriguing history and provides you with incredible photo opportunities too – all while keeping fit and exploring the city! The amazing selling point for Brakeaway Bike Tours is that it offers several options for cyclist’s keen to discover the hidden depths of the city.
The Secret London Bike Tour and the Grand London Bike Tour are firm favorites, the latter taking in Big Ben, London Eye, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square on your travels.
If you are a fan of the famous Harry Potter books and movies, then take the Secret London Bike Tour which showcases various scene sets from the movies including Diagon Alley and the dubious Leaky Cauldron pub!
Brakeaway Bike Tours can be booked online prior to your visit; private tours are also available.
5. St. James’ Park
One of London’s famous Royal Parks, St. James’ is in the centre of London in the City of Westminster, close to the Mall, Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament.
The park itself covers 23 hectares and is host to myriad birdlife including pelicans, owls, woodpeckers and ducks. The lush grassy areas and shady trees are the perfect place to sit and relax, read a book or enjoy a picnic.
Alternatively, a restaurant/café in the park allows you to take in a refreshment or light snack in between walking or enjoying one of the ceremonial parades at nearby Horse Guards Parade.
From the water’s edge in the park you can enjoy views of the London Eye and visit the Victoria Memorial. The park is easy to reach via one of the local underground stations, simply disembark at St. James’ Park, Victoria, Green Park or Westminster.
6. British Museum
The British Museum is a must visit for anyone coming to London. Not only does the museum offer free admission to its general exhibits, this museum is also home to some of the most interesting artefacts the world has ever seen.
Located on Great Russell Street not far from Euston Railway Station, the British Museum will capture the attention of young and old visitors.
You can see the mummies of ancient Egypt, sculptures, marble statues and a variety of artwork.
If you are visiting for a short time period only we recommend you see the Rosetta Stone and the Parthenon Sculptures on the ground floor level, the Mummy of Katebet and the Samurai armour on the upper floor and King of Ife on the lower level.
The museum is open daily from 10.00 until 17.30 and later on a Friday evening until 20.30. Audio Guides are available in several languages and there are free tours, talks and specialist exhibitions to view.
7. Open House London
Open House London is unique, it is a festival of architecture and design held each year in the capital. Open House allows visitors from around the world to access splendid buildings and structures around the city which are otherwise closed to the general public.
It is a wonderful way to delve deep into the history of the buildings, but also to discover more about the architecture, framework and composition which you can’t gain from reading a book or seeing a picture.
It is free to enter Open House and guides can be ordered online so that you can plan your visit.
If you admire architecture and want to learn about London buildings in particular, this event allows you to speak to some of the architects and quiz them on their inspiration and work process.
Open House has proven to be so popular with visitors that it is now held in 30 different cities throughout the world.
8. Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens are located just 30 minutes to the west of London at Kew near Richmond upon Thames.
The gardens are filled with rare and beautiful plant species and several historic buildings including the glass houses, the hive, the iconic Pagoda, 18th century Queen Charlottes Cottage and the daring Treetop Walkway to name a few.
A relaxing day can be spent meandering through the trees in the Arboretum, which is home to over 2,000 species and varieties, admiring the Aquatic Gardens or taking in the natural floral beauty of the Azalea Garden.
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew change with the seasons, anytime of year is a great time to visit and you will always see something new.
Kew is not just for adults either, it’s a good place to bring the kids too, the gardens host many activities and attractions to keep even the most energetic of children occupied!
Selfridge’s department store is a London institution; it has been such a success story that it has been voted the “best department store in the world”.
This high end department store was founded by American entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1909, its majestic, impressive façade is difficult to miss as you traverse Oxford Street with your shopping bags.
The story of this iconic store and its charismatic owner have recently been recreated in the “Mr Selfridge” TV series which shows in the UK and the USA. Today Selfridges is the “go to” place in London for high end retail including cosmetics and perfume, fashion, food and drink and toys and gifts.
Of course, no visit to Selfridges would be complete without a trip to the Rooftop Restaurant or for a special occasion, the Champagne and Oyster Bar!
10. Tower of London
The Tower of London is an historic castle, located close to Tower Bridge and next to the River Thames. Construction began on this impressive medieval structure in 1078 and it should be on every visitor’s itinerary.
The Tower of London has played a prominent part in British history, it was an important control centre of the country and has been besieged on several occasions during its tumultuous past.
The Tower currently houses the Crown Jewels of England and has been home to the Royal Mint. It has previously served as a menagerie with exotic lions and elephants in the grounds to attract visitors during the early stages, and also acted as a treasury and armoury.
The buildings inside the Tower served as a prison especially during the 16th and 17th century when Elizabeth I, prior to her coronation and Sir Walter Raleigh were held captive here, just seven people were executed in the Tower itself, the majority were sent to their demise at Tower Hill north of the castle.
The impressive defense system created was far ahead of its time and the building can be viewed in all its glory from across the river at City Hall, from a river boat or from Tower Bridge.
There is much here to intrigue and entertain all of the family and tickets can be purchased online or on the day at the ticket office at the Tower of London. Arrive early as this attraction is very popular.
Whoever you are traveling to London with, there is something for everyone.
The city is ripe for exploration by foot, by bicycle or by bus or train. Whatever you decide to see and however long you stay you won’t be disappointed!