0 In England

London Highlights: Things To Do, See And Eat!

If your looking for something fun in London to do that you may not know about before, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve rounded up some amazing suggestions from other travellers of what you can see, do and eat in London. Whether thats seeing the famous Big Ben, to explore a local park, or to try spotting some royals at Buckingham Palace. There’s something for everyone!

London Information

Where Is London?

If you don’t know already, London is situated in the United Kingdom and is the largest city of the England. It is of course an extremely popular location for tourists as it is the capital city. Many locals also enjoy a day trip or weekend trip in London.

London is easy to get to from most big cities, since there are at least 6 big airports in and around the city. Else to arrive by car or other modes of transport is possible. A personal recommendation is to arrive by train if you are from the UK, as its super easy to combine with the underground metro to get around.

Facts About London

Before visiting London, here are some fun facts to know:

  • London still has sheriffs which date all the way back to the 7th century
  • More than 6 million people use a bus daily
  • Big Ben clock tower is officially called Elizabeth Tower
  • London has more than 170 museums (some listed in this post!)
  • The London underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world

Things To Do, See And Eat In London

HMS Belfast

If you are looking for slightly unusual things to do in London, then pay a visit to HMS Belfast. This former warship is now a floating museum moored on the banks of the Thames opposite the Tower of London.

Built in the 1930s, HMS Belfast is a Town-class light cruiser whose history includes service in part of World War II and the Korean War. Visitors to London can now visit her on Queen’s Walk and take a peek inside. You can take an audio guide around the ship and visit areas including the Captain’s bridge and quarters, the mess, infirmary, and the communication deck where there is an interactive mission to complete, ideal for those visiting London with kids.

HMS Belfast is a great place to spend an hour or two and can easily be combined with a visit to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.

Written by Cath from Passports and Adventures

Visit Hampton Court Palace

One of the best things to do in London and an easy day trip from London is a trip to Hampton Court Palace.  It is a fascinating place to spend an entire day, and it is one of the best things to do in London with kids!  

This stately palace was once home to numerous royalty, including Henry VIII. In addition to the interactive experience through the palace, and the costumed characters who role-play historical figures, you will step right into the 1500’s as you tour the magnificent grounds of this important historical site.  From a well-stocked Tutor kitchen to the legendary gardens and hedge maze, and beautiful grounds, you will easily imagine life as it once was at Hampton Court.

Be sure to allow for a full day to experience all that this treasured place has to offer. Hampton Court Palace is also very kid-friendly, with a thematic play area, costumes for dress-up, and kid-friendly audio guides.

From Central London, take the National Rail from Waterloo station (it is about a 30-minute ride) to Hampton Court.  The palace is a 5-minute walk from the station.

Written by Keri of Bon Voyage With Kids

Camden Market

By calling it Camden Market, it gives the impression that it is a place to find fresh produce. This couldn’t be farther from the truth as this large area is made up of an eclectic mix of shopping, food, coffee shops, and live music venues.

By day Camden Market is best enjoyed by exploring the canal and lock system while snacking on some delicious food. The vendors range from fresh-made truffle pasta to international fare like falafel wraps with locally made feta.

Between bites, take some time scouring the shops that sell everything from vinyl records to used vintage clothing.

Camden Market comes alive in the evenings as the pubs start to fill up and music starts pouring out of the many live jazz and punk venues. This is where the area really gets its counter-culture vibe. Definitely make visiting this market a part of your trip to London and you might even consider visiting by day and by night.

Written by Glasier Glasier of Chef Travel Guide

Sky Garden

For a fantastic view of London, head to the Sky Garden. Located in central London, reserve your tickets to go up on a day that you are visiting. Once at the top, the views are amazing, especially on a clear day.

You can choose to just see the views from above, else to also sit and enjoy a drink or a small bite to eat at the restaurant. It’s great to stop at least for once drink as it has a cosy atmosphere, especially during evenings when the city turns into darkness.

Greenwich Park

If you ever need a break from the hustle and bustle of Central London that is not too far away, Greenwich Park’s fresh air and views of London might be what you need.

The Royal Observatory is where you will find the Prime Meridian. This line traditionally marks Greenwich Mean Time, the reference point for time zones around the world. Straddling it will not change your life but it makes a fun photo opportunity.

In the evening, a green laser beam pointing north marks the line. In keeping with the theme, the observatory’s museum houses many exhibits about timekeeping like clocks, pendulums and telescopes.

Apart from that, you can board the Cutty Sark, once the world’s fastest ship, near the National Maritime Museum and even zip down its rigging after enjoying the cityscape from the top.

Written by Nicholas from Rambling Feet

Harry Potter Studio Tour

If you are a fan of any of the Harry Potter films, then you should consider adding Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter when you are in London. It is an exhilarating interactive experience through two enormous sound stages filled with costumes, props and original sets from the Harry Potter movies.

As you walk through the exhibits, you see how the movie sets were actually constructed or how they made the magic look real. Don’t bring young children who are still enchanted with the magic of Harry Potter as this experience is meant to remove that magic and replace it with an understanding of movie making.

Tickets are on the expensive side, time and date stamped, and sell out quickly so make sure you purchase them months in advance, especially if you plan to be in London during a busy holiday.

Try to start the tour as early as once you enter, you can stay as long as you want. In addition, there are lots of exhibits that you can touch or try out so the more people who join the tour, the longer it takes for you to have your turn.

You can spend literally all day exploring the studios. At the very least, you should allot a minimum of four hours, but even that wouldn’t do the tour justice.

When it comes to London travel tips for any attraction, you should wear comfortable shoes and be well rested before you arrive. You will do A LOT of walking. In addition, depending on where you are located in London, it may take over an hour to get to the Studios by public transportation so give yourself lots of time to reach them.

Written by Nicole from Gofargrowclose.com

Watch A Shakespeare Play At The Globe

Watching a Shakespeare play at The Globe theatre is an unmissable London experience. Situated on London’s Bankside, the rotund, open-air auditorium is built near the exact spot on which Shakespeare’s original theatre stood.

Like the original theatre, The Globe is a circular, wooden construction with a thatched roof; the only thatched roof in London. There is seating for over 1,000 people which consists of basic wooden benches on different tiers plus a large standing area for 700 people directly in front of the stage.

Standing tickets are the cheapest tickets but they are also the most popular as it is easy to become immersed in the performance. It is possible to take a behind the scenes tour of The Globe and the theatre also hosts film nights, workshops and family activities during the holidays. Rain or shine, a night at The Globe is an unforgettable experience.

Written by Sinead from York with kids

Victoria & Albert Museum

The Victoria & Albert Museum, or V&A, is a world-famous museum dedicated to art and design. The museum opened in 1852, and today its collections host over 2 million objects that reflect trends and histories of fashion, furniture, sculpture, theatre, and more.

The museum is located in South Kensington, not too far from Victoria Station, one of the United Kingdom’s train hubs. The museum is free to enter, so simply walk through the impressive entrance to the intricately-designed building and discover the many exhibits and galleries filled with priceless objects.

Make sure to leave time to sit in the inner courtyard, an oasis that offers tea and refreshments at the outdoor Garden Café. While the museum’s sculptures, paintings, jewellery, and all of its gorgeous rooms are rightfully celebrated, the courtyard alone makes a visit to the V&A worth it.

Written by Mary King from Wanderu.com

Westminster Abbey

Steeped in history and royal significance, Westminster Abbey is a must-see site in London. Every coronation since 1066 has taken place here, as well as many royal weddings and funerals. Queen Elizabeth II married Prince Phillip, and Prince William married Kate Middleton at this beautiful church—which is also a World Heritage site.

Touring Westminster Abbey you’ll see the Coronation chair, many treasured artifacts, and the burial site of numerous kings and queens. The Abbey is open for tours (but we recommend one of these tours!) Monday through Saturday, but for a truly unique visit, go on a Sunday when you can attend an actual religious service.

The choir, pomp, and pageantry are inspiring. Even if you have limited travel time in London, a tour of this historical World Heritage site is worth a visit!

Written by Deanne from Scenicandsavvy.com

The Cutty Sark

Located in Greenwich, south-east London, is the world’s only surviving extreme clipper, the Cutty Sark. Built on the River Clyde in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1869, she was originally designed to transport tea from China – on her first return trip from Shanghai she carried 1,305,812 lbs of tea, the equivalent of nearly 47 double decker buses. She later transported wool from Australia, once making the journey in a record 2.5 months and, in doing so, fulfilled her reputation as one of the fastest extreme clippers in the world.

Today the Cutty Sark is open to the public and is an excellent museum. Discover the history of the ship as well as tales of murder and mutiny through the excellent interactive exhibitions. The Cutty Sark is a great place to visit in London with kids but it’s equally compelling for adults. Witness the ship’s incredible copper hull, discover the exhibition of historic ship figureheads (the largest in the world), and try out their new ‘Climb the Rig’ experience!

Written by Katja from Globetotting.com

 

Explore Covent Garden

Covent Garden is one of the most popular attractions in London. Located in the very heart of London, this beautiful neighbourhood has lots to see and do, and many nice restaurants and bars too.

Needless to say, one of the best things to do in Covent Garden is exploring the Apple Market – the 1800s covered market where you will find many nice stalls selling all sorts of art, clothing and more. Next to it, the Jubilee Market has more of a focus on souvenirs.

Covent Garden is also famous for its street artists. You will be able to spot performers all through the area – many right in front of St. Paul’s Church, a 17th century church located in front of the market. The best music performances, however, are right inside the market and if you want you can listen to them while sipping a glass of wine or a cup of tea at one of the lovely cafés.

Speaking of drinks and food, there are lots of good places to grab a bite or more in Covent Garden. Head to Rose Street and find the Lamb & Flag if you are in search of a charming local pub.

You can easily walk to Covent Garden from Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus. It also has its own tube stop along the Piccadilly Line. Keep in mind it is disembark only.

Written by Claudia Tavani My Adventures Across The World

A Walk Along Southbank

The Southbank is one of London’s most popular areas to visit and home to great London landmarks such as Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Royal Festival Hall, and the iconic London Eye.

The Queen’s Walk runs the entirety of the Southbank and gives visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the culture and history that can be seen all along the route. Stop for food and drink at nearby Borough Market or at one of the many eateries and pop-ups along the Southbank.

Check out popular tourist attractions like the Tate Gallery and Tower Bridge and watch street performers entertain the crowds. There is always something going on along the Southbank, and when it’s time for a break, sit beside the River Thames and simply take in the sights and sounds all around; you won’t be disappointed.

Written by Angela Price from whereangiewanders.com

Borough Market

Borough Market is one of the best markets in London to visit as a foodies destination in London. It’s located right next to the London Bridge underground stop and is a famous market for food.

You can sample some great British food such as meat pies and British cheeses, but these days it also serves up international food from all over the world as well. This is a great place to go to try traditional British food in a market setting, don’t expect fancy dining.

The area is also surrounded by a few pubs so you can wash down your lunch with a classic British beer and also be sure to check out the historic 800-year-old Southwark Cathedral which borders the market.

Written by Jonny from Backpackingman.com

Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum is one of the many London museums that are free to visit and it’s an absolute gem, well worth the trek “south of the river” to visit.

From the imposing entrance to the museum, with its massive 15 inch naval guns – used in 1915 at Gallipoli by the battleship “ Queen Elizabeth – the size and scale of this museum is impressive.

The best thing about the Imperial War Museum is that it does not glorify war, rather that it tells the human story of conflict, both for military personnel and for civilians. The numerous exhibitions include recreations of the WWI trenches and the Blitz, and there’s an unmissable exhibition dedicated to the Holocaust.

Written by Coralie from Greyglobetrotters.com

The Queens Gallery

The Queen’s Gallery is one of the best things to do in London. It’s just steps away from Buckingham Palace and displays items from the Queen’s private collection. The exhibit changes every quarter, so it’s always a different experience when you visit.

The exhibits normally feature artwork, but there have also been exhibits about science and photography in the past.

A standard ticket to the Queen’s Gallery is £13.50, and there are discounts for students and seniors.

Be sure to have the back of your ticket stamped when you leave the gallery.  This will give you free access to the Queen’s Gallery for a year.  You can go back and visit as many times as you like for 365 days after your original visit.

Written by Erica Riley of Travels with Erica

St Paul’s Cathedral

If you’re in London for just a day, a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral really is one of the unmissable things to do. For over 1,400 years, there has been a place of worship where St Paul’s Cathedral stands on Ludgate Hill. The area around St Paul’s is awash with rich history, from Roman remains and medieval buildings to the 1666 Great Fire of London, which destroyed much of the area, including the ‘old’ St Paul’s Cathedral.

The architect Sir Christopher Wren designed and built St Paul’s between 1675 and 1710. This distinctive cathedral is famous for its 111 metre high dome, one of the highest in the world. St Paul’s has been a feature on the London skyline, surrounded by the smaller spires of Wren’s city churches, for over 300 years.

Highlights of a visit to St Paul’s include the Crypt, where you’ll find the tombs of Sir Christoper Wren himself, as well as those of Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington, and the Whispering Gallery, which clings to the base of the dome structure and provides fantastic views both above and below.

Written by Izzy from Thegapdecaders.com

The Shard

If you are looking for amazing views in London, delicious food, or want to stay in one of the best SPA hotels in the world, visit Shard. You can swim in the Shangri La Hotel pool while admiring famous landmarks in the city. During your visit to Shard, you will be able to see for instance River Thames, London Eye or London Bridge.

The views from the tallest building in the capital are superb. Especially, from viewing platforms or one of the restaurants. Indulge yourself with tasty drinks in BAR 31, then enjoy 360-degree panoramic views from a British-style restaurant – TING.

Check here for cheaper tickets before your arrival. You won’t be dissapointed!

Written by Paulina from ukeveryday.com

Kew Gardens

A top thing to do in London is visit the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it covers over 300 acres and has a range of different gardens and activities within it.

There are multiple gardens, including a Mediterranean Garden, Rose Garden, Winter Garden and Rock Garden. There is a Japanese section with a temple in it.

Kew also has some spectacular glasshouses to explore. The Temperate House is the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse and houses over 10,000 plants. By contrast, the heated Palm House houses tropical plants and is a perfect place to duck into in the cold winter months.

Aside from wandering through the extensive gardens and around the lake, other things to do include visiting the 17th century Kew Palace, a walk along the 18 metre high Treetop Walkway, and a climb up the 50 metre high Great Pagoda. There are also two small art galleries.

You could easily spend half a day at Kew. There are onsite eateries and  plenty of areas for picnicking.

Written by Emma from Travelonatimebudget.co.uk

Tate Modern

Located on the south bank of the Thames, Tate Modern showcases British and international modern and contemporary art masterpieces. Tate Modern is the world’s most visited contemporary art gallery for good reason. Spread out over five floors you will find paintings, sculptures, drawings, photography, films and video that define modern art from 1900 to present day. Don’t miss pieces include Marilyn Diptych by Andy Warhol, Nude Woman with Necklace by Pablo Picasso, Mountain Lake by Salvador Dali and Seagram Murals by Mark Rothkko.

Pro tip: Spring for an audio tour. They are well done and will give you a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the art pieces. Plan to arrive when it opens or an hour or two before closing for less crowds.

Written by Diane from Slow Stroll Travel

Kyoto Gardens

Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park is one of London’s best hidden gems. Opened in 1991, just in time to celebrate the 1992 Festival of Japan in London, Kyoto Gardens was gifted to Great Britain by Kyoto to celebrate the friendship our two countries hold. The Japanese-style garden features a beautiful waterfall with traditional stone lanterns and a pond of koi carp, as well as Japanese maple trees, and roaming peacocks.

You could spend hours enjoying the tranquillity these gardens offer. This slice of paradise is free to enter and opens from 7:30am – 8pm every day. Kyoto Gardens is located in the middle of Holland Park and is easily accessed by tube, with the closest station being Kensington High Street.

Written by Lana of Wallflower in Wanderland

A Tour Of Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of Queen Elizabeth II. Built in 1703, it was first known as Buckingham House because it was originally the home of the Duke of Buckingham.  Since Queen Victoria, British Monarchs have been living at Buckingham Palace.

Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms, including 19 State Rooms, 52 royal/guest bedrooms, 78 bathrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, and 92 offices. It covers a floor area of 77,000 square feet. The Queen entertains 50,000 people at the Palace each year, including 30,000 guests at the annual Garden Parties.

During the late summer months, when Queen Elizabeth is vacationing in Scotland, you are able to tour some of the state rooms and enjoy the gardens.

Expect to see world class artwork and priceless furniture, like the Table of the Great Commanders commissioned by Napoleon, on display.  It’s a popular experience and tickets are limited so you need to book your tour in advance, in advance.

Written by Anisa from Twotravelingtexans.com

Natural History Museum London

The Natural History Museum is a real must-see in London. No matter if young or old, this huge museum is one of the best in the city and will definitely wow you. On a tour, you’ll discover countless exciting, interactive exhibits, which, by the way, are displayed in one of London’s most beautiful buildings. And it’s all free, because you don’t have to pay admission to the Natural History Museum.

Really fascinating are the huge dinosaur skeletons, where also the first found T. rex skeleton is exhibited. Another highlight is the earthquake simulator, where you can feel the forces of a quake up close. Also really cool is the mammal section with a huge model of a blue whale in the spectacular central hall. Another must-see is the “Cocoon”, an 8-story building consisting of a silk cocoon.

Written by Martina from PlacesofJuma

Richmond Park

Richmond Parks is one of London’s eight Royal Parks but due to its somewhat remote location (more than 1h 30min from central London), it can well be considered one of London’s secret places that not many tourists get to see.

Back in the 17th century, this was a hunting ground and herds of deer still inhabit the walled park today. Besides, here you’ll find ancient trees, rare bird pieces, and wildflowers.

A must-visit is the Isabella Plantation, especially in spring, due to its large collection of Azaleas, Rhododendrons, and Camellias. From Richmond Park, you can also spot St Paul’s Cathedral in the distance.

Written by Laura from Travelers Universe

Notting Hill

Notting Hill is a vibrant and the most colourful neighbourhood in London. It’s also the most elegant part of London.

The famous film Notting Hill created the magical invitation here. Visitors can see the lovely street markets mostly taking place on Portobello Road. The fashionable restaurants intertwine with bars and shops.

For some interesting things and facts to know about Notting Hill, read on for a short list:

The antique shop Alice’s is one of the most charming, playing a role in the Paddington movies. The Graffik Gallery with beautifully designed edifice sells urban and street artworks. The Lancaster road is definitely the most colourful (and the most photographed!) and St Lukes Mews is the most famous. The Museum of Brands hides in the quiet corners depicting the consumer culture. Notting Hill Carnival happening in August is one of the biggest street carnivals. Notting Hill looks so fabulous during the springtime when cherry blooms fill the air.

Written by Gabi from underflowerysky.com

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