Whether you visit with friends, family or for a romantic escape, London’s iconic landmarks and award-winning attractions provide plenty of things to see and do. Not to mention shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, making this historic city one of the most attractive in the world. 

What’s in this guide?

Museums & Galleries 

Many of the best things to do in London are visiting world-renowned museums and galleries; the city is home to more than 170, so you’re sure to find a few that pique your interest. Explore centuries-old historical artefacts at the British Museum, discover classic and contemporary art at the Tate galleries or learn about design at the unique Victoria & Albert Museum. 

If you’re struggling to narrow down the city’s vast offering, consider our pick of the 12 best museums and galleries in London to get started: 

1. British Museum 


London’s British Museum is a world leader thanks to its vast collection of historical artefacts from around the world. Visit to discover centuries of human history, art and culture. The permanent collection boasts over eight million objects, including the Rosetta Stone, sculptures from the Parthenon and an ancient Egyptian bust of Ramasses the Great. 

Where: Bloomsbury 

Train station: London Euston, 14 minutes to get to the British Museum on foot 

Tube station: Holborn, a 5-minute walk away, or Tottenham Court Road, a 2-minute walk 

2. Natural History Museum 


If you’re more interested in natural history, make a beeline for this unique and impressive museum in South Kensington. London’s Natural History Museum showcases an enormous collection of specimens from throughout history. Come face-to-skull with extinct animals, including prehistoric reptiles, an American mastodon – a type of mammoth – and even dinosaurs! 

The Natural History Museum’s immense collection means exhibitions often rotate. Permanent fixtures include British wildlife, space, oceans, human evolution and dinosaurs galleries. This one-of-a-kind attraction makes an ideal day out for families visiting London with kids! 

Where: South Kensington 

Train station: London Victoria, 38 minutes to get to the Natural History Museum on foot 

Tube station: South Kensington, 5 minutes walk from the museum along an underground pedestrian concourse 

3. Victoria and Albert Museum 


The Victoria and Albert Museum, or the V&A, is the largest of its kind in the world, showcasing applied and decorative arts, design and performance. If you’re interested in anything or everything creative, this is the London museum for you. 

Permanent collections here include a wide variety, from ancient Chinese ceramics to haute couture gowns by Alexander McQueen. The unique objects here span everything from costume and photography to furniture, blueprints, books and paintings. Explore 5,000 years of remarkable human creativity when you visit the V&A during your time in London. 

Where: South Kensington 

Train station: London Victoria, just 35 minutes to get to the V&A Museum on foot 

Tube station: South Kensington, just over 5 minutes’ walk away 

4. Tate Modern 


There are two Tate galleries in London, part of the renowned institution that owns the UK’s national collection and many international works. The Tate Modern is one of London’s leading galleries, a free space for visitors to enjoy world-renowned modern and contemporary art. 

See work by Picasso, Rothko, Dalí, Cézanne, Pollock and Matisse. Surprising exhibits occupy the gallery’s lofty Turbine Hall, which runs the entire length of the building – an exciting welcome and the perfect place to start your visit to the Tate Modern. 

Where: Bankside 

Train station: Blackfriars, right outside the gallery, and London Bridge, a 10-minute walk to get to the Tate Modern 

Tube station: Southwark, 10 minutes by foot, and St Paul’s, a 15-minute walk from the Tate Modern 

Famous London Landmarks 

London is a historic city – we can trace its roots back to Roman times – so it should be no surprise that the streets are studded with centuries-old landmarks. There are plenty of modern marvels to discover, too, including contemporary skyscrapers and impressive structures built in recent years. 

But which London landmarks are worth visiting while you’re in town? The most iconic buildings in the city include: 

5. Buckingham Palace 


One of the most famous buildings in England is the home of The Queen: Buckingham Palace, of course! This is the London residence and headquarters of the United Kingdom monarch. Find the impressive palace in the City of Westminster, in Central London, surrounded by St James’s Park, Green Park and the Buckingham Palace Garden. 

Enjoy visiting the magnificent palace day or night – it’s just as spectacular illuminated after dark. Catch the famous Changing the Guard ceremony at 11:00 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays or daily in summer. 

If you want more, take a tour of the palace to see the landmark from the inside. Buckingham Palace tours explore drawing rooms, the Throne Room, Ballroom and Music Room, all adorned with priceless artworks, furniture and treasures. Not to mention the striking grand staircase, decorated with full-length portraits of Queen Victoria’s family. 

Where: Westminster 

Train station: The closest train station to Buckingham Palace is London Victoria, 10  minutes walk away 

Tube station: St James’s Park, 8 minutes away on foot 

6. Tower of London 


The Tower of London is more than just another historic castle. Officially called Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, this fortified complex sits on the Thames’ north bank. A World Heritage Site and the home of the dazzling Crown Jewels, it’s also an infamous prison and one of London’s most exciting landmarks to visit with the family. 

Where: City of London 

Train station: London Bridge, just 16 minutes to get to the Tower of London walking through a pedestrianized tunnel 

Tube station: Tower Hill, just 8 minutes walk around to walls to reach the West Gate entrance 

7. Big Ben 


Big Ben is the nickname for the Palace of Westminster’s famous clock tower. It’s real name is Elizabeth Tower, but it’s recognised around the world for it’s beautiful golden clock face, which stands out as an iconic part of the London skyline. 

Sitting at an impressive 96 metres tall and featuring 312 pieces of glass in each clock dial, it’s surely a sight to behold. Better yet, visitors can see inside the Palace of Westminster on a guided tour! 

Where: Westminster 

Train station: Charring Cross or Waterloo 

Tube station: Westminster 

8. London Bridge 


Iconic London Bridge spans the River Thames, connecting the City of London on the northside with Southwark on the south. Today’s concrete and steel crossing opened in 1973, but the Romans added the first version of London Bridge as part of their road building. Before London Bridge, there was no London.  

Many of the early bridges famously crumbled down (you’ve heard the rhyme), but there’s been a structure in place here for the best part of 2,000 years. 

Where: City of London and Southwark 

Train station: London Bridge, the oldest train station in London! 

Tube station: London Bridge 

9. Westminster Abbey 


Westminster Abbey, one of London’s most famous and elaborate churches, is built mainly in the Gothic style with pointed arches, ribbed vaulting and flying buttresses. Admire the spectacular building from the outside or head in to see more. Visitors can walk in the footsteps of kings, queens, heroes, and villains throughout history. Book a guided tour to make the most of your time exploring one of the most iconic churches worldwide. 

Where: Westminster 

Train station: London Waterloo, 15 minutes on foot to get to the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Bridge and Westminster Abbey 

Tube station: St James’s Park is 5 minutes walk from Westminster Abbey 

10. Tower Bridge 


Tower Bridge is one of London’s most iconic landmarks, often compared to a fairytale castle. Its twin Gothic towers are made from pale stone and blue steel, celebrating the Queen’s Silver Jubilee.  

When you tour Tower Bridge, you’ll climb the North Tower, walk along the West Walkway, crossing the glass floor with panoramic city views as your backdrop. Then, descend down the South Tower and visit the Victorian Engine Rooms. 

Where: City of London and Southwark 

Train station: London Bridge, 10 minutes walk to get to Tower Bridge 

Tube station: London Bridge is a 10-minute walk from Tower Bridge, and Tower Hill is 8 minutes walk 

11. The Shard 


The Shard is one of the most impressive modern landmarks in London. The striking glass skyscraper is home to 72 levels of apartments, offices, accommodation, restaurants and a free public viewing gallery. You can’t miss it from many parts of the city – keep an eye out for its sharp top throughout the day or illuminated at night. 

Where: London Bridge 

Train station: London Bridge train station is next door to The Shard, making it easy to get there by train 

Tube station: London Bridge underground station is also on The Shard’s doorstep 

12. St Paul’s Cathedral 


St Paul’s Cathedral is steeped in history. The unique working cathedral we know today was designed by Christopher Wren after the old building burnt down in the Great Fire of London. St Paul’s iconic dome is one of the largest of its kind in the world! Go inside to discover more monumental architecture and art, sculpture, tombs and historical relics. 

Where: City of London 

Train station: City Thameslink, just 4 minutes to get to St Paul’s Cathedral on foot 

Tube station: St Paul’s! The cathedral’s namesake station will bring you right outside 

Royal Parks 

The English capital boasts over 3,000 parks of various sizes, including eight royal parks fit for a king or queen. London’s Royal Parks are home to 5,000 acres of beautiful wild and landscaped greenspace studded with palaces, historic homes and landmarks. 

London’s eight Royal Parks include: 

  • Hyde Park
  • Kensington Gardens
  • Richmond Park 
  • Bushy Park 
  • St James’s Park 
  • The Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill 
  • Greenwich Park 

13. Hyde Park 


Set in the city’s heart, Hyde Park is a beautiful place for a short stroll or a full day of exploring. Visit the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, enjoy an open-water swim in the Serpentine or try your hand at tennis, horse riding or cycling. Hyde Park has many excellent facilities for visitors, including a charming waterside café, ideal for a cup of tea to recharge. 

Where: Borough of Westminster 

Train station: London Paddington is the closest train station to Hyde Park 

Tube station: Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Lancaster Gate and Queensway 

14. Kensington Gardens 


Kensington Gardens was once part of Hyde Park, but now it’s a Royal Park in its own right. A stroll around here means spotting plenty of historic architecture and art. Head straight for the Serpentine Galleries, nestled inside Kensington Gardens, which host world-renowned exhibitions on either side of the lake. Don’t forget to soak up views of Kensington Palace! 

Where: The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea 

Train station: The nearest train stations to Kensington Gardens are London Marylebone, a 22-minute walk, London Paddington, 25-minute walk, and London Victoria, a 40-minute walk 

Tube station: Queensway, Lancaster Gate and Notting Hill Gate 


It’s no secret that London is jam-packed with exciting attractions, ideal for visiting families, couples and solo travellers looking to experience something new. 

Head to the London Eye to enjoy panoramic views of London from one of the city’s most famous landmarks! The London Eye, also called the Millennium Wheel, is Europe’s tallest observation wheel and one of the best things for visitors to do in London. Madame Tussauds is another popular attraction, home to life-size wax figures of many celebrities and icons.

If you’re interested in literature or performance, don’t miss the chance to visit Shakespeare’s Globe in Southwark. Just a couple of minutes walk from London Bridge, this beautiful reconstruction of the Elizabethan Globe Theatre hosts modern productions of Shakespeare’s famous plays. 

Trafalgar Square is another must-visit location in London, a public square in the bustling City of Westminster. It’s home to some of the capital’s top attractions, including the National Gallery, St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, Nelson’s Column, the Trafalgar Square lions, fountains and statues. 

Restaurants, Shops and Nightlife 

London is home to many of the best restaurants, bars and pubs in the world. Throw in unbeatable shopping and entertainment, and you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice no matter how you want to spend your time. 

The city’s food and drink offerings boast something for everyone, from street food heavens like the iconic Borough Market to Michelin star restaurants and charming traditional pubs.  

Shoppers might head to Soho and Covent Garden or visit vibrant East London for unique vintage finds. When it comes to nightlife, there’s plenty to explore, from world-class stage shows and superstar concerts to hidden jazz bars and all-night clubs. 


There’s no doubt that London is one of the world’s food capitals. The city boasts traditional cafés, restaurants and street food from all four corners of the world, thanks to its diverse population. Not to mention many of the best award-winning restaurants globally.  

Acclaimed chefs flock to London; you’ll find lots of its most famous restaurants in the centre. Or head to the outer, more residential boroughs to discover laidback neighbourhood eateries serving some of the best food around. The best areas to eat in London include Islington, Shoreditch, Soho and Notting Hill. 


If you love shopping, you’ve come to the right place. London is home to designer flagship stores, independent boutiques and plenty of vintage and flea markets, so you’re sure to find treasures that suit your taste. 

Shopping in London starts on Oxford Street, home to more than 300 shops; it’s the busiest part of London and the largest shopping district globally! Head over to Knightsbridge, the home of Harrods, and Bond Street for exclusive jewellers and designer shops.  

Soho and Covent Garden are unmissable, too, conveniently located in the city’s heart. Both famous areas are mashed together, so you can explore it all in one big shopping day.  


Thinking about things to do in London at night? In a diverse city like this, it helps to do a little research and discover a nightlife that suits your taste. In the West End – or Theatreland – bright lights and a buzzy atmosphere are a perfect backdrop to your evening. Soho and Covent Garden are studded with independent live music venues, bars and clubs, so stick to Central London for an uncomplicated night out that never disappoints. 

The city centre can get a little busy at night, so head out to a more residential area for a taste of true London life. Places like Shoreditch, Notting Hill, Camden and Brixton are all famous for their energetic nightlife, with many of the city’s best casual cocktail bars and nightclubs scattered around these parts. 

Getting Around London 

London is connected by one of the most convenient public transport systems globally. Once you’re there, you can take trains, tubes, busses and even ferries around the city. Nowhere is out of reach! 

How can I get to Oxford Street? 

Take the tube to Oxford Circus, Bond Street, Marble Arch or Tottenham Court Road, and you’ll step out onto Oxford Sreet. 

How can I get to Covent Garden? 

Take the tube to Covent Garden or Leicester Square. For National Rail services, head to London Waterloo, just 20 minutes walk to Covent Garden. London Euston is also nearby, 29 minutes away on foot. 

How can I get to Bond Street? 

Bond Street is close to a tube station of the same name, although you won’t step out onto the famous designer shopping road. It’s around a 5-minute walk from this Mayfair station to Old Bond Street and New Bond Street. Oxford Circus and Green Park stations are also nearby. 

How can I get to Carnaby Street? 

Carnaby Street is the colourful heart of Soho, easy to get to on foot from Oxford Circus and Picadilly Circus tube stations. Euston, King’s Cross St Pancras and Charing Cross are the nearest National Rail train stations. 

How can I get to Harrods? 

The nearest tube station to Harrods is Knightsbridge, just 3 minutes away on foot. 

How can I get to Westfield London? 

One of London’s largest shopping centres, Westfield London, is easy to access by underground. Take the tube to Shepherds Bush, White City, Wood Lane or Shepherd’s Bush Market. You can also take National Rail services to Shepherd’s Bush train station. 

Travelling to London by train?

If you're thinking of spending some time in the capital of England, why not take the train? Travelling to London by train is simple due to the high-speed rail connections operated by 28 major train companies across the UK. You can travel to London from some of the most popular cities in the UK, including  Birmingham to London (1h 21m), Manchester to London (2h 3m) and Brighton to London (1h).

Need more information about travelling to London by train? Check out our dedicated page to trains to London.