The 13 Things You Must Do in London England

As you may have seen, we recently took a 17-day trip to beautiful England. One of our stops included the fabulous city of London. There is no shortage of things to do while in London, which can be overwhelming if you have never visited before. To help you plan the best trip, here are the 13 things you must do while you’re in London, England.

London Tips

Now, before we start exploring the must-see sights of London, you will need to know a few helpful hints. First of all, London has an amazing subway system and you must invest in the Oyster Card. It is very easy to load the card with money to make your subway rides much more convenient.

Since there is so much to see and so much history to learn, make your London visit doubly efficient by investing in a walking tour. I recommend Rick Steve’s walking tours, such as the Westminster Walk. He also authored an amazingly helpful Best of England book, which will help you learn even more about this beautiful city and its country.

Check out the Big Bus London hop on/hop off tour to get some great views of the city as you relax. It is a wonderful way to take a little break from walking and to stay aboveground to see all the beauty of London.

Google Map of London
Google Map of London

To see all the details on the Google Map of London and England, Just Click the England Google Map.

The Best London Hotel and Restaurants

You will want an excellent place to stay while you are in London, because you will be doing a lot of walking and touring. I suggest you book your room at the St Pancras hotel. It was built in 1873 and offers incredible architecture, tons of history, and is located in the very heart of vibrant London.

Saint Pancras Renaissance Hotel Your Best Itinerary to See the Most of England
Saint Pancras Renaissance Hotel

As for food, be sure to visit a British Pub while you’re in London. But if you’re looking for amazing Italian cuisine, stop into Vitruvian for some fantastic food to fuel your adventures. One more fabulous restaurant is the Coal Office, which offers Israeli cuisine—delicious!

Okay, now that you know the insider tips and where to stay and eat, let’s check out the things you absolutely must do in London!

1) King’s Cross Station

Harry Potter fans will appreciate the fact that you can visit King’s Cross Station, home of the fictitious Platform 9 ¾. But this is much more than just a train station, of course. You will want to visit here because you can eat, drink, and even shop, all in one location. Take some time to learn the history behind the place, too. For instance, it was named because of a statue of King George IV nearby, although the statue is no longer there.

2) Tower Bridge

Another historical site (among many, of course) is The Tower Bridge. According to Wikipedia, the bridge was built in the late 1890s. It spans the Thames River and is quite close to the famous Tower of London. It is a staggering 800 feet long and has an amazing 40,000 crossings daily. Beyond the history and its obvious usefulness, you will be in awe just looking at it. The thing is enormous! And the two towers definitely live up to the bridge’s name.

Tower Bridge London Your Best Itinerary to See the Most of England
Tower Bridge London

3) Tower of London

Near the Tower Bridge of course is the Tower of London, which is a chapel that dates all the way back to the 11th century. Wikipedia notes it was built in 1080, which is absolutely astonishing to think about. The Tower itself is made of stone, but not just any stone—it was brought in from France. But it has a slightly darker side, too. In fact, it served as a prison and even saw executions many years ago. Today, though, simply enjoy its massive, imposing architecture and rich history.

Tower of London The 11 Things You Must Do in London England
Tower of London

4) Westminster Abbey

If you would like to visit a church fit for royalty, then you must visit Westminster Abbey. It’s a World Heritage Site finished in the year 901, but it still has services every day. Yet it’s not just any church, because it has been host to royal coronations, weddings, and, of course, royal funerals. That includes most recently the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Glorious Westminster Abbey Your Best Itinerary to See the Most of England
The Glorious Westminster Abbey

5) White Hall and Trafalgar Square

Right in the middle of London, you’ll find Trafalgar Square, which is a public square with plenty of things to do. You will enjoy museums, art, cafes, and plenty of buildings with amazingly rich histories. While you’re here, you just might be lucky enough to catch a photoshoot or other event happening.


The Bustling Trafalgar Square London England Your Best Itinerary to See the Most of England
The Bustling Trafalgar Square London England

White Hall is actually the road that connects the Square to Chelsea. Take some time to enjoy the many statues and monuments along this road as you’re in the area, especially the very unique Fountain Trafalgar Square.

6) Big Ben Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster, better known today as the Houses of Parliament, is the oldest royal palace in London, a World Heritage Site and one of most recognized buildings in the world.

The most famous part of the building is the northern Clock Tower, now called the Elizabeth Tower which, houses Big Ben. Big Ben was established in 1843, nicknamed for the large bell that sits within the great clock. Renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

Big Ben Palace of Westminster
Big Ben Palace of Westminster

7) Piccadilly Circus

Think of Piccadilly Circus as a bit like Times Square in New York City. It has flashing screens full of advertisements, and it is a very popular destination for tourists. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is home to some historical buildings that offer plenty of photo opportunities. You will also enjoy some shopping and good food nearby, so take time to savor lunch or maybe a glass of wine for happy hour to recharge.

Regent Street Near Piccadilly Circus London England
Regent Street Near Piccadilly Circus London England

8) National Gallery

The National Gallery London
The National Gallery London

While in London, you absolutely must visit at least an art gallery or two. The National Gallery is a lovely choice, with daily tours offered and some other fun events here and there.  Opened in 1824, is home to some 2,300 of the most famous painting in the world dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.  It may be a bit crowded here, but it will be oh-so-worth visiting! Among so many other gorgeous pieces, you will see paintings from the famous Claude Monet, a name recognized by almost everyone—even if you are not an expert in art.

The Water Lily Pond Claude Monet 1899 The National Gallery London England
The Water Lily Pond Claude Monet 1899 The National Gallery London England

9) St. Paul’s Cathedral and Millennium Bridge

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Experience the Grandeur of St Paul's Cathedral London England
Experience the Grandeur of St Paul’s Cathedral London England

Just stepping foot into St. Paul’s Cathedral is enough, but you must explore more of the spectacularly ornate interior of this cathedral. Wikipedia reports that it was dedicated to Paul the Apostle, and the cathedral dates all the way back to 605 AD.  Historically, this is considered the Migration period, also called Dark Ages or Early Middle Ages, the early medieval period of western European history—specifically, the time (476–800 CE) when there was no Roman (or Holy Roman) emperor in the West or, more generally, the period between about 500 and 1000, which was marked by frequent warfare and a virtual disappearance of urban life. The name of the period refers to the movement of so-called barbarian peoples— including the Huns, Goths, Vandals, Bulgars, Alani, Suebi, and Franks—into what had been the Western Roman Empire.
The original cathedral was practically destroyed in the Great Fire of London and was rebuilt toward the later years of the 17th century. Still, that is some impressive history!

The Dean's Staircase - St Paul's Cathedral Geometric Staircase
The Dean’s Staircase – St Paul’s Cathedral Geometric Staircase

Millennium Bridge

While visiting the cathedral, be sure to walk across the nearby Millennium Bridge. It’s a relatively newer structure, at least for London, having opened to pedestrian-only traffic in 2000. Harry Potter fans will note this looks rather familiar, since it was featured in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie. What a treat to visit!

Millennium Bridge London England
Millennium Bridge London England

10) British Museum

I hope you are up for another spectacular museum visit because you most certainly need to visit the British Museum while you are in in London. Even if you are not into amazing exhibits like hieroglyphs from Egypt and other treasures, simply visit the Museum to stand in awe of its amazing architecture. You will need to purchase tickets, but it is incredibly worth it, holding more than two million years’ worth of history within its stunning walls.

Here’s our list of 14 things that you won’t want to miss at the British Musem

1. Rosetta Stone
2. Sophilos Vase
3. The Parthenon Sculptures
4. Grayson Perry’s The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman
5. Crouching Venus
6. Bust of Ramesses the Great
7. The Ife Head
8. Tree of Life
9. Akan Drum
10. Aztec serpent
11. The Piranesi Vase
12. Edmund de Waal library of exile
13. Haida House Pole
14. Hoa Hakananai’a

The Other Wordly Architecture of the British Museum Your Best Itinerary to See the Most of England
The Other Worldly Architecture of the British Museum

11) Natural History Museum

How about visiting the Natural History Museum for a look at billions of years of history? This museum is absolutely free to visit, making it an excellent choice for seeing London if you are on a budget. Even so, it holds fantastic collections, including an array of dinosaur artifacts and history to delight both young and old.

The Mesmerizing Natural History Museum London Your Best Itinerary to See the Most of England
The Mesmerizing Natural History Museum London

12) Buckingham Palace

You are probably fairly familiar with the famous Buckingham Palace. If so, you will want to visit this royal residence and palace. While private quarters are of course off limits, you can tour the Palace’s other rooms and gorgeous grounds. There are guided tours and even special events, like private tours and cultural exhibits.  Try to schedule your visit so that you can witness the changing of the guards and maybe catch a glimpse of the Royal Family when in residence indicated by The Royal Standard (flag) being flown when The Queen/Sovereign is in residence.

Buckingham Palace London England
Buckingham Palace London England

13) Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle Just Outside of London England
Windsor Castle Just Outside of London England

It is true Windsor Castle is not right in London, but it is worth the little side excursion to get there. Only a short drive away from the busyness of London, it is the burial site of the late beloved Queen Elizabeth II, and in close proximity to Oxford. The grounds are spectacular, the stories and history are required if you are attempting to understand England, and now the most beloved Queen of the Twentieth Century, Queen Elizabeth is buried there. Just that alone makes it worth experiencing, but imagine taking in a spectacular changing of the guards as well.

Inside the Walls Windsor Castle Just Outside of London England
Inside the Walls Windsor Castle Just Outside of London England

Your London Adventures Await

You will be exhausted, but pleasantly so, after taking the time to visit these 13 places in London. The history is simply awe-inspiring, and the architecture is fabulous. You will enjoy taking in the city by visiting museums, palaces, cathedrals, and so much more. Start planning your trip to London with these must-see recommendations!

We plan all of our trips with Ted Blank. Of course we have a general idea of what we want to hit on our trip, Ted helps us to make the itinerary flow smoothly and then he works out all the details of transportation, hotels, passes, insurance, etc. I highly recommend working with him when you plan your next trip.

We plan all of our trips with Ted Blank.

Ted Blank Contact Information
(651) 964-8245
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The 13 Things You Must Do in London England

Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website

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