London is a city of amazing things to do, from hundreds of incredible restaurants, bars and markets where you can find most cuisines from across the world, to the beautiful street art, great places to shop, routes of picturesque walks, places to visit, things to do and some really exciting activities. Basically, everything.
Here’s some of the best and favourite things to do in London.
Food & Drink
Lunch at Borough Market
Courtesy of Faith at XYU and Beyond.
Borough Market near the famous London Bridge has been in this area for nearly 1,000 years. It is an absolute paradise for foodies and those who just like to eat. On the fringes of the market, the Oyster and Porter shops are filled with those enjoying oysters on ice for a £1 each, people spill over the sidewalks clutching their pints and reveling in their saltiness.
I can wander the market and pick up gourmet ingredients from rare mushrooms to honey produced from beehives on London rooftops. Gleaming fish and fresh seafood stalls give way to chocolates and sweet treats. Choose a hot pork sandwich, paella, homemade chorizo and cheeses that will send you into raptures.
I sample and taste my way through the stalls as I go attempting to decide if I want a sweet dessert like a Pastéis de Nata or some Boston sausage on a stick. Alternatively, perhaps I feel like something from Brindisa, which is famous for its selection of Spanish foods. Maybe the famous duck confit sandwich from Le Marché du Quartier?
It may take a while to grab a table under the bridge but here you can sit and people watch to your heart’s content while enjoying your lunch and wash it down with an artisanal gin martini or a good old pint.
The East End Food Tour
Courtesy of Bilyana at Owl Over The World.
The food scene in London is amazing, everyone knows that. From markets and street food to fancy Michelin starred restaurants, London has it all.
In London, you can find food from all over the world. The East End Food Tour though, is one of those things that every food lover should try.
The tour lasts for about 4 hours and it takes place in the East End neighborhood of London. During the tour, you get to try 8 authentic foods in locals favorite places.
One of my favorite was the fish and chips stop – traditional and so good!
If you want to book a London East End Food Tour for just £69 with great reviews, click here for more info!
Side note from Veritru: talking of traditional English food, I’ve written a whole post of them here just so you don’t have to miss out!
Afternoon Tea at the Pavilion, Kensington Palace
Courtesy of Chris at Explore Now or Never.
What would any visit to London be without a fancy high tea at the palace? My first visit to this sumptuous setting was during a long layover day in London en route to Prague. It was so memorable that I brought my daughter back years later.
You’ll enjoy your scones and clotted cream on delicate blue and pink bone china in a bright and airy space with high 18th century ceilings and views of the gorgeous formal Kensington Gardens, first created by King Henry VIII in 1728. (It’s no surprise that this magical garden space has been featured in English literature throughout the ages, including J.M. Barrie’s book Peter Pan.)
A lovely array of finger sandwiches and delicious pastries round out the afternoon tea menu, with so many choices for a pot of tea. As you nibble and sip, you can almost imagine Queen Anne’s court filling the hall with music as it once did back in the day.
Since you’re already at Kensington Palace, why not meander through the palace itself before or after tea? Kensington Palace was the official residence of Princess Diana until her death. In fact, both Prince William and Henry were raised here. Today, it’s home to Prince William and his bride Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. A cup of tea, a garden walk, and a palace tour make for a very English afternoon in London.
Side note from Veritru: talking of traditional English puddings and deserts, I’ve written a whole post of them here just so you don’t have to miss out!
Courtesy of Gina at Jet Set and Forget.
The term speakeasy is used very loosely these days to describe a hidden cocktail bar. Many times, you stand in a line for hours or have difficulty finding the entrance to these bars, to be finally led into a hidden area that looks just like every other bar and served a lackluster cocktail.
Luckily there is one speakeasy in London that is not this at all and it’s called Cahoots. If you do not make a reservation, yes you will need to wait in line, however, they will provide you with a roaring 1920’s menu with all of the drink cocktails listed so while you wait you can decide what you are going to drink. They also have a handsome bouncer out front in complete 1920’s garb who stays in character the entire time.
Cahoots only has small tables and does not allow standing at the bar. However, out of sheer luck they let me and my friend in and let us stand at the bar and it was well worth it!
The bartenders are in 1920’s costumes and put on a full show to make each cocktail, complete with fire and a biscuit dipped in chocolate to eat while you wait for your cocktail to be made. The music is roaring 20’s with a house music beat and the décor makes you feel like you are partying in a tube station. It is a not to miss when in London!
Shoreditch Street Art
Courtesy of Clemens at Travellers Archive.
Streetart and Shoreditch are like England and the 5 o’clock tea. Hardly any other city in Europe has so many pieces of Streetart as London. The East End in London is full of street art. Above all, the hip district of Shoreditch with its pleasantly young mix of bars, cafes, agencies, boutiques and nightlife is bursting with creativity. Every well-known artist has left his mark here, from the Belgian graffiti artist ROA to the French street artist Invader to the most notorious of all: Mr Banksy himself. Better take a closer look from time to time. Some street art pieces are harder to find, such as the Space Invader formations that are often just hanging on house facades. Start from the Overground Station of Shoreditch High Street or arrive by bus from Liverpool Station. From there, head east and follow the road signs to the north end of Brick Lane. Two of the most famous artworks by street art artist ROA can be found here. He embeds his oversized animal characters in the rough industrial district of Shoreditch that you almost get scared when you turn around the corner and see something like this huge animals.
For just £20 you could join a London Street Art Walking Tour through Shoreditch and not miss any of the best bits! Click here for more info.
Camden Town Street Art
Courtesy of Margherita at The Crowded Planet.
During our recent visit to London in winter we spent an afternoon to Camden Town, a part of London that I never really liked much – I lived in London for several years, and Camden Town was always a part of the city I associated with tourists and crowds all times of the day and night.
This time, my reason to visit Camden Town was checking out the booming street art scene. I had seen this street art piece of Chunk, the character from the movie Goonies, and since it’s one of my favourite movies ever, I simply had to go and see it. Besides Chunk, we saw lots more street art pieces all over Camden Town, many dedicated to Amy Winehouse, the popular singer who lived in the neighborhood until her death in 2011. I must say I enjoyed Camden Town a lot more after my recent visit, since looking for street art took me away to the crowded main drags, and into some cool back streets with interesting cafes and shops.
Courtesy of Kelly from Wanderlust by Kelleyy.
Colorful, alternative and full of life. Camden market is a must do experience for anyone visiting or living in London.
Camden market is located in Camden town, a London neighborhood in the inner northern district of London. A historic setting located by the Regents canal. With over 1,000 places to shop, eat, drink and dance the market has something for everyone. There is chaos, it is loud and it is fun! Here you will find a mix of the London locals and tourists exploring the market together. An alternative and more authentic shopping experience in London.
By exploring and getting lost in the vintage alleyways, you will find the most gorgeous and original handmade clothes, jewelry, music items, home décor and more. A true shoppers paradise, and a place to find and take home authentic London memorabilia.
The market is not only for shoppers, as the Camden market has a diverse and tasty range of foods to try. From cute cafes, hip terrace bars and the most delicious street food items. You can eat your way through this market and want to come back for more!
The market also offers a range of events, from live music, food events, dance classes and even gin making classes! There is truly something for everyone at this market, which is why I love it, along with the alternative and vintage vibes. One of my favorite places in London, and a great way to escape and feel more like a local when stepping into the Market.
Vintage Shopping in Shoreditch
Courtesy of Lisa at Anywhere’s Perfect.
London is a very creative and vibrant city. You get inspired by everything and everyone you see. This is why I always feel the urge to go shopping there – and my favourite place to do that is Shoreditch with all its crazy, colorful, exciting and unique Vintage Shops. Of course, London has so many great places to shop but Shoreditch is just one of a kind. The atmosphere there is just special with all its street art, small galleries and interesting people around. My favourite Vintage Shops there have to be Beyond Retro and Rokit Vintage. Beyond Retro is basically a garage stuffed with a crazy variety of Vintage clothes – jumpers, jeans, dresses, leather jackets, just everything you can think of. Rokit Vintage reminded me of Americal Apparel when I first saw it from the outside. The interior is all white and the clothes as colorful as they can get. You wouldn’t even believe that some of the items were vintage. They are definitely chosen wisely to fit the style of the shop.
I could go on and on with the Vintage Stores I love but the best thing about Vintage Shopping is, that you just stumble into shops you have never heard of and find the most amazing piece, so maybe I’ll leave it at that.
Courtesy of Sherrie at Travel by a Sherrie Affair.
One of the most exciting shopping establishments in the world is Harrods. You will find Harrods in the distinguished Knightsbridge area of London which is a perfect location. At almost a million square feet and seven floors tall, there is something for every person that enter its doors.
Shopping at Harrods is fun and thrilling. Here you can experience holding, touching, viewing items possibly you never thought you could. Designer purses, shoes, clothes and jewelry adorn the display tables and cabinets.
However, there is more to Harrods. The food you can sample, and purchase will send you into a spiral of deliciousness. Sushi, coffee’s, teas, cakes, cookies, truffles, chocolates and more. When you tear yourself away from the food area there is a lot more to explore. A children’s floor with toys that are demonstrated will surely attract any children with you. Find on another floor furniture so intricate and unique you will want to decorate your entire home. The fine art section is my favorite with original Picasso’s, Chagall, Chihuly glass and other famous artists.
There is even a miniature display that depicts the country of Dubai perfectly. Unfortunately, the famous statue of Princess Di and Dodi located in Harrods are to be removed. The statue is being returned to Dodi’s Father Mohamed al Fayed.
If Harrods is a little pricey for you, don’t worry. Atlas, there is a section to check out if you are wanting a souvenir, everything you can imagine is in this department with the name Harrods. Notebooks, bags, stuffed animals, pens. As you can see, Harrods is worth the trip while in London. Omnia Omnibus Ubique is Harrods motto which means “all things for all people, everywhere”. That pretty much describes Harrods in one sentence.
Walking Along the Thames River
Courtesy of Halef at The Round The World Guys.
Assuming the weather is nice, walking along the Thames River is something I highly recommend. One of the most famous trails in London is the Queen’s Walk, which starts from Westminster Bridge and ends up at the Millennium footbridge by St. Paul’s Cathedral. Eventually, this path connects to the bigger Thames Path – 200+ kilometres of historical National Trail, all the way to Greenwich, Oxford, and beyond.
This amazing trail passes many London’s landmarks, including many of its famous bridges. like Tower Bridge and London Bridge. You’ll also find many shops, restaurants, bars and cafes along the way. It is a self-guided tour, and the path is very easy to follow.
My favorite area is the newly-installed mosaic wall, which highlights London’s rich history through its centuries of existence. It is part of the Millennium bridge installation. The display will remain there until the year 2100 and beyond.
Still not convinced? Go out at night during a full, or nearly full, moon. London’s city center is lit up very beautifully. No matter where you look, you’re met with a memorable charm, which makes it easy to fall in love with the city.
Walking Regents Canal
Courtesy of Sarah at Trip Gourmets.
One of our favourite activities in London was walking Regents Canal. We started our walk from Camden Town. Famous for its market, which has expanded significantly over the years, Camden also has loads of amazing street art. For anyone who may not know the area, Camden is located about 2 miles north of Central London. Camden Town tube station is easily reached via the Northern Line.
The scenic canal walk which ends at Little Venice takes about 2 hours, if you are not in a rush. A lot of people use it for running and cycling as well, but given that the walk is all along the towpath, there are absolutely no motorbikes or cars.
While you walk along the canal you pass by London Zoo and an almost fairytale-like place called Lisson Grove. This place was actually one of the highlights for us. There are literally dozens of house boats anchored along the towpath and, as a lot of them are there permanently, they use the space on the path in front of them as their own little gardens. A tiny, cute one-shelved library with an invitation to sit and read was one of the little features we remember the most about this walk.
The picturesque walk ends in Little Venice. With the water from three different canals merging together, it does look a little bit like Venice. It’s a perfect place to sit down, enjoy the view and have a coffee in one of the cafes.
Places With Views
View from Greenwich Park
Courtesy of Claire from Tales of a Backpacker.
There are so many things to do in London, it can be overwhelming. I love just wandering around the city, and finding places to admire views of this beautiful city. A friend of mine lives close to Greenwich Park, so when I visited her in London we took a walk around the park, up to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. I didn’t go inside the observatory to see the famous Greenwich Prime Meridian, which traditionally marked the earth’s western & eastern hemispheres. Instead, I preferred to walk around the park and admire the views of London. From the top of the hill in Greenwich Park we looked down on the city, to the striking Old Royal Navy College, and the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf behind it. To the right we could see the Millennium Dome, now the O2 Arena, its distinctive round shape bringing back memories of James Bond sliding down the roof. To the left, the centre of London curves around the river, and I could make out the Gherkin amid the other towering office blocks. I loved it up here, time seemed to stand still as we watched the world go by, so close to the line which defines how we time our lives.
View from Tower Bridge
Courtesy of Jem and Little Adventures.
No trip to London would be complete without a visit to the iconic Tower Bridge. Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge built between 1886 and 1894. The two bridge towers are joined together by two horizontal walkways of which you can walk through for a small admission fee. We decided to walk the walkways on a whim coming back from the Tower of London. It ended up being one of my favourite places we visited during our whirlwind tour of London.
The walkway offers stunning views across London, you can easily play ‘spot the landmark’. We went just as dusk was falling and stayed right until we got ushered out by impatient staff wanting to go home to their hot dinners. Watching the city turn pink in the fading light was simply a stunning sight. Looking down through the glass floors to the bridge below, was more of a nerve-wracking sight (for me). At 42 meters above the river Themes, the pedestrians and signature red buses looked far too small for my liking.
After we exited the walkways we found our way to the Victorian Engine Rooms. On display are the huge, original machinery that opened the bridge up to 20 times a day for ships to pass. This was an unexpected find as we just assumed we were going to walk across the walkways. A true hidden gem.
Admire the Breathtaking View from Sky Garden
Courtesy of Péricles Rosa at 7 Continents, 1 Passport.
Despite being a megalopolis and the world financial’s capital, there aren’t many skyscrapers in London. But If you are wondering where you can get the best view of this lovely city the answer is Sky Garden.
Located on the 36th floor in the Liverpool Street area, it provides a spectacular 360 degrees view across England’s capital. The garden with Mediterranean and South African plants could be much better, but the famous enlarged glass dome is just amazing.
I’ve been to Sky Garden several times, even for a sunrise yoga session, and for me the best time is during the sunset. Seeing the golden, purple and orangish rays crossing London’s skyline is absolutely breathtaking!
And the best is that there isn’t fee to visit the Sky garden, and reservations can be made up to three weeks in advance. However after 6:00 PM you can just put some nice clothes on (smart casual recommended) and show up without any reservation. Be patient because lines can be quite long during the happy hour.
Places to Visit
The British Museum
Courtesy of David Angel and Delve into Europe.
The British Museum is one of the best museums in the world. It’s located in the Bloomsbury area of Central London, close to the West End’s many theatres and restaurants.
Its collections contain a staggering eight million items, and the aim of the Museum is to tell the story of cultural achievement throughout the world, from over 10,000 years ago to the present. For anyone with an interest in world history, it is an absolute must-see.
I always used to limit myself to one section of the Museum per visit, to really appreciate what I was seeing rather than skip by some of the most important art of the ancient world while barely glancing at it.
There are too many highlights to list, but the collections on Ancient Greece, Mesopotamia and Assyria are unparalleled. Those interested in British history should head for the exhibition on the Sutton Hoo ship burial gallery in Room 41.
As well as being one of the world’s greatest museums, the British Museum also has one of the best public spaces in London – the Great Court, with its cafes and shops, housed under a glass roof by Norman Foster which was built for the Millennium.
Courtesy of Shelley at Finding Beyond.
London might be a sprawling city with busy streets, heavy traffic and jam-packed with all kinds of buildings but did you know that the English capital is also one of the world’s greenest cities? From long summer afternoons picnicking on the grass to refreshing strolls in the winter months, there’s always a reason to head to one of London’s many parks. The city center parks are wonderful places to spend a few hours. Hyde Park, St James’s Park and Regents Park are the most popular with boating lakes, ice cream stalls, plenty of birdlife and lawns dotted with English deck chairs. These three parks are also close by to London’s top attractions so there’s no effort to reach them.
Head out to the outer suburbs and you’ll find even more picturesque parks such as Battersea Park on the bank of the River Thames, Richmond Park with hundreds of wild deer and Greenwich Park with it’s Royal Observatory and views across the London skyline. London’s green spaces come in other forms including flat commons and hilly healths. Trendy Clapham Common and posh Hampstead Heath are definitely worth a visit too. In the summer, many of London’s parks host all kinds of music festivals showcasing the biggest bands and DJs across the world. Come winter they’re turned into Christmas wonderlands with ice skating rinks, Christmas markets and fairy lights. There’s always something going on at London’s dozens of parks.
Greenwich Royal Observatory
Courtesy of Neha at Travel Melodies.
Ever wondered how people used to measure time in old days – mostly by the position and movement of the sun. But even after clocks were discovered, there were discrepancies in time across since there was no reference or standard.
GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) is the mean solar time measured at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. It was built way back in the 17th century for astronomical and navigational purposes. There is a giant ball at the top of the observatory which dropped exactly at 1 pm to help the sailors synchronize their clocks. But still all clocks across the world were not in sync. So in the late 19th century, it was unanimously decided that Greenwich would be chosen as the Prime meridian of the world.
The Prime Meridian, i.e. the imaginary line that runs along 0-degree longitude passes from the Royal Observatory and is referred to measure the angular east-west distance of any place. So, it’s fun to stand over this line as your one foot is in East hemisphere and other in West. This is also the reference point for all time zones across the world.
Currently, the observatory is not functional but used as a museum with some old clocks at display. One can even experience one of the largest telescopes here.
Tickets are reasonably priced at £10 for adults and £6.50 for children, but some great views from the hill are free. Best way to reach the observatory is by the Tube (Underground railways).
Courtesy of Katy at Untold Morsels.
London is an art lovers dream. And there’s no better gallery to explore than the Tate Modern. One of the world’s finest modern and contemporary art galleries, The Tate (as it is known by locals) is a treasure trove of exciting discoveries.
Housed in a former power station, the Tate’s premises alone are worth a visit. Enter via the impressive Turbine Hall that slopes down to the lower galleries. If I have half a day I like to work my way up the floors, exploring works from the 20th century to present.
At the Tate there are exhibits from some of the most renowned artists of recent times – from Andy Warhol to Ai Wei Wei.You can explore room by room or choose a section to immerse yourself in. I love checking out what’s going on in ‘The Tanks’. This area showcases the newest works from contemporary artists.
If you are not sure where to start you can join one of the free guided tours of the gallery that examines an artist, method, or theme. After all that culture, you might need some fresh air. I like to head to the top floor of the Blavatnik Building. Here you will see the most incredible 360-degree views of the London Skyline from the open viewing terrace.
The Tate’s main collection and viewing terrace is free to enter. There is a charge for some special exhibitions.
Visiting Harry Potter Studios
Courtesy of Ryazan at Everything Zany.
Harry Potter has been associated with everything British. The magical world of Harry potter has captivated us muggles (just in case you don’t know, non- wizarding peeps) with is creativity and of course its magic.
Situated in Greater London, it is definitely a must-visit place for all the Harry Potter fans whether they be young or young at hearts. To avoid disappointment I recommend reserving your tickets in advance as they sell like pancakes.
The Harry Potter studios is where all the magic happened when they were filming the movie series that we all loved. You can see the majority of the props that they have used from the magical Gryffin staircase, Dumbledore’s office up to the horcruxes of Lord Voldermort.
Upon your arrival to the studios all the guests are welcomed at the Hogwart’s gate and on to the dining hall where all the four houses meet for their meals. You can also experience a walk in the Diagon Alley! Some high tech props are also on display even the wonky wooden bridge of Hogwarts.
Don’t you dare miss the butterbeer as well during your visit to the Harry Potter studios. If you are a true Potterhead, this is definitely something you should not miss when you visit London.
To join a Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, including transport from Central London in a London Double Decker bus, click here.
Courtesy of Liliane at My Toronto My World.
Notting Hill is one of those iconic parts of London you can’t help but love even before you’ve actually been there. Whether you’ve seen that well known movie with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts or whether your knowledge comes from countless Instagram photos, you’ve already got an image in mind of rows and rows of beautiful pastel coloured homes. The best part? That’s actually how it looks. You can find pretty much every single colour house here and walking around the streets (making sure to duck into the hidden little mews) is the best way to see this area.
There’s really no right or wrong way to go about this but I’d highly recommend making sure Portobello Road and it’s well known market is part of your visit. It’s got some adorable little shops (as does the rest of the area) and some fantastic places to stop in for a snack or for some actual breakfast or lunch. Notting Hill is one of those parts of your itinerary that can be completely fluid. You can pop in for 20 minutes and take some pictures or you can spend half a day wandering around getting lost in the side streets (my vote is for this haha). In a city as expensive as London, the fact that you can walk around the Notting Hill neighbourhood for the cost of the tube ride there is pretty amazing and it’s why it’s one of my favorite things to do in London.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Courtesy of Josie at Where Jo Goes.
‘All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players’ wrote Shakespeare and when visiting London what better way of getting a dose of English culture than by taking a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Right on the river Thames in the heart of London, this replica of one of London’s most historic buildings is well worth a visit. The highly entertaining guides will tell you:
- How Shakespeare pulled in the crowds by being a better night out than bear baiting and brothel visiting.
- Why microphones aren’t needed on stage and why rich folk sat behind the actors.
- Why the roof doesn’t cover the theatre.
- Where people went to the toilet back in Shakespeare’s day, with 1,000 people crammed in the standing area (warning: gross facts are revealed!)
After the tour explore the extensive exhibition and even have a go at sword fighting. If you want to see a performance at the theatre, plays take place throughout the summer and I recommend you pay extra for a cushion and don’t forget your umbrella!
For just £17 you can book onto a Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Tour and Exhibition with Optional Afternoon Tea. Click here for more info.
Tower of London
Courtesy of Christine at Tapped Out Travellers.
As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat.
If you want to visit the Crown Jewels, it is best to line up for the Tower of London before it even opens. Have your tickets or your London Pass ready and bring lots of snacks – the restaurants inside can be quite expensive. Once inside, head straight for the Crown Jewels. Others will be lining up for the first tower, or even the main tower but pass all of them. Once midday hits, the line for the jewels will be exhausting.
For those traveling with children, the Tower of London is not stroller friendly. There are a lot of stairs and not a lot of elevators, if there are any. Strollers are to be left outside each towers main entrance, at your own risk, and this will not be the same doorway you will exit from. Now comes the fun part of finding your way back around to collect your buggy – no thank you. Baby wear or head back to the hotel to grab it after the tour.
There are at least 6 Ravens at the Tower of London. They are live at the Tower and they can be seen being feed around noon every day on the lawn. According to myth, The first Royal Observatory was housed in the north eastern turret of the White Tower. John Flamsteed (1646 – 1719), the ‘astronomical observator’ complained to King Charles II that the Ravens were interfering with his observations. The King ordered them removed, only to be told that if the Ravens left the Tower, the White Tower would fall and a great disaster befall the Kingdom. Therefore, the King changed his mind and decreed that at least six ravens should be kept at the Tower at all times to prevent disaster.
Courtesy of Sonja at Migrating Miss.
When you think of Chelsea in London upmarket boutique shops and the Kings Road might come to mind, and of course, the TV program Made in Chelsea. There are gorgeous cafes and great restaurants in the area, and even street food options if you know where to look. However, Chelsea hasn’t always been known for these things, at one time it was the home of hippies, punks and musicians! Now, if you venture off the Kings Road you’ll find some of the prettiest streets in London, with chic townhouses painted in delightful pastel colours. Wander down Bywater Street and choose your favourite coloured house that you wish you lived in! Of course, make sure you are respectful of the homeowners if you decide to take any photos!
Kew Royal Botanical Gardens
Courtesy of Gary at Everything Everywhere.
The Kew Royal Botanical Gardens is one of four UNESCO World Heritage Sites located in the greater London area. Unlike the other World Heritage Sites in London (Westminster, Tower of London and Maritime Greenwich) Kew gets fewer foreign tourists.
The Kew Gardens were founded in 1840 and currently features over 30,000 different species of plants. The herbarium, which is also part of the garden, is the largest of its kind in the world. There are over 7 million plant specimens that had been preserved on-site. It is also of historic significance as it is the location of the Kew Palace and Queen Charlottes Cottage.
The Kew Gardens can easily be reached via the Underground and has a stop at the Kew Garden Station.
Things To Do
Courtesy of Tom at Travel Past 50.
The one thing that’s completely unique to Britain is, well, British theatre. Nobody would say the Brits invented live theatre, but I think it would be very hard to argue that anyone does it any better.
Let’s start with British playwrights. For example: William Shakespeare, who ought to settle the argument right there. If your taste is more contemporary, there’s Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, and Christopher Hampton. They’ve all written some pretty good film scripts, too, if you can’t get to London.
And then there are the officially subsidized British theatre companies. First is the National Theatre on the South Bank of the Thames, which performs in repertory an astonishing mix of contemporary and classic drama. Then, there’s the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), which operates in both Stratford Upon Avon and in various London venues. Obviously, Shakespeare and other canonical British drama is the focus. The Royal Court concentrates mostly on new British writers, and The Globe, of course, does Shakespeare in his original context.
I like to concentrate on these four, and also on productions which were hatched at these theatres and, because of their enduring popularity, have moved to commercial venues on the West End. In the past, we’ve particularly enjoyed Matilda the Musical, born of the RSC, and War Horse, transferred from the National. Both are still playing. Tickets for those you’ll probably have to get at the theatre.
The nice thing about London Theatre is, with few exceptions, most venues are within an easy walk of Leicester Square. If not, there’s the Tube.
You can also check out the more commercial fare, including scores of popular musicals, by visiting the discount ticket booth at Leicester Square.
Courtesy of Montoya at The Spring Break Family.
The ever popular London Eye is one of my favorite things to do in London. Sure, it’s commercial and super touristy but you simply can’t beat the views of the city.
The London Eye is Europe’s tallest “cantilevered observation wheel “ (read: fancy ferris wheel) and the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom. Over 3.75 million people flock to the London Eye every year and it isn’t too hard to see why!
Located along the South Bank of the River Thames, the Eye consists of 32 fully enclosed capsules that can fit up to 25 people each. Each capsule is generously sized with enough room to sit or walk around for 360 degree views on all sides. It was expertly designed to move at the slow pace of 0.6 miles an hour. This means a full rotation lasts about 30 minutes and is slow enough to enjoy the views without risk of motion sickness.
On a clear day, you can see as far as 25 miles (40 km) away. It’s an easy and beautiful way to see many of the landmarks in London including the Shard, the Palace of Westminster, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and more. The view is not as extensive on a foggy day but still provides a birds eye view of the city!
If you’re feeling fancy, the London Eye has many specialty packages available. You can rent a private capsule, arrange a marriage proposal, have cocktails on board, and more.
The London Eye is open 7 days a week from 11:00-18:00 so grab your camera and check it out!
Thames Rib Boat
Courtesy of Leona at Wander Must Family.
The Thames Rib Boat experience is great for all adventure and thrill seekers in the capital letting you feel like James Bond for an hour as you speed through the Capital. The rib boat speeds past some of London’s most famous landmarks including the shard, Houses of Parliament and the London eye to name but a few. The commentary of the rib boat tour really makes the experience as they really tailor it to the group. We were in hysterics from the moment we got on board.
If you are lucky as you pass through Tower Bridge you may even get to see it open.
If this tickles your fancy, for £43, here’s a Rib boat cruise with great reviews. Did you see what I did there?
Cruising Down the River Thames
Courtesy of Kelly at A Pair of Passports.
Whether you’re a tourist or a local, cruising down the Thames on a nice day is one of the best ways to take in London’s top attractions. Many cruises start near Westminster, cruise down towards Battersea, and then turn around and head all the way to Tower Bridge. Others will go in the other direction, all the way East to the Thames barrier and then back past Westminster. This allows cruisers to see Tower Bridge, Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, and more from an incredible vantage point (and without crowds in the way!). I personally much prefer the view from the river than running around town to see everything close up.
In the summer especially, there’s nothing better than a sunset Thames River Cruise. Not only will you see London’s most famous sites as the sun is going down, but will then get to admire Tower Bridge all lit up at night. There is an incredible variety when it comes to river cruise options, from sightseeing cruises to speedboat tours, gin masterclasses, and show cruises. Many private events are held on these river cruises (we’ve been to three!), which proves that they are loved by locals and tourists alike!
For a budget friendly option, it’s possible to DIY a sightseeing cruise by hopping on a Thames Clipper river bus. It’s perhaps the most scenic method of public transportation in London, and a fun way to mix up a commute or have a tourist day out!
To join your own sunset sightseeing cruise for £29, click here.
Fly Through the Sky with Gorilla Circus
Courtesy of Harriet at Hats Off.
If you’re a bit of an adrenaline junkie, then this one’s for you. Now you can learn the famous circus trick: the Flying Trapeze.
Gorilla Circus are the unique company behind this quirky activity, and the guys running it make it surprisingly easy for beginners to learn. In just one lesson, you’ll learn how to swing through the air and get caught by the “catcher”. And you can learn more and more tricks as you progress.
It’s not for the faint hearted though – the leap off the platform is pretty scary, but once you take the plunge, there is a strong chance you may consider joining the circus. The feeling of flying from bar to bar is totally addictive!
In the summer, it’s even better as they are located in the open air of the beautiful Regents Park and Kensington Gardens. And in the Winter, you can still get your trapeze fix as they’re located in an indoors warehouse near Greenwich.
Sessions are £25 for 2 hours, and make sure you book in advance as it gets booked up quickly.
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