trips planned today
out of 5
Trustscore rating

Best things to do in London

Itinerary planner
+ Add destination
2 adults
- +
- +
- +
You have 2 trips in progress.   See all
Where in the world: Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  London
An international capital of culture, education, fashion, music, finance, trade, and politics is hardly lacking in tourists attractions. Things to do in London go well beyond touring famous landmarks, such as Tower Bridge or Buckingham Palace. If you climb to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral, you will be awarded with an unforgettable panorama of the city. London's museums cater to pretty much anyone with a curious mind, whether they're into art, history, science, nature, or engineering. Its pleasurable green spaces, like Hyde Park, offer a nice break from the city commotion, while still providing plenty of family-friendly attractions.

London is best known for its Art Museums, Observation Decks, and Nightlife.

Top 15 things to do in London

1. Coca-Cola London Eye

Few, if any, Ferris wheels offer the kind of views that Coca-Cola London Eye does. At a height of 135 m (443 ft), this is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe and one of the tallest in the world. Ever since its completion in 1999, the Eye has provided one of the highest vantage points in London. On a clear day, you can see across London, with the Thames River, Big Ben, and Parliament sitting directly below you. Each of the 32 sealed, air-conditioned ovoid capsule can hold up to 25 passengers, though you can also reserve an entire capsule for yourself and your companions for an extra fee. Purchase your tickets online to save on the price of admission and to avoid waiting in line when you arrive. Try not to book too far ahead, though, because there's no guaranteeing the sun will shine on your chosen date.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Coca-Cola London Eye
Tours including Coca-Cola London Eye:

2. National Gallery

National Gallery houses one of the world's best collections of western European art. You can find larger collections at other galleries, but the roughly 2,300 paintings here comprehensively cover major art movements from the 13th to the 19th centuries. You'll encounter numerous important works, such as Hans Holbein's The Ambassadors, Van Gogh's Sunflowers, and Constable's The Haywain. Take a floor plan as soon as you enter the gallery, and consider picking up a free audio guide that explains the significance of the works you'll see. A handful of different themes are available, including the Collection Tour, which provides commentary on more than 1,000 works, and a 60-minute tour of the highlights. The British public owns the art in the permanent exhibit, so admission is free. Temporary exhibits, however, have fees. The gallery also offers three venues for food and drink.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Learn more about National Gallery
Tours including National Gallery:

3. Tower Bridge

Only a handful of bridges around the world have achieved iconic status, and Tower Bridge is one of them. Judging by its name and appearance, you might think the bridge is an original part of the adjacent Tower of London. Its construction, however, was completed in 1894, centuries after the fortress. Head into one tower and up to the walkway 42 m (138 ft) above the River Thames to reach the other tower. You'll have a panoramic view of the city along the way. Stop by the exhibit in the east walkway to watch a video about the bridge's construction, and to see a gallery of photos of 20 significant bridges around the world. Head into the Victorian engine rooms, where you can experience a recreation of the motor-based operation of the bridge at the time of its inauguration and view a virtual bridge-lift. If your visit to the area will be near dusk, stop to see the bridge lit up.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Tower Bridge
Tours including Tower Bridge:
Plan your trip to London
  • Get a personalized trip
    A full day by day itinerary based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it
    Choose from the best hotels and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place. Everyone on the same page.

4. Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum houses one of the world's largest collections of natural history specimens. Here you can see 70 million specimens in the fields of botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology. The vast collection makes it impossible to view everything on one visit, so consider a few of the highlights. You can choose from dinosaur skeletons, fossils, taxidermied specimens of large mammals, and artwork featuring exotic animals, among many other displays. Whichever exhibits you put on your list, make sure to include Treasures. This exhibit features specimens that the museum selected from its exhaustive collection for their scientific, historical, aesthetic, and cultural importance. You can visit permanent exhibits for free, but temporary exhibits have an associated fee.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
Learn more about Natural History Museum
Tours including Natural History Museum:

5. Tower of London

Explore one of the world's most famous castles and immerse yourself in British history at Tower of London. William the Conqueror originally built the castle in 1066, and today it stands perfectly preserved on the north bank of the River Thames. Start your visit in the White Tower. Frequently mentioned in Shakespeare's plays, the main tower features smaller projecting corner towers that lend it a distinctive medieval appearance. Inside, you'll encounter the 11th-century Chapel of St. John the Evangelist and the Royal Armouries collection of medieval weapons. Next, head for the crown jewels exhibit, which houses 23,578 royal gems. Here you can discover how the British coronation ceremony employs specific jewels--such as the Coronation Spoon--and the symbolism of each item. The tower includes a handful of other notable exhibits, including one showing how prisoners were kept and another detailing the history of the Royal Mint. The price of your ticket includes a free tour with a Beefeater, a retired sergeant major from the British Army, so make sure you take this opportunity to hear entertaining stories from the site's history. Each evening you can watch the 800-year-old Ceremony of the Keys, when guards lock the site. If you visit in winter, you can ice-skate on the moat.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Tower of London
Tours including Tower of London:

6. The British Museum

See the development of human culture on every continent from prehistory to the present at The British Museum. The museum houses one of the largest collections of works in the world, some 8 million. You'll encounter many significant items here, including the Rosetta Stone, the Magna Carta, and the Parthenon Frieze. The museum is broken into various departments, each covering a specific place and time, such as ancient Egypt and Sudan, or a theme, such as coins and medals. The works cover a broad spectrum of styles, from ancient carvings, sculptures, stoneware, and gold metalwork to prints and drawings from famous Renaissance artists. You won't have time to cover all the museum's collections in a single visit, so you should choose subjects that interest you and focus on them. A map of the museum helps you navigate efficiently. Pick up a copy at an information point inside, or download a digital one to your smartphone or tablet ahead of time. If you're not sure which galleries to visit, you can join a highlights tour. Departing twice a day every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, these guided tours show you the museum's most important pieces. Book this tour online or at the information desk in the front court. If specific galleries interest you, try to catch one of the free daily Eye-Opener tours. Galleries host one of these 30- to 40-minute tours per day, giving you a deeper historical understanding of specific periods and regions.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Learn more about The British Museum
Tours including The British Museum:

7. Westminster Abbey

Ever since William the Conqueror's coronation here in 1066, Westminster Abbey has remained one of England's most important religious and ceremonial sites. Every English and British monarch after William also received his or her crown here. More than 600 monuments and memorials in the abbey honor famous Britons. The current building is over 700 years old. Note the many intricate details, including stained-glass windows, tapestries, monumental sculptures, and flying buttresses. Spend extra time in Poets' Corner, where poets and writers such as Rudyard Kipling and Charles Dickens are buried. After you finish walking around the abbey, head down to its museum. The oldest part of the complex, it contains many royal and religious artifacts and displays wax effigies of past monarchs. You can use a complimentary audio guide you or hire a verger (a layperson providing services to the church) as a guide for a small extra fee, an option which can provide rich context to your visit.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Westminster Abbey
Tours including Westminster Abbey:

8. St. Paul's Cathedral

With its massive dome punctuating the London skyline, St. Paul's Cathedral is one of the city's most distinct sights. Both visually and ceremonially significant, the cathedral has hosted the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill, and Margaret Thatcher, and the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Climb to the top of the dome, pausing in the Whispering Gallery to hear murmurs from 30 m (100 ft) away, before walking up 271 more steps for panoramic views of London from the Golden Gallery. Head down to the crypt to view the tombs of national heroes, such as Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. Learn about the cathedral's history in Oculus, a 270-degree film exhibit. For more information about the venue's detailed mosaics, paintings, and architecture, take a guided tour or pick up a touchscreen multimedia guide at the entrance. After touring the cathedral, you can enjoy traditional English tea in the Restaurant at St. Paul’s.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Learn more about St. Paul's Cathedral
Tours including St. Paul's Cathedral:

9. Houses of Parliament

See British democracy in action at Houses of Parliament. During the week, all British residents and overseas visitors can watch legislators debating for free. If your visit falls on a Saturday, or during the summer recess, you'll be able to take a guided tour of the building. The tours are comprehensive, starting in the Queen’s Robing Room, moving through chambers for debating and voting, and finishing in medieval Westminster Hall. Along the way, you'll encounter grandly appointed spaces and collect knowledge about British parliamentary procedure. UK residents can also tour Elizabeth Tower, but foreign visitors cannot.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Learn more about Houses of Parliament
Tours including Houses of Parliament:

10. Victoria and Albert Museum

At Victoria and Albert Museum, see the world's largest decorative arts and design collection. The museum's 145 galleries span 51,000 sq m (12.5 acres), so you won't be able to see it all in a single visit. Look over a floor plan and decide which rooms interest you the most. You have 5,000 years worth of art to choose from, including ceramics, glass, textiles, ironwork, sculptures, furniture, photographs, and more, from all parts of the world. At 80,000 objects, the ceramics collection is the world's largest and features pieces by famous potters such as William De Morgan and Bernard Leach. In the British galleries, keep an eye out for Henry VIII's writing desk, which dates to 1525. The jewelry collection includes an emerald necklace that Napoleon gave to his adopted daughter, Hortense de Beauharnais, in 1806. Check the schedule of free tours and talks if you want to learn more about specific subjects.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
Learn more about Victoria and Albert Museum
Tours including Victoria and Albert Museum:

11. Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace serves as a splendid reminder of the monarch's continued importance in British culture. If you visit during August or September, you'll have the opportunity to tour the palace's opulent staterooms. The queen receives and entertains guests and conducts special ceremonies in these spaces. Many of the furnishings date back to the 1830s, when King George IV transformed Buckingham House into a palace. On your tour, you'll learn how the monarch uses each of the 19 staterooms, hear colorful history relating to these spaces, and see numerous works in the British royals' art collection. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes, because the tour lasts from 2-2.5 hours and stretches out over 0.8 km (0.5 miles). Photography is not permitted inside. If you visit outside of August and September, you can still watch the changing of the guard outside the palace.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Buckingham Palace
Tours including Buckingham Palace:

12. Hyde Park

Sitting on 142 hectares (350 acres) in central London, Hyde Park is one of the city's largest and most attraction-rich green spaces. You'll find plenty of ways to enjoy yourself here no matter the season. Navigate the Serpentine lake by rowboat or pedal boat, or take a swim if you visit between June and September. Stop by the Diana Memorial, a fountain made of Cornish granite with water flowing down an embankment in two directions to meet in a pool at the bottom. Walk around Speakers' Corner, where luminaries such as Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and George Orwell have given speeches, and many protests and demonstrations have taken place. Butterflies fly around in the summer and wildfowl visit in winter, and you can ride horses along two designated routes. If you plan to be in London during the first half of July, find out who's performing in the park's summer concert series. Tickets are usually in high demand, so you'll want to find out when they go on sale for any concerts you want to attend.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Hyde Park
Tours including Hyde Park:

13. Big Ben

If you could only choose one icon to represent Great Britain, Big Ben would have to merit strong consideration. The name commonly describes the clock tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, but the title originally went to the bell inside the tower. The official name of the tower is Elizabeth Tower. UK residents can take a tour of the tower, going all the way to the top for spectacular views of London. If you're a foreign visitor, you'll have to be content with snapping photos from the ground. The clock tower is photogenic at any time of day, but even more so when it's lit up at dusk.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
Learn more about Big Ben
Tours including Big Ben:

14. BrakeAway Bike Tours

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about BrakeAway Bike Tours

15. Tate Modern

Tate Modern is one of the world's vanguards of modern and contemporary art. Installations and exhibits here change periodically, so check to see what's on display before you visit. Past installations have included a giant tuba hanging from the ceiling and diatribes playing through speakers. You'll also encounter art that's more historical, yet still modern. The Poetry and Dream gallery contains Surrealist works, Structure and Dream presents abstract art, and Energy and Process focuses on Arte Povera--a radical modern art movement that took place in Italy from 1967-1972. To learn more about the galleries' highlights, take one of the daily free tours lasting about 45 minutes.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
Learn more about Tate Modern
Tours including Tate Modern: