Boat and London eye on River Thames
This post is split into five sections; the most iconic things to do in London, historic things to do in London, fun things to do in London with kids, and finally the top museums and the top markets you need to visit in London.
The State Rooms
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Hampton Court Palace is about 35 minutes by train from London Waterloo Station (on Southwest Trains). The palace is a five minute walk from the station. I’d recommend lingering around Hampton court because it’s a very pretty place to visit.

50 of the Best Things to do in London

Boat and London eye on River Thames

10 Iconic Things to do in London

London Westminster Houses of Parliament, things to do in London
How to do it: Head to Covent Garden and keep an eye out for both Apple and Jubilee Markets. You can find out more about Covent Garden’s market history and the existing markets here.
Lego Store London

1. Take a trip on the London Eye

How to do it: You can find out more about how to visit the Churchill War Rooms here. 
How to do it: You can find out more about Dennis Severs’ House and how to visit it here.

2. Snap a pic with Big Ben & the Palace of Westminster

Located just around the corner from larger and better known Borough Market, Maltby Street is another great international street food market hidden underneath 19th-century railway arches and a particular favourite with London locals. Unlike most of the other top markets in London, Maltby Street is only open on weekends.
How to do it: 
The Accelerator Orbit is a 114.5-metre-high sculpture in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. During the London Olympics, the unusual looking sculpture was used as an observation tower, however, now it is home to the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide and the UK’s highest free-fall abseil. Certainly one of the more unique things to do in London.

3. Visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace

The tower sits on the north end of the Palace of Westminster which serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The impressive Gothic Revival style building is best viewed from a short distance away on Westminster Bridge.
50 Best things to do in London Pinterest
Book a tour of Harry Potter World at Warner Brothers Studio here (transfers included). 
Book a tour of Harry Potter World at Warner Brothers Studio here (transfers included). 
Book a tour of Harry Potter World at Warner Brothers Studio here (transfers included). 
Book a tour of Harry Potter World at Warner Brothers Studio here (transfers included). 

  • The View from The Shard – Visit the highest public viewing platform in London on levels 69-73 of the capital’s tallest building. Admission can be a little on the pricey side but it is a very iconic thing to do in London. You can book tickets here.
  • The Sky Garden – Take a wander around London’s ‘highest public garden’ on the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie building. It’s completely free to visit (making it my top recommendation), you just need to book a date and time slot in advance. There are also a couple of restaurants and a bar inside if you want to visit for dinner or/and a drink. 

10. Go for Afternoon Tea in London

Book a tour of Harry Potter World at Warner Brothers Studio here (transfers included). 
Book a tour of Harry Potter World at Warner Brothers Studio here (transfers included). 
Book a tour of Harry Potter World at Warner Brothers Studio here (transfers included). 

  • Camden Lock Market began as a crafts market but quickly diversified into clothes, jewellery, books and plenty more.
  • The Stables Market is the hub of Camden’s alternative scene, with clothes and goods targeted as sub-cultures such as goths and cybergoths (Cyberdog is a must visit).
  • KERB Camden is the area’s primary food market with plenty of great street food from around the world with space to eat overlooking Camden Lock and Regents Canal.
  • Buck Street Market is a new addition to the area located inside recycled shipping containers and is the UK’s first dedicated market for the conscious consumer, with many ethical and sustainable food and fashion traders.

44. Spitalfields Market

*Try afternoon tea on a red London bus here.
Take a wander around Trafalgar Square, central London’s famous pedestrianised square which is home to important landmarks including the National Gallery, Nelson’s Column and its four bronze lions, and two large fountains which are popular spots to sit and enjoy the spray of the water on a hot day in the city centre.

45. Columbia Road Flower Market

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Dennis Severs’ House in East London is a self-labelled “still-life drama”. Created by the previous owner Dennis Sever, the inside of the house is a historical re-imagination of what life would have been like for a family of Huguenot silk weavers during the 18th century. An immersive and interesting step back in time to experience life in historic London.

46. Portobello Road Market

Portobello Road Market, top things to do in London
The British Library is the largest national library in the world, with millions of items in its collection. What’s even cooler is that the library has its own public gallery where visitors can view some of its most significant items, including the Magna Carta, original writings from both Charles Dickens, The Beatles, Shakespeare and plenty more.
While often referred to as Harry Potter World London, the Warner Brothers Studio is actually located just north of London close to the town of Watford, however, this isn’t a huge problem if you book a tour because entrance tickets come with transfers to and from central London.
How to do it: Book ahead as it’s always busy. You can buy official tickets here.
London South Bank Walk: The Best Sights to See
Another of the city’s real hidden sights, London’s Roman Amphitheatre is the visible remains of an amphitheatre constructed in 70AD, sitting beneath the Guildhall Art Gallery complex. While the remains aren’t that significant, the innovative displays and reconstructions are worth the visit alone for history buffs.

47. Greenwich Market

How to do it: 
While crossing the bridge by foot or vehicle is completely free, you can also pay to take the upper walkway (33 metres above road level) and watch the bridge below through its glass floor.

48. Truman’s Markets

When it comes to both beautiful and unique places to enjoy afternoon tea, London certainly doesn’t fall short, from full 5* luxury at The Ritz London Afternoon Tea and the city’s other high-end hotel restaurants, to more unusual and quirky options.
While London’s modern Shakespeare’s Globe may not be the exact Elizabethan playhouse for which playwright William Shakespeare wrote his now world-famous plays, it is a realistic replica just around the corner from the original which unfortunately was demolished in 1644. The new Globe Theatre isn’t just an important historic landmark in London, it is also a working theatre which you can visit by day for a guided tour or by night to see a Shakespearean play in the spot where it all began.

49. Broadway Market

Pop by Madame Tussauds London to snap some photos with life-size wax replicas of famous celebrities and iconic persons, such as British Royals including Queen Elizabeth II and Will and Kate, English sporting legends David Beckham, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Tom Daley, and film stars from across the years including Audry Hepburn, Kate Winslet and Daniel Craig.
How to do it: You can book tickets to visit Westminster Abbey here.

50. Covent Garden Markets

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How to do it: You can find out how to visit St Dunstan’s church here. 

Best London Tours

Founded in 1753, the British Museum was the first national museum in the world to cover all fields of human knowledge. To this day, it is still one of the most popular museums in London, with a permanent collection of over eight million artefacts spanning two million years of human history, art and culture. Personally, one of my favourite things about the British Museum is that it’s centred around the largest and most visually appealing covered public square in Europe.

  • How to do it: You can find out more about how to visit the National Gallery here.
  • If you want to book direct, you need to plan months (or longer) ahead because tickets are popular and therefore scarce. 
  • Old City Walking Tour – wander around the historic city of London and see important London landmarks such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London while hearing stories of the the blitz, great fire, plague and more.

Opposite the Lego Store in Leicester Square is M&M World London – the world’s largest sweet shop. Spread over 4 floors, the colourful store includes life-sized sculptures of the brand’s famous characters, the world’s biggest chocolate wall and even a photo booth where you can get your photo printed onto M&Ms. Oh, and you can buy every imaginable type of M&M too.

More of my London and UK Blog Posts

An antique store in Portobello Road Market
How to do it: Emirates Air Line Cable Car is operated by Transport for London (the same people who run the Tube) and you can buy tickets here. 
You can plan your train journey using Trainline here. (This is my favourite UK train website. Download the app for mobile tickets. They’ll even give you an automatic refund if your train is too late). 
Visit the historic underground complex that housed a British government command centre throughout the Second World War, and the wartime bunker which sheltered Winston Churchill and his staff. As well as the preserved War Rooms you can also visit the Churchill Museum, a biographical museum exploring the life of Churchill himself.
London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, from people taking day trips from other parts of the UK, to those flying all the way from the other side of the planet to visit one of the world’s most diverse, beautiful and exciting cities.

Blog posts to help you plan (and pack for) your trip

How to do it: You can find out more about how to visit the Natural History Museum here.
The Thames is a dominating factor in the city, weaving it’s way through the heart of the city. And with many of the city’s best attractions fronting onto or visible from the Thames (Big Ben, St Paul’s, The London Eye and Tower of London to name a few), cruising down the Thames can be a great way to pack in some sightseeing while saving little legs that tire easily. 
How to do it: Westminster Tube Station is closest. Big Ben is sign-posted from there. You can find out more about Big Ben here.
While most of the interior of the palace is closed off to the public, you can visit the State Rooms, the Queen’s Art Gallery and the Royal Mews, where the State Coaches and royal horses are kept.

Going on a Eurotrip?

How to do it: 
Harry Potter fan and want to stay within London? Check out this Harry Potter guided London walking tour.
Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College
The Only Packing List You’ll Ever Need (with printable checklist)
Camden Market, best things to do in London
Another of the best free things to do in London is to take a stroll around the city’s many markets. Well, they’re free until you start treating yourself to food, clothes, gifts and just about everything else you lay eyes on. Just double check opening days and hours before you visit.
How to do it: You can book tickets to visit Kensington Palace here.

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