By Soren Rivero
London. Need we say more?
Known by people worldwide for its iconic landmarks and unfathomably unique atmosphere, London is a destination worthy on anyone’s bucket list. To help get you started, here are some of the best things to do in London!
Natural History Museum
Starting off this is list is one of the most exciting free things to do in London: visiting the Natural History Museum! Located deep in the crevices of London’s heart, this massive and immersive museum is a sight for sore eyes. It contains specimens, artifacts, and historical documents regarding wildlife from all across the world. The museum also acts as a leading research center for science. If you’re looking for fun things to do with kids in London, the Natural History Museum makes for a great option because of its interactive experience that takes visitors on a trip through history.
Stroll Through Covent Garden
Dazzling with high ceiling lamps and filled with dozens of shops/eateries, the Covent Garden is a great place to pass time in London. It’s a car-free Piazza, so be prepared to do some walking. Check online for local events in London as there are occasionally live performances held at the Covent Garden. This plaza is also great for those looking for places to shop in London! You’ll see stores ranging from fashion boutiques to craft stalls, so keep an eye out for something that piques your interest!
Ride the London Eye
Alternatively known as the Millennium Wheel, the London Eye is one of the United Kingdom’s most popular paid tourist attractions. The unique experience of observing London from over 443 ft. high in the sky draws in over 3 million visitors every year. You’ll find the London Eye on the River Thames near the Southern Bank. An entire tour of surrounding attractions can be completed in just under an hour, making it one of the more entertaining things to do in London in a short time.
Have Afternoon Tea
Tea was introduced to Great Britain somewhere in the 1600s and has since become an integral part of British culture. Since lunch was traditionally eaten early and supper rather late, afternoon tea is somewhere in the middle! If you’re wondering where to find afternoon tea in London, they’re all over the place. Your hotel might even offer an afternoon tea. So go forth and enjoy scones and other delicacies along with a nice ‘cuppa’ (British slang for cup of tea).
Visit God’s Own Junkyard
God’s Own Junkyard is an immersive experience where you’re cast into a vibrant maze inside of a warehouse, surrounded by neon lights and other flamboyant artworks. The place has a cult following not only in London but halfway across the world in Los Angeles. Admission is complimentary, making it another great thing to do on a budget in London. This attraction also has some peculiar hours (and some specific rules) so be sure to check their website before you plan on attending!
Stand in Two Places at Once at the Royal Observatory
Looking for a quick and cheap thing to do in London? Head over to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park for a chance to stand at the Prime Meridian! You can put one foot on the western hemisphere and one foot on the eastern, metaphorically splitting your body in half! The Royal Observatory is also popular historical landmark in London, so feel free to walk around and snap some photos.
Hunt a Vampire at Highgate Cemetery
Reactions from the publishing of Dracula and Stephen King's Pet Semetary were rather interesting, to say the least. People dug into the Highgate Cemetery and plunged stakes into corpses, prompting a vampire hunt. Safe to say, there's a lot of fascinating history here – it's definitely one of the spookiest places in London, so scaredy-cats beware! Tours are available of this labyrinth-styled cemetery, and it's definitely worth it for those looking for scary things to do in London.
Visit Big Ben
There’s much to say about Big Ben. Especially considering it’s one of London’s most popular attractions. But to really get a sense of the magic that is Big Ben, you have to see it for yourself. It’s a hallmark of any London experience, so be sure to visit!
Tour the Cutty Sark Ship
The Cutty Sark is a ship-turned-monument, formerly responsible for being dominant force in transportation (primarily wool) between Australia and England. It’s the paradigm of the clipper ship design and to this day is the fastest of its kind. Tickets to visit this museum are around $20. Visiting the Cutty Sark is a great family activity in London as kids can meet the ship’s cast, participate in group activities, adults can climb the ropes, and enjoy a meal on the lower deck!
Visit London’s Beautiful Libraries
London is not only home to some of the settings of our favorite stories such as Sherlock Homes and the birthplace of famous authors such as Beatrix Potter (The Tale of Peter Rabbit), but also home to dozens of amazing libraries!
If you need help on where to find a good library in London, you can visit our recommended list here!
Climb St. Paul’s Cathedral
Rivaling the size of the Roman Pantheon, St. Paul’s Cathedral has one of the world’s largest domes. The site on which it rests has previously been home to a few different iterations of the church, the most famous of which was burned in 1666. It is now a museum, historical landmark, art gallery, and burial site! Prayers and other religious activities are also held at the museum. During secular hours, you can tour the cathedral and climb to the top of the dome for an amazing view of London.
Tour the City
Simply touring through London will present you with an experience like none other. There are plenty of ways on how to tour through London. The two most popular (according to visitors) is by taking a walking tour or by getting on a hop on/hop off bus. Either way, make sure to stop by some local shops for souvenirs, and a local restaurant for some Fish and Chips.
Venture Through the Churchill War Rooms
Winston Churchill, referred to as “the hero of 1940”, the greatest Britain, and one of the best Prime Ministers ever – Whether you call him any of those or just see him as another cranky old man, there’s no doubt his effort to save Britain against the attacks of the Nazi Forces could ever be disregarded.
You can see the underground bunker where Churchill led the defenses and fought to strategize during World War II. You have to pay to get in but the experience more than makes up for the small fee. You’ll see the rooms where Churchill and his allies lived and worked during the War, as well as learn more about the history of World War II.
Walk Down the Leake Street Graffiti Tunnel
Graffiti is illegal in England, but the government seems to have made a sole exception for this iconic hidden gem in London. With over 900 feet of raw, pure, new-age artistry plastered against the tunnel walls, you’ll never be bored while walking through Leake Street.
A Towering Experience
Last but certainly not least, we have two of the absolute most famous attractions in all of the United Kingdom: The Tower of London and Tower Bridge. Located right next to each other, visiting these two must-see attractions in London is extremely easy.
The Tower of London is a prized possession with over thousands of years of history encased within its walls. The ‘Crown Jewels’ kept inside along with many other unique artifacts. The Tower of London is the most secure medieval castle in all of London, which previously held the royal family and their belongings.
Next, the Tower Bridge. Sometimes confused with the popular ‘London Bridge’, this iconic landmark is quite literally the front face of many of England’s post-cards. It’s a suspension bridge with the Grade 1 quality. Walking across the bridge is free, making it another great free thing to do in London.
Now that you have a sense of the best things to do in London, which ones will you visit?