Top 25 things to do in London

Best things to do in London

London is known for being one of the busiest and vibrant cities in the world with a whole host of activities to be enjoyed while you're there.

With a wide variety of cultural, historic and scenic attractions on offer it's impossible to know what's worth making the time to see.

So with the help of TripAdvisor reviewers, we've put together the top 25 places to visit while you're in the capital.

Maybe you fancy indulging in a spot of culture at the art gallery voted the best tourist attraction in the UK, or want to know where to get the best city views from.

Or you might fancy browsing a markets or even have a go at hunting down the ghost of Anne Boleyn. We've really got everything covered.

Is your favourite thing to do in London here? Check out this list and let us know what you think in the comments box. Maybe you think some of our choices are overrated...

Top 25 things to do in London
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Top 25 things to do in London

Not for nothing was the National Gallery named the UK's top visitor attraction in Tripadvisor's Travellers Choice Awards 2014. Set in London's iconic Trafalgar Square, this fabulous gallery hosts nearly 2,500 paintings from around Europe and is one of the richest art collections in the world. It's open daily between 10am and 6pm, and until 9pm on Fridays. Admission is free.

The country's largest museum and one of the oldest in the world, the British Museum is frequently named the UK's top attraction, with more than six million visitors a year. The museum is home to a vast collection of treasures dedicated to human history and culture. Open daily from 10.00 - 17.30 with later openings on Fridays (10.00 - 20.30). Admission is free.

The Victoria & Albert Museum (the V&A) hosts the biggest collection of decorative arts and design in the world, with a permanent collection of more than 4 million objects The museum is open daily between 10.00 - 17.45 and
10.00 - 22.00 on Fridays. Admission is free. 

The Brick Lane Music Hall has both matinees and evening shows accompanied with afternoon tea and a three course dinner respectively. Visit for more information on the shows available.

The Palace of Westminster is home to both the House of Commons and House of Lords, which together make up the Houses of Parliament. Visitors have the opportunity to take tours of the building as well as watching committees and debates. 

The Tower of London is a historic castle on the banks of the Thames which houses the Crown Jewels and is said to be haunted by the ghost of Henry VIII's wife Anne Boleyn who was beheaded for treason in 1536. Book tickets online for reduced rates. Adult: £23.10. Child: £10.50. Concession: £17.60.


Taking a look around Churchill's War Rooms will give you the chance to discover the war time bunker that sheltered Churchill and the British government during the Blitz in World War II. Adult: £18. Child: £9. Concession: £14.40.

The Wallace Collection is an art gallery and museum housed in a historic London town house. The 25 galleries boast a world-famous collection of 15th and 19th century decorative arts as well as French 18th century paintings and a selection of Old Masters. The collection is open daily between 10am - 5pm. Admission is free. 

Big Ben is often thought to be the tower as a whole but the name was originally given to just the bell inside. The Elizabeth Tower stands at the western end if the House of Parliament and is open to the public. Tours of the tower are between 9.00am, 11.00am and 2.00pm Monday-Friday. Admission is free.

St James' Park is the oldest of London's eight Royal Parks and encompasses The Mall and Horse Guards Parade as well. Those visiting in June may be lucky enough to see the annual Trooping of the Colour which takes place on the Queen's birthday. The park is open daily between 05.00 and 00.00.

Borough Market is one of the capital's most well known wholesale and food markets with a host of British and international produce on offer. The market also hosts live demonstration kitchens and special events. Wednesday - Thursday: 10am - 5pm. Fridays: 10am - 6pm. Saturdays: 8am - 5pm.

The Courtauld is known for its impressive collection of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. The gallery and institute are both found in Somerset House which is a former Tudor Palace on the Strand. The Institute is open daily between 10am – 6pm. Adults: £7. Concessions: £16. Under 18s: FREE.

London's Royal Opera House is home to The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra with the building dating back to 1732. Many of the composer Handel's oratorios were written specifically for the grand Covent Garden venue. Visit for more information about what you can see at the venue while in the city.

This poignant memorial can be found in Green Park, London and commemorates the crews of the RAF Bomber Command who served during the second world war. The statue serves as a memorial for the 55,573 people who lost their lives during the war.

Westminster Abbey is one of the most well known religious buildings in the whole of the UK and has hosted a number of Royal weddings, coronations and burials. The Abbey is open to visitors Monday to Friday between 09.30 and 15.30. Adult: £20.00. Student/Senior: £17.00. Child: £9.

The Royal Albert Hall is best known for holding the Proms concert every summer since 1941 and several of the world's leading artists have performed there. Unusuall for a concert venue, the Hall also plays host to the ATP tennis Champions Tour Masters each year.

The Natural History Museum is home to a wide range of life and earth science specimens and is particularly well known for 'Dippy', the large cast of a Diplodocus skeleton which can be found in the central hall. The museum is open to the public daily between 10.00 and 17.50. Admission is free.

Found in the former Hendon Aerodrome, the RAF Museum has five exhibitions halls displaying a world class collection of aircrafts from history as well as interactive exhibits, films, medals and uniforms and much more. The museum is open daily between 10am - 6pm. Admission is free. 

Regent's Park is one of London's Royal Parks and it can be found in the north west of the city, covering 395 acres. The Park is home to an Open Air Theatre, London Zoo and an amazingly diverse range of wildlife.

Tower Bridge is one of the most iconic sights in London and can be found bridging the Thames alongside the Tower of London. The bridge also recently unveiled a glass floor walkway 42 metres above the river granting visitors a spectacular view. Tickets are valid for a year and can be booked online but must bought 24 hours in advance. Adult: £8.00. Student: £5.65. Child: £3.50.

The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel which is also known as the Millennium Wheel. It was originally opened March 2000 and one turn of the wheel takes around 30 minutes granting visitors a stunning aerial view of the capital. Standard ticket: £19.35. Fast track: £28.35.

The Camden markets are often considered one of the creative hearts of London. Camden Lock is one of a number of markets found in the area. The market features stalls hosting fashion retailers, artists and independent designers. The market is open Monday to Sunday, 10am - 6pm.

The National Portrait Gallery was the first portrait gallery opened in the world and features the portraits of historically important and well known British people. The gallery is open daily 10.00 - 18.00 with late opening on Thursdays and Fridays (10.00 - 21.00). Admission is free. 

Hyde Park is another of London's Royal Parks, covering more than 600 acres. It is also home to the famous Speaker's Corner, an open-air public speaking area. The Serpentine River runs through the park and offers both swimming and boating areas to visitors.

St Paul's is an Anglican cathedral and is the home of the Bishop of London. It can be found on top of Ludgate Hill which is also the highest point in the whole of the City of London. Amazingly the cathedral, which was built in 1675, survived the Blitz during WWII.


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Top 25 things to do in London

After years of craning our necks up, the View from the Shard is finally open for a spot of looking down on London. It’s sleek, stylish and does boast pretty incredible views. But for a fraction of the price (£3), you can stretch your legs and take in the town from the top of The Monument. Steeped in history, the building is bursting with character to be explored. Plus you get a rather charming certificate to prove you mastered the 311 steps. A short stroll away is the Heron Tower, where you can get a beer and a bar stool with just as good a view. Sorry Shardy.

It might miss the mark on exotic animals roaming around, but London’s city farms are free and fabulous. Head to Mudchute Farm in the east (riding the front seat of the DLR as you do), and spend a morning with sheep, donkeys, pigs and llamas, all with the backdrop of Canary Wharf overseeing proceedings. The café serves excellent hot and cold food, best washed down with a glass of homemade lemonade. Other farm locations in the capital include Vauxhall, Hackney and Kentish Town.

Every fancy hotel in London promises the best afternoon tea - seriously expensive scones and prim placemats guaranteed. For much more character (and just as good cake), head to the Secret Tea Room in Soho - above the Coach and Horses at 29 Greek Street (W1D 5DH). You take your seat via the washing up sink, and absolutely nothing matches. Which is all part of the charm. Afternoon tea from £17 per person, booking recommended.

The aromas of ostrich burgers and piles of cheese samples attract over four million visitors a year to Borough Market. A treat for the all the senses, yes, but this market does get jolly busy. Take a trip out of town to Greenwich and visit the roof-covered river side market for atmosphere, crafts, clothes and mouth-watering food to go. Watch the afternoon go by from the top of the hill.

A walk through Leicester Square or down Shaftsbury Avenue shows that chip shops in London are two a penny. But there’s nothing special about those ghastly Angus restaurants on every corner. Forget airs and graces and take a seat at the outdoor seating of Rock and Sole Plaice. Not only does the oldest London chippie get five stars for its epic punnery, but the fat chips, crispy batter and hearty mugs of tea make it a winning pit stop.

If you don’t fancy a dip in a lido or cold pond when the Great British Summer is in full swing (i.e, still a wee bit chilly), head to Oasis Sports Centre for a swim in the (heated!) outdoor pool. It’s blocked in by office and housing blocks, and the odd palm tree perched pool side gives it more than enough character. All for under £5 a swim.

Queuing around the block and a £15 entry fee? We do love a fish but a family day out with our scaly friends could easily top £100 if you head to London Aquarium. Never fear, there’s a little known gem in Dulwich called The Horniman Museum, with a £3 a pop aquarium, complete with star fish, sea horses and everyone’s favourite; the jellyfish.

Get your fix of the famous Abbey from the outside, then nip down the road to its less-famous cousin, Westminster Cathedral. Entry is free, and for £5 you can get the lift to the top of the tower for a view of the capital. Let us know if you also get the slightly dodgy tale from the guide about Will proposing to Kate at the top of the Tower…

The large yellow London duck which breezes along the Thames is a familiar sight in London and it's hugely popular with tourists. But you can get (almost) as close to the water - and thankfully stay a lot drier - with a ride on the Thames Clipper boat, all for the cost of a tube ride. Hop on board at Embankment and go all the way to Greenwich to get a real feel for the shape of the city. The snake of the river will surprise even the most hardened Londoner.

You might not get the recorded guide, but you certainly see the ‘real’ London with a ride aboard a public bus route, which naturally is cheaper than a tour bus. Buy a map and aim for the front seat of the double decker on route 211, Hammersmith to Waterloo. You will see everything from the Royal Albert Hall to the London Eye, without spending a small fortune. Choose a weekday after rush hour, around 10am for the best chance of the top seat. Bus 9 leaving from Piccadilly Circus (towards Kensington) is another fabulous route for the sights. 

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