Words don’t do London justice. Huge, vibrant, and with a fascinating history that spans 2000+ years. The UK capital is an all-popular tourist destination that attracted a whopping 21 million visitors in 2019 alone. In fact, there are so many incredible things to do in London that deciding what to include on your itinerary – and what to omit – can be a genuine challenge.
Whether you’re a budget backpacker in college or a retired couple looking for luxury, this fascinating place caters to everyone’s tastes and interests. Additionally, it’s a good time to join the millions of visitors to London and take advantage of the strong dollar.
Now, plan your itinerary and experience seven of the very best things to do in London.
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7 Best Things to Do in London
1. See the Elizabeth Tower – AKA “Big Ben”
No trip to London is complete without seeing the world-famous clock tower at its center, Big Ben. Officially called the “Elizabeth Tower,” Big Ben’s located on the banks of the River Thames and is part of the beautiful and equally well-known Houses of Parliament.
Head to Westminster on the hour to hear it chime or simply snap a selfie with it looming behind you! Now’s a good time to do so. Having been wrapped in scaffolding for the last few years, Big Ben’s back up and running – its incredible Gothic architecture on display again at last.
2. Explore South Bank and the London Eye
If you want an excellent vantage point from which to see Big Ben in all its glory, head to London South Bank. This bustling commercial district on the south bank of the Thames offers a fantastic view of Westminster, as well as a slew of other attractions that make it a must-do London activity in its own right.
One of the best-known things to do here is the London Eye – the iconic Ferris wheel, also known as the Millennium Wheel, which offers outstanding views over the city as you rotate slowly to a maximum height of 135 meters. However, there are also bars, restaurants, the SEA LIFE London Aquarium, and the Tate Modern gallery to enjoy.
3. Visit the Tower of London
It’s hard to overstate just how historic London really is. A city that stretches back to Roman times, there are sights of substantial historical importance around every corner! Of them all, though, few are more impressive than the Tower of London.
Built by the first Norman King of England, William the Conqueror, in the 11th Century AD, this immense stone fortress transports you back in time as you stroll along its ancient walkways and within its walls. Do a tour to hear the stories, explore the grounds, see the Crown Jewels, and learn all about its illustrious past.
4. See a West End Show
The West End is to London what Broadway is to New York. A glitzy part of the city that’s notorious for its theatres and shows, we highly recommend you come here to watch at least one production on your trip!
Trust us; there’s something for everyone. From Les Miserables at the Sondheim Theatre and the Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre to Wicked at the Apollo Victoria and Frozen at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, you’re sure to find a show that suits your individual tastes.
5. Visit St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is another example of London’s illustrious history and impressive architecture. A building of great national significance, this is where British royalty comes to get married, and esteemed Brits, such as Winston Churchill, have had their funerals. It’s also the chosen venue for many cultural and religious events.
Ultimately, St. Paul’s Cathedral is another hugely iconic London landmark. Pay it a visit to look around, feel the peaceful atmosphere, and gaze up at the remarkable dome designed by the famous English architect Sir Christopher Wren. Then, if you’re up for a challenge, climb the 528 steps to the top for exceptional views over the city.
6. Go Mudlarking
Mudlarking is one of the best things to do in London if you’re a history buff who doesn’t mind getting your hands dirty! This unique activity involves scouring the exposed riverbed of the Thames for artifacts from London’s past. It’s 100% free, and you can do it twice a day by venturing down to the banks at low tide.
As crazy as it might sound, you’ll be amazed at what you can find. While terracotta tiles, clay pipes, and oyster shells are most common, some mudlarks have found extraordinary items, such as padlocks from the early 19th Century, a Mesolithic ax, a die from the 16th Century, and a Roman coin from 65 AD – among many others.
7. Go to a Museum, Gallery, Park, or Market
England’s capital city has a reputation for being tricky to travel around on a budget. Yet there are actually dozens of things to do in London that are 100% free. Case and point? Its myriad museums, markets, parks, and galleries.
We’d be here the entire day if we tried to list them all. For instance, there’s the British Museum, Natural History Museum, and Science Museum; the National Gallery and Tate Britain; Hyde Park, Regent’s Park, and Richmond Park; Borough Market, Camden Market, and Brick Lane Market.
And that literally scratches the surface of what’s available! So we encourage you to do some extra digging to pick and choose the museums, galleries, parks, and markets you find most appealing. Then put them on your London itinerary!
Visit the Best Things to Do in London for an Incredible Vacation
As you can see, there’s no shortage of incredible things to do in London! This modern metropolis is home to an abundance of iconic attractions that draw and delight millions of travelers annually. Visiting London for about 3 days will allow you to see all the top attractions.
With any luck, this list of the best things to do in London will make it easier to choose how to spend your time there. Whether you include one or all the options on your London itinerary, you’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable experience.
Thanks for reading The Best Things to Do in London: 7 Unmissable Attractions!
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Danny Newman is a digital nomad, blogger, and content writer from the UK. A passionate traveler with a perpetual itch in his feet, he’s always on the hunt for the next big adventure.