London, England is one of the largest and most famous cities in the world. So it’s no surprise that there’s so many things to do in London! From history and culture to shopping and art.
If you didn’t know, London is the capital of both England and the entire United Kingdom. It’s the home to the British Royal Family and considered to be one of the most important cities in the world.
You can visit London anytime of year! But London tends to be most enjoyable in the Spring – the weather is warmer, flowers have started to bloom, and the crowds from summer tourists haven’t begun yet. We visited in early fall and we loved it. The cooler temps, changing leaves, and not too many crowds!
Keep reading to learn about 9 things to do in London on your next trip to England!
This blog post contains affiliate links which means we may earn a small commission on your tour purchase at no additional cost to you. We truly appreciate your support!
9 Things to do in London…
1. Visit Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is probably the most famous landmark in all of England – home to the royal family! We visited about a month and a half after the longest reigning queen, Queen Elizabeth II, passed away.
If admiring the Palace from outside the gates isn’t enough, you may want to book a tour to see inside! Tours of Buckingham Palace are quite limited and do book up far in advance. We’d recommend trying to book your tour as soon as you have your trip to London dates. There are also a few unique tour options to experience outside the Palace Grounds. Check them out below!
2. Walk over Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is a bascule and suspension bridge built between 1886 and 1894. During its time, it was “the largest and most sophisticated bascule bridge ever completed“. It allowed London to expand by connecting the two sides of the river for people and cars but still allowing boats to pass through.
Fun fact: It’s commonly called London Bridge incorrectly, but that’s another bridge a few miles away! Don’t make that mistake during your visit. :)
During your time in London, you’ll probably walk over this bridge simply to get to your next thing to do in London. It offers beautiful views of London any time of day!
If you are looking for a more unique experience than walking across the street level of Tower Bridge, you can book a tour to go inside the bridge! We were confused how you could tour inside at first until we saw this photo below explaining it a little better.
Touring Tower Bridge gives you a better understanding of the history of Victorian London. You can see things like the engine room and walk over glass flooring 138 feet/42 meters above the River Thames. For more FAQ’s about visiting, check out their website here for the latest information.
3. Have a picnic at Hyde Park
Hyde Park is the largest of the 8 Royal Parks in London. For all the American’s reading this, it’s basically the Central Park of London. We loved getting to visit and relax a little before checking off more things to do in London!
Not only is Hyde Park home to Speaker’s Corner filled with history, it’s a beautiful park and garden with lots to do. Below are a list of a few things to do in Hyde Park:
- Enjoy a picnic on the grass
- Relax on a park bench overlooking the views
- Dip your toes at Diana’s, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain
- Swim at the Serpentine
- Grab a bite at the Waterside Cafe
- Plan a match of tennis
- Go for a run
- Ride your bike or horse
- Hear people share their views at Speaker’s Corner [Sunday morning only]
Here’s a link to a map of Hyde Park to plan your visit in more detail! You can get to the Park by Tube, bus, walking, taxi, or car [limited parking available].
Hyde Park Hours: 5:00am to Midnight, all year round
4. Get a photo of Big Ben & the Palace of Westminster
Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster is my favorite things to do in London! The architecture is absolutely stunning and filled with so much history.
Big Ben is formally known as the Great Bell of the Great Clock of Westminster. It’s another iconic landmark of the world. After 5 years of restoration work that caused silence of the chimes, they are finally ringing again! The clock chimes every hour, on the hour with 4 smaller bells chiming every 5 minutes.
The Palace of Westminster is informally know as the House of Parliament – where the UK Parliament meets! You can read more about its history here.
Pro Tip: Walk across the bridge over River Thames, to get a better viewpoint and photo angle [just like the top left photo]!
During our visit, both were closed to tours but now they’re back open! We wished we could have been able to see inside the Palace of Westminster. As of March 2023, you still cannot tour inside Big Ben unless you are a UK resident. Check out the tour below if that’s something you’re interested in!
Looking to explore outside the city of London? Read our blog about visiting the quaint village in Castle Combe, Cotswolds.
5. Ride the London Eye
The London Eye, originally called the Millennium Wheel, is the world’s largest observation wheel and is located on the bank of River Thames. You ride in glass pods that offer 360 views of London. The entire experience once inside the pods is about 30 minutes!
This is one of the most popular paid attractions in London so we recommend purchasing your tickets in advance! Once you have your tickets, you will wait in a line that can take up to an hour during busy season. We recommend booking a morning time to avoid the wait and crowds [or you can book a Fast Track ticket]!
The London Eye’s opening hours vary depending on the time of year. Click here for the most accurate hours of operation. Ticket prices to vary depending on the season and time of day – book your tour below to find out more pricing details!
6. Tour Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is an Anglican church in Westminster, London. It was built in 1066 and has been a filled with incredible history ever since. Westminster has been home to over 39 coronations of English and British monarchs, including the upcoming coronation of Charles III and Camilla in May 2023.
There are many different galleries to explore – The Coronation Chair, The Royal Tombs, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, The Lady Chapel, and so much more!
While you can purchase tickets at the entrance, we recommend booking in advance since it’s all subject to availability.
Westminster Abbey Hours – General Admittance: 9.30am – 3.30pm
For more specific timing of different parts of the Abbey, check here.
7. Tour the Tower of London
Tower of London is a Royal Castle, infamous prison, fortress and World Heritage Site located in the heart of London. Built in 1070’s by William the Conqueror as a fortress to protect his power. Over the centuries, it has been rich in history and is a place to see and learn about it. It’s home to the Crown Jewels, famous Yeoman Warders, and so much more!
Opening times vary, check here for the latest hours of operation.
8. Walk around the ruins of St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden
St. Dunstan in the East Church Garden is the ruins of what’s left of a beautiful 1100 Wren church destroyed in WWII. It’s now a garden that’s a hidden gem right in the heart of London. St. Dunstan is a great place to walk around and relax on a park bench to take in the beauty.
It’s open daily from 8:00am to 7:00pm or dusk [whichever is earlier] and is free to visit. The perfect morning stop on your way to Tower of London or Tower Bridge!
9. Go shopping on Oxford Street & Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus is home to lots of retail stores, designer stores, and famous department stores. This area is filled with the hustle and bustle of tourists all day long. Its London’s version of Times Square. We’d recommend going at night because it’s all light up and makes it even more beautiful!