Step onto the bustling city streets of London and you’ll soon be swept up by the buzzing city. The capital of the UK offers world-class tourism, with everything from foodie escapes to postcard moment sightseeing, history and even natural spaces.
Make sure you don’t miss out on the best London landmarks with this essential travel guide.
1. The London Eye
Soaring to 135m high, this ferris wheel is a cut above your average fairground attraction. You can take a seat or stroll around one of 32 pods, with 35 enchanting minutes to admire a bird’s eye view of the Thames and London skyline.
2. The Shard
Opened in 2013, The Shard might be a newer kid on London’s block, but towering at 309m, the epic glass building ensures it gets noticed. You can climb to the top and admire the panoramic views of London, or sip Champagne in one of several chic restaurants.
3. St Paul’s Cathedral
After St. Peter’s Basilica Peter in Rome and the Cathedral of Lourdes, St Paul’s Cathedral is the third largest cathedral in the world. Its characteristic feature is a dome that stretches an enormous 50m in diameter, so get your camera ready. You’ll find this religious landmark in the heart of London’s city district.
4. Tower Bridge
Often recalled as one of the most distinctive bridges in London, no bucket list of London landmarks is complete without Tower Bridge. A Victorian drawbridge that reaches over the Thames, you can walk through a glass tunnel that connects the two towers. It’s not just about getting from one side to the other though: this glass tunnel offers some of the best views of the city, so make time to stop and soak it up.
5. Trafalgar Square
This square is in the centre of London and is often used as a meeting place for concerts on New Year’s Eve and other celebrations. With a 55m column of Admiral Nelson, commemorating his victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, and lion fountains, it’s instantly recognisable and not one to be missed.
6. The Tower of London
The Tower of London is a defense and palace building of British monarchs. It also houses a darker history from its time being used as a prison. To this day, the Yeomen Warders and their families continue to inhabit the tower. This is living history at its best.
7. Natural History Museum
Speaking of history, the Natural History Museum is the landmark every budding historian or curious child will love. It’s free to get into this ancient world of botany, zoology, paleontology and entomology and your mind will be occupied for hours.
8. Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II and the architectural symbol of the United Kingdom. It also happens to be the largest royal palace in the world! You’ll enjoy excellent views from The Mall – the iconic, tree-lined approach to Buckingham Palace.
Tip: In August and September, when the Queen is outside London, you can even look around the inside of Buckingham Palace!
9. The British Museum
The British Museum is one of the world’s largest museums. With a collection of over seven million exhibits relating to ancient history, the term something for everyone really does ring true here…
10. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
Big Ben is a neo-Gothic clock tower, and is part of Westminster Palace and the seat of the British Parliament. The oldest part of the tower dates back to the eleventh century. Visit Big Ben and you’ll also see the House of Commons and House of Lords from outside. Where better for ticking London landmarks off your bucket list?
Not every London landmark will be so close, though. Make sure you’re clued up to the cheapest and best ways to travel around the city with this guide.
11. Westminster Abbey
This abbey boasts a seriously important royal connection in England. It’s the place each King and Queen comes for their coronation, as they take the throne and become reigning monarch. It’s one of the most important Anglican temples, not to mention impossibly beautiful, so take a look.
12. Hyde Park
Londoners use Hyde Park as a meeting point for many a social occasion, and it’s easy to see why. As one of the largest and most famous royal parks in London, you’ll be surprised at how much this park can offer. From dedicated events and concerts, to cafes, cycling and horse riding, there are a whole host of activities to enjoy. Let’s not forget the iconic Serpentine, where you can try your hand at boating or, if you’re brave, venture in for a swim…
13. Piccadilly Circus
The West End deserves a visit in its own right, thanks to its hip and exciting theatre and entertainment offerings. But you’ll also find Piccadilly Circus here, too. This is the square and intersection of some of London’s main streets with an enormous electronic advertising board. The bright city lights are on show here.
14. Covent Garden
Covent Garden is the home to London’s artists and creatives. This place is officially known as a field for street entertainment. The main attraction of Covent Garden is the market in the middle of the gardens. You’ll be able to browse for hours, before sitting down in a chic cafe for coffee or a late lunch.
15. Tate Modern
This museum of contemporary art is considered one of the most important in the world next to MoMa in New York. If you love all things art, culture and cutting edge, this is the gallery to be at.
16. The National Gallery
Alternatively, try The National Gallery fif your tastes are more traditional. This art gallery is located at Trafalgar Square, so think of it as a dual-centre attraction. Inside, you’ll find paintings of many famous artists from the years 1250-1900. Highlights include Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh. It’s an art lovers paradise and, even better, it’s free for visitors.
17. London Zoo
London Zoo is the third oldest zoo in the world. Originally, the zoo was established for scientific purposes, but later was opened to the public. At present there are more than six hundred species of animals at the zoo, so allow an entire day to explore the exhibits.
18. Portobello Road Market
This huge flea market is considered one of the largest antique markets of its kind in the world. It takes place every Saturday and shopping here is an experience you’ll take away with you. You will find old, valuable jewellery, precious antiques, London souvenirs and furniture all for sale, but sometimes hidden gems require a rummage to be discovered.
Feel like your in the movie Notting Hill by skipping the hotels and staying in this funky apartment at which is just 500meters from the famous Portabello Road markets – Funky apartment Portobello Market
19. Borough Market
This market hall is near London Bridge and is the oldest British market, having been around since the Middle Ages. Like Covent Garden and Portobello Road, it’s an essential experience for any visit to London.
One of the most exclusive shopping centres in the world, step into Harrods and you’ll walk in the footsteps of London’s elite. The Gallery is housed in a seven-storey building, offering purchasers a luxury shopping experience from a covetable, carefully curated collection of products.
Now you know the 20 London landmarks you simply have to see, but have you planned your travel yet? Here are your options for getting to London – both from abroad and within the UK. Enjoy your next visit to the UK’s capital city!
Which London landmarks are you most excited to see and why?
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