We can talk about the sights of London for an endless time. Read our review and you will know what every tourist should see in London.
In our rating we have included all the most interesting places in London. In compiling it, we took into account the reviews and recommendations of experienced guides and Londoners themselves. In our general opinion, you should choose the following excursions in London:
Also like many of London’s finest landmarks, this one has centuries of history. Construction of the fortress, perched on the banks of the River Thames, began over 900 years ago. The structure was intended to hold influential prisoners, including royalty. Mary Tudor, Anne Boleyn and Thomas More all visited here. In certain years it was also used as a royal residence. The castle lost its main purpose only in the middle of the 20th century.
Official website: https://www.hrp.org
If your trip to London involves a desire to experience unique architectural monuments, make a trip downtown to this majestic cathedral. Its imposing dimensions make St. Peter’s Cathedral, built in Baroque and Renaissance styles, one of the largest in Europe and the world. The date of construction is the 7th century. The dome of the building, lined with lead slabs, is of great interest.
Official website: https://www.stpauls
Such sights in London should not be overlooked. The height of the giant Ferris wheel is 135 meters. Each of the 32 cabins, made entirely of glass (except for the floor), has air conditioning. The number of cabins, shaped like an egg, was not chosen by chance. It symbolizes the number of London districts (excluding the City of London). The wheel makes one complete circle with stops for half an hour. During this time you can see many of the main attractions of London (briefly we will list them for you).
Official website: https://www.londoneye.com/
Another proper option of what to see in London in 1 day is a must for every visitor to the city. The landmark is only a hundred years old. However, it is also considered a true symbol of Britain’s capital city. If you buy a ticket, you can visit the upper level of the structure - here guests are invited to watch a documentary about its construction.
Official website: https://www.towerbridge
Even today, Buckingham Palace is home to the royal family of England. The complex, with an adjacent territory of 20 hectares, should be called a mini-city: it has its own police station, pub, post office. The main building has a little less than 800 rooms, which employs seven hundred workers. Note: tours of the palace itself are only offered in August and September. However, all year round and completely free of charge you can watch the process of the changing of the royal guard.
Official website: https://www.rct.uk/visit
The date of construction of the landmark is the 11th century. The abbey now houses the House of Commons and the House of Lords inside. If you don’t know where to go in London, but are fascinated by British architecture and history, come here.
Official website: https://www.westminster
The name of this 96-meter architectural masterpiece from 1859, which is included in all lists of “England’s top attractions“, was given by the bell inside it. Every hour, residents and visitors to the capital know the time, thanks to the bell strikes. The upper part of Big Ben boasts an observation deck - in order to get there, you must overcome more than three hundred steps. Today, as many years ago, the tower is the largest clock in the world. Guides in London recommend that you book tours to Big Ben in advance: there is no free entrance to the tower for tourists.
Official website: https://www.parliament.
A meeting place for members of the British Parliament since the 16th century. From the 11th century until then, the castle served as a residence for members of the royal family. Over the centuries of its history the front part of the palace has been changed and reconstructed many times (the last reconstruction was in the 19th century), several new buildings were attached to the main building. Please note that you can visit the Palace of Westminster in London only when Parliament is in recess.
Official website: https://www.parliament
The decision to create this grand museum complex was made in 1753. The museum has about a hundred galleries with exhibits on the subject of archaeology and history of the East, Africa, colonial Britain, etc. Guests can also get acquainted with antiques and relics of ancient Greece and other European states. By the way, the institution is staffed not only by people, but also by six cats (busy catching rats).
Official website: https://www.britishmuseum
If you want to see the world’s finest works of art, come to this gallery. The spacious halls display paintings from the 12th to 20th centuries. The modern complex also includes a coffee shop and souvenir shop where everyone can buy books and memorable gifts. Tours are conducted with audio-guides (optional).
Official website: https://www.nationalgallery
It is the large museum center, which expositions contain over 70 million samples: on paleontology (archeological remains of animals), mineralogy (great quantity of minerals and stones), zoology (insects, birds and animals), botany (plants of different kinds). A whole day should be set aside for such sightseeing.
Official website: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/
In this beautiful park area everyone in the British capital likes to relax. On the territory, in addition to landscaped lawns and paths, there is a beautiful lake in which you can swim, and a special podium for public speaking on any topic (other than calls for violence and other socially prohibited topics).
Official website: https://www.royalparks
The complex consists of a museum and a military bunker of the great military leader of the 20th century. “Rooms” are located underground, and in 1939-1945 were used for the direct purpose of being a secret meeting place for commanders. It was from here that Churchill commanded the battles taking place across four oceans and three continents. The museum’s collections include, among other things, his personal effects.
Official website: https://www.iwm.org
The main square and geographical center of the city, in the middle of which stands a 50-meter column of H. Nelson. Come here, for example, to visit the portrait and national galleries. Here you can take great memorable photos - Big Ben may be in the frame. In Trafalgar Square, you’ll find temporary exhibitions of contemporary art and all sorts of public celebrations, including Shrovetide.
Official website: https://www.london.gov
Another major museum center, founded in 1857. The complex is housed in a historic building designed by R. Ellison. If you’re not into science, come see the original facade of the house. Not even the best hotels in London have such an imposing look. As for the exhibition specimens, there are more than 300,000 pieces. There are interesting items to explore for people of all ages. Among the exhibits are the legendary steam locomotives Puffing Billy and Rocket.
Official website: https://www.sciencemuseum.
If you have already seen all those sights of London, photos with names and descriptions of which we have now given, we recommend you to make a visit to such interesting places and objects of the city as:
A huge food bazaar in the capital, selling retail and small wholesale goods. We put it on our list of attractions because it wasn’t organized (according to historians) before the 12th century. Here you can buy literally every kind of food that exists in the world, from freshly baked goods to prepared meat and fish delicacies. And also feel the inexpressible atmosphere of old London.
Official website: http://boroughmarket
It’s hard to imagine anyone who hasn’t heard of this greatest wax museum. Although Madame Tussauds herself was born in France, her famous exhibit is located in the capital of Great Britain. The collection includes figures of various politicians, athletes, cultural figures and celebrities. The precision of execution is amazing. Many of the wax figures are animated, and some “stars” are allowed to touch (for example, to make an amusing photo). The figure of Madame Tussauds herself is also in the museum - it is installed at the entrance to the museum.
Official website: https://www.madametussauds
Museum complex of the main detective from Conan Doyle’s works is located in four-floor house number 221b (despite the fact that originally the building was number 239) on Baker Street. The rooms recreate the atmosphere of the apartments of Sherlock, Watson and their housekeeper. On the last level of the museum is an exhibition with wax figures of characters from the books.
Official website: http://www.sherlock-holmes.
The most famous and prestigious opera stage in the world, where the most talented and recognized orchestras and performers desire to perform. Before the present theater building was erected in 1858, there were two buildings on the same site (each was completely destroyed by fires). It should be noted that at one time the leaders of Covent Garden allowed performances in all theatrical genres. However, they later decided that the stage could host only musical performances: concerts, ballets, operas, etc.
Official website: https://www.roh.org.uk/
A natural landmark that stretches through the boroughs of the capital, and crosses all of London. It is safe to say that the Thames is one of the most famous river arteries of the world, flowing within the city limits. It is thanks to it, the heart of Britain has become the financial and industrial center of the whole country. Even in the era of ancient Rome there was a port here. The number of tourists who visit the river every year numbers in the millions.
If you choose the most emblematic landmarks in London, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square would probably be the undisputed leaders. In general, London is famous for its palaces, and each of them is unique in its own way. One of the most modest royal residences is Kensington Palace, well known all over the world as the residence of the Prince and Princess of Wales. However, many people are attracted to it for another reason - for many years, one of the most famous figures of the last century, Princess Diana, lived here. Today, one half of the building is open to the general public, while the other half is occupied by Prince William’s family. The palace, built in 1605, preserves the history of the last three centuries of the British monarchy and its most famous representatives. Thus, Queen Victoria, who spent 20 years of her life in these walls, has her own exhibition, where you can find out what hobbies the monarch had.
Official website: https://www.hrp.org.
At the heart of London’s fashionable West End, Soho is a vibrant and colourful district known for its great variety of venues. A stroll through the area is ideal for those who want to see a different kind of rough-and-tumble London than the carefree, glamorous one they are used to. Centuries ago there was an English village on this block, and in 1536 a hunting park was laid out here. In the late 19th century the neighborhood became an urban slum, home to immigrants, unrecognized geniuses, Jews, and others who didn’t fit in with the prosperous image of the city. And now a century later SoHo is still known for its diverse population and the local pubs, boutiques and restaurants are renowned for their entertainment, inexpensive liquor and affordable service.
Official website: https://www.visitlondon.
Abbey Road is another London street where life is in full swing. Once upon a time, St. John’s Wood was known as a haven of love and art and was home to exalted ladies, actresses and true romantics. Over time, there were establishments with alcohol and entertainment, which were in demand among respectable guests, and in the parks with lush flowers loved to walk couples in love. In the 20th century Abbey Road became world famous thanks to two factors - at the beginning of the century the recording studio with the same name was founded here, which gave the world the musical masterpieces from such performers as Pink Floyd, Duran Duran, U2, Radiohead and many other coryphaei of music. One of the crossroads was immortalized on the cover of the album of Liverpool four Beatles, this album was recorded in the Abbey Road Studios and for half century the crossroads has been open for public.
Official site: https://www.abbeyroad
When walking around the historic district of Westminster a tourist guide is sure to lead you to London’s busiest street, Oxford Street, which starts at the Marble Triumphal Arch of Hyde Park and stretches east for 2.4 kilometers. It is known as one of the longest streets in Europe where commerce is thriving, with hundreds of boutiques, malls, stores and salons lining Oxford Street, most of them representing global brands. Millions of shoppers find something for themselves and their families here - clothes, appliances and electronics from well-known manufacturers. It will take more than one or two days to visit all the shops on the street. The peak of shopping here comes during the Christmas season - the street lights up with fairy lights, creating a delightful and atmospheric spectacle.
Official website: https://www.oxfordstreet.
One of the symbols reflecting the modern face of London is the 180-meter skyscraper of the original design-it is a mesh shell that expands from the bottom upward and then narrows at the top. When you visit the historic district the Mary Axe 30 skyscraper will not go unnoticed - it attracts attention with its unusual architecture and greenish coloring of the facade panels, due to which it received the colloquial name “cucumber. Such an unusual form was dictated by the peculiarities of the historic site - the structure casts minimal shadow on the objects below, and the aerodynamic shape contributes to the natural circulation of air flows. The first floors of the skyscraper are occupied by numerous boutiques, but the most interesting thing is waiting for the visitors upstairs - here the best city restaurants are equipped, and on the top floor there is an observation deck with a great view.
Official site: http://www.30stmaryaxe
On Downey Street is an old house that holds within its walls symbols of the Victorian era and a piece of the life story of the legendary writer and his family. This is the Charles Dickens House Museum, once an ordinary old house. But a concerted effort by the Dickens Society led to the building, which was slated for demolition, being purchased and set up as a museum. Today the building is the only surviving house where the famous writer once lived and worked. The restorers did their best to recreate the authentic atmosphere - some things really once belonged to Dickens and his family, and the rooms themselves reproduce the look of a typical 19th century English dwelling. The first floor shows a kitchen with utensils, a bedroom, a living room, the second floor is a creative studio, where you can find items of closet, manuscripts, first editions of books and other things of the writer.
Official website: https://dickensmuseum.
London has found its home in the country’s largest art museum complex, the British Tate Gallery, which houses masterpieces of national art from the 16th century onwards. This British museum was founded in 1897 by Sir Henry Tate, a major entrepreneur known as the inventor of sugar cubes and cotton candy. He was a great admirer of Victorian painting, so he thought it best to invest his finances in art by opening a gallery of works by his favorite artists. Over time, the collection began to grow, and examples of classical paintings were supplemented by more modern creations. By the end of the last century, the exhibition had grown so much that it ran out of space, as a result of which the new gallery Tate Modern was opened, where a collection of contemporary art from around the world was moved. In the old Tate Britain Gallery, however, the national classics remained.
Official website: https://www.tate
On the south bank of the Thames sits London’s oldest theater, the Shakespearean Globe, made world famous by its first ever productions based on the works of Shakespeare. The history of the Globe goes back to the end of the 16th century, and to this day the architecture of the building has a vivid sense of history, despite the fact that the theater has been rebuilt three times. The last reconstruction was proposed by the American director Wanamaker, who in the 70s organized a trust fund dedicated to the restoration of the building. The modern structure of 1997 was reconstructed in accordance with the traditions of those years, when the theater was first established. It is noteworthy that the building has the original thatched roof. Performances take place here in the warm season, and tours are offered daily. Not far from the Globe is a theme park-museum dedicated to Shakespeare.
Official website: https://www.shakespearesglobe
One of the most famous and largest concert halls in the United Kingdom is Albert Hall in the Westminster area. It has a capacity for 10,000 spectators and is essentially a charitable organization whose purpose is to promote education, science and the arts. The building was originally designed by architect F. Fawke as a Roman amphitheater, so it has an elliptical shape and is decorated in the Renaissance style, its roof is a transparent dome made of glass and metal structures, and the facade is decorated with allegorical elements. Since 1941 it has regularly hosted cultural events and concerts, and at the end of the year a major national event is organized here, with tickets sold out many months in advance. Often the Albert Hall stage is used for major public events, conferences and even sports matches.
Official website: https://www.royalalberthall
Many know the reverent attitude of the British to their historical past, which is represented in the country including in the form of interesting museums. One of them is the unusual ship-museum Cutty Sark, which witnessed the glorious history of Britain in the 19th century - the ship made its first voyage in 1869, and spent several years sailing, supplying the country with one of the favorite products of the English - high-grade tea. Today it is the only surviving vessel of its kind in the world - at one time it was the fastest. The clipper went down in history three years after her first voyage: the ship, loaded with tea, set out from the port of Shanghai, but after a while she lost her steering wheel and tried to steer with improvised means, and the ship finally reached the shores of London. Today the history of the ship can be explored within the walls of the museum inside, where you can see samples of cargo, from tea and whiskey to buffalo wool.
Official website: https://www.rmg.co
Continuing our study of London’s museums, it’s worth mentioning an unusual attraction in its own way: the Children’s Museum. It’s not even a museum anymore, but a huge playground - you probably can’t find such a grandiose collection of toys, children’s clothes and various objects in the whole country. The largest group of exhibits is represented by dolls, there are about 8 thousand of them, the oldest of which is more than 3 thousand years - a doll-weight. The history of the museum itself began long before the appearance of its modern name - originally toys were located in one of the departments of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Over time, the collection grew and was moved to the East End, where it remains today. It is certainly advisable to visit the museum with children - young visitors are invited here not only to visit fascinating exhibitions, but also to engage in the art studio, and even to take part in a theatrical production.
Official site: https://www.vam.
European train stations are often a true landmark, attracting attention with their history and architecture. Among them is London’s St. Pancras Station, one of the most romantic places decorated with the famous sculpture “The Meeting Place” dedicated to lovers meeting after a separation. The station was built back in 1866, and for its arrangement had to free up vast areas from various objects, among which was the Church of St. Luke. And in honor of another nearby church - St. Pankraty, the station itself was named. In terms of architecture, the station is valuable - it’s one of the finest examples of Victorian neo-Gothic: red brick walls topped with turrets and covered with a giant glass roof. Today’s station building has everything for a comfortable stay - market, stores, bar, restaurants and a fashionable hotel.
Official website: https://stpancras.com/
The ultramodern sights of London also find their place in the tourist itinerary, the presentation of which should certainly highlight one grandiose object - Wembley Stadium with a capacity of 90 thousand spectators. By the way, according to this parameter, it ranks second on the continent. Today the stadium is used for home matches, as well as for other sporting events and major concerts. The modern Wembley was built in 2007 on the site of its predecessor - the legendary arena in 1923, which was at that time the largest in the world. The new stadium is famous for its technical equipment - especially unique is the roof, which slides in three directions and the escalators, leading to the stands, with a total length of about 400 meters. In addition to soccer matches Wembley repeatedly became an arena for performances of world stars - such as Madonna, Oasis, Muse, U2 and others.
Official website: http://www.wembleystadium
The name of the legendary Harrods department store is familiar not only to Londoners, but to visitors as well - it is a real Mecca of shopping, a gigantic shopping complex with 90,000 square meters area, which has over 300,000 departments and serves over 300,000 customers daily. And once upon a time in 1824 the department store was founded by entrepreneur C. Harrod, who started his business with a small haberdashery shop. However, the complex reached its true boom thanks to the efforts of his son, who significantly raised the business. Harrods became very famous thanks to celebrities that once were the first customers there - Charlie Chaplin, Oscar Wilde, Vivien Leigh, Sigmund Freud and even members of the royal family. Today you can shop in the store, but also dine at one of 32 restaurants.
Official website: https://www.harrods.com
Even if you study the sights of London briefly, it is impossible to ignore the two main symbols of the city and the whole of England - the red telephone booth and the double-decker bus. The appearance of red boxes was due to the invention of telephone communication in the late 19th century, when the first cast-iron “houses” with an arched roof and thick glass, providing perfect noise insulation, began to be built for telephone conversations. The red color is due to the peculiarities of the local climate - against the background of London fog it is much easier to find a red box. The double-decker bus started its history in the middle of the 19th century, its prototype were double-decker horse-drawn carriages with open roofs. The “successor” of the horse-drawn carriage in 1923 was the bus, with a roof to protect against bad weather. To avoid accidents in the London smog, the buses were given the same bright red color.
We hope that when you come to London, you will want to see all these fascinating sights in person. And some of them are free to visit at any time of the year. Read also about Liverpool attractions and get inspired for your future journey around the UK.