One of the world’s most-visited cities, London is well worth a visit and has so much to offer, from magnificent culture and entertainment to cutting-edge fashion and food.
So we asked our friends at VisitBritain to squeeze a city with 2,000 years of history, 9 million residents and more than 3,000 pubs into a “top 10 reasons to visit London” list, and somehow they did it.
- Dine differently in London
London loves afternoon tea, but for a twist on the traditional classic, experience the culinary cunning of The Ampersand’s Science Afternoon Tea: a towering platter of edible experiments and delectable dinosaurs, served with a dramatic plume of dry ice.
With its extravagant decor, Mayfair’s gastro-brasserie Sketch is a work of art in itself—just like its afternoon tea, where guests can expect a visit from the ‘Tea Master’ and ‘Caviar Man’ while tucking into the fairy-tale-inspired menu. Or set-off on a culinary adventure at Aqua Shard with its Peter Pan Afternoon Tea: a feast of raspberry crocodiles, gold-sprinkled Tinker Bell cookies and Captain Hook’s cake.
Meanwhile, up on the 40th floor of one of London’s tallest buildings, Duck & Waffle puts a fresh spin on all-day dining. This welcoming spot serves food 24/7—so you can catch the city’s sunrise at breakfast or toast the twinkling lights over midnight drinks. It’s right next to the Gherkin, in the sky-scraping heart of the City known as the Square Mile.
- Visit one of London’s many blooming pubs
Pubs in Britain have a long tradition of using attractive potted plants and hanging baskets to brighten up their buildings. Discover some of London pubs that have taken floral displays to the next level to create some of the prettiest places for a pint in the city, including the famed Churchill Arms.
- Cross off items from your ‘Royal Bucket List’
Whether you’re touring Westminster Abbey, taking a stroll through Kensington Gardens, or exploring the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London there are plenty of ways you can immerse yourself in the regal history of London. Take a look at this Ultimate Royal Bucket List and get planning!
- Take a day trip from London
Most first-time visitors to London will stick to highlights like Big Ben, the British Museum, and Buckingham Palace. But for those that have been to London before or have some extra time to discover other parts of the country, there is an abundance of great day trips in easy reach from London. Check out this list of some of the top destinations to add to your travel itinerary, highlighting Bath, Brighton, and Oxford!
- Explore one of the many remarkable museums
Some of the best things to discover in London are in one of the many wonderful museums. Enjoy international art at the Tate Modern, get experimental at the Science Museum and come face-to-face with dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum.
Other highlights include the V&A—the world-famous arts and design museum—the Imperial War Museum and the Museum of London. There is much to discover at these institutions, you won’t want to wait for a rainy day to visit!
- Catch an amazing show in the famous West End
London’s West End shows are globally known for their spectacle, variety and sense of humor. From plays to musicals, you’ll find it all here, whether that’s classic musicals such as Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera and Mamma Mia or the more recent hits like & Juliet and Hamilton, there’s something for everyone!
Londoners love a night out at the theatre, and we’re sure you will too. And don’t forget Britain’s bard, who started it all – make sure you see one of his plays at Shakespeare’s Globe on the South Bank. You can get a guided tour, too.
- Stay in one of London’s quirky spots
With its Tiger Territory and Land of the Lions, ZSL London Zoo is always a wild day out but did you know you can sleep over, too? Its safari-esque lodges are set right inside the zoo, so you’ll wake to the growls, hoots and roars of your neighbours.
A houseboat hotel in Royal Victoria Dock (near Greenwich), the Good Hotel London is one super-stylish retreat, and also plows 100 percent of its profits into the Good Global Foundation, which supports disadvantaged communities all over the globe. For more floating fun, The Harpy Houseboat is moored right next to Tower Bridge and sleeps up to 12 people.
Or for a one-of-a-kind boutique hotel, head to The Zetter Townhouse in fashionable Clerkenwell. It isn’t just home to an award-winning cocktail bar, as its 13 bedrooms are filled to the rafters with eccentric antiques, colorful curios and vintage treasures.
- See the city from above on the London Eye
A famous feature on the London skyline, the London Eye towers 443 feet above Westminster, one of the city’s most bustling districts. Located on the vibrant South Bank of the River Thames, jump on for a ride that will take you high above the city and offers some spectacular views of the capital’s most iconic sights—stretching from the Houses of Parliament to St Paul’s Cathedral.
- Get lost in one of London’s vast green spaces
London is full of excellent parks, perfect for a picnic or a stroll. With 47% of its surface area occupied by green spaces, London is one of the capital cities with the largest number of nature reserves. While there are many ways for people to discover the city, one interesting way to see it is through its walks.
Some of London’s biggest and best parks including Hyde Park, St. James’s Park, Green Park, and Richmond Park. For further inspiration, see a list of some of the most gorgeous parks in London, the best picnic spots in the capital and a whole host of outdoor activities to enjoy across the city.
- Discover one of London’s iconic markets
Taking a trip to one of the London’s many markets should be a priority. Some markets specialize in antiques such as world famous Portobello Road market, whereas others specialize in flowers like the Columbia Road Flower market. Many of these markets have been around for centuries and have become a fundamental part of British history.
Visit sprawling markets such as Old Spitalfields or Camden Market, or find gifts from local designers and artisans at the likes of Greenwich Market. If you’re a foodie on a hunt for the best food markets in London, check out one of the many food markets in London, including famous Borough Market—or discover local markets full of locally sourced goods. Whichever market you choose to visit, you can’t go wrong!