As one of the most famous cities in the world, London is brimming with iconic sights and things to do. But there are also tons of hidden gems and under-the-radar attractions to discover if you know where to look.
For example, if you love street art (like us), you should definitely hit up Trafalgar Square for some epic pieces. Or if you’re into history, a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum is a must-do.
The London Eye is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Riding the wheel is a fun way to experience London from above, and it also offers incredible views of Big Ben and the River Thames.
The attraction originated as an entry submitted by David Marks and Julia Barfield of Marks Barfield Architects in 1993 to a competition sponsored by the Sunday Times and Great Britain’s Architecture Foundation for a monument to commemorate the millennium.
The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel built over the River Thames on the south bank of the capital. It’s 135 metres high and takes 30 minutes to complete a revolution.
The Tower of London
The Tower of London is one of the world's most visited visitor attractions. It houses the Crown Jewels, and is renowned for holding many of England's most notorious prisoners throughout history.
As well as being home to the Crown Jewels, the Tower of London is also a museum that showcases some of the country's most fascinating history and culture. You can see medieval murals, skeletal remains from the past, secret messages left by prisoners and more.
The Tower is home to 37 Yeoman Warders, or 'Beefeaters', who have been guarding the site since Tudor times. They are recognised all over the world and still carry out ceremonial duties every day.
The official London residence of the British monarch, Buckingham Palace is open to visitors for much of the year. Explore staterooms, view exhibitions and enjoy the opulent palace gardens.
The Queen's Gallery showcases a selection of works from the Royal Collection, with old master paintings and decorative arts to admire. The palace also boasts a range of opulent chambers, including the Saloon and White and Blue Drawing Rooms.
If you're planning to see some of the most famous royal events, be sure to book your tickets well in advance. The Changing of the Guard is one of the most popular attractions in London and can get busy during peak times.
One of London's most iconic landmarks, Westminster Abbey is a must-see for any first-time visitor. It’s a treasury of historical, cultural, and architectural wonders.
It's the place that has hosted royal coronations and weddings since 1066, and its tombs are home to many of England’s monarchs. You can also visit the Coronation Chair, the Henry VII Chapel with its spectacular medieval ceiling, and Poets' Corner, which holds the final resting places of famous writers like Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens, and William Shakespeare.
But what really sets this church apart is its aesthetic: Gothic in all its incarnations, the "architectural equivalent of Shakespeare at his most swaggering." This cathedral has been a stage for living history for more than a millennium.
Trafalgar Square is the heart of London, where tens of thousands of people gather to celebrate a new year or for political protests. It’s home to Nelson’s Column and is ringed by famous statues.
If you’re an art lover, you’ll love the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square (free). It’s a wonderful place to discover paintings and sculptures from all over the world.
If you’re into history, the Square is also a good spot to learn about the British wars. It’s home to Nelson’s column, guarded by four lions, and there are three pedestals featuring statues of General Charles James Napier, Major Henry Havelock and King George IV.
The South Bank
The South Bank, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a wonderful destination for anyone visiting London. The area has a rich cultural and entertainment offering, is full of cafes, bars and restaurants, and hosts many outdoor events throughout the year.
Taking a walk around the area is also a great way to take in the sights of the city and learn more about its history. You can also stroll through an outdoor book market and watch street performers.
Located right next door to the BFI is the National Theatre, where you can catch plays from Shakespeare to contemporary dramas. It also hosts a variety of events and concerts.