Tips on What To Do in London
London is a world-class city, filled with enough attractions to pique even the pickiest traveler's interest. For an introduction to the city, professional travelers especially like London's guided bicycle tours, offered by Cycle Tours of London and Fat Tire Bike Tours of London, among others. You could truly spend a lifetime in London and not see all the city has to offer—it does cover 600 square miles and thousands of years of history—so we recommend building a personalized itinerary based on the attractions you want to see and their proximity to one another.
Of the many, many ways to pass the time in London, sightseeing is probably at the top of the agenda. And in London, there is lots to see: Piccadilly Circus for its flashing lights, Big Ben for its stately grandeur, the Changing of the Guard for the soldiers' precision and solemn countenances (just try to make them laugh—they won't!), the London Eye for its soaring views, and so on.
Those interested in British history tend to enjoy the Imperial War Museum, the Churchill War Rooms, and the British Museum, as well as the array of historical structures, including Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and Tower Bridge.
Bibliophiles might enjoy a literary tour of London. They should also pay a visit to the Sherlock Holmes Museum, located, of course, off the Baker Street Tube stop. And readers of Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and A Tale of Two Cities will surely appreciate a trip to the Charles Dickens Museum. Shakespeare fans can take in a show at the Globe Theatre or take a daytrip to nearby Stratford-upon-Avon for a look at the prolific playwright's hometown.
Because there is so much to take in, it's best to pick out the attractions you want to see and create a personalized itinerary based on their proximity to one another.
Shopaholics will meet their match along Oxford High Street and in Knightsbridge. The city's high-end trinity is made up of Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. For cheaper price tags, look in Marks & Spencer or Topshop. And if you enjoy a more bazaar-like atmosphere, you should check out the city's many open-air markets, such as Portobello Road Market, Camden Market, and Old Spitalfields Market.
Attractions for Kids
Families might enjoy Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the London Zoo. To burn off some energy, parents can bring their kids to any one of the city's parks, which include Regent's Park, Hampstead Heath, and Kensington Gardens. The London Dungeon is meant to thrill/scare, depending on your personality type. Parents are to use discretion when bringing children, as the interactive museum touches on London's darker history, from Jack the Ripper to the Great Fire of London.
When it comes to performance art, London is a leader—and many of the city's theaters are congregated together in the neighborhoods around Covent Garden. But Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, one of London's main attractions and the most well-known theater, is located in South Bank and still performs Shakespeare's plays in period dress.
Museums, among other attractions, reign in London. For modern works, check out the Southwark's Tate Modern; the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square showcases an impressive array of artists, from Van Eyck to Seurat; and Bloomsbury's British Museum shelters Egyptian mummies and the Rosetta Stone. In addition, there's also Westminster's Tate Britain, Kensington's Victoria and Albert Museum (or V&A as it's more commonly called), Trafalgar Square's National Portrait Gallery, and the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly Circus, among many others.
Sports & Leisure
Londoners are great fans of various sport—football (soccer), cricket, rugby, rowing, among others—and many residents cheer on their teams at various stadiums and pubs throughout the city. The Wembley Stadium is where some of the most important sports games are held. And the sprawling city also affords opportunities to do instead of watch, from ice skating at the Natural History Museum to boating on the River Thames.
London's nightlife is for the most part found in the West End's bars and pubs, though several popular nightclubs are found throughout the city, like Ministry of Sound in South Bank and Fabric in Clerkenwell.