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Best Things To Do in London

No matter your reason for visiting, London has something for everyone. History buffs looking to brush up on the British narrative will delight in the Tower of London. Admirers of art or theater will praise the National Gallery and the West End Theatre District, while fans of the monarchy can't skip Buckingham Palace. Although London lives up to its reputation as one of the most expensive cities to visit, it does boast an array of attractions that are free to visit, including the Victoria and Albert Museum and Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, among others.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated March 21, 2018

  • #1
    Things to do in London
    View all Photos
    #1 in London
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The British Museum is both an architectural beauty and a trove of some of the world's most noted antiquities. In fact, many travelers it's the best museum in all of London. What's more, it's free to visit. From the Rosetta Stone to the Elgin Marbles to the Lindow Man, the

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  • #2
    Tower of London
    View all Photos
    #2 in London
    Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Although its exterior might be grim and even unimpressive (especially when compared to stately Buckingham Palace), the Tower of London's interior is always bustling with activity. The tower, which actually comprises multiple towers – 12 of which can be explored by the public – offers something for everyone. If you're enchanted

    ...Read More »
  • #3
    Buckingham Palace
    View all Photos
    #3 in London
    Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Castles/Palaces, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Buckingham Palace, the London home of Queen Elizabeth II, is open for tour (except for the queen's private quarters, of course) in the summers and select dates during the winter and spring. On the tour, you'll have access to the 19 State Rooms where the queen and members of the

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  • #4
    Portobello Road Market
    View all Photos
    #4 in London
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Locals and tourists alike tend to adore Portobello Road Market. Located in the posh Notting Hill neighborhood (made famous by the Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts movie of the same name), the market stretches down the long Portobello Road, considered to be the high street (or main street) of Notting

    ...Read More »
  • #5
    Westminster Abbey
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    #5 in London
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    This medieval church, graced by many royal weddings and coronations, offers a magnificent peek at London's far-reaching history. Westminster Abbey is pretty much always busy – and the staff keeps you moving at a pretty swift pace – so do a little research ahead of time to avoid missing your personal must-sees. For instance,

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  • #6
    Piccadilly Circus
    View all Photos
    #6 in London
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The portal to London's buzzy West End, Piccadilly Circus lives up to its name. Regularly compared to New York's Times Square, Piccadilly Circus is the meeting place of five busy roads and is the center of London's hustle and bustle. Whether it's businessmen and women on their way to work in the

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  • #7
    Hyde Park & Kensington Gardens
    View all Photos
    #7 in London
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Once the recreational stomping grounds for King Henry VIII, this long swath of green stretching from Kensington Palace in the west to Oxford Street in the east is now open to the public and a must-visit for travelers looking for a relaxing moment away from the city's hustle and bustle.

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  • #8
    National Gallery
    View all Photos
    #8 in London
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Sitting in Trafalgar Square, London's National Gallery features a labyrinth interior so large that it requires a color-coded map to navigate. The museum features paintings in the Western European tradition from the 13th to 19th centuries, including Italian Renaissance masterpieces and French Impressionist works. Among its 2,300 in-house pieces, visitors

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  • #9
    West End Theatre District
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    #9 in London
    Entertainment and Nightlife
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Catching a show in London's West End theater district is just as necessary as watching a play on Broadway during a trip to New York City. The quality is some of the best in the U.K., and the constant mix of new and classic productions with local and world-renowned (think Andrew Lloyd Webber,

    ...Read More »
  • #10
    Tower Bridge
    View all Photos
    #10 in London
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Along withParliamentand Big Ben, Tower Bridge is London's next must-see architectural marvel, not to mention the most famous bridge that crosses the Thames. Construction on the bridge started in 1886, which means it's practically modern by London standards, but Tower Bridge stands out for its stunning detail and moveable roadways

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  • #11
    Tate Modern
    View all Photos
    #11 in London
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located on the South Bank along the Thames, the Tate Modern is part of a group of four museums (all named Tate) that house the 70,000 artworks that comprise the national collection of British art. As its name suggest, this Tate holds the more contemporary-style pieces than its three other

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  • #12
    Churchill War Rooms
    View all Photos
    #12 in London
    Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Churchill War Rooms are the underground bunker that Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his war cabinet used to shelter from bomb raids and plot their steps during World War II. The maze-like corridors tell the story of this volatile time period, centering on the larger-than-life leader that Churchill was.

    ...Read More »
  • #13
    Camden Market
    View all Photos
    #13 in London
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Londoners and out-of-towners alike enjoy spending a morning (or afternoon) at the Camden Market. Camden Market is actually multiple markets spread out in the neighborhood of Camden. Open daily starting at 10 a.m., it sprawls with about 200 stalls carrying close to everything, from furniture to food and lots of

    ...Read More »
  • #14
    Houses of Parliament
    View all Photos
    #14 in London
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Houses of Parliament, composed of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, fill the massive Palace of Westminster. Guided and self-guided tours (which come highly recommended by recent travelers) take visitors through multiple areas of the building, including Westminster Hall (the oldest building on the Parliamentary estate),

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  • #15
    Victoria and Albert Museum
    View all Photos
    #15 in London
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The palatial Victoria & Albert Museum, named in honor of the 19th-century royal couple, is known more commonly in its shortened form–the V&A. Located in South Kensington, this free museum is a compendium of applied art across a number of genres, disciplines and time periods. The collections are arranged by

    ...Read More »
  • #16
    Natural History Museum
    View all Photos
    #16 in London
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located inKensington, this museum brims with more than 70 million different specimens and exhibits, from dinosaur bones to a simulated earthquake. The Natural History Museum is also a favorite among families, so you'll find it crawling with kids. To help you better navigate the museum's various exhibits, consider downloading the

    ...Read More »
  • #17
    St. Paul's Cathedral
    View all Photos
    #17 in London
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Besides Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral is arguably the second must-see church in London. With its imposing dome, one of the largest in the world, St. Paul's forms a predominant spot along London's skyline. It's also a survivor: Although an older incarnation burnt during the Great Fire of London, Sir Christopher

    ...Read More »
  • #18
    The London Eye
    View all Photos
    #18 in London
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The London Eye (the giant Ferris wheel found in many London panoramas) located on the River Thames is meant to deliver great views – not a thrilling ride. It circles around slowly, offering an unbeatable bird's-eye perspective of London's South Bank. However, those with a fear of heights should beware: When you're more

    ...Read More »
  • The Jack the Ripper Tour with Ripper Vision
    View all Photos
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The unsolved crimes of London's infamous Jack the Ripper have captivated generations of both Londoners and visitors alike. How the story of a local serial killer, who brutally murdered and mutilated at least five women in the late 1800s, has remained a story of intrigue hundreds of years later, can

    ...Read More »
  • Liquid History Tours
    View all Photos
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Going to a pub is essential for properly experiencing British culture. Not going to a pub while in England is equivalent to not having pasta in Italy; pubs are ingrained in the country's culture. If you want to experience pub culture beyond simply grabbing a drink, consider a tour with

    ...Read More »
  • London Food Tours
    View all Photos
    Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're a foodie, you'd be remiss not to book a food tour while in London – one of the world's undisputed culinary capitals. Yes, you can go to a chippy (fish and chip shop) or have tea at Harrods, but to really dig deep into London's eclectic culinary scene,

    ...Read More »

Explore More of London

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