London is one of my favourite cities to visit in the world, which is nice because from Canada it is one of the cheapest cities in the Europe area to fly into. If you’re trying to build your London bucketlist or are planning a trip and looking for things to do in London, keep reading!
Your London Bucketlist –
1. Big Ben
Big Ben is my favourite thing in London. It reminds me of Peter Pan and the magic of Disney, and I just love it. If you’re out exploring London, you’re bound to come across Big Ben (and the Houses of Parliament Big Ben is attached to). This is always one stop at the very top of my London Bucketlist!
2. Rent bikes and explore the city
London has an amazing system of bikes available all over the city. You’ll find Santander bikes parked at various bike racks all over the city, and you can rent them to take your own bike tour around London. The best part? You don’t have to return your bike to the same rack you got it from. You can leave your bike at any rack around the city (as long as there’s a spot) and grab a new one when you’re ready to keep riding.
London also has great bike lanes, which makes this an easy way to explore London!
3. Take the bikes to Hyde Park
Hyde Park is the city’s main green park and is one of the best things to do in London if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city (while still being in the city :). I love to rent Santander bikes to explore Hyde Park on a sunny day.
4. The London Eye
An iconic part of London’s skyline, the London Eye is a great stop to make while exploring the city. You can choose to go for a ride to get a great view of London from above (including Big Ben 🙂 ), or just admire the London Eye from the ground.
Cost: Starting at 27£ (bought in advance online)
5. Emirates Airline Cable Car
For another amazing and unique view of London, head over to the Emirates Cable Car for a ride over the Thames River and a unique city experience.
Cost: Starting at 8 pounds
6. Westminster Abbey
This church is such an important part of London’s past and present. Dating back to 960 AD, Westminster Abbey has been the site for countless Royal Coronations, Royal Weddings, and Funerals. There are memorials of famous poets (C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, Shakespeare), Royal Tombs, and even the Coronation Chair. The building itself is beautiful and can be explored inside, or marveled at from the outside.
Cost: Starting at 21£
7. Covent Garden
Visiting the shops and restaurants of Covent Garden is a great way to spend an afternoon in London. The vibe is so fun and you can spend as much or as little time here as you want, making it the perfect stop on any day. Covent Garden is also a great place to watch street performers, or, for a colourful photo spot check out Neal’s Yard in the Covent Garden neighborhood.
8. The Shard
A part of London’s iconic skyline, The Shard is a well known skyscraper that offers great views of the city from above. Stop in at one of the many restaurants and bars to enjoy dinner and drinks with a view, or purchase a ticket to the viewing floor and get the highest view of London possible.
Cost: Starting at 25£ per person (booked in advance)
9. Camden Market
One of the top things to do in London is to take a trip to the world famous Camden Market. With over 1,000 shops, there is something for everyone here, even if you just explore a tiny section of the market. Check out Camden Market on Instagram for inspiration on what stalls to head to when you arrive.
10. Ride a Red Bus & Visit a Red Phone Booth
A classic London tourist move, you can’t go to London and not ride an iconic red bus and take a photo with a red phone booth. If you’re looking to do a tour around London, check out the Big Red Bus Tour (starting at 39£) for a hop on-hop off experience, or catch a city bus just for fun. This should be on everyone’s London bucketlist!
Red phone booths are everywhere in London, so stop and take some fun photos with them 🙂 beware though – if you open the door you may or may not be blessed with an unpleasant smell :/
11. Millenium Bridge
If you’re a Harry Potter fan, a stop at the Millenium Bridge is a great thing to do in London. It is featured in the movie “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince”, where it is destroyed by death eaters. If you’re not a fan of Harry Potter, the Millenium Bridge is a very cool bridge to check out anyway!
12. Tower Bridge
One of the more famous bridges in London, the Tower Bridge is a sight that cannot be missed. This is the famous suspension bridge that has quickly become an icon of London. It’s really cool to wait and watch the bridge open to let ships through. If you’re looking for even more of an experience, you can buy tickets to walk through the towers of the bridge and learn more about its history for around 10£.
13. London Bridge
Not as much of a sight as the other two bridges, I still wanted to mention the London Bridge as a sight to see in the city. London Bridge has quite a history and has actually been replaced multiple times. But, this is the spot of the original bridge referenced in the rhyme “London Bridge is falling down” and is something to take note of as you explore London.
14. The Tower of London
A castle right in the middle of London, this stop has to be on your London Bucketlist. There is such a rich history here – it was once a Royal Fortress where past monarchs used to live, executions occurred (including royal execution), and it was even a prison back in the day. Today, you can tour the Tower of London, learn the history, and explore the grounds of the world heritage site without even leaving the city.
Cost: Around 30£ for adults
15. Notting Hill
This is a district in London made famous by the movie “Notting Hill”. I would add this to your London List if you’re a big fan of the movie, or looking to stray away from the “main tourist points” of London, but are still hoping to visit a somewhat known area. This neighborhood has great cafes, restaurants, a fun market, and famous spots featured in the movie. If you’re interested, check out World of Wanderlust’s Guide to Visiting Notting Hill.
16. Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is the place where the Queen lives and works. You can choose to tour the Palace if you plan ahead and secure a spot (it’s only offered certain weeks of the year), or you can admire the Palace from the gates.
A popular event to attend at Buckingham Palace is the Changing of the Guard, which usually occurs every second day around 11 am. Make sure to arrive early to secure a spot near the front of the gate, and check the calendar in advance to time your visit properly. Note: Changing of the Guard also occurs at Windsor Tower on different days.
17. Oxford Street
London’s main street for shopping and dining, Oxford Street is a fun place to check out (even if you just walk down it). If you’re visiting around Christmas time, this street lights up with beautiful light displays strung down the street – something you can’t miss!
18. Visit Harrods
Harrod’s is coined as “the world’s most famous department store” and is another fun stop to make if you’re on Brompton Road. If you’re in London around Christmas time, Harrod’s is decked out with magical lights and is truly a sight to see.
19. Sticky Toffee Pudding
A classic British dessert, you have to try sticky toffee pudding while in London. My first time trying it was when I was in London, and it is now my mission to get back there and have it again. It is just so tasty!
20. St Paul’s Cathedral
The current cathedral standing here was rebuilt after the previous cathedral was burned in the Fire of London. St Paul’s is a great architectural masterpiece to visit while in London. If you’re interested in going inside, you can explore the crypt, the dome, and the chapel, all while learning the history of this beautiful place.
Cost: 17£ when booked in advance online.
21. Picadilly Circus
Home to London’s large screen (similar to those in New York’s Times Square), Picadilly Circus is a popular spot where multiple roads meet, making it a great starting point to explore some of London’s iconic spots, such as the Soho neighborhood or Leceister Square.
22. The Gherkin
Another iconic part of London’s skyline, the Gherkin is essentially a unique skyscraper located in the financial district of London. You can’t tour the Gherkin as it is mainly just offices inside, however, it is a very distinctive building to take a photo of while looking for something to do in London.
23. Sky Garden
If you’re after a free experience in London, I would highly recommend checking out the Sky Garden. This location offers an amazing view of London while surrounded by plants. Looking to stay longer? Stop at one of the restaurants or bars inside for a meal and drinks with a view. (you can spot the Gherkin from here as well 🙂 )
Cost: Free – book in advance to secure your spot
24. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
A great thing to do in London if you’re looking to watch a famous performance such as Romeo and Juliet or A Midsummer’s Night Dream. The open-air gallery theatre is stunning and is a great way to spend an evening in London – especially in the summertime when the weather is warm
25. Explore the London Dungeon
Learn about London’s dark past at this attraction. Through rides and shows, you’ll hear learn about Jack the Ripper, Sweeny Todd, the Plague, and so much more. Find everything that’s included in your ticket here.
Cost: From 27£ when booked in advance online.
26. Trafalgar Square
A beautiful and famous square in London, here you’ll find The National Gallery (an art museum), the Nelson’s Column monument, the famous Trafalgar Square Lions, and beautiful fountains.
27. Check out a Museum
Most museums in London are free to enter, which is great for any traveler looking to save some money in what can be a very expensive city to visit. My favourite museum in London is the Natural History Museum, and the British Museum is very popular as well. Find a list of 26 free museums in London here.
28. Sherlock Holmes Museum
One museum in particular on a lot of travelers’ London bucketlist is the Sherlock Holmes Museum. Located at 221b Baker Street (the actual London address of Sherlock Holmes), this is a great stop for lovers of the iconic detective.
29. Kew Gardens Palm House
Located a little bit of a distance out of Central London, The Kew Gardens Palm House is a great spot for plant lovers. It’s an indoor rainforest located in the Richmond area of London. I wouldn’t venture out of my way to see it unless you’re really interested in palm houses or are staying in that part of town!
Cost: Prices fluctuate based on the season, and vary between 11£-22£.
30. Kensington Palace and Gardens
Kensington Gardens is a beautiful spot to explore while visiting London. Pack a little picnic to enjoy here and marvel at this stunning place, This is where Queen Victoria was born at the palace and Princess Diana lived here for a while as well, so take in the history if you visit here.
31. Platform 9 3/4
Another thing to do in London for the Harry Potter fans is to stop at Platform 9 3/4 for a fun photo. You’ll find this fun photo set up at the Kings Cross Station. Be prepared to stand in line as this can be a popular spot for Harry Potter fans. I saw it as I was rushing through Kings Cross to catch my next train, and due to the line big lineup I couldn’t stop (I barely would have had time with no line up) – so plan ahead and fit this into your itinerary if you’re a fan of the movies like me 🙂
32. Walk Along the River Thames
The famous river that flows through London, it’s nice to just spend time taking in the city and wandering the River Thames. A lot of the stops mentioned on this list can be seen just by walking along the river.
33. Discover London’s Street Art
If you’re interested in street art, the Shoreditch neighborhood of London is the best place to find it. Sign up for a tour or wander the streets yourself to find your favorite piece of street art in London.
34. Royal Opera House
Located in Covent Garden (number 7 on this list), the Royal Opera House is where you can go to see the Royal Opera or the Royal Ballet. Add this stop to your London Bucketlist if you’re interested in the arts!
35. Hampton Court Palace
A beautiful palace where King Henri VIII lived, this place is simply stunning. The Hampton Court Gardens are amazing, there is a maze to explore, and so much history and grandeur here. If you’ve never explored a royal palace, the Hampton Court Palace is a great option.
Cost: 24.50£ for adults
36. Enjoy a Full English Breakfast
You can’t go to London and not enjoy a full English breakfast! Comprised of fried eggs, sausages, back bacon, tomatoes, baked beans, toast, and usually a black pudding, this is one dish that will fill you up and leave you ready to explore the rest of the day.
37. Portobello Road Market
Saturday is the main day to visit the Portobello Road Market which is coined as the Worlds Largest Antique Market. You can still visit this huge market on Mondays – Fridays as well, but not all shops are open. The Road Market is closed on Sundays.
38. Enjoy Afternoon Tea
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in the classic British tradition of afternoon tea, the Ritz London seems like the place to do it. They have a certified tea master, providing you with a large selection of teas to choose from while enjoying pastries, sandwiches, and scones in one of the prettiest hotels in London.
Cost: Starting from 67£ per adult
39. Columbia Road Flower Market
Another street market for your London bucketlist. The Columbian Street Market is only open on Sundays and gives visitors the chance to shop for flowers, cupcakes, art, and so much more while exploring one of the prettiest markets in London.
40. Take a Walking Tour
If you’re short on time, signing up for a walking tour is the best way to see the highlights of London. Join a free walking tour and tip the guide for their time and knowledge. Walking tours are also a great way to initially get to know London and possibly meet new travelers as well!
Bonus! Take a Day trip to Brighton
I loved visiting Brighton back in 2014. A cute little beach town, I would highly recommend visiting Brighton if you’re looking to get out of London during the summer. The Brighton Bridge is stunning and even has a small amusement park on it! The best part is it is only an hour train ride away, making it the perfect London Daytrip.
Thanks for reading! What’s on your ultimate London bucket list?
If you’re planning a trip to Europe, find out the websites I use to research and plan my trips.
Hey! I’m Kat. Based in Alberta, Canada I love to travel to the Rockies and explore new places around the world. Follow along on my adventures and find inspiration and tips for your own travels.