One of the most vibrant cities in the world, travelers have flocked to London for years. From London Bridge to Buckingham Palace, the city is filled with some of the world’s most famous sights and attractions. Whether you’re looking for art and architecture or fantastic food, England’s capital has something for you. To make the most of your next trip to the United Kingdom, check out our list of the 10 best places to visit in London.
1. Explore the Tower of London
Inside the Tower of London you will discover a royal palace, extensive armory, and a formidable fort. You can tip-toe into a king’s bedroom and clear your doubts as to how royalty would have lived during those times. The Crown Jewels are sure to have you in awe. Don’t dare take pictures inside, however, unless you want to spend the rest of your tour in the royal prison. Believe it or not, you might spot wild animals inside. The tower was home to many animals long ago, as you can see and learn about in the interactive displays. Keep an eye out for the six ravens, the tower’s guardians. Don’t get too close or attempt to feed them though.
2. Climb the Tower Bridge
Notably, Tower Bridge is the only bridge on the Thames River that raises and lowers to allow ships to pass through. The bridge goes up and down three times a day, so if you time it right, you’ll be lucky enough to pass by the bridge as its raised. For a particularly pleasant experience, enter the north wing, walk up the 200 steps to the top where you’ll find an exquisite view of the Thames and the city. If the steps are a challenge for you, don’t worry, you can also take the lift.
3. See the city from the London Eye
The London Eye is a must-see sight with an observation wheel that will show you the vastness of the country’s capital. The largest structure in Europe, the glass capsules will hoist you 135 meters (443 feet) above the Thames. We hope you’re not afraid of heights. Even if you are, we would recommend you take the ride for an experience you will cherish forever. While the wait in line can be long, the 30-minutes ride on the London Eye is well-worth the wait.
4. Visit Buckingham Palace for a royal experience
Make your way to the residence of the Brisith royal family on a visit to Buckingham Palace. When you look at the spectacular building, check out the flagpole on top. When it flies day-and-night, it implies that the Queen is at home. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of her or other members of the royal family on the central balcony. When the Queen is away, especially when she visits her summer palace in Scotland, you may visit the Queen’s gallery and the State Rooms. The best time to visit the palace is at 11:30 in the morning – which is when the changing of guards happens. The precision march and music are moments that you must experience to appreciate this history of this long-standing tradition.
5. Say hello to Big Ben
One of the most iconic sights in London, Big Ben is an exquisite example of Victorian London. The clock sits atop the Elizabeth Tower in the House of Parliament. Sometimes, the sound of the bell can be heard as far as 14.5 kilometers (9 miles) away from the tower. Since there is extensive ongoing renovation work, however, you won’t be able to hear the bell until 2021. If the view of the world’s largest four-facing clock structure is not enough, you can always make your way to the public galleries of the House of the Parliament. Similarly, Westminster Abbey and the Churchill War Rooms are also within a few steps of Big Ben.
6. Feel the magic at Warner Bros. Studio London
If you are a Harry Potter fanatic, then a visit Warner Bros. Studio in London is an absolute must. Here, you can relive scenes from the movie, stepping right into the Forbidden Forest or Diagon Alley. If you plan your visit in advance, then you can partake in A Celebration of Slytherin or a Dark Arts session. Fans will love the authentic props and original costumes that appear in the Harry Potter movies. While we all have to live in real life, at least we can get this close to living in the Wizarding World.
7. Selfie time at Madame Tussauds
One of the most popular attractions in London, Madame Tussauds is the place where you can stage awesome pictures with wax statues of celebrities and historical icons. Take your time as you make your way through the 98 celebrities, all ready and waiting for their photo opportunities with you. Snap one saluting the Queen or adjusting Donald Trump’s hair. You can sing along with Taylor Swift or “put a ring on it” with Beyoncé. When you book tickets, make sure you include a royal tea experience for an extra touch of class.
8. Step back in time at Westminster Abbey
This royal church and a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must for any history lover’s trip to London. With a 1,000-year-old history, you may have most recently seen Westminster Abbey during the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. While you can take pictures as you please, try not to make too much noise, as you may wake up the 17 monarchs resting here. Don’t miss out on entry into the Pyx Chamber, which still stands after more than 1,000 years. If you want an insider’s understanding of the history of the church, make sure to book a guided tour.
9. Skip around Piccadilly Circus
Ever wondered where Piccadilly Circus gets its name from? The name comes from a tailor who used to stitch piccadills in the area. If you are wondering what a piccadill is, it is a stiff neck-collar that was popular during the 17th century in London. What about the circus? This is where your Latin lessons would come in handy. “Circus” means a circle or ring in Latin, hence the name. Piccadilly Circus is a central place from where you can move to any of the popular destinations in just a few steps. Right in the neighborhood, you can watch the Piccadilly lights at night. The neon lights transform the decor of the area and make you feel like you’re in Times Square without leaving London. If you are a theater buff, take a walk into the theater district where you can run into some of the world’s most popular musicians.
10. Stop at the iconic Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is south of Leicester Square and features some iconic statues and monuments. Look out for the smallest police station in Britain, made to accommodate only one person. According to most maps, the nearby Charing Cross Station is the city’s “point zero,” or where all the roads lead. The National Gallery Portrait and St. Martin-in-the-fields Church are a stones throw distance from Trafalgar Square. When you stand at the center of Trafalgar Square, in every direction you look you will see a piece of British history.
Bonus 11. Believe it or not — London Bridge is standing tall
You are likely to confuse London Bridge and Tower Bridge if you are not sure as to what they are. London Bridge, the one the rhyme is about, is the original. It served as a link between the city of London and the other side of the Thames River in the past. So, why did the London Bridge fall down? The original London Bridge crumbled over centuries of use and was finally brought down when the structure was declared unstable. The bridge that was built 2,000 years ago might not still be standing, but you can find portions of it around the city. Look for the cozy stone alcoves in Victoria Park or Kings College London and experience a unique piece of British history. Don’t miss the pirate ship the Golden Hinde, which is a replica of Sir Francis Drake’s pirate ship