London has become the cultural and financial capital of the world, and it has been my favourite city since I first visited at 14. Travel fanatics love it for its diversity and fascinating history, fashionistas love it for its style, and tourists love it because there are some truly epic items on the list of what to visit in London. Over 30 million people travel to the capital of England every year to take in its many world-renowned tourist attractions (such as the must-see sights in London coming your way in this post). If you’re planning to visit London anytime soon here are my favourites for the must-see sights you have to check off your to-do list in London.
Looking for something to entertain yourself with on the journey to London? Whether you are bored at the airport (find some of my favourite things to do during a stopover here) or want to keep up with the biggest poker tournaments in the world (find those here), you’ll be fine.
3 Honorable mentions of what to visit in London
Before getting started on the actual list of my 4 must-see sights in London, I wanted to share a few of the most obvious ones, as an honourable mention. If you are visiting London for the first time, these should be on your list.
Closed off since 2017 for repairs, this iconic clock tower is due to reopen and chime again in 2020. An unmistakable British landmark. During my last two visits, it has been covered for the repairs, which is always a little disappointing, but once it opens again this guy needs to be on your list of what to visit in London.
Fun fact: a lot of people believe Big Ben is the name of the clock tower itself, but actually its the name of the bell inside of it. The bell/clock tower is simply named Elizabeth Tower.
#2 London Eye
Not just a must-see London attraction, but a special way to see London itself. If you can survive the lines you’ll be treated to a beautiful skyline view of the city. My top tip is to book your tickets in advance (to skip some of the queues), and to show up early for your designated time. If you can; go at night for some spectacular evening views of the city skyline! You can also get fast track tickets online to really save some time!
#3 Camden Markets
This was a hidden gem for years but is now becoming more and more popular with visitors. A cultural centre of London bustling with life, energy, and music. Camden is a great place to shop or gorge yourself on street food from the diverse cultures that call London home. It is also where you can find my favourite cocktail bar in the city (read about it here).
4 Must-See Sights in London (What to visit in London)
Now that a few important ones are out of the way (I mean, you can’t write a list of what to visit in London without including good old Ben), it’s time to move onto my actual recommendations. Below are 4 sights that you absolutely cannot miss when visiting London (especially not if it’s your first trip).
#4 Houses of Parliament
Also known as the
Palace of Westminster, the Houses of Parliament is the centre of British politics. Submerge yourself in the centre of British power with a tour around the famous gothic building that has stood since 1870. Both the House of Commons and House of Lords have sections open to the public and are brimming with history.
Book a tour to see the inner workings of the country up close in an exciting and turbulent period within British politics. Afterwards, hop over to the nearby
Westminster Abbey or take a tour around Parliament Square, a beautiful green space feature statues of some of the most iconic figures in British political history. #5 St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral is the highest point in the City of London, standing as a proud and popular part of the city skyline since it’s completion by architect Christopher Wren in 1710. This Anglican Cathedral remains a massive tourist attraction and is a favourite of many on this list of what to visit in London, bringing millions of people to marvel at its Baroque architecture every year.
Take in the sights of its great dome, experience the magic of the whispering gallery or delve into the mystery and darkness of the crypt. You can even take a stroll down the aisle and replicate the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. The legend of St Paul’s has kept people coming back year after year, myself included!
#6 Buckingham Palace
One of the first places that come to mind when people think of London,
Buckingham Palace is the official home of the Queen when she’s in London and a hub of many major royal events. With 775 rooms across a massive 40 acres, this is one of the standout pieces of architecture in the city (and a house I wouldn’t mind moving into, to be honest).
You could try and squeeze in a selfie amongst the crowds of tourists looking to try and catch a sight of the members of the royal family, or you can take the official tour for an inside look at the most famous and powerful family in the country. Afterward, pass by the royal guards and take a stroll through the luscious green palace gardens by the main gate entrance.
#7 Tower of London
You’ve gone royal spotting, now go and take a look at their crown jewels.
The Tower of London is one of the most historic buildings in the city, with a legacy dating back over 1,000 years. The tower has been everything from a royal residence to the prison that housed Guy Fawkes (and both Anne Boleyn and Queen Elizabeth I for a while). It’s the home of the iconic beefeaters, a popular attraction primed for the perfect Instagram pic to tell your followers where you are. and yes, it is also where the Queen’s royal jewels, 140 elegant ceremonial objects, are housed. No, you can’t touch them.
Located near Tower Bridge and the River Thames, this is an essential spot to take in when strolling through the city or by the banks of the river. If you’re lucky, or unlucky depending on how you look at it, you might even spot a royal ghost roaming the grounds. Just a stone’s throw away you’ll find the equally famous Tower Bridge, for a recognisable photo-op.
Side note: I strongly recommend booking your ticket to the Tower in advance, to avoid some hefty lines at the ticket office. What to visit in London: Can you see them all?
London is blessed with a number of iconic tourist attractions perfect for educating, entertaining and amazing yourself, and some are absolute musts for your visit. I could never name all of them, but the ones above are all London sights you absolutely must to experience to say you’ve really been to the city (if you ask me).
In order to see them all, you would need 2 to 3 days in London. Of course, the more time you have, the better, but you can use that as a base for the time needed to cover everything. I actually have my own walking tour of London that I “made” whilst I was living in London, and would take all visitors on to cover the most ground in a day. If you are interested, I am happy to share a map and article about it!