Heading to England soon and looking for the ultimate London Bucket List? Perfect!
London is the biggest city in the United Kingdom and has so much to offer! Whether you are a foodie, Harry Potter fan or art lover, you will find plenty to do in London!
If it’s your first time in the British capital, you will probably want to prioritise the landmarks and famous spots. If you’ve been before, then you will also find some cool things to do in London here!
In this article, you will discover the ultimate London Bucket List which includes an amazing selection of experiences you can have in London.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost for you!
1. Riding the London Eye
Located on the South Bank of the River Thames, the London Eye is one of the most iconic landmarks in London. It’s the most visited paid attraction in the city and no matter what, you have to see it!
It’s 135 metres (443 ft) tall and was the biggest observation wheel in the world when it first opened.
The London Eye was inaugurated by Tony Blair on the 31st of December 1999 and that’s why it’s sometimes referred to as the Millennium Wheel.
The London Eye has several big capsules where passengers can go. The ride lasts about 30 minutes and is one of the best way to get fantastic views of London and the Thames.
HOW TO VISIT: You need to book your tickets in advance for the London Eye. Although it’s not entirely impossible to get some tickets on-site, you will end up waiting for a very long time and with no guarantee at all.
Tickets can be booked online. You can also add a skip-the-line option so you don’t have to queue.
Please note that the London Eye is one of the attractions included in the London Pass. If you are planning to visit several paid attractions, it will save you a lot of money.
2. Visiting Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is a must-do for any first-timers. It’s one of the most important abbeys in the world.
It’s located by Parliament Square, in front of the Palace of Westminster (Parliament) and is a UNESCO listed site.
Westminster Abbey is the traditional place of coronation of British Monarchs for almost 1,000 years!
Since William The Conqueror was coronated here, in 1066, all coronations have been taking place here.
The abbey is also known for being the place of burial for famous and important British people such as Jane Austen, Isaac Newton or Charles Dickens.
Finally, Westminster Abbey is known for its fantastic royal weddings! A lot of members of the royal family got married here including the Queen herself and Prince William.
INTERESTING FACT: Prince Charles and Diana actually didn’t get married at Westminster Abbey but at St Paul’s Cathedral. Harry and Meghan also didn’t get married here in 2018 but at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
HOW TO VISIT: Visiting the inside of the Abbey costs £21 and you can book your ticket here.
This can be a bit pricey, especially if you add it up to everything else you will be paying for in London. It’s up to you to decide whether that’s worth it or not.
Westminster Abbey is beautiful but depending on your interest in history and architecture you might feel it’s not worth it.
Regardless, you can walk around and enjoy the outside of the abbey for free!
Please note that this is also an attraction included in the London Pass so that can be a great option if you are planning to visit another couple of places.
3. Watch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace
Every day at 11 am, you can assist in the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. This is truly impressive and definitely worth seeing. Also, it’s free!
However, bear in mind that every tourist in London wants to see it so you have to make your way around a little if you want to get the best experience.
The space in front of Buckingham Palace will get awfully crowded. If you want to actually see something there are two options:
- Get there very early
At the very least 30mins in advance but I would recommend even 1h to be sure you get a good spot
2. Go to St James Palace instead
Instead of going in front of Buckingham Palace, going in front of St James Palace.
You may not know that but Buckingham Palace hasn’t always been the Royal Residence in London. It used to be St James Palace which is located on the Mall (the big avenue that goes from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square).
St James Palace is not quite what you expect a palace to be. However, when it was built, it was quite something.
Back then, you would determine how wealthy was the owner by the number of chimneys on a house.
As you will notice, St James Palace has dozens of chimneys! Anyway, back to business! The reason you should go there is that you will get to see the march much better.
The guards actually march from Buckingham Palace to St James.
Everybody goes to Buckingham Palace to see them but what people ignore is that you can get to see them better by the other palace.
Of course, you won’t get to see Buckingham in the background but we will see everything else much better.
You will also get to enjoy the music better. You might be surprised by the music that is on.
It’s generally very recent and funky. For example, it can be the soundtrack of Game of Thrones or songs from Daft Punk.
4. Visiting the Tower of London
The Tower of London is a beautiful and iconic castle located on the north bank of the Thames.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is full of history and stories! Here you will find over 1000 years of English history in just one place.
The Tower of London was founded as part of the Norman conquest and built by William the Conqueror in 1078.
It had many purposes over the years including serving as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint and a public record office.
It is also known for its role as a prison where traitors would be tortured and kept.
INTERESTING FACT: That’s where Guy Fawkes was brought after being captured with gunpowder in the basement of the Parliament in 1605.
Please note that the Tower of London has stopped being a prison in 1952.
Nowadays, the thing that makes it particularly famous is that its home to the Crown jewels and if you choose to visit the Tower, you’ll get to see them!
HOW TO VISIT: You need to book your ticket for the tower in advance. It includes a timed entrance and access to the crown jewels.
In winter, you will even get access to the ice rink inside the fortress! So if you like ice skating, this will be a very unique experience.
Please note that it takes about 3 hours to visit the Tower so you need to make sure you have enough time ahead of you.
5. Visiting Saint Paul’s cathedral
Located in the City of London, St Paul’s Cathedral is the biggest cathedral in London.
This beautiful landmark was the target of loads of bombings during WWII but thankfully made it in one piece!
It sits on Ludgate Hill which is the highest point in the City of London and was the tallest building in London until 1963.
St Paul’s Cathedral is also known for having hosted the most famous wedding in the world: the 1981 wedding between Prince Charles and Diana Spencer.
As you arrive in front of the cathedral, you will surely recognise the place from the videos of the wedding.
It has also hosted other important events such as the funerals of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher and the thanksgiving services for the Queen’s jubilees and birthdays.
HOW TO VISIT: You need to book a ticket to visit St Paul’s Cathedral. The inside is absolutely stunning but make sure to also go to the rooftop since it boasts some of the best views of the city!
6. Visiting the Harry Potter Studios
Calling all Harry Potter fans for this one! If you want to discover the world of Harry Potter during your stay in the UK, London will be your heaven. You can visit the studios where Harry Potter was filmed.
Located in Watford, the Warner Bros Studios are a wonderful experience.
You will get to see the sets, costumes, CGI sets and much more!
You are free to stay as long as you want but most people stay 3 to 4 hours.
If you have any Harry Potter clothes (scarf, hat or anything else) make sure to bring them so you can take some beautiful photos!
READ MORE: 20 Best Harry Potter Things to do in London
HOW TO VISIT: You can book your tickets directly on the WB studios website. It costs £48 and needs to be booked at least 6 weeks in advance (they sell out very fast).
If you can’t book that much in advance, I’d recommend booking the tour with transport. It includes the entrance to the studios as well as transport from Victoria to the studios.
These are available up to 1 or 2 days before the visit so it’s definitely the best way to get some last-minute tickets.
7. Jack the Ripper walking tour
If you love mysteries and murder stories, this one is for you!
Jack The Ripper is one of the most famous serial killers in the world and all of his crimes were committed in East London.
While this is definitely not something to be happy about, it is very interesting to learn more about it. Especially since we still don’t know who he was!
The best way to discover everything about Jack the Ripper is with a walking tour.
The tour starts at Aldgate East Tube station and will take you all around East London.
Today, East London is the street art and hipster district but back in the days it was a very unsafe place and that’s where all the bodies left by Jack The Ripper were found.
The guide will explain everything to you: the facts, the theories, the suspects… and will show you the places where victims were found or spotted.
The story itself is fascinating and after that, you won’t be able to help yourself and will try to solve the mystery too!
HOW TO BOOK: You can easily book the tour online. You will be provided with the instructions to meet your guide. It’s super easy.
8. Visiting the British Museum
Visiting the British Museum is a must-do in London. It’s one of the most famous museums in Europe and home to fantastic collections of objects, manuscripts, books and art.
It has been open to the public since 1759 and was the first national museum to cover all fields of human knowledge.
There are many reasons why you should be visiting the British Museum but it’s true that the Egyptian collection is the one that is the best known.
The British Museum is home to the Rosetta Stone which was used by Champollion to decipher the hieroglyphs.
HOW TO VISIT: The British Museum is located in Bloomsbury, in London West End. It’s open every day from 10 AM to 5 PM.
The entrance is completely free (like all National Museums in the UK) which is ideal for people on a budget.
You can easily spend hours and hours in the British Museum since there is so much to see. If you are particularly interested in this museum, you can also book a tour with a local guide.
9. Shopping at Camden Markets
Camden is one of the prettiest and liveliest areas in central London. It’s known for its music scene and wonderful markets.
They are located in the historic Pickfords stables, just by in locks in Camden Town.
Here you will find over 1,000 stalls with clothes, jewellery, food and more!
They are open every day from 10 AM until late.
PRO TIP: The best time to go there is at 11 AM. That way you left enough time to the seller to set up their stall and you can then spend an hour or two exploring the markets while it’s not too busy (though this statement is not always accurate on the weekend).
Once you’re done with the shopping part, head to the food trucks by the locks. You’ll find delicious (and fairly affordable) food here.
HOW TO GET THERE: You can easily get there with public transport. You can take the Northern Line to Camden Town or one of the following buses: 214, 24, 274 or 393.
Camden Market is a place where you can easily navigate on your own however if you were interested in learning more about the area, you can also book a tour with a local.
10. Taking a photo with Big Ben
If you are going to London, you have to see Big Ben. It’s a fact, you just have to!
Big Ben is located at the very end of the Palace of Westminster.
If you want to get the best shot, there are two places you can go to.
PRO TIP: No matter what, do not stay near the tube station. It’s busy and frenetic, it will drive you crazy. Also, you don’t get a very good view from there.
Go across the bridge and once you crossed, go down the stairs on your right. Most people stay on the bridge or go on the left towards the eye.
If you go on the right, you will have the most perfect view of Big Ben and nobody will be here to photobomb your selfie.
The other option is on the other side. Once you get off the tube station, turn on your right towards St James Park. At the corner of the square, you will find a phone box.
This phone box is your perfect photo of London. There is still a phone inside so if you fancy taking it out you can. A little umbrella for the British touch and boom!
You’ve got the perfect London photo: Big Ben, Red phone booth and umbrella!
11. Riding a double-decker bus
We’ve mentioned a lot of landmarks in this bucket list for London however, the double-decker buses are just as iconic!
Nothing screams England more than a good double-decker or a red phone booth.
Riding a double-decker bus may be a very normal thing to do for British people but it is definitely pretty unique for everybody else!
Most countries don’t have these kinds of buses so London is a great spot to go on one.
HOW TO RIDE A DOUBLE DECKER BUS: This is one of the easiest things to do! You can simply take a bus and head upstairs!
It’s also quite cheap since you’ll pay less than £2 for the ride!
Though you can take any bus, there are a few routes that are more scenic than others. If you can, try to catch one of the following:
- 15 from Trafalgar Square to Tower of London via St Paul’s Cathedral
- 24 from Pilmico to Trafalgar Square via the houses of Parliament
- 42 from Tower Bridge to Liverpool Street via Shoreditch
12. Going to see a West End play
London is one of the World’s theatre capitals. Besides New York City, there aren’t many cities where you can find that many theatres and performances.
London West End is a paradise for all theatre lovers. The atmosphere is very unique. Nothing can beat the buzz of the theatre district in London!
There are two types of shows you can see: theatre plays or musicals.
They are both great options and it’s really down to what type of show you like the most.
Here are some of the best plays and musicals to see in London:
- The Mousetrap (by Agatha Christie)
- Harry Potter and the cursed child. This is a 2-part show so you need to make sure you have the entire afternoon and evening free.
- Wicked. This one is actually right in front of Victoria tube station and not near Piccadilly.
- The Book of Mormon. Super funny musical but it doesn’t please everyone so make sure to check out my review before you book.
- Matilda. A beautiful adaptation of Roald Dahl masterpiece. It’s perfect for kids as well as adults.
HOW TO GET TICKETS: You will find a lot of small kiosks selling theatre tickets in London. They are usually located around Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.
While these can come in handy if you are looking for last-minute seats, it’s always much better to book online. You’ll get better prices, especially if you book in advance.
READ MORE: How to get cheap theatre tickets in the UK
13. Crossing Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in the world. It’s located right by the Tower of London (hence the name) and is a beautiful neo-gothic bridge.
It’s also a wonderful piece of engineering and one of the largest bascule and suspension bridges in the country.
FUN FACT: A lot of people get it confused with London Bridge. This one exists as well but is located a bit before. It’s nowhere as pretty but it was a very important place.
The best way to see the bridge is to go to the Tower of London. From there, you can start crossing the bridge.
Once you get to the first tower, you will find a reception desk selling tickets. It looks like you need to pay to cross but it’s not the case.
The entrance tickets are to go up to the towers. If you simply want to cross the bridge, you can just go around and keep walking (for free!).
Once you get on the other side, take the stairs on your right and go to the Queen’s walk. From here you can take beautiful photos of the bridge.
It’s also important to note that the bridge lifts up when ships are passing underneath. This is a very cool thing to see in London and it’s worth checking out the official timetable first to see if you can get there on time to see it in action!
14. Discovering Street Art in Shoreditch
Located in the East End of London, Shoreditch is known as the hipster and street art district of London.
While it didn’t use to be the best neighbourhood, Shoreditch has grown to become one of the coolest places in London.
It’s quite hyped and you can find loads of vintage shops, street food markets, food trucks and even flea markets.
But the main reason why it became so popular amongst visitors is street art.
Here you will find murals absolutely everywhere! On the walls, on the shops and even on traffic signs!
If you are interested in street art, make sure to join the street art tour and workshop of East London.
The local guide will take you to the best spots and will tell you plenty of interesting stories about the artists in the area.
At the end, you will even get to try spray painting!
It’s very good fun!
15. Eating at Borough Market
Borough Market is one of the oldest and biggest markets in the city.
You might have heard of London bucket list restaurants and while Borough Market is not exactly considered as a restaurant, it definitely is the best place to visit to get delicious food!
Here you will find over 100 traders selling delicious street food. From Spanish tapas to Greek frappés, you’ll find a bit of everything here.
Best of all? It’s very affordable!
PRO TIP: If you want to discover the best food spots in London and eat delicious food, you should join the British food tour. You’ll get to try some of the best eats in London and will, of course, go around Borough Market.
16. Going on a cruise on the Thames
London is split into two parts by the River Thames. It’s a very important natural landmark in the city and you will find a lot of cruises and activities on the water.
Opting for a cruise on the River Thames is an excellent way to discover London from a different angle.
This cruise goes from Westminster to Greenwich. You can opt for the single ticket or the return one.
PRO TIP: I particularly recommend taking the single ticket and spending some time exploring Greenwich. That’s a nice area and there are many things to see there. You can then make your way back with the tube or bus.
17. Checking out the Scenes in the Square Sculpture Trail
This is a brand new addition to this London Bucket List since the trail was inaugurated in 2020.
You can find on Leicester Square a series of 9 statues of movie characters.
This includes the following characters: Harry Potter, Batman and Wonder Woman, Paddington, Mr Bean, Mary Poppins, Gene Kelly, Laurel and Hardy and Bugs Bunny.
They are all around the Square so you simply need to walk around the grassy part and you will see them.
The only exception to that is the statue of Wonder Woman which is located at 3 Cranbourn Street (2-minute walk from Leicester Square).
PRO TIP: The Batman statue is located on the rooftop of the ODEON cinema so make sure to look up otherwise you won’t find it.
18. Going to Little Venice
Little Venice, as the name may suggest, is a canal district in London.
It’s located in the West End, near Paddington. You’ll find a few canals here but the main one is Regent’s canal. It goes all the way from Little Venice to the River Thames via docklands in Camden.
Little Venice is mainly known for its narrowboats.
This is also one of the best places in London to take a boat trip. It’s much more pleasant than the River Thames since it’s so tranquil and quiet.
If you want to experience it, you can take the waterbus from Little Venice to Camden. It’s very nice and also pretty affordable.
19. Climbing The Roof of The O2 Arena
The O2 Arena is one of the most famous venues in London. It can host up to 20,000 people!
While seeing a concert here is an amazing experience and something you should definitely look into, there is another way you can enjoy it: you can climb it!
Climbing the roof of the O2 arena is the ultimate London bucket list item for thrill-seekers!
Not only will you get to walk on the roof but you will also discover beautiful views of the city.
The experience lasts 90 minutes and is a great thing to add to your London itinerary if you are looking for something a bit different.
HOW TO BOOK: Tickets can easily be booked online here.
20. Go to Brick Lane Market
Do you love vintage clothes, second-hand furniture, street food and unique accessories? Then Brick Lane Market will be your paradise.
Located in the heart of Shoreditch, Brick Lane is one of the most unique streets in London. Every Sunday, you’ll find a large market with clothes, furniture, music records, food and plenty more!
It’s open from 9 AM to 5 PM but it’s particularly good if you go in the morning. It’s not quite as busy and you can score even more bargains!
Also, you can head to the food trucks at lunchtime and eat some delicious street food!
21. Enjoying the views from the Shard
Located in Southwark, near London Bridge, the Shard is the tallest building in the UK.
It was inaugurated in 2012 and is 309.6 metres (1,016 feet) high. While most of the floors are offices, you’ll also find a rooftop and restaurants.
The Shard is one of the best places to enjoy panoramic views of London.
HOW TO VISIT: You can book a ticket to go up to the 72nd floor and enjoy the view from The Shard. It is Western Europe’s highest viewing platform so it gives you a good idea of how impressive the views are!
You’ll have access to the entire floor which means that you’ll get 360-degree views!
22. Discovering Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross
If you are a Harry Potter Fan, you’ll know that Harry, Ron and his other wizard friends take the Hogwarts Express from Platform 9 3/4 in Kings Cross.
Well, you’ll be happy to know that you can actually go to Kings Cross Station and take photos!
While you won’t be allowed to actually go to platform 9, unless you have a train ticket, you’ll find a reproduction of the platform in the entrance hall.
You can’t really miss it since there is a Harry Potter shop right by it.
Here you can find the sign as well as a luggage trolley in the wall. This is an excellent photo spot!
If you head there during the day, you’ll find the staff from. theshop with different Harry Potter scarves. You can pick your house and they will hold it for you, giving the illusion the scarf is flying.
PRO TIP: Get there pretty early if you can otherwise you’ll have to queue for a while to take the photo.
23. Visiting Kensington Palace
Located in the stunning Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Kensington Palace is one of the most famous royal palaces in the UK.
It is the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children.
Kensington Palace is also known for being the birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria.
If you want to learn more about the British Royals, visiting Kensington Palace is a must-do! It’s stunning and you get to see the King’s and Queen’s State Apartments!
HOW TO VISIT: You can easily book your tickets for Kensington Palace online and head there at the time you selected.
Please note that it’s not open on Monday and Tuesday so it’s important to bear that in mind.
24. Going to Piccadilly Circus in the evening
Piccadilly Circus is kind of the equivalent of Times Square. Here you will find huge advertising billboards and lights all over the place.
It can be quite a busy place and while you may be tempted to head there early to beat the crowds, it’s actually at night that the magic operates!
There are lights everywhere (billboards, theatre, tube station…) and it looks very pretty!
FUN FACT: Piccadilly Circus was featured at the beginning of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. You can see Hermione, Ron and Harry there.
25. Discovering the music and street art culture in Brixton
Shoreditch and Brixton are the two main districts where you can find street art. While Shoreditch is internationally famous for its amazing murals for over a decade now, Brixton is the new up and coming district.
There aren’t as many as in Shoreditch however, they are super impressive!
Street art has always been a way for people who felt that they didn’t have a voice to get their opinions out there. There is way more into each and every mural than just art. It’s a message.
Brixton has always been a district full of artists. It’s where David Bowie was from!
You will find many music venues and cultural spots here.
If you want to learn more about Brixton and discover an authentic neighbourhood, you should join the Brixton walking tour. It’s super interesting!
26. Going to 10 Downing Street
If you love everything that has to do with politics, this one is for you!
10 Downing Street is one of the most famous addresses in the world since it’s the official residence and executive office.
Though you can’t actually visit it inside, you can go in front of the door. The entrance is pretty famous and a nice place to get a photo.
Downing Street is located near St James Park, Churchill War Rooms and the Houses of Parliament so you can easily add a stop to your London itinerary to check it out.
27. Going to the M&Ms or Lego store on Leicester Square
Leicester Square is famous for many things but it is true that the main reason to visit is to go to M&M’s World or the Lego Store.
They are open every day and are pretty unusual shops.
There are only two M&M’s Worlds in Europe. One is located in Berlin and the other one in London. All the others are in the United States so if you’ve always wanted to visit, you should cease the opportunity while in London.
Inside, you’ll find all things M&Ms including giant sculptures and other merchandise.
You can also design your own M&Ms with personalised messages or a picture!
The Lego store is also worth checking out especially if you are into board games. It’s absolutely massive and you’ll find very impressive lego structures including a giant Big Ben!
28. Eating delicious Chinese food in Chinatown
London’s Chinatown is located between Soho and Theatreland. You can find the arch (perfect for photos!) on Wardour St but the restaurants are also in the nearby streets.
If you were looking for bucket list restaurants in London, this will be a great place to start!
There are Chinese and other Asian restaurants everywhere! It’s a great place to eat delicious food but also grab a cheap bite.
29. Discovering the colourful Carnaby Street in SOHO
Soho is one of the most iconic districts of London and no visit to the British capital would be complete without heading there.
There are a lot of things you can do in Soho and the nightlife is amazing but the number 1 place to check out is Carnaby Street.
It’s known as a great spot for shoppers. Here you’ll find all sorts of shops including chains and local shops.
FUN FACT: The Who, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones have been spotted shopping here more than once!
It’s also one of the prettiest streets in London.
Once you arrive, you will discover the stunning Carnaby kaleidoscope which is made of hundreds of glittery and sparkly butterflies.
It’s so beautiful!
The shops are also very colourful, perfect for photos!
30. Roaming around the covered market at Covent Garden
Covent Garden is another hot spot for shoppers in London. Here you will find many famous and luxury shops including Apple, Tom Ford, l’Occitane and even a Moomin shop!
The square itself is particularly pretty and home to the beautiful St Paul’s church.
In the centre, you’ll find the covered market. It used to be a fruit and vegetable market but it was replaced by luxury shops and cafes decades ago.
It’s super pretty and you should make sure to explore it (even if you don’t plan on buying anything!).
PRO TIP: If you are visiting London for Christmas, make sure to visit Covent Garden since they put up beautiful decorations and a giant Christmas tree.
31. Heading to 221B Baker Street
221B Baker Street is another famous address in London. Do you know why? That’s right, it’s where Sherlock Holmes lives!
Well, in the books at least. Obviously you shouldn’t actually expect Sherlock Holmes to walk out but it’s still a great place to check out!
PRO TIP: You should watch the BBC series ‘Sherlock‘ before visiting. It’s starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman as Dr Watson.
32. Experiencing the thrill of the ArcelorMittal Orbit
If you are looking for something to add to your London adrenaline junkie bucket list, this one is for you!
Located in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is a 114.5-metre-high sculpture and observation tower that was initially built for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
It is the tallest structure in the UK and definitely a unique thing to see!
But the reason why it made it to the list is not exactly for sightseeing purposes but because there are activities you can here.
You’ll find a giant slide and can give a go to free-fall abseil here!
It’s the UK’s highest free-fall abseil so needless to say that it’s a thrilling adventure that awaits you!
HOW TO BOOK: You can book your tickets for the ArcelorMittal Orbit online. Make sure to select the activity you want:
33. Seeing the Christmas lights and trees in London
One thing is sure it’s that London knows how to celebrate Christmas!
There are so many things you can do here at this time of the year and admiring the beautiful Christmas lights and trees is one of them.
Here are some spots to check out:
- Covent Garden decorations
- Trafalgar Square Chritmas tree
- Oxford Street Christmas lights
- Regent Street Christmas lights
Please note that you will also find some of the best Christmas markets in the UK right here in London. The most famous is Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park but there are also many others.
34. Taking an afternoon tea on a bus
An afternoon tea is a typical British meal. Unlike what you may think, it’s not actually just drinking tea in the afternoon.
Tea is of course involved in that matter but that’s not all!
An afternoon tea includes finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, sweet pastries, cakes and tea.
It’s a traditional activity here in Britain and a great thing to do in London with friends.
While you will find many afternoon teas in the city, you can also opt for a more unusual one which the afternoon tea bus!
Basically, you will be in a vintage double decker bus that drives around London and you will be served afternoon tea.
This means you get to see London, eat delicious food and ride a double decker all at the same time!
It’s a super fun thing to do and a great activity on a rainy day!
HOW TO BOOK: You can easily book your afternoon tea online here.
35. Eat Jamaican food at Brixton Markets
Brixton is an up and coming district located in South London and is also known as London’s Little Jamaica.
If you were looking for a hidden gem to add to your London food bucket list, the Brixton Markets will be perfect for you!
Here you will find amazing Jamaican and other Caribbean restaurants. Their food is absolutely delicious!
For the best experience, order a Jamaican Jerk Chicken and a ginger beer.
GOOD TO KNOW: Make sure to check with the waiter how spicy the dish you are ordering is. The food may be delicious but it’s often a bit too spicy for many people.
36. Checking out Harry Potter’s filming locations
Many scenes in the Harry Potter movies were filmed in London. If you are a Harry Potter fan, you will love discovering these filming locations. Here are the places you need to go to:
- London Bridge and the Tower of London
- Piccadilly Circus
- Kings Cross station and St Pancras International
- London Zoo
- Millennium Bridge
- Charing Cross Road
- Leadenhall Market
- Australia House
- Westminster Tube Station
- Lambeth Bridge
PRO TIP: If you want to make the most of it, I’d recommend going on a Harry Potter walking tour. The guide will give you plenty of cool info and fun facts about Harry Potter in London.
37. Visiting the Kew Gardens
The Kew Gardens are botanic gardens and a royal palace located in Southwest London.
They are arguably the most underrated attraction in London but something you should add to your bucket list!
FUN FACT: Kew Gardens are the largest UNESCO World Heritage Site in London!
You will find all sorts of plants and trees and incredible temporary exhibitions.
The entrance ticket will also give you access to the Kew Palace which is a beautiful royal palace. Here you’ll get to see the apartments but also the Georgian Royal Kitchens.
If you are looking for a family-friendly activity, this will be ideal! Kew Gardens are a great thing to do in London with a toddler.
HOW TO VISIT: It takes about 30 minutes to get there from Central London. You can take the district line to Richmond and walk to the gardens from there.
Make sure to book your tickets in advance. They are only a limited number of tickets available per day and it’s important to book beforehand to avoid any disappointments.
38. Walking across the Millennium Bridge
The Millennium Bridge is located in the City of London. It links the Tate Modern to the beautiful St Paul’s cathedral.
It was inaugurated in 2000 (hence the name) and gained the nickname of ‘wobbly bridge’ on the first day.
A lot of people experienced a wobble while walking on it on the first day. Thankfully this was fixed straight away so it’s not something you should be worried about but the nickname kind of stayed.
FUN FACT: The Millennium Bridge was featured in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Remember the scene where the death eaters destroy a bridge? That’s the one!
It’s also one of the best places in London to take photos. If you walk from the Tate to St Paul’s, you’ll see that the bridge is perfectly aligned with the dome of the cathedral.
It’s very pretty!
PRO TIP: Get there early in the morning if you want to get the best photos. The bridge is not that wide and quite a lot of people take it so the earlier you get there, the better the photos will be.
39. Riding the tube in London
The London Tube was the world’s first underground passenger railway. It’s the preferred way of transportation in the city and taking it is a must-do while in London.
It serves 270 stations and has over 408 km of tracks so needless to say that you will never have to look very far to find a station.
FUN FACT: Although the signs say Underground, all Londoners call it the Tube. This is a slang word that became the standard. As you might already have guessed, it is called the tube because the tunnels have a tube shape.
HOW TO RIDE THE TUBE: You simply need to go to one of the stations and make your way to the trains. They are many lines in London so make sure you check beforehand which line you are going to and the destination so you go to the right platform.
If you have a contactless debit or credit card, you can simply tap it at the entrance and you will be charged accordingly.
Alternatively, you can buy an Oyster card for £5 and top it up with money.
Please note that the tube is capped at £12.60 per day so as long as you have at least that much on the card you’ll be able to take it as many times as you want in the space of 24 hours.
PRO TIP: It’s also important to mention that some lines (such as the northern) take different routes so you need to make sure that the train you take is going where you want to go. You can see the destination on the front of the train when it arrives and on the boards on the platform.
40. Shopping on Oxford Street
If you love shopping, you’ll be in for a treat in London!
While you will be finding shops everywhere, Oxford Street is definitely the ultimate place to go!
It’s the biggest high street in the world!
Here you will find 1.5 miles of shops. From fashion to technology and homeware, there are over 90 flagships shops and 500 restaurants on Oxford Street.
It’s also the best place in the UK to discover the most famous department stores and their wonderful window displays.
Here are some of the most popular shops on Oxford Street: Nike, H&M, Uniqlo, New Balance, Gap, Zara, River Island, TK Maxx, Primark, Selfridges, John Lewis, House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer and plenty more!
HOW TO GET THERE: Take the tube to Oxford Circus (Victoria, Bakerloo or Central lines).
41. Get street food from South Bank Market
Located near the London Eye, between the Thames and Waterloo station, South Bank Market is a great place to grab lunch.
You will find plenty of stands with food and drinks from all across the world.
There are tables to eat at and it’s quite cheap (for London). Great food, good price and convenient location, what else can we ask for?
GOOD TO KNOW: South Bank Market is only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
42. Discovering the parks in London
There are many parks you can visit in London. If you want to escape the city for a bit, enjoy some green surroundings and have a stroll, you should definitely go to one of the parks.
Here are the main parks in London:
- Hyde Park: The biggest park in London, Hyde Park is perfect for a good walk. There is a lake and it’s home to Winter Wonderland at Christmas Time.
- Regent’s park: Smaller than Hyde Park, Regent Park is probably the most beautiful park. You will find all sorts of plants, ponds and London Zoo. You can also walk up to Primrose hill from Regent’s park.
- St James Park: Located on the right-hand side of Buckingham Palace, St James used to be the King’s back garden in some sort of ways. You can find all sorts of animals there. The kings were given a lot of different animals from different countries in the world and used to release them in St James Park.
- Green Park: Green Park is a rather simple park however it’s very conveniently located, between Oxford Circus and Buckingham Palace. Perfect to avoid crowds for a bit!
43. Discovering Portobello Road
Located in the heart of Notting Hill, Portobello Road is one of the most famous streets in London.
It’s home to the largest antique market in the world! Here you will find over 1,000 traders selling all sorts of antiques and collectables.
If you are looking for a place to find unique souvenirs of London, this will be ideal!
Portobello Road is also known as one of the most colourful streets in the city. Each house features a different colour and it’s so pretty!
A lot of people come here (and Notting Hill in general) to take Instagram photos.
FUN FACT: Portobello Road was also used as a filming location for the movie Notting Hill.
44. Going to Spitalfields Market
If you want to discover more markets in London and wish to avoid the crowds of Borough Market, you should head to Spitalfields Market.
It’s open every day of the year and is home to loads of traders.
Here you will find clothes, jewellery but also delicious food!
PRO TIP: Spitafields Market is located near Liverpool Street Station. If you are flying to or from Stansted Airport, you will probably take the Stansted Express from Liverpool Street Station. It will be a good opportunity to visit the market since it’s only a few minutes walk from there.
45. Visiting Wembley Stadium
Calling all football fans for this one!
With a capacity of 90,000, Wembley Stadium is the largest sports venue in the UK and a must-see in London if you are into sports!
It has hosted very important historical events such as the 1966 Football World Cup Finale (when England won) and iconic live concerts including Live Aid and the Spice Girls Reunion.
There are two ways you can discover the stadium:
- Going to see a match or a concert. You can book concert tickets at Wembley Stadium here.
- Booking a guided tour of the stadium. This is perfect if you want to learn more about the stadium and get to see some behind the scenes spots that you wouldn’t get to see if you go for a match. Prices here.
46. Going to the Sky Garden
This is one of the best free things to do in London!
The Sky Garden is a viewing gallery located on the 43rd floor of the Walkie Talkie, one of the most iconic skyscrapers in London
Here you will discover some of the best views of London. Admittedly, it’s nowhere as high as the Shard but it’s still incredibly good, especially since it’s free!
The floor is very lush as there are many plants. You will also find a bar where you can get a drink and enjoy it at a table while looking at the city.
HOW TO VISIT: Visiting the Sky Garden is free, however, you need to book your ticket on the official website. It is a popular place to go to on the weekends so make sure to book in advance. If you can go on a weekday, you have a much better chance of getting a ticket.
47. Visiting Churchill War Rooms
Churchill is one of the rare political figures in the world that has been involved in both World Wars.
Criticized for some decisions and adorated for others, his role in the war effort is undeniable. He also served as a Prime Minister from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955.
If you are a bit of a history buff and would love to learn more about Britain’s war efforts, you have to visit the Churchill War Rooms.
They are the actual secret offices that were used by Churchill during WWII. They were later on turned into a museum which means that you can visit them now!
48. Watching the Horse Guards Parade
While most tourists rush to Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guards, it’s actually not always the best thing to do.
If you head to Horse Guards Road (on the other side of St James Park), you will find another royal building known as the Horse Guards.
Every day at 11 AM (and 10 AM on Sundays) you can see the Horse Guards Parade.
As the name may suggest this is a change of guards but they are on horses. It’s such a beautiful thing to see and one of the best experiences in London.
PRO TIP: While it’s true that most people go to Buckingham Palace, the horse guards parade is also pretty popular so it’s important you get there in advance to get a good spot.
49. Doing a scavenger hunt in London
Looking for fun bucket list things to do in London? What about a scavenger hunt!
This is a great activity for visitors and locals. You can easily book your scavenger hunt online and will get access to the trail on your phone.
Not only is it cheap and a great thing to do with friends but you will get to learn more about London while having fun!
Here are some examples of scavenger hunts you can have in London:
- World of Wizards and Harry Potter Locations
- London Ghost and Haunted Spots
- Queen and Freddie Mercury
- Jack The Ripper
- Charles Dickens
- Rock ’n’ Roll Exploration Game
- Crown History
- Luxurious Mayfair Exploration
50. Visiting the Beefeater Gin Distillery
Gin is one of the most popular drinks in the UK. While Scotland is known for its whisky, England. indefinitely known for its gin.
No matter what, you can’t leave London without having at least one G&T in a pub but if you want to learn more about it, you can also visit the iconic Beefeater Gin Distillery!
HOW TO VISIT: You can book your tickets for the tour online. It includes a tour of the distillery, access to the interactive exhibition and of course, a gin and tonic!
51. Visiting the Tate Britain and Tate Modern
London is full of museums but if you are an art lover, these two are for you!
The Tate Modern and Tate Britain are home to some of the best contemporary and modern art pieces in the world including Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais, Wham by Lichtenstein or The Pond by LS Lowry.
The Tate Modern is located on the Queen’s walk, right in front of the Millennium Bridge.
The Tate Britain is located by Pilmilco.
HOW TO VISIT: They are both National Museums which means that they are free!
52. Visiting the Natural History Museum
If you are looking for places to add to your London Museum Bucket List, the National History Museum should be right at the top!
Located in the beautiful neighbourhood of Kensington, the Natural History Museum is home to an incredible collection.
Everything that has to do with natural history can be found here including botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology.
You will even find specimens that were collected by Charles Darwin himself!
The most famous collection here is the dinosaur one. You’ll also find an impressive skeleton of a blue whale hanging from the ceiling.
HOW TO VISIT: You can visit the Museum for free (and add a donation) but you need to book a slot in advance. It’s a rather busy place so you should be prepared to queue for quite a bit.
53. Eating in an igloo at Coppa Club Tower Bridge
Looking for the perfect London bucket list restaurant? This is it!
Coppa Club is a small chain of restaurants in London and you can find them in a few different places.
The best one though is located by Tower Bridge. When winter comes around, they install super cute igloos outside. You can enjoy a delicious meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) while admiring the stunning Tower Bridge and the river.
It is a very cool thing to do however, you need to book in advance on their website.
54. Visiting the HMS Belfast
The HMS Belfast is one of the rare Second World War warships that survived and actually made it back to the UK.
It was built for the Royal Navy and was the flagship of Bombardment Force E, a group of warships that landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.
Nowadays, the HMS Belfast was turned into a sort of museum. It is docked by the Queen’s walk, between Tower Bridge and London Bridge.
If you are interested in learning more about WWII and seeing what a real warship looks like, this will be perfect for you!
HOW TO VISIT: You can buy your ticket directly from the boat or book it in advance on the official website.
55. Going to DreamWorks Shrek’s Adventure
If you are a fan of Shrek and / or travelling with kids, you should consider going to Shrek’s Adventure!
Located by the London Eye, this attraction is entirely dedicated to the famous Dreamworks movie. Here you will find loads of interactive activities (2D and 3D) and can meet the different characters.
HOW TO BOOK: Make sure to book your ticket in advance here. If you wait and buy it from the reception there it will be more expensive.
56. Visiting Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Do you love football? Then why not visit the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium?
As the name may suggest, this is the stadium where Tottenham Hotspur Football Club plays. This is one of the most famous Premier League football clubs in England.
Of course, going there to see a match is a great thing to do as well but if you want to learn more about the club and get to see some of the rooms you wouldn’t see otherwise, you will need to book a tour.
This includes a guided tour of the stadium, the First Team Areas, the NFL Away Locker Room and the media areas.
HOW TO BOOK: You can easily book the tour online here.
57. Strolling along the Mall
The Mall is one of the most iconic roads in London. While a lot of people don’t actually know the name, everyone can be sure they actually saw it at some point.
The Mall goes from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square.
It’s where all the Royal Parades, celebrations and mourning marches happen. Every time something important happens with the Royal Family, people gather there.
If you’ve seen images of Princess Diana’s funeral, you might remember seeing William, Harry, Charles and Earl Spencer walking behind the coffin on the Mall.
On a better note, the mall is also known for all the landmarks around. If you walk from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace, you will have St James Palace and Green Park on your right and St James Park on your left.
58. Discovering Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is located in the heart of Westminster. It’s one of the most famous squares in the city. It celebrates the victory of the British forces in the Battle of Trafalgar during the Napoleonic Wars.
There are a few landmarks to check out here such as:
- Nelson column with lord Nelson who led the battle
- The National Art Gallery
- The Fourth Plinth which hosts an contemporary art sculpture
59. Opting for an afternoon tea cruise
We previously mentioned that you could go on an afternoon tea bus but it’s worth considering an afternoon tea cruise.
If you were thinking about going on a cruise on the River Thames and want to eat delicious food as well, you can book this afternoon tea cruise.
60. Discovering the real-life versions of Diagon Alley in London
While they are not exact copies, they are acknowledged to be sources of inspiration.
J.K. Rowling lived in both London and Edinburgh and she picked up on a few things.
In London, the two ‘real-life versions’ of Diagon Alley are Cecil Court and Godwin’s Court.
HOW TO FIND THEM: If you’ve already booked the Harry Potter walking tour, the guide will take you there. Otherwise, you can easily get there on foot from Covent Garden or Trafalgar Square.
61. Going to Madam Tussauds Wax Museum
If you are looking for a fun thing to do in London when it rains or in winter, going to Madam Tussauds Wax Museum will be perfect!
This chain of museums features several life-size wax replicas of celebrities. It is super fun to see since the wax sculptures are very close to reality and you’ll have so many photo opportunities!
There are over 250 figures!
Here are some of the celebrities you can find at Madam Tussauds in London: Ed Sheeran, Freddie Mercury, Will.i.am, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William and Kate and more!
HOW TO VISIT: You can buy your ticket online here.
62. Going to the Shakespeare’s Globe
Located on the Queen’s walk, near the Millennium Bridge and HMS Belfast, the Shakespeare’s Globe is one of the most important theatres in the UK.
It is a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre which was the venue for which Shakespeare wrote most of his masterpieces.
It is a cool theatre because the stage is in the centre. That’s quite unusual and no matter where you are in the room, you’ll always get a nice view.
HOW TO VISIT: There are two ways you can experience Shakespeare’s Globe. The first one is to book a ticket to see a play. You can see what’s currently on here.
The second one is to book a tour of the theatre. This is better if you want to learn more about Shakespeare and his work.
Now that you know exactly what are the bucket list things to do in London, it’s time to go out and explore!
You may also be interested in: