10 Things You Must Do in London

London has earned its spot as the most visited city in Europe with 27 million visitors every year. With a rich history and diverse architecture, London is on everyone’s travel bucket list. As London is home to some of the world’s best dining, entertainment, shopping and history, you’ll never run out of things to do in London.

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1. Buckingham Palace

Built in 1703 by Earl Sheffield Duke of Buckingham, Buckingham Palace has become a world famous landmark in London. Originally named Buckingham House, it was renamed Buckingham Palace after a renovation in the 1820s. The palace has been the official London residence of the British Royal Family since 1837. It features 775 rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 19 state rooms, 78 bathrooms and the largest private garden in London. 

Every year, visitors are allowed to take a glimpse into the life of the Royals by taking a tour through the lavishly furnished State Rooms. Entrance to the palace is by timed ticket entry every 15 minutes throughout the day. Tickets are only valid on the date and specified entrance time on the ticket. Each tour of The State Rooms lasts roughly 2.5 hours. The Royal Day Out tour includes admission to the State Rooms, the Royal Mews and The Queen’s Gallery.

If you don’t visit London whilst the tours are available, you can still get a spectacular view of the outside of the palace. In addition, you can spectate the changing of the guard ceremony which happens everyday at 10:45 and lasts around 45 minutes.

  • Opening times

Opening  timeLast admissionClosing time
20 July – 31 August09:3017:1519:30
1 September – 29 September09:3016:1518:30

* Do note these are 2019 dates and dates may vary from year to year

  • Entrance fee

The State RoomsRoyal Day Out*
Adult£25.00£45.00
Over 60/Student£22.80£40.00
Under 17/Disabled£14.00£24.50
Under 5FreeFree
Family (2 adults and 3  under 17s)£64.00£114.50
Buckingham Palace
Changing the Guard Ceremony
The State Rooms
The State Rooms
The State Rooms

2. The View from The Shard

The View from The Shard is a ticketed viewing platform with 360-degree views across the capital. The high speed elevator takes you up to the observation decks on the 68th and 72nd floor in just 30 seconds. There are two enclosed decks and one open deck where you can see views beyond 40 miles on a clear day. Each deck has the traditional coin-slot binoculars to give a better up close view of the city below. 

  • Opening times: Everyday, 10:00 – 22:00; last viewing is one hour before closing; Winter hours vary
  • Entrance fee:
  • Advance tickets: Adults £25.95; Children (4-15) £19.95;
  • On the door: Adults £30.95; Children (4-15) £24.95.
The Shard
The View from The Shard Observation Deck

3. Shop Luxury in Harrods

Harrods is the most famous department store in London that has been serving the super-rich since 1824. Patrons of Harrods have included, the Royal Family, Oscar Wilde and Laurence Olivier. Harrods’ motto “Omnia Omnibus Ubique – All Things For All People, Everywhere” is definitely not an exaggeration. With 330 departments selling products ranging from designer clothes, shoes, make-up, jewellery, furniture, and more, it is hard to leave Harrods without buying something for yourself.

During the holidays, Harrods is transformed into a winter wonderland with a Christmas theme. Customers can also visit Father Christmas in the Christmas Grotto.

  • Opening times: Monday-Saturday, 10:00 – 21:00; Sunday 11:30 – 18:00.
  • Location: 87-135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL, UK
Harrods at night
Harrods Dining Hall
Harrods Christmas Grotto
Egyptian Staircase

4. Visit Some of London’s Unique Bars

The Cauldron

The Cauldron is a Harry Potter themed bar. One ticket will give you a 1 hour 45 minute immersive class where you can mix together your own cocktails dressed in a cloak and wielding a wand. It is largely self-guided so get ready to be creative!

  • Opening times:
    • Off peak: Monday-Thursday, all day; Friday, 11:00 – 16:45.
    • Peak: Friday, 17:00 – close; Saturday-Sunday, all day.
  • Entrance fee: off peak £29.99 (+£1 processing fee); peak £34.99 (+£1 processing fee)
  • Location: 79 Stoke Newington Road, Stoke Newington, London, N16 8AD, United Kingdom
The Cauldron
Mixologist at The Cauldron
Custom Made drinks

Belowzero Ice Bar

Ice Bar is a unique bar in London where everything, including your glass, is made of ice. With chilling temperatures of -5ºC all year round, the space is redesigned with a new theme each year to keep things fresh. Unlike most bars, children are welcome during the daytime and will be served non-alcoholic drinks.

  •  Opening times: Monday, 14:15 – 22:15; Tuesday-Thursday, 13:15 – 23:00; Sunday 12:00 – 22:15.
  • Entrance fee: £19.50 for entry plus two cocktails.
  • Location: 31-33 Heddon Street, Mayfair, W1B 4BN
Ice Bar
Food Truck made out of ice
Brexit themed ice bar

Ballie Ballerson

Feel like a kid again in the adult ball pit bar filled with over one million balls. With over 5000 square feet of space, it’s the best place to bring out your inner child and enjoy swimming around in the ball pit with a retro cocktail in your hand.

  • Opening times: 
    • Monday, Closed; 
    • Tuesday, 18:00 – 23:00; 
    • Wednesday-Thursday, 18:00 – 00:00; 
    • Friday, 18:00 – 02:00; 
    • Saturday, 12:00 – 02:00; 
    • Sunday, 12:-00 – 23:00.
  • Entrance fee: From £7.50
  • Location: 97-113 Curtain Rd, Hackney, London EC2A 3BS, UK
Main ball pit area
VIP area
Main Ball pit area with rainbow colours

5. Shop on Oxford Street

As well as being the shopping street in London, it is also Europe’s busiest shopping street. Oxford Street has over 300 shops and more than 500,000 visitors every day. As well as being a shopping hub in the heart of London, the Christmas lights are an annual attraction. At the beginning of November, people gather in Oxford Street to watch the Christmas lights being turned on. This has been a tradition since 1954, with the lights becoming more extravagant as the years go on.

Selfridges, Oxford Street
Intersection of Oxford Street
Christmas lights
Christmas lights

6. Shop Up-Scale on Bond Street

Connected to Oxford Street is another popular shopping street, Bond Street. Besides being the location for Cartier’s flagship store, Bond Street has more high-end and designer shops. It is one of the most expensive shopping streets in London and is worth a visit for a taste of the indulgent.

Bond Street
Cartier flagship store on Bond Street

7. Experience Camden Town’s Vibrant Atmosphere

Camden Town is a neighbourhood in London famous for their alternative culture and vibrant body modification community. In the streets of Camden you will find many piercing and tattoo shops. For people looking for unique, vintage clothes, Camden if the place for you. As well as having vintage clothing stores, there is a sale every year called the ‘kilo sale.’ This means you can pick any clothes you want and you pay per kilo (generally around £5/kilo but this may vary.)

After shopping around Camden, follow Regent’s Canal down Camden Lock for a scenic walk which flows down to King’s Cross.

Camden Town
Camden Town Market
Camden Lock

8. Don’t miss out on free Museums

London is the best city in the world for museums. With world class free museums, it would be a waste to not visit a museum whilst you’re in London. From 5000 year old  Egyptian mummies to giant dinosaur skeletons and scientific discoveries, there is a lot of history crammed into England’s capital.

On Exhibition Road in South Kensington, you will find a number of free museums available to the public including the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and  the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) nearby.

The Natural History Museum

  • Opening times: Everyday, 10:00 – 17:50.
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Location: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD, UK
Natural History Museum
Blue Whale Skeleton inside the Natural History Museum

The Science Museum

  • Opening times: Everyday, 10:00 – 18:00.
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Location: Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 2DD, UK
Science Museum
Inside Science Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)

  • Opening times: Monday-Thursday and Saturday-Sunday, 10:00 – 17:45; Friday, 10:00 – 22:00.
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Location: Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL, UK
Victoria and Albert Museum
Inside Victoria and Albert Museum
Christian Dior exhibition inside V&A

9. Admire Famous Artwork for Free

On top of the free museums, there are free galleries for art lovers to  visit. The type of galleries vary from classic and contemporary art to modern art. The National Gallery features work by da Vinci, Turner, van Gogh and Rembrandt. Modern Art is displayed in the Tate Modern with pieces by Picasso, Klee and Delauney in the exhibitions.

The National Gallery

  • Opening times: Monday-Thursday and Saturday-Sunday, 10:00 – 18:00; Friday, 10:00 – 21:00.
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Location: Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, London WC2N 5DN, UK
The National Gallery
The National Gallery

Tate Modern

  • Opening times: Sunday-Thursday, 10:00 – 18:00; Friday-Saturday, 10:00 – 22:00.
  • Entrance Fee: Free
  • Location: Bankside, London, SE1 9TG
Tate Modern
Tate Modern
Tate Modern

10. Eat History at Borough Market

Borough Market is an unmissable destination for locals and tourists in London. It was opened in 1014 and has been at its current location since 1756. Borough market is renowned for selling top quality products and ready to eat food and drinks. Stalls at Borough Market sells food ranging from paella to baked goods, making it a go-to place for foodies and chefs.

  • Opening times:
    • Monday – Thursday: 10:00 – 17:00
    • Friday: 10:00 – 18:00
    • Saturday: 08:00 – 17:00
    • Sunday: Closed.
Borough Market
Quiche 
Fresh Seafood
Fresh Fruit

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1 Comment

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