London Travel Guide
London can be overwhelming for tourists and locals to visit, especially for first time visitors. Here, there are 9 categories to choose from.
We have divided the attractions based on museums and galleries, parks, top 10 attractions, walks, free attractions, shopping, markets and eating out.
Whether you’re here only for a day, 6 months, a year or two, adapting to visiting and living in London is not easy to do. So what better way to explore London by finding things to do. These categories are all ideal for solos, couples, families with young and older children or whether you’re planning to live here. It’s very annoying to buy updated guidebooks when you’re travelling so with my free information, I update this guide on a regular basis so you don’t miss anything when you visit in the future.
MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about historical things to do in London are museums and galleries. Museums and galleries are scattered around everywhere in London and the best part of it is that it’s free. Yes free. The first museum that’s on everyone’s list is The British Museum. Several others include Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Churchill War Rooms, Science Museum and Wallace Collection.
Galleries include The National Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and Tate Modern. There are other small galleries and museums worth visiting. Click on the picture to find out more on our museums and galleries.
West End theatres have always been one of the most popular things to do in London. Situated in the West End part of London, there are 39 theatres that have opened since the 17th Century and at the top-end of the theatre sector within all English speaking countries. Most long running West End shows such as The Lion King, Les Miserables, Matilda, Mamma-Mia, Phantom of the Opera and many others travelled around the world to put on spectacular shows. Remember, buy your tickets on the day. In Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, there are usually theatre stalls selling 50% off on major theatre shows.
Right now, all theatres are closed due to COVID-19 but if you plan to travel in the near future, there’s no harm in checking out long running shows in London. Click here to see what’s showing in the West End right now.
PHOTO PLACES AND INSTAGRAMMABLE PHOTOS
Aside from taking photos of major attractions that are visited by millions of people each year, there are millions of photos that are click worthy. From the store front to the hidden gems outside Central London to Instagram photos. Every season, there’s always something different to snap. Beautiful colourful flowers during Spring and Summer in the 8 royal parks. Vintage and antique photos in Portobello Market. Christmas lights in every corner of London. Beautiful shop fronts from boutique stores to famous chained stores in Oxford Street. Cobbled streets in alleyways. There’s always something worthy to snap.
TOP 10 ATTRACTIONS
When we think of top attractions in London, we think of the most popular attractions people visit while they’re here. Each top attraction has something unique in their character. Visiting top attractions are the best things to do in London. The first few attractions people think of are Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Big Ben and the River Thames. The top ten attractions, including the ones above, are Sealife, Madame Tussaud, London Zoo, Hop on-Hop off, Harry Potter tour and the view from The Shard. Click on the picture to find out more about the top attractions in London.
Remember, London is quite expensive so if you are on a budget, take care of your spending. If you want to visit Harrods, Harvey Nichols and John Lewis, it’s better to window shop or buy one or two items. What’s the harm in buying just one? Especially if you’re only going to be here once.
Places like Oxford Street, Regent Street, Leicester Square, Westfield Shopping Centres, the Piccadilly areas, Covent Garden, vintage areas like Camden, Portobello Market, Shoreditch, Greenwich Market and Old Spitalfields Market are the ones to watch out for.
Whenever I go shopping in Oxford Street, it seems like I can’t walk in a straight line. There’d be people walking slower than you, people walking in different directions and you’d have to watch out where you’re going. When you shop in stores, the crowd doesn’t stop on the high street. In fact, when you go inside the stores, the crowd will be much worse. Keep that in mind! Don’t think shopping in London is a pleasant experience. It can get pretty busy and can be stressful.
Other places include Liberty and Selfridges which are on the high end of the market.
Londoners are experts at walking. They walk from A to B and rarely do they use private transport. In London, whether you’re at the park, shopping in the biggest high streets or vintage markets alone, 90% of the time, people are walking, alone or with friends and family. The only time we’re using public transport is when we’re going further afield. Personally, I enjoy giving myself self guided walks alone wherever I am. There are private walking tours around London you can take advantage of but personally, I tend to like tailor making my own walks because I can take control with what I want to see. Click on the picture to find out more of the walks I got involved in.
When it comes to parks, I suggest visiting the 8 royal parks first then visit other parks around London. There are so many parks that are just as beautiful or even better than the royal parks. The difference between royal parks and normal parks in general is that royal parks were used as recreational and hunting grounds for the royal family and the others are for the public to enjoy beautiful nature and wildlife. Every time I search for things to do in London, parks are always on the top list of things to do.
Everywhere you go, even on the outskirts of Central London, you will see parks in every corner. Not all countries have parks like we do and the majority of the parks here are well maintained by the borough.
The parks worth visiting are Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St. James’ Park, The Green Park, Richmond Park, Bushy Park, Greenwich Park and Regent’s Park. Other parks should be noted too such as Holland Park, Crystal Palace Park, Beckenham Place Park and Clapham Common which are on the outskirts of Central London. Click on the photo to find out more.
What I love about London is that there are so many things to do in London for free. This is really good if you’re on a budget (London after all is quite expensive). I tend to love people watching, enjoying the atmosphere and the British architecture.
Personally, anywhere around London I go, London seems to change its theme in terms of its culture. Covent Garden finds cute boutique stores you can’t find on the high street, Camden and Portobello Market finds vintage and antiques, Regent Street and Oxford Street finds high street stores. High end stores include Harrods, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge and Oxford Street. Trafalgar Square is the main place to relax and unwind from a day or night out. Museums and galleries will find more than 300 years of British, European and World history.
You can also take a walk through Southbank where you will see glimpses of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben, Shakespeare Theatre, London Eye, the River Thames and so much more. You can also check out Free Things to do in December.
London is famed for its markets. Whether you’re looking for antiques, vintage or food, you’re sure to find something to suit you.
The most popular markets people go to are Portobello Market, Borough Market, Greenwich Market, Old Spitalfields Market, Camden Lock, Brick Lane and Covent Garden. There are other places worth visiting such as Broadway Market, Columbia Road Flower Market, Victoria Park Market, Brixton Village and Market Row, Herne Hill Market, Maltby Street Market and Southbank Centre Food Market.
London is a multicultural city and because we have different ethnicities, restaurants from around the world have opened up cuisines here. If you want to try traditional British food, I suggest going to British pubs and grab a portion of traditional fish and chips or traditional British pies. If you want Italian, Spanish, Greek or any other European food, you got it. Check out Coppa Club Tower Bridge for general European dishes, a Time Out magazine recommendation. Chinese, Thai or Vietnamese, all available. Middle eastern dishes such as Turkish or Lebanese, yes, they’re all here.
THINGS TO DO IN LONDON AT NIGHT
London is more beautiful at night because all the big and small attractions are illuminated in the dark. It seems like all you can see are the attractions, nothing else. Take a walk in a cool breezy night down the Southbank where you will see Tower Bridge, Tower of London, London Eye, The Shard and the twinkling lights on the River Thames. It’s my number one recommendation on things to do at night.
If you’re coming during winter, make sure you check out things to do at night during Christmas. Click for suggestions on things to do in December.
Alternatively, take a night tour bus where they will take you to all the major attractions in one loop. Whatever it is you want to see, personally, London is better at night.
I often like to go window shopping in Oxford Street, Regent Street as well as watch a theatre show in Shaftesbury Avenue in Shaftesbury Avenu. I also have so many dinner options in either Soho or Chinatown before or after the theatre.