Things to do, Western Europe

10 Things to See and Do in London

The London Eye offers an excellent view of the amazing London skyline.

The London Eye offers an excellent view of the amazing London skyline.

From history to business, culture to couture, London is a city with a huge amount of sights, activities, and attractions for visitors. Enormous in size and rich in culture, a trip to London is an opportunity to learn about one of the world’s greatest cities.

 

Whether you’re visiting by yourself or as part of the coach tours of London, be sure to try a few of these ten exciting, educational, and interesting things to do in London.

 

1.     Catch a live show

 

London is one of the best cities in the world for live theatrical performances. Catch a show at one of the city’s many theatres before heading out for an enjoyable night on the town.

 

Most of London’s theatres can be found around Leicester Square. Another popular live performance area is Covent Garden, which is home to the Royal Opera House, the famous Apollo Theatre, and several other high-profile venues.

 

2.     Walk in London’s parks

London is home to hundreds of parks, ranging from large expanses of open space to small strips of green space in the dense inner city. Hyde Park is the most celebrated of London’s parks, but is by no means all that the city has to offer for nature lovers.

 

Enjoy a stroll in Regent’s Park – home of the London Zoo – or get lost in nature as you walk around Hampstead Heath. London’s many parks are a great escape from the density and activity of its central shopping districts.

 

3.     Shop in iconic boutiques

 

As one of the world’s biggest economic hotspots, London is home to thousands of fantastic boutique stores, shopping malls, and retail chains. Empty your wallet and fill your bags in one of London’s many shopping districts.

 

From the wallet-emptying shops of Oxford and Bond Street to the counterculture shopping options of Soho, London’s wide assortment of retail areas make it one of the world’s best cities for shopaholics.

 

4.     Browse amazing bookstores

 

London is a book lover’s dream city, boasting hundreds of boutique bookstores that would impress even the worldliest collector. While chain bookstores can be found in all of London’s districts, it’s Charing Cross Road that’s best known for its bookstores.

 

Known around the world for its second-hand bookstores, Charing Cross Road is one of the best places in London to shop for rare books. Fill your bookshelf without any surprising fees – most of the books on sale here are pre-owned and very affordable.

 

5.     Sample the world’s best food

 

London is one of the world’s culinary hotspots – a city where every type of food, no matter how exotic or complicated, is available. From A-list restaurants to hole-in-the wall eateries, London is a culinary guru’s dream.

 

Drop by Chinatown, located near Leicester Square, for excellent Chinese food; King’s Cross for well-priced, tasty treats; or Brick Lane for some of the city’s finest authentic Indian dishes.

 

6.     Visit London’s excellent museums

 

As one of Europe’s most important historical cities, London is home to hundreds of excellent museums. From Egyptian mummies to World War II, London’s museums cover a wide range of topics, often to an incredible level of detail.

 

While it’s impossible to visit all of London’s best museums on a single trip, there are three that truly must be seen. Add the British Museum, the National Gallery, and the Tate Modern art museum to your schedule for the ultimate educational experience.

 

7.     View stunning historical buildings

From St Paul’s Cathedral to Westminster Abbey, London is home to a selection of stunning historical buildings. Picturesque and architecturally impressive, a quick look at the city’s top historical sites is a must-do for visitors to London.

 

If you’re staying in the City of London, stop by Saint Paul’s Cathedral for a look at the wonderful architecture of 17th century Britain. For a slightly older landmark, look at the Priory Church of St Bartholomew The Great – a 12th century Anglican priory.

 

8.     Visit Buckingham Palace

 

No trip to London is complete without spending a few moments outside the Queen’s residence. While Buckingham Palace is strictly off limits when the Queen isn’t staying at Balmoral, it’s easy to view the palace from the outside.

 

Visit at 11:30AM to watch the changing of the guard – a great ceremony that’s sure to impress visitors to the city. Note that the changing of the guard is only performed daily from May to July – for the rest of the year, the guard changes every other day.

 

9.     Ride the London Eye

 

Enjoy wonderful panoramic views of London from the London Eye. Open daily from 10AM, the London Eye is an incredible 135-metre observation wheel offering some of the best views of London outside the giant skyscrapers of the central city.

 

If you’d like to enjoy an excellent view of London from atop the wheel, it’s important to book ahead. On busy days – particularly during the summer months – the eye can attract three-hour queues that certainly don’t enhance the experience.

 

10.    Enjoy the wonderful atmosphere

London is an iconic city with an incredible atmosphere. Perpetually busy yet always a fun place to be, part of the fun of London is sitting down at a roadside café and just enjoying the wonderful atmosphere.

 

From Trafalgar Square to Tower Bridge, spend at least a few hours walking around and enjoying London. From stunning buildings to amazing history, you can learn a lot about London simply by strolling from one amazing district to another.

image source: flickr

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