The city of Big Ben, red buses, and tea time. From iconic landmarks to buzzing markets and lively nightlife, London is a city that has something for everyone to enjoy, and there are always new things to discover here.
There’s so much to see and do in London that it can be tough to know where to start.
To help you make the most of your time in London, I’ve put together a list of my favorite things to do in the city – from climbing to the top of one of London’s famous landmarks to enjoying some traditional English folklore.
Whether you only have a few days to spend in London or you’re lucky enough to call this vibrant city home, are looking to tick off all the major sights or simply soak up the atmosphere of this historic city, these 8 London attractions should definitely not be missed!
Top 8 Best Things to Do in London
Watch a Play at Shakespeare’s Globe
No visit to London would be complete without paying homage to the city’s most famous playwright, William Shakespeare. And what better way to do this than by watching one of his plays at the Globe Theatre?
This open-air theatre is a replica of the original Globe Theatre, which was built in 1599 and was destroyed by fire in 1613. Today, the Globe Theatre is a working theatre and home to some of the best Shakespearean productions in London.
Tourists visiting London between May and October can catch a play at the Globe Theatre. Shakespeare’s famous Much Ado About Nothing and Julius Caesar are some of the plays being performed this summer. If you’re not able to visit during this time, you can take a tour of the theatre instead.
Tickets for a tour of this famous theatre usually start at around £15 per person while shows start at £8 per person for the standing room (that’s what I ended up doing and it only added to the fun of the experience!)
Afternoon Tea at Sketch
If you visit London and don’t drink an afternoon tea… did you really visit London?
Ingrained in its culture, there are many options for afternoon tea in London. But if you’re at a lost as to where to go, look no further than Sketch.
This Instagram-worthy restaurant is known for its lavishly decorated dining rooms and delicious food. When it comes to the menu, you can choose from a variety of finger sandwiches, scones, and pastries. And of course, no afternoon tea would be complete without a pot of tea (or champagne, if you’re feeling decadent).
So if you’re looking for an Instagram-worthy restaurant that still delivers on flavor and experience, be sure to add Sketch to your list of things to do in London.
Indulge in Indian Food
One of the things I had to check off my list of things to do in London was eat Indian food!
The food scene in London is incredible, and there are so many different cuisines to choose from. But did you know London has some of the world’s best Indian restaurants?
Kricket and Dishoom are two popular Indian restaurants in London, and they’re both definitely worth a visit. Kricket serves up modern Indian cuisine, while Dishoom pays homage to the roadside cafes of Bombay, India.
Both restaurants have several locations throughout London, so you’re sure to find one that’s convenient for you. And trust me, their delicious food is worth the effort! I recommend trying the Chicken Tikka Masala at Dishoom and the Fried Chicken at Kricket.
Visit the British Museum
The British Museum is a must-see during your time in London.
It’s home to more than 8 million artifacts from all over the world, and a combined 2 million years of history!! See things from Egyptian mummies to the Rosetta Stone. And the best part? Admission is FREE 🙂
Spend an afternoon browsing the museum’s many galleries, and be sure to check out some of the special exhibitions that are on display.
Wanderer Tip: While general admission into the museum is free, you’ll still have to book your time slot in advance online. Keep in mind that some special exhibits will require paid entry, so be sure to check that before you visit.
Spend a day in Notting Hill
The best way to start a day in this beautiful city is to explore one of London’s most iconic neighborhoods. Notting Hill is a great place to start.
This bohemian neighborhood is known for its colorful mews, quaint cafes, and boutique shops.
Start your day by browsing the stalls at Portobello Road Market, where you’ll find everything from vintage clothes to fresh produce. Then, wander down the streets of Notting Hill and pop into some of the neighborhood’s cute cafes and shops.
And for those visiting London in the springtime, don’t miss the annual Notting Hill Carnival, which takes place every August. This vibrant street party is a great way to experience London’s diverse culture and community.
Have a classic English breakfast
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day (but not so much Alan’s). When he suggested we try a classic English fry-up, I was beyond excited.
An English breakfast typically consists of eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, toast, and grilled tomatoes. And it’s often served with a cup of tea (or coffee).
You can find an English breakfast at most cafes and restaurants in London, but for a more authentic English breakfast experience, head to a local pub.
So whether you’re looking for a hearty meal to start your day or simply want to try something new, be sure to add an English breakfast to your list of things to things to do in London!
Have a sip in one of London’s many trendy cafés
If London is known for anything, it’s definitely its café culture. This city has no shortage of cute cafés, and you’ll find one on just about every corner. Whether you’re looking for a great spot to do some people watching or simply want to relax with a cup of coffee, be sure to add café hopping to your list of things to do in London.
One popular café that’s worth checking out is Kiss the Hippo, which is known for its great coffee and tasty breakfast options (their white chocolate iced cinnamon roll is amazing!). This place prides itself in being trendy-but-sustainable, and uses coffee beans that are ethically sourced from farmers. Whether you’re into Guatemalan drip coffee or prefer a Colombian blend, the baristas here know how to make a great cup of coffee!
Another café worth visiting is The Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, and there are multiple locations throughout London. This café franchise was actually awarded as the UK’s leading coffee company in 2019, so you know they’re doing something right! Be sure to try one of their specialty coffees, like the mocha (espresso with a bit of cocoa) or the flat white (a type of espresso drink). They’ve also got tons of yummy food options on the menu.
So whether you’re a coffee lover or simply looking for a great place to relax, be sure to add one (or all!) of these cafés to your list of things to do in the city.
London Sky Garden
Those looking for an incredible (and free!) view of the city will want to add the Sky Garden to their list of things to do in London. This open-air garden sits on the top floor of 20 Fenchurch Street and is located in the heart of the city. It’s also known as “The Walkie Talkie” building.
To get to the Sky Garden, you’ll need to take a quick elevator ride to the top. Once you’re there, you’ll be greeted with 360-degree views of London. The Sky Garden also has its own restaurant and bar, so you can snag a bite or a drink while you take in the sights.
Be sure to book your tickets in advance, as the Sky Garden is a popular spot and can get crowded. You can book your tickets online for free, and you’ll need to select a time slot for your visit.
London: A Top Europe Destination
After missing my chance during the first trip to London, I was so glad to be able to try the Indian food in London the second time round. I also got to do things I never expected myself to enjoy so much: check out the British Museum and Shakespeare’s Globe.
However a trip to Europe is never complete by just visiting one city. I took to Edinburgh as the second part of my Europe trip. Find out what I did in my Best Things to Do in Edinburgh post!