10 of the Best Things to Do in London
Are you planning on visiting London? The English capital is one of the most visited cities in the world, attracting tourists with its rich history, maze-like streets full of recognisable landmarks and timeless museums. There really is something for every type of traveller, from history buffs to foodies.
In this article, I’m going to be sharing ten of the best things to do in London. If you have any recommendations you would like to share, I would love to hear about them in the comments below.
Learn More: 8 of the Best Hotels in London
The Best Things to Do in London
From serene parks that appear to be worlds away from the city streets to museums full of ancient artefacts, there’s a lot to do in London. I would love to recommend:
1. Take a stroll through Richmond Park.
Are you looking for sights of ancient trees and herds of deer? Richmond Park is one of the best places to find those views in London. It’s a National Nature Reserve, covering more than 2,000 acres of land.
I would highly recommend visiting the Isabella Plantation during your time here. The woodland garden is set within a Victorian woodland plantation full of evergreen azaleas. When you’re in a city like London, a place as peaceful as this can really offer you an opportunity to relax in natural beauty.
If you’re driving to Richmond Park, the gates open at 7:00am in the summer and 7:30am in the winter. Pedestrian gates are open all of the time, but they’re open from 7:30am – 8:00pm in November and then again in February. There are a lot of events in Richmond Park so it’s worth checking out the schedule.
Learn More: Richmond Park (Official Website)
2. Spend some time exploring the Natural History Museum.
Perfect for museum lovers, the Natural History Museum is one of my favourite museums in England. It’s chock-full of world-class attractions and stands as a leading research centre. Millions of specimens can be found within the museum, split across botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology.
There are also a number of exciting collections. At the time of writing, Wildlife Photographer of the Year will be on display until the 5th June 2022. This collection includes artwork from Captain Cook’s Pacific voyages. Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It will be around until the 18th April 2022, highlighting the impact we’re having on the planet and what we can do to mend it.
The Natural History Museum is open 10:00 – 17:50 daily, but it is closed between the 24th – 26th December. Tickets are free and available online, with timed tickets being in effect at the time of writing. It’s worth checking whether or not special exhibitions require a separate paid ticket ahead of time, but the two I’ve mentioned are free and included.
Learn More: Natural History Museum (Official Website)
3. See if you can find something special on Portobello Road.
Do you enjoy shopping while you’re travelling? If you do, it might be worth taking a stroll past the markets on Portobello Road. If you’ve ever seen Bedknobs & Broomsticks, you’ll already know what we’re talking about.
Portobello is home to several markets, with various items appearing throughout the week. Saturday is the best day for antique hunters, with many amazing stalls being found near the tube station at Notting Hill. You can find everything from antiques dating back many centuries to mementos of the past few decades.
I would recommend trying some hot food while you’re here. You can find food from around the world alongside traditional British food, including fish and chips. The market sections are split into different areas and it’s worth checking out the website if you’re looking for something in particular.
Learn More: Portobello Road (Official Website)
4. Watch a performance at Shakespeare’s Globe.
Travel through time within Shakespeare’s Globe, a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre. William Shakespeare wrote his plays for the original Globe Theatre, but it was closed by Puritans in 1642 and subsequently pulled down a few years later.
Nestled along the banks of the River Thames, Shakespeare’s Globe is quite the sight. You can stay for a performance or enjoy a guided tour of the open-air theatre, hearing the story of the original theatre and how it stood through plague, fire and political oppression.
Performance prices at the globe do vary and it’s definitely worth checking out whether or not any performances align with your travel dates. There are also live streams of some performances, helping people to access the beauty of the stage from home during the pandemic.
Learn More: Shakespeare’s Globe (Official Website)
5. Spot Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in The National Gallery.
Found in Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery is home to thousands of paintings. You can trace the history of art here, with works telling the stories of seven centuries. The collection is well worth exploring, with works by the likes of Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt alongside other masterpieces.
If you do venture here, make sure that you step into Room 43. At the time of writing, Room 43 is where you can find some of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings, including “Sunflowers”. You can also find Pablo Picasso’s “Motherhood” and George Seurat’s “ The Seine seen from La Grande Jatte” in the same room.
The National Gallery is open almost daily. But, it is closed between the 24th – 26th of December and then again on the 1st of January. It’s completely free to visit, but special exhibitions usually have their own tickets and prices. Some special exhibitions do sell out quickly so it’s worth planning ahead if there’s a popular visiting exhibition you want to see.
Learn More: The National Gallery (Official Website)
6. Enjoy a tour of the Tower of London.
Situated on the north bank of the River Thames, the Tower of London is one of the many castles in England that every traveller should visit. Home of ravens and more stories than I can fit into this article, it’s like a trip into another time.
A journey to the Tower of London includes many different sights. You can soak in the beauty of the Crown Jewels and the White Tower, learn the stories of the Princes in the Tower and Sir Walter Raleigh in the Bloody Tower and see history brought to life.
Opening hours at the Tower of London do vary throughout the year so I would highly recommend visiting their website for further information. Adult tickets currently cost £29.90, while tickets for children cost £14.90.
Learn More: Tower of London (Official Website)
7. Go paddle boating and spot swans in Hyde Park.
If you love spending time outdoors, it’s worth visiting Hyde Park while you’re in London. Covering several hundred acres, there’s plenty of space to explore. You can go for a walk, have a picnic or head over to Speakers’ Corner.
This is one of the best things to do in London when you just want to stop, relax and people watch for a little while. The park is home to numerous events throughout the year so it’s worth checking in advance to see what’s going on. If you’re visiting in the winter, Winter Wonderland can be a hot chocolate-fuelled world of fun.
In the warmer months of the year, it’s worth visiting the boat and pedalo hire stand along the banks of The Serpentine. On a warm day, it can be nice to just peddle out and enjoy the view.
Learn More: Hyde Park (Official Website)
8. See how many artefacts you can spot at Sir John Soane’s Museum.
Once the home of one of England’s best Neo-Classical architects, Sir John Soane’s Museum is now an extraordinary attraction. Everything has been done to keep the home looking as it did almost two centuries ago.
Within the walls of Sir John Soane’s Museum, you can find an array of antiques, sculptures and paintings. All in all, this is a museum full of beautiful and unique sights. The Picture Room is delightful, full of works by Hogarth, Turner and other famous artists. Yet, it’s the Sarcophagus of Seti I that many travellers talk about.
It’s completely free to enter Sir John Soane’s Museum, which is the way that he himself wanted it to be. The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday, between 10:00 and 17:00. Timed tickets are currently available. While entry to the museum is free, there is also a Highlights and Private Apartments tour, costing £15.00 per person.
Learn More: Sir John Soane’s Museum (Official Website)
9. View the city from above in The Shard.
Looking for a better view of London? Few views of the city offer the bird’s-eye view of The Shard. The Shard is the tallest building in Britain, towering over the rest of the surrounding city.
There are a few different ways to experience the view from the upper levels of The Shard. The View From the Shard itself is the highest viewing gallery in London, with tickets ranging in price. There are also numerous restaurants and bars inside of The Shard, all offering incredible views.
If you’re still looking for somewhere to stay, the Shangri-La Hotel in The Shard is, in my opinion, one of the best hotels in London. The views are incredible, but it is quite expensive when compared to other hotels around the city.
10. See one of the world’s leading collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A).
Are you ready to see one of the world’s largest collections of art, design and performance? The Victoria & Albert Museum is home to more than two million pieces, ranging from portrait miniatures to antiques that have survived for millennia.
Many exhibitions within the museum are completely free, including Fragmented Illuminations: Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript Cuttings. Others do cost money and need to be booked, including Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution, available until Sunday 8th May 2022. This rather innovative exhibition captures the work of master goldsmith, Carl Fabergé.
The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is open Wednesday – Sunday, between 10:00 and 17:45. It’s completely free to enter the museum. But, some exhibitions do need to be booked and paid for in advance. Due to the current pandemic, you do need to book a free timed ticket for your preferred time.
Learn More: Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) (Official Website)
Enjoy Finding the Best Things to Do in London
Hopefully my choices for the best things to do in London have helped to fill you with ideas and inspiration. London is a wonderful city to explore, where cultures collide and there’s something for every type of traveller. You can spend your days relaxing in open spaces or try to squeeze in as many museums as humanly possible.
Do you have any favourite things to do in London? I would love to hear about them in the comments below.