Is London the best city in the world? No doubt it is one of the cities that has a list of endless attractions to visit, unique things to do, and the opening of new restaurants. I call London home for most of my adult life, and even after years of living there, I still have a lot to do in my London bucket list.
My true appreciation for London did not begin until I became a tourist. Returning to a city that you used to call home with more time (and money) means you can begin to appreciate the other side of a place. After a two-day trip to Manchester, I took a fast train to the capital to start working on my London bucket list.
I have written about my London travel tips, but here are 18 things you can do in London, from the museum you have to visit and the unique speakers who serve special cocktails, to hidden underground histories and lesser-known gems.
Walk over the Tower Bridge
A classic London experience that you can’t miss
If you decide to maximize time in the city by choosing to order one of the many London Tours, you can be sure that most of the main highlights below will be discussed.
1. Watch the West End Show
Catching the West End Show in London is a must, and with more than thirty theaters to choose from, you have many choices, not even the Opera House and classical music venues. I watched Matilda at the Cambridge Theater on my last visit and highly recommend it. Keep an eye on lottery tickets’ when you’re in town, when shows, for example, the Book of Mormon, will do lottery drawings every night for last minute discount tickets.
2. Covent Garden Market
Tourists are sure, but I like it, and I’ve worked here for years. You not only have lots of cool restaurants around here, but the atmosphere with the street performers is also amazing. You will also often see musical performances in the basement of the basement. Near Seven Dials, you will also find a cool place to shop.
3. Power from London
I am ashamed to say that I have never really been inside the Tower of London, home to the crown jewelery and official fortress of London. You can buy a ticket and go inside or just enjoy walking around it.
4. Tower Bridge Walkway
Is there a more iconic view of London than Tower Bridge, especially when the bridge rises in the middle to let the ship pass.
What many people don’t realize is that you can actually climb a tower and walk across the bridge that connects them. This is a very cool experience and gives you a different perspective.
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5. Change the Guard, Buckingham Palace and the Household Cavalry Museum
You can’t really visit London and skip this! Inside Buckingham Palace is a small Household Cavalry Museum that offers insight into the royal regiment. Guard changes occur every day, usually at 10:45, although canceled in very wet weather, and hey, this is indeed England!
6. Camden Market
There are many cool markets in London, but without a doubt one of the most famous is the Camden Market. With more than 1000 different stalls, which sell handicrafts, fashion, food and more, this bustling and photogenic market is another for the London bucket list.
7. South Bank and Tate Modern
I was very fortunate to live in Shad Thames for a while, which was only with Tower Bridge, so I had to walk along the South Bank every day to work.
The view across the Thames is excellent, and you can tour London here easily, with the impressive Tate Modern museum, Tower Bridge, Waterloo Center, Shakespeare Globe, and views of St Paul’s Cathedral making it a fantastic walk.
8. St Paul’s Cathedral
Other than London’s iconic landmarks, St Paul’s Cathedral is a beauty. Unfortunately, it’s quite expensive to visit (museums tend to be free in London, but many religious buildings are charged) so you might want to enjoy these icons from the outside.
9. National Gallery
The National Gallery at Trafalgar Square not only has 2000+ paintings, but is also a very beautiful building inside with a free entrance that makes it a must visit for me.
10. Big Ben & Westminster
Parliament and Big Ben are the two most famous and impressive architectural buildings in the capital. You can tour through Westminster Abbey or just admire Big Ben from the outside, even though you know the renovation work and the cover will probably cover it up until 2021.
11. Shopping in London: Hamley, Harrods, and Liberty
If you like shopping, then London will spoil you. However, of course, there are several London shops that you must visit. While Hamley and Harrods are stars, my favorite department store in London is Liberty, thanks in part to the old-world architecture inside and out.
12. Museum of London
The London Museum is very nice and very interactive, some of the most interesting parts are underground, where Victorian-era maket shops, streets and pubs help you truly understand the history of the city.
13. Brunel Museum
The Brunel Museum on Rotherhithe is a very cool place, worth trying to know the history of this building. Located in an old engine house, here you once found the oldest underground theater in the world.
14. Churchill War Room
Part of the Imperial War Museum, these underground rooms and bunkers are hidden below Westminster and are where Churchill leads WW2, an attractive space in the center of the city.
15. Natural History Museum
How extraordinary, outside and inside, with the architecture of the main hall that competes for attention from the framework of the blue whale. The real one must be visited and free for the main exhibition!
16. Old Operation Theater Museum
One of the oldest theaters still operating in England, if not the world, this rather creepy but rather cool museum is really interesting, and something a little different.
17. Brand Museum
If you are interested in art, design and marketing like me, then this unique museum will interest you. Studying and highlighting various brands and packaging since Victorian times, this is a good call on a wet day!
18. Museum of Design
I used to go to The Design Museum when I lived right behind him at Shad Thames, and now move his new space, even better. For anyone interested in graphics, fashion, or even product design, this is the right place to visit in London.
Even though I’ve been calling London for a long time, it’s a type of city that is always new and interesting trip to do, besides what you haven’t found. Have more tips when I return to town? I want to hear it in the comments.