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Top London Attractions

London has endless things to see.  You'll want to come back!

Pro Tip

Use Google Maps to group your attractions for the most efficient touring.  Plan one big thing a day and one smaller attraction plus a market or park. Know your pace.  If you are a reader of everything, plan 4-5 hours for the Tower and the British Museum and 2-3 hours for everything else. If you are more of a viewer and not a reader, plan 2-3 hours for the Tower and British Museum and 90 minutes for everything else.  Build in travel time between attractions.  

London All-Inclusive Pass Options

The London Pass is a popular sightseeing card that provides access to over 80 attractions in the city. With this pass, tourists can save money on admission fees and skip long ticket lines. The London Pass also includes a free guidebook, map, and optional travelcard to help visitors navigate the city. It is a convenient way to explore London's top landmarks, museums, and historical sites. If you're planning a trip to London and want to make the most of your time and money, consider getting the London Pass. Note that once you activate the pass with your first entry that you must use it on consecutive calendar days.  If you activate a 3 day pass on a Monday, your pass will expire on Wednesday at midnight.  Plan accordingly. 

The GO  City London Explorer Pass is a popular sightseeing card that provides discounted access to over 20 attractions in London. With this pass, tourists can save money on admission fees and skip long ticket lines at popular landmarks, museums, and historical sites. The GO London Explorer Pass offers the flexibility to choose between 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7 attractions from a list of popular options, which includes the Tower of London, the London Eye, and the Westminster Abbey. The pass is valid for 59 days after activation and includes a free guidebook to help visitors plan their itinerary.  If you're planning a trip to London and want to save money and time, consider getting the GO London Explorer Pass. Note that you can't get a refund for unused credits nor can you add credits to the pass after you purchase it.  Plan accordingly. 

London is one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in the world. With a rich history and culture, there are countless sites to explore. TripAdvisor has a master list of top attractions you can check out HERE .  But, whether you are a first-time visitor or a Londoner looking for new places to discover, here are the top London sites you won't want to miss:

The Tower of London - This iconic fortress is located on the north bank of the River Thames and is over 900 years old. The Tower of London has played a significant role in British history and is home to the Crown Jewels.  The Tower will probably take the most time of all London attractions.  If you are a person who likes to read everything, plan on 4-5 hours here.  If you are more of a "look around" person, it will still probably take 2 1/2 - 3 hours.  The wait for the crown jewels can be long.  Head there first to try to beat the crowds.  Note that there are a LOT of stairs here.  You walk the tower walls and it's a lot of up and down and sometimes narrow stone stairs.  The white tower has 214 stairs and a warning sign at the entrance.  You can join a Yeoman Warder tour just inside the entrance and they are free and very informative.  If you want a more in-depth private tour, you can schedule one with a very good local guide here.

The British Museum - The British Museum is one of the largest and most comprehensive museums in the world. With over 8 million objects in its collection, it tells the story of human history from prehistoric times to the present day.  You can take a full day here and not see everything.  But, the information desk will have some information on what to see if you just have an hour or so.  Entry is free.  If you would like a guided tour, you can schedule one HERE

Buckingham Palace - Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the monarch and has been since Queen Victoria's time. Visitors can watch the Changing of the Guard ceremony, explore the State Rooms, and learn about the history of the monarchy.  The palace is open to the public usually from mid-July to the last week in September.  However, a new monarch may change this next year.  But, you can book tickets at their website for those months.  The rest of the year, they offer small group tours with a palace guide.  They are nearly 4 times more expensive but it's a way for you to see the palace if you aren't there in the Summer.  See our guide to the changing of the guard and the best way to view the pomp without being crushed against the gates.  

The Houses of Parliament - The Houses of Parliament, also known as the Palace of Westminster, is home to the UK's government. Visitors can take a tour of the building, watch debates in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and learn about the history of British politics. Honestly, my daughter-in-law and I went in because I wanted to see the inside and we got bored rather quickly with the self-guided audio tour.  It was confusing as to which room we were in and it was too long.  We just ended up going through the rooms without the audio tour and then left.  I follow British politics but I was so bored.  It's a beautiful building and there are a lot of little gems but it wanted to keep us there too long. You can book tickets HERE or view a 360-degree online tour.

St. Paul's Cathedral - St. Paul's Cathedral is an iconic landmark in London's skyline. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and is one of the most significant churches in the UK. Visitors can climb to the top of the dome for spectacular views of the city.  It's such a beautiful building with a rich history.  It's the burial place of many prominent British leaders. Plan to spend about 90 minutes to 2 hours here.  You can book your entrance ticket HERE 

The National Gallery - The National Gallery is home to one of the world's most significant collections of Western European paintings. The gallery holds works by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, and Rembrandt.  Check out the National Portrait Gallery just around the corner.  It's my favorite museum in London.  Both are FREE to enter.  

Westminster Abbey - Westminster Abbey is one of the most famous and historically significant churches in the world. It has been the coronation church since 1066 and has been the site of numerous royal weddings and funerals.  If you can only visit one of these great churches, visit this one.  Many monarchs are buried here plus the various tribute areas to famous poets and authors. The lines can be long to get in.  Arrive early. You can book your ticket HERE. The upstairs gallery is a bit more and you can purchase the ticket inside at the base of the staircase.  The view over the Abbey is very cool from the gallery but you can't take photos up there, sadly.  Plan about 2-3 hours here depending on how much you want to read.  

The London Eye - The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel located on the South Bank of the River Thames. It offers spectacular views of the city and is one of London's most popular attractions. It takes about 30 minutes for a rotation and you will be in a capsule with others.  You can book regular tickets HERE or a fast-track ticket HERE.  I can't do heights so I have never been, but my husband took his work team and they enjoyed it. 

The Victoria and Albert Museum - The Victoria and Albert Museum, also known as the V&A, is the world's leading museum of art and design. Its collection includes over 2.3 million objects, ranging from fashion and textiles to ceramics and sculpture. It is a culture-based museum and is my favorite.  I love the clothing exhibit.  It supposedly has a great cafe for afternoon tea.  This awesome museum is on Exhibition Road across the street from the Natural History Museum.  It is FREE.  If the line in the front entrance is crowded, go around the corner to the Sackler Courtyard entrance off Exhibition Road (note the WWII shrapnel damage along the walls nearby).  There is even an entrance from the tube tunnels that I've never seen a line at.  Usually there's just one bored security person there.  

The Tower Bridge - The Tower Bridge is an iconic London landmark that spans the River Thames. Visitors can take a tour of the bridge, including its walkways and engine rooms, and learn about its fascinating history and engineering. The bridge also offers stunning views of the city.  If you aren't super interested in the engine rooms, just walk across it at street level for some great views.  But, if you DO want to see more, you can book tickets HERE.

London is a city that never fails to impress. From its rich history and culture to its vibrant modern-day attractions, there is something for everyone to discover. These ten sites are just the tip of the iceberg, and visitors are sure to find plenty of other exciting places to explore during their stay in this iconic city.

ADVICE:

If you arrive early in the day, drop your luggage at your hotel and stay on the move until after dinner.  Here's my first day Anti-Jet Lag walk.  It takes a couple of hours and will take you by London's most iconic sites.  Stop and take photos and stop and eat wherever you want along the way.  But, stay outside and stay moving. Stay up as long as you can and you'll pretty much be re-set the next morning and will hardly notice the jet lag.  A nap is not your friend.  

 

CLICK HERE for a downloadable PDF of the Anti-Jet Lag Walk 

 

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