20 essential places to visit in london
London is a multicultural city, full of people with different lifestyles, coexisting freely and with an open mind. With neighborhoods full of activity at all hours, original shops, some of the best museums in the world, well-kept parks and markets to get lost in, in one of those cities that you have to visit. You have many places to visit in London, although we have made a list of 20 that we think are a good start to discover one of the cities with the most tourists in the world. We have made a list based on the experience of our trips to London in 10 days and 6 days. You can also visit these tea houses in London. Let’s started!
Places to visit in London
1. Camden Town
Far from the center of London in Camden Town, you feel like in another city or another world. Far from the more traditional atmosphere of London, its star place is the Camden market, full of alternative stores, music with DJs and a great atmosphere. You can invest one Sunday morning touring the market and then eat at one of its many stalls.
We have to say that this is one of our favorite places in the city and that we believe, you have to visit in London, be it your first time or be back in the city.
The best option to get here is the metro. If you want to know better the history of the neighborhood and its most famous places, a good alternative book this tour with a guide in Spanish that also includes a tour of Soho.
2. Palace of Westminster and Big Ben
It has become over time the icon of London. Located on the banks of the Thames is one of the 4 World Heritage Sites of London. The clock, as it could not be less, is one of the most punctual in the world.
It is a better way to get to know the history, and places of interest in London is to book this tour for its essentials with a guide in Spanish or this free tour in London with a guide in Spanish. Free! Visiting hours: Saturdays between 9:15 and 16:30 with the guided tour. August and September are open from Tuesday to Friday.
3. Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is the most famous bridge in London, and one of the best things to do in London. This stone drawbridge over the River Thames was built in 1894 and its name is due to the proximity to the Tower of London, which is right next door. You can visit the inside of the tower to see the operation of the machine that raises the bridge, as well as to know its history.
Visiting hours: from April to September from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and the remaining months from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Entry included in the London Pass or book the ticket without queues here.
Another very good discount card and a good option are to book the London Explorer Pass; it allows you to enter 3, 5 or 7 of the main attractions of the city, skipping the queues and saving up to 40%. It is a card that offers great flexibility to choose the tickets we want among the 20 attractions available, until the last moment.
4. Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is the oldest religious temple in London. In it have been held since 1066 almost all the coronation ceremonies of kings, English monarchs and even weddings as the current princes. Inside you can find the tombs of kings and illustrious characters such as David Livingstone, Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Laurence Olivier or Charles Darwin. Some of its most outstanding corners are the Lady Chapel, the cloisters, the poets’ corner or the Chapter House or the Throne of San Eduardo.
Visiting hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Wednesdays close at 6:00 p.m. Sundays open only for mass. The ticket is included in the London Pass, or you can book the ticket without queues here.
5. Piccadilly Circus
Picadilly Circus is a small square that intersects several major streets of London. The square stands out for its large video screens and neon advertising signs, where you can also see its famous fountain with the sculpture of Eros.
Today this location has become one of the most famous places to visit in London. One of the best things you can do is sit on the steps of the fountain and enjoy the great activity you can see around you.
Our recommended hotel in London: Victor Hotel, small and family hotel. Victorian style and very close to Victoria station. Very good breakfast with good value for money.
6. British Museum
The visit to the British Museum is one of the best tours you can do in London. The classic building has a bright interior that houses some of the most famous works in the world, which we are sure will leave you speechless.
The room in Egypt with the Rosetta Stone, the one in Greece with parts of the Parthenon or the one in Rome is a true marvel. Visiting hours: daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (Fridays until 8:30 p.m.).
7. St. James’s Park
St. James’s Park, located near Buckingham Palace, is our favorite park in London. Besides being the oldest of the Royal Parks of London, it allows you to disconnect from the city. Something that is often necessary after spending hours in the center of one of the most visited cities in the world.
In addition to relaxing, you can walk along the shore of its beautiful lake, see all kinds of birds and squirrels, looking for food that tourists give, not always in the right way.
8. Tower of London
The Tower of London is a huge castle that has had different uses according to the stage of its history and another of the prominent places to visit in London. The White Tower, the Medieval Palace and the Royal Chapel of San Pedro ad Vincula stand out in the area. The most popular place for visitors is the Crown Jewels, where you can find orbs, swords, scepters, and crowns of the Royal British House.
A good option if it is your first visit to the city is to book this tour with tickets in Spanish in which in addition to going through the most famous places in the city and know its history, you will enter without queues to the Tower of London.
Visiting hours: from March to October from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and the other months close at 4:30 p.m. On Sundays and Mondays they open at 10:00. Entry included in the London Pass.
9. Notting Hill and Portobello Market
The Portobello Market is another of our favorite markets in the city. Less alternative to Camden, it is located on Portobello Road and most of its stalls and stores sell antiques. The best time to visit is on Saturday mornings, where all the stalls are on the street, as well as fast food stalls, where you can snack before eating or making a full-fledged meal.
Portobello Road is located in the neighborhood of Notting Hill, a neighborhood that in some way became famous for the film Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant of the same name. It is worth taking a walk around the neighborhood and enter one of its bookstores, shops or cafes.
10. St. Paul’s Cathedral, one of the best places to visit in London
The Cathedral of San Pablo stands out for its large dome and its 111 meters high, which makes it the second largest cathedral in the world. Inside, cross-shaped and beautiful fresco paintings have been held since the funeral of Winston Churchill until the wedding of Prince Charles with Diana of Wales.
You can go up to the dome from where you will have very good views of central London or go down to the crypt where the remains of Nelson or Wellington rest. Visiting hours: Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Reserve ticket without queues here.
11. Buckingham Palace
The Buckingham Palace is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II and also the place that housed many historical moments in London.
In front of the palace, the most famous Changing of the Guard of the world is celebrated, although so many tourists congregate that the majority of the days it becomes complicated to be able to see it with comfort.
To visit its beautiful rooms you have to book well in advance as only entry is allowed from July 23 to October 2 from 9:15 to 19:45. Change of guard: every day at 11:30 am from May to July, the rest of the year every two days.
12. The Soho and Chinatown
The Soho district is made up of an area of one square mile and bordered on the north by Oxford Street, one of the most famous shopping streets in London.
This multicultural neighborhood has a great activity both day and night, full of original shops, pubs, clubs and restaurants from around the world, which are worth a visit.
It is also worth getting lost in its streets and entering any of its shops, where you will surely find some more original gift than the typical souvenirs of London. Inside Soho is also Chinatown, the neighborhood of the Chinese community, full of Chinese restaurants at fairly affordable prices and a perfect place if you want to give your pocket a break.
13. London Eye
The Noria de Londres is another must-see in London. With its views of the city with the Thames, we can say that they are some of the best in the city.
This big wheel of 135 meters that by far seems not to turn, has 32 large glass cabins and turns around in about 30 minutes. Large queues are formed to climb, so a good alternative is to reserve the ticket without queues.
Visiting hours: every day from June to August from 10:00 to 20:30 and the other months from 11:00 to 18:00.
14. Trafalgar Square and National Gallery
Trafalgar Square is one of the best-known squares in London, in which the Nelson Column stands out in honor of Admiral Nelson and the Battle of Trafalgar. The square is always in constant movement and is in front of the National Gallery. In it, you can find works by Miguel Angel, Velázquez, Van Gogh or Rembrand, among many others.
Visiting hours: every day from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., on Fridays until 9:00 p.m.
15. Covent Garden
Covent Garden is a picturesque neighborhood in central London where there are many shops, cultural centers, cafes, restaurants, and street performers. It stands out for its market located in the beautiful building of the market and the Piazzas. In this covered market with two floors you can find craft shops and clothing, food stalls, cafes full of charm and a very marked environment, which you will surely love.
Visiting hours: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 19:00 and Sundays from 11:00 to 18:00.
16. Natural History Museum
Just to see the Hall of the Museum of Natural History with its reproductions of dinosaurs is already worth the entrance. It is not as big as the Museum of Natural History in New York, but you will also find dinosaurs, rooms with mammals from all over the world, fossils and a huge blue whale skeleton.
Visiting hours: daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:50 p.m.
17. Royal Albert Hall
It is one of the most famous and beautiful theaters in the world. Every year concerts of classical music, pop, rock, opera or ballet are offered, in which all the great artists of the moment act. The building constructed in red brick has a design similar to the ancient amphitheaters, and although you do not enter, it is worth approaching to contemplate its exterior.
Visiting hours: daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (guided tour). Entry included in the London Pass.
19. Hyde Park
Hyde Park, one of the largest parks in London and a perfect place to walk, run or just sunbathe or read. The beautiful place in the park is the Speakers’ Corner, a corner where Sundays give all kinds of speeches by characters of the most curious. You can attend to applaud or boo, according to your tastes.
One of the visits on our trip to London was Madame Tussauds. Our little experience with wax museums in other parts of the world was very bad, but after reading about it and getting to know it, we can confirm that Madame Tussauds is on a different level. Perfection is such in one of your figures, that you think they are real. Morgan Freeman, Samuel L. Jackson, Albert Einstein or Gandhi are some of the works you can find.
Visiting hours: every day from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. In some days do not close until 7:00 p.m. Reserve ticket without queues here.
Harrods is one of the most emblematic shopping centers in the world. The impressive façade of the building with its perfectly decorated windows, attract attention, especially at Christmas. The ground floor and the Egyptian stairs stand out in the interior. It is a luxury shopping center but has a souvenir shop at a reasonable price, where you can buy souvenirs to remember your trip to London.
Visiting hours: every day from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.