Surprising to exactly no one is the fact that London is one of the most famous and highly visited cities in the entire world.
It is home to a wealth of wonderfully famous London landmarks that you absolutely must visit while you’re in the city, as well as a ton of fascinating London facts for kids that you can share with your family.
Totally iconic London landmarks that have been swirling around your never-ending array of London-minded dreams.
Because let’s be real:
You know that London is calling. So, you better sound the alarm…Sorry, but I just HAD to quote that song. Even if it was just once.
Enough idle chit chat. Because you’re a busy human with lots of things to do, places to go, and people to see, especially if you’re planning one day in London.
Which is why:
We should totally pole vole with total abandon into this insanely awesome post about 30 of the most astounding landmarks in London.
Famous places in London that, dare I say it, will bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses (Harry Potter anyone? Snape much?).
Umm, hello, I’m totally the person to take you there. I mean, I’ve been to London will over five times and have even lived there for over two months.
I definitely know a thing or two about this vivacious, multi-cultural, urban-mega center. A place that is brimming over with amazing things to do, people to see, and delicious food to eat.
And I wanna take you there. Like right now!
When you finally do make it there, you’ll be totally prepared. Especially if you’re traveling to London for the first time.
I basically made all these horrific London travel fails so that you don’t have to!
Being a travel blogger really is almost as glamorous as it actually sounds. LOL (insert a lame winkie emoji here).
***Looking for a great place to stay in London? Then check out the Generator Hostel London, Clink78 Hostel, The Z Hotel Victoria (mid-range), Hub by Premier Inn Covent Garden (mid-range), Ambassador’s Bloomsbury (luxury), and CitizenM London Bankside (luxury).***
1. The British Museum
Let’s get our cultural swerve on by discussing the finer points of London’s famed, British Museum.
Because this famous London landmark?
Well, it first opened in 1759 and is THE most popular museum in the country, receiving 5.8 million visitors annually.
Clearly this famous place in London is kind of sort of a big deal.
Which makes sense when you appreciate the fact that this London museum is home to no less than 8 million (yup, you read that right) historic artifacts.
The most famous of which include (hint, hint, these are all the must-see items in the museum’s collections) the Rosetta Stone (It was the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics. And, spoiler alert, you can also head upstairs to see the Egyptian mummies); the Parthenon sculptures (slightly controversial antiquities because they were taken from Athens’ Acropolis by Lord Elgin), the Anglo-Saxon Sutton Hoo Ship Burial relics, the winged bulls from Khorsabad. and the beyond vast Etruscan/Greek/Roman/European/Asian/Islamic galleries.
Because at this museum:
There really is so much to do and so little time.
The British Museum does host several unique, totally free tours, like 30-minute eye-opener tours of individual galleries and lunchtime talks.
There’s even a fantastic, Around the World in 90 Minutes tour, for £14 per person, which will help you navigate the institution’s behemoth collection (You can also try this fantastic, “Ideas That Made Our World” tour. It’s a marvelous, personalized tour that starts every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday at 2:00 pm. During this two hour tour, your knowledgable guide will introduce you to some of the museum’s most spectacular highlights, helping you save time and get the most out of your visit).
Be under no delusions of grandeur since there really is no way in hell that you’ll be able to see everything this place has to offer in a single visit.
I do highly recommend procuring yourself a nifty little audio guide (They are available to rent at the desk in the Great Court, cost £7, and are available in ten different languages). You know, just to help make your visit as informative as humanly possible.
***PRO-TIP: Avoid the beyond massive crowds and visit this museum early in the morning, preferably on a weekday when everyone else is at work, You can also snag a children’s activity pack from the Families Desk in the Great Hall if you want to make your trip here infinitely more enjoyable for any younger members of your family. ***
Address: Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG
Hours: The Great Court is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm (open late until 8:30 pm on Fridays) and the Galleries are open daily from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm (most are also open later until 8:30 pm on Fridays).
How to Get There: Take the Tube to Russell Square, Goodge Street, Holborn, or Tottenham Court Road stations and walk to the museum from there.
Price: Tickets here are “pay what you wish” so feel free to donate any amount you like. Or nothing at all if you’re broke like a joke.
2. Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament
Big Ben. The man, the myth, the legend.
Because if you only know one famous London landmark, then chances are this is it.
What most people don’t know is that this famous clock tower is not only part of the Palace of Westminster (AKA The Houses of Parliament) but it is also technically known as Elizabeth Tower.
Big Ben is actually the name of the 13.7-ton bell hanging inside the 96-meter tower and not the tower itself.
A bell that was named for the man who was the Commissioner of Work, Benjamin Hall, when the tower was completed in 1859.
A tower that is also currently buried behind heaps of ugly AF scaffolding since the structure is undergoing a major, £61-million refurbishment project that won’t be completed until 2021.
Although you can’t exactly Instagram it up at one of the most beautiful places in London, you can tour the Houses of Parliament.
To do so:
You can either take an official guided tour, (I love their guided tours since they give you a sneak peek, behind-the-scenes, and introduces you to all of the Palace’s most famous attractions, including the Queens Robing Room, the House of Commons, and the opulent House of Lords. Sure, you can visit by yourself. But, the sheer amount of information displayed before you can be a bit overwhelming), do a self-guided audio tour (These audio tours typically take around an hour and fifteen minutes to complete and allow you to go at your own pace), or sit in on a session at the Houses of Parliament for FREE!
***FYI: Tours through the Houses of Parliament can be bought online or at the Ticket Office in front of Portcullis House on Victoria Embankment. This Ticket Office is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and on Saturdays from 8.45 am to 4.45 pm. Guided tours are typically an hour and fifteen minutes long and begin every 15 to 20 minutes (Between 9:00 am and 4:15 pm).***
And yes, I really did just type out the word free.
If you want to see one of the world’s oldest democratic bodies in action, then you can do so by watching a debate in either one of the House of Common or the House of Lords, Public Viewing Galleries.
A one of a kind experience that is definitely one of the best things to do in London if you’re on a budget.
You can only do so when the Houses are in session since the galleries are closed to the public at any other time.
To attend a Houses of Parliament Debate, first, find out what days Parliament is in session (by checking out their website here) and then head to the main entrance at Cromwell Green, where visitors assistants will tall you what is being debated, and how long the session may last.
***Once construction stops on Big Ben, UK residents can tour the tower by writing to their MP. However, international visitors cannot go inside. Instead, you can walk across Westminster Bridge, turn right, and go down the stairs. From here, you can get an amazing shot of Big Ben, framed by an archway, from South Bank.***
Address: The visitor entrance to the Houses of Parliament is located at 3 St. Margaret’s Street just across from St. Margaret’s Church.
Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to either Westminster or Embankment station and walk to the tower from there.
Price: Audio tours can cost between £19.50 and £20.50 while a guided tour can cost between £26.50 and £28.00 Cheaper tour options are available if you book your ticket in advance while the more expensive tour options are available if you book your tour the same day.
3. Westminster Abbey
Since we’re in Westminster anyway:
Might as well have a little chitty chat about another one of the most famous places in London, Westminster Abbey.
Because I mean:
Every monarch since William the Conqueror has been crowned here (Minus Edward V who was murdered and Edward VII who abdicated the throne before he could be crowned).
To say this place is culturally significant is kind of sort of the understatement of the century.
A visit here is a total must.
Because once you walk inside:
You’ll be straight up gob-smacked by the historic grandeur and eclectic mixture of architectural styles that make this Early English, Gothic-style abbey great.
An abbey that was founded in ye olde 960 AD but that has architecture that predominantly dates back to the 13th century.
***PSST: Believe it or not, this church isn’t actually a cathedral since it doesn’t serve as the seat of an official bishop. Instead, it is known as a “royal peculiar”, or a center of worship that is administered by the Crown.***
Look a little closer:
And you’ll also discover some of England’s greatest monarchs, and citizens, have been interred here, including such icons of history as Charles Darwin, Queen Elizabeth I, Stephen Hawkins, etc.
Some of the real show stoppers here include the beautifully tiled sanctuary, the ornate High Altar (designed in 1873 by George Gilbert Scott), the Cosmati Pavement, the Chapel of St. John the Baptist, the Shrine of St. Edward the Confessor, the Choir (You can also hear the church’s choir sing for free at daily services and at evensong at 5:00 pm on weekdays except Wednesday, and at 3:00 pm on weekends), and St. George’s Chapel (home to a rather ordinary-looking coronation chair).
And although a downloadable audio guide is included with the price of admission, to really get the most out of your visit, consider joining a 90-minute verger-led tour (for an additional £7), which includes ‘VIP access’ to Edward’s shrine and a chance to sit in some of the Abbey’s exquisite Choir stalls.
If you want to save a little extra money (And I mean really, who doesn’t actually like saving money?), then stop by on Wednesday evenings, when the Abbey is opened late and admission is just £10 per person.
Can I get a hell to the yeah?
Because even though a multimedia guide is not included, it’s still a great way to see this amazing place on the cheap (The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, the Choir, the Lantern, and the High Altar will all not be open this late.
***FYI, Photography is not allowed inside the church. And for an extra £5, you can also visit the Queen’s Jubilee Galleries. They were opened in 2018 and feature a wealth of museum exhibits that include death masks/wax effigies of various royal figures, royal armour, stained glass, the graffiti-inscribed chair used for the coronation of Mary II, the manuscripts of the Litlyngton Missal from 1380, and the 13th-century Westminster Retable (England’s oldest surviving altarpiece).***
Address: 20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA
Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm and on Saturdays from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm. However, if you would like to visit the Abbey for free, as part of a church service, you can do so on weekdays at 7:30 am, 12:00 pm, and 5:00 pm, Saturdays at 8:00 am, 9:00 am, and 3:00 pm, and on Sundays throughout the day.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to either Westminster or Embankment station and walk to the Abbey from there.
4. St. Paul’s Cathedral
Since London is home to about 10,000 different, uber-historic churches (And that’s obviously an exact number. LOL), you know that there just HAD to be another ancient church on this list of famous London landmarks.
And St. Paul’s IS that church.
Because this magnificent, Anglican Cathedral sits atop the not-so-Everest like Ludgate Hill and was built by architect Christopher Wren, to help lift the city’s spirits and to replace the church that was destroyed here during the Great Fire of London.
A fire that ravaged the city in 1666 and that destroyed nearly 80% of London.
Between 1675 and 1710, Wren commenced work on the church and eventually constructed a massive, central dome. that was inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica itself.
The real magic of any visit only happens when you step inside, look up, and see this enormous dome 85 meters above you, supported by eight beyond massive columns.
If you want:
You can also visit the western side of the church, where you can ascend 257 steps to a walkway at the base of the Dome.
A place where you’ll find the Whispering Gallery, an enchanting part of the church where you can speak into the Dome’s wall and watch in awe as your words are somehow, almost magically, carried across to the other side.
Climb a further 119 steps and you’ll find the exterior of the Stone Gallery.
Be sure to grab an extra iron lung (or ten), because you’ll need to continue your journey upwards, another 152 steps, to the Golden Gallery, where you’ll encounter stunning, panoramic views of the city.
If you feel so inclined, you can also descend into the crypt and visit the more than 300 memorial tombs of important British citizens, like the designer of the church himself.
Even though there is no fee for attending a church service here, you’ll definitely need to purchase a standard admission ticket if you want to visit the church at any other time than the ones listed below.
***Pretend I’m Vanna Whiting it right now, a la Wheel of Fortune. Because If you want to attend a church service, you can stop by for the Eucharist Service at 11.30 am on Sunday or for an Evensong Service at 5:00 pm, Monday through Saturday, and at 3.15 pm on Sunday.***
Because St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the top, must-see attractions on everyone’s London bucket list, I highly recommend purchasing your skip-the-line entrance tickets well in advance.
Because let’s be realer than real:
Ain’t nobody got time to spend their entire trip to London in line, waiting to get into St. Paul’s.
When you order your tickets in advance, you’ll receive a nice little discount on the price of admission.
Who doesn’t love saving money? Exactly, glad we agree.
Even with the aforementioned discounts, entrance tickets for St. Paul’s ain’t cheap and are like $22.63 per person.
A super handy audio guide is included with the price of admission, as is full access to the cathedral floor, the crypt, the three upper galleries, and the top of the dome.
***FYI: Free, 1½-hour guided tours depart four times a day at 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 2:00 pm. Just reserve a place at the tour desk if you want to join one.***
Address: St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD, United Kingdom
Hours: Open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to St. Paul’s Station, on the Central Line, and walk to the Cathedral from there.
Price: A discounted, online admission ticket will cost you $22.63 per person.
5. Piccadilly Circus
I’m not really a huge fan of Piccadilly Circus and am only adding it to this list because it is definitely one of the many famous London landmarks you’ll encounter during your time in the city, especially since some of the most famous streets in London go through this area.
But, truth be told:
I don’t really find it all that impressive.
It’s crowded AF, inundated with seizure-inducing electronic ads, and is basically just a giant circular intersection, in London’s West End.
It was built in 1819, by architect Joh Nash, to connect Regent Street with Piccadilly.
And although you may think of clowns, acrobats, and elephant parades when you see the word “circus”, as used here, it simply refers to a round, open space where you’ll find a street junction.
One mildly interesting aspect of this famous London landmark is the aluminum statue that stands at its center.
A structure that is often mistakenly referred to as Eros when it actually depicts his twin brother, Anteros.
Just because the world likes to make things as confusing as humanly possible, this famous piece of artwork is actually officially known as the ‘Angel of Christian Charity’ and is dedicated to the philanthropist and social reformer Lord Shaftesbury.
If I’m brutally honest, the awesomeness of this statue doesn’t really make up for the overall blah-ness of this place.
Visit if you must but don’t get your hopes up because it really is just one, giant, noisy, over-crowded intersection.
***You can also stop by if you love Harry Potter almost as much as I do since Piccadilly Circus is just one of the many amazing Harry Potter things to do in London.***
Address: Piccadilly Circus
Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day.
How to Get There: Take the tube to, DUH, Piccadilly Circus station.
6. Buckingham Palace
Unless you’ve been living under a rock of cultural isolation, then you know all about this famous London landmark.
Because Buckingham Palace is THE royal family’s official London residence and stands as an enduring symbol of the power and influence of the British Monarchy.
Built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham (But you probably could have guessed that from the name):
Buckingham Palace officially replaced St James’s Palace as the monarch’s official London residence in 1837.
You’ll know the Queen mum is actually inside when you see the square yellow, red, and blue Royal Standard flown.
You’ll see the Union Flag standing proudly atop the enormous complex.
Because this is still very much a working palace, only nineteen lavishly decorated State Rooms are open to visitors, between mid-July and September, when the Queen is on holiday.
Get your ticket now and step inside this world of opulence and grandeur and be razzle dazzled by the vast assortment of paintings that adorn the walls here.
Pieces done by artistic legends like Rembrandt, Anthony van Dyck, Canaletto, Nicolas Poussin, and Johannes Vermeer.
You can also visit the Throne Room, as part of this Lordes level royal self-guided tour, which features monogrammed, his-and-her, pink chairs.
A visit here will take around two hours, includes the use of a wonderfully informative audio guide, and offers guests entry into a special themed exhibition, in the Ballroom, that changes every summer.
And while you can explore part of the palace gardens during your tour:
If you want to gaze upon the immortal beauty of the wonderfully whimsical wisteria-laden Summer House, and other famous garden features, you will need to join a three-hour, State Rooms, and Garden Highlights Tour, for a hefty £35 per person (I know, I saw that price and almost choked too).
Per usual, you will want to book your timed entry ticket well in advance since lines can be incredibly long and the number of daily tickets issued is limited.
***If you plan on returning to London at some point, then be sure to get your ticket stamped before you leave so that you can have free access to the Palace for a year. ***
Address: Westminster, London SW1A 1AA
Hours: Open daily, between mid-July and late September, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm,
How to Get There: Take the Tube to Victoria or St. James Park station and walk to Buckingham Palace from there.
Price: £26.50 for a regular adult ticket and £49.00 for a ticket that includes access to the Royal Mews and the Queen’s Gallery.
7. The Tower of London
This may or may not be one of my favorite London landmarks because I may or may not have an unhealthy obsession with Henry VIII.
Because in case you’re not in the know:
The Tower of London is where Anne Boleyn was held and eventually beheaded by the aforementioned English monarch.
More than that though, the Tower of London offers a compelling glimpse into over a thousand years of English history.
A time during which this ancient edifice stood as a royal residence, treasury, mint, armory, and zoo.
Most people do tend to think of this place as merely a prison of sorts. A complex where one king, three queens, and countless nobles met their untimely demise.
And of course:
You can’t really forget about the Tower’s impeccably dressed, resident, Yeomen Warders (AKA Beefeaters), now can you?
They do have wicked awesome outfits, live on site, stand watch over the Crown Jewels (which contain the biggest diamonds in the world), and conduct fantastic tours of the Tower for selfie-stick wielding hordes of tourists like you and me.
But in all seriousness:
This truly is a super informative and incredibly interesting, 45-minute tour that I for one think you should totally join.
Because trust me:
This tour really will help you get the most out of your visit.
They are insanely easy to join since they are free, depart from the bridge near the main entrance every 30 minutes, and stop running at 3:30 pm in the summer and 2:30 pm in the winter.
Because there is so much to see and do, I would plan on spending at least half a day here.
So that you can marvel at wicked awesome things like the Waterloo Barracks (home to the famed Crown Jewels), the Chapel of St. John the Evangelist, the White Tower (London’s oldest building), a collection from the Royal Armouries (featuring armor worn by Henry VIII), the Bloody Tower (where 12-year old Edward V and his little brother were held by their uncle), and the Tower Green scaffold (where Anne Boleyn lost her head).
Just do yourself a favor and also be on the lookout for the building’s immortal ravens.
Because legend dictates that if these birds should ever leave the Tower then they could cause it, and the entire kingdom, to collapse around them.
That’s not something that you really need to worry about since there is always a raven present in the Tower’s onsite aviary.
What you do need to worry about is booking your tickets well in advance.
Especially since ticket lines here can be ridiculously long.
If you book your tickets ahead of time, then you can also score yourself a super sweet little discount.
Which is amazeballs since I mean really, what beast of a human doesn’t like saving money?
Good, Glad we can agree on that.
Address: St Katharine’s & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB
Hours: Open Tuesday through Satirday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and on Sunday and Monday from 10:00 am t0 4:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to Tower Hill station and walk to the Tower from there.
Price: A standard adult ticket costs £28.90.
8. Natural History Museum
Anyone who reads my blog even a little bit knows that I am a nerd of the most epic proportions.
Which is why:
It should come as a surprise to exactly no one that I LOVE museums.
And London’s Natural History Museum is no exception.
Not only is it 100% free to enter (a fact that is still totally mind-boggling to a native New Yorker like me, who is used to paying $25 for a ticket to a museum), but this famous London landmark is straight awe inspiring.
Spread across 5.7 hectares:
The Natural History Museum, and outdoor garden, is home to more than 80 million different specimens of natural history.
Hence the name of the museum.
Some of the most impressive collections of which include the Dinosaurs Gallery (Blue Zone), the Treasures exhibition in the Cadogan Gallery (A wealth of fascinating, totally unrelated objects on display in the Green Zone), the Mineral Gallery (also in the Green Zone and featuring a vault of more than 300 different colored diamonds), and the Darwin Centre of taxonomy (Orange Zone).
Equally impressive is the museum’s exquisite, Hintze Hall.
It sits at the center of the museum and was designed by architect Alfred Waterhouse, in 1881.
A grandiose entranceway and mesmerizing space that expertly brings the ethereal beauty of the Victorian Era to life..
At first glance though:
You probably won’t notice any of the building’s intricate architecture.
You’ll be too preoccupied with the giant, blue whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling.
A word to the wise though.
Do try and plan your visit for either a weekday after 2 pm, once all the school groups have left, or on the weekend right when the museum opens.
Because not shockingly:
This is when the museum is at its least crowded.
You can further avoid long queues by using the Exhibition Road entrance instead of the more popular, Cromwell Road entrance.
***The National History Museum also plays host to an array of regular exhibitions, like the Wildlife Photographer of the Year showcase (fees apply), and becomes a veritable winter wonderland between October and January. This is when a section of the East Lawn is transformed into a popular ice rink. However, tickets should be bought well in advance since this winter activity is uber-popular among local and visitors alike.***
Address: Cromwell Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 5BD
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:50 pm.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to South Kensington station and walk to the museum from there.
Price: Free (unless you want to attend a special exhibit).
9. Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge, is without a doubt, one of the most famous London landmarks of them all and is quite possibly one of the most famous bridges in Europe.
Because chances are:
When you think of London, you immediately conjure up imagines of this bridge’s instantly recognizable neo-Gothic, twin towers, and sky-blue suspension struts.
In addition to being beautiful, Tower Bridge is also a fully functional bridge, that was first built in 1894 as a much-needed river crossing point in the east of the city.
At the time:
It had a steam-driven bascule (counterbalance) that could raise the roadway, making way for oncoming ships, in just three minutes.
That steam-powered bascule has long since been replaced by an electric one, which helps raise the bridge more than 1,000 times per year.
To see the bridge in action though (and to nab some beyond epic photo ops):
Definitely visit the bridge’s website for a list fo specific lift times.
You can always learn more about the historic structure at the associated, Tower Bridge Exhibition.
Address: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP
Hours: The bridge is open twenty-four hours a day but the Tower Bridge Exhibition is open daily from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to either Tower Hill or London Bridge stations and walk to the bridge from there.
Price: A visit to the bridge is free but a ticket to the Tower Bridge Exhibition will cost £8.60.
10. The Royal Albert Hall
Tucked away in the Northern end of Kensington is The Royal Albert Hall.
A distinguished, concert hall that is easily one of the most recognizable buildings in all of London.
Originally opened by Queen Victoria in 1871, in honor of her late husband:
This splendid, Victorian-style concert hall now plays host to a variety of different musical performances, as well as BBC-sponsored Proms (AKA short, £5, informal, Promenade concerts where guests can stand and listen to music), which have been held here every year, between mid-July and mid-September, since 1941.
To fully appreciate the sheer splendor of one of the most famous landmarks in London, embark on the Royal Albert Hall Tour, or a Behind The Scenes Tour, of this beautiful facility.
Because with the help of a friendly, personal tour guide:
You’ll uncover the building’s secret past, understand how the building was funded, marvel at the Royal areas of the Hall, admire the breathtaking auditorium, and see the stage where word icons like Muhammad Ali, Ed Sheehan, Winston Churchill, and Albert Einstein once stood.
And if you’re feeling extra fancy:
You can even swing by Verdi and live the luxe life for a day, at Albert Hall’s chic, on-site restaurant.
Because it is here that you’ll find a divine afternoon experience, that starts at just £30 per person, or £44.25 per person when you purchase afternoon tea in tandem with a tour of The Royal Albert Hall.
If you’re in search of a slightly more unusual, themed afternoon tea in London, then per usual, I’ve got a post for that.
And you can check it out right now in the link above!
Address: Kensington Gore London, SW7 2AP
Hours: Open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, with tours departing every thirty minutes, from the Cafe Bar at Door 12, between 9:30 am and 4:30 pm (April through October) and between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm (November through March).
How to Get There: Take the tube to either South Kensington or Gloucester Road station and walk to the Hall from there.
Price: Ticket prices vary depending on the event being held here but a tour of the venue will cost £14.25.
11. The London Eye
Err, umm, yeah.
My mother kind of sort of always told me that if I don’t have anything nice to say, then I shouldn’t say anything at all.
And that pretty much sums up exactly how I feel about the London Eye.
Because even though it is definitely one of the most famous London landmarks out there, and home to one of the best views in London, I personally think it’s a total tourist trap and completely overrated.
It’s crowded AF, ridiculously expensive, and a total waste of your time if you visit on a day with kind of meh weather.
And although the views from the top of this 135 meters tall, cantilevered observation wheel are pretty stellar, affording you stunning, panoramic views for 25 miles in every direction (allowing you to see all the way out to Windsor Castle on a good day), any photos that you do snap here will still be kind of bleh since you’ll be taking them through a plate of plexiglass.
I’d personally forgo the expensive AF, 30-minute ride on one of the tallest observation wheels in the world, and just take some photos of the London Eye from across the river, at Westminster Pier.
Located just under Big Ben, right near where all of the cruise ships dock:
You’ll be able to snag a super Instagrammable pic of yourself, and the entire London Eye, with some iconic red telephone booths thrown in for good measure.
And all for free I might add. Plus:
There’s a nice little sidewalk here so that you don’t have to stand in the middle of the road and risk getting run over by a rogue trolley while you’re taking a picture.
If you do feel an unrelenting, ever-present, burning desire to ride the London Eye and feel that your life will just never be complete if you don’t, then by all means, please, book a ticket now. Especially since may people consider it one of the top things to do in Southbank London.
Because in doing so:
You’ll not only avoid the insane queues but you’ll also save a little cold, hard cash since purchasing your tickets ahead of time will be slightly cheaper.
Address: The Queen’s Walk, Bishop’s, London SE1 7PB
Hours: Open daily Monday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 8:30 pm and Friday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to Waterloo station and walk to the London Eye from there.
Price: A standard ticket will cost you £27.50 while a Fast Tack Ticket will cost you £37.50.
12. Trafalgar Square
Opened to the public in 1844:
Trafalgar Square is a London landmark that is not to be missed.
Found at the true center of the city’s soul:
Various political rallies Christmas festivities, and New Year’s celebrations are often held here since is this a place of where most Londoners feel a sense of peace, comfort, and community.
And at the heart of the square itself?
Why, a 52-meter high, Nelson’s Column, which is guarded by four impressive, and slightly ferocious-looking, bronze lions.
But just in case that’s not quite enough statuary awesomeness for you, each of the corners of the square also features a statue of King George IV on horseback, General Sir Charles James Napier, and Major General Sir Henry Havelock respectively.
The fourth statue is a little bit different though and actually showcases a new and exciting modern art piece every eighteen months.
As of March 2020, the current statue on display here was created by Heather Phillipson and depicts a giant, totally unstable, helping of whipped cream that is unceremoniously topped by a cherry, a fly, and a drone that appears to be filming nearby onlookers.
A slightly random amalgamation of items that makes infinitely more sense when you realize that this piece is entitled, “The End” and is a commentary on surveillance and the impending collapse of society.
And although this piece of artwork is super interesting to look at:
My fave part of any trip to Trafalgar Square is still a stop at the city’s immortal, National Gallery, which sits along the perimeter of the square and features an impressive collection of art from across the ages.
St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church is also located along the square but, eh, it’s not my fave.
But I’m also not a huge fan of churches so that could just be me.
***Fun little factoid for you! Fountains were actually included in the design of the square to reduce the number of people who could congregate here and thus, limit the potential for riots. All distances in London are also measured from the plaque at the foot of the statue of King Charles II on horseback, located on a traffic island south of Nelson’s Column. Yup, just another totally random, super quirky London fact for you!***
Address: Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, London WC2N 5DN
Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day since this is a public square.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to Charing Cross station and walk to Trafalgar Square from there.
13. Covent Garden
Located in London’s famed West End:
This former wholesale fruit-and-vegetable market is now a famous London landmark/tourist Mecca of sorts, where people from all across the globe flock to shop amongst the ultra-luxe shops and stroll through the quaint, Italian-style arcades.
If shopping just ain’t your thing (or if you really can’t afford to throw Benjamins around like a total baller) then feel free to enjoy the abundance of high-end eateries and cafes that line the eclectic market stalls of Apple Market (some of my fave of which include Frenchie Covent Garden, Chez Antoinette, and Clos Maggiore).
You could always just soak up the beyond charming atmosphere here, explore the wealth of hidden treasures tucked away inside London’s Transport Museum, and marvel at the dynamic array of street performers that annoy, er, I mean frequent the area.
For the most stellar views of Covent Garden though:
Be sure to stop by Punch & Judy Pub for a wee pint (Yes, we’re really embracing all the British stereotypes today people).
You can always just mosey on over to nearby Neal’s Yard and admire the kaleidoscope of colors that’ll you’ll find there (definitely one of the more unusual things to do in London).
And if you happen to be in the area during the month of June:
Then whatever you do, you cannot miss Covent Gardens beyond quirky, super historic, Rent Ceremony.
A wonderful relic of the past that is brimming over with pomp and circumstance as an assortment of chairmen and trustees parade around the piazza, accompanied by a town crier and live band, as they attempt to pay the area’s landlord an annual rent of five apples and five posies.
It really is even more hilarious than it sounds.
Address: 14 James St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8BU
Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to the aptly named Covent Garden station and walk to Covent Garden from there.
Price: Strolling through Covent Garden is totally free unless you want to do something other than window shop.
14. Hyde Park
Possibly the most famous park in all of London (and central London’s largest green space):
Hyde Park is just one of eight Royal Parks that cover a whopping 350 acres of prime, London real estate.
And funnily enough:
This iconic oasis of greenery was actually first acquired by my fave British monarch of all time, Henry VIII, in 1536 when he expropriated the park from Westminster Abbey and turned it into a hunting ground, dueling area, and hot execution spot.
Executions here are now a thing of the past.
You’re much more likely to find energetic Londoners taking a stroll around the park’s picturesque Serpentine Lake (if you’re not feeling particularly energetic, you can always just rent a lakeside deck chair for £1.80 per hour or £9 for the day), savoring the beauty of Kensington Palace, paying their respects at the Princess Diana Memorial, admiring the stunning rose garden, enjoying the simple beauty of the Holocaust Memorial Garden, or checking out the park’s famed Speakers’ Corner (in the Northeast corner), where no less than Karl Marx and George used to stand and orate with the best of them.
And if none of those attractions appeal to you:
Then you can always stop by the Marble Arch, another famous London landmark that was designed by John Nash, in 1828, as a grand entrance to Buckingham Palace.
This iconic arch was moved to its current location in 1851, in order to replace the then infamous Tyburn Tree, which was a place of execution for over 50,000 people.
Smooth move on London’s part since nothing really kills the mood quite like a site of mass execution (Yes, ridiculous pun intended folks. Because I really will be here all day. Or at least until you finish reading this post).
***Stop by during the winter, between November and early January, and you’ll find that the entire Southeast area of the park has been converted into a Winter Wonderland of sorts that is filled with rides, ice skating rinks, food vendors and /drink stalls aplenty. ***
Address: London W1H 7EJ
Hours: Open daily from 5:00 am to Midnight.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to either Queensway, Lancaster Gate, Hyde Park Corner, or Knightsbridge stations and walk to the park from there.
15. Abbey Road
Where my fellow Beatles fans at?
Because if you love the Beatles just as much as I do, then don’t walk, run, to this famous London landmark.
Especially since, as you probably already know:
Abbey Road is the name and shooting location for the cover of the band’s iconic, 1969 album.
Stop by the famed, Abbey Road zebra crossing and reenact this album cover for yourself.
And if you want:
You can even visit the famous recording studio, of the same name, in St. John’s Wood.
The studios themselves are off-limits to visitors.
You can still swing by and see some of the vibrant, Beatles-inspired graffiti that adorns the outer fence of the studio.
The Studio’s website even has a “visit” tab where you can go and access real-time footage of the famed crosswalk.
Simply enter in the time of your visit and, KAZAM, you’ve just found footage of yourself walking across the legendary, Abbey Road crosswalk.
***FYI, there are about ten different Abbey Roads in London. Most of which have nothing to do with the shooting location for the now-iconic Beatles album cover. So, if you want to visit one of the most famous London landmarks for yourself, then take the tube to St John’s Wood (not Abbey Road station), cross the road, walk to the end of Grove End Road, turn right, and TADA, paradise found.***
Address: 3 Abbey RdNW8
Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to St. John’s Wood station and walk to the studio/crosswalk from there.
Nestled atop the “Walkie Talkie” building is this legendary London landmark.
It sits 155 meters in the air and is a scenic AF, rooftop garden that is filled with ferns, fig trees and purple African lilies aplenty.
If you can though:
Be sure to visit on a wonderfully clear, sunny day, so that you can enjoy SkyGarden’s mesmerizing multitude of extraordinary, panoramic views, including primo shots of London’s one and only, Shard.
Because SkyGarden isn’t exactly a well-hidden state secret, you will need to book your free tickets well in advance (like maybe a month or so depending on the time of year that you visit).
Expect queues out the door and a walk through a metal detector.
You know, it’s all about the security.
It’s all worth it since, well, this is the highest public garden in London and it also doesn’t come with a ridiculously high price tag (Yes Shard, I’m looking at you).
What if you want to make your visit to the Skygarden extra special?
For £39.50 per person:
You’ll enjoy a sumptuous, 3-course brunch feast, with all the non-alcoholic beverages you want, amidst the incredible views and stylish decor of this enchanting London restaurant.
You can take all the fab photos you want, just without hordes of lame people CONSTANTLY walking in and out of your shot (The nerve of some people. GEEZ. Kidding btw. I swear, I’m not a total jerk).
And spoiler alert:
Their Sticky Toffee Pudding is off the chain and beyond divine.
Truly the stuff that all the cool, foodie kids crave.
If you’re not exactly in the mood for brunch, then you always relax at one of SkyGarden’s three, onsite bars (there’s also another restaurant up here too).
Because if SkyGarden tickets are totally sold out:
Then you can always just make a reservation at one of these fine establishments instead, admire the views from the top, and be prepared to order something slightly expensive.
Address: 20 Fenchurch StEC3
Hours: Open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm (But do try and get there RIGHT when they open to avoid the crowds).
How to Get There: Take the Tube to Monument station and walk to SkyGarden from there.
17. The Shard
I couldn’t very well make a list of famous London landmarks without at least mentioning The Shard, now could I?
Exactly, glad you agree.
Because the stellar views from this building’s 69th and 72nd-floor viewing platforms are pretty fabulous.
Even if they do come with a hefty, £25 price tag.
You can save yourself a little bit of money by purchasing a ticket in advance (you can also skip the mind-bogglingly long lines).
And if you upgrade that to a premium ticket:
Well, you’ll receive a good weather guarantee and be allowed to return on a nicer day if the weather should happen to suck during your visit.
I still think this London landmark is exceptionally overrated and not really worth your time.
You can’t really get awesome pictures of the Shard while standing on top of it, now can you?
If drinking in the views (lame pun intended) atop this iconic London landmark is a total must for you, then skip the expensive ticket and make a reservation at one of the Shard’s onsite bars or restaurants instead.
Because for half the price of admission:
You can sip on a premium cocktail amidst the posh AF decor of the Aqua Shard bar, where the views are just as spectacular and much less crowded than the ones you’ll find at the viewing platform.
Address: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to either Monument or Burrough station and walk to the Shard from there.
Price: A standard ticket for the Shard viewing platform is £25.
18. St. Pancras Station and Hotel
Just a hop, skip, and jump away from St. Pancras International Station and Kings Cross Station is the well connected, St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel.
Because even though this beyond gorgeous hotel isn’t exactly a London attraction per say, it is a stunning piece of architectural beauty that is well worth a visit.
And maybe even a stay if you can afford to spend £329 per night on a room.
A price tag that isn’t nearly as surprising when you realize that this grand hotel sits inside a red brick, Gothic Revival building from 1873.
A famous London landmark that was originally designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and that went by the name of the Midland Grand Hotel in its former life.
The building is home to 245 supremely high-end rooms, 38 of which sit in the original building, and one of which, named for the architect himself, is decked out in full, authentic, Victorian-era design.
No stay, or short day trip here, would be complete without a mini-photo shoot at the hotel’s magnificent Grand Staircase.
Found to the left of the main entrance, just before reception:
You’ll be blown away by the sheer size and beauty of this massive walkway.
A beautiful addition to the hotel that features white granite stairs, ornate blue, floral rugs, hardwood banisters supported by intricate, wrought iron structures, vibrant red walls with exquisite gold accent work, bright windows, and almost nave like, vaulted ceilings that have a very Victorian, almost church-like feel about them.
Conduct one mini-photo shoot here and you’ll instantly earn yourself loads of beyond devoted, Instagram followers.
And if you want:
You can even treat yo’ self to a nice afternoon tea while you’re here. You know, just so that you can really feel like a princess for the day!
Address: Euston Rd, Kings Cross, London NW1 2AR
Hours: The reception desk is open twenty-four hours a day.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to King’s Cross station and walk to the hotel from there.
Price: Rooms here start at £329 per night.
19. Tate Modern
From the slightly heinous, overtly industrial feeling exterior of the former Bankside Power Station:
You’d never realize that the Tate Modern contained such a wealth of beauty inside. A beauty that easily makes it one of the best places to visit with kids in South East London.
This famous London landmark is brimming over with free permanent collections and paid temporary exhibitions (located on levels 2 and 4 levels of the Natalie Bell Building and on levels 0, 3, and 4 of the Blavatnik Building) that are all housed within two separate buildings.
Museums that showcase some of the best contemporary and modern art pieces in the world and that are connected by an incredibly nifty bridge on the fourth floor.
More than 60,000 works are on display here at any given time, including pieces done by supreme legends of the art world like Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and more.
To really get the most out of your visit, you may want to consider joining a free guided tour of the permanent collection, which depart at 12:00 pm, 1:00 pm, and 2:00 pm daily.
You can always just visit the 10th-floor of the Blavatnik Building instead and delight in the sublime, panoramic views of the Thames, and the surrounding city (You can also get some nice views of St. Paul’s from the 6th-floor cafe in the Natalie Bell Building).
***PSST: Tate Modern is within easy walking distance of Millennium Bridge and the Globe Theatre. So, you can easily visit all three famous London landmarks while you’re here. And if you want to visit Tate Modern’s sister museum, Tate Britain, then just hop on the RB2 riverboat at Bankside Pier.***
Address: Bankside, London SE1 9TG
Hours: Open Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and Friday/Saturday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to either Southwark or Blackfriars stations and walk to the museum from there.
Price: General admission to Tate Modern is free while special exhibition tickets can cost anywhere between £15 and £25 each.
20. The Gherkin
Love it or hate it:
The 180 meters tall Gherkin is now an iconic part of the London skyline.
You can’t really visit the Gherkin since it’s a private office building.
If you really want to step inside, you can always make a reservation at the building’s onsite bar and restaurant, Helix and Iris (known for unobstructed views and contemporary British cuisine), or visit as part of the popular, Open House London event.
You can just stand outside and marvel at the distinct shape and design of this 41-story high building, which was first opened in 2004 and designed by Sir Norman Foster.
Anytime you marvel at a 360-degree view of this city, you’ll definitely notice this bullet-shaped tower with its swirling panes of light and dark glass.
Address: 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8BF
Hours: You can marvel at from outside twenty-four hours a day.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to Aldgate station and walk to The Gherkin from there.
Price: Free because you can’t go inside.
21. The Royal Observatory Greenwich
Originally built by Charles II in 1675:
The Royal Observatory sits high above beautiful Greenwich Park and was eventually designated the prime meridian of the world in 1675.
For anyone who hasn’t taken geography class in a while, the center from which all world longitude is measured (AKA 0° 0′ 0’’).
The Royal Observatory Greenwich also became the epicenter of universal time measurement and is currently where Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) originates.
It’s no small wonder that The Royal Observatory is now a famous London landmark in its own right.
While you’re here admiring the structure’s incredible, brick domed beauty, you can also enjoy other fun activities like instantly hopping back and forth between the Eastern and Western hemispheres, marveling at the grandeur of the old, Flamsteed House (a building that was named in honor of the first Royal Astronomer), or embarking on a nightly journey into the deepest reaches of space at the Peter Harrison Planetarium.
You can also step inside a small brick building near the Meridian Courtyard, and enjoy various optical illusions and camera obscura projections of the Queen’s home.
Simply stand in awe of the Great Equatorial Telescope.
An exquisite piece of engineering that was first built in 1893 and that sits inside the Observatory’s signature, domed building.
A wonderful piece of technology that permits intrepid explorers, of all ages, to catch a glimpse of the deepest reaches of space, from within the confines of the Weller Astronomy Galleries.
Address: Blackheath Ave, Greenwich, London SE10 8XJ
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, with the last admission at 4:30 pm.
How to Get There: Take the Thameslink train from London Bridge to Maze Hill and walk about fifteen minutes to the Observatory.
Price: Adult tickets start at £7.20 per person.
22. The Victoria and Albert Museum
Originally opened and known as The Museum of Manufactures in 1852 (thank God they eventually changed the name):
In every gallery you visit, you’ll discover a delightful array of Asian-style ceramics, Middle Eastern rugs, Chinese paintings, and Western-style furniture.
Add in a mesmerizing collection of personal fashions from throughout the ages and you’ll begin to wonder if there’s anything that this place doesn’t have.
Especially since there are a ton of ticketed (read, not free) exhibits that come into the museum on a constant basis.
With over, count em, 140 galleries to choose from, exploring the museum on your own maybe be a bit overwhelming (to say the very least).
It may be a good idea to join one of the museum’s many wonderful, totally free, one-hour guided tours.
Just so that you don’t get woefully lost amidst this never-ending expanse of historic awesomeness.
These tours are offered throughout the day and cover a wide range of themes including museum highlights, medieval history, Renaissance art, museum architecture, and more.
And joining one?
Well, it’s beyond easy since all of the tours here depart from the giant information desk that sits smack dab in the middle of the main hall.
If you can’t find a tour you like, or simply want to go it alone, then be sure stop by the British Galleries (the bed on display here is straight-up Hagrid level ginormous), the Cast Courts (replicas of world-famous sculptures), the Raphael Cartoons (huge sketches of tapestries that were later made by the Italian artist), the Photography Centre (exploring the art’s long history) and the Jewelry Gallery (a beautiful collection of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets from across the millennia).
All of which are straight-up awesome exhibits that are well worth your time.
If you should find yourself getting a bit museumed out along the way (Yup, I just made that word up so we’re gonna go with it), then feel free to take a leisurely stroll through the building’s charming, on-site, John Madejski Garden.
There’s even a lovely little shaded courtyard here where you can sit and relax, even it it rains (I mean, that’s to be expected since this is London after all).
And If you happen to be in an extra-luxe kind of mood:
Then you can also stop by the Morris Room for a splendid, afternoon tea spread that starts at just £30 per person.
Because the scones here?
Yeah, they’re next-level delicious and served atop dishware that is nothing short of pure, British perfection.
Address: Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:45 pm, with extended hours until 10:00 pm on Fridays.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to South Kensington station and walk to the museum from there.
23. River Thames
We cannot discuss famous London landmarks without at least mentioning the 215 miles long, River Thames.
Umm, hello, this river is probably THE single most important part of London’s geographic landscape.
I’d also venture to guess that it has done more to help shape the development of the city than anyone can possibly know.
Which is why:
A visit to the River Thames is kind of an essential part of any London itinerary.
That being said though:
It doesn’t really matter what you do while you’re here.
You could be all fly like a G-6 and do a snazzy AF river cruise or just take a scenic walk along its shores and admire some of the iconic buildings that you’ll encounter along the way.
But regardless of how you spend your time:
Do take a second to stop and appreciate the magnificence of the second-longest river in the United Kingdom (just in case you were wondering, the first happens to be the Severn)
This river really is baller level awesome.
24. The Globe Theatre
When you think of London and England as a whole:
I bet one of the first names that come to mind is the man, the myth, the sonnet writing legend himself, William Shakespeare.
And no other famous London landmark is dripping with more Shakespearean inspired awesomeness than the reconstructed, Globe Theater.
In spite of Shakespeare’s near icon status in our modern-day world, the original Globe Theater was actually demolished by God-fearing Puritans way back in 1644.
Fast forward several hundred years:
And American actor Sam Wanamaker came a looking for it and found a whole lot of nothing.
As a result:
He began an ardent fundraising campaign to help restore this Elizabethan playhouse to its former glory.
A rebuilding campaign that eventually started in 1987, right along the banks of the Thames and in the London Borough of Southwark.
The Globe Theatre wasn’t completed until 1997, a solid four years after Sam Wanamaker died.
Yeah, talk about rotten luck.
However, Sam’s misfortune is now our gain since every detail of this Theater is designed to mimic the 16th-century original.
So much so that the building was actually constructed without the use of a single screw or nail.
Builders used more than 600, oak pegs to create the complex. Materials that closely match what was used by Shakespeare’s contemporaries.
Sprinkle in some ultra-snazzy, especially fired, Tudor-style bricks, as well as a circular thatch roof with an open-air center, and you’ll feel like you’ve been hurtled back in time and like no less than Shakespeare himself is about to walk through the door.
And although the architecture here, and attention to detail, is nothing short of magical, the real high point of any visit is a guided tour of the facility.
Because throughout this 40-minute guided tour:
A local expert on all things Shakespeare will introduce you to the theater’s architecture, exhibition spaces, displays on Shakespeare’s life, and explain details about everyday life in Bankside.
If you want:
You can even attend a performance of one of Shakespeare’s many great plays (at least if you visit any time between April and October) or take in a bit of refined, gastronomic goodness at the on-site, Swan restaurant, which serves a wicked awesome, Midsummer Night’s Dream inspired afternoon tea.
Starting at £32.50 per person:
This truly is a truly one of a kind experience since the menu here reflects actual ingredients mentioned in the play itself.
***Remember, part of theater sits outside and is exposed to the sometimes not-so-lovely London weather. Therefore, always dress appropriately when attending a performance here.***
Address: 21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT
Hours: The Globe Theatre Box Office is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and on Sundays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (The show season at the Globe is between April and October). In contrast, the Globe Theatre offers guided tours of the facility and in house exhibitions on Mondays from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 12:00 pm, and on Sundays from 9:30 am to 11:30 am (through October 10th, when the schedule changes). The Globe also offers tours of the Southwark area at 3:00 pm and 4:00 pm Tuesday through Sunday.
How to Get There: Take the Tube to either London Bridge or Blackfriars station and walk to the theater from there.
Price: Tours start at £13.50 per person and last around 40-minutes. However, tickets to a show here start at £17.00 per person.
25. Kensington Palace
Originally constructed in 1605:
Kensington Palace quickly became a favorite residence of regal royals like William and Mary of Orange, in 1689.
This complex was the preferred haunt of much of the English monarchy until George III became king and relocated to Buckingham Palace.
Since then though:
This grand palace has ascended to famous London landmark status and is still a residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (AKA Prince William and Kate Middleton).
Much of the palace is now open to the public, including the swagerific King’s Apartments, which feature the slightly dizzying, incredibly opulent, King’s Staircase.
If you have about 90 minutes to spare:
You can also meander through the King’s Gallery, which is adorned with an imposing collection of priceless paintings, and stop at the Drawing Room, where famous kings and courtiers used to entertain themselves.
Venture into the stunning Cupola Room, with its assortment of gilded statues and glamorous painted ceilings, as well the Queen’s State Apartments, which feature the royal dining room.
And if all that still isn’t enough royalness for you (You total gangsta you):
Then you can always learn a little more about Queen Victoria’s life at Victoria’s apartments (Where she was born and lived until she became queen) or head outside for a leisurely walk through the sunken garden and the surrounding ‘cradle walk’ arbor (This is also where the popular Luna Cinema puts on movie screening throughout the summer and Christmas seasons).
Per usual, avoid long queues and save money by purchasing your tickets in advance right now!
***If you’re a local or plan on visiting London multiple times throughout the year, then consider purchasing annual membership to the Historic Royal Parks. Because for £55 per person, you’ll receive unlimited access to Kensington Palace, the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kew Palace, and the Banqueting House.***
Address: Kensington Gardens, Kensington, London W8 4PX
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (With the last admission at 5:00 pm. The palace also closes early, at 4:00 pm, between November and February).
How to Get There: Take the Tube to Queensway station and walk to the museum from there.
Price: £17.50 for a single, adult ticket (Tickets are cheaper when purchased in advance, online, or when purchased after 2:00 pm on weekdays).
26. The British Library
If you’re a fellow bibliophile who is looking for some of the most famous London landmarks ever, then the British Library is for you!
Because no lie:
This oasis of pure literary delight is a veritable utopia for books lovers of every variety.
Not only is it totally free to enter, but it also houses some of the greatest treasures in literary history, including the Codex Sinaiticus (the first complete text of the New Testament), Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks, the Magna Carta (1215), Shakespeare’s First Folio (1623), the Gutenberg Bible (1455), The Diamond Sutra in Chinese (From 888 and the world’s oldest printed book), the score to Handel’s Messiah, handwritten Beatles lyrics, and more.
To sneak a peek at this treasure trove of book-related greatness, just beeline it on over to the Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery or book (get it?) a snazzy little, one hour tour of the library, for £10 per person, through their website.
I think you’ll be okay going it alone since this low-slung, red brick building from 1998 really only has one of two galleries that are open to the public.
Once you’ve adequately savored all of the literature that you can handle, feel free to head outside and enjoy the large piazza, and cascading terraces, that stand just outside the entrance (There’s also a sleek statue of Sir Issac Newton here too).
Address: 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB
Hours: Open Monday through Thursday from 9:30 am to 8:00 pm, Friday from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, Saturday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.
How to Get there: Take the Tube to King’s Cross Station, or the London Overground to Euston station, and walk to the library from there.
27. Millennium Bridge
Arguably one of the prettiest walkways in all of London:
Millennium Bridge is a 325 meter long, steel, pedestrian suspension bridge that spans the width of the Thames and connects Bankside with the city of London.
Because of its incredible architectural beauty, and stunning panoramic views of both the Thames and St. Paul’s Cathedral, this immortal footbridge has quickly become one of the most famous London landmarks of them all, especially after being featured in films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Run Fat Boy Run, and Namaste London.
Millennium Bridge even made a special guest appearance in the opening scenes of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, where bloodthirsty death eaters terrorize hordes of Muggles who desperately cling to the bridge as it collapses into the Thames below.
A scene that is beyond ironic since Millenium Bridge really did wobble when it was first opened in 2000.
The bridge was immediately closed and then quickly repaired, where it stands today as a primo walking path and a photographic hot spot.
For large swaths of Instagram mavens who are out there looking for a beyond grog shot of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
***Another fun little factoid for you since knowledge is power! So, believe it or not, Millennium Bridge is actually covered in over 400 tiny pieces of art. All of which are done by The Chewing Gum Man, AKA Ben Wilson, who paints these tiny acrylic masterpieces atop slightly used chewing gum that has been left on the bridge itself. Yup, totally bananas but totally true.***
Address: Thames Embankment, London SE1 9JE, United Kingdom
Hours: Open twenty-four hours a day.
How to Get There: Take the tube to Mansion House Station (on the Circle and District Lines) and walk to Millenium Bridge from here.
28. Hampton Court Palace
Excuse my uncontrollable squeals of delight.
Because Hampton Court is probably one of my favorite, famous London landmarks on this entire list.
Not only was this decadent, brick, restrained Baroque/Tudor style palace built by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey in 1515, but it was actually taken away from him, just before he fell from grace, by my fave English monarch of all time.
Yup, none other than Henry VIII.
A man who is known the world over for making heads roll, one bride at a time.
And truth be told:
I can kind of understand why good old Henry would want this place all for himself.
Hampton Court Palace is England’s largest and most elaborate Tudor-style structure.
And that was true even before the architect, Christopher Wren, added a massive, Baroque style extension to the house during the 17th century.
Which is why:
You’d have exactly zero problems spending a day inside this lavish, 24-hectare palace area, complete with picturesque riverside gardens and a 300-year-old hedge maze.
Because this place really does put the “ass” back in massive, I’d definitely recommend taking a themed tour of the complex, led by a beyond awesome, costumed historian.
Highlights of which include Henry VIII’s State Apartments (your jaw will be on the floor when you see the Great Hall with its spectacular hammer-beamed roof), the Tudor Kitchens, the Wolsey Closet, the Chapel Royal, William III’s & Mary II’s Apartments, the King’s Staircase, the Chocolate Kitchens, Mantegna’s The Triumphs of Caesar, and the Cumberland Art Gallery.
Also of note are the estate’s sweeping, picturesque gardens, inlacing the Kitchen Garden, the Great Vine, the aforementioned hedge maze (it’s super fun to get lost in), The Magic Garden (an interactive attraction for kids), the riverside gardens, and the Real Tennis Court, which dates all the way back to the 1620s.
Be sure to channel your inner Henry VIII and live the beyond lavish life of the royals at Hampton Court Palace.
Even if it’s only for a day.
Address: Hampton Ct Way, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, with the last admission at 3:30 pm (Last entry to the on-grounds hedge maze is 3:45 pm).
How to Get There: Take the Tube to Vauxhall station and board the South Western Railway here. Next, take the railway to Hampton Court station and walk to the palace from there. Conversely, you could also easily take the train here from Waterloo.
Price: Adult tickets are £24.50 per person.
A Super Fun, Interactive Map to Help You Find 28 of the Most Famous London Landmarks!
Insert uber-enthusiastic spirit fingers here my London loving friend, because this concludes my wicked long list of 28 London landmarks that you will absolutely adore.
And if your fave London landmark just did not make the cut, then let me know in the comments below and I’ll be sure to rectify that egregious error ASAP.
Also, if you’re feeling like the extra-kind individual that I know you are, then feel free to pin this now and read again later.
Come on, you know you want to.