15 London Adventures You Need To Do

Big Ben

While most people think of Big Ben as “that big clock tower in London”, it’s actually the nickname for the huge bell housed inside it.  Nevertheless, Big Ben and the clock tower that houses it is one of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Completed in 1859, the Clock Tower (recently renamed the Elizabeth Tower) stands 315 feet tall and has 334 steps going up to its belfry.

Sadly, touring the inside of the tower is temporarily closed due to a massive refurbishment underway but you can still marvel at Big Ben from the outside.

Closest Metro Station

Westminster

Houses of Parliament

Also known as the Palace of Westminster, the Houses of Parliament is where London’s elected officials do their business.

Attached to Big Ben, the building has held official meetings since the 13th century.  You can witness the vigorous debates yourself as tours are available daily.  Sit in the balcony and learn about the Houses by observing the government in action.

Closest Metro Station

Westminster

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace, the official royal residence of King Charles III, houses lavishly furnished rooms, a large private garden, and a Royal Collection of treasures.

The Palace is only open to tour during the summer months but you can catch the pomp and pageantry of the changing of the guard Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at 11am.

Closest Metro Station

Goodge Street

Hyde Park

Set right in the heart of London, Hyde Park is one of London’s eight Royal Parks.  While the Park is known for its famous Speakers’ Corner where people freely speak their mind, it’s also home to a horse riding area, a memorial fountain to Princess Diana, and Serpentine Lake.

Come here to relax and unwind, go for a horse ride or maybe even hire a boat and go for a row on the lake.

Closest Metro Station

Marble Arch or Hyde Park Corner

Camden Market

Located in Camden Town, the Camden Market is a collection of stores and stalls selling crafts, clothing and fast food.  It is one of the more popular tourist stops attracting about 250,000 visitors a week.

Originally open only on Sundays featuring temporary stalls, the Market has now grown to a mixture of permanent stalls and fixed premises that are open daily.  Not surprisingly, the weekends still remain their busiest time of the week.

Closest Metro Station

Camden Town

Soho

Soho in the heart of the West End is one of London’s main entertainment districts.  Go shopping, bar hop, see a risqué live show or catch a world class theatre production like Les Miserables.

You can also walk from here to other nearby destinations like Chinatown, Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus.

Closest Metro Station

Oxford Circus

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is not what you think it is.  There are no animals, ringmasters or clowns.  The term “circus” actually comes from the Latin word meaning “circle” and describes the round open space located at the major street junction located here.

Known for its video displays, neon signs and Shaftesbury Memorial fountain, Piccadilly Circus is a popular meeting place and has become a tourist attraction in its own right.

Closest Metro Station

Piccadilly Circus

Leicester Square

At Leicester Square you’ll find London’s home of entertainment.  Almost every week there is a red carpet premiere at one of the world class cinemas that are housed here.

Come to the Square to eat and see a show and when you’re done, be sure to visit the nearby giant M&M store.  For the big kid in us all, the world’s largest Lego store is also located here.

Closest Metro Station

Leicester Square
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Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is surrounded by historic buildings, museums and galleries.  The Square itself commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars with France and Spain in the early 19th century.

Home to community gatherings and political demonstrations including the infamous Bloody Sunday, Trafalgar Square features a number of commemorative statues including the awe inspiring 169 foot tall Nelson’s Column.

Closest Metro Station

Charing Cross

London Dungeon

Visitors to the London Dungeon are treated to a recreation of various gory and macabre historical events from London’s history.

Live actors performing as some of London’s most infamous characters like Jack the Ripper and Sweeny Todd take you on a special effects filled journey through London’s last 1000 years.

Closest Metro Station

Waterloo

London Eye

Located next to the Jubilee Gardens and on the South Bank of the River Thames, the London Eye is Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel at 443 feet tall.

Opened to the public in 2000, the London Eye is a great way to see the entire city of London from high above.

Closest Metro Station

Waterloo

St Paul’s Cathedral

With an iconic dome that has dominated the skyline for over 300 years, St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most famous and recognizable buildings in London.

Although it is a tourist attraction, St Paul’s is actually a working church offering hourly prayer services.  Entry fee to the Cathedral is £18 for adults but free for worshipers.

Closest Metro Station

St Paul's

Tower Bridge

You’ve probably thought the bridge pictured above is the London Bridge and you, along with many others, would be wrong.  While there is an actual London Bridge close by, the iconic landmark in the picture is actually the Tower Bridge.

Built in 1894, the Tower Bridge is often used as a symbol of London.  It’s recognizable to visitors from all over the world and, as such, one of the most popular tourist attractions in London.

Take a walk over the bridge and admire the Victorian design and features or for £8 you can go on the Tower Bridge Experience which offers visitors a chance to walk in the covered walkway atop the bridge.

Closest Metro Station

Tower Hill

Thames Cruise

There are several companies offering boat cruises along the Thames River in central London.

You can take the traditional sightseeing boats, a speedboat, or opt for a dinner cruise.  Cruises leave from multiple ports along the Thames River and one way, return, or hop-on hop-off tickets can be purchased.

Closest Metro Station

Tower Hill

Tower of London

On the north bank of the River Thames lies one of the world’s most famous fortresses, the Tower of London.

This historic castle has played a prominent role in English history over the years as a royal palace, a prison, an armory and even a zoo.

Visit the Tower of London and see the historic uniformed Beefeaters, her Majesty’s Crown Jewels, the Royal Mint and the White Tower.

Closest Metro Station

Tower Hill

Day trips from London

Don't forget to save some time to explore outside of London.  There's several day trip adventures waiting for you outside the big city.

Among those adventures are watching the changing of the guard at Windsor Castle, unraveling the mystery of Stonehenge and visiting the seaside resort of Brighton.

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Free walking tours

London, along with almost every major city in the world, has companies that offer free walking tours.  These tours are usually run by young students who are passionate about telling the story of their city and country.

The tours are probably the best way to explore and learn about the city as the guides will take you to unique places in the city while telling you all sorts of interesting stories.

As a note, while these are "free" walking tours, tips are encouraged at the end of the tour and a €5 tip is the standard.
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