London, one of Europe’s biggest cities, has a lot to offer visitors. Planning a trip to London can feel overwhelming, simply because there is so much to do! Turn to a travel advisor at The Travel Team to build an itinerary filled with things to do in London that fit your interests, timeline, and budget. First, get inspired with ideas for your trip, from museums to markets, no matter if you’ve been to England before or are experiencing a London vacation for the first time!
The Best Time to Visit London
England has a mild climate, thanks in part to the warm winds that blow across the Atlantic Ocean, as well as the insulating nature of the Atlantic’s waters. You can visit London almost any time of year and experience tolerable weather. June, July, and August see the most tourists in London. Shoulder season, which includes March, April, May, September, and October, means your trip will likely be less expensive and less busy. At this point, most attractions are still open, although you may see reduced hours when compared to the summer months. The off season (November through February) can be cold and wet, but holiday festivities may make winter travel worth it.
Where to Stay in London
London offers travelers a lot of neighborhoods to choose from when booking accommodations. The advisors at The Travel Team recommend:
- For first time visitors: The West End (especially Covent Garden)
- For tourists: Westminster
- For tourist attractions: London Bridge and the South Bank
Where you stay will depend on your budget, what attractions you want to see, and how comfortable you are with public transportation. The London Underground is “one of the world’s most reliable and innovative metro systems.” You can get from Heathrow Airport to Trafalgar Square (the geographic center of London) in less than an hour via the “Tube,” as it’s affectionately called. The Underground is an affordable mode of transportation and it’s easy to pay as you go with contactless mobile payments or a Visitor Oyster card. Plus, you can avoid the infamous London traffic, which is considered the worst in the world.
As for the accommodations themselves, there are lots of options, including:
- Hotel chains
- Luxury hotels
- Guest houses
- Vacation rentals
Things to Do in London
London has more attractions than you can reasonably see in a single trip. Plan your itinerary based on what sounds most exciting and interesting to you (and your travel companions)—not what you think you should visit.
With so much to see, you may want to add a London sightseeing tour to your schedule. Tours are an efficient way to see the most iconic sights in just a few hours, whether by bus, bike, or foot. Plus, they often include interesting narratives that combine centuries of history with pop culture and personal experience. Then, you can return to any attractions or areas you want to spend more time in.
No visit to London is complete without at least a couple of museums. London is home to almost 200 museums, ranging from traditional to experiential. Many of London’s world class museums are free to enter, although some otherwise free museums include specific exhibits that require paid admission.
- The Natural History Museum highlights billions of years of natural history with many free exhibits.
- The British Museum aims to cover the history of culture around the world with over eight million objects. Many exhibits are free.
- The National Gallery houses paintings from Western Europe, sits on Trafalgar Square, and is free to enter.
- The Design Museum covers contemporary art with many free exhibits.
- Tate Britain and Tate Modern offer their collections of British art free of charge.
- The Victoria and Albert Museum, also known as the V&A, is a “family of art, design and performance museums” where many exhibits are free.
- The Science Museum covers science, technology, and medicine with award-winning exhibits for free.
- The Museum of London plans to reopen in 2026 as The London Museum.
Share your interests with your travel advisor; this list is by no means comprehensive and there is probably a museum within the city tailored to your favorite topics!
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
In order to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a location must have global significance—and London is home to a whopping four of them. While you’re visiting London, consider viewing at least one, if not all four:
- The Tower of London, built in the 1070s as a royal fortress and home to the crown jewels.
- Maritime Greenwich, where you can stand on the Prime Meridian line.
- Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey, where the Houses of Parliament are and royals have been coronated for centuries, respectively.
- Kew Gardens, home to over 50,000 living plants in a variety of environments.
There are many destinations that are simply synonymous with London. Very few trips (especially if it’s your first time in the city) would be complete without at least some of these attractions. If you’re planning to add several of these landmarks to your trip, consider The London Pass, a credit-based system accepted at more than 90 London attractions.
- Big Ben, high in Elizabeth Tower, is steps away from the Palace of Westminster.
- Westminster Bridge crosses the River Thames just past Big Ben.
- Buckingham Palace is a short walk through St. James’s Park. Catch the Changing the Guard ceremony several times a week!
- The British Library is located north of central London and is home to the Magna Carta.
- St. Paul’s Cathedral combines daily services with times for visitors to marvel at its history and architecture.
- The Tower Bridge, crossing the River Thames near the Tower of London, is an engineering marvel.
Theater and Entertainment
London’s West End, which contains several smaller neighborhoods, is the city’s theater district. Here, you can see a show at one (or more) of several theaters both old and new, including the Royal Opera House.
A Bird’s-Eye View
London’s skyline is iconic, and what better way to see it than from above? Several vantage points offer stunning bird’s-eye views of the city.
- The London Eye may only be a couple of decades old but it has quickly become an iconic part of the London skyline.
- The Shard claims the best view of London from its viewing gallery on floors 68, 69, and 72.
- Up at The O2 offers a more active experience as visitors climb up and over The O2 arena.
You can’t visit London without coming across what is referred to as football across the Pond, whether you happen to be in a pub during a heated match or you’re traveling specifically to see one of London’s seven Premier League teams play on their home pitch.
London is also home to the All England Lawn Tennis Club, which hosts the famed Wimbledon Championships. Visitors can enjoy the carefully curated Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum as well as tours of the grounds.
Walkable Neighborhoods and Parks
While many of central London’s neighborhoods are dotted with tourist attractions, just blocks away are much quieter, walkable streets. For picture-perfect houses, gardens, and shops, head to Notting Hill, Kensington, and Chelsea to the west. North of Buckingham Palace, you’ll find the Soho and Covent Garden (including Neal’s Yard) neighborhoods. London also offers thriving historical ethnic neighborhoods, including Chinatown, Little India, and Little Korea.
Even though it’s a bustling city, visiting London should include a stroll through at least of its beautiful parks. Consider:
- Primrose Hill, part of the much larger Regent’s Park.
- Kyoto Garden, a Japanese garden in Holland Park.
- Kensington Gardens, a pristine green space within Hyde Park.
Lastly, don’t neglect London’s street art, which includes everything from Banksy murals to thought provoking pieces by lesser-known artists.
Markets and Food
London’s markets (of which there are many) all offer their own personality. For produce and street food, head to Borough Market, just south of London Bridge and not too far from Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe. If you have room in your suitcase to bring home an antique or two, visit Portobello Road in Notting Hill. For a little bit of everything from fashion to food, try Camden Market near Primrose Hill.
While London might not seem like a foodie paradise at first glance, there’s more than the obligatory afternoon tea, fish and chips, and ale here. England’s long history of colonialism has resulted in a thriving international cuisine scene in London. The wide variety and high quality of London’s Indian restaurants is especially notable.
Lastly, London has been the backdrop of many iconic pop culture moments in recent memory. While you’re here, walk across Abbey Road just like the Beatles, imagine yourself defending London from Tower Bridge like Spiderman, or attempt to board the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9 ¾ in Kings Cross Station.
If You Have More Time
While you could easily spend weeks inside London’s city limits, there is a lot to do nearby as well. Consider day trips to Stonehenge, Windsor Castle, Bath, Cotswold, Rye, Brighton, Hastings, Oxford, Cambridge, or some combination of these destinations. Or, take advantage of how easy it is to travel across Europe and enjoy a multi-city vacation!