London was always a city I wanted to visit in the UK. I went multiple times on shorter 24 hour trips (similar to my recent visit to Rome); however, it was never enough time to explore all that I wanted to see. Luckily, I was able to spend a full week enjoying all the sites in London. This London travel guide summarizes how to get to London and also the top 11 things to see while visiting!
How to Get There
Getting to London is easy. Flying into London, there are 5 major airports to choose from – Heathrow (that everyone knows), Gatwick, London City, Luton, & Stansted. Flying international, I always choose Heathrow because they have the most options. Getting to the city center from Heathrow is also super easy as the subway (or tube) is connected via a high speed express train to London’s central Paddington station. From there it is easy to make connections to anywhere you need to go.
What to Do in London
There is so much to do in London that 24 hours just doesn’t cover it! I spent a week in the city (stay tuned in the coming days for a complete breakdown of my travels), and barely scratched the surface! Regardless of how much time you have, these 11 things are not to be missed as part of my London travel guide!
The Abbey was originally constructed in the 1st century and has been used to crown kings and queens since that time. It is also the resting place of many famous British monarchs and statesmen, including Henry III, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, & Stephen Hawking. You can tour the church for ~21-23 pounds every day except Sunday (click here for tickets).
One of the coolest experiences I had was going to the evening Evensong service (every evening starting at 5PM except Wednesdays). This mass was sung with the Westminister Abbey chorus and was free to attend. It let me see the church and enjoy some amazing traditional choral music.
Parliament & Big Ben
Few things in London are as recognizable as big ben and the parliament building. The famous clock tower and bells were completed in the 17th century. A trip to London is not complete without seeing the clock tower and the parliament building (the best views being at night when everything is illuminated).
Another site not to miss is Tower Bridge. This drawbridge was originally completed in the late 1800s connecting the banks of the Thames. It’s worth the 8 pounds to climb the bridge and be inside the tower looking down at the traffic below through the clear floors.
Tower of London
The historic Tower of London is also one of the 11 sites of London not to miss (~24 pounds). The castle and fortress dates back to 1066. Exploring the castles, buildings, & walls can take a good half day as there is so much history to explore. Although there tends to be long lines, don’t miss the crown jewels. The coronation items are spectacular to behold (I even doubled back a couple times on the moving walk way for multiple glimpses of the jewels).
Another of the top things to do is visit Buckingham Palace. I recommend watching one of the daily changing of the guard where you see the Queen’s guards change in full pomp and circumstance. I went first thing in the morning (starts around 11AM) and it was such a fun spectacle to watch (plus totally free!). Afterward, I went on a tour of the state room’s in the palace and enjoyed the outdoor gardens surrounding the palace (~25 pounds).
Art & History Museums
London has a spectacular art scene! Whether you are interested in historical art or modern day, London has something for everyone! 3 of my favorite’s are the Tate Britain Art Museum (home to modern and contemporary works by Vincent van Gogh, Joseph Mallord William Turner and Frank Bowling), the National Gallery (free to enter and notable works by Bellini, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Monet), & the British Museum (free to enter and home to the Rosetta stone).
A recent addition to the London skyline is the London Eye. With breathtaking 360 degree views, this ferry wheel is located right on the banks of the Thames River. You can catch glimpses of Big Ben, Tower Bridge, and all the amazing sites of London from the pods. For ~27-40 pounds, you can enjoy one of the multi-person pods for an unforgettable experience.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Finally, no trip to London would be complete without a visit to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Whether you choose to climb the dome for spectacular views of the city or marvel at the architecture of the building from the street, the massive 17th century cathedral is spectacular.
I hope you enjoyed this London Travel Guide. Also visit: Florence Travel Guide and Rome Travel Guide
Very interesting guide but above all very well done. I think you’ve touched all the most important and beautiful places to visit in London. I will pass it to a friend who will go on holiday to London and does not know where to start 🙂
Thanks so much! There is so much to see in London!
London is such a culturally rich city! I live in the UK and still haven’t managed to see all it has to offer! Some great highlights here!
Totally agree! It was so amazing to visit 🙂
Just as I was about to talk myself out of taking mom to London this fall and instead visiting somewhere new, here you are making me ache for London again! Great post!
– Laura // afinnontheloose.com
Thanks!! We loved visiting London! If you’re able to go again would highly recommend it!! 🙂
This is a great guide for the top sights in London. I have always wanted to visit London but haven’t made the trip yet. Great tips on visiting London!
Thanks so much!! Hope you get to visit and experience all the amazing sites!
Love all of these spots in London – you got most of my favorites too. I was so sad to see Big Ben was under construction when we went. I saw it as a teen/preteen, and I was looking forward to seeing it again. I guess it’s just a reason to come back again!
For sure! Big Ben is so stunning! Hopefully it re-opens very soon!
This is a great London travel guide that hits all the essentials! Your pictures look typically London too… cloudy! 🙂 This post sums up perfectly what to expect in, and how to enjoy, London.
Thanks so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading it!
You’ve definitely captured the main tourist attractions here! Tower Bridge is my absolute favourite – there’s nothing more iconically London than that!
Thanks so much!! 🙂 There are so many amazing iconic places in London!
This is such a helpful guide! I’ve lived in the UK for almost five years, but I’ve only been to London twice and I never really took the time to explore it much. It was mainly for concerts etc! Saving this for next time!
So glad it was helpful!! There is so much to explore in London and the surrounding areas!
Such a fun travel guide! I’m hoping to get a chance to visit this Fall and I will definitely be referring to this!
Thanks so much!!! 🙂 We spent 7 days and were able to see all the major sites! It was such a fun trip
Ah, London is a gem! These photos are great, by the way!
Thanks so much!!! London is so perfect! Such a fun place to explore
Thank you for this amazing piece on London trip; I love your writing style and feel every line of your writing.
So glad you found the travel guide so helpful! 🙂