The Ultimate London Bucket List – 150+ Unmissable Things to do in London

Looking for things to do in London? Look no further than the ultimate London bucket list. Over 150 cool and quirky things to keep you entertained – from the big landmarks to off-the-beaten path finds. Let’s go.

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” – Samuel Johnson so sagely said way back in the 18th century. That quotation still rings true, three centuries later. But what are the best things to do in London? Which are the best places to explore? The unmissable landmarks?

Even as a born and bred Londoner (and someone who’s lived in London for more years than I would care to divulge), I sometimes run out of inspiration when it comes to finding things to keep me out of trouble. Which is why I set out to create and conquer the ultimate London Bucket List – over 150 (151 in fact) awesome things to do in London.

Whether it’s your first time in the city, or you live here, I assure you there’s always something new to discover in this metropolis. Time to explore.

Attractions That Need to be at the Top of Your London Bucket List

The London Eye

The London Eye
The good old London Eye

Gone are the days when the London Eye went by the name the Millennium Wheel, yet it still stands as one of the most recognisable landmarks on the London skyline and a must for your London itinerary.

I have a soft spot for the London Eye (I actually worked there a few holidays while at uni) – sure it’s expensive but it really is one of the iconic London landmarks that you have to visit while you’re in town. Check tickets.

Big Ben

Do you want the bad news or the good? Big Ben is and will be largely covered up for the next few years for renovation. I said there was good news though – one of the clock’s fascias will be left uncovered so you can get a glimpse of one of London’s definitive attractions.

Big Ben
Before the construction / Unsplash

PS – did you know that the clock is actually called the Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben technically refers to the bell inside? Totally love those quirky little facts about London.

Read more: London City Break Itinerary

Say Hi to the Queen in Buckingham Palace

Perched across from the beautiful St James’s Park, you can’t spend any time in London without at least having a peek at Buckingham Palace. The palace is the Queen’s official London residence and her administrative headquarters to boot.

Buckingham Palace

How do you tell if she’s home? Check to see if the Royal Standard rather than the Union Jack is flying on the mast. If it is, she is.

Read more: Self-Guided Walks in London

Westminster Abbey

The UNESCO Heritage Listed Westminster Abbey is, in my humble opinion, one of the most beautiful buildings in London. Founded in 960AD, the buildings we see today date back to the 13th century.

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey has seen more than its fair share of pomp and glory – every coronation since 1066 has taken place there, as have 16 royal weddings (including, of course, Kate and Wills’).

PS, don’t miss Poet’s Corner, where you will find the graves or memorials for over 100 literary figures including Shakespeare and Jane Austen.

On the lookout for a few quirkier spots? You’ll love these 55 unusual things to do in London.

The Houses of Parliament and the Palace of Westminster

This is where all the action (or, at the moment, inaction) happens – the Palace of Westminster as we see it dates back to the mid-19th century. It is, of course, better known as The Houses of Parliament. You can visit, via a tour or just pop into one of heated debates to see democracy in action.

The South Bank

A mix of markets, theatres, cinemas, restaurants and bars, The South Bank has to go on your London bucket list even if you’re only in town for a few days. I love it at sunset, when the light covers the Thames in its rosy hues and the area is at its most beautiful.

Watch Tower Bridge Open and Close

Tower Bridge and the Tower of London
Tower Bridge and the Tower of London

Tower Bridge is on every single London tourist bucket list around. For good reason – the iconic bridge is a feat of engineering and really quite beautiful too. Walk over the bridge on the side facing the city for some spectacular views upriver.

Read More: Weird and Wonderful Facts about Tower Bridge

Piccadilly Circus

Bright lights, big city – Piccadilly Circus is a neon-fuelled, people-filled West End hotspot that’s at the top of every London tourist bucket list. Much as I’d love to hate it, just the tiniest part of me secretly loves the ridiculously OTT nature of it all – particularly at Christmas when even more lights provide that touch of extra bling.

Read More: Fabulous Things to do in London After Dark

Relive the Ghastly History of the Tower of London

The Tower of London certainly has a colourful past. From its days as a simple watchtower, to a royal prison, a makeshift zoo and now the home of the Crown Jewels, there are few London attractions with so much history and importance. Plus, who doesn’t want to get an eyeful of the  Crown Jewels?

Read More: Interesting Facts about London

Trafalgar Square

Did you know that Trafalgar Square is one of the last few big public squares in London? Centuries of demonstrations and festivities have taken place on the square, surrounded by the striking Neoclassical buildings of The National Gallery and its neighbours.

Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column
Nelson’s Column

Nelson’s Column – the 151 foot high tribute to the great admiral, sits in the middle of the square.

Read More: The Insider’s Guide to Trafalgar Square

See St Paul’s Cathedral – Christopher Wren’s Architectural Masterpiece

Is there any London building more iconic than St Paul’s Cathedral?

Justifiably on every list of the top things to see in London, St Paul’s is every bit as impressive as the pictures suggest. Built after the Great Fire of London, it’s the architect Christopher Wren’s greatest work.

PS… when you’re finished, why not go and explore Farringdon’s best bars?

Cool Things to do in London: More London Landmarks

The Cutty Sark

In her day the Cutty Sark was the fastest boat on the oceans. These days, the tea clipper is moored in Greenwich, where you can learn all about what life on the ship used to be like and take in views of the city while you’re at it.

Walk Across The Millennium Bridge

The Millennium Bridge is a splitter – some Londoners love it, others can’t bear the sight of it. I think its graceful construction, which spans the Thames between the Tate Modern and St Pauls is a worthwhile addition to the Thames. Everyone should walk over  (deliberately) wobbly construction at least once.

Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards Parade

Horse Guards Parade used to be the formal entrance to St James’s and Buckingham Palace. These days it’s best known for the Changing of the Guard ceremonies that takes place daily at 11am (10am on Sundays). It’s a theatrical spectacle like none other.

Read More: The Full Guide to Seeing The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

Sky Garden

Perched high above the city, the Sky Garden is London’s highest public garden – boasting the kind of views that make it worth the persistence to get in.

The Sky Garden
Sky Garden

Lush tropical gardens and great views? I’m sold. Entry is free, but make sure you book ahead to make your life a lot easier.

Read More: Visiting London’s Sky Garden – Awesome Views (and it’s completely free!)

St James’s Park

St James's Park

Is it wrong to have favourites? St James’s Park has been my favourite royal park since the days my mother used to take us all for gloriously decadent picnics when I was a child. The lake, lined with willows, is just the perfect spot for whiling away a few lazy hours in the summer – and comes complete with Buckingham Palace views.

Read more: Romantic Date Ideas for London

Watch a Trial at the Old Bailey

Who needs crime podcasts or novels when you have the Old Bailey?

The Old Bailey

Pop in any day to the Old Bailey (which is the central criminal court of England & Wales) to see that life is indeed stranger (and sometimes a lot grimmer) than fiction.

See What’s on at Somerset House

Somerset House is the last of a string of riverside palaces that used to overlook the Thames. The gorgeous architecture is worth the visit alone, but Somerset House is so much more.

Somerset House London

Ice skating in the winter ice rink is one of London’s classic things to do in winter, while the Courtauld Gallery features brilliant Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works. Check the schedule – there’s always something on.

Read More: What you Need to Know Before you go to Somerset House

The Royal Observatory and Greenwich Meridian

Famously the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), a trip to the Royal Observatory and Greenwich Meridian is one of those things you have to do in London. The attraction offers a surprisingly interesting look at the history of the meridian, and the observatory’s Planetarium is a cool little spot too.

Climb to the top of The Monument

If you haven’t had The Monument on your London Bucket List, you should. I hear you – why would you go out of your way to see a monument? Well, The Monument was designed by Christopher Wren as a remembrance of the Great Fire of London that destroyed the city in 1666. But the real attraction is the views from the top – 360 degree views of London at its finest.

Step into History at Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall market is a strong contender for the title of London’s prettiest market. The gorgeous market, with its cast-iron ceiling might look familiar – it pops up as Diagon Alley in the much-loved Harry Potter films (psst – check out my Harry Potter London Guide) . The pretty arches house a selection of a few cool bars and restaurants including one of my favourite wine bars in London – Bedales.

A Ride down the Thames on a Thames Clipper

Riding down the River Thames on a Thames Clipper is one of those cool things to do in London that everyone should do at least once. Impressive as London looks from the riverbanks, it takes on a whole new aspect as you zip along by boat. Hop on at Putney and off at Canary Wharf for the full tour.

St Dunstan in the East

St Dunstan in the East

One of the few Blitz-bombed buildings still standing, St Dunstan in the East is now a public garden. Christopher Wren’s steeple still stands, but the main buildings were bombed – with just the outer walls standing. Visiting the ruins of an old bombed church? Certainly counts as one of the more unusual things to do in London.

Read More: St Dunstan in the East The City’s Hidden Gem

Take the Emirates Flight Over the Thames

The Emirates Air Line cable car is a fabulous way to see London from above. Located in North Greenwich, I’d recommend taking the return trip (there’s not a tonne to see on the other side apart from an exhibition centre). Be warned – it can be a bit wobbly – just don’t look down!

Visit Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace was the palace of Henry VIII (you know, divorced, beheaded, died dude). I’m not normally that bothered about visiting palaces but Hampton Court is gorgeous. Visit in the summer if you can, when you can explore the gorgeous gardens – tackle the famous maze if you dare.

Kensington Palace

London is so fancy it has not one but ten palaces. Buckingham Palace draws the crowds, as does the Tower of London but Kensington Palace deserves a look-in too. The Palace is the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (that’s Wills and Kate). Why not buy tickets, pop inside and have a nose?

See the Churchill War Rooms

The basement of the Treasury was converted into the War Rooms in 1938 and it was from here that Churchill held cabinet meetings and made operational decisions throughout the rest of his tenure as Prime Minister in World War II. Today, the rooms offer a fascinating glimpse into London during the wartime.

What to do in London: Museums & Galleries

The Science Museum

The Science Museum is a weird and wonderful dip into the things that make our minds boggle. The interactive exhibitions put it firmly on my list of fun things to do in London. The museum is free, but you have to pay to enter the special exhibitions.

Read More: The 30 Best Free Museums in London

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Can I just take a moment to say how much I love the Natural History Museum. Granted, some parts of it are more interesting than others, but there’s always something different to capture your imagination.W

hether it’s walking through the history of the dinosaurs, or the creation of the planet, it’s a world of endless wonder and discovery. Put it at the top of your London bucket list.

The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A)

I used to hate the Victoria & Albert Museum when I was a kid – these days I can’t get enough of it. The museum showcases art and design throughout the the ages, with fashion, photography, textile and furniture collections spread over its gargantuan buildings. Don’t miss the cool late night events either – they’re always great fun.

The Tate Modern

The Tate Modern sits in the buildings of the old Bankside Power Station – impossible to miss with its monolithic design on the South Bank of the Thames.

Tate Modern on the South Bank

Inside, you’ll find an intriguing (if I’m honest, sometimes downright weird) collection of contemporary art.

The Tate Britain

Contrary to popular opinion I’ve always loved the much-quieter Tate Britain to its contemporary counterpart down the river.

The Tate Britain’s collection should be on the London bucket list of every art-lover – there’s a whole wing dedicated to Turner as well as pieces by other British masters like Constable, Reynolds and Gainsborough.

The National Gallery

The iconic Neoclassical buildings of the National Gallery sit facing Trafalgar Square. Inside you’ll find one of the city’s (well, the world’s) best art collections. Impressive considering the gallery was only created in 1838. Highlights are numerous to list – but if you only see one thing, make it Boticelli’s striking Venus and Mars.

The National Portrait Gallery

Right next to the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery is a much more manageable affair – walking around it doesn’t make you feel like your legs are going to fall off for starters!

The collection is a who’s who of portraiture – highlights include portraits of Anne Boleyn, Queen Elizabeth, Thomas Cromwell and William Shakespeare.

The British Museum

Get your comfortable shoes on – the British Museum is a grandiose collection of over 80,000-strong exhibits. The kind of place that makes children weep with boredom (just 10-year old me?) it’s labyrinthine and totally fascinating.

British Museum, London

The British Museum has the largest collection of Egyption artifacts outside of Europe, not to mention treasures dating throughout the times and from all over the world since the Ancient Greeks.  

National Maritime Museum

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t that keen on visiting the National Maritime Museum until an Ansel Adams exhibition a few years ago – but it’s surprisingly fun. The museum charts the history of how the UK became such a powerful naval force, with scaled replica ships and accounts of key battles. It’s also home to one of my favourite annual exhibitions – the Astronomy Photographer of the Year.

Read More: Cool Things to do in Greenwich

London Transport Museum

Believe me when I say that the London Transport Museum is far more interesting than it sounds.

London Transport Museum
London Transport Museum

Tucked away in a corner of Covent Garden, the museum walks you through the history of London’s Transport – complete with tube (underground) carriages from the 1920s and buses you can pretend to drive.

Read More: Unmissable Things to do in Covent Garden

The Imperial War Museum London

Tucked away in Lambeth, the Imperial War Museum offers an insightful and sensitive look into conflicts from World War I onwards. Yes, there are the displays of armoured tanks and guns, but there are also the stories of the people involved – it’s an uncomfortable but compelling look at war throughout the past century.

Hang out at The Horniman Museum

The Horniman Museum

What is the Horniman Museum? Imagine if you took the Natural History Museum, shrank it down to about ¼ of its sized and moved it to leafy Forest Hill in South London and you’ll get the picture. Have a spare afternoon and wondering what to do in London? Head to the Horniman Museum…

Queen’s House

Hidden away in Greenwich, word about the gorgeous Queen’s House is starting to get out – so add it to your list of top things to do in London while you can. The former royal residence is decked out in full resplendence – and, on top of it all, houses a cool collection of artwork including the famous Queen Elizabeth Armada portrait.  

Sir John Soane’s Museum

Sir John Soane’s museum doesn’t make it onto many London tourist bucket lists, which is a shame as the museum is one of the capital’s quirkiest. The museum is located in three Georgian townhouses that were the former residence of architect Sir John Soane.

Soane’s vast collection of art and antiquities make for a fascinating trip. Once a month they light the museum up by candlelight – get there early, tickets go fast.

The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection isn’t one of London’s best-known museums, but it’s certainly one of its most interesting. Part art gallery, part museum, the building feels like someone’s rather grand and impressive home – of course if you could imagine having works by Velasquez, Titian, Rembrandt and Boucher in your home. Somehow I can’t quite do it.

The Wellcome Collection

Weird, wacky and ever so wonderful, the Wellcome Collection is a scientific museum in Euston.

Wellcome Collection
Wellcome Collection / Wikimedia

Interesting as the permanent collection is, it’s the ever-changing temporary exhibits that continue to make this one of those cool things to do in London. Forthcoming Smoke and Mirrors, which will examine the relationship between magic and psychology, promises to be an interesting one.

Design Museum

Before its recent reopening in High Street Kensington, The Design Museum was a little off the beaten track. Suddenly it’s become one of London’s hottest tickets. The museum follows the evolution of contemporary design, particularly its influence on our day to day life.

Sherlock Holmes Museum

Skip Madame Tussauds around the corner (try as I might, I just could not include it on this list, it’s just rubbish) and visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum instead.

Sherlock Holmes Museum

Holmes’ creator, Arthur Conan Doyle famously located Holmes’s HQ at 221b Baker Street. This museum, also on Baker Street, plunges you into the world of Victorian London and it’s famous (imaginary) sleuth.

Read More: 28 Brilliant and Funny Quotes about London

Museum of London

I couldn’t write a London bucket list without including the museum dedicated to showcasing the history of the city could I? The Museum of London walks you through London throughout the ages, from the Romans times right up to the modern day.

Leighton House Museum

Leighton House is the former home of Frederic, Lord Leighton – a Victorian artist. Leighton’s purpose-built studio-house is a cool little peek at the work of Leighton and his contemporaries. The decadent interiors are one of London’s hidden gems.

Head Back in Time at the Dennis Severs’ House  

Another former private house that transports you to the past, the Dennis Severs’ House is one of the more unusual things to do in London. The house-come-museum is the work of Dennis Severs – a wonderfully bizarre artist who created the house to replicate the lives of an 18th century family of Hugenot weavers. Sounds bizarre? It is. Compelling? Certainly.

  • The Geffrye Museum of the Home
  • The Royal Society of the Arts (RSA)

Cultural Experiences for Your London Bucket List

See a Play for £5 at Shakespeare’s Globe

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre

OK so the £5 tickets may involve you standing up for the duration of a whole play, but whichever ticket you plump for, you most certainly should see a play at Shakespeare’s Globe. Only question is which one?

Dr Johnson’s House

Tucked behind the back of Fleet Street, Dr Johnson’s House offers a fascinating glimpse into the life of Samuel Johnson. Johnson – most famous for compiling the first English Dictionary, was also a prolific writer and socialite. The museum shows how the dictionary was compiled, with a healthy dose of insight into life in the 18th century to go with.

Watch the Ballet (or the Opera) at the Royal Opera House

I’m going to put it out there and say that seeing a show at the Royal Opera House should go straight to your list of top things to do in London. The name’s a bit misleading – the Royal Opera House is, in fact, home to both the Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera and is pretty much the best place to see either performed in the capital.

See a Musical in the West End

I’m a firm believer that there’s a musical out there for everyone – even people who profess to hating musicals. Look, going to see a musical in the West End is on every London bucket list out there – don’t let that put you off. Buy some last-minute tickets and go and enjoy.

Street Art Hunting in Shoreditch

Street art in Shoreditch

Checking out the latest street art murals in hipster Shoreditch is one of those cool things to do in London that never gets old. Each time I visit, there’s an even richer variety of pieces adorning the walls, alleys and even the bins in this hub of creativity. Don’t miss it.

Read More: Cool Things to do in Shoreditch

Listen to Jazz in Ronnie Scotts

Ronnie Scott’s is a London jazz institution – some of the best jazz musicians in the world have been jamming down at Ronnie’s since it opened in 1959. The programme is eclectic and features both established greats and new voices – it’s the perfect night out in London.

Watch the Proms at Royal Albert Hall

The proms take place over eight weeks during late spring to early summer each year at the iconic Royal Albert Hall. The idea of a classical musical festival might not be to everyone’s tastes but you can’t help but get swept up in the pomp and circumstance of the fabulous concerts.

See the Urban Murals in Hawley Mews

Street art in Hawley Mews, Camden

You can find plenty of street art in Camden but the cute Hawley Mews is one of the area’s biggest concentrations of cool murals. Get Google Maps out or you’ll never find it – but you will be glad when you do.

Read More: Cool Things to do in Camden

Visit the British Library

The imposing architecture of the British Library never fails to impress. The British Library is an obvious entry for the London bucket lists for book-lovers, but even if you’re not you should check out the cool events held there. Plus, those buildings always merit a visit.

Take a Studio Tour at Pinewood

Pinewood Film Studios is where the magic happens. But seeing the studios is no easy task. They’re rarely open to the public – but they do do occasional (very cool) tours. Register on their site to be notified when the next one’s running.

Watch a Cricket Match at Lord’s

How do you feel about cricket? If it’s not your cup of tea, you’ll probably want to skip this. Your loss – watching a game of cricket at Lord’s is one of the quintessential London summer pastimes. Bring your strawberries and cream, and the champagne of course, and settle in to watch the classic game.

See a Play at The National Theatre

Architecture at the National Theatre, London
Architecture at the National Theatre, London

Oh, The National, how I love you. One of the iconic buildings on the Southbank, there are always cool plays on at The National. It’s not even that expensive to see them.  If you’ve failed to book ahead, you can try your hand at popping online on the day.

Read More: Quirky Things to do in London

Get Lost in a World of Literature at Daunt Books

London has more than its fair share of beautiful bookshops, but the original Daunt Books is Marylebone may well be the best of them all. The shop is a book-lover’s dream – shelf after shelf of difficult to find literature, along with current popular titles and classics. Don’t forget to grab one of the iconic green bags for your purchases either.

Attend one of the Free Lunchtime Concerts at St Martin in the Fields

St Martin in the Fields has a long-standing tradition of hosting some of the best classical music concerts in the capital – but tickets can get pricey. That’s why you should visit one of their brilliant lunchtime concerts, which are just as good, but free. Win win.

Walk “The Line” Contemporary Art Trail

London’s only contemporary art walk, The Line is a series of works set roughly along the lines of the meridian line in Greenwich. Despite being one of the coolest things to do in London, the Line is still relatively unknown. Works are dotted around, connected by a series of three short walks – you can do all three in an afternoon.

Marvel at the Brutalist Architecture of The Barbican Centre

Inside the Iconic Barbican Centre, London
Inside the Iconic Barbican Centre

Love it or hate it, there are few places like The Barbican complex. An impressive display of Brutalist architecture, the complex is a maze of concrete, brickwork and strong lines. At the heart of it all, sits the Barbican Centre, one of London’s best venues for theatre, music and art. There’s even a cool conservatory brimming with plants. For the record, I absolutely love it.

Go Shopping in Selfridges

London isn’t short on shopping options but when you want the best of the best, you go to Selfridge’s. The iconic London store was started in 1909 by Harry Selfridge and has been leading the flame of London’s fashion scene ever since.

  • See a Burlesque Show at Proud Cabaret
  • Go for a Movie Marathon or Singalong in Prince Charles’ Cinema
  • Take a Jack the Ripper Tour of the East End
  • Visit Keats’ House
  • Find London’s Banksy Pieces
  • Take in a Show at Wilton’s Music Hall

The Best Foodie Experiences for Your London Bucket List

Pick up a Picnic Hamper from Fortnum & Mason

Is there any food emporium so quintessentially British as Fortnum & Mason? I think not. This London institution has been providing quality treats for the table since it opened in 1707.

One of summer’s greatest pleasures is picking up a picnic hamper from Fortnums and decamping to Green Park, Hyde Park or St James’s to feast on its contents.

Afternoon Tea at The Ritz

Afternoon tea at The Ritz, London

Sitting amidst the pomp and glory of Piccadilly, The Ritz has been serving some of the best afternoon teas in London since it opened in in 1906. Yes, it’s expensive but sitting in the iconic Palm Court, nibbling on heavenly scones and sipping your tea is just one of those things that you have to do in London.

Treat Yourself at Bob Bob Ricard

Souffle at Bob Bob Ricard
Soufflé at Bob Bob Ricard

Is there anywhere more decadent than Bob Bob Ricard? This chic Anglo-Russian restaurant is a long-established London favourite for a blow out meal on the town. Snag yourself a booth – complete with a “press for champagne” button and get ready for a gastronomic treat.

Learn about London Gin at the City of London Distillery

The City of London Distillery is tucked down a flight of stairs on a small passage off the back of Fleet Street. Find it and you will discover some of London’s best gins.

The City of London Distillery, St Bride's Lane
The stills at the City of London Distillery

Want to go the whole hog? Book onto a tour to learn about the gin-making process, or make your own personalised gin.

Speakeasy at Callooh Callay

Callooh Callay- One of the best bars in Shoreditch, London

Callooh Callay was one of the forerunners of London’s speakeasy scene. This cool bar in Shoreditch is still one of my favourite cocktail spots in the city today. Plus, if you’re persistent enough, you may be granted entrance to their exclusive Palace of Humbug secret bar.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Afternoon Tea at One Aldwych

Bored of the standard afternoon teas? In steps the marvellous world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, faithfully recreated in afternoon tea form at One Aldwych. It’s absolutely fantabulous.

Tuck into Bagels from Beigel Bake

Beigel Bake, Brick Lane

Beigel Bake has so many things going for it. They make the best bagels in London, they’re affordable, their salt beef bagels are ridiculously good and they’re open 24 hours. It’s on Brick Lane and one of my favourite places in Shoreditch. Enjoy!

  • Late Night Eats at Duck & Waffle
  • Eat and Drink Your Way along Bermondsey Street
  • Cocktails at Franks in Peckham
  • Join the Cupcake and Instagram Madness at Peggy Porschen
  • Bond-Style Cocktails at Duke’s London
  • Cocktails in The Shard – Read my guide to the Best London Bridge Bars
  • Feast and Fizz at a Bottomless Brunch
  • Or… A Gin-Fuelled Afternoon Tea on a Routemaster Bus
  • Enter a World of Decadence at the Palm Vaults
  • Visit a Local Brewery at the Brixton Brewery
  • Dinner and Drinks in Sarastro
  • Head to a Ye Olde Worlde Pub – Like The Old Mitre
  • Dinner in a Tube at the Basement Restaurant
  • Step Back in Time at Cahoots Bar (though I’m not actually a huge fan as you can read in my review here)
  • Sunday Roast at The Ship Pub in Wandsworth
  • Drink Indie-Produced Beers and Ciders at The Southampton Arms
  • Bread Making at the Bread Ahead
  • Feast on Pakistani Food at Tayyabs in Whitechapel
  • Have some Proper Pie & Mash

Cool London Markets You Need to Visit

Visit Borough Market

Borough Market
Borough Market

Borough Market is the best-known of London’s ever-growing foodie markets. An impressive collection of independent traders and artisans, the market spills out into the courtyard during the weekends and is a feast for all foodies.

Go with plenty of cash and lots of bags for goodies to bring home with you. It’s also one of London’s best Christmas markets – bursting with gastronomic treats.

Read More: The Insider’s Guide to Visiting Borough Market

Feast at Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market burst onto London’s foodie scene less than ten years ago but has already established itself as one of the best food markets in London. Steak and chips, raclette, cupcakes, vegan hot dogs – you name it, you can find it.

Columbia Road Flower Market

The quirky environs of Columbia Road in Shoreditch burst into life on Sundays with the Columbia Road Flower Market. It’s hectic, smells wonderful and so much fun. I dare you to resist buying yourself a little treat.

Columbia Road Market, Shoreditch
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  • Explore the Alternative Scene at Camden Market
  • Ooze Hipster Cool at Broadway Market
  • Shopping in Spitalfields Market
  • New Covent Garden Flower Market
  • Petticoat Lane Market
  • Go Shopping on Leather Lane

Parks & Outdoor Spaces

See the Flowers at Kew Gardens

London’s largest UNESCO-heritage site, Kew Gardens has one of the most diverse botanical collections in the world. There’s always something new to discover – it’s large so be sure to spend the whole day exploring.

Hyde Park

If St James’s Park is my favourite Royal Park, Hyde Park comes a close second. The large park is the perfect place for a picnic (perhaps with a well-chosen hamper from Fortnum’s?). Watch the impassioned speeches at Speaker’s Corner, go for a lazy row on The Serpentine Lake and soak up one of London’s loveliest outdoor spaces.

Deer Spotting in Richmond Park

The Deer in Richmond Park
The Deer in Richmond Park / Shutterstock

Richmond Park is both a royal park and a national nature reserve. Set in leafy Richmond, the park is home to over 600 deer – a tradition that started in the 17th century. Hop on the train and set off for a walk around the park – it’s difficult to believe you’re still in a city.

Read More: Exploring Richmond Park – The Gorgeous Deer Park in London

  • Go for a Walk in Epping Forest
  • Hang Out with the Lovvies at Primrose Hill
  • Picnic on Clapham Common
  • Hunt the Dinosaurs in Crystal Palace
  • Watch the Wildlife in the Wetlands Centre
  • Visit the Peacocks & Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park
  • Learn about Herbology at the Chelsea Physic Garden

Active Things to do in London

Walk Over the O2 Arena

How does strapping yourself to a harness and climbing over the top of the O2 Arena in Greenwich sound? Urban mountaineering over an iconic London landmark sounds like exactly the kind of thing that needs to go on your London bucket list.

Go Swimming in the Hampstead Heath Ponds

You’re either the kind of person that’s into wild swimming… or you’re not. Swimming in the ponds at Hampstead Heath is a London classic. I’d advise you save it for summer unless you have a particularly masochistic streak.

Go Stand Up Paddleboarding on The Thames

Old father Thames is the beating heart of London – so why not see it from a different angle and go stand up paddleboarding along its waters? Active 360 run cool SUP adventures from Kew and Putney – time to test your balancing skills.

  • Swim in Brockwell Park Lido
  • Rowing the Serpentine in Hyde Park
  • Pretend You’re an Olympian at the London Aquatics Centre
  • Go Horse Riding on Wimbledon Common
  • Go Ape in Battersea Park

Non-Touristy Things to do in London

Walk Along Regent’s Canal

A peaceful stretch of water in central London? You might think that it sounds impossible but it really does exist. Regent’s Canal is hidden away in Paddington and runs to Camden – hop on a narrowboat and float upriver or take a leisurely walk to see a completely different side of London.

Read More: Exploring Little Venice, A Different Side of London

House of Minalima

House of Minalima
House of Minalima

Harry Potter fans, it’s time to get excited. The House of Minalima is a graphic shop come magical emporium dedicated to artworks based on the Harry Potter and the Fantastic Beasts series. Time to go and purchase your copy of the Quibbler? Totally.

Read More: Why You Need to Visit the House of Minalima

See the Impressive Conservatory at The Barbican

Want to take a peek at the second-largest conservatory in London? (The only acceptable answer to that is hell yes!).

Make your way to the concrete jungle that is The Barbican Centre and hunt out the conservatory. Brimming with tropical plants, the light-filled atrium is about to become one of your new favourite spots.

Read More: The Barbican Conservatory: How To Visit London’s Hidden Gem

  • Visit the Olympic Park Slide
  • Swing by Little Venice
  • Visit Alexandra Palace
  • Enjoy the Gothic Architecture at Strawberry Hill House
  • Visit the Spitalfields Urban City Farm Head to an Abandoned Tube Station – Aldwych on The Strand
  • Go Underground in the Mail Rail
  • Make Your Way Through the Abandoned Corridors in Euston

Cool Things to See in London: Just for Fun

Visit the Harry Potter Studio Tours

Great Hall - Dumbledore at High Table
Hi Dumbledore!

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you need to get to the Warner Bros Studio tours pronto. I’ll admit, this is one of my favourite spots – all of the sets and costumes from the films in one absolutely magical tour. Get your capes and wands at the ready – you won’t want to miss it.

Read More: Planning a Totally Magical Trip to the Harry Potter Studios

Visit Chinatown

Tucked into a small area of just three blocks, Chinatown packs a big punch with its hectic assembly of shops and restaurants. Unashamedly boisterous, there are actually some great Chinese restaurants here amidst the tourist-bait traps. It goes without saying that it’s also the place to celebrate Chinese New Year in the capital too.

Read More: The Insider’s Guide to Chinatown

Step into a World of Neon at God’s Own Junkyard

God's Own Junkyard Neon Museum Walthamstow

OMG. The first time I visited God’s Own Junkyard in Walthamstow it was like walking into a neon-fuelled dream. The junkyard is the personal collection of a third-generation neon signmaker Chris Bracey. Bracey’s curation of neon signs old and new is one of the quirkier things to see in London – go visit asap.

Immerse Yourself in the Crystal Maze

Tapping into a whole generation’s obsession with the electrifying Crystal Maze TV programme, The Crystal Maze live gives you the opportunity to take on the challenge of the maze. It’s SO MUCH FUN. From the moment you don your brightly-coloured bomber jacket, you immerse yourself in a world in which wits, stealth and agility reign supreme.

  • Hang out on Carnaby Street
  • Go Bowling at the All Star Lanes
  • Shop in Colourful Neal’s Yard
  • Spend an Afternoon in Notting Hill
  • Catch the Train for Hogwarts on Platform 9 ¾
  • Navigate Your Way around The Tube
  • Pit Your Wits against an Escape Room
  • Party all Night in Fabric

Whew, what a whopper. The ultimate London bucket list – over 150 things to do in London. Because if you are bored of London, you are truly bored of life…

London Tips: Read More

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