Given that I work in London, I tend to take the city for granted. So I’ve decided to draw up a London bucket list to make sure that I actually do more things in the city!
There are hundreds of tourist attractions in London, so here is my small pick of the ones I’d like to try the most!
1) Ride in the London Eye ✔
The London Eye is one of the most iconic sights in London – be sure to pre-book your trip and hope for good weather!
2) Visit the inside of Buckingham Palace & see the changing of the guard ✔
I’ve visited Buckingham Palace many times and seen the changing of the guard. However I didn’t ever visit the inside until last year – it was amazing and you can read all about it here.
3) Do a tour of the Tower of London ✔
The Tower of London is another sight that I hadn’t managed to see inside until very recently – we did a twilight tour and it was great! The Beefeaters tell brilliant stories and there is plenty to see inside! The Beefeater showing us around was from Chelmsford – so obviously we had a lot of Essex banter!
4) Take a cruise down the River Thames ✔
Whilst the river isn’t the prettiest (unless you like murky green water), there are plenty of attractions to see along the river and this is the perfect thing to do on a sunny day! Read all about my experience here.
5) Take in the views from the Sky Garden
Take a trip up to the Sky Garden (it’s free!) for unrivalled views across London – but be sure to book your time slot in advance! There’s also a bar and a restaurant!
6) Take in the more expensive views from the Shard
The views that you’re more likely to have heard of are from the Shard. A rather controversial building (my boyfriend hates it and says it looks unfinished… he’s a bore). I’ve never been to the Sky Garden or the Shard but I’m swaying towards the Sky Garden… just because it’s free!
7) Climb the O2 Arena
You can now climb/walk across the top of the O2 Arena! Imagine doing this while the sun sets – perfect!
8) Visit inside St Paul’s Cathedral
I love a good Cathedral, so how have I not been inside St Paul’s Cathedral? Probably because it’s expensive! If the UK had as many free-entry beautiful cathedrals as the rest of Europe, I’d be one happy girl.
9) Hear the chimes of Big Ben ✔
Everyone needs to go and see Big Ben (and the surrounding area!), get their infamous Big Ben selfie and hear the chimes – they happen on the hour every hour if you’re wondering.
10) Hire a Boris bike for the day
A “boris bike” is the affectionate Londoner term for the Santander cycles you see throughout the city – simply pay, cycle and then plug the bike back in a the closest bike bank to your destination. A cheap way to get around the city quickly but be warned – the roads of London can be crazy and we don’t have many cycle lanes!
11) Visit Windsor Castle and get the iconic “long walk” photo
This is probably at the top of my list of things to do right now – Windsor Castle looks incredible and is only a short train ride out of London to picturesque Windsor!
12) Visit the Houses of Parliament
This is something I will be doing in November as my qualification’s ceremony is held inside the Houses of Parliament – AMAZING!
13) Get the iconic Abbey Road photo
Heard of The Beatles? Of course you have. So head over to Abbey Road and get that iconic photo!
14) Explore Kensington Palace
Can I wander the halls pretending to be Kate Middleton? You can call me the Duchess of Cambridge from now on…. a girl can dream!
15) Roam around getting camera happy at Kew Gardens
When the city is filled with hustle and bustle, it’s nice to escape to the peace and quiet. There are plenty of parks to choose from in the city, but Kew Gardens is at the top of my list of green places to see right now!
16) Take in the views from Primrose Hill
Located in regent’s park, if you want somewhere peaceful but closer to the city centre than Kew Gardens (see above), then Primrose Hill is the one for you!
17) Go pretend house shopping in Notting Hill / Chelsea / Kensington
With rows and rows of gorgeous houses, what better place to go pretend house shopping?! Get a few #DoorsOfInstagram pictures while you’re at it! 😉
18) Visit Nelson in Trafalgar Square ✔
Nelson’s Column stands tall in Trafalgar Square to commemorate Admiral Nelson. On the few days that we get sun in London, I’ve been known to sit by the fountains absorbing the sun on my lunch breaks.
19) Stroll around embankment at night ✔
One of my favourite areas of London is Embankment, especially at night. Walk across the bridges taking in the views of Big Ben, Parliament, The London Eye and London Bridge, all lit up and looking beautiful!
1) Visit Platform 9 and 3/4 ✔
Located inside Kings Cross station, make sure you take the time to pretend you’re a wizard but beware of long queues!
2) Walk across Millennium Bridge – hopefully with fewer dementors! ✔
Any of the bridges on the River Thames are great to stroll across and enjoy the views. However, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, this is the bridge you’ll be the biggest fan of!
3) Visit the reptile house at London Zoo (although I won’t try talking to the snakes) ✔
The famous snake scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was filmed inside the reptile house inside London Zoo – take a peek inside if you’re brave enough!
4) Visit Leadenhall Market
Leadenhall Market was apparently used as Diagon Alley in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan, this is a beautiful Victorian market building and should be worth a visit!
5) Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studios ✔
Located 20 miles North-West of central London, you’ll find the Warner Brothers Harry Potter Studios. While it’s not in walking distance/a quick hop on the tube like the rest of the items on this list – if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you need to check out the Studios!
Most of the museums in London are free! Yipee! Therefore they make a really great day out if you want some culture but don’t want to take out a mortgage (because let’s face it, London is a pretty expensive city!). However, be warned, because they are free, they are often very busy on weekends and school holidays.
1) Get up close and personal with the dinosaurs at the history museum ✔
You’ve probably seen the iconic photos of the T-Rex towering in the main entrance hall, why not go see him? I’m sure he won’t bite! This is one of my favourite museums in London and for good reason!
2) Explore the interactive exhibitions at the Science Museum ✔
If you’re visiting London with kids and want to visit a Museum, the Science Museum is the one for you! I haven’t been for a few years, but can remember so many interactive activities and kids loving every minute!
3) Marvel at the costumes at the V&A Museum ✔
As a former textiles and design student, it’s safe to say that I have spent a lot of time exploring the costumes and clothing at the V&A Museum and it is definitely worth a visit!
4) See the Egyptian mummies at the British Museum
I have actually visited the British Museum before, but I was very young and we were mainly using the building to escape the rain while we were on our way to our actual destination – I I’d love to go back, especially to see the Egyptian mummies.
5) Release my inner history buff a the Churchill War Rooms
There’s no hiding the fact that I am a bit of a history nerd – it’s what I should have been studying at university before I decided not to go. I’d love to explore the Churchill War Rooms – everyone who has been raves so highly about it! (FYI – this one isn’t free!)
6) Bask in the beauty of the Courtauld Gallery
I’m not a real art fan. There, I said it. So gallery’s tend to bore me a little bit – but the Courauld Gallery is in such a beautiful building that I’d enjoy just admiring the outside. Although apparently the inside is a real treat too!
London is definitely somewhere that you will never be bored! These are my top picks of things to do to keep yourself entertained (if the range of tourist sights aren’t enough to fill your time here!)
1) See a West End Show ✔
Living so close to London, I take the range of shows on offer in London for granted and almost forget that other UK cities don’t have half the range of entertainment that London has on offer!
My absolute favourite West End show is Wicked! However, I’ve also seen The Lion King, Matilda, War Horse (now ended), Women In Black (twice!) and all were great! Be sure to check the internet for late minute cheap tickets and don’t be scared by “restricted view” seating – I’ve never had any issues.
2) Watch a play at Shakespeare’s Globe
After studying King Lear at school in such detail, I’d love to see it performed on the traditional Shakespearean theatre stage. I’m not sure how much I’d be able to remember nowadays though (sorry Miss Chiv!)
3) Watch a football match at Wembley Stadium ✔
Despite the fact that this is a fairly new stadium, Wembley Stadium has become an iconic London Stadium in no time at all! I recently won tickets to see a friendly football match between London and Holland with my boyfriend and can confirm that you don’t have to be a massive football fan to enjoy it. I’ve also seen a few bands play here and it’s a great atmosphere if you like big venues!
4) See an “indie” gig at one of the many intimate awesome venues ✔
From the large Wembley Stadium to the teeny tiny intimate venues of London, we have it all! There’s nothing better than seeing a local band at a small venue and really feeling really up close and personal with the performers.
5) See your favourite band at the O2 Arena ✔
Another great venue is the O2! I’ve seen many bands here and will continue to see many more in the upcoming years. My favourites being Biffy Clyro, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Foo Fighters, Coldplay & Adele (my massive girl crush of the moment).
6) Visit a comedy club for some cheap laughs!
There are plenty of comedy clubs scattered through London and all provide a great night out. Be sure to look out for “work in progress shows”, these are the shows that big name comedians do to test out their material and tickets are a fraction of the actual tour ticket prices.
7) Watch a tennis match at Wimbledon
Enough said really. This is an iconic day out – get me some strawberries and cream already!
8) Be amused by the street entertainers in Covent Garden ✔
I work in Covent Garden, so often get to see the street entertainers in full force – another very busy area during school holidays! But a great way to keep yourself entertained for free!
9) Go to a film premiere in Leicester Square
Just down the road from Covent Garden is Leicester Square – try and visit on a premiere night to spot some celebrities and get a taste of the glamorous life!
10) Try an “Escape Room” ✔
This is a phenomenon that is currently sweeping the world – I’ve seen escape rooms in so many cities now! I did one with London Escape Entertainment and would highly recommend.
11) See a show at the Royal Opera House
Whilst I’m not a huge Opera, classical music or ballet fan, there’s something really special about seeing hugely talented individuals performing in this world class venue.
I eat a lot of food. That’s an understatement. But I tend to stick to a lot of the chain restaurants near my work for a quick lunch-time meal. Here are a few places I would love to try!
1) Eat a curry on Brick Lane
I am a huge fan of Indian food. I mean, a HUGE fan. I’ve heard so many people talk highly of the curry houses on Brick Lane and now I’m absolutely dying to go!
2) Visit Clos Maggiore
Located in Covent Garden, Clos Maggiore is known as the most romantic restaurant in London – the flower covered ceiling is very Instagram worthy, surely that’s a reason to visit in itself!
3) Have Afternoon Tea at a fancy restaurant ✔
I’ve had afternoon tea many many times now, who doesn’t love sandwiches and cake? Free-flowing champagne is usually also an option! The next afternoon tea I want to try is the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at the Sanderson Hotel.
4) Have a picnic in one of the many parks ✔
Whilst London is a bustling city, there are plenty of green spaces and areas to relax – grab a picnic and head to the nearest park on a sunny day for a great afternoon!
5) Buy food at Borough Market ✔
Borough market is the ultimate food destination in London in my eyes! Think British meats, local wines, dairy, fresh fruits, vegetables and baked goods galore!
6) Eat authentic Chinese food in China town
London’s China Town isn’t the biggest in the world, but the food is to die for! I often walk past drooling at the smell!
7) Visit Mister Lasagna
This is a new restaurant in London that maybe isn’t on many people’s radars yet. London has lots of “quirky” eats to choose from, so I thought I should include one! Mr Lasagna specialises in yep… you guessed it… Lasagne. In fact,the only main meals they have on option are lasagne – TWENTY different types to be accurate!
If you can’t pick what lasagne to have, you can select 3 smaller portions for around £8 or £9 – bargain!
When I’m on a city break, I don’t tend to do any shopping as I want to go and explore the city, however, as I live in such close proximity to London and it has some iconic shopping areas, it would be rude not to visit!
1) Explore Camden Markets ✔
There are plenty of markets to choose from in London, but Camden is definitely my favourite area. You’ll find all kinds of weird and wonderful treats here – and delicious street food! Although, I’d love to go to Portobello Markets too!
2) Shop on Regent’s Street ✔
The famously beautiful curve of Regent’s Street is filled with high-end stores. The perfect place to go window shopping!
3) Soldier through the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street ✔
Oxford Street has a lot more high-street options in comparison to Regent’s Street but it can be unbearably busy! I love Oxford Street at Christmas time. Christmas lights make everywhere much more appealing for me *stares longingly into the distance*
4) Visit all of the major department stores – Selfridges, Harrods, Harvey Nichols & Liberty! ✔
You’ve heard of Macy’s and Bloomingdales in New York, it would be wrong not to give the same appreciation to the London counterparts. Selfridges is my favourite – I often visit as it’s not too far from work and in my opinion has the greatest range of products/brands. However I really want to spend more time in Liberty!
If there’s one time you need to visit London, it’s Winter! Although, be warned, it gets VERY cold.
1) Visit Winter Wonderland ✔
Winter Wonderland is a huge Winter set-up in Hyde Park. Think Christmas markets, theme park rides, ice bars, a circus, Christmas lights, mulled wine, etc etc!
2) Skate on the ice-rink at Somerset House
Probably one of the most picturesque things to do in London during Winter – I just need to get over my fear of ice skating first!
3) See the New Year’s Eve fireworks from Alexandra Palace
You’re probably wondering why I chose Alexandra Palace… I think this is a beautiful area of London and I’d love to be up on that hill with a view over the rest of London!
4) Be at the River Thames for the New Year’s Eve fireworks
Now for the more traditional place to view the classic New Year’s Eve fireworks – right by the river! I’d love to do it once. But have heard many horror stories of being very cramped and queues for the grimy toilets that are hours long!
5) Go on a Christmas lights hunt ✔
During the Winter months, you can’t go too far without stumbling across some Christmas lights. Covent Garden is one of my favourite areas at this time of year.
Tourist Attractions – 7/19
Harry Potter – 4/5
Museums – 3/6
Entertainment – 6/11
Food – 3/7
Shopping – 4/4
Winter Activities – 2/5
Total Score – 29/57
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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