Don't know what to do in London? Check out 18 must-see tourist attractions and discover the main sights of the English capital

Attracting over 27 million people a year, London is the most visited city in Europe, thanks to its rich history and for being considered one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the planet. 

The destination offers a multitude of tours and attractions, such as museums, parks, iconic buildings and shopping, but we have selected 30 must-see places to visit in London. 

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Take advantage of the extraordinary free museums, see a musical in the West End, see cityscapes on the gigantic London Eye and take a boat ride on the River Thames. 

30 attractions to see in London

Big Ben 

Photo: Negative Space / Pexels

Big Ben is arguably London's most iconic attraction. Although the vast majority of tourists think that Big Ben is the Clock Tower, this denomination is not entirely accurate, as Big Ben is actually a huge 14-ton bell that is located inside the tower.

The most famous and punctual clock in the world is located in the Palace of Westminster, in a 106 meter high Gothic-style building on the banks of the River Thames. Big Ben is also surrounded by other tourist attractions in London, in a super charming and highly photogenic region.

Buckingham Palace 

Photo: Philipp Dase / shutterstock

The Palace has served as the official residence of the British Royal Family in London since 1837 and is currently the place of residence of Queen Elizabeth II. 

Buckingham Palace is surrounded by St. James's Park, Green Park and Buckingham Palace Garden, in one of the noblest areas of the city. The place also attracts many tourists thanks to the traditional changing of the guard that takes place in front of the palace gates.

London Eyes

Photo: Kiev.Victor / shutterstock

The gigantic Ferris wheel was built in the year 2000 to celebrate the start of the new millennium and has become one of London's new icons. At 135 meters tall, the London Eye was the largest Ferris wheel in the world until 2006, until it was surpassed by the Star of Nachang, in China.

The London Eye is made up of 32 glass cabins with a capacity for up to 25 people. The route offers impressive panoramic views of the city and takes approximately 30 minutes.

soho

Photo: antb / shutterstock

Soho is London's most popular nightlife spot. The neighborhood is considered the hub of the city's LGBTQ community, with plenty of gay and lesbian bars to check out after the sun goes down.

In addition to bars and clubs, Soho has several theaters, jazz bars and restaurants to explore, making it a cultural hotspot. The neighborhood has numerous offers of great restaurants, nightclubs, markets, shops and interesting and indispensable attractions on a trip to London.

Tower Bridge

Photo: RichardLey / Pixabay

Another iconic symbol of London, Tower Bridge is a movable bridge over the River Thames, located next to the Tower of London. Tower Bridge has served as the setting for numerous films such as 'The Diary of Bridget Jones', 'The Mummy Returns' and 'Sherlock Holmes'.

The bridge also houses a permanent exhibition space on the tower's history, called the Tower Bridge Experience.

China Town

Photo: BaldBoris / Wikimedia Commons

The charming Chinatown is characterized by its numerous Asian-themed shops and restaurants. This is considered one of the best places to shop in the city and is just a few meters from Piccadilly Circus in Soho. 

Gerrard Street and Shaftesbury Avenue are the main streets in Chinatown and the best places to buy souvenirs, electronics, Asian products and find restaurants. The neighborhood that began in the 50s with few stores managed by immigrants from Hong Kong, today is an authentic piece of China in the heart of the English capital.

Hyde Park 

Photo: I Wei Huang / shutterstock

Hyde Park is probably the most used green area by the British in London. The park has been the scene of several protests, political debates and performances by famous artists from the English capital. 

The park is also home to a number of interesting attractions such as the memorial in honor of Princess Diana, the Holocaust Memorial, as well as the statues and gardens.

Camden

Photo: Will Rodrigues / shutterstock

Camden is a well-known cultural district in North London. Known for its alternative culture, the neighborhood has a vibrant community of body changers and you'll find numerous piercing and tattoo shops in this part of town.

Be sure to visit Camden Market, an eclectic and diverse space with international street food. The market has several stalls selling vintage clothes, used books, records, decorative objects, works of art and souvenirs.

St. Paul's Cathedral 

London tourist attractions

London must-see attractions. Photo: T_Zoli / Pixabay

With more than 1400 years of history, St. Paul's Cathedral was the first Christian church in England, and stands out for its architecture, rich library and priceless works of art.

This, once considered the largest and tallest church in the world, has 7 chapels inside, a crypt where important personalities of British history are buried and majestic halls, which can be visited on a guided tour.

London Tower

London tourist attractions

London must-see attractions. Photo: John Nail / Pexels

The Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror from 1070 onwards. The site has the status of a World Heritage Site and its fortresses served to protect the city for years. 

The place has also been used as a royal palace, as well as a famous prison, where some famous characters were imprisoned.

Oxford Street 

London Tourist Attractions. Photo: elenaburn / shutterstock

The famous and traditional Oxford Street in London attracts tourists from all over the world. A major avenue in the Westminster area and the city's busiest shopping street Oxford Street is over 2km long with over 500 shops to suit all tastes.

These are stores like Michael Kors, HMV, Topshop, Nike, GAP, Benetton, Hobbs, Reiss, Uniqlo, Calvin Klein, Guess, H&M and Zara.

London Natural History Museum 

London must-see attractions. Photo: Disclosure

The Natural History Museum in London houses the most important natural history collection in the world. As well as being one of the most visited attractions in the UK, receiving nearly 5 million visitors a year, it is also a renowned center for scientific research. 

Royal Albert Hall 

London's top sights

London must-see attractions. Photo: Colin / Wikimedia Commons

The Royal Albert Hall in London is a venue that hosts some of the city's top concerts and performances. The concert hall is close to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, and has a capacity of 6,000 people. 

Watch a Musical in the West End 

London's top sights

London must-see attractions. Photo: Disclosure

The West End is an area of central London compared to New York's Broadway. The place brings together about 40 theaters and concert halls where the best in commercial theatrical shows in the world are shown. 

Piccadilly Circus

London tourist attractions

London Tourist Attractions. Photo: Jimmy Baikovicius / Wikimedia Commons

Piccadilly Circus is one of the busiest areas of the city. The square full of bright lights and large electronic screens has been a bustling London spot since the 17th century, when it was a shopping mall.

Today, the heart of the West End is home to one of London's biggest theaters and nightclubs, including the Criterion Theatre. The Statue of Eros, at the center of the circus, is a popular meeting place and tourist destination.

Platform 9 ¾

London tourist attractions

London must-see attractions. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

King's Cross is one of the open train stations since it serves much of the country. In addition to travelers, the place also receives numerous tourists to take a photo at the famous station that Harry Potter uses to travel to Hogwarts, also known as Platform 9 ¾.

westminster 

London's top sights

London's main tourist attractions. Photo: Lukasz Pajor / shutterstock

Westminster is considered the political center of London and is home to the Houses of Parliament and the world famous Big Ben. 

You can also find Westminster Abbey, which is open to the public most days. 

When visiting these landmarks, take a break in Parliament Square, which features statues of important political individuals including Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill.

Baker Street

London's top sights

London's main tourist attractions. Photo: Yuri Turkov / shutterstock

One of London's cultural highlights is Baker Street, better known as the street on which Arthur Conan Doyle's infamous Sherlock Holmes detective lived. The street has a museum dedicated to the stories of Sherlock Holmes and a statue of the same.

Cruise on the River Thames

London's top sights

London's main tourist attractions. Photo: SF / shutterstock

There are several companies in London that offer boat trips on the River Thames. Cruises regularly run every 30 minutes, departing from several important riverside locations.

During the tour, the boats pass several important London sights, including Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. 

Some cruises take place at night so you can see all the sights lit up, while others are served with an afternoon meal or tea.

National Gallery

London tourist attractions

London Tourist Attractions. Photo: Rudolf Schuba / Wikimedia Commons

The UK's largest art gallery, the National Gallery houses over 2300 works by European artists from the 13th to the early 20th century. 

Located in Trafalgar Square, London's main square, the National Gallery is one of the most visited attractions in the UK, second only to the British Museum and Tate Modern in visitor numbers per year.

Hampstead Heath

London's top sights

London's main tourist attractions. Photo: I Wei Huang / shutterstock

Hampstead Heath is one of London's largest parks, covering nearly 790 acres. The park is situated at the top of one of the highest points in London, offering great views of the city from Parliament Hill. 

Abbey Road

London tourist attractions

London Tourist Attractions. Photo: Misterweiss / Wikimedia Commons

Abbey Road, the street on which the Beatles took their famous photo crossing the crosswalks, is in the residential neighborhood of St John's Wood. The photo was taken on August 8, 1969, in front of the studio where the band was recording the Abbey Road album, the former EMI Studios.

To get there by subway, take the Jubilee (grey) line and follow the station with the same name as the neighborhood, one after Baker Street.

Borough Market

London's top sights

London's main tourist attractions. Photo: Disclosure

A visit to Borough Market is an unmissable program for lovers of cuisine and gastronomy. This is the oldest produce market in London, operating since the 13th century. 

British Museum

London tourist attractions

London Tourist Attractions. Photo: Gian Cornachini / Flickr

Founded in 1753, the British Museum was the world's first public national museum. The site receives an average of 6 million visitors a year, making it the most visited attraction in the UK. The collection is distributed in different wings, separated according to geographic areas, among them – Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Rome, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas.

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

London's top sights

London's main tourist attractions. Photo: Magnus Manske / Wikimedia Commons

With over 250 life-size wax statues of celebrities, London's wax museum is the oldest on the planet. The dolls are separated by interactive zones that allow guests to take selfies with celebrities, athletes, famous artists and even members of the royal family!

Sky Garden

London tourist attractions

London Tourist Attractions. Photo: Colin / Wikimedia Commons

Located on Fenchurch Street, Sky Garden is a conservatory located on the top floor of a building in the City of London, with fantastic views of the city, with free entry!

As it is a very popular attraction, anyone who wants to go there on a specific date and at those times must book as much as three weeks in advance.

Millennium Bridge

London's top sights

London's main tourist attractions. Photo: Mike Peel / Wikimedia Commons

The Millennium Bridge is a bridge famous for its futuristic design and architecture. The bridge has had a supporting role in the Harry Potter films. On one side of the bridge is St Paul's Cathedral; on the other, Tate Modern.

Warner Bros Studios Harry Potter

London tourist attractions

London Tourist Attractions. Photo: Disclosure

After the success of the Harry Potter franchise, it is difficult to talk about tourism in London and not mention the famous wizard books. In addition to the locations that served as the setting for the films, fans of the saga can also visit the Warner Bros. studios where the Harry Potter films were filmed. It's an unforgettable visit for fans of the wizard.

Shard

London's main tourist attractions. photo: needpix

This is a relatively new London tourist spot. This is the largest building in Western Europe. You can visit it for a 360 degree view of the British capital, dine in one of its restaurants or just admire it from a distance.

Tate Modern

London tourist attractions

London Tourist Attractions. Fotol: Wikimedia Commons

The modern art museum is part of the Tate group, a group of four art galleries. The Tate Modern has free admission and is located on the banks of the River Thames, facing the Millennium Bridge.

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