Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament at night in London, UK

23 Things to Do in London: Iconic Sights & Hidden Gems

Table of Contents

Imagine a city that marries the old with the new, a city where every corner boasts of a rich and profound history yet is vibrantly alive with contemporary culture. A city that offers both the serenity of expansive green parks and the frenetic pulse of world-class business hubs. Welcome to London, the city that has it all. London is a labyrinth of remarkable experiences waiting to be discovered. The city unfolds like a fascinating book, with each chapter revealing an intriguing story that captivates the hearts of its readers.

Whether you are a history enthusiast captivated by the tales of royal dynasties, a foodie in search of the most authentic fish and chips, a fan of the arts admiring the grandeur of performances in centuries-old theaters, or a free-spirited traveler exploring the city’s hidden gems, London has something for everyone. The city’s iconic landmarks are globally renowned. However, it’s often the lesser-known secrets that reveal London’s true charm. This guide aims to give you the best of both worlds – a blend of the most famous sights and unique experiences that lie beyond the typical tourist trails. Below, we have curated 23 remarkable things to do in London.

1. Visit The British Museum

The British Museum in London, UK

Steeped in the heart of London stands a treasure trove of human history and culture – The British Museum. Established in 1753, this museum was the first public institution of its kind in the world. Over the centuries, it has opened its doors to countless visitors eager to immerse themselves in the world’s history.

As you step into its grand entrance, you’ll find yourself journeying back in time through its vast collection of over eight million works, covering over two million years of history. Every artifact, from the Rosetta Stone that helped decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics, to the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, tells a unique story about human civilization.

One of the museum’s key attractions is the Egyptian collection, which is one of the largest outside Cairo. It boasts the iconic mummies, statues of pharaohs, and the mesmerizing bust of Rameses II. From there, you can travel to the ancient world of Greece and Rome, admire the intricate details of Chinese ceramics, or immerse yourself in the fascinating cultures of Africa and Oceania. The museum truly is a celebration of global heritage, and a visit here is a journey around the world and through time.

Every room in the British Museum tells a tale, from epic stories of dynastic power to intimate tales of daily life. It’s not just a place for viewing artifacts; it’s a space where history comes alive.

Voyagix Tips

For an optimal visit to The British Museum, consider these tips:

  • Plan Your Visit: With so much to see, planning your visit can help you focus on areas that interest you the most. The museum’s website ( offers a wealth of information about its collections.
  • Join a Guided Tour: To make the most of your visit, consider joining a guided tour. These tours delve into the history of the artifacts and offer insights that you might miss exploring on your own.
  • Visit at Off-Peak Times: The museum can get busy, particularly during weekends and school holidays. Try to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon during weekdays to avoid crowds.
  • Don’t Miss the Temporary Exhibitions: The British Museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions that delve deep into specific topics or cultures. Make sure to check what’s on during your visit.

Whether you’re a history buff, a culture enthusiast, or just curious about the world’s past, The British Museum offers an unrivaled, immersive journey through human history. A visit here isn’t just a thing to do; it’s an experience to remember.

2. Walk Along the River Thames

Famous Big Ben with bridge over Thames and tourboat on the river in London, England, UK

Imagine taking a peaceful stroll, a cool breeze brushing past you as you gaze upon the impressive London skyline, the historic architecture, and the vibrant urban life, all mirrored in the tranquil waters of the River Thames. A walk along the river, the longest in England and the lifeblood of London, offers not only breathtaking views of the city, but also an intimate look at its soul.

Stretching over 215 miles, the Thames has played a pivotal role in shaping London’s history. Walking along its banks, you’ll witness a tapestry of stories unfold. Each iconic landmark you pass – from the Houses of Parliament and the Tower Bridge to the London Eye and The Shard – whispers tales of the city’s storied past and its aspirational future.

As you stroll along the South Bank, you’ll find yourself amidst the city’s thriving cultural heart. Here, you’ll encounter a host of vibrant attractions, including the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and the National Theatre. You’ll also find a variety of street performers, adding a lively soundtrack to your walk.

But it’s not all hustle and bustle. The river’s quieter stretches provide an oasis of calm within the city. Discover secret gardens, historic pubs, and serene parks tucked away from the crowds, offering perfect spots for a riverside picnic or a moment of quiet reflection.

Voyagix Tips

For a memorable experience walking along the River Thames, consider these tips:

  • Choose Your Route: The Thames Path National Trail covers 184 miles of the river. Choose a section to explore based on your interests and available time. The National Trail website offers detailed maps and route descriptions.
  • Time Your Walk: For stunning views, time your walk during sunrise or sunset. The way the light plays off the water and illuminates the city is truly magical.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: Some parts of the path may be uneven or cobblestoned, so make sure to wear comfortable footwear.
  • Check for Events: The South Bank is known for its cultural events. Check the South Bank London website to see if there’s anything happening during your visit.

A walk along the River Thames is more than just a pleasant activity; it’s an unforgettable journey through the heart of London. The river’s gentle flow, the architectural marvels, the cultural hotspots, and the hidden gems create a symphony of experiences that echo the city’s incredible diversity and vitality.

3. Explore The Tower of London

View of the Tower of London, England, from the River Thames.

In the heart of London, on the north bank of the River Thames, stands an imposing fortress with a history as rich and complex as the city itself. Welcome to the Tower of London, a place where history breathes from every stone. Stepping into this historic castle is like stepping back in time, plunging into a world of intrigue, power, and treachery.

The Tower, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest. Over its nearly 1,000-year history, the castle has served various purposes. It has been a royal palace, a prison, a treasury, a menagerie, and even a Royal Mint. Today, it’s one of the world’s most visited historic sites, inviting you to uncover its many tales.

Get up close to the Crown Jewels, an awe-inspiring collection of royal regalia steeped in history and symbolism. Marvel at the White Tower, a striking example of Norman military architecture. And wander through the Medieval Palace, where you can imagine the lives of past kings and queens. You can also experience the centuries-old tradition of the Ceremony of the Keys, a nightly ritual that has taken place every night for over 700 years.

But it’s not just about the buildings and treasures. The Tower’s infamous past as a place of execution and imprisonment adds an eerie resonance. Hear tales of the prisoners who met their tragic ends within its walls and feel the chill as you pass Traitors’ Gate.

Voyagix Tips

For a rewarding visit to the Tower of London, consider these tips:

  • Book in Advance: The Tower is a popular attraction. Avoid queues by booking your tickets online on the official website.
  • Join a Yeoman Warder Tour: For a deeper understanding of the Tower’s history, join a tour led by the Yeoman Warders (or ‘Beefeaters’). These tours are included with your admission ticket.
  • Plan Your Visit: There’s a lot to see at the Tower. Plan at least 3 hours for your visit to make the most of the experience.
  • Visit the Crown Jewels Early: The Crown Jewels are a top attraction and can get busy. Try to visit them first thing to beat the crowds.

The Tower of London is not just a landmark, it’s a time capsule that takes you on a journey through centuries of captivating history. Whether you’re interested in royalty, history, or just want to discover one of London’s most iconic sights, a visit to the Tower is a must.

4. Discover Shoreditch’s Street Art

Shoreditch Street Art in London

If you’re looking to step off the beaten path and witness the raw, vibrant culture of London, then the bustling neighborhood of Shoreditch is your destination. Known for its edgy vibes, creative spirit, and mesmerizing street art, Shoreditch is a captivating tapestry of London’s contemporary scene.

Walking through Shoreditch is like wandering through an open-air gallery. Its streets, lined with buildings adorned in a colorful array of murals and graffiti, are a testament to the area’s rich artistic heritage. Renowned artists such as Banksy, ROA, and Stik have all left their unique marks here, transforming the neighborhood into a dynamic canvas that reflects the city’s pulse.

Start your exploration at Brick Lane, famous for its ever-changing graffiti and stencil-based work. The murals here tell stories of society, politics, and humor, ensuring a fascinating walk. Don’t miss the Truman Brewery, a creative hub hosting shops, markets, bars, and restaurants. Continue to explore side streets and alleyways like Hanbury Street, where large-scale pieces turn buildings into artworks.

What makes Shoreditch’s street art so enchanting is its transient nature. The landscape constantly evolves, with new pieces appearing overnight, ensuring there’s always something fresh and intriguing to discover. It’s a space where art thrives and speaks volumes about London’s cultural diversity and creative freedom.

Voyagix Tips

For an enriching experience exploring Shoreditch’s street art, consider these tips:

  • Take a Guided Tour: Join a guided tour to gain deeper insights into the artists and their works. Companies like Shoreditch Street Art Tours offer expert-led walks.
  • Time Your Visit: The streets of Shoreditch are less crowded during mornings, providing a more relaxed exploration.
  • Respect the Art: Remember these artworks are valued pieces of the community. Avoid touching or vandalizing them.
  • Explore Nearby Attractions: While in Shoreditch, check out the vintage shops, indie boutiques, and culinary delights the area offers.

Immersing yourself in Shoreditch’s street art offers a unique way to connect with London’s vibrant and diverse culture. Every wall, every mural, every spray-painted stencil in this neighborhood echoes the city’s creative spirit, making Shoreditch a must-visit for art enthusiasts and culture vultures alike.

5. Enjoy a Show at The Globe Theatre

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London, UK

Prepare to be enchanted by the magic of the bard’s tales at the Shakespeare’s Globe. Nestled along the River Thames, this remarkable reconstruction of the original Elizabethan playhouse offers an immersive experience that transports you back to the era of William Shakespeare.

Completed in 1997, the theatre stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Shakespeare. Built using traditional materials and techniques, the Globe offers an authentic peek into the world that shaped and was shaped by some of the finest plays ever written. Whether it’s the dramatic “Romeo and Juliet”, the comedic “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, or the tragic “Hamlet”, seeing a performance here is an unforgettable experience.

As you take your place among the ‘groundlings’ or sit in the gallery, you’ll be struck by the unique layout of the open-air theatre. Designed to foster a close connection between the actors and the audience, the experience is intimate, powerful, and raw. It’s easy to see how the playhouse’s dynamic energy fuelled the creativity of the Renaissance era.

But the Globe isn’t just about performances. It’s also an educational hub, providing a wealth of information about Shakespeare and the theatre’s history. The Exhibition & Tour gives you an in-depth look at Elizabethan stagecraft, Shakespeare’s London, and the Globe’s intriguing journey from 1599 to today.

Voyagix Tips

For an unforgettable visit to Shakespeare’s Globe, consider these tips:

  • Book in Advance: Plays are highly popular. To secure your spot, book your tickets early on the official website.
  • Prepare for the Weather: The theatre is open-air. Check the forecast and dress accordingly.
  • Take a Guided Tour: Join the Exhibition & Tour to learn about the theatre’s history and Shakespeare’s impact on literature and culture.
  • Experience as a Groundling: For a truly authentic experience, opt for a ‘groundling’ ticket and watch the play standing up, just as the commoners did in Shakespeare’s time.

Stepping into Shakespeare’s Globe is stepping into a world of poetic language, human emotion, and historical authenticity. Whether you’re a lover of literature, history, or theatre, this iconic venue is a place where you can indulge in the timeless magic of Shakespeare’s plays and experience the essence of Elizabethan drama.

6. Visit Columbia Road Flower Market

Statice flowers on a stall in Columbia Road Flower Market in London, England, UK. Statice also known as limonium, latifolia and sea lavender.

Immerse yourself in the local charm and colour of London by venturing to the vibrant Columbia Road Flower Market. Nestled in East London, this bustling market transforms the quiet street into a botanical paradise every Sunday, offering a sensory experience unlike any other in the city.

The flower market dates back to the 19th century and has blossomed over the years into an integral part of London’s culture. From the moment you step onto Columbia Road, you’ll be greeted by a breathtaking display of flowers, plants, and shrubs. It’s a veritable rainbow of dahlias, roses, peonies, and countless more blooms waiting to be admired.

But it’s not just about the flowers. The market’s unique atmosphere is a spectacle in itself. Listen to the lyrical calls of the vendors as they pitch their plants, each trying to outdo the other with their wit and charm. It’s this lively banter and good-natured haggling that adds a special energy to the market, making your visit an entertaining theatre of sorts.

Surrounding the market, you’ll find a collection of independent shops, vintage boutiques, and cosy cafés. From quirky home decor to delicious pastries, these gems offer delightful treasures that extend your market experience beyond the flora. It’s a wonderful opportunity to support local businesses and discover the area’s artistic spirit.

Voyagix Tips

For an unforgettable visit to Columbia Road Flower Market, consider these tips:

  • Timing is Everything: The market operates every Sunday from 8 am to 3 pm. Arrive early for the best selection, or later for potential bargains.
  • Explore the Shops: Don’t miss the unique boutiques and eateries lining Columbia Road. They add a special charm to the area.
  • Bring Cash: Many vendors prefer cash, so have some on hand to ease your transactions.
  • Transporting Plants: If you plan on buying large plants, consider your transport options. You can find more tips on the market’s official website.

Experiencing Columbia Road Flower Market gives you a glimpse into the local charm of London. It’s a vibrant blend of stunning flowers, community spirit, and engaging street theatre, promising a memorable morning of exploration and discovery.

7. Take a Ride on The London Eye

The London Eye with water reflection at sunrise in London. England

Get ready to be swept off your feet and ascend into the London skyline aboard the London Eye. Standing majestically on the South Bank of the River Thames, this iconic observation wheel offers a panoramic vista of the city that’s sure to leave you spellbound.

The London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, was officially opened to the public in 2000 and has since become one of the city’s most popular attractions. The structure, with a height of 443 feet, is a testament to modern engineering and design. Its 32 glass capsules, symbolizing the 32 London boroughs, provide an unparalleled viewing platform from which you can admire the city’s many landmarks.

As your capsule slowly ascends, the city unfurls beneath you. Look out for renowned sights like the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and on a clear day, even Windsor Castle in the distance. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a lifelong Londoner, the view from the London Eye offers a fresh perspective on the city’s blend of historical and contemporary architecture.

A ride on the London Eye isn’t just about the view; it’s about experiencing the city’s heart and soul from a different angle. Whether you choose to ride during the day or at night, when the city lights add an extra layer of magic, it’s an unforgettable journey above the hustle and bustle of the city.

Voyagix Tips

For a memorable experience on the London Eye, consider these tips:

  • Book Online: Skip the queues by booking your tickets online on the official website. Consider the Fast Track option during peak times.
  • Choose Your Time: For the best views, try to visit on a clear day. A sunset ride offers a romantic experience.
  • Remember the Capsule Capacity: Each capsule can hold up to 25 people. For a more private experience, consider booking a private capsule or a Champagne Experience.
  • Don’t Rush: The rotation is slow, providing ample time to enjoy the sights. A full rotation takes approximately 30 minutes.

Riding the London Eye is more than a scenic adventure; it’s an opportunity to see the city from a different angle and appreciate the blend of its rich history and vibrant modernity. It’s a must-do experience that offers a unique viewpoint of the city that never fails to captivate visitors.

8. Explore Portobello Road Market

 Portobello Road Market

Get ready to unearth a vibrant world of antiques, food, fashion, and more at the Portobello Road Market. Located in the charming Notting Hill neighbourhood, this market is a kaleidoscope of colours, scents, and sounds that encapsulates the eclectic spirit of London.

Portobello Road Market, with its roots dating back to the 19th century, is renowned for its antique section, which is considered one of the largest in the world. From Victorian jewellery and vintage cameras to old maps and rare books, the possibilities for unique finds are virtually endless. As you navigate the labyrinth of stalls, it feels like a thrilling treasure hunt through time.

Beyond antiques, the market is a showcase of global cultures, reflected in the vast array of goods on offer. Savour culinary delights from around the world, pick out vibrant fabrics or quirky clothing items, or simply enjoy the vibrant atmosphere filled with live music and animated vendors.

But it’s not just the market that merits exploration. The surrounding area of Notting Hill, with its pastel-coloured houses, quaint cafes, and boutique shops, adds an additional layer of charm to your visit. Walking the same streets made famous by the eponymous movie, you’ll experience a slice of authentic London life.

Voyagix Tips

For an unforgettable visit to Portobello Road Market, consider these tips:

  • Market Days: The market operates throughout the week, but Saturday is the main day for antiques. Check the market’s official website for the full schedule.
  • Arrive Early: Beat the crowds and grab the best items by arriving early, especially on Saturdays.
  • Take Cash: Although some traders accept cards, it’s best to have cash on hand for smaller purchases or bargains.
  • Explore the Area: Don’t rush off after visiting the market. Spend some time exploring the charming Notting Hill neighbourhood.

Portobello Road Market is more than just a market; it’s a lively experience that reflects London’s diversity and vibrancy. Whether you’re an antique enthusiast, foodie, fashion lover, or simply a curious traveller, it’s a colourful adventure that promises new discoveries and delightful surprises.

9. Relax at Hyde Park

Spring in Hyde Park located in Central London, UK.

Escape the urban rush and unwind amidst the lush landscape of Hyde Park, one of London’s largest and most cherished green spaces. Steeped in history and filled with natural beauty, this sprawling park provides a serene oasis in the heart of the city.

Originally acquired by Henry VIII in 1536 as a hunting ground, Hyde Park has evolved over centuries into a place of recreation and relaxation for city dwellers and tourists alike. Covering 350 acres, the park is a canvas of vibrant flower gardens, leafy trees, shimmering lakes, and wide-open spaces, inviting you to breathe, explore, and connect with nature.

The park isn’t just about tranquillity; it’s also a hub of activity. The Serpentine, the park’s large artificial lake, is a perfect spot for boating in summer or admiring the waterfowl that call the lake home. Hyde Park is also famous for Speaker’s Corner, a symbol of free speech and public debate. If you’re lucky, you might catch a lively discussion in progress!

Moreover, the park is dotted with various memorials and statues, including the moving Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, and the striking Italian Gardens. Each adds a layer of historical and cultural context to your visit.

Voyagix Tips

For a memorable visit to Hyde Park, consider these tips:

  • Getting There: Hyde Park is well connected by public transport. Use the Transport for London’s journey planner to plan your route.
  • Facilities: There are cafes, toilets, and deckchair hire services available within the park.
  • Park Events: Hyde Park hosts numerous events, including concerts and festivals. Check the park’s official website for details.
  • Explore on Foot or Bike: Consider walking or renting a bike to explore the vast park. There’s a lot to discover!

A visit to Hyde Park offers a refreshing break from the city’s hustle and bustle. It’s a place where you can relax under a leafy canopy, engage in fun activities, and soak up the park’s historic charm, all while being in the heart of one of the world’s most vibrant cities.

10. Taste Traditional Pies at Goddards at Greenwich

Goddards at Greenwich

Embark on a delectable journey and sample London’s culinary heritage at Goddards at Greenwich, a renowned pie shop that has delighted foodies since 1890. Known for its traditional pies, mash, and liquor, this family-run establishment offers a taste of authentic London cuisine in a cozy and friendly setting.

The star of Goddards’ menu is undoubtedly their pie, which is filled with quality meat and enveloped in flaky pastry. Served alongside smooth mashed potatoes and a ladle of liquor – a savory parsley sauce – the result is a comforting dish that has warmed the hearts and stomachs of Londoners for generations. Whether you’re a carnivore or a vegetarian, Goddards has a pie to suit your preference.

But the experience extends beyond the food. Stepping into Goddards feels like stepping into a slice of London’s history. The vintage decor, complete with old photos and memorabilia, adds a touch of nostalgia to your dining experience. The warm service and friendly atmosphere are a reminder that Goddards is more than a restaurant; it’s a part of London’s community fabric.

The shop’s location in Greenwich, home to the Royal Observatory and the historic Cutty Sark, means you can easily combine your meal with a day of sightseeing in this World Heritage Site. After all, what could be better than rounding off a day of exploration with a delicious, heart-warming pie?

Voyagix Tips

For a delightful experience at Goddards at Greenwich, consider these tips:

  • Check Opening Hours: Ensure to check the shop’s opening hours on the official website before your visit.
  • Variety: From steak to vegan options, there’s a pie for every palate. Don’t be afraid to try something new!
  • Seating: The shop can get busy, particularly on weekends, but there’s plenty of seating available. Alternatively, you can opt for takeaway.
  • Explore Greenwich: Make the most of your visit by exploring the nearby attractions in Greenwich.

Visiting Goddards at Greenwich provides not only a hearty meal but a taste of London’s culinary history. It’s an experience that celebrates tradition, community, and of course, the simple pleasure of a delicious pie.

11. Visit Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace London

Prepare to be awestruck by the grandeur of the Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the Queen and a symbol of the British monarchy’s continuity. With its majestic facade, exquisite interiors, and beautiful gardens, this iconic London landmark is an absolute must-visit for any traveller.

Built in 1703 and transformed into a royal palace by George IV, Buckingham Palace has since witnessed the reign of many monarchs, each leaving their unique imprint. With 775 rooms, the palace is a magnificent blend of history and art, housing an impressive collection of priceless paintings, fine furniture, and decorative arts.

One of the highlights of a visit to the palace is the Changing of the Guard ceremony. This quintessentially British spectacle, filled with military precision and pomp, is a sight to behold. Watch as the guards, dressed in traditional red tunics and bearskin hats, perform their duties to the beat of a military band.

If you’re visiting in summer, you can also explore the State Rooms, which are opened to the public for a limited period. These lavishly decorated rooms, where the Queen hosts receptions and state functions, provide a glimpse into the royal life.

Voyagix Tips

For a memorable visit to Buckingham Palace, consider these tips:

  • Changing of the Guard: The ceremony usually takes place at 11 am, but the schedule can change.
  • State Rooms: These are usually open in summer and early fall. Tickets can be booked on the Royal Collection Trust website.
  • Arrive Early: For the best views of the Changing of the Guard, try to arrive at least 30 minutes early.
  • Don’t Forget the Gardens: The palace gardens are beautiful and worth a stroll if accessible during your visit.

Experiencing Buckingham Palace, with its regal splendour and rich heritage, is like stepping into a real-life fairy tale. Whether you’re witnessing the Changing of the Guard or exploring the State Rooms, you’ll be captivated by this enduring emblem of Britain’s royal tradition.

12. Discover Hidden Art at The Crypt Gallery

The Crypt Gallery London

Step off the beaten track and venture into The Crypt Gallery, a hidden gem nestled beneath St Pancras Church. Showcasing contemporary art in an atmospheric setting, The Crypt Gallery is an unexpected yet unforgettable destination for art lovers.

The Gallery, located in a crypt that dates back to 1822, is a space where history and art intersect. Its brick vaulted ceilings, labyrinthine layout, and unique ambiance create a remarkable backdrop for exhibitions, providing a striking contrast to the white-walled sterility of typical galleries. Here, the history embedded in the walls adds a layer of depth to the artwork on display, encouraging reflection and exploration.

The Crypt Gallery prides itself on featuring diverse artists and thought-provoking works, fostering an inclusive environment where different voices can be heard. From painting and sculpture to installation and performance art, the exhibitions are dynamic and ever-changing, ensuring there’s always something new to discover.

While you’re there, don’t miss out on exploring the historic St Pancras Church. Known for its Greek Revival architecture, the church is a sight to behold in its own right. Thus, a visit to The Crypt Gallery is not only a visual feast but also a journey into London’s historical and cultural layers.

Voyagix Tips

For an immersive visit to The Crypt Gallery, consider these tips:

  • Check the Program: The exhibitions at The Crypt Gallery change regularly. Be sure to check the official website for the current and upcoming shows.
  • Plan Your Visit: The Crypt Gallery’s opening hours can vary depending on the exhibition. It’s best to confirm before your visit.
  • Dress Warmly: The crypt can be chilly, even in summer. Dressing warmly is recommended.
  • Donations: While entry to The Crypt Gallery is free, donations are appreciated to support the gallery and the artists.

Exploring The Crypt Gallery is an experience that blends art, history, and atmosphere in an unforgettable way. It’s a place that allows you to see contemporary art through a different lens, making your London trip all the more enriching.

13. Explore Chinatown

London China Town entrance gate, England

Dive into a vibrant blend of East Asian cultures without leaving London at the lively Chinatown. Centrally located in the city’s West End, Chinatown is a bustling district where visitors can explore diverse food offerings, traditional shops, and vibrant festivals all year round.

The moment you step through the iconic Chinese gates, you’re transported into a sensory wonderland. The aroma of sizzling street food, the vivid red lanterns swinging overhead, and the chatter in different languages make for a truly immersive experience. Stroll along the narrow streets, lined with an array of restaurants offering delicacies from China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, and more.

Food is at the heart of Chinatown. From hand-pulled noodles and dim sum to bubble tea and Asian bakeries, the culinary choices are extensive and exciting. You can also find numerous supermarkets selling imported goods, allowing you to bring a taste of East Asia back to your own kitchen.

Beyond the food, Chinatown offers cultural enrichment. Festivals such as Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival are celebrated with great enthusiasm, featuring colourful parades, traditional performances, and community events. It’s a chance to learn about and engage with East Asian traditions in the heart of London.

Voyagix Tips

For an authentic experience in Chinatown, consider these tips:

  • Explore the Food Scene: From dim sum to hotpot, Chinatown offers diverse dining options. Don’t be afraid to try something new!
  • Shop Local: Visit the Asian supermarkets to find unique ingredients for your own cooking adventures. Check out See Woo and Loon Fung for a wide range of products.
  • Visit During Festivals: Chinatown is particularly vibrant during festivals like Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival. Keep an eye on the official website for event details.
  • Remember Etiquette: If you’re dining in a traditional Chinese restaurant, remember to follow etiquette such as not sticking your chopsticks upright in your rice.

Immersing yourself in Chinatown is an exploration of flavours, cultures, and experiences. This pocket of East Asia in London offers an enriching, vibrant, and delicious encounter that should not be missed.

14. Visit the Houses of Parliament

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament at night in London, UK

Experience the grandeur of British history by visiting the Houses of Parliament and the iconic Big Ben clock tower. Located on the banks of the River Thames, these landmarks are an integral part of London’s identity and offer a captivating insight into the United Kingdom’s political past and present.

The Houses of Parliament, officially known as the Palace of Westminster, is where the two houses of the UK Parliament – the House of Commons and the House of Lords – meet. This historic building, with its Gothic Revival architecture, is a testament to the rich history of British democracy. Visitors can book a tour to explore the public galleries, the ornate Royal Gallery, and the green-benched House of Commons.

Adjoined to the Houses of Parliament is the imposing Big Ben, the world’s most famous clock tower. Despite common belief, ‘Big Ben’ is actually the nickname of the bell inside the tower. The tower itself is officially known as the Elizabeth Tower. The chiming of Big Ben is synonymous with London, echoing through the city since 1859.

Visiting these landmarks, particularly during the evening when they are beautifully lit up, makes for an unforgettable experience. The sight of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, reflected on the Thames, is a photographic highlight of any London trip.

Voyagix Tips

For a memorable visit to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, consider these tips:

  • Plan a Visit: Pre-booked guided tours of the Houses of Parliament are available on Saturdays and most weekdays during parliamentary recesses. Bookings can be made on the official website.
  • Best Views: For the best views of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, head to the opposite side of the River Thames, near the London Eye.
  • Listen to Big Ben: While Big Ben is currently undergoing renovation work and the chimes are restricted, you can still hear the famous bell ring on special occasions.
  • Westminster Hall: Don’t miss the chance to see the 900-year-old Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster.

Visiting the Houses of Parliament and hearing the iconic chime of Big Ben is an unmissable part of any London experience. Both these landmarks are not just significant architectural wonders but also repositories of fascinating stories and events that have shaped Britain’s history.

15. Wander Through Highgate Cemetery

Highgate cemetery London, England

Wander through the peaceful paths of Highgate Cemetery, an oasis of gothic beauty and tranquillity in the heart of London. This stunning Victorian cemetery, with its ivy-clad tombs, shady walkways, and an abundance of nature, offers an unexpectedly serene escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Highgate Cemetery, established in 1839, is more than just a burial ground. It’s a place of historical significance and cultural resonance. As the final resting place of many famous figures, it tells stories of the past and offers a unique insight into London’s history. Karl Marx, the influential philosopher, George Eliot, the renowned novelist, and Douglas Adams, author of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, are just a few names buried here.

The cemetery is divided into two parts: the East Cemetery and the West Cemetery. The East Cemetery is where you’ll find Marx’s monument among others, and you can freely wander here. The West Cemetery, home to the most spectacular architectural features like the Egyptian Avenue and the Circle of Lebanon, can be visited by guided tour only.

Aside from its history and architecture, Highgate Cemetery is a haven for wildlife and offers beautiful views over London. It’s a unique blend of the macabre and the beautiful, where solemnity and tranquillity coexist.

Voyagix Tips

For an enriching visit to Highgate Cemetery, consider these tips:

  • Visit Both Sides: Both the East and West Cemeteries have their own appeal. Consider exploring both. Guided tours for the West Cemetery can be booked on the official website.
  • Respect the Space: Remember, this is a place of rest. Maintain a respectful silence and stick to the paths to respect the graves.
  • Don’t Forget the Wildlife: The cemetery is a conservation area. Look out for foxes, birds, and butterflies. A perfect spot for nature lovers.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: The terrain can be uneven and steep in places, so comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

Exploring Highgate Cemetery is an experience unlike any other in London. Amidst its quiet paths and beautiful tombs, you can find a peaceful retreat, a history lesson, and an artistic inspiration all at once.

16. Visit The Victoria and Albert Museum

Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK

Dive into the dazzling world of art and design at the Victoria and Albert Museum, fondly known as the V&A. Located in London’s South Kensington, the V&A is the world’s leading museum of art, design, and performance, housing an unrivaled collection of over 2.3 million objects spanning 5,000 years of human creativity.

The V&A’s collections are as diverse as they are extensive. You’ll find everything from ceramics, furniture, fashion, and textiles, to prints, sculptures, and photographs. The museum’s holdings reflect cultures from all over the globe, offering a fascinating insight into the creative process and the history of design.

Highlights include the cast courts, housing some of the world’s most significant plaster cast reproductions, the stunning jewelry gallery, showcasing pieces from ancient times to the present day, and the fashion collection, which offers an in-depth look at the history of fashion from the 17th century to the present.

Alongside its permanent collections, the V&A also hosts a range of temporary exhibitions and events, including fashion shows, design workshops, and art lectures. Whether you’re a seasoned art lover or a casual observer, the V&A has something to engage and inspire you.

Voyagix Tips

For an enriching visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum, consider these tips:

  • Plan Your Visit: The museum is vast, and seeing everything in one visit might be overwhelming. Check out the official website beforehand to prioritize your must-see galleries.
  • Take a Free Tour: The museum offers free introductory tours daily, which can be a great way to get an overview of the museum’s collections.
  • Check Out the Cafe: The V&A Cafe is a work of art in itself, with its beautifully decorated rooms. It’s a great place to relax and refuel.
  • Don’t Miss the Courtyard: In the warmer months, the central courtyard is a wonderful spot to rest and enjoy a picnic.

A visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum is a journey through the rich tapestry of human creativity, inspiring awe and appreciation for art and design in every visitor. Regardless of your artistic preferences, you’ll leave with a new perspective and a sense of wonder.

17. Try Craft Beers at a Local Pub

english pub london

Discover the rich tradition of British pub culture and savor the taste of local craft beers at one of London’s many traditional pubs. From historic taverns with centuries of history to modern gastropubs redefining pub food, London’s pub scene is diverse, vibrant, and an integral part of local life.

Visiting a traditional London pub is about more than just enjoying a pint. It’s a cultural experience, offering a glimpse into British life. Pubs are social hubs where people come together to chat, unwind, and enjoy good food and drink. Each pub has its own character and charm, reflecting the unique history and spirit of its locality.

London is also a city of beer lovers, and its pubs offer an array of craft beers to suit every palate. Whether you’re a fan of traditional ales, prefer a crisp lager, or are intrigued by innovative flavors of modern craft brews, there’s a pint waiting for you in London.

Among the myriad options, a few standouts include The Lamb and Flag, one of the oldest pubs in London; The Old Truman Brewery in East London, a hub for the city’s craft beer scene; and The Churchill Arms in Kensington, renowned for its beautiful floral display and Thai cuisine.

Voyagix Tips

For a delightful pub experience in London, consider these tips:

  • Do Your Research: With so many pubs to choose from, it’s worth researching to find one that suits your taste.
  • Try Real Ale: Real Ale is a traditional British beer that is naturally carbonated and served from a cask. It’s a must-try for beer lovers.
  • Don’t Rush: The pub is a place to relax. Savor your pint, enjoy the food, and soak up the atmosphere.
  • Respect Pub Etiquette: When ordering at the bar, it’s custom to pay right away. Also, keep in mind that tipping isn’t as common in UK pubs as it is in other countries.

Exploring London’s traditional pubs offers a delightful blend of cultural immersion, conviviality, and of course, excellent beer. It’s a quintessential London experience that shouldn’t be missed.

18. Walk Across Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge in London, UK at night

Experience a quintessential London sight by taking a walk across the iconic Tower Bridge. The bridge, built between 1886 and 1894, has been an emblem of the city for over a century. Striking with its blue and white color scheme and two massive towers, it’s an architectural masterpiece that never fails to impress.

But Tower Bridge isn’t just a sight to behold from afar. Walking across it is an attraction in itself. From the pedestrian walkways, you can enjoy a breathtaking panorama of London. The view includes landmarks like The Shard, the City of London, the Tower of London, and beyond, down the Thames to Canary Wharf.

The bridge isn’t just a walkway, though. It also hosts the Tower Bridge Exhibition, located in the old engine rooms. The exhibition offers a fascinating journey into the bridge’s history and engineering, complete with interactive displays and videos. Even more thrilling is the glass floor in the upper walkways, providing a unique birds-eye view of the city and the bridge’s bascule (see-saw) lifts in action.

Voyagix Tips

For an unforgettable Tower Bridge experience, consider these tips:

  • Plan Your Visit: Check the official Tower Bridge website for the latest information on opening times and the schedule for bridge lift times.
  • Visit the Exhibition: For a small fee, you can visit the Tower Bridge Exhibition and get access to the glass walkway. The views are worth it!
  • Best Photo Spot: For a classic photo of Tower Bridge, head to the south side of the River Thames near City Hall.
  • Combine with Other Attractions: Consider combining your visit to Tower Bridge with nearby attractions like the Tower of London or the vibrant Borough Market.

Walking across Tower Bridge is a quintessential London experience. Not only does it provide a fantastic photo opportunity, but it also offers a unique chance to walk across a living piece of the city’s history while enjoying panoramic views of the London cityscape.

19. Explore Hidden Gardens at Barbican Conservatory

Beautiful greenhouse Conservatory garden insinde Barbican center, with green and fresh tropical plants in London, UK

Find an oasis of calm amidst the urban hustle at the Barbican Conservatory. Nestled within the Brutalist architecture of the Barbican Centre, this hidden gem offers a tranquil retreat from the bustling city centre. It’s London’s second-largest conservatory and a paradise for plant and wildlife enthusiasts.

Stepping into the Barbican Conservatory feels like entering another world. Amidst the concrete and steel of the surrounding architecture, you’ll find a lush, tropical landscape. The conservatory is home to over 2,000 species of plants and trees, many of which are rare and exotic, along with ponds filled with colourful koi fish. It’s an ideal place for urban dwellers and visitors to connect with nature without leaving the city.

As you wander through the foliage-filled space, you’ll discover a variety of environments, from arid cactus houses to lush, jungle-like areas. The conservatory also houses a variety of birds, adding a beautiful soundtrack to your visit. For an extra special experience, you can also enjoy an afternoon tea in the conservatory on select days, providing a unique dining experience amidst the tropical greenery.

Voyagix Tips

For an enjoyable visit to the Barbican Conservatory, consider these tips:

  • Plan Ahead: The conservatory is only open on certain days of the week. Check the official Barbican website for the most current information and to book tickets in advance.
  • Take Your Time: The conservatory is a place to relax and unwind. Take your time to explore, sit, and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
  • Photography Allowed: Feel free to bring your camera and capture the unique beauty of this urban jungle. However, commercial and wedding photography needs prior permission.
  • Afternoon Tea: For a memorable experience, consider booking the afternoon tea service. It’s an unusual chance to dine amidst the greenery.

Whether you’re a nature lover or just looking for a peaceful break from London’s bustling city centre, the Barbican Conservatory is a delightful retreat. Its unique blend of brutalist architecture and verdant, tropical plants offers a serene and unexpected oasis in the heart of the city.

20. Attend a Concert at Royal Albert Hall

Illuminated Royal Albert Hall, London, England, UK at night

Immerse yourself in a symphony of sound in the spectacular setting of Royal Albert Hall. Established in 1871 and named after Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort, this iconic venue has been at the heart of London’s cultural scene for over a century.

Entering the hall, you’re immediately struck by the grandeur of its architecture. The domed roof, intricate mosaics, and red and gold interior create an atmosphere of regal elegance, reflecting the rich history of performances that have taken place here.

Royal Albert Hall isn’t just visually stunning; it’s acoustically superb too. The auditorium’s design, combined with state-of-the-art acoustics, allows every note to resonate perfectly, creating a truly immersive and memorable musical experience.

From classical concerts and ballet performances to rock and pop gigs, the Hall’s programme is impressively diverse. The most famous event is the annual BBC Proms, a series of classical concerts that take place over eight weeks in the summer. Whether you’re a music aficionado or a casual listener, experiencing a live performance at Royal Albert Hall is an unforgettable experience.

Voyagix Tips

For a sublime visit to Royal Albert Hall, consider these tips:

  • Check the Programme: The variety of performances at Royal Albert Hall is vast. Check the official website to find a performance that suits your taste.
  • Tour the Hall: Even if you can’t attend a performance, consider taking a guided tour of the hall to learn about its history and see its magnificent interior.
  • Arrive Early: Arrive at least 30 minutes before your performance starts to enjoy the ambiance, visit the bar, and find your seat without rushing.
  • Consider the Proms: If you’re in London in the summer, try to get tickets for the BBC Proms. The atmosphere is electric, and it’s a quintessentially British experience.

Experiencing a performance at the Royal Albert Hall is a sublime blend of musical excellence and architectural grandeur. Whether you’re a devoted music lover or just in search of unique experiences, a visit to this iconic London venue is a crescendo in any trip to the city.

21. Visit The National Gallery

National Gallery at Trafalgar square, London, England, on sunrise

Immerse yourself in the world of art at the National Gallery, an iconic London institution that houses one of the most comprehensive collections of Western European painting. Located in Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery is a treasure trove of artistic masterpieces, spanning the 13th to the 20th centuries.

As you wander through the grand halls and intimate rooms, you’ll encounter works by artistic giants such as Van Gogh, da Vinci, Botticelli, Constable, Renoir, and Rembrandt. Not to be missed is Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”, one of the gallery’s most famous paintings. Each painting tells a story, offering a window into different periods of history and varying artistic styles and movements.

The gallery isn’t just a place for quiet contemplation; it’s also a vibrant educational centre. You can enjoy a range of guided tours, talks, workshops, and family activities designed to deepen your understanding and appreciation of the art on display. All this makes the National Gallery a fascinating and accessible place for art enthusiasts and novices alike.

Voyagix Tips

For a captivating visit to the National Gallery, consider these tips:

  • Plan Your Visit: The gallery’s collection is vast. Check the official website to explore the collection online and plan which works you want to see in person.
  • Join a Tour: To enhance your understanding of the art, consider joining one of the free guided tours offered by the gallery.
  • Visit During Off-Peak Hours: The gallery can get busy. To avoid crowds, consider visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
  • Free Admission: Entrance to the National Gallery is free, but donations are appreciated.

A visit to the National Gallery is not just about seeing art; it’s about experiencing it. Whether you’re an art connoisseur or a casual observer, this gallery offers a unique journey through the history of Western European painting that’s sure to enrich your London visit.

22. Explore Brick Lane Market

Quirky earrings displayed at Brick Lane market in London, England

Dive into the bustling heart of East London with a visit to the vibrant Brick Lane Market. This iconic Sunday market, located on a historic street famous for its curries and street art, offers a dynamic mix of food, fashion, art, and antiques, showcasing the cultural diversity that defines modern London.

As you navigate the crowded lanes, you’ll encounter stalls selling everything from vintage clothing and handmade jewelry to antique furniture and quirky collectibles. It’s a treasure trove for bargain hunters and lovers of eclectic finds. But it’s not just about shopping; the market is also a cultural hub, hosting events such as street performances and pop-up art exhibitions.

The food scene at Brick Lane Market is just as diverse and vibrant. Here, you’ll find a mouthwatering array of global cuisines. From fragrant Bangladeshi curries to New York-style bagels, gourmet burgers, and vegan treats, there’s something to satiate every palate.

Voyagix Tips

For a fulfilling visit to Brick Lane Market, consider these tips:

  • Check the Schedule: Brick Lane Market is mainly a Sunday market.
  • Arrive Early: To get the best deals and avoid the biggest crowds, try to arrive early in the morning.
  • Bring Cash: Although some stallholders accept card payments, many operate on a cash-only basis.
  • Explore the Area: Brick Lane is also famous for its street art and curry houses. Make sure to explore the surrounding area while you’re there.

A visit to Brick Lane Market is more than just a shopping trip; it’s an immersion into London’s multicultural, bohemian spirit. Whether you’re a food lover, a vintage enthusiast, or simply a curious traveler, a trip to this market promises a sensory feast and a glimpse into the city’s vibrant character.

23. Wander Through St. James’s Park

St. James Park in London at Sunset

Take a break from the city’s hustle and bustle and unwind in the serene surroundings of St. James’s Park. As the oldest of the capital’s eight Royal Parks, St. James’s Park offers a peaceful retreat right in the heart of London. Nestled between Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament, the park’s beautifully landscaped gardens, scenic lake, and diverse wildlife provide a charming escape from urban life.

The park’s centerpiece is its large lake, home to a variety of waterfowl, including the famous resident pelicans, which have been a feature of the park for nearly 400 years. Stroll along the lake’s edge and watch these impressive birds being fed daily, a unique spectacle that never fails to delight visitors.

As you wander through the park’s paths, you’ll come across an array of flowers and trees, creating a riot of color in spring and a tranquil beauty in autumn. Make sure to stop at the Tiffany Fountain, which provides a stunning view of the Buckingham Palace, and the Blue Bridge, offering panoramic views of the London Eye and Westminster.

Voyagix Tips

For a delightful visit to St. James’s Park, consider these tips:

  • Check the Park’s Schedule: Opening times vary throughout the year. Check the official website for the most accurate information.
  • Attend the Pelican Feeding: The pelican feeding takes place daily between 2:30 and 3:00 pm next to the Duck Island Cottage.
  • Pack a Picnic: The park is a perfect place for a picnic. There are several food and drink outlets, but feel free to bring your own.
  • Respect the Wildlife: Remember not to feed the animals and birds with bread or other unsuitable foods. The park provides special duck food at various points.

St. James’s Park is more than just a green space; it’s a haven of tranquility that lets you connect with nature while being surrounded by some of London’s most iconic landmarks. A visit to the park offers a unique opportunity to experience London’s historic charm and natural beauty in one place.


From exploring world-class museums and centuries-old historic sites to immersing oneself in the colourful local markets and enjoying stunning views from towering landmarks, London is a city that offers something for every traveler. The sheer diversity and depth of experiences make each visit to London a unique adventure. Whether you’re taking a stroll along the River Thames, experiencing Shakespearean theatre at The Globe, tasting traditional pies at Goddards, or discovering street art in Shoreditch, each experience adds a new, vibrant layer to the city’s multifaceted personality.

But London is not just a city to be seen; it’s a city to be experienced. To truly understand its charm, one must dive into the local culture, taste the food, converse with the locals, and take time to wander off the beaten path. It’s often in these spontaneous moments that London’s magic shines brightest. Every cobbled street has a story to tell, every local pub offers a warm welcome, and every hidden garden is a haven of tranquility. So pack your bags, bring your curiosity, and come prepared to explore, because these 23 remarkable things to do in London are waiting for your adventure to begin. This city’s magic lies not just in its iconic sights but also in the hidden gems tucked away from the usual tourist trails, waiting to be discovered. Come and find them.

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