As one of the world’s top cities for culture, arts, and history, London is undeniably one of the most interesting destinations to visit for a vacation or holiday.
If you’re visiting London, England for the first time, here are 10 not-to-miss tourist experiences to make sure you get the best of London the first time around.
Top 10 Tourist Experiences in London, England
1) Visit Buckingham Palace, residence to Her Majesty The Queen. Here, you can watch the Changing of the Guard most days at 11am but check the schedule to be sure. You can also try posing for a photo with the guards or try to make them laugh.
2) Go for a ride on the London Eye, Europe’s largest ferris wheel built on the banks of the Thames River, offering a magnificent view of the city, especially at night. After your London Eye champagne flight, go for a romantic cruise on the River Thames.
3) Visit the Palace of Westminster, where the Parliament in the United Kingdom resides. At the Palace’s north end, you can see the famous clock tower, Big Ben. Nearby, you can also find Westminster Abbey, one of the most important and historical locations in England since 960.
4) Stand on Tower Bridge, often mistaken to be the famous “London Bridge,” and falsely sing, “London Bridge is Falling Down.” While you’re there, visit the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels of the British Royal Family and the London Dungeon for a true tourist experience. Then go and stand on the real London Bridge and sing the famous tune.
5) When in London, do as the British and spend an afternoon taking in some Afternoon Tea or High Tea at the Ritz, the Connaught hotel’s Espelette restaurant, or the Berkeley’s Caramel Room for the most traditional tea; or to Sotheby’s for a fun, chic, and more affordable tea experience.
6) Walk down Baker Street and follow in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes who lived at the fictitious 221B Baker Street. Once you’re done, head to Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum – the first and original – that had its first exhibition on Baker St. in 1835, but has since moved to Marylebone Road. Take a photo with David Beckham or Prince Charles – the wax versions.
7) A visit to London wouldn’t be complete without having a plate of fish ‘n chips or bangers ‘n mash at the nearby pub. For a taste of modern, multicultural Britain, head down to Brick Lane in London’s East End for some of the city’s best curry. Finally, don’t miss out on the Food Hall at Harrod’s.
8) Get rowdy with the locals and watch a football or rugby game at a local pub – just make sure to cheer for the team that everybody else is cheering for and don’t dare wear the wrong jersey.
9) What’s the best way to get around the city of London? You can ride a red double-decker bus; go via the Underground or London Tube (just be sure to “mind the gap”); or ride a “black cab,” London’s famous hackney-style cabs.
10) Visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and recite a couple lines from your Shakespeare play of choice. For more great arts in London, go see a play in London’s West End, second only to Broadway in New York City. If you’re looking for a great day trip, you could go for a day trip to Cambridge, Oxford, and other Harry Potter film locations.
For more on visiting London or Britain, use our specialized Visit Britain Trip Builder.