Things to do in London – The Ultimate Guide for 2023
London is one of the greatest cities in the world, with centuries of rich history and culture to explore. As a London-based events company, we’re passionate about helping people get the most out of this amazing city. This ultimate guide covers everything you need to know to plan an unforgettable trip to discover the best things to do in London.
In just 50 words: London offers endless possibilities, from world-famous attractions like the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, to vibrant neighborhoods like Soho, Camden and Notting Hill. Enjoy shopping on Oxford Street, a show in the West End, and strolls through iconic parks.
Essential London Attractions
No trip to London is complete without visiting some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Here are some of the top attractions you simply must see on your visit.
Big Ben & Parliament
Big Ben, with its immense clock tower, is one of London’s most recognizable landmarks. It’s actually just the nickname for the Great Bell inside the Clock Tower. The tower itself was renamed the Elizabeth Tower in 2012. Right next to it is the impressive Gothic Palace of Westminster, home to the Houses of Parliament.
Founded in the 10th century, Westminster Abbey is a beautiful Gothic church that has hosted royal weddings and coronations going back centuries. It’s also the final resting place of many famous Brits, like Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton.
The official London residence of the monarchy since 1837, Buckingham Palace offers a glimpse into royal life. Don’t miss the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside. Time your visit right and you may be able to tour the palace’s lavish state rooms.
Tower of London
Dating back to 1066, the Tower of London has served as a palace, prison, treasury, armory and also a zoo(!). Today it’s home to the Crown Jewels and the Yeoman Warders or “Beefeaters”. Take one of their tours for all the gory details of the tower’s history.
One of London’s most photographed landmarks, Tower Bridge is a Victorian suspension bridge completed in 1894. Walk across for stunning city views or tour the tower foundations for exhibits on its engineering.
With many of the best museums in the world, London is a cultural paradise. Make time to visit some of these world-class institutions.
The vast collections of the British Museum span over 2 million years of human history and culture. Marvel at Egyptian mummies, the Rosetta Stone, and the Elgin Marbles from Ancient Greece.
Natural History Museum
At the Natural History Museum, wander under the giant blue whale skeleton and see dinosaur fossils, meteorites and specimens representing everything from mammals to marine invertebrates.
Housing over 2,300 paintings, the National Gallery is one of the world’s greatest art collections. See iconic works by da Vinci, Van Gogh, Rembrandt and more.
The Tate Modern offers free admission to its collection of contemporary and modern art. The exhibits include works by Warhol, Picasso, Dalí, Pollock and more.
Victoria & Albert (V&A)
From fashion to furniture, the Victoria & Albert Museum boasts the world’s largest collection of decorative arts. Its diverse permanent and temporary exhibits never fail to impress.
In addition to landmarks and museums, London is comprised of dozens of distinct neighborhoods, each with their own vibe and allure.
Wander the arcades, watch street performers, or shop in boutiques at the lively Covent Garden. Don’t miss the huge food hall inside the century-old market building.
Famous for its nightlife and LGBTQ+ scene, Soho also has quirky shops, experimental theater, and an international mix of restaurants on pedestrianized streets. Here you can find some of the most iconic London members clubs.
An edgy, creative vibe pervades Shoreditch, where you’ll find cool bars, street art, pop-up shops and buzzing nightlife. Here we have some of our reviewed members clubs such as The Curtain Club.
Stroll down Portobello Road with its pastel houses and antiques market. Don’t miss browsing the funky boutiques and bookshops in chic Notting Hill.
Wander the indie shops and food stalls at Camden Market, then relax along Regent’s Canal in youthful, alternative Camden. Camden is the famous London district where you can visit the best regular clubs and party till morning.
Brixton has a multi-ethnic, creative culture. Hang out at the food stalls of Brixton Market, catch a gig at the O2 Academy, or try globally-inspired restaurants.
Parks & Gardens
Escape the hustle and bustle by relaxing in one of London’s many green spaces.
Enjoy boating, cycling or a picnic on the Serpentine lake in huge, lively Hyde Park. Don’t miss Speakers’ Corner to hear debates on Sundays.
Wander through the fragrant rose gardens or watch cricket on the lawns in elegant Regent’s Park, or visit London Zoo within its grounds.
St James’s Park
Spot the resident pelicans from the footbridge in leafy St James’s Park, with postcard views of Buckingham Palace in the background.
Explore Kew’s vast botanical collections under glass and outdoors at these Royal Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Escape to nature in hilly Hampstead Heath, where you can swim outdoors, walk to historic pubs or picnic with city views.
From luxury boutiques to flea markets, London is a shopper’s delight. Here are some top shopping areas.
London’s bustling main shopping street, Oxford Street features major department stores like Selfridges and John Lewis, plus fashion flagship stores.
Bond Street & Regent Street
These two parallel streets linking Oxford Street are lined with elegant and exclusive designer boutiques and art galleries.
This huge street market in alternative Camden offers an eclectic mix of fashion, crafts, souvenirs and global food stalls.
Browse the antiques and bric-a-brac at Portobello Market in Notting Hill, with cute cafes and shops lining the sides.
Old Spitalfields Market
Traditional market stalls sit alongside new boutiques and restaurants at this vibrant historic market in East London.
This “pop-up mall” built from shipping containers provides a cool place to shop from up-and-coming designers.
Arts & Entertainment
If you are looking for theater, music, comedy, cinema, London’s vibrant performing arts scene has it all.
West End Theater
Catch a show in London’s equivalent of Broadway. The West End is home to musicals, dramas, long-running favorites and avant-garde productions.
Watch Shakespearean drama by the first Globe Theatre on the Southbank. You can tour the New Globe Theatre and its Elizabethan-style architecture too.
Royal Albert Hall
Dating to 1871, elliptical Royal Albert Hall hosts everything from pop concerts to tennis tournaments in its huge auditorium.
Northwest London’s impressive Wembley Stadium is the country’s largest. It hosts major sports, concerts and more.
Laugh until your sides hurt at a stand-up show at one of London’s many comedy clubs, like the Comedy Store in Leicester Square.
Watch street artists, musicians and performers along the South Bank or Covent Garden Piazza as they entertain passersby.
When the sun goes down, London comes alive. Discover some of the city’s best after-dark offerings.
Dance the night away at the bars, nightclubs and cabaret shows in the vibrant West End party district. This area has counteless nightclubs. Among those worth to mentions are: Cirque Le Soir, Luna Club and also Cuckoo Club.
Dalston, Shoreditch and Hackney in East London have a dynamic indie club scene and cool cocktail bars.
Party into the night at the grungy pubs and alternative music venues around Camden Town and Camden Market.
Historic Soho offers an eclectic mix of gay bars and clubs, live music venues, and old-school pubs open late.
Unwind riverside at the open-air bars under Waterloo Bridge or sip cocktails at The Oxo Tower’s swanky rooftop bar.
Day Trips from London
With London as your base, it’s easy to take day trips to iconic destinations outside the city.
Visit the Queen’s weekend residence of Windsor Castle, dating back 900 years, and the charming town of Windsor.
Take a day tour to the 5,000-year-old stone circle Stonehenge, one of Britain’s most mysterious landmarks.
Get a taste of academic life strolling the honey-hued stone buildings of the university town of Oxford.
Escape to the seaside at Brighton, an hour from London, where you’ll find beaches, pier, and nightlife.
The stunning Georgian architecture and Roman baths of this Spa town make for an ideal day trip from London.
A trip to the medieval university city of Cambridge lets you punt down the River Cam and tour colleges.
With its world-famous sights, historic neighborhoods, amazing museums, parks, gardens, shopping, theater, nightlife and more, there are endless things to do in London. Use this guide to help craft your perfect itinerary. We hope our passion for this vibrant city inspires you to make the most of your visit. Let us know if you need any event, dinner or party planning while you’re in town!