London is a city that offers everything you could possibly want in a vibrant capital. No matter if you are visiting London for 2 days or 2 weeks you are bound to make some tough decisions. You’re likely asking yourself – what are the famous London landmarks to visit? And, what are the top things to do in London? Well, I’ve got you covered. Use this ultimate list of the best London landmarks you can’t miss to help you decide. 

Top London Landmarks

For your ease, I’ve grouped these super London landmarks by how they appear on Google Maps. Simply start pinning which ones interest you making your itinerary planning much easier. When looking at London on a map, let’s start on the left and move across the city to the right.  

KENSINGTON PALACE

Kensington Palace a landmark in London

Kensington Palace is one of the best historical landmarks of London England. Built in 1605, this palace was famously the birthplace of Queen Victoria and has served as the residence of many of the members of the royal family ever since. The most famous of course was Diana, Princess of Wales. The cost to tour the palace is £20.00, click here, to pre-book your tour.

Kenisington Palace in London with statue and gardens

As equally lovely, you can tour the grounds and gardens for free. My favourite is the beautiful Sunken Garden, featuring the statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, the tribute that was unveiled for what would have been her 60th birthday in 2021. This beautiful tribute garden can be viewed during opening hours only and is not to be missed. 

ROYAL ALBERT HALL

round theatre in London landmarks

The iconic Royal Albert Hall is one of the top historical buildings opened by Queen Victoria in 1871. This historic London landmark is now a popular concert hall hosting more than 300 events. Wouldn’t it be grand to visit London and also see a performance by one of your favourite artists? Be sure to check out who might be playing while you are in the city. 

BUCKINGHAM PALACE

Buckingham Palace in London

Buckingham Palace is recognized around the world as the former home of the late Queen Elizabeth II, and now King Charles III. It serves as the official London residence for the sovereign since 1837. The best way to arrive at this most famous London landmark is to walk The Mall. The red surfaced road from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace. Try to visit on Sundays when it’s closed to traffic and you have the road all to yourself. Ticket costs to tour Buckingham Palace are either £30.00 or £55.00 depending on the type of tour you select, click here, to book your tour.

TRAFALGAR SQUARE

London landmark and museum with pillers

The lively Trafalgar Square is one of the most popular and busy squares and monuments in London. Many public events take place on this square that’s lined with some of London’s top attractions, like the National Gallery and historic statues and London monuments. This is a great starting point that leads you to Buckingham Palace

10 DOWNING STREET

black gate with sign to Downing Street, a London Landmark

No. 10 Downing Street is one of the most famous addresses known around the world. Behind the glossy black door is the headquarters for the UK government and the residence of the Prime Minister. Unfortunately, you can no longer get past the gates to see the actual residence. My advice, you can skip this London landmark.

WESTMINSTER BRIDGE

The Westminster Bridge from 1862 is the oldest and most famous spanning over the River Thames. The best photo op of this bridge, Big Ben, and the Palace of Westminster is BEFORE you cross the bridge to visit those landmarks. There is a set of stairs that gives you the best vantage point. 

BIG BEN

Big Ben is one of the most iconic London landmarks. It’s the like the Eiffel Tower of Paris. This famous bell tower is known by its nickname, however, it’s actually called the Elizabeth Tower, which sits on the Palace of Westminster. Tours have been paused for restoration work and are set to re-open in Spring 2023.

London Landmark- big ben tower, and bridge

PALACE OF WESTMINSTER

Sitting on the edge of the Thames river lies the Palace of Westminster, commonly referred to as the Houses of Parliament. Non-UK residents take a guided tour when Parliament is not in session to learn more about British history, click here, to book the Westminster changing of the guard tour.  Big Ben sits on the Palace of Westminster.

WESTMINSTER ABBEY

Westminister Abbey a large cathedral in London

Westminster Abbey sometimes referred to as the Royal Church, is where coronations and royal weddings have taken place for over 1,000 years ago. This UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the places to visit in London which is open daily to the public for services. The entry times are variable, and unfortunately the day I was there, it was closed for tours. Tours cost £27, click here to pre-book your tour.

SHAKESPEARE GLOBE THEATRE

shakespeare globe one of london's landmarks

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is a replica of the original playhouse (called the Elizabethan Globe) where the famous playwright wrote plays. Explore the theatre, take a guided tour, or better yet, watch a range of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays, click here to book your tour.

ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL

St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most famous cathedrals in the world. The towering dome of this London landmark is one of the most iconic symbols of London, right after Big Ben. Sir Christopher Wren, Britain’s most famous architect, designed this 17th-century cathedral. A great way to view this is coming from Millennium Bridge. If you pre-book your tickets the cost is £18, but for unreserved walk-up, it will cost you £21, click here to pre-book your ticket and get the best price.

THE GHERKIN

The Mary Axe, London, has been nicknamed “the Gherkin” well because it’s shaped like a giant pickle. This postmodern skyscraper can be found in the financial district of London. You can also see it from the Thames River city skyline if you don’t want to visit it up close. 

TOWER BRIDGE

tower bridge in london at early sunrise

Tower Bridge is another one of the best London landmarks that can’t be missed. Climb the tower to enjoy one of the best views of the city where you can spot all of the famous landmarks in London. You’ll need to book your tour in advance, click here, or simply walk across for free!

TOWER OF LONDON

A castle moat in London UK

The Tower of London, dating back to 1066, is most famous as the home of the Crown Jewels. The best way to experience this landmark in London is to take a Beefeater Tour offered daily. Pre-book your time slot, right here, and the cost is £29.90.

Top Things to Do in London

Have AFTERNOON TEA

Afternoon tea in London began in 1840 by the Duchess of Bedford, consisting of tea and a snack before dinner. Today, they are a celebrated affair by Londoners. Flutes of champagne or tea served with pretty pastries like scones and macarons, and finger sandwiches. For that iconic London experience, go to Harrods, The Ritz, Mayfair, or The Savoy. Or the instagrammable places like The Berkeley, The Lanesborough, Fortnum & Mason, or The Bloomsbury. It was one of my favourite things to do in London. I experienced Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon in Fortnum & Mason and Kensington Palace Pavilion Tea Room.

Experience | Have a unique afternoon tea experience and soak in London’s landmarks on a classic double-decker bus tour, click here. Indulge in sweet and savoury treats and a glass of Prosecco as you take in London’s most famous sights.

Eat at BOROUGH MARKET

Borough Market in London with food booths

Foodie or not, you can’t help but love the city’s favourite London market. Close to London Bridge, the lively Borough Market dating back to 1756 features a large covered area, plus spreads out into a smaller maze of streets that surround it. It’s one of the best activities in London, especially on an empty stomach.

Experience | Enjoy a 3-hour food tour of London. See some of the city’s most well-known food venues and try many famous British foods, all guaranteed to get your taste buds tingling, click here.

Visit CAMDEN MARKET

Visiting Camden Market is one of the fun things to do in London. It has it all — food, drink, shops and festivals! There’s always something happening at Camden Market and most likely they are free events that are family-friendly. 

Experience CHURCHILL WAR ROOMS

For history buffs, especially those of World War II, the Churchill War Rooms would be one of the London places to visit. Close to 10 Downing Street, was where Winston Churchill spent countless hours, underground plotting Allied victory during WWII. Go to the Map Room, which looks exactly as it did when the members of the War Cabinet abandoned it at the end of the war, and the Transatlantic Telephone Room, where Churchill had secret conversations with U.S. officials. 

Experience | History buffs, you’re going to want to join this walking tour to learn about life in London during World War II through a private tour of Westminster and Churchill’s War Rooms, click here.

Eat, Drink & Shop at COVENT GARDEN

Covent Gardens in London a flower market

Visiting Covent Garden is an experience for the senses. Eat, drink and shop across 9 streets and a historic Piazza to discover one of the best things to do in London. Some of London’s best pubs, cafes, and restaurants can be found here, like Monmouth Kitchen, Balthazar, and Eve Bar. Then there’s the shopping with a great mix of boutiques and known brands and designers. 

Stroll HYDE PARK

park in London with lake and trees

Hyde Park, established by Henry viii, is one of London’s largest Royal Parks. As London’s most famous green space it is definitely one of the things to see in London. Once here, check out the many memorials, fountains, and statues (Diana Memorial Fountain) and the beautiful rose garden (located in the southeast corner). A traditional site for public speeches and debates since the 1800s is Speakers’ Corner. If you time it right, you might even catch a concert or event taking play in the park. Regent’s Park is another beautiful park if you want to escape busy London life. 

Take a Ride on the LONDON EYE

london eye ferris wheel

Take a ride on Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel called the London Eye or Millennium Wheel. This giant Ferris wheel is considered one of the top attractions of London and there’s no better way to see the London landmarks from up above. You need to book your timeslot for the London Eye, click here.

Walk Across MILLENIUM BRIDGE

Millennial bridge over Thames River in London

Walk across the steel suspension bridge officially known as the London Millennium Footbridge. Harry Potter fans will recognize this modern-looking bridge as the Brockdale Bridge. Early risers will be able to capture it at sunrise and with far fewer people. This route is best to combine with Borough Market to Shakespeare Globe to St. Paul’s Cathedral. 

Experience | For Harry Potter fans, join an interactive tour around central London with a guide, click here to book.

Visit a MUSEUM

London landmark - museum

As a cultural hub for England, London has more than 170 museums in the city, and many of them are free to visit. Rainy day and wondering what to do in London? Check out these recommended museums:

  • British Museum – the first national museum opened in 1759 is an architectural wonder
  • Natural History Museum – it’s chockfull of natural history information and home to 80 million plant, animal, fossil, and rock specimens
  • Victoria and Albert Museum –  the world’s largest applied arts and design founded in 1852 

Go to PICCADILLY CIRCUS

What to see in London is most definitely Piccadilly Circus. This is one of the most famous road intersections, just what you might find in New York City. As one of the top attractions in London, it features unique architecture surrounding it, like the London Pavilion and Criterion Theatre, and the Shaftesbury Memorial fountain. The iconic advertisements adorn the buildings just like what you might see in Times Square NYC. 

Experience | Pass through the vibrant city of London lit up against the night sky on a 90-minute tour, a top thing to do in London at night. See Big Ben, Harrods, the London Eye and Trafalgar Square, click here to book.

Take a photo at RED PHONE BOX

The iconic red telephone box, or what we North Americans would refer to as a “booth” is one of the most recognizable London symbols. You can’t travel to London without taking at least one photo. Here are the best spots with famous landmarks of London in the background:

  • Parliament Square opposite Big Ben
  • Victoria Embankment opposite the London Eye
  • Covent Garden Market
  • Broad Court near Covent Garden Market
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • New Bond Street opposite Cartier

Experience | Get your own personal travel photographer who will capture your top London moments, click here for more information.

Catch the view at SKY GARDEN or THE SHARD

London city views are best seen from Sky Garden or The Shard. London’s highest public garden, where you can enjoy food and drink, or simply catch a city view from Sky Garden. Get your free access tickets here. Or visit western Europe’s tallest building, The Shard, where on floors 68-72 you have an unobstructed 360-degree view across the city. Pre-book your ticket, click here, for your guaranteed best price.

Walk down FAMOUS STREETS

yellow building with flower boxes in London UK
Portobello Road

Not unlike any large capital city, there are bound to be some famous streets. And, London is no different. Here are some of the best London streets to seek out: 

  • Portobello Road Market – a well-known street market in Notting Hill lined with pretty pastel-coloured houses 
  • Abbey Road – instantly recognizable street with its zebra crossing shown on the cover of the Beatles’ album 
  • Oxford Street – one of Europe’s busiest shopping streets and prettiest at Christmas time 
  • Regent Street – is another popular street for shopping lined with luxury brands and chain stores 
  • The Mall – is the long reddish-coloured road that leads to Buckingham Palace giving the effect of a red carpet 
  • Carnaby Street – a pedestrian street lined with trendy boutiques that date back to the 1600s 

Use the UNDERGROUND

London Underground, or what locals will refer to as The Tube. Although London is an easily walkable city, it is vast! If you only have a few days to see as many famous London landmarks and top attractions as you can, get underground and use the Tube.

Traveller’s Tip: a single-journey ticket is pricey at £6.30, I recommend you purchase a daily pass at £14.40 which allows you unlimited travel for that day within zones 1-6 (which is likely all you will need).  

London Pass

For many travellers, seeing these top London attractions is a must. A lot of these popular points of interest require pre-booking your spot. Or, those that do allow booking on-site, will have very long wait lines even in non-peak travel times. That’s why a London Pass is the best solution, allowing you access to more than 80 top attractions, tours, and museums. Choose the option that’s right for you with a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 10-day pass. Click here for all the details.

Where to Stay in London

Check out these accommodation resources, for both renting an apartment or staying in a hotel:

As a holidaymaker…

Without a doubt, there are endless London landmarks dotted all over the city. It’s a great mix of the old and the new and modern. Hopefully, this London landmark list along with the top things to do is helpful for your itinerary planning. 

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60 Comments

  1. It’s a great and comprehensive list of Top London Landmarks. I love this city and have been there several times, but still love to visit some places from your list. One of my favorite architectural buildings is Royal Albert Hall. During each stay, I also visit National Gallery. Also, the UNESCO World Heritage site – Westminster Abbey is one of the most beautiful places in my opinion.

  2. You definitely covered some of my favorite things in on London. Borough market being top of the list. I also love watching plays at the Globe Theater. I’ve always wanted to go into Buckingham palace so I think I need to add that to my list, and the afternoon teas look fantastic. I feel like every time I visit London I’m trying to cram in a million things so maybe I need to treat myself and relax next time

  3. I’ve only been to London once, and it was wonderful! I visited many of the landmarks you highlight here. Wish I could have seen the Kensington Palace… My favorites were the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and Westminster Abbey (and also St. Paul’s Cathedral). When I was there, Big Ben was surrounded by scaffolding so I didn’t get that iconic photo. Oh well!

    1. I was so lucky that I visited after they had removed the scaffolding only a couple of weeks ago. However, tours inside are not available yet. Kensington Palace and gardens was a definite highlight and so hopefully you get a chance to go next time you’re in London.

  4. These are indeed beautiful landmarks and must be included in one’s itinerary should one be visiting London. I had no idea how much the ticket costs to Kensington and Buckingham Place and I think they’re quite reasonable. Thank you for sharing. Would love to visit soon. Bookmarking this post for future reference.

  5. I can totally see that entering Kensington Palace is worth paying £20.00, especially visiting the Sunken Garden. It is breathtaking and amazing sightseeing. On the other hand, the Royal Albert Hall looks amazing with many events that people can attend. Just the outside is incredible and worth capturing in a picture. I bet the inside is even better.

  6. This post has realised how much I need to see more of my own capital. I sometimes end up just going to the same places or showing vistors the same places. There are so many i’m forgetting about here. The royal albert all is one of my favourites and going down abbey road but i always forget about the the christmas displays on oxford street or just visiting convent garden when people are coming over here.

  7. You always have such beautiful photos in your post. Love these images that really tell the story of this beautiufl city. I can’t wait to get back there and enjoy it again in the next few years. Saving for future reference.

  8. This list is perfect! We went to London a couple years ago and were able to see most of these. In fact, we went during the Queen’s season in Scotland, so we were there during the window when you can tour Buckingham Palace and it was awesome!

  9. I love Borough Market, they have such a great selection of treats. The shard is also amazing with fantastic views.

  10. Great job! fantastic guide to the essential landmarks of London! I have been only once in London and this article made me realize how much I want and need to go back! I would love to spend a day in Covent Garden and have afternoon tea! Just to mention a couple! 😍 one can’t get tired of this wonderful city!

  11. Love this! Thanks for putting all the iconic places you have to visit on one list! I haven’t made it to London yet but I’m hoping to this summer. I’ll have to pull this back up and just making my way down the list!

  12. I love London & am fortunate enough to live just outside. Great post & your photos as always do this amazing city justice. Good to see you have all the big hitters covered!

  13. Wow, what a great list, especially if you’re planning your first visit to London. Reading your post was a nostalgic trip down memory lane of special moments shared with friends and family in this fascinating city – thank you for the reminder.

  14. So many great places on this list! I need to go back to London because I only got to see about half of the places in this post during my last trip there. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. I love London and this is a great compilation of places to visit and things to do. I can’t believe I haven’t been to the Globe Theatre or Churchill’s War Rooms yet! Great tip about the day pass for the Underground.

    1. I’ve always wanted to visit Kensington Palace and I’d love to see the statue erected for Diana’s 60th birthday. Doing street would also be cool. It’s too bad you weren’t able to get past the gates. And where better to experience an afternoon English tea than in London?

  16. This makes me want to visit London so bad! I have been to many of these places but my kids haven’t and I am excited to show them!

  17. London is that city that I don’t mind visiting a thousand times. Full of things to see, diverse activities, fantastic atmosphere. I can’t get enough of London. Excellent notes on what to visit in the city and great suggestions. I haven’t had a chance to visit Kensington Palace yet, but will put it on my list for an upcoming visit! It’s always inspiring to read these articles of yours.

    1. Your article brought back such beautiful memories of my time in London. I’ve been to almost all these places and done all of these. The tours in Buckingham, Kensington palaces and Royal Albert Hall are unforgettable. Climbing Big Ben is something I’ll always cherish. Shakespeare Globe Theatre is the only one I missed in your list.

      1. There is a lot to do and see in London. The city is full of iconic heritage buildings like the Buckingham palace, the Big Ben, the Piccadilly square, the St. Paul’s cathedral and West Minister’s abbey. Besides the tall frames of modern architecture like the shards and the Gherkin make it very special destination. Also strolling at Hyde Park or enjoying traditional afternoon tea is something I would love to enjoy.

  18. Nice round-up on the main sights of London. I like it, that you included some unusual things like the Shakespeare Globe and the Churchill War rooms. While I would say, they are not exactly must-sees, they definitely add to the understanding of the city. Hagh – your post made me want to visit London again, and see a Shakespear play at the globe! I recently read Hamnett by Maggy O’Farrell, a novel about Shakespear and his family. It is set in the time the original globe theater was built.

  19. Great guide with a good selection of things to do. Borough market is one of my favourites as is Camden market with its incredible food stalls. 10 downing Street is definitely the place not to miss in the midst of the political circus we are currently having haha

    1. I love that you organized this geographicly. I’ve been to london a few times and thought I’d seen a lot but this list makes me want to do it all again!

  20. London is one of the cities you could spend weeks just walking from landmark to landmark and there still would be more. Besides, there are so many hidden gems worth seeing, special neighborhoods, not-so-famous theaters, it’s crazy what you can do in the city around the clock. And, of course, it’s been far too long since I have visited London – your post really made me miss this amazing city….

  21. Each visit to London we pick one or two of the famous landmarks to see. But I can see from your post that we have a few more for our future trips. I would love to see a show at the Royal Albert Hall. Or maybe some classics at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. And you now we are always looking for a new spot for Afternoon Tea!

  22. After living in London for 12 years, this just reminded me that although I have seen all of these places, I haven’t actually been inside many of them.
    It’s one of those things where something on your door step seems so normal or unimportant as it so attainable. I have probably seen less inside popular London places than teh average foreign tourist!.
    i remember my mother once coming to visit me in London and asked if I could take her to the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels as she had always wanted to see them. I had to actually think where the Tower was as I never gave it much importance.
    This excellent article on what to see in london has reminded me that I need to get into these places and see them properly. Thanks for reminding me.

  23. There is just no place like London and no matter how many times you come back to it, there will be a new exciting thing waitig for you. Afternoon tea and visiting the traditional sites such as the Tower, Tower Bridge or Buckingham Place are a must. I’ve never seen No 10 past the gate and don’t think the general public is allowed to do so. Yeah they’ve signficantly reduced the telephone boxes in town, so thanks for listing the main spots where one can still find them.

  24. Wow – Kensington Palace is gorgeous and I love the statue of Princess Diana. Can’t miss Big Ben when in London. I was surpised at how impressive Big Ben was in person. Pictures do not do it justice. Such a great list for what to see in London – it really has so much to offer visitors.

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