I know, I know, I live in the West Midlands – how can I be a London insider?
Well, if I haven’t mentioned it enough times, I used to live in London for University. I spent four amazing years there studying and *trying* to find a graduate job before moving back to my hometown, Telford.
As you can imagine four years of living in the big smoke has given me enough time to explore all of the main attractions several times, meaning I can give you the low down on my faves.
Guide to London Attractions
Depending on how long you’re visiting London for you probably won’t have time to visit all of the attractions below, so to make it easier I’ve put a star next to ones I think you should definitely make time for.
Big Ben and Houses of Parliament ?
When you think of London this is probably the first thing you think of right? (Other than Fish and Chip shops which are surprisingly hard to find in Central). That being said, it’s a pretty good starting point for a day in London as it’s close to many other attractions and it doesn’t take long to do.
Tip: There are two places that are PERFECT for selfies in front of Big Ben.
- Stand on Great George Street (going towards St James Park)
- Stand on Westminster Bridge (going towards Waterloo)
Westminster Abbey ?
Just behind the Houses of Parliament is Westminster Abbey, one of the most photographed places in London. It’s well worth a visit and if you book online you can save 10% off a £20 ticket. It’s not a lot, but it all adds up in the most expensive city in England.
? Westminster & Waterloo
The London Eye is another iconic part of the London skyline, and luckily, it’s right opposite Big Ben. Once you’ve walked around the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey you can take some photographs from across Westminster Bridge, then make your way over to Waterloo.
If you’re looking to go on the London eye tickets are available from around £24 online, which is pretty steep for online 45 minutes but the views are spectacular and TOTALLY worth it.
Tip: I’d recommend buying online to avoid having to queue to purchase the ticket on the day.
River Thames Cruise
? Westminster, Waterloo, Embankment & Tower Hill
An absolute must when is London is a cheeky little cruise on the River Thames. Although it sounds pricey it’s actually pretty reasonable and so worth the money if you want to see London from a completely different perspective. Places like Discount London offer tickets for as little as £14.40, perfect for when you don’t want to spend too much but want to squeeze in a mini Thames cruise.
Buckingham Palace ?
? Victoria, Green Park & Hyde Park Corner
If you go to London and don’t visit Buckingham Palace, did you even go to London at all?
I think visiting the Queens house is the most quintessentially British thing you can do, so it’s well worth a visit just for that iconic shot of you standing outside the gates. If you’re lucky, you may catch a glimpse of her leaving in her Bentley State Limo.
Tip: If you go around 10.30am you’ll be there in time for the Changing of the Guards at 11:00am. It gets pretty crowded, so the earlier you go the better. Double check the times online though, as sometimes they can be as late as 4:00pm.
Trafalgar Square ?
? Charing Cross
Trafalgar Square is home to the National Gallery, Nelsons Column and some of the most beautiful fountains in London. It’s a great place to sit and watch the world go by (if you can get a seat) and has great views of Westminster and the London Eye when facing towards Whitehall Road.
Piccadilly Circus ?
Once dubbed the ‘Times Square of London’ – Piccadilly Circus is often a must see on most tourists list. Admittedly there are NOWHERE near as many lights as there are in Times Square, but it is now a major hub for the West End, with plenty of theatres, restaurants and cafes in the surrounding area.
Originally, there were many buildings with illuminated signs at the major traffic junction, but now they only remain on one.
Oxford Street ?
? Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Tottenham Court Road & Bond Street
If you love shopping, Oxford Street is the place for you. Starting at Marble Arch station and stretching 1.2miles to Tottenham Court Road underground, there are plenty of places to spend ALL your spending money.
Being the central shopping district in London a lot of the stores are the flagship stores including Selfridges, Debenhams, New Look, Topshop, John Lewis, Forever 21 and H&M.
Tip: Get off at Tottenham Court Road underground station so that you can walk from the top to bottom. If you get off at Oxford Circus you’ll start in the middle and end up backtracking on yourself.
Hyde Park ?
? Hyde Park Corner, Victoria & Marble Arch
Hyde park is one of the most popular parks in London and one quick visit will show you exactly why. It’s absolutely huge (the largest of the four Royal Parks), stunning to walk around and surprisingly quiet for a few hours rest in the sunshine if needed.
Tip: Around November time Winter Wonderland (a massive German Market) opens up in the middle of Hyde Park. If you’re visiting in the festive period I would 100% recommend paying a visit – it’s one of my favourite things to do at Christmas time!
? Baker Street
Madame Tussauds is a great one to do if you’re visiting London with kids as it’s essentially a museum filled with wax work models of famous people. I haven’t been since I was younger but I know they have new editions such as One Direction, Zoe Sugg and Alfie Deyes.
Tip: Buy your tickets online, they’re cheaper and you won’t have to queue as long. My University campus was directly opposite and during lectures, I used to be able to see people queuing up for hours to get in.
? Regents Park & Camden
I think I’m slightly biased including this one as I did work there for 6 months after I graduated. Considering it’s a zoo in the middle of an incredibly busy city it’s actually pretty big and well worth a visit. They’ve got tigers, gorillas, lions (in a new enclosure!), penguins, giraffes, hippos and so much more.
They don’t have elephants though so don’t be fooled by the speakers playing elephant sounds – the amount of times I had to answer “Where are the elephants, I can hear them?” – OMG.
Tip: If you’re visiting London via train you can get 2 for 1 tickets for the zoo beforehand here.
Tower Bridge and The Tower of London ?
? Tower Hill
Possibly one of the most iconic bridges in London, Tower Bridge is another must see. Originally opened in 1894 Tower Bridge has had several renovations and is regularly adapted to celebrate important occasions such as the Queens Jubilee or the London 2012 Olympics.
The Tower of London, directly opposite, is a historic castle within the Borough of Tower Hamlets. I’m not going to go into it’s history because there is A LOT of it, but I’d definitely recommend a visit to learn more about London’s history on a whole. Entry for adults is £28, or £24 if you book online in advance.
This another one for those who love to shop, although you may need a little bit of a higher budget for this one. Well known for it’s food halls and luxury fashion, Harrods is both a foodies and shopaholics dream.
Tip: Visit the pet shop, they have the CUTEST dogs.
Woah, that was much longer than anticipated. I didn’t even get to cover other awesome London attractions such as the Tate Modern, V&A, Royal Albert Hall and the Natural History Museum.
Maybe I’ll have to do a round two at some point? 😉