I have been to London a number of times and recently returned from a 3 day business trip. It is such a wonderful and vibrant city full of culture and delightfully cosmopolitan. It’s a place where people from different backgrounds, race and religions live side-by-side and share a collective love for their city, which is full of history, culture and world-famous landmarks. Here are my recommendations of what to put on your London bucket list when you are there.
London Bucket List – Must Do Activities When Visiting London
Eat and Drink in a Pub
Pubs are quintessentially British. London has countless numbers of them ranging from centuries-old ale houses serving traditional ‘pub grub’ and beer to modern gastro pubs serving Michelin-starred gastronomic delights.
If you don’t visit a pub you will have definitely missed out on a truly unique British experience. When I was last there I went to a quiz night in a pub just around the corner from my hotel and had a brilliant evening.
Explore Historical Attractions
Being one of the oldest established cities in the world, London has a lot of history. You can walk around or get on a sightseeing bus and see many of the famous landmarks that litter the city. Personally, I thought the hop on-hop off bus tour was fantastic. It’s so easy and you can get off and on as much as you like. Plus, it saves the legs.
Must see attractions include: Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament; St. Paul’s Cathedral; Buckingham Palace; Tower of London; Trafalgar Square; and Tower Bridge.
Go To The Theatre
Alongside Broadway, the West End in London is the best place to put on your London bucket list to see live theatre and performance. I saw Matilda in the West End and it was great. If Shakespeare is more your thing then you can head to the Globe. It’s a reconstruction of the original theatre that Shakespeare wrote his plays for an performed in and plays run between April and October. As English is her second language, I thought it might be a bit tricky for my girlfriend to follow a Shakespeare play, but the acting performances were so brilliant that it wasn’t a problem.
Tickets to the Globe are a bit cheaper, but the West End has more variety.
Enjoy Spectacular Views
The London skyline is teeming with iconic buildings and views from the London Eye and The Shard are particularly spectacular. You can also take in the beautiful natural scenery from the tranquil banks of the River Thames and many parks and gardens dotted about the city.
Hyde Park and Regent’s Park are wonderful places to laze away a day, and Kew Gardens is an absolutely stunning spot to spend a few hours engrossed in your favorite books, such as these inspiring reads.
Have A Day Out For Free
London is full of superb museums and art galleries that are free to enter and cater for all kinds of interests. I enjoy modern art and natural history so the Tate Modern and Natural History Museum were both high up on my list of places to spend a few hours in.
Other great museums and galleries that are free to enter include: Science Museum; National Gallery; Tate Britain; National Portrait Gallery; and the V&A Museum. Many of the historical attractions that I mentioned earlier are also free to enter, as are the parks.
One of the best things I have done in London was to visit the Wellcome Collection; where I came face-to-face with a Peruvian mummy and Napoleon’s toothbrush! There are lots of weird and wonderful things in here that make for a fun visit.
Watch Live Sport
No matter what time of the year it is, you will always be able to find some kind of live sporting event to see in London. Summer has the world famous Wimbledon tennis tournament and cricket at Lords. Spring sees rugby fans flock to Twickenham for the culmination of the 6 nations. Autumn brings with it the start of the Premier League soccer season with London home to famous teams like Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham. If you are in London in winter you might well find yourself there during an NFL game at Wembley Stadium. I went to a game last year and I can tell you that the Brits put on a great show.
If shopping is your thing then you’d be hard pushed to find a better place in the world to spend your hard-earned money. You can find everything in London, from market stalls to expensive luxury items in designer stores.
If you have money to burn or just like to window shop then Harrods, Knightsbridge and the flagship stores on Oxford Street could be for your London bucket list. If you are looking for something more local then check out some of London’s famous markets like Portabello Market and Camden Market.
And if you love boutiques then Carnaby Street is the place for you.
London is full of friendly and welcoming people. My tip for you would be to try and talk to as many locals as you can. Because that is the best way to find out what things are going on in and around the areas you are staying. You never know what experiences might come your way when you meet new people for the first time.
If you have any experiences of London that you would like to share; or have your own London bucket list then please feel free to comment below. I would be delighted to hear from you.