Big Ben in London, England

“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
– Miriam Beard

Sightseeing in London can be a bit overwhelming. This city is so vast and dense with things to do that I think it’s impossible for even a local to do it all over a lifetime. From the Tower of London to Westminster Abbey, below you will find a list of the must-see sights in London.

1) Big Ben/Parliament

Address: Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
Tour Cost: Adults: 17.50 Euro, Children 5-15: 7 Euro, Children under 5 FREE
Tour Hours: 9:20am to 4:30pm (except Monday to Friday between 13 April and 6 May 2015, 12:40pm to 4:45pm)
Tour website: http://www.parliament.uk

Parliament is essentially the houses of power for the British government. There are some pretty fascinating conversations going on in this building on any given day. You can check the schedule on their website and see if any sessions are available for sit-ins. Big Ben is located just outside of Parliament. It is commonly mistaken that the clock tower itself is dubbed Big Ben, but in reality it’s just the bell inside. This has been a London staple for years and is located within walking distance of Westminster Abbey and the London Eye.

Big Ben and Parliament as seen from the London Eye
Big Ben and Parliament as seen from the London Eye

2) Westminter Abbey

Address: 20 Deans Yd Westminster, London SW1P 3PA
Cost of entry: Adults: 17 Euro, children 6-16: 9 Euro, 5 and under FREE. They also have specials for a family of 2 adults and 1 child for 40 Euro and for a family of 2 adults and 2 children for 45 Euro
Hours: vary, check their website for the dates you would like to go

Construction began on this Gothic style church in 1245 and was completed in 1272. Inside, you will find unmatched beauty, various art forms and architectural detail that will blow your mind. You will find the Abbey Shop to buy souvenirs, the Abbey gardens and a museum. Tip – Kids eat free all day every day in the Cellarium Café.

Classic red telephone booth in front of Westminster Abbey in London
Westminster Abbey

 

3) London Eye

Address: London SE1 7PB United Kingdom
Cost: Adults: 21.50 Euro, children 4 & up: 15.50 Euro, children under 4 are FREE
Hours: https://www.londoneye.com

Located on the South Bank is the iconic London Eye. It is Europe’s largest Ferris wheel and with almost 4 million visitors every year it is one of London’s most popular attractions. Hop in a pod and enjoy breath taking views of London until the city meets the horizon. I would recommend going to their main website to purchase tickets at a discounted rate. You can also head over to their website to find a variety of package options to choose from to customize your experience.

The London Eye from the Thames River
The London Eye

4) Tower of London

Address: London EC3N 4AB United Kingdom
Cost: Adults: 22.00 Euro, children 5-15: 11 Euro, 5 and under are free
Hours: Tues-Sat 09:00am-5:30pm; Sun-Mon 10:00am-5:30pm (these are summer hours, winter hours closing time will be 4:30pm)


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Located on the North Bank of the Thames River is the historic Tower of London. Here you will find a plethora of history, mystique and beauty. The 949 year old castle holds stories of love, hate, murder, family and royalty like a soap opera stretched out over a thousand years. I would recommend reading up on the history of the tower before you go so you can thoroughly appreciate it while visiting. If reading isn’t exactly your thing then you’re in luck! There is a free tour called the Yeoman Warder Tour you can join in on and learn about the secrets and history these walls hold. This tour begins at the front entrance every 30 minutes and lasts about an hour. For a list of activities the tower holds click here, and for those of you who love to be scared try one of their twilight tours, for more info click here.

The tower is also home to the crown jewels which house 23,578 gems and the stories behind them. It also holds the largest diamond ever found (I know ladies…try not to cry when you have to leave). Inside you will also find the 800 year old Coronation Spoon, The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross (a 530 carat diamond!) crowns, crowns and more crowns!

TIP there is a Red Rover Cruise Tour dock outside the tower walls where you can catch a boat to the London Eye and various other place. It is a beautiful way to see the city as you float down the Thames river.

The Tower of London
The Tower of London


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5) Red Rover Cruise Tour

Website: http://www.citycruises.com

The Red Rover cruise offered a chance to sit down and relax while floating down the Thames and soaking in the views of London. Our tour guide was hilarious and made the ride that much more enjoyable. The cruises take off every 30 minutes and have multiple stops. It is a great way to get around to some of the major sights off the Thames. Consider taking the cruise in the evening, I imagine the city lit up would be an unforgettable sight.

The Red Rover Cruise tour takes you down the Thames river to see some of the most famous views in London
The Red Rover Cruise tour takes you down the Thames river to see some of the most famous views in London

6) Hyde Park

Website: https://www.royalparks.org.uk

The beautiful Hyde park covers about 350 acres in the middle of London. It’s such a calming atmosphere in contrast to the bustling streets, so calming in fact, that as you wander around you will see people (who are not homeless by the way) just taking naps in the middle of the park. We even seen some people with ducks snuggling up to them as they all slept. There were gardens within Hyde park that were beginning to bloom and a little cafe right off The Serpentine lake to enjoy some coffee at. Hyde park is also home to the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain and the Speakers’ Corner.

  • THE BOAT HOUSE – Rent a rowing or pedal boat at The Boat House and enjoy the afternoon on the lake. It’s a beautiful sight to float down the lake and take in all that Hyde Park is. The Boat house is open April-October.
The Serpentine River located at Hyde Park in London
The Serpentine located at Hyde Park

7) Trafalgar Square

Address: Westminster London WC2N 5DN

Often referred to as the heart of the city, Trafalgar Square is London’s largest square. Some of the most famous gatherings have taken place here, including the Bloody Sunday demonstration. Filled with statues, fountains, restaurants and shops it’s a great place for walking around and absorbing the British atmosphere. The National Gallery is located in the square and there are often musicians playing for tips out front. Across the street is a wonderful little coffee shop called Caffe Nero where you can people watch through the large windows and sip on your favorite beverage.

In Trafalgar Square you will find an energetic atmosphere, live music and various art in London
In Trafalgar Square you will find an energetic atmosphere, live music and various art


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London has an abundance of things to experience and enjoy. These are just a few London staples to make your vacation memorable and worthwhile!

24 thoughts on “Sightseeing in London

  1. Great post Elisa! You saw and did most of the best sights on your visit. Even as a native, I learned a few things reading your post and have not done all the activities you mentioned. Cabinet War rooms are also something I’d like to do. Your tips are spot on too. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you Sarah! I really appreciate it 🙂 Believe it or not we were only there 4 days. Maybe one day we can do the War rooms together!

  2. I really want to make a trip to London and your photos make me want to go even more! It looks like you caught the city on a sunny day! Thanks so much for sharing the suggestions, we will definitely come back to this list when we plan a trip!

  3. Thanks for the guide to London. We’ll be traveling there for the first time in April and this will help us hit the ground running. There is so much to see and too little time. Happy Travels!

    1. Wow! I’m so happy to hear that! You guys will have such a wonderful time. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me.

  4. I love London and it’s been far too long since I’ve last been there. Reading about the sights has me missing my home away from home. What I love about London, besides the abundance of history at every turn, is how walkable it is. One of my favorite things to do is to walk from Westminster Bridge, along the river walk, and end up at Tower Bridge by Tower of London. Seeing St. Paul’s Cathedral dominating the skyline with the Thames – doesn’t get any better!

    1. Great suggestion! London is such a walkable destination…plus tons of great shopping and food to be found! When you go back, make sure you come and get me first LOL

  5. Nice post! I loved spending my 24th Birthday there. It was a really cool city to just walk around and experience. Couple of must do’s on my list: eat fish and chips from a street vendor, take the tube “mind the gap” and St. Paul’s cathedral 😊 Thanks for sharing your tips!

    1. Thank you! Thanks for sharing too! I didn’t get the chance for fish and chips from a street vendor but now I think I’m going to have to go back – just for that.

  6. Great list on things to do! I love the Tower of London, though I need to go back as I could have easily spent two days in there!

  7. As a fan of all things literature, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who, I want to go to London so much. I’ve never seen anyone talk about the boat cruise before. I love boats so that looks extra fun.

    1. London sounds like a must go for you! Sherlock Holmes is a fave of mine <3 The boat cruise is so much fun, it's educational, playful and offers some amazing views! I hope you get to go someday soon.

  8. I studied in London for four weeks back in college, and this brings back some memories. As a poor college kid in one of the most expensive cities in the world, just reading a book in Hyde Park is one of my favorite memories.

    1. Love that, sometimes it’s the simple things. I would trade one week as a rich man in London for 4 weeks as a broke college student anytime!

  9. Hyde Park is amazing. We walked around for a couple of hours, watched an African wedding ceremony and so much more. Well, spent a little extra time searching for my son who took a nap under a tree but that is another story.

    1. AWE hahaha napping under the trees does seem to be a big thing in Hyde Park. I bet it was amazing to see the wedding ceremony!

    1. WOW! You are due for another London vacation (as am I! We should just go together!). I hope you get to go again soon Donna!

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