Skip to Content

18 Best Things to do in London, England

18 Best Things to do in London, England

At the first glance, it may seem like you have explored all of London but there is so much to do and see. It may seem like you cannot enjoy the city under restrictions of social distancing, but there is so much to keep you busy. 

London is one of the top tourist destinations and with good reason. The beautiful city is known for several iconic attractions that can give you happy days of exploring and learning.

London is one destination that will always be on the bucket list of travelers.

But if you have already been there and done the usual must-dos, there is a lot more for you to enjoy.

If you want to scratch beneath the surface and discover London as the locals have, we have many options for you to explore.

Right from the iconic attractions, to history and art exhibitions, there are amazing things to do in London.

Best Things to do in London, England

1. Enjoy world-class exhibition at V&A

The V&A is a classic museum showcasing the best of decorative design and art. It is known as a cathedral to culture and often has high-profile exhibitions that usually sell out.

However, there are permanent exhibits that are fascinating and free to visit. It also includes a mini pet cemetery.

When at the exhibition, do not miss the all-porcelain courtyard built by Amanda Levete. It is the world’s first courtyard created with 11,000 handmade tiles.

If you happen to be here at the right time, you will see the courtyard catching sunlight and it looks like the 1960s Rome.

It is the best thing to do in London. 

2.   Explore the Barbican Conservatory


How about getting lost in a leafy, large greenhouse in the iconic performing art and exhibition center?

Spend an afternoon at the art complex which is a part of a vast concrete estate. It is an icon of brutalist London architecture and also includes 2,000 covetable flats.

It is home to the second biggest conservatory in the city and there is an indoor garden with 2,000 plant species. You will get to see world-class arts across every genre. It is one of the most fun things to do in London. 

The beautiful indoor forest in London is like a secret garden where you will never get tired of exploring.

The glass-bound rain forest is the second largest conservatory in London and it has a light show which adds a unique glow to the plants and flowers.

If you are keen on learning more about the plant species, you can opt for a guided tour. The conservatory has everything under the sun so make sure that you head to the conservatory with enough time on hand.

You can also enjoy an afternoon tea on Sundays at the Conservatory. 

See Related: Best Castles in London

3.  Savor delicious food in Chinatown

Steamed Buns in Chinatown

London has a small but well-defined Chinatown which shows the Chinese culture. It is located between Theatreland and Soho. It is a lot of fun to explore this place.

You can walk for hours looking at the bilingual street signs, lion statues, colorful pagodas. and large gates that welcome you into an area filled with shops and restaurants.

You will also find several hotel and accommodation options near the area.

You will see several restaurants serving mouthwatering delicacies from China. You can easily spend an entire day eating the best food in Chinatown.

Food enthusiasts love the place and frequently visit it.

There are many locals who are regular in Chinatown. It is easy to reach and the best part about Chinatown is that it is not restricted to Asian cuisine, it has expanded to the rest of the world and will give you a taste of the most delicious food.

It has bars and restaurants that are open late in the night. It is also one of the most fun things to do in London at night.

See Related: 25 Interesting Facts About London

4.  See art at Tate Modern

Tate Modern

Tate Modern is a riverside icon on the South bank of London. It is dedicated to contemporary art and is a younger sibling to Tate Britain. Your trip to London will remain incomplete without a visit to Tate Modern.

It remains a must-do for one and all and is on the bucket list of many. You will be challenged and inspired at Tate Modern.

It is known for outstanding architecture and the 2016 Switch House extension has added gallery and exceptional 360-degree views of the dashing London skyline. It remains one of the top things to do in London.

You will be able to see the works of some of the top artists for free at the permanent collection.

Tate Modern is not limited to artwork, there is a massive collection of performances, photography, live art exhibits, and film in recent years.

It will open a new window for you and if you are an art lover, you will never want to leave this place. It has some art galleries that trickle outdoors which allows you to wander around and see other temporary art exhibits and street performers. 

Do not miss the Tate Boat which runs up and down the Thames every 30 minutes during the opening hours of the gallery.

Make sure you go with enough time and do not plan a visit on the weekend if you want to avoid crowds. 

5.  Best Things to do in London in Winter: Go ice skating!

Whether you are traveling with your family or your partner, have the best time skating right in front of an iconic London museum.

Natural History Museum is one of the top places to visit in London but its ice rink attracts many locals and tourists. It is one of the top things to do in London during Christmas.

The rink is transformed for winter and has a massive Christmas tree and fairy lights. If you do not want to put the skates on, simply sit at the cafe in the museum and sip some hot chocolate while you watch skaters.

There are several other places to enjoy ice skating in London.

Whether you are a pro or a beginner, it can be a lot of fun, especially when you are traveling with family and friends.

There are some of the top ice skating rinks that remain packed during the Christmas weekend and it is the top attraction for locals and tourists.

If you are in London during Christmas, you must enjoy Ice staking while you visit the beautiful Christmas markets across different parts of the city.

There is nothing like enjoying Christmas at this stunning destination. 

See Related: Things to Know as an American Driving in the UK

6.  Bird’s eye view of London 

London skyline

There is nothing like a romantic Helicopter ride over the beautiful city of London.

Discover panoramic views of the city on a sky-high tour. You will be able to see some of the biggest landmarks from the top of the world.

You can soak up the stunning views in an attraction-packed tour which starts from central London and can take you from the west to east London.

The ride can be a lot of fun and lasts for about 20 minutes. You will go from the ground to the sky in 20 seconds with the pilot showing the top attractions. It is the perfect way to spend a romantic evening in London.

If you plan the ride well, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset over London. A helicopter ride in London is the most unique thing to do in London.

If you have seen the top attractions and are not keen on repeating them, take a helicopter ride to enjoy an outstanding view of the stunning city. 

See Related: How to Plan a Month Long Vacation

7.  Eat your way around the Borough market

Heading to the Borough market may not be on your bucket list but this is a place where you will find the best food and drink options.

If you are a food enthusiast, this is where you must head. The oldest food market in London, Borough market goes back to the thirteenth century. It remains one of the non-touristy things to do in London.

If you are a foodie, this is one of the best things to do in London.

You can enjoy street food here. It was once notable for crowds and had become a popular destination for chefs and foodies. You can grab your favorite snacks from the market and head towards a riverside picnic with your family and friends. 

See Related: Most Beautiful Villages in England

8. Spend a day at the Columbia Road Flower Market

The Columbia Road Flower Market is one of the oldest and most loved flower markets in London.

Every Sunday, there is a flower market that lines Columbia Road and it looks like a paradise. It is one of the best places to visit on a lazy Sunday and also the best place to buy flowers, cacti, and bedding plants.

Check out the bargains and best blooms. You can explore the market until 3 pm in all weathers but if you want to buy flowers, you need to get there early.

While walking down the streets, check out the cute shops, cafes, and antique dealers. You can get a good bargain here. 

9.  Pick your favorite antiques at the Portobello Road market

Notting Hill

Head to the world’s largest antique market on Notting Hill, a pastel-painted shopping street that attracts tourists from across the world.

You will find several vegetable and fruit stalls here. The Portobello market is also famous for antiques but do not be fooled by the fold-out tables as it is not cheap to buy from here.

It is one of the most interesting and free things to do in London.

There are serious treasures you will come across at the Portobello road market.

If you want secondhand goods, you need to head further up on the road and beyond the Westway.

You will be able to find vintage treasures on Sundays here. 

10. See ‘Hope’ at Natural History Museum 

Towers at the London Natural History Museum

South Kensington is home to about 80 million plants, rock, fossil, animal, and mineral specimens. It is a world-class research institution and a fascinating museum that is a must-visit when in London.

If you are traveling with kids, this is one place you should not miss out on and it is at the top of the must-do things to do in London.

It is a chance to see the animatronic dinosaurs, an earthquake simulator, a massive sequoia tree, and glow-in-the-dark crystals right in front of you.

There is a big blue whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling of Hintze Hall and it goes by the name of Hope.

It is a huge attraction at the museum and is a must-see. 

11. Explore Greenwich

Greenwich London

The center of maritime London, Greenwich is an interesting place to visit. It has a village feel despite the hundreds of tourists walking around the place. But there is ample room for everyone to spread out and enjoy a warm summer day. Do not overlook Greenwich as a destination that has been done too many times.

There are several things you can do here right from visiting the Royal Observatory to the National Maritime Museum. There is the Queen’s house, Greenwich Park, Eltham Palace, and Emirates Air Line Cable Car.

Whether you are spending one day at Greenwich or are here for a weekend, you can enjoy several activities here.

If this is your first visit to Greenwich, it is best to head to the observatory and start your day sightseeing.

Greenwich is one of the top touristy things to do in London. 

See Related: London vs Paris

12. Head to the glass walkway on Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge in London at Night

How about walking 42 meters on top of the River Thames?

Sounds interesting? You can have a great time with your friends and family walking over the glass slabs while there is traffic and people right below.

If you are wondering about the things to do in London this weekend, this experience can be quite nerve-wracking but it is worth it. It is a very unique and one of the fun things to do in London.

There is a mirror above that provides the best selfie angles while you enjoy the panoramic views from the Tower Bridge.

It is slightly touristy but there are some things you cannot miss out on. 

See Related: Best Things to do in Amsterdam

13.  Relax at the beach

beach scene at sunset

Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and relax at the beach. A summer day is always well spent near the beach. There are a few choices around but you will never go wrong with Brighton.

The beautiful south coast location has fresh air, fewer crowds, and excellent nightlife. It is a dream for pub enthusiasts and has rows of shops that have a bohemian vibe.

Pack lunch and head to Brighton. You can lounge on the rocky beach and enjoy the best summer day. 

14. Shop and Dine at Camden Market

The Locks at Camden Town Market

The market is a popular tourist attraction because of its lively atmosphere and the diversity of shops that are found there. The range of goods that can be found at Camden Market ranges from inexpensive souvenirs to expensive antiques. There are also many other great things about Camden Market which makes it a fantastic place to visit.

The market is a different place to visit. It has lots of different cultures in one area. You can learn about other countries by shopping in the shops or eating at the restaurants. The food is great because there is a great blend of different types of food, from street vendors to hipster pop-ups.

You may also want to visit Camden Market because there are so many different types of shops which sell an assortment of gifts and souvenirs. There is something for everyone, whether you are looking for cheap gifts or something more extravagant.

If you’re going to be visiting alone, Camden Market is an excellent location to visit. Because of the ambience, you will feel welcome there, and there are several means to meet new people during your stay.

While you are there, make sure you try a Camden Town Brewery for some of the best craft beer in London. Like what you are hearing? Check out these other top things to do in Camden.

See Related: Best Over the Should Purses for Travel

15. Enjoy a magic show

There is no joy like that of a magic show. No matter how old you are, you will always have fun at the magic shows but sadly good shows are very few and far between. If you want to enjoy the best show, head to the Magic Circle.

It is the perfect thing to do in London with kids. It is a society of some of the top illusionists and magicians in the world.

It is a great alternative to a night in the pub. They host some of the top-class shows and attract huge audience.

It also has a museum that is only accessible with a ticket to one of the shows. 

See Related: Best Credit Cards for International Travel

16. Paddle through the Thames in a canoe

Boat on the Thames River

You might have seen the Thames several times but have you gone paddling on it? Enjoy a lovely day out on the Thames with your friends.

Kayak down the river in a bovine boat as a part of the watery sightseeing tour.

The vessel takes two to three people and has a black and white cow print on it.

You have various waterway routes to start from and they come with meal stops as well. 

See Related: Grand Union Canal Itinerary

17.  Head to the House of Minalima

Who doesn’t love Harry Potter?

If you are a raging fan, you will certainly enjoy exploring the world of Harry Potter at The House of Minalima.

It is a quirky place in London and is one of the most popular Harry Potter sights to date.

It is a brainchild of the creators of the graphic universe in Harry Potter movies. It remains one of the most awesome things to do in London.

You will get to see different types of graphic works that are shown in the film, including some that are straight from the Harry Potter studios.

There are posters, books, and copies of the Quibbler. You will get a chance to immerse yourself in the world of Harry Potter. It also has an entire floor dedicated to the Fantastic Beasts.

Is there a better way to spend time with your kids than heading to the world of Harry Potter?

Book your tickets in advance to make the most of your holiday.

See Related: Best Portable Routers for Travel

18. Severndroog Castle

You might never think of visiting Eltham but when you finally do, you will see that the Severndroog Castle is the case point here.

The castle was built as a memorial to a naval commander by his wife. Built-in the 18th century, the triangular castle has three rooms each atop the other. It also has a viewing platform that has some of the best views in South London. 

If you are looking to do something unusual, head to one of these places and have the time of your life. London has a lot to see and do and no matter your interest or age, you will always find fun and unique activities to engage in. 

Love castles? Check out these other top castles near London.

Related Product Guides

Related Resources

Lock In Your Travel Now
Booking Flights
Use Skyscanner to book the cheapest flight possible. Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine as you can find flights around the globe and from every airline possible. You'll be in great shape to get the best price possible.

You must grab a free trial or join Scott's Cheap Flights Premium to get cheap flight alerts directly to your email inbox. My favorite cheap flight alert was 25,000 Delta SkyMiles to London non-stop.

Book Your Accommodation
In order to capture the widest selection of properties and the best price, use as they have the cheapest rates for guesthouses, hotels, luxury condos, B&Bs and so much more.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It's a low cost way to ensure your travel plans go smooth no matter what's thrown at it. Use World Nomads to find the best policy for your travel schedule.
Looking for Extra Travel Perks?
Check out these best travel rewards credit cards to enjoy extra rewards points that can be redeemed for flights, hotels and more. In addition, several of these cards will help you enjoy some amazing travel benefits like lounge access, travel credits, upgrades and more.
Want More Destination Ideas Direct to Your Inbox?
Be sure to join the ViaTravelers Newsletter for expert tips, tricks and inspiration for your next travel journey!