Exploring England’s Capital: 30 Things to Do in London

Exploring England’s Capital: 30 Things to Do in London

One of my favourite cities in the world is my home city of London. Bursting to the seams with nuances and attractions, while simultaneously embodying a rich culture, there is something for everyone in this fascinating place. London City itself is only a very small percentage of Greater London, approximately one square mile. Of course, when people say they’re going to London, they intend to explore far beyond what is offered in just 'London'! I have compiled 30 of my favourite things to do in London, in order of a straightforward walking route.

How to Get Around London

The main way of getting around is on the London Underground, or the Tube. It's an extensive network of lines that run all over the city. Get yourself an Oyster Card from any tube station and top it up as you go. It’s an incredibly convenient way of travel; all you have to do is tap your way through the ticket barriers at each station and it takes the correct amount of money off depending on when and where you're headed.

30 Things to Do in London

1. Walk across Tower Bridge & spot the Tower of London, £21.50 per adult

Tower Bridge (what some people may mistake for London Bridge, from the famous nursery rhyme) is one of London's most well-known structures. After you cross over, you can walk along the embankment of the River Thames and take in the view of the Tower of London. Once an execution prison, the Tower of London is now home to the Crown Jewels and has a fantastic museum. Closest tube station: Tower Hill

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

2. Explore London's Financial District

This bustling hub is a financial powerhouse; one of the most important in Europe. Some brilliant architecture is on display here too: the Walkie-Talkie, the Gherkin and the Shard are some of the best. Closest tube station: Aldgate

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

3. Climb to the top of the Monument to the Great Fire of London, £4.50 per adult

Completed in 1677 just 61 metres from where the great fire started, the Monument provides a brilliant view of the city. You can get yourself a certificate if you climb up the 311 stairs winding up in the inside to the 360 degree views of London at the top. The Shard dominates the skyline. Closest tube station: Monument

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

4. Check out St. Paul's Cathedral, £18.00 per adult

Visit the hauntingly beautiful St. Paul's Cathedral in the heart of London. The lobby is free to have a look around, and there is a free viewing deck on the top floor of the shopping mall across the street. Closest tube station: St. Paul's

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

5. Cross the Millennium Bridge

The road leading straight down towards the Thames from the cathedral ends at Millennium Bridge which sort of twists and turns its way across the river. It also happens to the bridge that is blown up during one of the Harry Potter films, so for fanatics like myself, be sure to reenact this iconic scene. Closest tube station: St. Paul's or Blackfriars

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

6. Appreciate modern art at Tate Modern, free admission

The other side of the Millennium Bridge houses the internationally renowned Tate Modern Art Gallery which you can explore and gain a greater appreciation for modern art. Closest tube station: Blackfriars

jana meerman london uk

7. Find William Shakespeare's stone outside the replica Globe Theatre

Next door to Tate is the beautiful recreation of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre where one can watch his iconic plays reenacted inside the open-top stage. Closest tube station: London Bridge

jana meerman london uk

8. Push a Hogwarts trolley through the wall at Kings Cross' Platform 9 3/4

Head back towards Tower Bridge; you will have just done a full circle of central London! Get on the train and take the Northern Line to Kings Cross Station where you can find, tucked into the wall at Platform 9 3/4, Harry Potter’s trolley complete with suitcases and his Hogwarts scarf. Closest tube station: Kings Cross

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

9. Have a look around University College London, one of the city's best

Walk over to the UCL campus and have a look around this beautiful place. Closest tube station: Warren Street

jana meerman london uk

10. Experience Oxford Street

You can either walk or take the Victoria Line to Oxford Street, where you can buy just about anything. A bustling shopping experience awaits! Closest tube station: Oxford Circus

jana meerman london uk

11. Ride the London Eye, £24.30 per adult online in advance

If you hop off the train at Waterloo you’ll come out right where the London Eye is situated. It’s right on the south bank of the River Thames and is an impressive structure, the third largest of its kind in the world. It is one of the most internationally well-known symbols of London and if you choose to ride, there are amazing views of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament along with a view of London-town 26 miles in every direction. Closest tube station: Waterloo

jana meerman london eye
jana meerman london eye

12. Walk across the Golden Jubilee Bridge

This impressive structure has a great view over the Thames and towards the London Eye. Closest tube station: Embankment

jana meerman london uk

13. Cross over Westminster Bridge

An equally wonderful view is from the other side of the London Eye from Westminster Bridge. Closest tube station: Waterloo

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

14. Listen to the chimes of Big Ben at the Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster is part of UK Parliament where the House of Commons and the House of Lords meet. Big Ben is the large bell inside the Elizabeth Clock Tower at the northern of the Palace of Westminster, although the tower is often mistakenly called Big Ben as a whole! Closest tube station: St. James's Park

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

15. Appreciate the beauty of Westminster Abbey

Just behind Big Ben, you’ll see the famous Westminster Abbey where a number of monarchs are buried along with the likes of Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin. It is also where Queen Elizabeth II was crowned and where Will and Kate were married! Closest tube station: St. James's Park

jana meerman london uk

16. Wave to the Prime Minister at Downing Street

Not that you will actually catch a sight of him, but still worth a wave at his official residence and offices. Closest tube station: St. James's Park

jana meerman london uk

17. Walk down Whitehall to visit the horses of the Royal Cavalry

A walk along Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square will lead you straight past all the departments in the parliamentary system such as defence, customs and revenue and agriculture, as well as the Queen’s Royal Cavalry where you can nab a photo with the very patient horses. Closest tube station: Charing Cross

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

18. Visit Nelson in Trafalgar Square

This large public square sits directly in front of London’s National Gallery and features large fountains, an impressive statue of Nelson on his iconic column and is the location of many live events throughout the year. Closest tube station: Charing Cross

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

19. Walk under the Admiralty Arch to The Mall

This is the entrance to The Mall leading to Buckingham Palace, sitting on one end of Trafalgar Square. Closest tube station: Charing Cross

jana meerman london uk

20. Watch the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace

If you walk under the archway at Trafalgar Square, you will make your way down The Mall past St. James Park. At the end of this road sits the impressive and famous Buckingham Palace, the London home of the Queen of England. Closest tube station: Charing Cross

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

21. Spend an afternoon taking in the greenery of St. James' Park

Spanning The Mall of Buckingham Palace, this is a cute place to bring a picnic and enjoy the afternoon sun. Closest tube station: Charing Cross

jana meerman london uk

22. Take the Thames Clipper to Greenwich, £12.50 for an adult one-way

From Embankment Pier in Westminster, near Big Ben and the London Eye, catch a Thames Clipper for a half hour boat ride down the river towards Greenwich. Try and travel with Thames River Service; they've got faster, cheaper service than competitors and funnier commentary! Closest tube station: Embankment

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

23. Visit the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich

The Thames Clipper drops you off right on the wharf with the college and the National Maritime Museum. Did you know, the word ‘wharf’ actually stands for 'Ware-House-At-River-Front'!?

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

24. Stand on the centre of the world and of time at the Greenwich Meridian Line, £9.00 per adult

A walk up a rather steep hill takes you directly to the Royal Observatory which houses the Greenwich Meridian Line, the centre of the world (equivalent to the equator but divides the east and west, rather than the north and south). It also is the middle of the time zone system we use.

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

25. Visit the boroughs of Kensington

You will enter into a scene straight out of 'Made in Chelsea', full of high-end designer stores, more up-market cars than not and penthouses worth $140 million. Closest tube station: South Kensington

jana meerman london uk

26.Visit the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, free admission but may charge for some exhibitions

In the heart of South Kensington you can find the architecturally beautiful Victoria and Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum, both lovely buildings with plenty of exhibits inside. Also, for those who enjoy aesthetically pleasing buildings, they are both symmetrical. Closest tube station: South Kensington

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

27. Explore Harrod's Department Store

You can walk through the massive establishment, ride Egyptian escalators, stare at watches worth thousands of pounds, wave at the doormen clad in their forest green tuxedos and top hats, try proper French macaroons from Laduree and hear live opera singers on the indoor balconies. Closest tube station: Knightsbridge

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

28. Enjoy sweet things at Covent Garden Market

Hop on the tube at Knightsbridge and take the Piccadilly line to Covent Garden where you can explore markets, sweet shops, lively restaurants, excellent theatre and performing arts and of course, the famous street performers. Closest tube station: Covent Garden

jana meerman london uk
jana meerman london uk

29. Create your own pasta dish at Vapiano, all dishes between £6-13

Just ten minutes from Covent Garden in Soho is one of London's most delicious pasta restaurants. When you first walk in to Vapiano, each guest is given a meal card to use for the evening. Whenever you buy a drink or order food, you swipe the card at various locations around the restaurant. At the end of the evening, you return your card to the front desk and pay off your balance. It's a delicious way to enjoy fresh pasta with a communal and inviting atmosphere. Closest tube station: Leicester Square

vapiano

30. Experience the world of Harry Potter at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Saving the best for last! Hands down one of the coolest parts of my time in London was visiting the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Leavesden in northwestern London and experiencing the making of Harry Potter and the magic of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for myself. I have been obsessed with all things Harry Potter for years now and have read every book many times!

Take the tube to Euston Station, then hop on the West Midlands Train to Watford Junction. From the train station you are whisked away in a replica Knight Bus straight to the door of the Studio where you are greeted by a mass of people outside Studio J and K. From the moment you walk in, all sorts of props and scenery are to be seen: from the flying car to Harry’s room under the stairs. The experience starts with a feature film introducing you to the world of Harry Potter, spoken by the cast themselves and then you are invited to walk through the door of the Great Hall itself. It’s a totally incredibly magical experience, to say the least!

jana meerman harry potter tour london uk
jana meerman harry potter tour london uk
jana meerman harry potter tour london uk
jana meerman harry potter tour london uk
jana meerman harry potter tour london uk
jana meerman harry potter tour london uk
jana meerman harry potter tour london uk
jana meerman harry potter tour london uk


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