10 Things to Do in London
London is a vibrant, bustling city with so many things to see and do; it can be overwhelming if you are visiting for the first time. It is really hard to narrow it down, and there are hundreds of places you can head to, but here are ten of the best to get you started.
1. The London Eye
The London Eye was built to coincide with the millennium and is a massive Ferris wheel that stands by the side of the of the River Thames. It is one of the must-do activities for any visit to the capital, and the views are sensational as you rotate slowly and get a bird’s eye view. The pods are designed to be shared with other visitors, but for an extraordinary experience, you can purchase tickets for a private pod, making it an excellent place for a romantic proposal. When dusk falls, the wheel displays amazing lights that change depending on the season, and this iconic location features heavily in the New Year’s firework display.
Perhaps the most famous store in London. Set across many floors the Christmas display is legendary and the food hall is a real delight to the eyes with many delicacies from cheese to pate, marmalade to fresh meat and so much more. There is something for everyone here, from toys to clothing and even a gift or three for the family dog.
3. Buckingham Palace
While you can’t actually head inside, it is a tradition of visiting London that you take a stroll up Horse Guard’s Parade to the palace. The home of Queen Elizabeth and other members of the Royal Family the huge 775 room venue also has the most extensive private gardens in the capital. Watch the changing of the guard or stand back and admire the ornate design of the building. It has been home to the monarch since 1837. Once you have visited, you can take a walk in the beautiful Green Park and enjoy the feeling of being one with nature.
Once you have seen the home of the Queen, you might want to see the political centre of the country. Westminster not only has the Houses of Parliament, but it is all home to Big Ben, the world-famous clock that stands guard over the city. It is actually the bell that is named Big Ben, and it still chimes every hour. Also here is Westminster Abbey which is open to the public and well worth a look around, and Parliament Square with its status of Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and other politically influential people.
5. Thames Cruise
The longest river in England, the Thames winds its way out to the North Sea, but you can take a cruise and stay in the London part. There are lots of different companies offering guided cruises, and it is a fantastic way to see the sights of London. You can take a nighttime journey when the city is lit up, or you can have afternoon tea or a meal on one of the restaurant-style cruises.
6. Platform 9 and 3/4
This might not appeal to everyone, but for fans of the Harry Potter books and films, it is a must-see. The platform has been created at King’s Cross station which has been standing since 1852 but has undergone some serious renovation work. There is a hidden tunnel that features artworks that light up as you walk through. On Platform 9 and 3/4 you will find the disappearing luggage trolley which you can have your picture taken with, so be sure you are wearing your house colours for this momentous occasion.
7. Hyde Park
Perhaps the most famous of all the London Parks, this leafy green space is most famous for Speaker’s Corner. Every week you will find performers, speakers and political activists here having their say, and the park has hosted more than its fair share of demonstrations and rallies on all matter of subjects.
8. Camden Market
Unsurprisingly found in the Camden area of the city, Camden Market is a whirl of colour and noise and an unforgettable experience. Hundreds of stalls set up to sell everything you can imagine from vintage clothing to fruit and veg and everything in between. It is a bustling venue that will appeal to everyone, and it is set near Camden Lock and Regent’s Canal, both of which are lovely places for a walk to escape the world.
9. Baker Street
Home of the best detective in the world, 221B is the famous address for Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr Watson. The original creation was found in the pages of the Arthur Conan Doyle books, but since then he has been revived numerous times for film and television with the BBC series stealing ratings. Since this aired, you will find the Sherlock Holmes museum, which is located near the underground, and the Sherlock waxwork is just around the corner in the internationally known Madam Tussauds museum. Nearby you will also find Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park which are both a breath of fresh air in an otherwise bustling city.
10. The O2
Formerly known as the Millennium Dome this massive construct formed part of the New Millennium celebrations in the capital. It has since been renamed the O2 and is now home to a range of stage shows and live music concerts. There are many different restaurants on the site, and there is something to see every night of the year. If you fancy something a little different, you can also climb to the top and walk on the domed roof which affords you some magnificent views of the city.