6 Love It
Save it

London's top attractions

Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of top London attractions to visit? Here's our guide to the London attractions, landmarks and sightseeing spots you have to see

© Rob Greig

With so many top London attractions to see and visit, your London sightseeing checklist could get very long indeed. So where to start? Whether you live and work in London or are just visiting for the day, let us guide you through with our round-up of the top London attractions that simply cannot be missed. Check out our list of 101 things to do in London for more inspiration and go get exploring the best the city has to offer. 

A handful of London's attractions are free, but for those requiring tickets, you can buy your London attractions tickets here.

Top London attractions: icons

Buckingham Palace

The home of Elizabeth II, The Queen's Gallery is where you can see her personal collection of treasures, including paintings by Rembrandt

Read more
St James's Park

St Paul's Cathedral

The passing of three centuries has done nothing to diminish the magnificence of St Paul's Cathedral, Christopher Wren's masterpiece and London's most famous cathedral

Read more
St Pauls

Tower Bridge

Originally powered by steam, Tower Bridge drawbridge is now opened by electric rams when big vessels need to venture upstream

Read more
Bermondsey

London Zoo

Since the Victorian times, the zoological gardens in Regent’s Park have amused and enlightened visitors of all ages, but in the past 15 years the Zoological Society London has changed the proposition here beyond recognition. Gradually the 36-acre park has been rebuilt to support conservation, ensure animal welfare and to make your animal encounter a more inspiring experience. It’s no longer about cages and snoozing animals hidden in the leafy distance – now you can walk through a special enclosure for ring-tailed lemurs and watch them run along ropes right in front of you, or step into a spider enclosure with some of the creepiest crawlies on earth, and, new for 2016, you can pass through the Land of the Lions and get closer than ever before to the world’s most feared predators. From the recreated South American coastline of Penguin Beach to an African setting for Gorilla Kingdom, to the nocturnal galleries of the Rainforest Life pavilion, everything is designed to show off the birds and the beasts at their best without disturbing their daily habits. Indeed, the Tiger Territory enclosure, which opened only a couple of years ago to house two examples of the critically endangered species of Sumatran tiger, must have done a great job of making them feel at home because Jae Jae and Melati have had three cubs since they’ve been here. This is as wild as wildlife gets without putting you at risk of being their next meal. Daily events include talks and feeding times, but there ar

Read more
Regent's Park

Westminster Abbey

Like the Pantheon Crypt in Paris, where you can see the tombs and memorials to great figures from history, Westminster Abbey is a popular attraction to peruse the graves, tablets, busts and stone dedications. Seventeen kings and queens are buried here, along with dukes, countesses and history’s ‘celebs’ – Darwin, Dickens, Hardy, Behn, Olivier, etc. Tributes to over 3,000 departed souls are located all over the Abbey’s chapels and cloisters, including the famous Poets’ Corner in the South Transept, where creative greats from Jane Austen to Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Blake to Betjeman, Shakespeare to Scott are all commemorated. Isambard Kingdom Brunel gets his own stained glass window. As well as the various main visitor areas accessible in the Abbey itself, the gardens that once served the monastery are often open too. However, the Abbey Museum is now closed and is being refurbished as a major new display that will reopen in 2018 as The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries. Opening times vary due to services and Abbey business, so check the website for details of which areas are going to be open when on the day you want to visit. The Cellarium Café is usually open weekdays from 8am, 9am on Saturdays and 9.30am on Sundays. There are daily tours available, which look at highlights around the Abbey. These don’t need to be booked in advance but it’s worth checking what times these are running on the day you want to visit. All entry tickets include a free audio guide for each person. We

Read more
Westminster

London Eye

On a clear day you can see as far as Windsor Castle, 25 miles away, from the top of the London Eye, one of the world's largest observation wheels. A circuit on the London Eye will show you all the city's key sights in 30 minutes, and each of the 32 capsules (one for every London borough) is equipped with a touchscreen to explain what you're looking at. There are usually tickets available for walk-ups, but tickets are more expensive than if you book ahead online; disabled visitors and wheelchair users must book in advance. These days there are also a number of variations on the basic trip: Champagne, Hotel Chocolat tastings, perhaps a private capsule, or combining your visit with a London Eye River Cruise.

Read more
South Bank

Somerset House

Critics' choice

Somerset House is home to a formidable art gallery (the wonderful Courtauld), a beautiful fountain court and a classy restaurant

Read more
Temple

Houses of Parliament

Guided tours of the Houses of Parliament offer a combination of history, modern day politics, and stunning art and architecture

Read more
Westminster

Royal Museums Greenwich

Critics' choice

On this Greenwich Park site you'll find the National Maritime Museum, the Queen's House, and the Royal Observatory

Read more
Greenwich

Big Ben

Housed in the Palace of Westminster, Big Ben looks much older than it is: it was built in 1860 to replace the original Houses of Parliament, destroyed by fire in 1834

Trafalgar Square

Changing the Guard

See the daily detachment of the Old Guard in Friary Court join up with the rest in the forecourt at Buckingham Palace

Read more
St James's Park

City Hall

City Hall is Foster and Partners' offices for the Mayor and the London Assembly. The monthly Mayor's Question Time is open to the public

Read more
London Bridge

Top London attractions: art and culture

Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall's splendid exterior is matched by the regal red-and-gold interior, which is crowned by a domed stained-glass skylight

Read more
Knightsbridge

Tate Modern

Housed in the former Bankside Power Station is seven floors worth of stunning art, dating from 1900AD to the present day

Read more
South Bank

Royal Opera House

The ROH secured its position as one of the world’s great opera houses following a turn-of-the-century refurbishment in 2008

Read more
Covent Garden

British Museum

One of the world's oldest museums, the British Museum is vast and its collections, only a fraction of which can be on public display at any time, comprise millions of objects

Read more
Bloomsbury

National Theatre

The concrete-clad, 1960s modernist grandmother of them all: no theatrical tour of London is complete without a visit to the National

Read more
South Bank

Shakespeare's Globe

The Globe's unbridled success is thanks to its commitment to faithfully recreating an original ‘Shakespeare in performance’ experience

Read more
South Bank

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery has everything from oil paintings of stiff-backed royals to photos of soccer stars and gloriously unflattering political caricatures

Read more
Leicester Square

Somerset House

Somerset House is home to a formidable art gallery, the wonderful Courtauld, a beautiful fountain court, a terraced café and a classy restaurant

Read more
Temple

Top London attractions: parks

Regent's Park

Regent's Park is one of London's most popular open spaces. It has several playgrounds, the most interesting of which  is at Hanover Gate, which includes a treehouse

Read more
Regent's Park

Hyde Park

At 1.5 miles long and about a mile wide, Hyde Park is one of the largest of London's Royal Parks. London's oldest boating lake, The Serpentine, is also at the bottom of Hyde Park

Read more
Kensington

Hampstead Heath

The grassy sprawl of Hampstead Heath makes a wonderfully untamed contrast to the manicured lawns and flowerbeds found elsewhere in the capital

Read more
Dartmouth Park

St James's Park

St James's Park was founded as a deer park for the royal occupants of St James's Palace so expect the finest park in town

Read more
St James'

The South Bank

From festivals to alfresco restaurants, fresh food markets to one of the capital's most-loved skating locations, the South Bank stretch is a must-visit

Read more
South Bank

Top London attractions: family-friendly

London Zoo

The zoo, which opened to the public in 1847, covers 36 acres. It's home to more than 760 animal species, many of which are endangered

Read more
Regent's Park

London Eye

A circuit on the Eye will show you all the city's key sights in 30 minutes, and each of the 32 pods is equipped with a touchscreen to explain what you're looking at

Read more
South Bank

Cutty Sark

Visitors can venture underneath the three-masted sailing ship, which has been raised three metres above her dry dock to afford views of the elegant hull

Read more
Greenwich

Tower of London

This is one of Britain's finest historical attractions. Who would not be fascinated by a close-up look at the crown of Queen Victoria or the armour of King Henry VIII?

Read more
Tower Hill

Explore our pick of museums in London

Top 10 museums in London

Let Time Out point you in the direction of the capital's finest museums and galleries, and the exhibitions and events they have to offer. 

Read more
By: Things To Do Editors

Comments

4 comments
Richard B
Richard B

Save £15 off your first UBER ride. Download Uber app and input promo code: rc93x

vantoj j
vantoj j

I am never in London and very excited to visit all the places in London have no transportation to travel.Then someone suggested me to book a cab from AirportsFirst Taxi. Are their services good?

Robbertjack
Robbertjack

I really like your listed places but some of these are one of my ever best places like as Buckingham Palace and Royal Museums Greenwich . I also explored its other attractive places that are not mentioned there like The London Eye and London Aquarium; both of these places are also worth seeing attractions of this region. I am going there again after my hoover dam visitor center tour to be impressed by http://travelarroundtheworld.blog.com/2013/11/05/hoover-dam%E2%80%93significant-landmark-that-stands-out-unique-in-constructional-elegance/.

armida t
armida t

Nice post thanks for sharing. Also I suggest some other London Tourist attraction -

British Museum - This extremely popular museum displays an array of objects dating from pre-historic times all the way to the modern era.

The London Eye - A ride in the London eye will give you panoramic views of London historical structures, modern buildings and beautiful bridges.

The Tower of London - You can take a tour of the tower to discover the palace, place of execution, prison, jewel house, arsenal, and even a zoo.

Westminster Abbey - This Gothic Church is spectacular in every way. The beautiful and intricate architecture makes it a marvellous sight.

The London Shard - London’s newest landmark, The Shard has a viewing gallery has three levels, begin at level 69 which has interactive touch screen telescopes that allow you a detailed view of London’s beautiful buildings and monuments, then proceed to level 72 which is an open air viewing gallery that lets you gaze all the way up through the shards of glass atop the building.

London Aquarium - The perfect tourist spot to explore if you are looking for a day out with the family. Children love this place! It has about 500 species of aquatic animals on display. There are also some 30 odd sharks of different sub-species.