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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

Houses of Parliament

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

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Westminster

Somerset House

Critics' choice

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

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Temple

Westminster Abbey

The traditional place of coronation and burial site for British monarchs, Westminster Abbey's cultural significance is hard to overstate

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Westminster

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

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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

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St Pauls

Tower Bridge

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

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Bermondsey

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

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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

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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

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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

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Knightsbridge

Tate Modern

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

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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

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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

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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

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South Bank

Shakespeare's Globe

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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

2 comments
Robbert j
Robbert j

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.