101 things to do before you leave london

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Find the best of London with our ultimate list of things to do in the capital

Welcome to the definitive guide to getting the most out of London: our list of the 101 best things to do in the capital, which has been put together by Time Out’s troop of expert writers and editors (along with suggestions from well-known London bloggers). Our roll call represents the very best this city has to offer – from top museums and cultural days out to great shops and markets and restaurants, with a few unique tours of London along the way. See the full list or choose a category below to get started...


We want this to be the definitive list, so tell us: what have we missed? What's your favourite thing to do in the capital? We'll constantly be updating this feature so your ideas could very well make it on to the list.

Have your say: on Facebook | on Twitter using #ultimatelondon | in the comments below

Roll over the grid below to explore our list of 101 things to do in London, and click on the images to read more.

British Museum British Library Bruce Castle Museum Charles Dickens Museum Dennis Severs' House Locate London's secret galleries Do both Tates in a day Do the Museum Road challenge Enjoy world-class opera Grant Museum of Zoology Handel House Museum Horniman Museum Hunterian Museum Imperial War Museum London Transport Museum Museum of London Old Operating Theatre Museum Pollock's Toy Museum Saatchi Gallery Tour London’s public sculpture masterpieces Tower of London Spend a night at the museum! Wellcome Collection Make a royal entrance at Buckingham Palace Lose yourself in boho Camden Define yourself at Dr Johnson's House Explore Greenwich Get your kids into art at the National Gallery Float along Regent’s Canal Take an off-beat tour of the capital Spy on the government at the Houses of Parliament Brave the rapids at Lee Valley White Water Centre Bask in the splendour of Leighton House Museum Immerse yourself in the London Aquarium Go for a spin on the London Eye Find a perch at the London Wetland Centre Poke your beak into London Zoo Scale Sir Christopher Wren’s Monument Peek backstage at the National Theatre Navigate the Thames Take an open-top bus tour Ride in the ‘driver’s seat’ on the DLR Enter space at the Royal Observatory Salute the changing of the guard See the city from Parliament Hill Get thee to Shakespeare's Globe Spend a day on the South Bank Dash round a famous sports ground See the river from Tower Bridge Call in on Britain’s first red telephone box Throw clay at the Wheelhouse Pottery Chime in with the Whitechapel Bell Foundry Roam the city with the London Cycle Hire Scheme Rest your bones at Bunhill Fields Go for a constitutional in Chelsea Physic Garden Meet the animals at one of London’s city farms Off-road it on Hampstead Heath Explore London on foot Stumble across a hidden park Commune with Karl Marx in Highgate Cemetery Explore Hyde Park Stroll around Kensington Gardens Vegetate at Kew Gardens Track down royal deer in Richmond Park Breakfast in style Chow down in Chinatown Demolish a Turkish meal in Dalston Dine in an 'underground restaurant'... Drink in a speakeasy Enjoy a coffee from one of the capital’s top baristas Join the throng at Gordon’s Wine Bar Land a traditional fish supper Learn to mix a proper cocktail Nurse a pint in one of the world’s best pubs Sample cockney cuisine in Petticoat Lane Market Scoff a midnight bagel on Brick Lane Take afternoon tea in style Wine and dine in a high-design setting Venture west for an authentic Indian Bag a bargain: car-boot sales and sample sales Browse London's best record shops Disappear into Davenports Magic Shop Find fresh-off-the-boat fish at Billingsgate Market Graze in London’s finest food markets Pamper yourself at a London spa Seek out unique vintage couture Smell the posies at Columbia Road Flower Market Spark up a fine cigar at Davidoff of London Splash out at a world-famous department store Wander along Portobello Market Watch a West End musical Try some off-West End theatre See a superstar DJ at the Ministry of Sound Discover the best cabaret Get into classic and arthouse cinema Go to 'The Gong Show' at The Comedy Store Have a proper East End night out Jive at the Rivoli Ballroom Join in the fun at Royal Vauxhall Tavern Listen to choral evensong in a cathedral Lose yourself in live music at a famous gig venue

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See the contributors' lists

  • As well as mobilising the collective power of the Time Out editorial team we also asked some of London's best known bloggers and writers to suggest their favourite things to do London

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  • Secret tips on the Time Out blog

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Users say

42 comments
Lets Get Making
Lets Get Making

LET'S GET MAKING ARE OFFERING A SERIES OF MOUSE TAXIDERMY CLASSES FROM THIER STUDIO IN WEST HARROW. COME ALONG AND CREATE YOUR TAXIDERMY WITH 2 TEACHERS GUIDING EVERY CLASS. ALL MATERIALS AND TOOLS ARE PROVIDED AND YOU CAN TAKE YOUR FINISHED MOUSE HOME AT THE END. CLASSES ARE ON: WEDNESDAYS 6PM-10PM SATURDAYS 12PM-4PM SUNDAYS 11AM- 3PM CLASSES ARE £37.50 PER PERSON OR LIKE OUR FACEBOOK PAGE- LET'S GET MAKING FOR A DISCOUNT. HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE LET'S GET MAKING

Robert
Robert

Join the London Cultureseekers Group, it's a great way to explore London, whilst making new friends! www.cultureseekers.org

Graffiti Lessons
Graffiti Lessons

Try a Graffiti Lesson in Waterloo run by artist Andy Seize. From £55 per adult / £35 children. www.graffitilessons.co.uk

girlie
girlie

ermm there arnt really anything for kids on here so that kind of badd

Dan
Dan

Brick Lane market

funkofthemonk
funkofthemonk

Visit the Gay Hussar, amazing and timeless Hungarian restaurant on Greek Street in Soho.

A person
A person

cool im only der 4 the weekend as im a t a concert and BTW its footbal,l not soccer....

michaela
michaela

this is awesome , i'm in london for 3 weeks and this list will be as completed as possible ... picadilly last night.. footie wednesday GO ENGLAND !!!! i can't wait ... thanks a bunch

Jon B
Jon B

Yes, 62 Buy Japanese food in Brent Oriental City, 399 Edgware Rd, NW9 (020 8200 0009). Colindale tube. It's been closed for ages. Flats are going to be built on the site. (The owners charged too much rent and so Oriental City said, "see ya!" and now the recession hit and the site is dead as a....site with no building going on)

Peter Tran
Peter Tran

Thank you Ryan for your recommendation: "Posted by Ryan on 11 Jan 2009 13:45" I would do the same when i be there

Lisa
Lisa

Erm. Number 7 is a marathon, not a pleasant stroll around night-time London. It is a great event, i have participated twice, but tell it like it is.

alfie
alfie

i love my boots

alfie
alfie

take off them gloves

seamus
seamus

if you are ever in london you have go to clubbing in hevane nighclkub on monday night its the best thing if you are straight or gay.

jake hoddy
jake hoddy

I'm a journalist, and this was extremely helpful. Thanks a bunch!!

Ryan
Ryan

Here are some of my own: Star gazing at a movie premiere in Leceister square Tour the National gallery Eat in Chinatown Tour Buckingham palace Watch a game of tennis at Wimbledon Watch a game of rugby at twickenham Watch an event at wembley Watch a game of soccer Watch a game of cricket at lords Tour the tate britain Tour the tate modern Tour the british museum Sunbathe in Hyde Park Take photos of piccadilly circus Tour the london aquarium See a show at the theatre Buy tshirts and donuts from Camden markets Afternoon tea at the ritz Sherlock holmes museum Tour Westminster Abbey Check out spitalfield markets Take boat sightseeing tour Take bus sightseeing tour

Julie
Julie

Sir John Sloane Museum is an absolute must - compbined with sitting in Lincoln Inn Fields opposite and enjoying the island of peace in the middle of the city.

Coachlydia
Coachlydia

Great tips and fun too! London is such a beautiful city and there is lots to do. Thanks. Lydia

Remains Annominous
Remains Annominous

I lived in london for 7 years, on the 11th im going back and i didnt know what to do there other than visit family=]. These tips we're a great help :)

Amonamos
Amonamos

i cant wait 2 come 2 london in the hoildays i am soooooooo excited ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !.....................

taufik
taufik

Have been away from london for long..too long really. Miss london more than any other place in the universe!!! So much, so much to do in london. London has every thing concievable!

Justin
Justin

I'm a Londoner who's lived abroad for 18 years, but come every summer with by boys. This list has given me some great ideas. Thanks.

BECKY ATKIN
BECKY ATKIN

No doubt in my mind that London Town is the best place on the earth...so much to do and see. Fantastic list, and how nice to see the obvious things are not on it! Im def planning on hitting the fish market at dome obsurd hour soon....

bertie
bertie

just moved out of london after four years and im missin it! oh how i love london......

Ticker
Ticker

Suprised that the Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes is not featured. Everyone should have at least one night at this place

Trevor Johnson
Trevor Johnson

Green Lanes kebab from Manor House to Turnpike Lane? Why not to the North Circular, just south of Palmers Green?

mel
mel

Cool list, and to ignorant person who left neg comment about gay bowling, maybe its for gay people who love bowling and want to meet other gay people and socialise....duhhhh! I think its a cool idea.

Tatian
Tatian

thenks for the imfo it really helped me on my report and its not like i wnated to do it in the first place:P

Andy
Andy

Wow! You hardly surprise a Roman but in this case you definitely did it!!! bravi!!! Thanks for the suggestions

ladybug
ladybug

Great! I've lived in the UK for 5 years and will be leaving soon. I will definitely check out some of these things! Time is getting short! :(

catherine
catherine

after reading this, suddenly i'm inspired about being in london!

sarah
sarah

It's a great site

Brad
Brad

Brad is you possibly can, check the list of 101 things to do in London before you leave. Try get it printed out if you can. I think we should try to do as much as possible and create a scraptbook, hehe.

Manuela
Manuela

I've lived in London for 2 years, will be back this Dec for a quick X-mas shopping and this is by far the BEST article EVER about this wonderful city :) Keep up the good work guys!

Tom
Tom

Time out was the first place I thought to look while organising a special day out for my girlfriend and me. Perfect for getting the most out of London. Thanks!