Things to do in London

Famous Landmarks London

For visitors and residents alike, London’s historic landmarks are a tangible reminder of the city's whirlwind past.

A centuries-long tenure as England's capital means London is dotted with historic remains. Here are 26 famous landmarks in London that are definitely worth a visit. For those looking to explore beyond these landmarks, discovering the various things to do in London can further enrich your experience.

1. Buckingham Palace 

The sprawling grounds of Buckingham Palace are soaked in stately charm, fitting for a monarch's residence. It serves as the official residence of monarchs, with past residents including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

Centuries of royal inhabitants have made the 18th century structure's facade, including its iconic balcony, witness to an astonishing array of historical events and celebrations.

Visitors traverse a maze of courtly rooms. This includes everything from the chandelier-lit White Drawing Room to the grand staircase with its ornately carved banister of gold. The Changing the Guard ceremony remains an awe-inducing show of precision on the royal palace grounds. 

Photographer: Ferdinand Stöhr

2. The Shard

The Shard's apex sits high above London's streets at the tallest point. It towers over surrounding structures with its glassy, spire-like body. This architectural marvel is part of the tallest buildings in London with its unique design and history.

Designed to create a vertical city within the heart of another, this tower was supposedly plucked from the River Thames in a vision by architect Renzo Piano. Now, visitors who stay awhile wake up to panoramic views of the capital city and nearby sites like the London Bridge.

Temporary admirers can fawn over the architectural splendor of the tallest building in London from a tasteful bar within. 

3. Trafalgar Square 

Bustling crowds, bubbling fountains, and towering statues touch all four corners of Trafalgar Square, a public gathering space dating back to the early 19th century. The Square finds company among the many galleries, museums, and historical buildings just steps from its grounds.

Pop into a coffee shop for a hot drink before perusing the surrounding offerings. Or settle into a bench in the public square for some captivating people-watching. 

4. Tower Bridge

Nowhere else in London can you stand on a glass floor nearly 50 meters above the chilly, rushing waters of the River Thames. The Tower Bridge features this unconventional thrill and more. This includes unimpeded views of the London skyline and beyond.

This historic feat of engineering is now a beloved landmark. A visit here slips you into the footsteps of some of the city's greatest minds for a deeper glimpse into the verve that makes London, London. 

Photographer: Bush 'o' Graphy

5. The London Eye

Millions of visitors every year must be onto something with the London Eye, a massive spinning wheel on the banks of the Thames. Here, you'll take in a stunning picture of the cityscape as this cantilevered craft rotates and your observation desk rises higher and higher into the sky. Each 40-minute rotation is a 360-degree visual wonder, made even sweeter with glasses of chilled champagne. 

6. Big Ben

The London skyline would be incomplete without the princely silhouette of Big Ben. The city's timekeeper hides a fascinating story of drama and political intrigue, shocking for a clock now prided on its accuracy and indispensable bell-ringing.

Restored in 2022, Ben's face has returned to its original Victorian splendor for a slice of British history. Up a flight of 334 stairs is the mechanism room and the Belfry, where visitors can peek into the workings of a London landmark firsthand. 

7. Westminster Abbey

When London history happens, it happens at Westminster Abbey. It’s a longtime witness to country-altering events from royal weddings to coronations.

An air of holiness permeates every inch of the space, from high up in the vaulted ceilings to the hand-shaped intricacies of every stained glass window. Here, you'll walk the same hallowed halls as some of history's most memorable figures, including Jane Austen and Sir Isaac Newton. Come for a grand tour, or stay for a service unlike any other. 

8. Wembley Stadium 

The past century has been a busy one for Wembley Stadium, where entertainment history has been made time and time again. Icons, such as Freddie Mercury, Muhammad Ali, and Taylor Swift, have all graced the national stage for once-in-a-lifetime performances where sports teams have also ruled Olympian crowds.

Concerts and games here are nothing short of legendary and create an entertainment experience that will rock you to your core. 

9. Tate Modern 

Few things are better than a tastefully curated gallery space occupied by works of celebrated artists from the past and present. The exception would be if the same gallery is completely free of charge. That's what you're in for at the Tate Modern.

It’s a famous building that houses an extensive national collection of art from 1900 and beyond. Traverse the crisp white halls decked with notable pieces from artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Yayoi Kusama, for an intimate peek inside the minds of the world's greatest creatives. 

Photographer: Matthew Waring

10. Tower of London 

What do a treasury, a mint, a zoo, a jewel vault, and a prison have in common? The Tower of London has housed them all at one point in its 1,000-year history. This famous London landmark has long been an integral part of English power. A visit here is fraught with tales of passion and treachery, backlit by an imposing fortress of Norman architecture. 

At the heart of the Tower of London is the White Tower. It’s Britain’s most famous castle and serves as an iconic symbol of the city. Tours let you catch a glimpse of everything from historic armour to an executioner’s block and axe.

11. Hyde Park

It's the historic happenings Hyde Park has hosted throughout the years that have dubbed it "The People's Park." From suffragettes and Rolling Stones to Pride parades and revolutionary speakers, this lush green space has helped countless movements bloom and flourish.

Come lounge upon the rolling hills, and stroll through winding paths amidst the flowering meadows. Here, herons flirt with ducks beneath a tranquil pond bridge while the charming clink of coffee spoons wafts from the cozy walls of waterfront cafes. 

Hyde Park is also home to the Serpentine Gallery, a free-to-enter space exhibit of rich and authentic artwork. In spite of its name, you're at no risk of being bitten by venomous asps here. Like us, the Serpentine Gallery exists to celebrate creativity and uniqueness. 

12. The Palace of Westminster 

No building is more closely intertwined with English politics than the Palace of Westminster. Here, the Houses of Parliament are lodged beneath the Gothic flair of its 11th-century architecture.

A series of refurbishments across the decades have made the Palace a delightful blend of ancient intricacies carried out by modern hands, surrounded by an iconic assemblage of furniture and artwork admired by Parliament members and visitors alike. 

Photographer: Deniz Fuchidzhiev

13. The Gherkin at 30 St Mary Axe 

The Shard may tower over the London skyline, but no building is as recognizable as the Gherkin,. The curved, slightly triangular shape of the building is a marvel in contemporary architecture. It adds a touch of whimsy to the city's silhouette.

Massive diamond-shaped windows line the facade in candy cane swirls, crowned with a glassy pointed dome offering tenants unparalleled views of the capital. Eco-friendly architecture makes the Gherkin an innovative masterpiece in more ways than one. It paves the way for a new generation of sustainable skyscrapers. 

14. Kensington Palace

Situated in Kensington Gardens, the quaint grounds of Kensington Palace have long been a picturesque royal residence for young royal families, including Prince William and Kate, just beginning to make their mark on the monarchy.

Vibrant, precisely planted gardens and swan-flecked ponds characterize this visually stunning 17th century estate as a tranquil oasis within a bustling city. Visitors here get a firsthand glimpse at the opulence of the King's and Queen's State Apartments, each one grander than the last. 

15. Piccadilly Circus

Not to be confused with Cirque du Soleil's type of circus, London's equivalent of New York's Times Square, Piccadilly Circus, is awash in the bright lights and billboards of every iconic junction. The intersection links Piccadilly with Regent Street. It offers visitors direct access to the luxury shops and delectable restaurants lining the sidewalks.

A stroll around Piccadilly is spotted with fountains and statues illuminated by the bold flashing colors of the surrounding billboards. At night, the square comes to life with crowds that bustle until morning. It’s a lively spot to stroll along the streets after dark while window shopping with a warm drink in hand. 

16. Hampton Court Palace

The Tudor court comes to life at Hampton Court Palace, once the regal home base of Henry VIII. The intense drama and fierce political conquests of Henry and his court are on full display here in all their theatrical glory for visitors' pleasure.

Itself a baroque masterpiece, the Palace features magnificent rooms. This includes the stag-lined Great Hall and antique kitchens fit for a feast. Over 60 acres of gardens solidify the Palace's iconic landmark status. It dazzles spectators with a whimsical hedge maze just begging to be explored. 

17. St. Paul's Cathedral 

The divine dome atop St. Paul's Cathedral would make the list of famous London landmarks by itself. It was inspired by St. Peter's Basilica and crafted from gleaming white stone. But combined with the spectacular sight and atmosphere of its interior, St. Paul's is a veritable national treasure.

Cavernous halls glint with golden overhead etchings, illuminated by the toasty glow of candlelit chandeliers. Londoners and tourists flock to this holy space daily. They do so to admire its extravagant architecture and to join the community within it. 

18. Houses of Parliament

Westminster Hall beckons visitors inside, not just for its stunning craftsmanship, but also for the electric political landscape that exists within its walls. A tour of the space will give you an inside look at the Houses of Parliament in action.

Front-row seats to a heated debate or stately committee meeting offer a new perspective of London and the forces that guide the city through its contemporary ventures. Tradition and modernity collide in this ancient government's headquarters. You'll be hard-pressed to guess what will happen next. 

19. HMS Belfast

The regal HMS Belfast was first commissioned in 1939 and remained a critical member of the Royal Navy until its retirement in 1963. Saved from the scrapyard, this town-class light cruiser is now the crown jewel of the Imperial War Museum's collection.

The HMS Belfast is permanently moored and has lowered its gangplank for curious visitors looking to get a taste of high-sea adventure. Climb aboard this floating city for a lesson on the international escapades that made this ship a national hero in its own right. 

20. The Natural History Museum

Nothing beats discovering an area by way of its local museums, and London's Natural History Museum is living proof. Here, all species can get in on the adventure, with over 4 billion years of Earth's history covered at this educational powerhouse. From roaring dinosaurs and Martian meteorites to tiny hummingbirds, no part of nature's story is too small.

Fantastic displays shed light on lesser-known historical and biological contexts. Interactive exhibits mean you won't even realize you're learning. 

21. The Science Museum

Natural history is a grand old time, but when you're ready to go deeper, head to the Science Museum, where ingenuity abounds and discovery is currency. Exhibits range from the vast expanse of the universe to the smallest point of an atom, for a comprehensive look at the world and all that surrounds it.

Here, you'll test sound waves in your favorite song, uncover the wonders of modern medicine, and count the stars with astronomical instruments. 

22. The London Transport Museum

If you think the history of transportation isn't worth a national landmark, think again. Head to the London Transport Museum for an educational journey that will move you — literally.

Here, history means abandoned underground tunnels, a futuristic high-speed rail, and groundbreaking feats of engineering. Interactive exhibits and rotating galleries make this museum a never-ending hub of information and shocking city lore. Climb aboard for a trip through London's past as you've never seen it, by bus, train, or horse and buggy. 

23. Borough Market

While the superiority of fish and chips can't be overstated, London cuisine extends a little beyond the beloved dish. See for yourself just how far the culinary roots go at Borough Market. It’s a hub for food traders dishing out locally sourced ingredients and spectacular artisan fare.

Lemony calamari, freshly foraged fungi, and piping hot pancakes — you'll find all of it and more in this maze of unique vendors. As far as famous landmarks in London go, Borough Market is by far the most delicious. 

Photographer: Cody Martin

24. Regent's Park

Crisp air and flocks of colorful birds fill the air at Regent's Park, a verdant wonderland amidst the bustling concrete jungle of London. Sprawling green lawns and lovingly tended gardens make for visually moving strolls along the walking paths. Meanwhile, a family of tranquil ponds teem with uninterrupted wildlife.

The possibilities are endless and always fulfilling, whether you need to unwind with a game of tennis, spot a few feathered friends, or gaze upon a panoramic view of the London skyline. 

25. Westminster Cathedral

The heart of London's Catholic faith lies within Westminster Cathedral. Here, visitors glide through dimly lit halls beneath handcrafted architectural intricacies. But even non-Catholics will rediscover their sense of wonder here.

The dynamic structure is truly a masterpiece of engineering and design. It was created to evoke a powerful emotional response from all those who entered the hallowed space. Come to lay eyes on the Cathedral itself, and stay for the awe-inspiring collection of treasures and artwork within. 

26. Princess Diana Memorial Fountain

The People's Princess will forever hold a special place in the hearts of Londoners. In the city itself, her legacy is celebrated through art in an ever-rushing monument as lively as the natural life surrounding it.

The Princess Diana Memorial Fountain lauds the inclusiveness and open-hearted nature of the late Princess, forming its shape to the rise and fall of the land it rests upon. Memorial visitors can interact with the water's flow, bathing in the forever memory of a figure who touched the hearts of many in the short time she was given. 

Which Famous London Landmarks Will You Visit First?

London's landmarks teem with historic energy, visible in each carving and lain into every brick. But architectural marvels aren't the only way to taste the city's wonder. Hidden inside London's theaters are breathtaking displays of physical and imaginative feats of nature, concocted by the untamable minds behind our performances.

With spine-tingling acrobatics, mind-bending visuals, and heart-wrenching emotional tales, these performances beckon Londoners into the heart of a world where creativity knows no limits and fantasy becomes reality. 

Ready to be swept off your feet? Get your tickets to our shows in London today. 

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