The 101 best things to do in London - updated for 2024

Find the best things to do in London with the ultimate guide to attractions and events.
Written by Chantal Welch Edited by Visit London Editors 24 May 2024
A view across the river Thames, including Tower Bridge, City Hall and The Shard on a bright day.
Tower Bridge, City Hall and The Shard © Buchet.

Enjoy the fantastic sights and events in London and make the most of the capital's many things to do.

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a Londoner born and bred, you’ll discover what to do in London and plenty of things to see, from the best London tourist attractions to unusual ideas for days out in London.

Get lost in the wonders of London museums, savour delicious traditional dishes and see London sights from a new perspective on a London tour.

Use the London attractions map to help pinpoint all the places you want to go around the capital.

Top things to do in London

Don't miss out on the capital's exciting must-see London attractions and fun things to do:

The best things to do in London

Here are the best things to see and do in London in 2024.

London attractions

An aerial view of a pod on the London Eye with the river Thames, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben in the background on a cloudy day in London.
Take a spin on the London Eye. Image courtesy of London Eye.

From royal palaces and museums to historic bridges and cathedrals, discover world-famous London attractions and iconic landmarks with the best things to see in London.

  1. Ready, steady… go! Tick all of London’s top 10 attractions off your to-do list.
  2. See 55 of London’s greatest landmarks on a 30-minute ride on the London Eye.
  3. Soar above London on the London Cable Car.
  4. Discover the magnificent Hampton Court Palace, Henry VIII’s former residence and a London must-see.
  5. Be dazzled by the largest diamond in the world, on display at the Tower of London’s Crown Jewels exhibition.
  6. Take a tour of Buckingham Palace, the official administrative headquarters of the King.
  7. Climb the dome of St Paul's Cathedral and enjoy spectacular views across London.
  8. Be in the right place at the right time to see Tower Bridge lift up.
  9. See Egyptian mummies and objects from around the world at the British Museum.

London sightseeing

Now you've ticked London's must-sees off your sightseeing list, it's time to explore London from a different angle! Join a walking tour, see quintessentially British ceremonies, or spot top London sights from the water with a cruise down the Thames.

  1. Sit back and get an overview of London sights on a hop-on hop-off bus tour.
  2. Walk in the footsteps of the monarchy and explore the royal residency of Kensington Palace.
  3. Meet the Beefeaters at the Tower of London and let them share the tower’s oldest secrets with you.
  4. Get closer to the most interesting tourist attractions in London with a walking tour.
  5. Discover historic Greenwich and stand across the Prime Meridian Line. 
  6. Take a boat trip on the river Thames and see London in style.
  7. Catch the iconic Changing the Guard ceremony in front of Buckingham Palace, an absolute must-do in London.
  8. Snap a photo at Piccadilly Circus in front of its iconic, electronic advertising boards.
  9. See the bronze lions and Nelson’s Column at Trafalgar Square.

Off-peak Fridays in London

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Free things to do in London

Two images flickering, one of two people sat on stripy deckchairs on grass and facing some shrubbery, and one looking through the hall of a gallery with framed artwork hanging on either wall.
Lounging in London and a popular gallery visit. Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Reid

From world-class art to glorious parks and gardens, London has plenty of incredible things to see and do for free. Explore London without breaking the bank with these free sightseeing ideas.

  1. Walk the Thames Path on the South Bank and see major London landmarks from the Houses of Parliament to Tower Bridge. You can also go beyond the city centre, up to Kew or Hampton Court Palace in west London.
  2. Explore the eight Royal Parks in London, from pretty St James’s Park to peaceful Bushy Park.
  3. See world-class art for free at the National GalleryTate Modern and other major galleries.
  4. Listen to Big Ben as the world-famous clock strikes the hour.
  5. Take in free entertainment at The Scoop, or watch street performers in Covent Garden.
  6. Admire the 12,000 roses in Queen Mary’s Gardens in Regent’s Park.
  7. Discover the beautiful works of one of Britain's most famous designers at the William Morris Gallery

Fun things to do in London

From discovering the capital on two wheels to riding rollercoasters, active travellers and adventure seekers will find plenty of fun things to do in London. 

  1. Ride a Santander Cycle in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and relive the spirit of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
  2. See a game (and take a tour) at the legendary Wembley Stadium, or get a taste of London’s club football scene at ChelseaArsenalWest Ham United or Tottenham Hotspur. A must-do in London for any self-respecting football fan!
  3. Climb on the roof of Tottenham Hotspur's stadium on the thrilling The Dare Skywalk.
  4. Take an exhilarating James Bond-style ride on the river Thames with a speedboat tour.
  5. Ride a rollercoaster at one of London’s theme parks.
  6. Ice skate next to a major London attraction and enjoy the magical view of iconic landmarks such as Hampton Court Palace and Somerset House lit up with festive lights (from November to January).
  7. Hire a pedalo or rowboat on Hyde Park’s famous Serpentine Lake (from April to October).
  8. Have a fun night out at one of London's best bowling alleys.

Things to do in London with kids

The Dumbledore office set, including stairs, pictures on the wall and Dumbledore costume, at Warner Bros Studio Tour London
Explore Dumbledore's office on set at Warner Bros Studio Tour London. Image courtesy of Warner Bros Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.

If you're visiting London with children in tow, you will love these kids-friendly attractions and activities. Whether fans of Harry Potter or animal lovers, discover the best things to do in London for families.

  1. Take the kids to the theatre for spectacular family-friendly shows, such as The Lion King.
  2. Meet your favourite characters at Shrek's Adventure! London where fun challenges, rides and laugh-out-loud shows await. 
  3. Immerse yourself in Harry Potter’s wizarding world and push a trolley through Platform 9¾ at King's Cross.
  4. Step inside the Gryffindor common room and see hundreds of costumes and props from the Harry Potter films at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.
  5. Say hello to underwater creatures at SEA LIFE London.
  6. Rub shoulders with the world’s most iconic figures made of wax at Madame Tussauds London.
  7. See dinosaur sculptures in Crystal Palace Park and explore the maze and children’s farm.
  8. Spot the penguins at London Zoo, a must-see in London for kids of all ages.
  9. Fly a kite on Hampstead Heath, splash around at one of its swimming ponds and enjoy the view from Parliament Hill.
  10. See the Apollo 10 command capsule at the Science Museum.

Unusual and cool things to do in London

Unusual and cool stuff to do in London will have you exploring the city's hidden gems, incredible museum collections and wonderful off-the-beaten-track attractions.

  1. Wander around the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and see the "corpse flower", a giant (and smelly) plant whose flowering is incredibly rare.
  2. Go Up at The O2: climb this world-famous entertainment venue and get a 360-degree view of London’s skyline.
  3. Get off the beaten track and discover London's hidden gems, from Eltham Palace and Epping Forest to Apsley House.
  4. Search for cool locations and legendary music landmarks dotted across London.  
  5. Discover the weird and wonderful world of humans at the Wellcome Collection.
  6. Step into the ruins of London's Roman Amphitheatre at the Guildhall Art Gallery & Roman Amphitheatre.

Romantic things to do in London

A busy rooftop bar with fairy lights and stunning views across London's skyline.
The Bussey Rooftop Bar in Peckham. Image courtesy of the Bussey Rooftop Bar.

From mesmerising views and enchanting walks to intimate bars and restaurants perfect for a memorable date, find the most romantic things to do in London with your other half.

  1. Soak up spectacular views of London’s skyline at sunset at The View from The Shard.
  2. Take a romantic stroll around Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park.
  3. Sip a classy cocktail and enjoy the view of London at night at an intimate rooftop bar.
  4. Fly over the sights of the capital on a London Helicopter flight: impressive date guaranteed!
  5. Enjoy the must-see London view from Primrose Hill and walk around the colourful nearby neighbourhoods.
  6. Savour London’s magical atmosphere with your loved one when summer blooms in the city.
  7. Sail arm in arm along the water on a river cruise
  8. Treat the love of your life to a special dinner at one of London’s top romantic restaurants.
  9. Propose in style in one of the most romantic places in London, such as the London Eye, a river cruise boat or Little Venice’s beautiful canals.

Cheap things to do in London

Enjoy London's best street food markets, catch a show in an iconic location and visit lesser-known sightseeing spots, with these top ideas for cheap things to do in London.

  1. Take a theatre tour and see a play in the fascinating setting of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Buy standing tickets for just £5.
  2. Go sightseeing on an iconic London red double-decker bus and enjoy views from the upper deck. A single bus fare costs only £1.65.
  3. Eat tasty street food at the coolest London food trucksor try a beigel or a pie from these popular cheap lunch spots.
  4. Catch a performance at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and look out for last-minute or standing tickets for a discount.
  5. Wander the fascinating Highgate Cemetery for just £4.50 and see Karl Marx’s colossal tomb and memorial.

Things to do in London at night

Four dancers leap across the stage in lion costumes in The Lion King on stage in the West End of London.
See spectacular sets and costumes at a West End musical, such as The Lion King, in London. © Johan Persson/Disney The Lion King.

Be dazzled by London's best things to do after dark, from famous West End musicals to the city's best cocktails bars with spectacular views.

  1. See a smashing West End musical in London, such as The Lion King, Phantom of the Opera musical, Wicked London or get The Book of Mormon London tickets.
  2. Go to a late museum or gallery opening and enjoy special talks, DJs, food and drinks.
  3. Treat yourself to a glass of fizz at a London champagne bar.
  4. Dance the night away at one of the top clubs in London.
  5. Go up to London’s Sky Garden for free, and enjoy spectacular views of the skyline at night. Entry to the Sky Garden is limited, so reserve online in advance.
  6. Indulge in an expertly made cocktail at one of London's best cocktail bars.
  7. Order a drink at London’s quirkiest bars and expect nothing but the unexpected.

Things to do in London on a Sunday

Sundays in London offer plenty of relaxing and indulging options. Treat yourself to a delicious pub roast, stroll though pretty flower markets or take an exciting day trip from London.

  1. Tuck into a tasty Sunday roast in a traditional London pub.
  2. Browse for flowers at Columbia Road Flower Market, a must-see in London.
  3. Enjoy mouthwatering street food at Brick Lane Market or Greenwich Market.
  4. Discover lesser-known London Sunday markets.
  5. Pack a blanket and food to have a picnic in Hyde Park.
  6. Cheer on your favourite team at a sports bar or pub.
  7. Take part in a debate at Speaker’s Corner.
  8. Use the capital as a hub to explore other exciting locations in England, such as Windsor Castle, Bath and Stonehenge, on a day trip from London.

Best events in London

A woman with feathered wings and a sequined costume at a parade during Notting Hill Carnival in London.
Party on at London’s Notting Hill Carnival in August. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

London has so much happening all year round. Don't miss the city's best and most spectacular events and celebrations with these top picks.

  1. Take part in the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia throughout London's Chinatown, Trafalgar Square and the West End in January or February.
  2. Celebrate all things Irish with St Patrick’s Day special events in London in March.
  3. Remember, remember the fifth of November and take part in Bonfire Night in London and watch a spectacular fireworks display in the city.
  4. Watch the Trooping the Colour parade in honour of the King’s birthday.
  5. Enjoy the colours and sounds of the Caribbean at Notting Hill Carnival in August.
  6. Cheer on tennis greats as the Wimbledon Championships come to south-west London in July.
  7. Discover the best of what’s on in London at Christmas: enjoy the magical atmosphere, admire the stunning decorations and visit Santa’s grotto.
  8. Find the perfect spot from where to enjoy the spectacular New Year’s Eve Fireworks, a London must-see if you're in town at that time of year.
  9. Catch one of London’s legendary music festivals and dance to your favourite band’s tunes.
  10. Embrace London's diversity at Pride in London in July.

Food and drink in London

From quintessential afternoon tea to Michelin-starred dining, London abounds with fantastic places to eat and drink. Discover some of the best, with these top foodie recommendations.

  1. A trip to London is not complete without having afternoon tea. Go for the classic experience or try an unusual themed afternoon tea.
  2. Treat yourself to an unforgettable meal at a London Michelin-starred restaurant from the world’s top chefs.
  3. Eat at one of London's quirkiest restaurants – have you ever tried to eat in the dark?
  4. Try an authentic curry from one of the many restaurants and food stalls in Brick Lane.
  5. Have a crispy battered fish and chips, a London classic.
  6. Enjoy some comfort food and a pint of beer at a traditional London pub.
  7. Savour dim sum and regional Chinese cuisine in London’s Chinatown restaurants.
  8. Tuck into pie, mash and liquor at one of these London pie shops.

Shopping in London

Harrods department store lit up at night against a dark blue sky and illuminated street lights in London.
Take a shopping trip to Harrods in London. © Reid.

It's time to hit the shops! Find the best London shopping spots, from luxury department stores such as iconic London must-see Harrods to bargain fashions at the city's excellent markets.

  1. Browse everything from antiques to designer clothes at London's best markets.
  2. Splurge on luxurious finds at one of London's top department stores, including Harrods, Liberty London and Selfridges.
  3. Shop for all the things you need in one place at Westfield, Europe's largest urban shopping centre.
  4. Buy quality groceries and delicious world foods at one of the best food markets in London.
  5. Look out for the best vintage fashion shops in London and make the most of the city’s vibrant retro clothing scene.

Find even more things to do in London, from top London attractions and sightseeing tours to more shopping inspiration and family fun.