25 famous landmarks in London

From Big Ben to Tower Bridge, explore 25 of the most famous landmarks in London. Discover incredible monuments, palaces, structures and cultural treasures steeped in history and heritage.
Sweeping view of the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Bridge and the London Eye at nightfall.
Central London skyline at dusk. Image courtesy of visitlondon.com and Jon Reid.

Ready for a spot of sightseeing in London? Whether it's your first trip or you've lived here for years, these famous London landmarks are absolute must-sees.

Take a closer look at the most significant buildings and structures in London, from its world-famous palaces, churches and fortresses to its most iconic skyscrapers, striking bridges and modern art galleries.

Famous landmarks in London

A fountain lit up in Trafalgar Square with the National Gallery behind.
Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid. Image courtesy of Jon Reid / Photos.London.
  1. Experience one of the most famous landmarks in London from up close, with a visit to iconic Tower BridgeEnjoy a panoramic view of the city from the Glass Floors and high-level Walkways, 42 metres (138ft) above the river. Then head to the magnificent Victorian Engine Rooms to hear about the lives of the people who kept the bridge going.
  2. Take your time to admire Big Benone of the world's most famous clock towers, from every angle: The Houses of Parliament's iconic clock tower, officially known as the Elizabeth Tower, is one of London's most famous landmarks. It looks spectacular at night when the four clock faces are illuminated.
  3. Witness the grandeur of the British monarchy at Buckingham PalaceEnjoy a glimpse into the life of royalty with a summer visit to this iconic London palace. For a few weeks only every year, you can wander through the grand State Rooms and discover its many treasures and artefacts.
  4. See London's famous lion statues, iconic fountains and Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square: Then explore artworks from the Middle Ages to the 20th century at the National Gallery, and marvel at one of the world’s greatest collections of portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, both free and located to the north of the square.
  5. Get ready for astounding views of the city as you climb aboard one of the 32 glass capsules of the London Eye: Enjoy incredible 360-degree views of London's most famous landmarks from the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel.

Historical landmarks in London

The Tower of London seen from the river, on a sunny day and clear sky in the backgound.
Ready to explore a real castle? Image courtesy of the Tower of London
  1. Take a tour with one of the Yeoman Warders around the Tower of London, one of London's most famous historical landmarks: Discover its 900-year history as a royal palace, prison and place of execution, arsenal, jewel house and zoo!
  2. Visit one of London's most important UNESCO World Heritage Sites and historical landmarks, Westminster Abbey: Admire the impressive architecture, see the resting places of kings and queens passed and visit Poets’ Corner where some of the UK's most famous writers are buried.
  3. Discover a working cathedral steeped in history, with a trip to St Paul's Cathedral: Experience breathtaking views across London from the Stone and Golden Galleries and marvel at the marble architecture throughout this historic landmark.
  4. Explore magnificent Hampton Court Palace, on the banks of the river Thames: Uncover Tudor treasures, glorious gardens and an iconic maze at this Grade I-listed royal palace, which is said to have been Henry VIII’s favourite residence.
  5. Look through the gates from Whitehall, and spot the 10 Downing Street door, famous around the world for being the home to the British Prime Minister: Discover other attractions related to London’s fascinating political history, including the Churchill War Rooms and Benjamin Franklin House.

Iconic landmarks in London

The outside of Battersea Power Station reflected in some water with restaurants and blurred people in the foreground.
Outside Battersea Power Station. Photo: Backdrop Productions. Image courtesy of BPS Development Co.
  1. A Grade II-listed architectural masterpiece, discover a bustling food, shopping and entertainment hub at the iconic Battersea Power StationLift 109 takes you to the very top of one of the chimneys, where you can enjoy panoramic views.
  2. London's skyline is home to some of the world's most striking modern architecture, including Europe's largest skyscraper, The Shard: Other iconic architectural landmarks include The Gherkin and The Walkie Talkie. All have restaurants, bars or viewing platforms you can visit for unrivalled panoramic views of the city from above.
  3. Sitting grandly on the banks of the Thames is Tate Modern, Britain's national museum of modern and contemporary art and another striking London landmark: Its unique shape is due to it previously being a power station. The awe-inspiring Turbine Hall runs the length of the entire building and you can see amazing work for free inside, by artists such as Picasso, Pollock and Warhol.
  4. London's iconic bridges are also well-known landmarks in their own right: The pedestrian-only Millennium Bridge is a striking example, linking St Paul's Cathedral on the north bank of the Thames with Tate Modern and Shakespeare's Globe in Southwark.
  5. Look out for climbers taking an exhilarating walk over the roof of another iconic London structure with Up at The O2A famous London landmark that's featured in many films including James Bond, The O2 is home to the world's most popular music, sport, comedy and entertainment. A great place to spot it from is aboard the IFS Cloud Cable Car.

Literary landmarks in London

A photo of The Globe theatre taken on a sunny day, with blue sky above the theatre.
The Globe. Photo by Clive Sherlock. Image courtesy of The Globe.
  1. Visit the impressive Globe Theatre in Bankside, a faithful reconstruction of the open-air playhouse in which Shakespeare worked, and for which he wrote many of his most famous plays: Catch a Shakespearean classic or learn more about its history on a fascinating Shakespeare’s Globe guided tour.
  2. Step through the iconic front door of the Sherlock Holmes Museum and explore the Victorian apartment of the famous detective: Wander through the Victorian lodgings lit with gas lamps, uncover Holmes’ personal items and spot some of Watson’s belongings along the way...
  3. A literary landmark in its own right, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street has stood on the same spot for centuries: The historic pub had to be rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666. Its dark, gloomy interior has hosted many famous figures including Charles Dickens, Dr Samuel Johnson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
  4. Hidden down a quiet alleyway off Borough High Street, The George Inn is another characterful pub with great literary connections: Dating back to the 17th century, it's London’s only surviving galleried inn and was once a famous haunt of author Charles Dickens. Rumour has it The George may have been Shakespeare's local too.
  5. Head over to Hampstead to explore lesser-known Keats House, a Grade I-listed literary landmark filled with fascinating objects: One of the most famous English Romantic poets, John Keats, lived here for two years and the museum's collection now houses paintings, prints and relics belonging to him and his contemporaries.

Victorian landmarks in London

View of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament from across the river with Westminster Bridge in the forefront
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. Copyright: visitlondon.com. Image courtesy of visitlondon.com.
  1. Step inside the beating heart of British politics with a visit to the Houses of Parliament: Also known as the Palace of Westminster, this remarkable Victorian landmark is made up of the House of Commons, House of Lords, Westminster Hall and Big Ben.
  2. One of the finest examples of Italianate architecture in London, the spectacular Royal Albert Hall is also one of the city's best concert venues: This impressive Victorian landmark was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871 and named after her late husband, Prince Albert. Catch a performance or go behind the scenes with a guided tour.
  3. Opened in 1868 and 1873, St Pancras Station and the adjoining St Pancras Renaissance Hotel are jewels of Victorian architecture in London: Adorned with a glass ceiling and cathedral-esque embellishments, the railway station is a beautiful representation of the Gothic Revival-style buildings that were so popular during that era. Featuring Gothic Revival metalwork, gold-leaf ceilings, hand-stencilled wall designs and a dazzling grand staircase, the hotel is equally exquisite and one of the finest in the world.
  4. The beautiful iron and glass Palm House in Kew Gardens is one of the greatest achievements of engineering from the Victorian era: Designed by Decimus Burton and built by Richard Turner in the 1840s, the lush greenhouse is home to an exotic rainforest and part of London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  5. Last but not least, the stunning Natural History Museum is one of the most visited Victorian landmarks in London: Delve into the history of planet Earth inside this magnificent building, which houses unique treasures from the museum’s collection of more than 80 million objects spanning 4.5 billion years.