10 unmissable London attractions to visit in 2024 and 2025

A trip to the capital wouldn't be complete without seeing the top London attractions. Plan ahead so you don't miss out on these top things to do in London.
Written by Visit London Editors Edited by Kirstine Spicer 12 June 2024
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View of the London Eye on the river Thames at sunset.
The London Eye. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

From the modern London Eye to the historic Tower of London, the top 10 tourist attractions in London are a must-see on any London sightseeing trip. Even better, many London landmarks are free to visit. Use the London attractions map to find them all.

There are also plenty of kid-friendly places to visit in London. Get up close and personal with underwater creatures at SEA LIFE London Aquarium or explore the Science Museum, London's interactive hub of science and technology. Both are perfect for fun family days out in London.

You could also soak up some culture at famous cultural landmarks in London, including free museums and galleries, visit Buckingham Palace during the summer on select dates, or take the perfect picture with Big Ben, which are just some of the many iconic and famous places to visit in London.

The top 10 free London attractions list is based on visitor numbers: start your sightseeing in London now with these popular spots. Book tickets with visitlondon.com for the top 10 bookable London attractions.

You may need to book tickets in advance, even if entrance is free.

List of the top 10 places to visit in London

Top 10 bookable attractions 

Buckingham Palace

Visit Buckingham Palace with a special opening each summer. Credit: Jon Reid. Image courtesy of Jon Reid.

Enjoy a glimpse into the life of royalty with a visit to this iconic London palace for a limited time each summer. Wander through the grand State Rooms, discovering many treasures and artefacts, and marvel at a special exhibition. Finish your self-guided tour in the quaint gardens, where you can see the famous lake. 

Prices from £30.00 Book now

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London The Making of Harry Potter. Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.

Have a magical day out with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Harry Potter films at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London The Making of Harry Potter. See first-hand the sets, costumes and props used in all the Harry Potter films, and step inside some of the films' locations, including the Great Hall, Dumbledore's office and Hagrid's hut. It's the ultimate Harry Potter experience!

Prices from £89.00 Book now

Tower of London

Learn about 1000 years of history at the Tower of London and hear about the days when it was known as the Bloody Tower. ©London & Partners/Michael Barrow

Take a tour with one of the Yeoman Warders around the Tower of London, one of the world's most famous buildings. Discover its 900-year history as a royal palace, prison and place of execution, arsenal, jewel house and zoo! Gaze up at the White Tower, tiptoe through a medieval king's bedchamber and marvel at the Crown Jewels.

Prices from £28.90 Book now

The London Eye

View from the London Eye © Shutterstock. Image courtesy of Golden Tours.

Climb aboard one of the 32 glass capsules of the London Eye for unforgettable views of some of London's most famous landmarks. Take in amazing 360-degree views as the capsule slowly rotates over the river Thames.

Prices from £32.00 Book now

Madame Tussauds London

Meet His Majesty King Charles III at Madame Tussauds. © Merlin Entertainment
At Madame Tussauds London, you'll come face-to-face with some of the world's most famous faces. From Shakespeare to Taylor Swift, you'll meet influential figures from showbiz, sport, politics and even royalty. Strike a pose with Usain Bolt, get close to Beyoncé or enjoy the Marvel Universe 4D Experience.
Prices from £33.50 Book now

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey. Copyright: Shutterstock. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

One of London's most important UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Westminster Abbey plays host to many special ceremonies including coronations and royal weddings. Marvel at 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, such as William Shakespeare and Jane Austen, are buried. 

Prices from £27.00 Book now

Kew Gardens

Wander through the vast botanical gardens at Kew Gardens and explore a unique collection of flowers showcasing the beauty of nature at the heart of London. © visitlondon.com/Michael Barrow

Enjoy the huge outdoor space – 330 acres (134 hectares) – at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. See the peaceful Japanese garden, the amazing trees of the arboretum and explore the stunning glass conservatories. Pack a picnic (or pick up food from one of the restaurants) for the perfect relaxing day out in London.

Prices from £12.00 Book now

SEA LIFE London

SEA LIFE London aquarium. Image courtesy of Merlin Entertainment Group.
Get a taste of the deep blue sea at SEA LIFE London. Spot up to 400 species including sharks, stingrays, moray eels and clown fish at the aquarium. See stunning green sea turtles and test your nerve on the glass "shark walk". Learn more at daily talks and feeding times.
Prices from £27.00 Book now

The View from The Shard

Enjoy panoramic views over London skyline when visiting The View from The Shard. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Rise high above London and see the city's iconic skyline from a unique perspective, with views stretching up to 40 miles (64km). Spot the likes of the London Eye, St Paul's Cathedral and Wembley Stadium from The View from The Shard's observation deck, which sits 800ft (244m) up western Europe's tallest building.

Hampton Court Palace

Explore the historic Hampton Court Palace and discover more than 400 years of historical happenings, from the 16th century to Georgian times and the present day. See the home of Henry VIII, experience the spectacular State Apartments, courtyards and 60 acres of magnificent gardens.

Prices from £26.30 Book now

Top 10 free attractions

Tate Modern Free

Tate Modern and the Millenium Bridge
Sitting grandly on the banks of the Thames is Tate Modern, Britain's national museum of modern and contemporary art. Its unique shape is due to it previously being a power station. The gallery's restaurants offer fabulous views across the city. Some exhibitions require tickets.

Natural History Museum Free

National History Museum © visitlondon.com/Jon Reid. Image courtesy of visitlondon.com/Jon Reid

As well as the permanent (and permanently fascinating!) dinosaur exhibition, the Natural History Museum boasts a collection of the biggest, tallest and rarest animals in the world. See a life-sized blue whale, a 40-million-year-old spider, and the beautiful Central Hall. Some exhibitions require tickets.

British Museum Free

British Museum - Great Court
The world-famous British Museum exhibits the works of man from prehistoric to modern times, from around the world. Highlights include the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures and the mummies in the Ancient Egypt collection. Some exhibitions require tickets.

National Gallery Free

The crowning glory of Trafalgar Square, London's National Gallery is a vast space filled with western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries. Find works by masters such as Van Gogh, da Vinci, Botticelli, Constable, Renoir, Titian and Stubbs. Some exhibitions require tickets.

Victoria and Albert Museum Free

The V&A celebrates art and design with 3,000 years' worth of amazing artefacts from around the world. A real treasure trove of goodies, you never know what you'll discover next: furniture, paintings, sculpture, metalwork and textiles; the list goes on. Some exhibitions require tickets

Science Museum Free

From the future of space travel to asking that difficult question: "who am I?", the Science Museum makes your brain perform Olympic-standard mental gymnastics. See, touch and experience the major scientific advances of the last 300 years; and don't forget the awesome Imax cinema. Some exhibitions require tickets.

Somerset House

Somerset House is home to London's Courtauld Gallery (currently closed for refurbishment) with its collection of Old Masters, Impressionist and Post-impressionist paintings, and The Embankment Galleries with a rotating programme of exhibitions dedicated to art, design, fashion and photography. Some exhibitions require tickets.

Southbank Centre

The South Bank. Image courtesy of India Roper-Evans

Located by the river Thames, the centre offers sweeping views of the capital from the London Eye to St Paul's Cathedral. Southbank Centre is a unique metropolitan arts centre, with acres of creative space and an extraordinary history. Includes the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Hayward Gallery. Some exhibitions require tickets.

Horniman Museum and Gardens Free

Colour: The Rainbow Revealed © Gareth Jones. Image courtesy of Horniman Museum and Gardens
More than a century old and dedicated to anthropology and natural wonders, this family-friendly south London museum delights with stunning exhibits, and is a popular venue for workshops, events and festivals. Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill is one of south London's best hidden gems. Some exhibitions require tickets.

Tate Britain Free

Walter Sickert Brighton Pierrots 1915 . Image courtesy of Tate , Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund and the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1999
Explore the world's biggest collection of British art at Tate Britain. Spanning pieces by renowned artists, including JMW Turner, Lucian Freud, David Hockney and more, you can enjoy the museum independently or on a guided tour. After admiring the artworks, refuel at the Djanogly Café or pick up souvenirs from the museum shop. Some exhibitions require tickets.

Frequently asked questions about London attractions

What are the top places to visit in London?

The must-visit London attractions to have on your list are:

1. Westminster Abbey: Experience the impressive architecture and discover memorials for more than 30 kings and queens buried at Westminster Abbey, one of London's most important UNESCO World Heritage Sites. See the awe-inspiring vaulted ceiling and discover ancient murals during your visit.

2. National Gallery: Explore some of the greatest collections of paintings in the world and discover many artistic treasures at the National Gallery. The National Gallery is free to visit and includes access to the permanent galleries.

3. Buckingham Palace: During the summer, and on selected dates from November to December and at Easter, you can explore one of the few working royal palaces in the world. Visitors can tour the 19 State Rooms, the magnificent Grand Staircase and special exhibitions curated each year.

4. Big Ben: The Houses of Parliament's iconic clock tower, commonly known as Big Ben, is one of London's most famous landmarks. The clock tower looks spectacular during the day and at night, the four clock faces are illuminated and glisten against the backdrop of the London skyline. Tours can be booked by visiting the official UK Parliament website.

5. St Paul's Cathedral: Visit St Paul's Cathedral and explore the working cathedral steeped in history, experience breathtaking views across London from the Stone and Golden Galleries and marvel at the marble architecture throughout the historic landmark.

What is the number one London attraction?

There are so many incredible attractions to explore in the city, it can be hard to choose the best London landmark to top them all!

London's oldest tourist attraction The Tower of London, built in 1078 AD, featured in a recent report on London's top attraction to visit. In 2022, The Tower of London welcomed two million visitors from around the world to explore nearly 1,000 years of history, the glistening Crown Jewels and to learn about its famous residents, the ravens.

Source: Statista

What is the best way to see the sights of London?

The best way to see the sights of London is by bus tour, walking tour, bike tour or Thames river cruises! A sightseeing tour is the perfect way to experience London's top attractions and explore lesser-known areas of the city. There are so many exciting ways to explore the city and experience London sightseeing at its very best!

What are some of London's modern landmarks?

London's skyline is home to some of the world's most striking modern architecture, and in the last 50 years many landmarks have been designed and built, five of which include:

1. The Shard: Located next to London Bridge station, The Shard opened in 2013 and is Europe's largest skyscraper. The 1,017ft (309.6 meters) building contains 11,000 panes of glass and homes a hotel, several bars and restaurants, office space and a public observation deck on the 72nd floor, offering unrivalled panoramic views across London.

2. The London Eye: Opened on New Year's Eve 1999 and open to the public from March 2000, The London Eye was built in celebration of the new millennium. The idea was chosen from a host of entries to a competition held back in 1993 to create a new landmark to signify the turning of the century. Today, The London Eye is one of London's most popular attractions visited each year, offering 360-degrees of London from a cantilevered observation wheel.

3. 20 Fenchurch Street – The Walkie Talkie: 20 Fenchurch Street opened in 2015, and was soon nicknamed the 'Walkie Talkie' building due to its aesthetic similarity. The glass front building curves subtly towards the Thames and unparalleled views can be enjoyed from Sky Garden situated at the top of the building. Experience the naturally ventilated garden over three levels, and visit one of the Fenchurch restaurant, Darwin Brasserie or Sky Pod Bar for delicious food and drink.

4. The Gherkin: Designed by Norman Foster, The Gherkin opened in 2004 and is primarily used for commercial office space. The unique building has a rotating glass pattern on the building's exterior, and each floor rotates by 5 degrees compared to the one below. Enjoy 360-degree city views in the restaurant and cocktail bar, Searcys, located on level 40 of The Gherkin.

5. Tate Modern: Since its opening in 2000, Tate Modern has become a London landmark for the stunning architecture of the building and the art from around the world that it homes. The building was originally used to house electricity generators for the Bankside power station, and now the space has been transformed into gallery spaces, from paintings and film to performance and discussions.