32 Things You Must Do On Your Trip To London

London is filled with hundreds, if not thousands of hidden gems, but if it is your first time visiting - or you simply want to make sure you haven't missed any obvious hotspots, then this list is for you. We may have snuck in a few hidden gems too. What follows are 32 places you have to visit in London.

For a tour guide in London look no further than Private London Tours.

1. Piccadilly Circus
Marvel at the electric signs, the Criterion theatre and the statue of Eros. Plus, you'll usually find some live entertainment in the area too.
Did you know that this was the site of the world' first outdoor electric sign? It was installed back in 1910, over 100 years ago.

2. Trafalgar Square
Just down the road from Picadilly Circus, this square celebrate the battle at Cape Trafalgar in 1805. 
That's where Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson defeated the combined French and Spanish forces. Now, you'll find the square itself with the fountains, Nelson's column (135ft tall), the Canadian and South African High Commissions, the National Gallery (and the National Portrait Gallery) next door and St. Martin in the Fields church.
Top Tip: You can get a great view of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace (albeit from a distance) from the side of the square which is opposite the National Gallery.

3. Downing Street
Take a peek into the small section of the road that remains - only composed of buildings number 10 to 12. 
You might even get a glimpse of Number 10, the Prime Minister's office.
Just a bit further on you'll find the Cenotaph the national's war memorial in the centre of the road.

4. Churchill's Cabinet War Rooms
Explore an underground world created in case London ever suffered from an air raid.
Of course this underground shelter came into its own during WW2. You too can explore the place where the country was run - from the huge strategic planning rooms with maps of the world, to the modest living quarters. It is all still there to be seen. This place is an absolute gem.

5. Westminster Abbey
Come see the home of the royal wedding.
Having been the place of coronation for all our monarchs except Edward V, Edward VIII and Lady Jane Grey, the abbey has huge historical significance. If you're an architecture fan you'll enjoy looking at the different styles as the building expanded over hundreds of years.

6. Big Ben
The world's tallest four-faced chiming clock.
The secret with Big Ben, is that 'Ben' is actually the name of the bell, not the clock tower. The tower itself is the Elizabeth Tower. For UK visitors only, you can write to your MP and gets  free tour of the tower. The remainder of the houses of parliament is open to all visitors on select dates for a charge.

7. London Eye
The world's tallest cantilevered ferris wheel.
Located just across the river from Big Ben, you'll get great views of the city. The wheel is 135m tall and it takes 30 minutes for one full revolution. Plus before you board watch the fantastic 4D cinema presentation which we say is as good as the eye itself!

8. Tower Bridge
Often confusingly called by tourists, and even some londoners *tsk tsk*, London Bridge. That's not it's name.
The stunning Tower Bridge is an engineering marvel. Upon paying admission you can learn all about how the bridge was built, learn about its past and even walk across the walkway at the top.

9. The Monument
A bit of a hidden gem.
Yes, we said no hidden gems but we had to put this one down. The Monument to the Great Fire of London is 202 feet tall and stands exactly 202 feet away from where the Great Fire of London started - cool huh? Climb the spiral staircase to the top and you get a stunning view of the City. Well worth a visit and a bargain at only £3 - you even get a certificate with the history of the fire on the way out. Note The Monument is not disabled-friendly with no wheelchair access to the summit.

10. The Crypt Cafe
Located in St. Martin in the Fields church at Trafalgar Square.
If you want atmosphere and a nice lunch or coffee, this is the place to come. There's even a small exhibit inside and you'll see the crypt tombstones themselves all around you. It's less creepy than it sounds and really quite romantic!

11. The National Gallery

Priceless works of art, at no cost to you.
Also located on Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery contains priceless works of art - see everything from Monet's 'Waterlillies' to Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' and so much more. You can spend an entire afternoon in here - and it's free admission. There is also the paid-admission Sainsbury Wing area which contains exhibitions that change periodically.

12. M&Ms World
Yes, it's a shop. Yes, it sells M&Ms.
A relatively young shop in Leicester Square, M&Ms World is filled with chocalately goodness. The best bit however, is all the London touches that you'll find throughout the store. From a giant red London bus at the entrance, to M&M statues crossing a mini-Abbey Road and paintings - it's great fun.

13. Chinatown
Located just off Piccadilly Circus.
Stepping into Chinatown is a culture shock, it's round the corner from one of the busiest tourist destinations in London and yet still manages to maintain an intimate feel. It's well worth the visit but don't expect anything huge - it is a small area made up of only a few streets and is nothing like it's New York equivalent.

14. Leicester Square
A good spot to people watch.
Here you'll find 4 very big cinemas (you must just bump into a star or two at one of the many world premieres that take place here), M&Ms world and in the centre a garden which is surprisingly chilled and a nice place to relax.

15. Covent Garden
A cute square that's filled with shopping and dining.
If you fancy a nice place to eat or just snack, then Covent Garden could be right for you. Make sure to go into the covered building itself and down underground where you will find some incredible little shops that are definitely worth the visit. There's also some name brands too including one of the biggest Apple stores in the world.

16. St Paul's Cathedral

Whether you step inside, or simply admire from the outside, it's worth a visit.
Situated on the highest point of the City of London, St. Paul's is well worth a visit. It is the fourth ST. Paul's to be on the site - this one has been here since 1710. It was the place of Charles and Diana's wedding, Margaret Thatcher's funeral and the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations, amongst many other events. Inside, it is stunning and well worth the price of admission - make sure to get an audio guide too for the best experience. You can even find Christopher Wren's tomb, the architect of this and nearly 50 other churches in the City. Plus, if you want a bit of exercise then climb to the top for the most unique view of London (at almost the height of the London eye, but definitely better situated) - it's only 528 steps to the top.

17. The Millennium Bridge
Great views.
Not much to say about this bridge apart from the fact that you can get some great views looks in every direction, from Tower Bridge on one side to St. Paul's to The Tate Modern. It's worth a crossing. Also, do a bit of research and hear about it's troubled past.

18. The Tate Modern
Modern art at its finest.
A world renowned gallery that is definitely worth a visit. You'll be perplexed, amazed, shocked and probably laugh a few times. Free admission and worth a few hours of your time. Top Tip: Get a lift to the cafe at the top for some great views and a relaxed setting.

19. Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
A step back in time.
Admire it from the outside, or go inside and take in a show.

20. The Shard
The tallest building in Western Europe (1004ft/306m).
Designed to look like a shard of broken glass, The Shard is quite the bold statement. It consists mainly of restaurants, offices and accommodation but you can take a lift to the top for a viewing gallery (admission is charged - slightly more expensive that the London Eye) and admire the city at its finest. If you fancy it, you can even stay at the Shangri-La hotel inside too (starting at £450 per night).

21. The Tower of London
My favourite thing in all of London.
This is a must-must visit in my opinion. Miss it, and you've not been to London. This 950-year old castle standards at the heart of the city and is a true reminder of London's gruesome past - hear and see the old royal palace, prisons, the zoo, the area of beheadings, and even see the crown jewels. Do a tour with one of the "beefeaters" once inside (free once you've paid admission) and get some genuinely gruesome history thrown into your holiday.

22. Buckingham Palace
The official residence of Her Majesty, the Queen.
The palace is a true masterpiece. Outside you can admire the Victoria Memorial and the guards.And don't forget to watch the Changing the Guard ceremony which takes place every other day most of the year, and daily in the warmer months - be sure to know when it is on before you go. During the summer, you can actually step foot inside and marvel at a small percentage of its 775 rooms and the royal gardens.

23. Harrods
The largest store in UK
Harwich is hugely popular in London, featuring luxury goods to either buy or simply gaze at. A typical visit to the store will take in excess of three hours and you'll get to see everything from the Egyptian staircases with their stunning details and live opera singing, electronic sections, an afternoon team room, luxury boutiques and the stunning food court. Harrods is definitely worth a visit.

24. Hamley's
The finest toy store in the world has been going strong for over 250 years. 
Hamleys claims it is the oldest, and largest toy store in the world. It spans seven floors with over 55,000 toys inside. Youll find everything here from model planes to food to books and even the Royal family made out of Lego. For the Harry Potter fans, there is even a place where you can buy a broom to fly on. I recommend you get the elevator to the top and then work your way down.


25. Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
Larger than Central Park in New York. 
These two Royal Parks join up to make 900 acres of pristine land in the centre of London. The parks are a perfect escape from the busy London lifestyle and are perfect place to go for a stroll, have a snack, people watch, row a boat on the Serpentine Lake, or take in one of the many sights. Near Marble arch, you will find Speakers Corner when people come to exercise their right to free speech: explore the princess Diana Memorial playground, and fountain; find a statue of Peter Pan; go horseriding; or visit the stunning Italian gardens and fountains. During the Chirstmas season, the hype is stepped up one bit further with Winter Wondelans a huge free admission area featuring traditional food, theme park rides, Yuletide singalongs and much more.

26. Oxford Street and Regent Street
Shop until you drop
If you want to go shopping you have found the right place, London is filled with places to spend some money. Oxford Street is Europe's busiest shopping street, at 1.5 miles in length and featuring several flagship stores. Your find the likes of Disney, Marks & Spencers, John Lewis, House of Fraser, Selfridge's and many more on this one road. When you reach Oxford Circus, turn onto Regent Street to find yet more shopping – Hamley's, Liberty's, Swarovski, the Apple Store, Hollister andBurberry just to mention a few.

27. Selfridge's
Second only to Harrods in terms of price and luxury.
Selfridge's is located a little bit more centrally than Harrods, being on Oxford Street, and thus is busy year round. Inside this department store you'll find all kinds of boutiques and even places to eat. It's definitely worth your time. The store has been in its iconic location for over 100 years and was founded by an American, Gordon Selfridge. 

28. The Science Museum
From the past to the future, the science museum has it all. 
See how steam engines work, how space shuttles get to the moon, experience being in a flight simulator, watch a movie at the IMAX 3-D cinema, play in the interactive kids area, learn about modern surgery, and much more. The price? Nothing.

29. The V&A Museum

An incredible Museum of design. 
I had heard about the wonders of the V&A museum several times but it wasn't until this year that I visited it. I was blown away. The incredible rooms themselves and the incredible artefacts inside them really leave you with a sense of awe. Some of the sculptures and designs simply have you thinking "how did they do that?". Whilst you're there don't forget to visit the gardens in the centre of the Museum, these are stunning particularly at night. Admission is free.

30. The Natural History Museum
A favourite for people of all ages
Located just across the road from the science museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum holds worldwide status. The interior is filled with marvellous exhibitions from prehistoric ages to modern medicine. Don't forget to visit the Butterfly house, or the earthquake simulator, but the absolute highlight for us has to be the giant Tyrannosaurus rex animatronic which is really lifelike. Admission is free.

31. British Museum
Artefacts from around the world
The British Museum is located somewhat further away from the other museums, but it's definitely worth the trek. Inside you'll find everything from sarcophagi, to Viking artefacts, to 2000-year-old coins. You will also be amazed by the incredible beauty of the building itself. Admission is free.

32. The London Dungeon
Spooky fun and a little bit of history. 
If you want to learn about London's gruesome history, how about experiencing it for yourself? In the London Dungeon you go from room to room and learn (and experience) London's horrible past, from the Great Plague, to torture devices, and a boat ride from hell, to an executioner's drop. Check out the full review here.

For a private, guided tour of London look no further than Private London Tours.


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About Giovanni Costa

Radio journalist, newspaper editor, travel writier, tour guide and Disney Cast Member. These are just some of the things Gio has done in the past few years. He loves visiting new destintions, trying new food and wants you to come along for the ride!
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