London Tourist Attractions

No votes yet.
Please wait...

One of the most cosmopolitan cities on the planet, London is a terrific place to visit. Regardless of whether you’re drawn to this remarkable place for its royal palaces, historic churches, world-class museums, innovative architecture, diverse food scene, or legendary soccer clubs—or you’re hoping to experience a little bit of everything while in town—you’ll encounter no shortage of incredible attractions here to keep you busy for the duration of your trip and then some.

The greater London area is famous for its high concentration of royal palaces, many of which are still in use by members of the royal family today. Kensington Palace and its surrounding gardens are the stately home of the Prince and Princess of Wales, while Windsor Castle is the world’s oldest castle still in use as a private residence. Members of the reigning monarch’s family have been making use of its opulent rooms for personal enjoyment and official state visits for centuries now.

For many London visitors, one of the biggest highlights of a trip to England’s capital city is a stop at Westminster Abbey. Renowned as one of the world’s most iconic churches, Westminster Abbey is the site where dozens of kings and queens have had their coronation ceremonies—and the same place a significant number of them were laid to rest. Another religious institution that’s a major London tourist attraction is St. Paul’s Cathedral, where royal weddings and state funerals often take place. For those visitors whose minds are always putting together an efficient itinerary, St. Paul’s is just down the street from the legendary Tower of London and nearby Tower Bridge.

Given its rich history, it comes as no surprise that London is home to a fabulous assortment of museums devoted to a wide variety of subjects. The British royal family’s Royal Collection is considered the largest private art collection in the world, and art lovers won’t want to miss the chance to view some of its many masterpieces for themselves on the walls of various London-area attractions like The Queen’s Gallery, Apsley House, and Hampton Court Palace. Families with an eye out for an interactive, kid-friendly museum or two will love the Household Cavalry Museum, where they can watch the changing of the guard and see a working stable, and The Postal Museum, a relatively new attraction that features a miniature train ride through underground mail tunnels that the entire group won’t soon forget. And when it’s time to take a step back and soak it all in, The View from The Shard observation deck provides spectacular sky-high sightlines of the whole metropolis.

Keep reading for more information regarding some of London’s most popular tourist attractions, including a bunch more museums, gardens, historic sites, and even a zoo.

Apsley House

Apsley House is the palatial home of the man who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington. Today Apsley House contains the Wellington Museum, which features a renowned art collection and historic memorabilia from the Duke’s illustrious military career.

Wellington Arch

Wellington Arch is a triumphal arch located on a sizable traffic island between Hyde Park and Green Park, not far from Apsley House and Buckingham Palace. Wellington Arch is adorned by an imposing bronze sculpture, and its hollow interior contains exhibit spaces and viewing platforms.

Household Cavalry Museum

Located within Horse Guards, squarely in the heart of Westminster, the Household Cavalry Museum features an eighteenth-century stable and a small museum tracing the history of the British Army’s Household Cavalry. A changing of the guard takes place here every hour.

Hampton Court Palace

Located approximately 12 miles southwest of London, Hampton Court Palace is a historic royal palace dating to the sixteenth century. Much favored by Henry VIII, and greatly expanded by King William III, Hampton Court Palace is famous for its gardens, Great Hall, Chapel Royal, and overall air of stately luxury.

The Queen’s Gallery

The Queen’s Gallery is an art museum located within Buckingham Palace that presents a curated selection of notable artworks from the Royal Collection, including paintings, drawings, photographs, and various decorative arts items. Exhibitions at The Queen’s Gallery change out on a regular basis.

Old Royal Naval College

Designed by Christopher Wren and intended to serve as a home for retired sailors, Old Royal Naval College has had a long and fascinating history. Today it’s best known as the site where you’ll find the Painted Hall, a remarkable attraction routinely called “Britain’s Sistine Chapel.”

Cutty Sark

Famed as one of the fastest clipper ships of the nineteenth century, the Cutty Sark has been lovingly restored to resemble how it would have appeared during its heyday on the high seas. Visitors can walk the main deck of this historic vessel, helm the ship’s wheel, and marvel at the elaborate rigging overhead.

Royal Observatory Greenwich

The Royal Observatory at Greenwich is most famous as the site where the Prime Meridian of the World was defined. Dating to 1676, this historic facility also features the Great Equatorial Telescope, the Peter Harrison Planetarium, a host of historic clocks, and the iconic red Time Ball of Flamsteed House.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is the world’s oldest castle still in use as a royal residence, and it stands today as one of the foremost symbols of the British royal family. Highlights of a contemporary visit to Windsor Castle include the Grand Reception Room, Crimson Drawing Room, St. George’s Chapel, and the many artistic masterpieces that line its walls.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace was the birthplace of Queen Victoria and it’s currently the official London residence of the Prince and Princess of Wales. Famous for its expansive gardens, here you can also see the Jewel Room, King’s Staircase, King’s Gallery, and exhibits dedicated to Victoria’s childhood years.

Westminster Abbey

One of the most famous churches found anywhere in the world, Westminster Abbey has been the site of coronation ceremonies for 39 British monarchs dating back to the eleventh century. Highlights of this iconic attraction include the Henry VII Lady Chapel, the Coronation Chair, the Royal Tombs, and Poet’s Corner.

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

First opened in 1997, Shakespeare’s Globe is a meticulous reconstruction of the sixteenth-century open-air theatre where William Shakespeare’s iconic plays were performed. Live performances of the Bard’s works still run regularly here today, and the popular Shakespeare’s Globe Story & Tour is a two-hour guided tour that takes visitors behind the scenes of the attraction.

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens is one of the world’s most important botanic gardens, with a rich history that dates back centuries. Visitors today will find its approximately 300 acres lined with thousands of species of trees, flowers, bamboos, and more. Highlights of Kew Gardens include its Arboretum, Temperate House, Children’s Garden, and Bamboo Garden.

London Zoo

Operating in one form or another for 200 years now, the London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo. Visitors today to this venerable institution will be charmed by the facility’s assortment of popular animals from all over the world. Notable attractions here include Land of the Lions, Gorilla Kingdom, and Tiger Territory.

The View from The Shard

The View from The Shard is a world-class observation deck located on the 68th through 72nd floors of the Renzo Piano-designed skyscraper known as The Shard, the tallest building in the United Kingdom. The View from The Shard features an Open-Air Skydeck, indoor viewing gallery, and a champagne bar.

St Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul’s Cathedral was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in the late seventeenth century, since when it has become a major national landmark. A powerful symbol of London’s resilience, St. Paul’s Cathedral continues to play an important role in British history today, regularly hosting royal weddings, state funerals, and religious services.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge has spanned the Thames in the heart of London for approximately 130 years now. During that time, it has become a major landmark and one of the foremost symbols of the city. A visit to Tower Bridge grants guests access to stunning views and an assortment of educational exhibits.

Tower of London

A historic fortress dating to the eleventh century, the Tower of London is one of the city’s quintessential attractions. Visitors to the Tower of London can behold the Crown Jewels, observe the Royal Guard, tour the White Tower, and witness the spots where figures such as Edward V and Anne Boleyn met their demises.