Best 14 London Attractions in 2023: Places to Visit in London
When you hear the word “London”, what comes to mind? A city teeming with history, bustling with activity, and bursting with culture, perhaps? Well, you’re not wrong.
The city is indeed a patchwork of historical sites, mouth-watering cuisine, vibrant markets, and cutting-edge architecture, woven together with threads of stories that span centuries.
From the moment you step foot into London, you will feel the city’s pulse – a blend of its past glory and its present vibrancy, and it’s absolutely electric.
In this guide, we will take you through the top attractions that make London one of the most visited cities in the world.
Tower of London
The Tower of London – it’s not just a tower, and it’s not just in London. This formidable fortress, with its age-old walls and towering turrets, stands as a symbol of royal power and an icon of the city’s dramatic history.
William the Conqueror originally built the Tower in the 11th century as a demonstration of Norman power, and since then, it’s been everything from a royal palace and prison to a treasury and menagerie.
As you tread the cobblestone paths and explore the vast complex, you will find the glittering Crown Jewels that have been stored here for over 600 years.
Marvel at the sparkling diamonds, rubies, and sapphires that adorn the royal regalia, and get a sense of the splendour of the British monarchy.
Then, let the tales of the Yeoman Warders, also known as Beefeaters, whisk you back in time as they regale you with stories of the tower’s famous prisoners and resident ghosts.
No trip to London would be complete without stepping into the world-renowned British Museum. Housing a vast collection of world art and artefacts, the museum is an expansive time capsule that allows you to journey through the ages.
From ancient Egypt to the Roman Empire, from the glories of the Renaissance to the depths of the African continent, the museum offers a treasure trove of knowledge and discovery.
One of the key exhibits not to be missed is the Rosetta Stone, the invaluable key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs. Then there’s the grand Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon in Athens, the intricate Lewis Chessmen, and the massive bust of Ramesses II – each exhibit a testament to the craftsmanship and culture of its time.
As you wander through the museum’s grand halls, you’ll not only gain a deep appreciation for history but also an understanding of how our past continues to shape our present and future.
The next stop on our London tour is none other than the stunning Buckingham Palace – the official residence of the Queen and a symbol of the British monarchy’s continuity.
As soon as you see the impressive façade and the ornate golden gates, you’ll understand why it’s a must-see attraction.
The palace has 775 rooms filled with precious works of art and priceless antiques. Although these rooms aren’t all open to the public, a summer tour will let you explore the lavishly furnished State Rooms, which are used for official ceremonies and banquets.
But the real spectacle happens outside the palace – the Changing of the Guard. This colourful ceremony sees the Queen’s Guard in their iconic red tunics and bearskin hats handing over the duty of protecting the palace to the New Guard.
It’s a display of pageantry that encapsulates the pomp and ceremony of the British monarchy.
From history and heritage, we move to modern marvels, and no modern icon in London is more famous than the London Eye. Rising 135 meters above the River Thames, this giant Ferris wheel offers a bird’s eye view of the city that’s hard to beat.
As you step into one of the glass capsules and ascend into the sky, the sprawling city of London unfolds beneath you. The panorama includes landmarks like the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and on a clear day, you can even see as far as Windsor Castle!
The London Eye is more than just a ride; it’s an unforgettable experience that lets you see the city from a whole new perspective.
Immersed in culture and teeming with life, Covent Garden is a microcosm of London itself. Situated in the West End, it’s a place where shopping, dining, and entertainment come together in a joyous mix.
Whether you’re browsing designer boutiques, tasting cuisine from around the world at the many eateries, or just people-watching, there’s always something to see and do.
Street performers dot the piazza, adding a lively soundtrack to your visit, and the historic market building is a sight to behold.
Don’t forget to pop into the London Transport Museum located here. The museum, with its red double-decker buses and old underground trains, offers a delightful journey through the city’s transport history.
Covent Garden is a living, breathing, vibrant part of the city that offers an experience that is quintessentially London.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Rising majestically above the London skyline, the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral is a sight to behold.
This iconic structure, designed by the acclaimed architect Sir Christopher Wren, is a stunning example of English Baroque architecture. But the cathedral isn’t just about the eye-catching exterior – the inside is equally awe-inspiring.
Once you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the vast, ornately decorated interior, adorned with mosaics and sculptures. Take a moment to appreciate the beautiful artwork, including the Thornhill frescoes on the inner dome.
For the adventurous, a climb up to the Whispering Gallery offers a unique acoustic experience – whispers can be clearly heard from the other side of the dome.
And if you’re up for a little more exercise, continue climbing to the Stone and Golden Galleries for a stunning panoramic view of London.
Natural History Museum
If you’re a fan of nature, science, and history, the Natural History Museum in London is a dream come true.
It’s a grand institution dedicated to the natural world, housing more than 80 million items within five main collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology.
The museum’s exhibits are a feast for the senses. You can walk beneath the skeleton of a gigantic blue whale suspended in the Hintze Hall, examine the precious Hope Diamond in the Vault, or wander among dinosaurs in the Fossil Marine Reptiles gallery.
The museum is a testament to the incredible diversity and complexity of life on our planet, making it a must-visit for curious minds of all ages.
Markets of Camden Town
For a taste of the alternative and eclectic, the Camden Town markets are a must-visit. Famous for their diverse range of goods, from vintage clothes and handmade crafts to exotic foods, these markets offer a shopping experience like no other.
Wandering through the labyrinth of stalls in Camden Market, you’ll find everything from Goth clothing to bespoke jewellery, while food stalls serve up flavours from around the globe.
The Stables Market, set in a historic former horse hospital, offers a mix of antiques, clothing, and home decor shops interspersed with eateries and live music venues. Meanwhile, the Buck Street Market is an eco-conscious shopping destination focused on sustainability.
But Camden Town is more than its markets. It’s a centre of counter-culture, famous for its connection to punk music and its vibrant street art. It’s a place where creativity thrives, making it a lively and colourful corner of London to explore.
Hyde Park – an emerald oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, is one of London’s eight Royal Parks. It’s a sprawling haven of tranquility, where you can escape the city’s frenetic pace.
With over 350 acres of lush landscapes, the park is perfect for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or even a boat ride on the Serpentine Lake.
One of the park’s key attractions is the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, a unique water feature dedicated to the beloved princess.
The park is also home to the iconic Speaker’s Corner, a testament to the British belief in free speech. Whether you’re admiring the beautiful rose gardens or watching swans glide across the lake, Hyde Park provides a refreshing natural retreat within the city.
Next on our journey is Trafalgar Square, a public square that’s steeped in history and culture. Named after the Battle of Trafalgar, it’s a place of significant historical value and a hub for cultural activities.
At the centre of the square stands the impressive Nelson’s Column, guarded by four majestic lion statues.
Flanked by the world-class National Gallery and the elegant St. Martin-in-the-Fields church, Trafalgar Square is more than just a pretty space; it’s a place that celebrates art, heritage, and community. It’s where Londoners gather for public celebrations, demonstrations, and annual events like the Christmas tree lighting.
Another testament to the grandeur of the British monarchy, Kensington Palace, is an exquisite architectural gem. Nestled amidst the serene Kensington Gardens, the palace has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century.
While it’s currently the London home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, parts of the palace are open to the public. You can explore Queen Victoria’s childhood rooms, the King’s State Apartments with their baroque interiors, and the Sunken Garden, inspired by a 17th-century ornamental garden.
One of the highlights of the palace tour is the ‘Diana: Her Fashion Story’ exhibition, showcasing the style evolution of Diana, Princess of Wales. Kensington Palace is not just a glimpse into royal life; it’s a journey through the lives of its famous inhabitants.
Often likened to Times Square in New York, Piccadilly Circus is one of London’s most vibrant and lively areas. Known for its neon signs and the iconic Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain featuring the statue of Eros, Piccadilly Circus is a bustling junction that’s teeming with energy at all hours.
It’s a place where the city’s past and present collide. From the historic London Pavilion and Criterion Theatre to the modern shopping and entertainment venues, Piccadilly Circus offers a range of experiences. The area is surrounded by a myriad of shops, theatres, and restaurants, making it a hotspot for locals and tourists alike.
Whether you’re catching a show at the nearby West End, indulging in some retail therapy, or simply soaking up the area’s pulsating energy, Piccadilly Circus embodies the spirit of modern London.
As our journey concludes, it’s clear that London is not just a city; it’s a world in itself, brimming with history, culture, and endless fascination.
The London attractions we’ve explored – from royal palaces and awe-inspiring museums to vibrant markets and lush parks – merely scratch the surface of what the city has to offer.
These places to visit in London encapsulate the spirit of the city, making them the top things to do in London. Each attraction, each corner of the city, tells a story and creates an experience that is distinctly London.
So whether it’s your first visit or your tenth, whether you’re here for a weekend or a month, these tourist attractions are the best places to start your London adventure.