Places to Visit in London, England—Tourist Edition

Read about all the cool museums and sites to see in London. Many of the museums are free, great for backpackers/tourists on a budget!

I have compiled a list of things that I did and saw while in London! This post is mostly filled with the typical tourist locations since this is my first time in London. So until I visit again, I will be able to create for you guys a more local and less touristy edition for this blog.

1. Sky Garden

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Most people think that the best view you can get of London is from the Shard or the London Eye, but those can cost an arm and a leg to simply enter the elevator. However, Sky Garden provides a FREE experience of one of the best views London has to offer. Inside, their is a beautiful garden, a tea and pastries area, a bar, and a dining area. I recommend buying some pastries or a drink, relax, and enjoy the view.

Click here to book tickets.

Hours:

  • Monday–Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Weekends: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Cost:

  • Free

2. National History Museum

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The National History Museum is absolutely stunning, the architecture alone is amazing. But inside is just so interesting and fun, perfect for a family or an individual. I was surprised when I first went since I thought it would history like the Renaissance and British/European history. But it is actually more of a history of science museum. They feature drawings of new animals from explorers, fossils, animals, and a display about the human body. It is really an impressive museum and it is FREE as well, I could easily spend 4 hours just soaking in everything, but I know even then, that would still not be enough time.

I recommend visiting the Royal Albert Hall, the Science Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum since they are all in the same area. Especially if you are going through the tube. The South Kensington Station will have several routes that will take you to your desired destination.

Hours:

  • Open everyday (except Christmas Eve & Christmas): 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM

Cost:

  • Free.
  • Some charge for certain exhibitions.

3. London Bridge

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You can easily walk across the bridge and end up on the opposite side of the river. Butt that’s kind of boring, London Bridge actually offers where you can enter the top and stand on glass floors of the bridge. Allowing for a bird’s eye view from the top of the bridge.

However, if you happen to be in London during the holidays, they offer a Christmas market along the other side of the bridge.

4. Winter Wonderland/Christmas Markets

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PC: https://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/hyde-park-winter-wonderland

If you happen to travel during the holidays, I highly recommend going to one of the Christmas Markets. I don’t know why, but celebrating the holidays in Europe felt so surreal and special compared to Kansas City. Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is very famous and popular, the lights and rides there are spectacular, especially around the holiday season!

Cost:

  • Entrance is free.
  • Ice rink, Magical Ice Kingdom, Cinderella on Ice, Bar Hütte, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Beserk, Bar Ice, and The Sooty Christmas need to be PRE-BOOKED. 
  • Will need tokens for rides.

5. Covent Gardens

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Covent Gardens is a famous for busking, food, and shopping. Here, you will see a variety of entertainers performing music, dance, magic, and other talents.

Hours:

  • Open 24/7
  • Shops/Restaurants open usually between:
    • Monday – Saturday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
    • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
  • Apple Market: 10:10 AM – 6:00 PM
  • East Colonnade Market: 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM

Cost:

  • Free

6. Royal Albert Hall

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Drop by and see if you can buy a last minute ticket!

7. Oxford Street

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Oxford Street is a major shopping area in London where you can find things ranging from Louis Vuitton and Tommy Hilfiger to Uniqlo and Tory Burch. However, if shopping isn’t your thing or you can’t seem to fit anymore items into your already filled luggage, go and walk around. Especially during the holidays, it is absolutely stunning! If my Kansas City friends think that the Plaza lights are gorgeous, wait till you see the way they decorate the streets during the holidays!

8. Chinatown

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PC: Alex Lenati https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/chinatown-traders-issue-warning-over-future-amid-business-rates-rise-a3434256.html

If you’re like me and crave something along the lines of rice and noodles, visit Chinatown. It’s massive, adorned with the typical Chinatown gate. As soon as you enter Chinatown, you’ll see Asian bakeries filled with pastries, egg tarts, and rolled cakes. Or restaurants that smell like Peking duck, dim sum, and more.

Also, a tip for those that travel during the holidays, make sure you buy your groceries on major holidays. In London, they close the tubes and busses on Christmas Day and most restaurants are actually closed. So buy your food beforehand and if you’re like me and love ramen. Go and find an Asian supermarket to find some real ramen noodles, none of that Maruchan crap.

9. Buckingham Palace

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Well the chances of you seeing the Queen, soon-to-be Princess Meghan Markle, or any of the royal family members may be rare. But at least you can visit knowing you’re breathing the same air as royalty! I visited the palace thinking I could at least see the guards and attempt to make them laugh, however they were not on duty. So if you want to see the changing of the guards and all that make sure to check

But I will admit to see the changing of the guards, it will be very busy because of the tourists. For me, since I have seen the changing of guards in other countries, it does not really phase me all that much.

Hours:

  • Changing the Guard:
    • Daily (during the summer), but subject to change due to major events and bad weather.
      • Guards and band arrive at 11:15 AM, changing of the guard ceremony is done by 12:00 PM.

10. Big Ben

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Big Ben is one of the main monuments that can be associated with London. It’s big and the center of London. However, as of December 2017, it is under construction and it is difficult to see anything since it’s covered by scaffolding. It is still a cool site to see and if you’re looking for cool photo opportunities, there are so many of the coveted red phone booths lined along the way to Big Ben.

11. Westminister Abbey

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PC: https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryMagazine/DestinationsUK/Westminster-Abbey/

Westminster Abbey is a 700 year old, large, Gothic abbey church in London. This abbey is holds coronations, burial sites, and weddings of British monarch.

Click here for entry times and to buy tickets online.

12. Leicester Square

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PC: Love London https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXvB4NJaniU

Leicester Square is located in the West End of London. Several major theatres are established in Leicester Square making it a huge center for entertainment. Many celebrities have had movie premiers at Leicester Square.

13. Camden Lock

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Camden Lock is definitely one of the funky parts of London. It has a very steamboat punk with hipster vibes. It has a ton of food stalls, shops, knick-knacks, and more. It is quite a distance from the city, bu definitely worth a visit! You will not be able to find the unique style and vibe that Camden Market has anywhere else in the world.

Hours:

  • Every day: 10 AM – Late

Cost:

  • Free

14. Tower of London

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PC: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/travel/article/the-smart-guide-visit-tower-of-london/

The Tower of London is a historic castle and fortress in central London.

Hours:

  • Tuesday – Saturday: 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Sunday – Monday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM

Cost:

  • Adults: (16+): 22.70 Euros
  • Child (5 – 15): 10.75 Euros
  • Members: Free

15. British Museum

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The British Museum is a museum dedicated to human history, art, and culture. The permanent collection reaches to approximately 8 million pieces of work, the largest and most comprehensive in the world. Many of these works are from all over the world, illustrating and documenting the history of humans from the beginning to the present-day.

Hours:

  • Galleries:
    • Saturday-Thursday: 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM
    • Fridays: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
  • Great Court:
    • Saturday-Thursday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
    • Fridays: 9:00 AM – 8:30 PM

Cost:

  • Free

16. Trafalgar Square

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PC: http://londonairportransfers.com/trafalgar-square-the-heart-of-london/

17. National Gallery of London

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PC: https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/

The National Gallery of London is located in Trafalgar Square and holds over 2,300 paintings ranging from the 13th century to the 1900s.

Hours:

  • Saturday – Thursday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM

Cost:

  • Free

18. Tate Modern, London

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The Tate Modern is one of the largest modern and contemporary museum in the world. The Tate holds the national collection of British art from the 1500s to the present day.

Hours:

  • Daily: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Cost:

  • Free

19. London King’s Cross Station

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Take a train ride at King’s Cross Station and visit a new city like, Bath, Cambridge, Bristol, Cardiff, and more. Or just drop by to take a picture at the platform of 9 and 10, so you can onto the Hogwarts Express. Pictures are free, but professionals are available to take your picture with a scarf in your house colors. Which can be purchased at the Harry Potter shop next door.

Photographers:

  • Daily: 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM

20. Millennium Bridge

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PC: http://www.walklondon.com/london-attractions/millennium-footbridge.htm

Millennium Bridge is a steel suspension bridge over the River Thames linking Bankside to the city of London. On the southern end of the bridge, you can visit the Globe Theatre, Bankside Gallery, and the Tate Modern.

 

 

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