London is one of the most iconic and exciting cities in the world. As the capital of England and the United Kingdom, London offers endless things to see and do for tourists. From world-famous attractions like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, to cutting-edge art galleries and a lively foodie scene, London has something for everyone.

Use this comprehensive London city guide to help you plan the perfect trip! We’ll cover the best things to do in London, getting around the city, where to stay, and tips for making the most of your visit.

The sights and sounds of London immediately transport you to one of the great cities of the world. Double-decker buses zoom past historic buildings as the bells of Big Ben chime in the background. World-class museums display priceless artifacts and famous works of art. London’s neighborhoods each have their own unique vibe, from posh Mayfair to eclectic Camden Town.

London is a city that seamlessly blends old and new. Medieval palaces and Victorian landmarks stand alongside modern skyscrapers. Centuries-old pubs pour pints next to trendy cocktail lounges. In London, the past is always present.

This London city guide will give you everything you need to know to plan your perfect trip. We’ll cover the top things to do, getting around, accommodation, and insider tips for visiting London like a local. Whether it’s your first time in London or you’re coming back for more, use this guide to make the most of your visit!

Things to Do in London

London is packed full of famous attractions and hidden gems. From royal palaces to cutting-edge galleries, you could spend weeks exploring London’s top sights. Here are some of the best things to do in London to add to your itinerary:

Top London Attractions

No trip to London is complete without visiting some of its most iconic landmarks. Here are the top attractions you won’t want to miss:

  • Buckingham Palace – The London home of the British monarchy, featuring the famous Changing of the Guard ceremony.
  • Tower of London – A historic castle filled with crown jewels and Beefeater tours.
  • Westminster Abbey – This impressive Gothic abbey has hosted royal weddings and coronations for centuries.
  • Big Ben and Parliament – The towering clock tower sits next to the British houses of Parliament.
  • The British Museum – One of the largest museums in the world, home to artifacts like the Rosetta Stone and Egyptian mummies.
  • The London Eye – Take a spin on this giant Ferris wheel for panoramic city views from above.

Top London Museums

Beyond the British Museum, London is filled with acclaimed museums and galleries you won’t want to miss. Top museums include:

  • Natural History Museum – Check out animatronic dinosaurs and an incredible collection of natural specimens.
  • Victoria and Albert Museum – This museum houses an outstanding collection of decorative arts.
  • Tate Modern – See iconic modern artworks at this world-famous contemporary art gallery.
  • Science Museum – Interactive science and technology exhibits bring concepts to life.
  • National Gallery – Gaze at European masterpieces from Van Gogh, da Vinci, and more.

Lesser-Known London Attractions

In addition to the most popular sights, make sure to check out some of London’s hidden gems, like:

  • Sky Garden – Get 360-degree city views from this free observation deck.
  • HMS Belfast – Explore this WWII-era battleship docked on the Thames River.
  • Camden Market – Shop for funky fashion, vintage wares, and street food in this iconic market.
  • Dennis Severs’ House – Step back in time at this unique house museum recreating past eras.
  • Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum – Check out tennis history and try your hand at interactive exhibits.

London Activities by Interest

With so much to do in London, it helps to narrow down the options by your interests. Top activities in London by interest include:

For History Buffs:

  • Westminster Abbey
  • Tower of London
  • Churchill War Rooms
  • Kensington Palace

For Art Lovers:

  • Tate Modern
  • National Gallery
  • British Museum
  • Saatchi Gallery

For Families:

  • London Zoo
  • Sea Life London Aquarium
  • London Eye
  • Madame Tussauds

For Theatergoers:

  • West End musicals
  • Shakespeare’s Globe
  • Royal Opera House
  • Theaters around Leicester Square

For Foodies:

  • Borough Market
  • Camden Market
  • Brixton Market
  • Food tours

For Royal Fans:

  • Buckingham Palace
  • Kensington Palace
  • Changing of the Guard
  • Afternoon tea

With so many incredible things to do, you’ll want to spend at least 3-5 days exploring London’s top attractions and hidden gems. Use this London guide to start planning your sightseeing itinerary.

Getting Around London

London offers efficient public transportation making it easy to get around. Here are the best ways to get around London:

The London Underground

The London Underground, known as “the tube,” is the fastest and easiest way to travel across London. With 11 color-coded lines and 270 stations, you can get just about anywhere via the Underground. Buy an Oyster card or contactless payment card to tap in and out at stations. You can purchase 1-Day Travelcards for unlimited rides. The tube runs approximately 5am to midnight.

Key tube lines for visitors include:

  • Piccadilly Line – Connects Heathrow Airport and central London stops like Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus
  • Central Line – Runs east-west with stops at Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, and more
  • Victoria Line – Connects main stations like Victoria, Oxford Circus, and King’s Cross St Pancras
  • Jubilee Line – Hits must-see stops like Westminster, London Bridge, and Waterloo

London Buses

London’s iconic red double-decker buses are another great transportation option. With over 700 routes, buses can often get you closer to attractions than the Underground. Purchase tickets from the driver or use your Oyster card. Popular bus routes include the #15 from Trafalgar Square to the Tower of London and the #11 from Victoria Station to Westminster Abbey.

London Overground

The London Overground is an above-ground rail network connecting outer London neighborhoods. Key routes include the East London Line connecting Shoreditch to South London and the North London Line from Richmond to Stratford. You can use your Oyster card or buy tickets at stations.

Taxis and Rideshares

London’s famous black cabs are available for hire across the city. You can also use rideshare apps like Uber. While pricier than public transit, taxis are useful for shorter direct trips and travel after the tube stops running. Just beware of getting stuck in traffic.

The Emirates Air Line

For a unique views of London, go for a ride on the Emirates Air Line cable car across the Thames River between the Greenwich Peninsula and Royal Docks. You can use your Oyster card or buy tickets at the terminal.

London’s comprehensive public transportation makes navigating the city a breeze. The tube, buses, and rail networks can efficiently whisk you to every corner of London.

Where to Stay in London

With so many accommodation options, choosing where to stay in London can be overwhelming. Here are some top neighborhoods and tips for booking your London hotel:

Top London Neighborhoods

Westminster – Stay steps from Big Ben and Westminster Abbey while centrally located near top attractions.

Kensington – Find refined hotels in this upscale residential area near Hyde Park and the Natural History Museum.

Covent Garden – Immerse yourself in this lively central neighborhood filled with shops, restaurants, and entertainment.

Shoreditch – East London’s hipster/arts district features trendy boutique hotels near great nightlife.

South Kensington – Close to the V&A Museum, this area offers great value lodging with good tube access.

King’s Cross – Revitalized area with budget-friendly hotels near St Pancras International Station.

London Hotel Tips

  • Book early – Reserve rooms 3-6 months in advance for the best rates and availability.
  • Prioritize location – Pick accommodations near the tube or key attractions you want to visit.
  • Consider apartments – Apartment rentals can be cheaper than hotels for longer stays.
  • Check for deals – Look for discounted rates and packages available through hotel websites.
  • Splurge for luxury – For a special experience, book a stay at an iconic luxury hotel like The Ritz or Mandarin Oriental.

No matter your budget or lodging style, London has accommodation options across its diverse neighborhoods. Book early to secure the perfect place to stay during your London trip.

Tips for Visiting London

Use these London travel tips to make the most of your trip:

  • Avoid lines – Book timed entry tickets for top attractions like the London Eye in advance to skip long queues.
  • Pack layers – London weather changes often, so dress in layers and bring a lightweight jacket.
  • Try afternoon tea – Indulge in this classic British tradition at spots like The Wolseley or Fortnum & Mason.
  • Explore markets – For gifts, food, and fun, browse popular markets like Camden, Borough, and Portobello Road.
  • Walk or bike – London is very walkable and Santander Cycles bike rentals make getting around easy.
  • See a show – Catch a West End musical or play at Shakespeare’s Globe for a memorable night out.
  • Try pub grub – Grab fish and chips, bangers and mash, or a Sunday roast at a local London pub.
  • Use public transit – Navigate London like a local by taking the tube, buses, and rail instead of taxis.
  • Ask for help – Don’t be shy to ask for directions or recommendations from friendly Londoners.

With this London city guide in hand, you’re ready to explore this amazing city like a local. From world-famous attractions to hidden neighborhood gems, London offers endless things to see and do. Use these tips and recommendations to plan your perfect London trip itinerary.

The sights of London are calling your name. Have an amazing time visiting this incredible city! What London activities are you most excited for?