Are you on the hunt for somewhere fun to have a truly epic travel?
Consider a trip to the nation’s capital!
London is the world’s most exciting city. It is also the most visited city in the world, and there is a tangible and vibrant bustle about the place. It has absolutely everything you can think of with stunning architecture, iconic landmarks, the best nightlife scene and more green space than any other European city.
Whatever it is you want, London has it for you. From street art to cultural festivals to comedy nights, from boat cruises to street food, produce, vintage… there’s something for everyone!
Here is a list of 25 things you can do in London this weekend.
1. Take in spectacular views of the city from the London Eye
The Coca Cola London Eye is a massive ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames. It is one of the most iconic landmarks in London, and the UK’s most popular paid-for attraction.
A trip on the eye will provide the most spectacular views of the vast city of London. If you don’t recognise a building or want to know what a particular building is, simply zoom in and you’ll not only get the name but a concise description of it. It’s romantic when it’s just the two of you and even more special when you share the experience with your children. It is an absolute ‘must’ whilst visiting London.
2. Visit the magnificent home to the Queen
Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the Queen of England. It has been the official London residence of Britain’s monarchy since 1837. It is an amazing place filled with centuries of history. Beautiful parks. Incredible paintings and portraits.
The Palace has around 600 rooms, including 19 State rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 78 bathrooms, 92 offices, a cinema and a swimming pool. It also has its own post office and police station.
You get to tour the non residential parts of the Palace and the state rooms are opulent and truly magnificent. There is a self-paced audio tour which takes you through each of the rooms and provides information about the history and purpose of each room. Pictures aren’t allowed inside so you really have to visit it yourself to enjoy.
The Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place in the palace’s forecourt each morning at 11.30 a.m.
3. Take in 1000 years of history at the Tower of London
The 900-year-old Tower is a truly medieval castle that is absolutely steeped in history. It is one of the country’s finest historical attractions and is currently open to the public as a museum. It has played different roles in British History, but is perhaps better known as a prison for people suspected of treason or religious beliefs. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat.
The white tower houses the stunning Crown Jewels which is an invaluable collection of diamonds, crowns, tiaras and sceptres. Arrive early to get a glimpse of the jewels, because later in the day the queues grow to humongous proportions.
The Tower of London is a must at least once in a lifetime. If you can, take the one hour Yeoman Warder tour. It’s free and is a great way to start your visit. It’s almost as if some of the guides knew Henry VIII personally. You’ll enjoy the stunning medieval scenery, and there are impressive interactive displays and games for children with knights dressed up defending the castle which the kids will really enjoy.
4. Take selfies with the world’s most famous faces at Madame Tussauds
Situated on Marylebone Road, Madam Tussauds is almost next door to Baker Street Station, approximately a 20 minute walk on the same road to Euston Station; it is easily accessible on foot or on public transport.
If you think Madame Tussauds is just a collection of wax models of celebrities, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover it to be so much more. Be prepared to be wowed for 3 hours. The life-like and life-sized wax statues are created with great precission and the resemblence to the real thing is simply stunning! Just make sure you take your camera with you and be prepared to take lots of pictures.
You can try your hand at solving a Sherlock Holmes mystery which is a lot of fun, as is the amazing 4D cinema at the end. Be sure to book online and print the ticket online. You will save a lot of time by doing this otherwise you may find yourself having to queue outside for up to 3 hours. There are lots of special offers and deals online.
5. Get spectacular panoramic views over the River Thames.
Tower Bridge is one of London’s most iconic landmarks with a unique glass floor walkway that provides spectacular panoramic views over the River Thames. The bridge first opened in 1894, took 8 years to build and has become one of the world’s most recognised icons, virtually synonymous with London. At the time it was completed, it was the largest and most-sophisticated bascule bridge ever built.
You’re definitely better off touring Tower Bridge without a guide. This will allow you to take your time exploring the glass floor walkway without being rushed. You can look straight down on passing boats and pedestrians river 42 metres below and even catch the bascules rising if your timing is right. If you’re worried about safety, there’s no need to be. The glass is made up of five thick layers and can hold the equivalent weight of an elephant and two taxis.
The Tower Bridge Exhibition allows you to discover the history of the Bridge and how it was built, through interactive displays and videos. There’s always staff on hand to answer any questions you may have, and you can rent an audioguide if necessary.
6. Discover exceptional stories of people whose lives have been forever impacted by war.
The Imperial War Museum is probably the world’s best war museum showcasing unique artifacts from all conflicts in which British or Commonwealth forces have been involved since 1914. Along with creative presentations and interactive attractions, it engages you successfully and provides deep insights into this dark period in history. The WW1 and Holocaust exhibits are particularly poignant, although the holocaust exhibits are not for under 14’s.
And the biggest bonus, is it is completely free!
7. Explore the seat of democracy in the UK
The Houses of Parliament is one of the world’s most iconic buildings. It is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It houses over 1,000 years of history, modern day politics, stunning art and architecture.
8. Take in panoramic views of London at The View from The Shard
The architecture all throughout London is beautiful, and this is no different. The View from The Shard is based in London’s tallest skyscraper and it is a fantastic place to view the skyline and sunset over London. On a clear day, these sublime views stretch as far as 40 miles away. It is a unique and unforgettable experience.
With awesome 360 degree views of London, you get to see many of London’s sights and landmarks from a single place, with photo opportunities of the breathtaking views at every corner through the large, clean panels of glass. At £25 per person it is a little pricey, but you can save £5 by booking your ticket in advance.
With friendly and helpful staff, the customer service is excellent, and you can also get awesome memorabilia such as postcards, toys and souvenirs at the shop located at the base of the shard.
9. Discover a thrilling and entertaining experience for the entire family.
The London Dungeon recreates the creepiest characters in London history in various gory and macabre historical events. Everything is done in a gallows humour style. The entire experience is actor-led and interactive, and you’ll appreciate the effort that is put into designing the various acts. Its prefect for older children as well as adults.
The story telling takes you through London’s worst and most gruesome times in history in a fun and entertaining manner. The actors give highly energetic performances that will make you feel like you’ve gone back in time.
You are not allowed to take pictures, although you can buy pictures £15-£20. You get a drink included in the ticket but remember to bring your passport if you hope to get a beer.
10. Chill out at the Horniman Museum and Gardens
The Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill is a free museum with extensive displays of anthropology, natural history and a collection of around 1,600 musical instruments. There’s also an aquarium and a permanent gallery dedicated to African, Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian art.
The museum aims to entertain as well to educate, and is well-known for its awesome collection of stuffed animals that is incredibly appealing to children of all ages. There’s also a butterfly house, beautiful gardens with a lovely music garden and petting zoo.
There’s also a nice cafe that offers a variety of hot and cold beverages and meals. The butterfly house is well worth spending a little extra on.
11. Go behind the scenes with a tour of the UK’s biggest football stadium.
If you want to have a good idea of what its like to be a football star, take the 75-minute Wembley Stadium Tour for Two, which revisits the stadium’s golden moments from the 1920s to the present.
Wembley Stadium is the most iconic football stadium in the world, and the tour is hosted by knowledgeable and highly enthusiastic guides. The atmosphere is great, the crew there is super helpful and friendly. There are also plenty of clean and well-maintained toilets and food and drink stalls.
As part of the tour, you can check out the England changing rooms and sit in the seat used by the England manager for press conferences.
12. Do something sporting at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is one of London’s newest parks, originally built for the 2012 Summer Olympics. It is quite simply the best park in London. Full of wildlife, fountains, expansive gardens and sophisticated skyscrapers, the park is the ideal location for a fun and peaceful family day out.
It is excellent for walking, cycling, swimming, long boarding and scooting, and there are acres of space to roam ranging from the inspiring to the mundane. The swimming arena is open to the public so it’s worth checking out the Olympic pool – it’s a real beauty.
There’s so much to do for the children, and the playground and water fountains can become quite busy during weekends and schools holidays. However the space is so vast it’s easy to find a nice spot to have a picnic. It is fabulously well-maintained and the olympic history around the park is very evident.
The park is easily accessible by tube or bike, not so good by car. Be sure to check out the website to find out about regular and one-off events, as there’s lots of free stuff to get involved with. There is great wheelchair access and good seating too.
13. Indulge in some retail therapy at Westfield Stratford City.
Westfield Stratford City is a vast and accommodating high end shopping centre. It is the largest shopping mall in Europe, with easy transport links including Stratford underground and bus station. The Olympic park is also within walking distance.
If you are looking for a shopping location with all the shops you require under one roof, slightly lower prices and less crowded than Oxford Street, look to Westfield. This mall has an amazing array of stores ranging from small, niche stores to big brands that will satisfy any discerning shopaholic. There’s also massage parlours and a Mercedes showroom where you can try your hand at the F1 simulator.
The mall is accessible, spacious, well-maintained and well spaced out so it is not too suffocating when it gets really busy at weekends and school holidays. There are kids parks, toilets, baby changing, cash machines and parking.
The mall also has an excellent cinema hall and a food court with all kinds of fast foods and restaurants from various countries. Small bites, snacks, full meals and deserts. Pretzels, bagels and homemade sweets.
14. Meet cute and delightful creatures at Spitalfields City Farm.
If you love animals, you’ll love Spitalfields. It is a hidden gem and a lovely destination for the entire family. It provides a taste of the countryside in central London with lots of green space and cute animals when you’re visiting a city like London.
You can spend time by gardening, feeding the animals or can enjoy a picnic. There is a small cafe inside and it is free to visit. Animals include donkeys, chickens, goats, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs and awesome pigs. There’s also a nice little park and tree house, a cafe and picnic area.
15. Dine Out at KERB Camden Market.
Kerb Camden market is an amazing food market in London inspired from all different continents around the world, and it’s open seven days week. With 35 stalls set up, you’re sure to find something you’d like. There’s an awesome selection of eclectic street food and drink options that are fairly reasonably priced for street food, with new stalls added regularly.
Some of London’s best food stalls can be found here and you’ll be spolt for choice. You’ll love the vibrant atmosphere and will find it hard to resist those amazing smells and delicious looking dishes. It gets very busy, but is totally worth it. The food is incredible.
16. Get ready to laugh your pants off with Bullshit London.
Bullshit London was rated by Timeout magazine as one of the top 101 things to do in London, so you just know it is something worth checking out, especially if you’re visiting London for the very first time.
The guides are extremely funny and friendly, and this is a cool way to spend a couple of hours taking in the sights of London. The tour’s concept is unique and hilarious, and take everything you hear with a pinch of salt.
17. Catch the latest movie under the stars.
London has a vibrant outdoor cinema season that runs from late spring until the autumn, with more and more screens popping up in different venues across the city. There’s nothing better than watching the latest movie along the River Thames under the stars on a giant screen with that special person or with a group of friends. You’ll love it!
18. Check out the pelicans at St. James’ Park.
St. James Park is a 23-hectare park in the City of Westminster, central London. It has a nice, tranquil and environmental feel and is home to various species of wildfowl, squirrels, birds, ducks and pelicans which are truly fascinating creatures. The pelicans have been kept there since the 17th century, when the Russian ambassador donated several of the birds to Charles II.
You can watch the pelicans being fed between 2.30pm and 3pm daily, though they have been known to dine on the occasional pigeon at various times of the day. St. James’s Park is not as large as Hyde Park but it is probably the most beautiful park in London at any time of the year.
19. Check out the exotic inhabitants of London Zoo
London Zoo located at Regents Park is the world’s oldest scientific zoo that opened to the public in 1847. With 698 species of animals, most of the animals you’d expect to see are there including gorillas, Sumatran tigers and Asiatic lions. You’ll need a whole day to see everything there is to see. You can take pictures, so don’t forget your camera.
There are lots of scheduled events throughout the day from animal feeding to learning about the animals up close with the passionate and knowledgeable keepers and volunteers who are always happy to answer any questions you may have. Note that the animals are a bit more active in cooler temperatures, so you might not get full value if you choose to visit on a very hot day.
It is quite expensive though, and buying your ticket online can definitely save you a bit of money. If you’re an animal lover and plan to visit a few times a year, you can save money by becoming a member. Also, note that you’ll need to book the “meet the animals” in advance, as you cannot book this on the day.
You’re advised to take a picnic with you because the food is quite expensive. For example, a can of pop is £1.85, burgers are £8.50 and a plate of fish and chips is £10.00. However, its worth noting that nmost of the money goes back into the welfare of the animals.
There are lots of activities and hands on things for children to do, and younger visitors (ages 7-11) can stay overnight in the zoo’s bug house thanks to the Bedbugs Sleepovers. Adults can also book their own sleepover adventure.
20. Listen to some cool jazz at world class Ronnie Scotts.
Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Bar is the mythical jazz bar in London established in 1959 by British saxophonist Ronnie Scott where you can listen to quality and diverse jazz music, up till 3 am every night. Based in Soho, it made its name as the first club to host American jazz musicians in the UK. All the jazz legends have played there, from Miles Davis and Count Basie to Nina Simone.
As well as welcoming the biggest names on the jazz scene, Ronnie Scott’s provides an awesome platform for up and coming artists. With a capacity of just over 200 people, the place is a very relaxed with a classic feel to it. It has an intimate setting with a unique bar layout and pretty great food as well. Because of the size of the venue, you have an excellent view wherever you seat.
Apart from the main venue, which is often quickly fully booked, the upstairs bar has a great atmosphere and provides a great platform for up and coming artists. Each performance really feels like watching someone playing to you in your living room.
The food is good quality and reasonably priced. If you plan on visiting on a more or less regular basis, you can become a registered member and enjoy advance booking on all performances.
21. Hunt for bargains at Bermondsey Square Antiques Market.
Bermondsey Market is a versatile open air antiques market located at Bermondsey Square on Tower Bridge Road. There’s an extensive range of items from cutlery to furniture and china to jewellery at reasonable prices. To get the best bargains, endeavour to get there as early as possible.
Bermondsey Square’s antiques market is open every Friday morning from 4am to 1pm. There’s also a good choice of restaurants and bars within the area.
It’s always relatively quiet compared to other London markets, yet you are more likely to discover something unique and interesting than other markets. The sellers themselves are friendly and knowledgeable about they are selling. They’re always happy to provide honest advice about what you’re looking at.
22. Discover something unique at Old Spitalfields Market
Old Spitalfields Market is a colourful and cosmopolitan market at the heart of East London with various stalls from quirky handmade fashion, handcraft, artwork, books and jewellery at bargain prices. It has a cool, artistic vibe and a diverse variety of interesting and unique products on sale including vintage clothing and all kinds of accessories. It is located just about 10 minutes walk from the Liverpool Street Underground station, and is a viable alternative to Covent Garden market, with more reasonable prices.
There’s a great mix of luxury brand outlets, a choice of chain eateries, ‘street food’ stalls ranging from Ethiopian to Indian, as well as local staples. There’s also lots of vegan and vegetarian options. There are different stalls during the week, and some days are tailored to specific themes.
The best time to grab lunch is from 11:00 to 14:00, although some stalls get really busy during peak lunch times so you can expect to experience some wait time. Sunday is the best shopping day although it is open from Thursday.
23. Walk among the dinosaurs at the National History Museum
Get ready to be blown away by the brilliant Natural History Museum in London. It is the ultimate education/entertainment attraction for anything prehistoric. The museum exhibits an incredible collection of specimens from different segments of natural history. These include dinosaurs, animals, underwater creatures, plants and everything relating to nature. It is great for both adults and children.
You can visit any time of the year, and you’ll be in awe every single time you walk through the front doors into the magnificent entry hall. The architecture is absolutely breathtaking with impossibly stunning brickwork and staircases. There is so much to see with the dinosaur collection being the biggest hit. They also provide a vast amount of interactive learning facilities, activities and exhibits that will keep you entertained for an entire day.
If you love museums, you’ll be visiting the Natural History Museum quite frequently because you’ll never have enough time to absorb everything on offer. If this is the case, you’re better off becoming a registered member which will allow you free entry to the exhibitions and skip the never ending queues. There’s also plenty of places to eat at reasonable prices although there is a picnic area downstairs.
24. Explore London’s vibrant and fabulous nightlife scene.
London is famous for its awesome nightlife from the state-of-the-art theatres, pubs, winebars and nightclubs across the West End to the quirky and unortodox Camden scene, or a stylish and chic night out in Shoreditch in the East.
The vibrant nightlife scene caters for all manner of tastes. The cosmopolitan nature of the city provides a diverse variety of exotic options in almost every borough. There’s also an abundance of bars and pubs located on every street.
If you have an interest in theatre, you may want to check out an all-singing, all-dancing, award-winning West End show such as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s epic ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, Cameron Mackintosh’s ‘Les Miserables’ and the RSC’s ‘Matilda the Musical’.
If all night clubbing is your thing, London has it all, with internationally renowned institutions like Ministry of Sound and Fabric among the biggest dance music brands in the world.
25. Catch a ride over the Thames in the UK’s first urban cable car.
The Emirates Air Line is a cable car link that allows you to experience views of London from a unique perspective. You’ll see some of the capital’s most iconic buildings in ways that you’ve never seen them before.