London, the capital city of the United Kingdom is one of the fastest developing cities in Europe. The city has a very rich and colorful history, therefore it has a lot to offer for its visitors! If you’re looking for the best things to see in London, cool things to see in London, or even free things to do in London, we’ve got you covered! If you’re interested in architecture things to do in London, things to see in London in 1 day, or even the best things to do in London in 2 days, with this list, you can fill your itinerary! There are obviously many more than 13 things to see in London, but at this time, we’ll be concentrating on those places that must be added to your bucket list!
13 best things to see in in London and the best free things to do in London
See some unique things to do in London, and unique things to see in London, and also check our 2 day London itinerary for some ideas with a planned route! Also, we’ve got you covered if you’re looking for day trips from London, and some other destinations in England, such as Cambridge, East Grinstead, Colchester, and more!
When to visit London?
As you may already know, the British weather is really sassy. While I’m writing this, 10 minutes ago it was a storm, and this second the sun is shining and the sky is clear. By the time I’m going to finish writing, the storm/sunny weather will change at least 4 times (we are in May). There’s no perfect time to visit London. It really depends on what you’re expecting to do. If there are many things to see in London on your list, or you’re looking for unique things to see in London that requires dry weather, you should definitely consider the May-September period!
London is always busy. When I first visited the city, it was January, and the weather was perfect for sightseeing. Since I live here, I did learn a few things. October-November tends to be the rainiest month of the year. It’s raining almost all the time. If you want to enjoy a bit warmer walks, definitely try to visit in the summer – however, it’s high season! The summers in England are chilly, but as long as the sun is out, it’s really enjoyable. So if you’re looking for the best things to do in London in 2 days, and you don’t want to risk being caught by a shower over and over again!
How to get around in London?
The fastest and most popular choice if you want to get around in London is the underground. London traffic is a disaster, and if you’ve got things to see in London in 1 day or you have a list of the best things to see in London in 2 days, you’ll want to take the underground (subway, metro)! The other option, which allows you to see the city while getting around in London is the double-decker bus. The double-deckers are the icons of London, and England as usual, so at least one ride is a must!
If you’re looking for things to see in London, and specifically free things to do in London, you’ll have to do some routes, since not everything is in Central London. You can purchase tickets as soon as you enter the underground in the machines set up there. Or, you can also pay with your credit/debit card on board the double-deckers, but also to enter the Underground. Using your card to pay for rides is cheaper if you’re in London for just a few hours and you’re using the underground many times. Now, let’s dive into those 13 unique things to do in London!
Best things to do in London
#1 The Buckingham Palace
I think we should start with the royal family’s residence, shall we? When you are looking for things to see in London, the things to see in London in 1 day, the best things to do in London in 2 days, but usually places for your London bucket list, the Buckingham Palace should be on top of the list!
This stunning neoclassical architecture is the home of British royalty. It’s situated in the heart of London, in the City of Westminster. The palace was originally built for the Prince of Buckingham in 1703. As Buckingham Palace became the residence of the royal family in the 19th century, the building was enlarged for the court. Buckingham Palace is one of the best free things to do in London if you’re looking to see just the outside.
What to do at Buckingham Palace?
If you’re not planning to go inside Buckingham Palace here are the things you can do! First, on the square in front of Buckingham Palace, you’ll find the Victoria Memorial. which was made in honor of Queen Victoria.
Then, if you’re looking for interesting things to see in London, and things for kids to see in London, do not miss the Guard Mounting! This is a spectacular thing that you can see at the palace every day! If you want to see the Guard Mounting, make sure to arrive by 10:45 am!
Around the palace, you’ll find 3 parks, that are great for a nice walk in the heart of the city. These are the Buckingham gardens, the Green Park, and St.James’s Park.
One of the top must-see places in London!
You’re looking to see the home of the queen from the inside? You have the possibility to do so! The ticket for adults will cost £24.00 and you can book your ticket here. When you’re visiting Buckingham Palace, you’ll see the State Rooms that were used for receiving guests and official visitors. You’ll also see the throne room and the Grand staircase. There is also an exhibition of Royal Collections of fine arts that includes pieces of Rembrandt and Canaletto.
#2 Westminster Abbey
best things to do in London in 2 days
The magnificent Westminster Abbey is a mainly Gothic church, located in the City of Westminster. If you’re in search for things to see in London in 1 day, the best things to see in London in 2 days, architecture things to do in London, well the Westminster Abbey is a must!
Westminster Abbey is one of the United Kingdom’s most important religious buildings. It’s the traditional place of coronation and burial site for British monarchs. The building itself was a Benedictine monastic church until the monastery was dissolved in 1539. The building since 1560 has the status of a Church of England, a Royal Peculiar—a church responsible directly to the sovereign.
Since the coronation of William, the Conqueror in 1066, all coronations of English and British monarchs, at least 16 royal weddings, and many more events were organized in Westminster Abbey,
If you have just one day in London, you might not be able to fit in a visit inside, but if you’re looking for the best things to do in London in 2 days, you should definitely visit the Westminster Abbey inside! The ticket will cost you £20.00. You can book your ticket online so you don’t have to worry about queues.
#3 The Shard, London
If you’re looking for cool things to see in London, or interesting things to see in London, but also unique things to see in London, and architecture things to do in London, well the Shard is a must! The Shard is a 309.7 meter (95 stories) tall skyscraper designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. It’s the tallest building in the United Kingdom, also the tallest building in the European Union. We are not done, as the Shard is also the 5th tallest building in Europe!
On floor 31, 32, and 33 of the Shard, you can find restaurants and bars, which offer great drinks, and delicious dishes served near a breathtaking panorama to the city of London. If you’re looking for the best things to see in London in 2 days, well, a drink or a meal in the Shard is a must!
It’s definitely not a low-budget place to go! You also can’t really enter in gym clothes or flip-flops. Smart casual or casual, cocktails are the accepted dress codes, ladies and gentlemen! In case if you’d like to have a drink or eat here, to avoid the inconvenience, really pay attention to this!
In my philosophy, everyone deserves at least once in their lifetime to experience something elegant and beautiful like this! So, if you’re planning to visit London, and you want to add a luxurious experience to your trip, definitely get yourself a table in the Shard.
I’ve personally been at the bar Aqua Shard. We came with my friend for just a drink, as I wanted to catch the Tower Bridge before sunset. It was definitely a highlight of my first trip to London, and I did go back since. Just to have an idea on prices in the Shard, the glass of Pino Grigio I had was £11.00.
Tip: If you’re planning to stop by in the Shard, to make sure you’re getting a table near the window for the best view, book your table in advance!
#4 Tower Bridge
For those looking for cool things to see in London, or interesting things to see in London, but also things for kids to see in London, we’ve got you an idea! Here’s another gem of London, the emblematic Tower Bridge. If you manage to get there when the road is lifted, that’s really spectacular, though it happens rarely.
The Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge, built between 1886 and 1894. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and also the Shard. Just as looking at it, it’s no question why it became an iconic symbol of the city.
It consists of two bridge towers tied together at the upper level by two horizontal walkways, designed to withstand the horizontal tension forces exerted by the suspended sections of the bridge on the landward sides of the towers. One of the most spectacular architecture things to do in London is definitely to visit the Tower of London!
Tower Bridge is one of the must-see places in London!
If you’re looking for free things to do in London, you can walk over the Tower Bridge to enjoy the view and the beauty of this stunning masterpiece. However, if you wish to see the Tower Bridge Exhibition you’ll need to buy a ticket for it. The prices are normally £9.80 but you can find discounts. If you’re looking for things to see in London in 1 day, crossing the bridge is a great itinerary plan, but if you’ve got more than one day, definitely consider visiting the exhibition too!
#5 Hyde Park
The most spacious and beautiful park right in the heart of London! Hyde Park is actually it is the largest Royal Park in the capital. If you’re looking for the best things to see in London in 2 days, and things for kids to see in London, but also free things to do in London, the Hyde Park is a must!
There are many events are organized in the park, such as concerts, family events, and marathons. My personal highlight in Hyde Park, for all those who are visiting London in December, is the Winter Wonderland!
You can do sports and outdoor activities here too, such as boating, tennis, football, horse riding and there is a senior playground too.So if you’re visiting London with kids, definitely take them to the Hyde Park, especially if they’ve seen Peter Pan! There’s a Peter Pan statue in Hyde Park that kids will definitely love!
Hyde Park has beautiful wildlife, and don’t be surprised if while you’re sitting, a duck family will pass by you, or a squirrel will come to be friends with you.
You can find monuments, fountains, and memorials around. In each case, the Hyde Park is definitely a great option if you’re looking for the best things to do in london in 2 days! By clicking here you’ll find all the options and possibilities about what to do and what to see in Hyde Park. Have fun!
#6 Kensington Palace
Since I just highlighted that the Hyde Park is one of the best things to do in London in 2 days, here’s another highlight for unique things to see in London! The Kensington Palace is also located in Hyde Park. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century. Queen Victoria also lived here.
Currently, it is the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which is Prince Harry. It is also the residence of other dukes and duchess and princes, princesses.
Today, the State Rooms are open to the public. The offices and private accommodation areas of the Palace remain the responsibility of the Royal Household. They are maintained by the Royal Household Property Section.
The palace also displays many paintings and other objects from the Royal Collection, therefore if you want to see more than the outside of the palace, make sure you add this to your plans. The ticket without donation is £15.50, and you can book them online right here. Kensington Palace is a great option even if you’re looking for things to see in London in 1 day though, you just won’t have enough time for a tour.
#7 Piccadilly Circus
The Piccadilly Circus is one of the main hotspots of London, therefore if you’re searching for things to see in London in 1 day, or free things to do in London, this junktion can’t be missed. It’s also one of the busiest places in the city. Imagine it as the British Times Square.
Piccadilly Circus is a road junction, that’s connecting Regent Street with Piccadilly. The name circus is originating from the Latin, meaning circle, in the context of being around, open space in a street junction.
The area of Piccadilly Circus is where you will find dozens of shops, restaurants, pubs, more pubs, and even more pubs. There are also plenty of theatres in the area, such as the Prince of Wales Theater, and Piccadilly Theatre. If you’re looking for cool things to see in London, do not miss Piccadilly Circus!
If you’re visiting with family, and the kids love M&M’s, definitely visit the shop nearby! While you’re strolling downtown, you can also get your souvenirs in London. Nobody should leave London without taking home something British!
#8 Notting Hill
Well, when it comes to cool things to see in London, or some of the most unique things to see in London, we say Notting Hill! Notting Hill is my favorite neighborhood in London. I mean, as a person who loves colors, there’s no better place to go than on the streets of Notting Hill, where you can explore the beautiful and colorful terraced houses! This is definitely one of the best free things to do in London, but also if you’re looking for architecture things to do in London!
There’s also the Portobello road market, with many beautiful hand-made pieces from all around the world. And the food, oh my, the street food in Portobello market is just amazing! You’ll find many different strands of different cultures, and you’ll really want to try everything!
To explore some beautiful cafes and shops, have a walk on the Westbourne Grove, or enjoy some Latin music near the food market! If you’ve been searching for the best things to see in London in 2 days, I do really recommend Notting Hill!
#9 Camden Town
Camden Town is again a very different, very colorful neighborhood in London. So, if you’re looking for the best things to see in London in 2 days, and some really cool things to see in London, do not miss Camden Town! The main street is loaded with shops, one after the other, and they are also plenty of restaurants in all different parts of the world. The Spanish restaurant is really great, we had some delicious tapas here!
There are also markets, near the road, but also the famous Camden Market, where you can find many crafted and vintage goodies! For those in love with vintage, the Camden Market is not missable. It’s a way to learn also how to dress like a Londoner!
There’s one important thing I’d like to highlight for your visit here! Make sure not to wander around here in late hours, as it’s not safe. Also, even during the day, take extra care of your belongings!
#10 Tower of London
Tower of London, one of the best things to see in London in 1 day, but if you’ve got time to go inside it’s definitely one of the best things to do in London in 2 days! The place everyone should visit, you heard of Henry the VIII or not! The historic castle is located on the northern bank of Thames, in central London. This is really a must-see, to learn a bit more about British history, the famous king of England, Henry the VIII! If you’re looking for things for kids to see in London, a castle visit can work great!
The Tower of London had many roles over history. It served as an armory, the home of the Crown Jewels of England, a treasury, a menagerie and it also served as also as a prison. 16th and 17th centuries important people were inprisoned here, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen. Also Sir Walter Raleigh, and Elizabeth Throckmorton. This use has led to the phrase “sent to the Tower”.
My favorite period of British history is the dynasty of the Tudors, and especially Henry VIII. He was a very complex figure and all he did during his life made him one of the most famous kings of England. Henry VIII was the king who established his own church, the Anglican Church, so he can marry and divorce freely. Then had 6 wives. Two of them, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were executed in Tower Green, in the Tower of London.
If you’re looking for unique things to see in London, and the best things to see in London in 2 days, I really do recommend the Tower of London! The tickets for the Tower of London can be purchased online, which will also help you avoid the crowds and staying in the queue for a ticket for too long!
#11 British Museum
If you’re looking for the best things to see in London in 2 days, or things for kids to see in London, the British Museum shouldn’t be up for vote! The British Museum is located in Bloomsbury, in Central London. The museum owns more than 8 million items in its permanent collection. This makes it one of the largest exhibitions in existence!
The collection of the British museum is really important as it’s owning a wide collection from the beginning of human culture to nowadays. Not to forget, that it was established in 1753 as the first public national museum in the world. The British Museum is definitely one of the cool things to see in London!
Interesting things to see in London: British Museum
First of all, the main entrance of the museum is on Great Russell Street. If you’ve been looking for the best free things to do in London, the British Museum is absolutely free! Although a small donation is suggested. There are some exhibitions and especially some temporary exhibitions that have separate fees, but it’s best to check out for these on the museum’s website!
The British Museum is really large, and as I have mentioned earlier, it has quite an imposing number of items in its collections, so it’s best to plan for a long visit. To stay up to date with opening hours and exhibitions, I really recommend visiting the official website of the British Museum!
#12 London Eye
Now if you’re looking for things for kids to see in London, unique things to see in London, or things to do in London in 2 days, the London Eye is a must! The London Eye is located on the South Bank of the Thames, very close to the Westminster and the Westminster Bridge.
Fun fact, that it’s the most popular paid attraction in the UK! I wouldn’t guess that…
It’s Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel, that became quite famous around the world. Currently, the tickets for adults are £28.00, and it’s really recommended to book your tickets in advance, to avoid crowds. If you’re looking for things to see in London in 1 day, to fit a ride on the London Eye in, and not miss other important venues, I’d say it’s impossible. I would suggest considering the London Eye just if you’ve got at least 2 days in London!
#13 Palace of Westminster and the Big Ben
When it comes to the best things to see in London in 1 day, unique things to see in London, free things to do in London and architecture things to do in London… Well, the Westminster and the Big Ben are definitely the #1!!!
Unfortunately at the moment is no way anyone could soo too much of the Westminster or the legendary tower, Big Ben. It’s all under construction and wrapped until sometimes in 2021. So if you’re planning to visit London after the autumn of 2021, you should have again the stunning view of the Big Ben and the palace of Westminster.
The Palace of Westminster is the House of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It’s located on the North bank of the Thames in the heart of London. The palace served as the home of the English kings between the 12th and the 16th centuries when a fire destroyed most of it.
To visit the Parliament, check for up-to-date openings hours and details on the official site of the UK Parliament. I’d say that if you’re looking for interesting things to see in London, and things to do in London that you should really consider, the Westminster is that!
Big Ben is basically the nickname of the tower clock tower of the Palace of Westminster. It’s official name now is the Elizabeth Tower, named after Elizabeth I. The magnificent tower was designed and built in a neo-gothic style, and it’s the most iconic building of London and the United Kingdom. The ticket price to visit the tower and the parliament will cost an adult £15, and you’ll need about 1,5 hours for the visit.
#bonus: Things to do in London with kids: Harry Potter tours
cool things to see in London – things for kids to see in London – best things to see in London in 2 days – things to do in London – best things to do in london in 2 days
If you’ve been wondering what to do with kids in London, there’s no way you can go wrong if you sprinkle some magic on your trip! One of those cool things to see in London if you’re thinking of things for kids to see in London is definitely a Harry Potter tour! It’s one of the best things to see in London in 2 days if your family or yourself are Harry Potter fans! Before I moved to England, on my very first trip to the British Capital I’ve bene wondering what are the best things to do in London in 2 days? Then, I booked my Harry Potter Studio tour tickets, and it’s been the best experience!
See some of best Harry Potter tours you can join in and around London!
As more and more parts are being discovered, the articles of this great city will slowly multiply. See below some other London-related articles!
More about London
London city break – 3 days (my first 3 days) in the British capital
Artists’ Trip to London – for art lovers!
Wrapping up the best things to see in london
A;right, so if you have been lookng for cool things to see in London, interesting things to see in London, things for kids to see in London, things to see in London in 1 day, unique things to see in London, best things to see in London in 2 day, free things to do in London or architecture things to do in London, we tried to highlight for you all the best options around the city! From culture to architecture, from buzzing hotspots to colorful neighborhoods, we’ve covered everything. You now know what are the best things to do in london in 2 days, and which are those things that would not fit in the schedule if you’re spending just 1 day in London!
We hope this list inspired you, and you’ve become super excited to visit the British Capital! We can’t wait to be back too!
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