London is one of the world’s great cities and, as such, offers an amazing variety of activities and places to see, for the entire family. The list below includes my favorites and would require four or five days to adequately accomplish.
1. Take the Beefeater Tour of the Tower of London — The infamous prison, palace, treasury, and execution yard is one of the city’s most popular attractions. The characteristically-dressed “beefeaters” take visitors on a fascinating and informative tour of this medieval treasure.
2. Walk Across the Tower Bridge — The distinctive powder blue span, across the Thames, is a symbol of the city and is easily recognized around the world. The “Tower Bridge Experience” offers a tour which details the history and inner workings of the unusual bridge design.
3. Visit Westminter Abbey — This historic church has witnessed many of Europe’s pivotal events, and also serves as a final resting place for many of England’s monarchs and other significant English men and women. Be sure to check out the Poet’s Corner, a memorial to England’s famous literati.
4. Check out St Paul’s Cathedral — This immense church was built by Christopher Wren, after the city was virtually destroyed by a fire. It was the scene of the marriage of Prince Charles to Lady Diana, an event witnessed, via television, by millions around the world.
5. Watch the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace — This exercise of British pomp and circumstance takes place daily, to the delight of thousands of onlookers.
6. Witness the Changing of the Horse Guard — A less-crowded alternative to the regular parade at Buckingham Palace, this parade of mounted soldiers takes place at the Royal Mews.
7. Get a Birds–eye View of London from the London Eye — This giant ferris wheel, located along the Thames River, takes riders in slow-moving pods, hundreds of feet into the air above the city, affording spectacular views.
8. Visit Maritime London — Take a boat ride on the Thames to nearby Greenwich, England, where you can visit the Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory, through which passes the International Date Line.
9. Shop and People-Watch at Covent Garden — This popular gathering place, contains a colorful and vibrant market and is also the location where Punch and Judy marionettes entertained crowds for many years.
10. Shop at the World’s Greatest Department Store — Harrod’s is the epitome of shopping venues. The building itself and its decorations are worth the trip, even if you don’t buy anything. Do check out the food displays!
11. Relax with the Locals at Trafalgar Square — One of the city’s greatest gathering places is located at the edge of Westminster and is surrounded by elegant and regal buildings. The famous Naval Admiral is celebrated with a tall statue.
12. See the World Through the British Museum — Great Britain was once the most powerful nation in the world and its influence extended throughout the seven continents. British explorers and archaeologists traveled to distant places and brought their finds back to London. Many of these world treasures are on display in this fantastic museum.
13. Have Lunch in the Cafe in the Crypt — This cute little restaurant is located below St Martin-in-the-Fields Church and makes an interesting, if not morbid, place to grab a bite.
14. Walk Across the Millennium Bridge — This pedestrian span across the Thames offers great views of the city as well as access to the less-touristy south side of the city.
15. Return to the Elizabethan Age at the Globe Theatre — This replica of the famous theater, immortalized by Shakespeare, is located on the south shore of the Thames River.
16. Take an Excursion to Hampton Court — This palatial mansion was built for Cardinal Wolsey and later annexed by King Henry VIII as a Royal residence. It is located only a short distance from London.
17. Marvel at the Royal Botanic Gardens — At Kew Gardens, this remarkable facility showcases plant species from around the world in a great variety of displays, from indoor areas to outdoor gardens and ponds.
18. Stroll Hyde Park — London is blessed with many green areas, but this park is probably the most popular. It contains Speaker’s Corner, where anyone can pontificate on any subject they want to.
19. Join the Crowds at Picadilly Circus — Here is another of London’s famous gathering places, the British equivalent of Times Square in New York. It is a major nexus for the London Metro.
20. Take a Side Trip to Cambridge — The home of one of the world’s greatest educational institutions is just a short ride north of the city, in the charming town of Cambridge.
21. Visit Windsor Castle — The queen’s primary residence is located northwest of London and makes a great day trip from the city. The heavily fortified castle dominates the town of Windsor.
22. Hob-knob With the Intellectuals at Oxford — The famous university is only about 50 miles northwest of London and can easily be included with a trip to Windsor Castle (see #21 above).