London Best places to visit on Holiday

10 must-visit places in London 

1.     Buckingham Palace 

A grand royal residence with 775 magnificent rooms, Buckingham Palace is the Queen's London home, a busy headquarters hosting the world leaders, and an absolute must-see for every visitor of the British capital. Located next to Green Park and St James Park and overlooking the Queen Victoria Memorial, this iconic palace has one of the most famous balconies in the world.

Changing the Guard, a traditional 45-minute long ceremony where The Queen's Guard hands over responsibility for protecting Buckingham Palace and St James's Palace to the New Guard, is performed by the active infantry soldiers marching foot to foot, dressed in postcard-looking scarlet coats and bearskin caps, with musical support from a Regimental Band or Corps of Drums and sometimes pipers. 

Buckingham Palace is open to the public during the summer months and for a limited number of tours in December, January and Easter. Changing the Guard can be seen daily in June and July, and on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from August till May. The ceremony starts at 11am and is free of charge.

2. The Tower of London 

There is no other place in London as soaked in history and as full of fascinating tales of the British royals, love and hate, intrigue and treason, imprisonment and torture, as the Tower of London. A fortress, palace and once a prison, it is also a home to the magnificent Crown Jewels collection, the powerful symbols of the British Monarchy. 

It is said that the United Kingdom and the Tower of London will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the Tower of London. There are nine ravens there today. Yeoman Warders, or "Beefeaters", once the Royal Bodyguards, dressed in splendid dark blue and red uniforms, greet the visitors all year around to share incredible stories not just about the legendary birds, but also the Tower’s  famous masters and prisoners from one thousand years of history. 

3. The London Eye 

The London Eye is Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel and a must-experience for children and adults alike. Located on the South Bank of the River Thames, across the bridge from Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and the world-famous tower clock Big Ben, the London Eye is one of the most iconic attractions in Britain. A 30-minute journey on this whopping 135-metre high wheel offers mind-blowing views of Buckingham Palace, the futuristic skyscrapers of London’s financial district City, the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral, historic Tower Bridge and a lot more. The London Eye is incredibly popular amongst tourists any season, and the queues can be overwhelming. It is strongly recommended to purchase tickets online, with the fast-track option being well worth the money. 

4. London Transport Museum 

London’s means of transport made it to the gift shop postcards and became the symbols of the British world, and there is no better place to explore it than the London Transport Museum. Located in the vibrant West End neighbourhood Covent Garden famous for its indie shops, theatres and street entertainment, this unique museum features over 200 years of transport history. The rich collection ranges from elegant Victorian carriages to the iconic modern-day black cab and a red double-decker bus. It demonstrates how London’s growth, culture and people have been entwined with its transport system over the centuries. Children-friendly and fun for the grownups, this action-packed museum, its lovely shop and its cute upstairs restaurant will win the hearts of the whole family. 

Tickets to the London Transport Museum are to be purchased in advance, and the entrance is free for children. 

5. Hyde Park 

It is impossible to imagine London without Hyde Park, the city’s vital green lung where tourists and residents come to escape the city buzz and enjoy peace and quiet. 350-acres leafy heaven offers as much refuge as it does entertainment for the whole family. Challenge yourself to an open swim in the summer in Serpentine Lido or rent a family pedal boat all year around. Relax in one of the idyllic cafes with excellent ice-cream and picturesque views. Dip your toes in the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. Engage in active family fun in Hyde Park Tennis and Sports Hub. Walking, jogging, cycling and even horse-riding friendly Hyde Park has an intellectual vibe too. Speaker’s Corner, located in the North East corner of the park near the Marble Arch, is the oldest living free speech platform in the world. If you come there at about midday on Sunday, you will be able to witness the debates that often last until long after dark.

6. Trafalgar Square 

Trafalgar Square is surrounded by the splendid National Gallery to the north, the elegant Strand to the east, the busy Whitehall to the south and the Admiralty Arch and Mall to the south-west. It also lies a stone's throw away from Leicester Square, famous for its red-carpet movie premieres,  Piccadilly Circus with its popular status to Eros, and tastebuds-tempting Chinatown. Thanks to its unique location, Trafalgar Square seems like the centre of everything in London downtown. Similar to Times Square in New York, this London landmark is a natural meeting place for public gatherings and cultural and religious celebrations. Be it Christmas Carol singing, Chinese New Year, Eid, Diwali or a football championship, the locals know where to go to spread the joy.

Trafalgar Square is named after the Battle of Trafalgar, a British naval victory in the Napoleonic Wars. The centrepiece is a statue of a war hero Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, the 5-metre-tall Nelson’s Column. It is "protected" by four bronze lions beloved by the tourists and the locals. The nearby fountains feature dolphins, mermaids and tritons and look spectacular when illuminated with LED lights at night.

7. Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament 

Big Ben is the world’s most photographed clock tower and a must-see landmark for anyone visiting London. Located on the banks of the River Thames in Westminster, it is a part of the northern end of the stunning Gothic-style Houses of Parliament. The origins of the name of this renowned 96-metre-tall clock are unclear. Some say it was named after Sir Benjamin Hall, who oversaw its installation. Others insist that the heavyweight boxing champion Benjamin Caunt was the inspiration. Even though it was renamed the Elizabeth Tower in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, Big Ben’s memorable name is not going anywhere. The legendary clock has seen six monarchs and 41 prime ministers since its bells first struck and is still counting. 

The tower clock is currently closed to the visitors due to the conservation works and is expected to reopen later in 2022. But the Houses of Parliament can be explored with family-friendly tours throughout the year. 

8. Hamleys on Regent Street

Hamleys is a dream destination for the whole family. And it is not all about shopping but plenty of history too. The world’s oldest toy store, Hamleys was founded by an Englishman William Hamley back in 1760. Located in High Holborn first, the store moved to the fashion paradise Regent Street in London's West End in 1881. The multibrand play heaven now occupies a staggering seven floors of toys, games, crafts and activities.

Hamleys is famous for its friendly atmosphere and in-store entertainment. It is not unusual to see the staff dressed as cartoon characters or superheroes, singing and dancing. Live toy and game demonstrations spread a lot of excitement amongst the little ones too. A soft bear-building workshop, selfie-friendly Lego lifesize characters and even an ice-cream kiosk are just a few things that make Hamleys so special.

9. The London Dungeon 

The London Dungeon on Thames South Bank is all about London’s dark but incredibly entertaining past full of witch hunts and unsolved mysteries, the plague and bloodthirsty kings, torture and executions. It is a good thing the spookiness is served with a generous amount of humour. Recreating the various events from the last millennium with a mixture of live actors, special effects and rides, the London Dungeon offers a unique, chilling, sensory and memorable experience. It is scary yet funny. You learn and laugh as amusing infamous characters from the “bad old days” such as Jack the Ripper or Henry VIII come to life before you. 

The London Dungeon is recommended for families with older children as it gets very dark, smelly, with occasional loud noises inside. Younger children are welcome to join the thrill as long as they are accompanied by the grownups. 

10. The Museum of London

Want to know what Roman Londinium is or how the Great Fire of London started? No place tells the story of Britain's capital and its people as colourfully and eloquently as the Museum of London. Free, spacious, family-friendly, it documents 450,000 years of London’s history, from the prehistoric to modern times. This family-friendly hidden gem is currently the largest urban history collection in the world, with more than six million objects. 

The Museum of London is conveniently located a few minutes away from the river bank and St Paul's Cathedral. The building overlooks the remains of the Roman city wall and the City of London, the oldest part of the capital and now its main financial district. 

The museum is free to visit. The tickets have to be pre-booked.

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