When it comes to attractions, London is a city beyond compare. From parks so big you could get lost for an hour or two, to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks, there are more sightseeing opportunities in the UK capital than there are days in a year. But this much choice soon gets overwhelming. So, with that in mind, here's our pick of the best things to do in the big smoke. And to really make the most of your trip, consider a stay in one of our comfortable, convenient London hotels. That way you’re guaranteed a good night’s sleep after your big day out.
Attractions in London
Forget the big smoke. Some of London’s parks are so big you’ll feel like you’re deep in the countryside. Wellies on, because here’s our pick of the capital’s best green spaces.
Take your family for a stroll around Hyde Park, one of London’s most famous parks. Go for a float down the Serpentine, whether by paddle boat or by taking a dip, or take a horse ride around its breathtaking memorials.
Fancy a trip out of the centre? Head west to Richmond and you’ll find the beautiful Kew Gardens. Full of nooks and crannies, there’s also greenhouses and iconic architecture waiting to be explored. With stunning buildings, secret woodlands, one-of-a-kind flowers and plant species and even a treetop walkway, these botanical gardens really do have it all.
London’s largest royal park, Richmond Park is home to over 650 red and fallow deer. Filled with acres of ancient trees, free-roaming wildlife and beautifully planted gardens, it was created back in the 17th century by King Charles I. Nowadays, the park is ideal for bike rides, walking, horse riding and even golf. Make sure you don’t hit a deer!
Home to the iconic ZSL London Zoo and the largest rose garden in London, Regent’s Park is one of the UK’s most famous royal parks. Once a hunting ground for Henry VIII, it’s now open to the public to enjoy its open air theatre, boating lake and festivals for food, music and art. Kids should head to Hanover Gate to monkey around on the timber treehouse and wooden playground.
Love a bit of royal history? Have a city break fit for a king (or queen) by putting one of these buildings on your itinerary. Many have regal connections to satisfy your inner Union Jack-waver and even the ones that don’t are still packed with centuries-worth of tradition.
As the London residence of every British monarch since Queen Victoria, Buckingham Palace is a must-see royal attraction. From guided tours to the Changing of the Guards, there’s so much to see here, not to mention the 19 jaw-dropping state rooms waiting to be explored. Fancy seeing a bit of it for yourself? Staying in one of our hotels near Buckingham Palace will give you a great base for your royal tour.
The Tower of London has had previous lives as a palace, a Royal Mint, a zoo and a vault for the Crown Jewels. But it’s the bloody history of this Thames-side architectural masterpiece that draws 2.5 million visitors each year. Explore its horrible history as a place of imprisonment and execution, then come back to the safety of your comfortable hotel near the Tower of London to relax - you deserve it!
London landmark Tower Bridge is so synonymous with the capital it’s a must-see at some point on your visit. Walking over it while marvelling at the bridge’s incredible architecture is free, but to really make the most of your visit, you can pay to see the Tower Bridge Exhibition. This lets you cross the glass walkway for great views across the city.
No trip to London’s historic hotspots would be complete without a visit to see Big Ben - and hear its famous bongs - for yourself. The iconic, four-sided beauty was built in 1844, and it’s been drawing visitors ever since.
Discover bustling royal court life or take in the grand State Rooms at Hampton Court in the London borough of Richmond. Explore the Tudor Kitchens or experience lavish banqueting halls. Wander through the Haunted Gallery or take a stroll through the enchanting gardens and find the centre of the maze. There’s lots to keep you busy on your visit here, and we’ve got plenty of hotels near Hampton Court you could use as your base.
As the birthplace of Queen Victoria, Kensington Palace plays an important part in British history. Wandering around, you really get a sense of what royal living was like, whether you’re gliding through the regal King’s Gallery or walking through the Privy Chamber where the royals held dances and entertained. Outside, the beautiful Palace Gardens are not to be missed with the flowers looking stunning all through the year.
St Paul’s Cathedral has the most famous domed roof on the London skyline, but nothing beats viewing it from the inside. Walk in the footsteps of Britain’s most notable figures on the cathedral floor, visit the tombs of Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington down in the Crypt, then climb the Geometric staircase to check out the strange acoustics in the Whispering Gallery. Finally, if you have the stamina (and a good head for heights), walk even further to admire some breathtaking views from the Stone and Golden galleries.
Imagine being able to stand on the very spot where Prince William and Kate Middleton got married back in 2011. Well you can do just that at the beautiful Westminster Abbey. As another one of London’s free attractions, take the opportunity to wander round at your own pace, taking in the beautiful Gothic architecture of this official World Heritage Site.
London’s not just for history buffs. It’s packed with attractions that can ramp up the fun factor on your city break.
With breathtaking views over the city, visitors flock to the London Eye for a space in one of the coveted capsules. Enjoy the stunning 360° views and spot the city’s major landmarks from the top of this iconic attraction.
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! With so many animals to view, wildlife fans will go ape for ZSL London Zoo. The world’s oldest scientific zoo is steeped in history and has a number of listed buildings, - there’s even a listed red telephone box in the middle of Penguin Beach.
How short is Tom Cruise? What's it like to stand next to the Queen? Find out all this and more at Madame Tussauds. Head there for a fun- filled day of selfies with over 300 wax figures of the world’s most famous people.
Wands at the ready, it’s all aboard the Hogwarts Express at the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Leavesden. Experience the magic of the mind-blowing film sets, iconic costumes and even sample the sweet tasting Butterbeer.
Like a museum but without the boring bits, the macabre side of the capital’s history is brought to life at the London Dungeon. Sights, sounds and even smells are all designed to take you back in time, but beware - it’s not for wimps!
London’s tallest building, The Shard offers a great day out. There’s an open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor to get great views of London. With a range of restaurants, bars and cafés spread across its floors, plus a retail arcade containing everything from salons and spas to designer clothes and accessories stores, you’ll find plenty to keep you busy.
Its post-modern buildings make Canary Wharf a true London landmark. Visit after dark and you’ll feel like you’re walking through the set of a futuristic film. With shops, restaurants and bars too, this is more than a banker’s paradise.
The bustling district of Covent Garden has much to offer. As well as the covered marketplace with its quirky shops, there’s a beautiful piazza that’s perfect for watching street performers or dining out on an outdoor terrace.
Cool and cultural, Brixton is a great place to hang out. From the great selection of eateries at Brixton Village to iconic venues such as the O2 Academy Brixton and the Ritzy cinema, it’s no wonder it’s one of the hippest places to visit. Our Brixton hotel makes a great base for exploring the area, too.
With mega cinemas like Odeon, Vue and Empire hosting movie premieres galore you’re guaranteed an entertaining time in Leicester Square. With Theatreland just round the corner and statues of William Shakespeare and Charlie Chaplin overlooking over the crowds, there are plenty of places to eat, drink and dance your socks off - and our Premier Inn hotel near Leicester Square puts you at the heart of the action.
Home to Nelson’s Column and equally famous for its pigeons, Trafalgar Square is one of London’s most visited landmarks. There’s something to see at every corner of the square, from the National Gallery to the beautiful St-Martin-in-the-Fields church, famous for its orchestra.
Made famous by a Hollywood rom-com, Notting Hill is the perfect place to meander, shop and relax. From the pastel-coloured houses to the shopper’s delight that is Portobello Road Market, you won’t forget this London suburb in a hurry.
As probably the largest arts and cultural hub in London, there’s always something happening on London’s South Bank. The area includes major tourist attractions such as the London Eye and the National Theatre, plus you’ll discover some entertaining street performers as you walk the traffic-free path.
Famed for its neon signs and often called the ‘Times Square of London’, Piccadilly Circus really is a must-see when you’re visiting London. Due to its great location, you’re never far away from Theatreland, Chinatown, Soho and big shopping areas like Regent’s Street.
One of the most famous districts in London, Westminster is everything like the classic London postcards depict and more. With Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace, you’ll see famous sights and landmarks around every corner.
When it comes to huge indoor arenas, London doesn’t disappoint, boasting two of the UK’s largest venues.
With its iconic domed roof a familiar sight in North Greenwich, the O2 Arena is the UK’s largest entertainment venue for music, sport and live events. Once the infamous Millennium Dome, the Arena is now a popular entertainment complex.
Wembley Arena is one of the best entertainment destinations in the UK. Seating 12,500 it’s London’s second largest indoor arena after the O2 and has played host to some of the biggest names in entertainment, from Beyonce to the X Factor finals. Coming to a gig? There’s a Premier Inn Hotel near Wembley Arena that’s so close you could almost shuffle over to watch the band in your slippers.
With not one but 14 different clubs in the Football League alone, London’s not short of a stadium or two. Here’s our pick of the capital’s temples to the beautiful game.
Known as the home of English football, Wembley Stadium is famous for hosting some of the biggest sporting matches and tournaments of our time - as well as some of the largest concerts. The famous arch that spans the roof can be seen for miles across the city, so you won’t miss it as you take the adrenaline-fuelled walk up Wembley Way.
Home to Arsenal, the Emirates Stadium in the heart of Highbury can hold over 60,000 football fans and spans four tiers of seating. And, whether you’re all cheering and chanted out after watching a match or tired from an exhilarating stadium tour, head back to our London Angel Islington hotel near the Emirates for a rest.