Whether you’re a history buff, a lover of art and culture, or simply someone with an endless sense of wanderlust, whatever kind of adventure you’re seeking, you’ll find it in London. With a vibrant metropolitan area primed for urban exploration and plenty of opportunities to escape the crowds and bask in wide open green spaces, there is no doubt London is a tale of two cities, full of enchantment for everyone. And with so much excitement awaiting at your fingertips, it’s time to pack your bags and see for yourself why London is one of the world’s most visited cities. Don’t worry about your bucket list, as we’ve got you covered! With these 10 things to see, do, and explore below, you’ll be well on your way to an extra fun time!
1. Have a leisurely fun time exploring Hyde Park by boating on the Serpentine.
What better way to launch your London adventure than by exploring the beloved Hyde Park? Nestled cozily in the center of the city, what makes this park so unique is its location… and size. With 350 acres consisting of shady trees, wide-open meadows, ornamental flower gardens, and a glistening, large lake, there’s plenty of space to stretch, breathe, and simply let your mind unwind.
From swimming and cycling to skating and playing tennis, Hyde Park has outdoor activities for all interests. But if you’re seeking a more leisurely experience, we recommend renting a boat and setting sail on the serene Serpentine. Not only does this 40-acre lake offer spectacular views, but at only £12 per hour, it’s quite an affordable option too. Of course, all that paddling and rowing can work up an appetite, so after you’ve relished in the fun of boating, head on over to one of the two lakeside restaurants, or roll out a blanket for a good old-fashioned picnic.
2. Hop in a black taxi for a personal tour around the city.
Forget the tube for getting around the city — hop into an iconic black taxi instead! Right alongside the red phone booths and double-decker buses, London’s black cabs are famous symbols of the city. And while their vintage look might be pleasing to the eye, did you know that these cars are also an incredible way to get to know the city?
Once you step foot into these taxi cabs, you might be surprised to find out you’ll receive more than just a ride, as these drivers can also play double-duty as tour guides. It won’t take long for you to realize the knowledge these drivers have is staggering, as they have to familiarize themselves with thousands of points of interest before obtaining their licenses. What better way to sightsee your way around the city than with those who know it best?
3. Take a stroll along the South Bank.
Just across the river lies another exciting sightseeing destination: the South Bank of London. Rich in culture and entertainment, this area of the city sparkles with activity for all ages. From theatre and art to cafes and breweries, the South Bank is the perfect place to take a stroll and spend a lazy afternoon. And fortunately, it’s easily accessible!
If you’re in the heart of downtown, you can arrive to this pocket of the city by simply crossing over the Millennium Bridge, a unique walkway dedicated to only pedestrians.
4. Experience the thrill of Tower Bridge’s glass floor walkway.
High above the River Thames at 42 meters, experience the London life with an incredible bird’s-eye view by walking across Tower Bridge’s glass platform. Not only can you marvel at the bridge’s stunning architecture up close, but you can also have fun spotting all the famous red buses zipping across the bridge underneath. If your timing is right, you can even take in the bascules raising beneath your feet. Talk about a magical experience! So if you’re seeking a thrill and not afraid of heights, this walkway is the way to go.
5. Sip afternoon tea in a pink wonderland.
If you’re a lover of all things pink, and are in the mood for some afternoon tea, The Gallery at Sketch is about to become your own slice of paradise. While the delightful “pretty in pink” decor is sure to catch your eye, get ready for the magic to continue once you’re served the three-tiered tray full of delectable, bite-sized pastries, macarons, and assorted finger sandwiches. With an atmosphere as artful as the savory treats are to eat, afternoon tea at Sketch is one of those unique experiences impossible to forget!
6. Stop and smell the roses at Columbia Road Flower Market.
One of London’s most visually appealing markets, the Columbia Road Flower Market oozes with beauty and is a must-see when visiting the city. Open every Sunday from 8am until 3pm, this street market is located in East London and houses tons of vendors selling everything from bucketfuls of beautiful blooming flowers to bulbs, herbs, and shrubs. To go alongside the intoxicating sweet scent of fresh flowers, you’ll also find a slew of independent art galleries, antique shops, and cozy cafes.
7. Join an art tour to hunt down the most colorful graffiti in Shoreditch.
Shoreditch, the creative hub of London’s trendy, up-and-coming East End district, is well known for its street art and vibrant graffiti scene. For artists in this area, empty walls serve as the perfect canvases for visual pleasures. Although the art is forever changing, you can expect to be inspired by the emblazoned creative work all year long.
Rivington Street, Great Easton Street, and Fashion Street are a few of the many places you can find walls bursting with colorful delight. There are also tons of guided tours you can join to discover even more of the artwork stamped throughout this neighborhood.
8. Uncover hidden treasures at the Portobello Road Market.
Located in the Notting Hill district, experiencing the Portobello Road Market is another must-see when exploring London. Possibly the most famous street market in the world, the Portobello Road Market is most known for the endless stalls of vendors selling everything from antiques, collectibles, and vintage goods. With an arcade of more than 1,000 merchants selling all kinds of hidden treasures, you can easily spend the entire day at this market. If you want to relish in all the excitement, be sure to make your visit on a Saturday, as this is the market’s main day for antiques. Although you might want to skip on the snoozes, as this market can draw quite the crowd!
9. Eat your way around the world at Borough Market.
If you are a foodie, love to eat, or simply admire local cuisine, you must head over to Borough Market. Established in 1885, Borough Market is rich in history and has since become one of the most renowned markets in all of London. Overflowing with artisan-prepared food and fresh produce, this market is the perfect place to grab a delicious bite to eat while exploring the city. And with over 100 tempting traders to choose from, the only tough decision you’ll have to make is where to chow down first!
10. Celebrate your new memories with a rooftop happy hour at One New Change.
An awe-inspiring view awaits you atop One New Change. While the 6th-floor rooftop at One New Change has been one of London’s best kept secrets — that is, until now! — taking in the panoramic views is a must when visiting this buzzing city. Not only is this roof terrace free and open from 6am to midnight daily, but it is also one of the best places to take in the stunning St. Paul’s Cathedral and the downtown skyline.
And with a bar and restaurant located on the terrace, what better way to cheers to your time in London than with a rooftop happy hour?