Whether you are in London for a few days or a few weeks, the city is packed with places to go and things to do. Here are my top 10 must-dos and sees on a trip to London:
1. Visit a market
One of my favorite things about London are the markets. London markets are a great place to get your fix of street food and go souvenir shopping as well as antiquing. Borough Market is a foodie haven; this market is made up entirely of food stands. Camden Market combines the best of both worlds; souvenir shopping and delicious food. Whichever you choose, you will not be disappointed!
2. Take advantage of the free museums
Whether you are interested in science, history, art, or just about anything else, London has a free museum for you! Visit the Tate Modern for an impressive collection of artwork including pieces by Andy Warhol. Afterwards, head to the tenth floor for an incredible view of the city. The Natural History Museum boasts amazing architecture as well as intriguing and interactive content. Journey through London’s past at the Museum of London. The list goes on and on!
3. Go shopping on Oxford Street
London is home to Europe’s busiest shopping street: Oxford Street. No matter where I went, I always seemed to find my way back to Oxford Street. The street is packed with department stores, souvenir shops, food stands, restaurants, and just about everything in between. If you want to beat the crowds, start your shopping spree early. While it tends to get busier as the day goes on, it is definitely worth checking out this famous street.
4. Have traditional tea
Sip your tea while indulging on sweet treats and savory sandwiches. Try the English breakfast tea for a real taste of British culture. On the last day of our trip, my class took a tea river cruise down the Thames. We spotted some iconic London landmarks like Tower Bridge. We were even able to head to the top of the boat to take it all in.
5. See a show in London’s West End
West End is London’s equivalent of Broadway in New York. The performances put on are equally as impressive and sure to leave you in awe. I saw Kinky Boots at the Apollo Theatre and Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre, both of which I would highly recommend.
6. Have a picnic in a park
Pack a lunch or grab one from a takeaway restaurant nearby, then head to one of London’s beautiful parks. Sit under a shady tree to people watch and soak in the scenery. My favorite picnic spots are the Italian Water Gardens in Hyde Park and Queen Mary’s Royal Garden in Regents Park.
7. Ride in the top of a double decker bus
See the city from a new height! While I have found the Tube to typically be a more efficient mode of transportation, riding in one of these London icons is a must. You miss a lot of this city when travelling underground, so taking a bus every once in a while is definitely worth the added commuting time.
8. Watch the sunset from Primrose Hill
Set far off from the hustle and bustle of the city center, this hill in Regents Park is the perfect spot for a relaxing view of the sun setting over the city. Grab a blanket and head to the hill before dark to find your spot to sit. Watch as the sky fills with shades of pinks and purples over some of London’s most famous sites, like The Shard, the BT Tower and the London Eye.
9. Eat at a pub
Located on almost every corner, pubs are a crucial part of London’s culture. Once rush hour hits, pubs become as packed as the tube as Londoners prepare to unwind after a long day of work. Pub menus typically offer traditional British food like fish and chips or bangers and mash. In case you are a picky eater like me, pub menus also offer an array of other options like burgers and sandwiches.
10. Take a day trip
London has a fantastic, central location to many other great cities in England. If your stay in the City of Smoke is long enough, take a trip through the countryside to see a different side of England. Visit Cambridge or Oxford University to see university life at some of England’s most prestigious universities. The Cliffs of Dover, Stonehenge, Bath, and so many more places are all also just a train ride away!