Top 10 Things to Do in London
London calling! There’s always something so special every time we visit London. Maybe it’s a mixture of the charming quaint buildings, red phone booths, or the old-school taxis. Or perhaps it’s the cute British boys with their cute British accents everywhere in sight. But you know what isn’t all that special? The weather (surprise, surprise).
Not sure where we got the idea that London in August meant summer time? We found out the hard way. London this year around was actually cold and windy, and we were a tad unprepared. Luckily, cold weather didn’t stop us from exploring the beautiful city that has so much to offer. Our 3rd time here was truly the charm as we got to see more of London than we have before.
If you find yourself wanting to visit London, don’t think twice. In no particular order, here’s a look at the top 10 things to do in London:
1. Big Ben and Palace of Westminster
What better way to start your trip in London than at one of most touristy spots? If you’re not huge on exploring touristy sights then the good news is that you can see it first and get it over with. As world travelers we are keen on finding the hidden gems of cities, but the main destinations are never not worth seeing. After all, their the main attractions for a reason.
Start your day at London’s iconic area seeing the Big Ben Tower, The House of Parliament and London Eye. Conveniently enough, they are all in the same proximity. This area is flooded with tourists and can get overwhelming, especially with the London Eye queues.
When you’re deciding on your top 10 things to do in London, there is no question that this place makes the list. However, always keep in mind how busy it is, all the time. Would we tell you to wait in a 2 hour queue to go on the London Eye? The short answer is no. There are plenty of free places you can go to to get the same view.
2. Notting Hill in Kensington
We won’t lie to you when we say Notting Hill was only familiar to us by the famous 90s movie. Who doesn’t love a young Julia Roberts? Aside from the movie it didn’t take us long to see the particular charm this neighborhood has. The quirky colorful streets filled with vintage stores, cute coffee shops, flower markets, and parks make for a worthy visit. It also has more of a relaxed aura compared to the hustle and bustle of central London.
3. Hyde Park
One of our favorite things to do whenever we travel to a new city is to roam around a park. Its a moment to escape the metropolitanism of a city and instead be with nature. Hyde Park is one of the biggest parks located in the city center filled with beautiful gardens, local artists, live music, cafés, and a large lake. It calls for a perfect picnic spot.
4. Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is one of the world’s few royal palaces today. Whether you enjoy learning about British Royal history or like keeping up with the Royal family, this beautiful palace deserves to be seen!
Westminster, London SW1A 1AA, United Kingdom
5. Stop for a Dessert
What’s sight seeing without eating a yummy treat in between? London is filled with bakeries that have the best desserts! If you’re looking to devour your face in something creamy and flavorful while still hitting an “insta-worthy” spot, take a visit to Peggy Porschen Cakes when you’re checking off your top 10 things to do in London list.
You’ll find a pink colored parlor serving a variety of freshly baked cupcakes, cookies, and more. We got the vegan carrot cake that was TOO good to actually be vegan??
116 Ebury St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9QQ, United Kingdom
Ah, of all beautiful places in London there isn’t anything like Soho. With its network of alleyways and compacted buildings filled with too many shops, bars, theaters, and restaurants lies the busiest area in London – but also the most fun. Soho neighborhood has the perfect mixture of modern, yet still carries that London charm – which is why we don’t think it’s necessary to have an exact plan here. Simply roaming around this square will leave you coming across a vintage store or a top-cuisine. After all, you can’t say you’ve seen London without stopping in Soho first.
Tip: If you’re looking to go out in London, Soho nightlife is definitely the area you want to be in!
7. Saint Johns Restaurant
Although we didn’t actually get a chance to dine inside (it was closed), this was a still special place for us to visit. St. John bar and restaurant was one of our biggest idols, Anthony Bourdain’s favorite place to dine at in London. Even though it was closed, we still felt a connection being at a place that Anthony Bourdain loved.
If you’re a big Parts Unknown or No Reservations fan like us, give this place a shot and let us know.
26 St John St, Barbican, London EC1M 4AY, United Kingdom
8. Explore Camden Town
If we had one word to describe Camden to anyone, it’d be weird. Weird in a good way. We’d have to say this is one of the most eclectic areas of London, which we find to love since Camden town is keeping London’s grungy, punk side of the city alive.
Filled with loads of vintage shops, flea markets, tattoo shops, and a food market, you’re likely to spend a few hours of your day here. And when it comes to food, you’ll be spoiled with choices. Camden’s food market is huge! With options ranging from Dutch pancakes to Vietnamese dishes, there’s a cuisine here for just about everybody so be sure to get through the entire maze before deciding on what to eat.
Also known for its music scene, there are tons of bars and breweries to check out. Beware this area gets extremely crowded, especially on the weekends. There really is no way around the packed area, so just go with it. You’ll get a taste of Camden’s chaotic beauty.
Camden Lock Pl, Camden Town, London NW1 8AF, United Kingdom
9. Rooftop Drinking
There’s nothing like a needed afternoon drink after a full day of exploring and sightseeing. Question is, where? Luckily there are a million of bars and restaurants to grab a drink at. However there are only a handful that catch the views of the city, like in Trafalgar Square.
We came across the Rooftop St. James via Instagram and glad we made the choice to go here. Given we only had a short 2 days in the city this time around, we wanted to check out the places that offered the most to justify the amount a drink costs here. Speaking to that, there was no Happy Hour option when we came here, of course. However the stunning views of Trafalgar Square and the London Eye on the other side made up for it.
Take a break from being a tourist to enjoy a Fragola Fizz crafty cocktail while taking in this beauty of a view.
7th Floor, 2 Spring Gardens, St. James’s, London SW1A 2TS, UK
10. A Night Out at London’s Famous Pub
There’s no kidding when we say London nightlife is a whole other experience! It’s in fact one of the main reasons we fell in love with the city. From boujee nightclubs to laid-back Irish pubs, London nightlife has something for just about anyone’s ideal night out. Although, Soho neighborhood is definitely the area you want to go out in. Our favorite pub we went to was called O’Neills Pub in Soho. Anyone that knows us know we rave about O’Neills! We first discovered it during our study abroad adventure back in 2017. O’Neills is a 3-story Irish pub filled with lots of good music and people of all ages. What’s cool about this place is that each floor has a different vibe. The first being, well the first. The second floor plays dancing music, and the third (our favorite) has a mini stage set-up for a live band. Good news: there’s a bar on every floor.
Not going to lie, O’Neills can get wild and a tad ratchet – but that’s just because everyone there is having a great time and not giving a single fuck. As grungy as this place can get, it holds a special place in our heart as it was our first girls trip weekend and our first night ever out in Europe!
O’Neills is a guaranteed good time. You’ll end up on the 3rd floor listening to the live band play throwback college songs that everyone knows the lyrics to. So get prepared to crowd hug everyone in sight, while spilling your Cider all over the place, and singing your drunken heart out.
P.S. if you are looking for food, there’s a delicious Chinese restaurant next door.
33-37 Wardour Street, Soho, London, Greater London, W1D 6PU
What are your favorite top 10 things to do in London?
What other places should we check out on our next visit? Comment below or get in touch! We want to hear from you xx.