London has countless world-famous sights and tourist attractions. It was therefore difficult for us to decide on the 10 best things to see in London. In addition, to the historic buildings and sites such as Big Ben or Tower Bridge, there are also some spectacular modern attractions in our TOP 10 list, the two newest ones being the London Eye and The Shard. We’ve included them in our TOP 10 list because they both offer a fantastic view of the city.
1. Big Ben – London’s famous clock tower
Big Ben is one of London’s most famous landmarks. Situated directly next to the Houses of Parliament, the tower can be seen and heard from far and wide. For information about the tune played by Big Ben, the origin of the name and everything else you need to know about what is probably the world’s most famous clock tower, please see our Big Ben London Guide.
2. The London Eye
Although the London Eye only opened in 1999, it’s already one of London’s most popular attractions. It features 32 glass capsules offering a spectacular view from a height of 443 feet. We’ve ranked it second among the best attractions because the location is truly magnificent (the London Eye is directly on the Thames) and because you can see lots of well-known sights from these capsules. We recommend buying tickets in advance – if possible, fast track tickets allowing you to skip the line at the gate. As you’ll see, the London Eye is a real magnet for tourists!
3. Westminster Abbey in London
Westminster Abbey is one of the world’s most-visited churches and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. By tradition, the kings and queens of England are crowned and buried here. This is where the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place – as well as the moving funeral service for Lady Diana. A visit to this majestic church is an absolute must on any trip to London. We’ve summarised the most important facts about Westminster Abbey in our guide.
4. Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace has been the official residence of the British monarchy since 1837. The palace not only serves as a residence for Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip but also as a place for hosting state receptions. In addition, it accommodates the Queen’s Gallery (the Queen’s painting collection) and the Royal Mews (the opulent state coaches used by the British monarchy).
5. Tower Bridge in London
Another of London’s landmarks – aside from Big Ben and Buckingham Palace – is Tower Bridge, probably one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. The 800-foot-long bascule and suspension bridge spanning the Thames only dates back to the end of the 19th century and links the boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Southwark. Click here to find out everything you need to know about Tower Bridge – including its history and interesting tips for visitors.
6. St. Paul’s Cathedral
The majestic St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the world’s largest and most notable cathedrals. It serves as the setting for numerous state ceremonies. Among other things, this is where Princess Diana said her wedding vows to Prince Charles. The imposing cathedral is situated around 300 yards north of the Thames in the borough known as “The City”. From an architectural point of view, it’s an absolute masterpiece, both inside and out.
7. The Tower of London
The Tower of London is just the opposite of the London Eye – which is precisely what makes it so special. Dating back almost 1,000 years, the Tower of London is one of the world’s most famous fortresses and one of the four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in London. Over the course of its history, the Tower of London has served as an arsenal, prison, execution site, and even a zoo. Today, it’s the permanent home of the Crown Jewels.
8. Piccadilly Circus
Millions of people pass through Piccadilly Circus every week. This square is one of the most popular meeting places in London. It’s a hive of activity at all times of day and night. Piccadilly Circus is situated in the heart of London and there’s always something to see or do here. I’ve put together the most important facts about this famous square – including shopping tips!
9. The Shard
Since 2012, visitors to London have been able to view the city from a completely new vantage point – the tallest building in Western Europe. The Shard, a pyramid-shaped skyscraper in the London borough of Southwark, is the city’s newest landmark. The view is truly breathtaking!
10. Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a large central square right in the heart of London. In the Middle Ages it was a place of great importance, and today numerous fountains, memorials and statues commemorate famous Londoners from times gone by. Its name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar, a key British victory during the Napoleonic Wars.