London is a world of its own in one city with around 230 languages spoken there.
You’ll find a wealth of cultures, communities, and activities within a few miles of another. The history goes back to thousands of years ago, and the culture still remains the same. Let’s take a look at the best things to do in London for the perfect day, family day out, and places to eat. You’ll have the best time ever in the city which is home to politics, culture, and surprise.
A Bit About London
Before we talk about the best things to do in London, let's evaluate all of the information you'll need to know before traveling here. From the geography and location to history and culture, we've compiled the pertinent details.
The History of London
In 1666, the Great Fire of London destroyed most of the city and buildings crumbled to the grounds. On Sunday 2 September 1666, the fire started in a baker’s shop which quickly spread to his house and throughout the city. As there was no such thing as the fire brigade, people relied on fire extinguishers to put flames out themselves. Three days later, the Navy used gunpowder to control the fire. It wasn’t easy to put out, and they relied on blowing up houses in the path of the fire to create a space for the fire to stop.
Many people lost their lives during the fire, and temporary buildings quickly became filled with diseases. Many people died from diseases and because of the cold winter following the fire. 13,200 hours and 87 churches were destroyed – including many buildings built during the Middle Ages. It cost £10 million and 30 years to resurrect the city, but the fire brigade formed and employed men to extinguish fires. The city we know today is all thanks to hard-working souls building it back together again. Additionally, the city also suffered a huge loss during the Great Plague. In the 17th century, one-fifth of the population died.
During the second World War, London was again heavily destroyed after the German bombings and especially after the Blitz. In 1948, the entire city had to be rebuilt, and the Summer Olympics were held at the Wembley Stadium to welcome the new city. Over 30,000 London residents died during the War. Despite such adversity, London has recovered to become the vibrant and cultural gem we know and love today.
London is home to over seven million residents, making it England’s largest city. It contains various universities and colleges and has a huge student population. In fact, people from all around the world reside here to study and make unforgettable memories. The city covers a total of 607 square miles, with the Thames River flowing through the heart of London.
Temperatures are never too hot or too cold in London, though you can expect rain and clouds throughout most of the year. If you visit here, ensure you bring a raincoat and umbrella for your days out as it’s prone to drizzling.
Winter typically reaches 0-8 degrees Celsius, and although it’s close, it very rarely reaches below freezing. If you prefer hotter weather, visit between July and August for an average of 17 degrees Celsius, though we still recommend taking an umbrella.
What’s London’s Culture Like?
London boasts four heritage sites, including the Tower of London, Westminster Palace, Maritime Greenwich, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Amongst this, it has over 300 venues to showcase the best music performances in the world. If you love music and live performances, London is definitely the place for you.
People speak over 300 languages in London, which is more than any other city on the planet. The city beams with creativity and diversity with people from all ethnic origins and financial backgrounds calling it home. When you visit here, you’ll meet people of different faiths, races, and nationalities which makes the atmosphere exciting.
Recommendations For Things To Do In London
Explore some of the most amazing places you’ll ever see in your life with these things to do in London. No matter your interests of travel companions, there is something that is sure to appeal to everyone.
1. View The City From The London Eye
Take a 30-minute ride on the London Eye to enjoy 360-degree views of the city. This is one of the world’s most famous attractions and one of the best things to do in London for around $35 per adult. The gradual rotation rises to 135 metres in one of 32 glass capsules. Each one is equipped with a touchscreen display to offer more insight about London’s iconic landmarks.
Located along the River Thames, the London Eye boasts views of the Houses of Parliament, River, and Big Ben. To make your time more captivating, opt for a VIP experience with champagne. Escape the long queues and crowds with the Eye Lounge where you’ll receive a complimentary drink. To enhance your viewing experience, we recommend visiting on a clear summer’s night to see a sparkling skyline. This attraction plays hosts to thousands of people every year, and makes the perfect day out for families, friends, or as a romantic date.
2. Liven Up In Soho
One of the best things to do in London is visiting Soho for the ultimate British shopping experience. Soho is filled with history, mixed cultures, venues, and an atmosphere which never sleeps. Nestled in central London, it’s a great place for a pulsing nightlife – where Londoners regularly flock to. Treat yourself to a West End show and live entertainment for an adventurous night out.
Soho is recognized for its array of boutique shops. Visit Berwick Street, Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, Regent Street, and Oxford Street for interesting shops in the fashion and electronics sector. You’ll also find the famous Hamleys store here for one of the world’s best selection of toys.
This area is also home to live music and clubs, and you can find everything from casual, to gay clubs to celebrate all lifestyles. No matter your favourite music genre, there’s a cool music venue to hang out in.
3. Cruise Down The River Thames
Get a whole new experience of the capital by taking a cruise down the River Thames. If you’re looking for things to do in London which are more relaxing and show a different perspective of the city, indulge in the impressive views of London. There are plenty of fleets of boats across private hires and even disco cruises. You can choose to party the night away in London city, or take a more scenic, relaxing route.
The atmosphere is incredible, and all guests are entitled to a view of the stunning city. Travel through the heart of the city in a floating restaurant with seasonal dishes cooked freshly on board. Alternatively, learn about the city’s history and main attractions with a tour guide aboard. We recommend Bateaux for an elegant experience with live entertainment. As you move along, listen to a four-piece band whilst devouring delicious food crafted with love and attention.
4. Eat To Your Heart’s Content In Chinatown
Chinatown is your first stop for authentic East Asian food right in the heart of London. Here, you’ll find 70 shops, bars, cafes, and restaurants that attract over 17 million visitors each year. Visit during the Chinese New Year between January and February for an unbelievable atmosphere in this area.
Located in the heart of the City of Westminster, Chinatown doesn’t resemble London at all. Just one block away you’ll transition into a street lined with red paper lanterns and Mandarin signs and signature style. It’s been here for over 50 years, offering exotic ingredients and traditional Chinese medicine to Londoners and tourists.
We recommend avoiding buffets, as there are umpteen restaurants which are cheaper and fill you up, as well as offering a traditional experience. If you’re unsure of which restaurant to opt for, glance over the menu at the door to find the right venue for your tastes. Each restaurant is unique, so there are plenty of Chef specials and different options for everyone.
5. Liven Up In Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus lies in the City of Westminster in London’s West end, and is essentially an open space which acts as a glamorous street junction. It’s famously surrounded by neon signs, notable buildings such as the London Pavilion, and theatres. You can also find an array of bars and places to eat for the perfect stop-off point. It becomes trafficked with thousands of tourists, so ensure you visit here early in the morning for the best views of the Circus.
It’s notorious for illuminated advertisements, which have been turned off in the past to mourn Winston Churchill, and Diana, the princess of Wales. When they’re in action, you’ll see the original Coca-Cola sign which has been here since 1954. Look closely and you’ll spot an infamous quote by the late John Lennon. Yoko Ono reportedly paid £150,000 to display “imagine all the people living life in peace”. What a refreshing moment in a lively environment.
6. Eat, Drink and Party In Leicester Square
Leicester Square is the pulse of London’s West End and welcomes millions of visitors from around the world each week. The enclosed hub homes some of the best theatre shows in London each year, as well as red-carpet film premieres. Arrive early for a film premiere for a sighting of a famous celebrity.
Capture the essence of London by taking shots of British buildings and hotels, as well as historic architectures located in the same area are casinos, clubs and restaurants. The space is open all day, every day and makes for unforgettable days out and shopping experiences. It’s home to some of the largest children’s stores in the world, making it a great day out for families with youngsters. There are plenty of hotels surrounding this lively space, so we recommend staying in the action for a true London experience. The Radisson Blu is a five-star hotel whith sleek interiors and incredible views at night. Upgrade to a room facing the Square for the best views.
7. Get Lost In Galleries
If you’re stuck for things to do in London, head to some of the best art galleries in the world. No matter if you love sculptures, impressive artwork, or old masterpieces of modern art, there’s a small or large gallery to celebrate amazing work.
From $13 per adult, the Barbican Art Gallery showcases incredible exhibitions by leading popular figures. London’s National Gallery is located in the glorious Trafalgar Square and homes western European paintings within the 13th and 19th centuries. Here, you’ll find works by Constable, Titian, Stubbs, da Vinci, Van Gogh and more. The National Portrait Gallery is just a few minutes’ walk away and presents the world’s largest collection of faces from the Tudor times to the present. Such examples include Shakespeare, kings and queens.
Another of our favourite galleries is the Royal Academy of Arts. The building and architecture surrounding the gallery is artwork in itself. Founded in 1768, it highlights exciting exhibitions and sculptures from and of iconic figures.
8. Unwind In Camden
Camden is a town which presents some of the most exciting things to do in London. You’ll witness diverse characters, unforgettable gigs and plenty of photograph opportunities. No matter the day, gigs are on all the time here, and launched the careers of Amy Winehouse, Prince, The Clash, and more. The Jazz Café is a must visit as exists as a mix of a club night and live music. There are plenty of tasty snacks to munch on whilst enjoying exciting performances.
For a chilled afternoon, visit the Devonshire Arms for live rock, punk, and metal music. You can also enjoy a traditional British pub meal and soak up some sun rays outside if it’s summer. Afterwards, head to some of the most eccentric shops in London with vintage stores and naughty shops dotted about everywhere. Pick up glow-in-the-dark clothing and vintage rave clothing. Whilst walking around the shops, look at the floor and buildings for art work dotted about everywhere. These graffiti pieces and portraits are all part of the Camden experience, and you can even take a walking tour for more explanations and moments.
Why Everyone Should Visit London
It only takes a few days to feel at home in one of the best cities in the world. Whether you get away for a long weekend, or several weeks, there are plenty of things to do in London for everyone and for all budgets. Ensure you take time off to witness some sightseeing moments such as Buckingham Palace, the Big Ben, and the Tower of London. Whilst venturing in the places above, experience hopping on a red double-decker bus to get around and learn about some of the most recognizable sights in the world.
Have you visited this historical city? If so, let us know some of your favourite things to do in London in the comments. Be sure to share this with the globe-trotting travelers in your life!
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