Ultimate London Bucket List: 101 Fun Things to do in London! ⋆ We Dream of Travel Blog

Ultimate London Bucket List: 101 Fun Things to do in London!

Blog cover for Ultimate London Bucket List: 101 Fun Things to do in London!  Text overlaying an image of a girl in front of Tower Bridge

WRITTEN BY: Sophie Clapton, Born and bred Londoner.
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London is the third most visited city in the world (behind Bangkok and Paris), and for good reason! With such a veritable plethora of things to do in London, you could visit again and again and still discover new adventures each time.

So where do you even begin!? That’s where we come in.

We’ve endeavoured to put together the ultimate London bucket list, chocked full of must-have experiences to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

You’ll discover the city’s iconic landmarks, it’s millennia of history, and even leafy green parks. Or, take a break from exploring to indulge in London’s incredible food scene!

With 101 items to check off your list, this will not be something you can tackle in a weekend! But don’t worry – it just gives you a good excuse to keep coming back!

If it’s your first time in London, you’ll want to read out London itinerary to help you plan your time in this beautiful city. If you’ve already checked off all the tourist hot spots, then you may enjoy our guide to non-touristy things to do in London.

Disclosure: In order to keep providing you with free content, this post may contain affiliate links. If you make a booking or purchase through one of these links we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. So a HUGE thank you to you if you click one of these links 🙂

The Ultimate London Bucket List: 101 Epic Things to do in London!

Bucket List London Landmarks and Attractions

It feels only right to start off the London bucket list with the most iconic city sights. Even if you have only a couple of days in London, you’ll definitely want to check these landmarks out.

1. Visit the crown jewels at the Tower of London

The Tower of London is a London bucket list iconic landmark!
The Tower of London is the only castle in central London.

Dating back to 1070s, the Tower of London has served many purposes over the years from a fortress to a prison, royal mint and even a zoo. Today, it is a popular tourist attraction and home to the crown jewels. It is also the only castle in central London – so you can check “see an English castle” off your bucket list too!

Take a Beefeater tour to dive deeper into British history. Book your tickets here.

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2. Watch Tower Bridge lift up for passing ships

A girl in a red dress in front of Tower Bridge opening in London

Tower Bridge is often mistakenly referred to as London Bridge (which is in fact the next bridge along to the west and far less impressive!). What most people don’t know is that it regularly lifts to allow ships to pass! Make sure you check out the lift times on the Tower Bridge website and plan your visit to watch the bridge open!

3. See the Houses of Parliament and the Palace of Westminster

Houses of Parliament, Palace of Westminster and Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) at sunset viewed from South Bank.
Houses of Parliament at sunset.

The Houses of Parliament is perhaps the most famous of all the London landmarks. Formally known as the Palace of Westminster, it is the meeting place of the British government.

4. Set your clock to Big Ben’s chime

Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben covered in scaffolding and framed by an archway, viewed from south of the Thames
Big Ben in his metal jacket!

Unfortunately, Big Ben isn’t looking quite so handsome at the moment as it undergoes some necessary renovations. However, the good news is that the scaffolding will always allow for one face of the clock to be visible.

Fun fact: the tower you will be looking at is actually called the Elizabeth Tower. The nickname ‘Big Ben’ was first given to the Great Bell but has become synonymous with the bell, the tower and the clock. Therefore you cannot actually “see” Big Ben as a visitor to London – but you can hear it and set your clock to its chime!

5. Wave to the Queen at Buckingham Palace

A girl in a ball gown in front of Buckingham Palace at dusk
Pretending to be a princess at Buckingham Palace!

Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the Queen. Go ahead and marvel at the sheer opulence of the palace, and if you’re lucky you may get a glimpse of Her Majesty!

At certain times of year, you can take tours of some of the staterooms within the palace. Check the Buckingham Palace website for more information or consider a walking tour with a palace visit.

6. Witness the Changing of the Guard

Witnessing the changing of the guard is an incredibly popular thing to do for foreigners visiting London. Personally, I find it overrated and too crowded to be enjoyable. However, many people really enjoy it and I felt remiss excluding such a popular activity from the list!

It only takes place on certain days, so check on the Changing Guard website for up-to-date info regarding times and the best places to watch the ceremony. If you prefer, you can book a tour that will show you the best locations to view the parade, as well as provide more information about its history.

7. Watch the Horse Guards Parade

The Horse Guards Parade offers a bit of a quieter alternative to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, but with all the ceremonial pomp.

Horse and guard at Horseguards London

8. Feel like royalty along The Mall

The Mall street in London resembles a giant red carpet and shouldn't be missed on your London bucket list.
The Mall resembles a giant red carpet.

The Mall is one of the most famous streets in London. It is the road leading up to Buckingham Palace and was designed to be red in colour to resemble a long red carpet!

9. Visit Westminster Abbey

A red phone box in front of Westminster Abbey - two london landmarks in one image
Two icons in one: Westminster Abbey and red phone box.

Dating back to 960, Westminster Abbey is a true London icon and cannot be missed. It is has been the official place of coronation since 1066. As one of four UNESCO sites in London, Westminster Abbey is a must-see in London.

10. Admire the views from Westminster Bridge

Admiring the view of the London Eye from the Westminster Bridge.
View of London Eye and South Bank from Westminster Bridge.

Westminster Bridge provides spectacular views of the London Eye and South Bank on one side of the Thames, and the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben on the other.

11. Snap a photo of the London Eye

London Eye from Victoria Embankment - a perfect Instagram spot
The iconic London Eye.

Honestly, I know riding the London Eye is on a lot of people’s London bucket lists but I think it’s a waste of money. Unless you have a London Pass or any other pass that includes entry at no additional cost, I’d recommend saving the money and indulging on a cocktail with a view elsewhere instead.

However, it is easily one of the most Instagrammable places in London so soak in the views of it from various angles and get that perfect insta-worthy shot!

12. Explore London’s South Bank

A riverside stroll along South Bank will not only provide you with beautiful views across the River Thames to many of London’s icons, but you’ll also find a bevy of restaurants, bars, historic pubs, market stalls and street performers.

13. Visit the political heart of the city; 10 Downing Street

Exploring Downing Street for an Instagram photo.
Outside No. 10 Downing Street.

Downing Street is one of the most famous streets in London and the political hub of the UK. It is the official residence of the Prime Minister at No. 10 and the Chancellor of the Exchequer at No. 11. Unfortunately, due to security risks, access to this road is restricted unless you’re a scheduled visitor, Parliamentary pass holder or member of the accredited press. However, you can still get a peek from the top of the road.

(I have a friend that works at Downing Street so was able to access the street and snap a photo outside No. 10!)

14. Marvel at St Paul’s Cathedral

Cherry blossoms frame St Pauls with iconic London red buses and a black taxi in front
St Paul’s looks even prettier in the spring.

St Paul’s Cathedral is an architectural masterpiece and was once the highest building in London. Views of St Pauls are still protected from many sights around the city. If nothing else, wander the perimeter of the spectacular church to marvel at its intricacies and grandeur.

It’s well worth taking the time to visit inside too, time permitting. Tickets are cheaper and you get to skip the line if you book in advance.

15. Walk across Millennium Bridge

Millennium Bridge is a must-see on any London bucket list

As the name suggests, Millennium Bridge was opened in 2000. This impressive steel suspension footbridge was the first bridge to be built over the River Thames in 100 years.

Look closely as you cross the bridge and you may find one of London’s hidden gems in plain sight! All across the bridge are tiny, hidden pieces of art painted on chewing gum designed by the artist Ben Wilson.

16. Climb the Monument to the Great Fire of London

A bucket list London view of the city from The Monument
View from The Monument.

The Monument to the Great Fire of London was built in 1677 and designed by Christopher Wren to commemorate the Great Fire of London and to celebrate the rebuilding of the City. If you’re physically able, you can climb the 311 steps to the top and take in breathtaking views of the city.

17. Enjoy a moment of peace at St Dunstan in the East

St Dunstan in the East provides a peaceful break from the city

St Dunstan in the East is a little oasis nestled in the heart of London. Just a short walk from the Tower of London and you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city within the beautiful church remains and garden.

Bucket list things to do in London’s West End

The West End of London is a major hub of tourist attractions, shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. It is also home to London’s theatre district.

Despite being a popular tourist neighbourhood, it’s still one of my personal favourite areas in London. There’s always a great atmosphere and electric buzz here.

18. Visit the lions at Trafalgar Square

…And visit the smallest police station in Britain!

Every visitor of London needs a photo with the lions of Trafalgar Square.

Yep, Trafalgar Square is not only home to four huge brass lion sculptures but also the tiniest police station. Trust me – the lions are harder to climb onto than they appear. I also think it’s technically not allowed anymore (I haven’t attempted it since I was 16 as I’m nowhere near as agile now and needed a lot of help then!!).

19. Watch the street performers in Covent Garden

Covent Garden is a beautiful part of the West End and you’ll find many great shops, restaurants and bars. However, what makes this part of London really fun is the street performers. You’ll find a variety of them located around the main square and nearby streets.

There are also many cute alleyways to wander down with bespoke boutique shops. Many of them make you feel like you’ve somehow left the capital city and wandered into a small English village!

20. Surround yourself in colour at Neals Yard

London Instagram photo of colourful Neals Yard.

This colourful little courtyard is lined with shops and restaurants and is usually much quieter than its neighbouring areas, providing a moments respite from the chaos of the city! It also makes for the perfect London Instagram shot.

21. Explore Chinatown

Chinese gate in Chinatown London - a must-see bucket list location
Chinese gate in Chinatown.

Centred around Gerrard Street is Chinatown – a hub of Chinese culture in the centre of London. You’ll find streets decorated with Chinese symbols such as dragons and lanterns, and a host of Chinese restaurants and small businesses.

Make sure to stop by the Chinese gate on Wardour Street which was built in Beijing before being installed in 2016.

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22. Enjoy cocktails and nightlife in Soho

Popular with Londoners and tourists alike, Soho is the perfect place to enjoy London nightlife. It’s a diverse, vibrant area with many great restaurants, bars and clubs.

This area is also renowned for being the hub of gay London. Parts of Soho also have a very risqué vibe with not-so-subtle sex shops and burlesque.

23. See a West End show

The West End is the theatre hub of London, providing a wealth of great shows to choose from. While many shows sell out weeks or even months in advance, a few shows have lottery options so you can pick up cheap tickets on the day, including one of my personal favourites; The Book of Mormon. You can also check at TKTS in Leicester Square for official discounted tickets on the day.

24. Take in the lights Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus should be on everyone's London bucket list

Piccadilly Circus is the London equivalent of Times Square (albeit on a smaller scale!). It’s a great place to wander and just soak up the buzzing atmosphere at night.

25. People watch in Leicester Square

Leicester Square is another tourist favourite, and because of this it can be a bit of a tourist trap. Definitely avoid eating at the restaurants around here as they’re typically overpriced. However, it’s a great place to people watch or enjoy a cocktail with a view at the bar at Hotel Indigo.

26. Go shopping

One of the most famous streets in London and a bucket list item, Regent Street adorned with Union Jacks
Regent Street is a top shopping destination in London.

There’s no shortage of places to go shopping in London. Oxford Street is London’s main shopping street with a host of high street and higher-end retailers. Along with Regent Street, Bond Street and Carnaby Street, this is the main shopping hub in London. For more high-end shopping, visit the famous department stores Liberty and Harrod’s.

London Bucket List: East London

While often overlooked in favour of the more popular and famed parts of London, East London has an impressive list of places to visit that far fewer people know about.

With everything from a UNESCO World Heritage site to a handful of hidden gems, East London is a great place to explore!

27. Stand in two hemispheres at the Royal Observatory

The Prime Meridian line at Greenwich Observatory is set at Longitude 0° and represents where the eastern hemisphere meets the west – just as the Equator divides the northern and southern hemispheres. Therefore you can stand with a foot in two different hemispheres!

Heard of Greenwich Mean Time? Well, it’s here at the Royal Observatory where time starts! In the late 19th century, time was standardised internationally and the Prime Meridian line was chosen as the reference line for Greenwich Mean Time.

28. Climb the O2

For a really unique London experience, you can climb over the 02 arena. This is one of the few things on this London bucket list that I’ve yet to do myself, but it’s supposed to be a lot of fun and offer some incredible views. Book your tickets here.

29. Fly over the Thames on the Emirates Cable Car

Flying over the river Thames on the Emirates Cable Car.
View of the London O2 from the Emirates Cable Car.

The Emirates Airline Cable Car offers great alternative views of London over the O2 arena and city skyline.

30. Hunt for street art in Shoreditch

Shoreditch has become renowned for its impressive street art and you can discover many vibrant pieces all over this area. Take a Shoreditch street art tour to discover all the best artwork and learn more about the artists.

31. Make some furry friends at Spitalfields City Farm

Discover a little piece of the countryside and meet some furry critters at Spitalfields City Farm. Not only is it the closest farm to the city square mile, it is also completely free to visit!

32. Unleash your inner child at Ballie Ballerson

Ballie Ballerson offers the first (and only) adults ball pit in London. Immerse yourself in a pool of colour with a cocktail in hand as you unleash your inner child at this fun bar.

33. Find out about London’s most infamous serial killer on a Jack the Ripper walking tour

The serial murders of women in 1888 in Whitechapel were never solved and the killer was named ‘Jack the Ripper’. Discover more about these infamous killings and a darker part of London’s history on an informative Jack the Ripper walking tour.

34. Jump onboard the Cutty Sark

The Cutty Sark is around 150 years old and is the world’s only surviving extreme clipper.

It was one of the fastest ships of its era. During its time as a British merchant ship, the Cutty Sark travelled the equivalent of two and a half journeys to the moon and back! Book your tickets online.

Local Things to do in London

While some may feel touristy, these are the London bucket list items that every true Londoner must tick off!

35. Ride a double decker bus

One of the best ways to explore London is on one of its red double-decker buses. The number 9 and 11 routes are two of the best for tourists as they pass many of the main attractions. For the best views, sit at the front on the top deck!

36. Take a cruise along the River Thames

London is a beautiful city from any angle, but it’s particularly impressive from the water. Take a sightseeing cruise along the Thames or hop on the Thames Clipper to take in some of the best sights from the river.

37. Take a ride on the London Underground

Piccadilly Circus tube station and ad screens are a must see in London in 2 days
Taking a ride on the underground is a must in London!

Taking a ride on the underground aka ‘The Tube’ in London is an absolute must! This labyrinth of tunnels has existed and provided transport for over 150 years.

38. Hail a London black cab

You cannot become a true Londoner until you have hailed a black cab
London black cabs are iconic… but what about London multi-coloured cabs?!

Did you know that black cabs are the only vehicles in London licensed to pick you up curbside, without a reservation? All other cabs must be booked in advance!

The black taxi drivers (aka cabbies!) are extremely knowledgeable of London streets and are required to prove this by passing multiple tests in order to receive their license. However, they are also one of the most expensive forms of transport.

You can even book a private black cab London tour to experience London from one of its most iconic vehicles.

39. Make a call from a red phone box

The London Eye and Red Phone Boxes on Victoria Embankment
Iconic London red phone box.

As well as making great props for Instagram photos, the red telephone booths still (mostly) function as phones! Go ahead and make a phone call from one!

Some no long function and have been converted for other jobs now, such as public libraries and coffee shops.

Other Things to Add to Your London Bucket List

As much as I loved to tidily organise and categorise things, I just couldn’t quite find a category for these items. However, they are all equally worth doing on a visit to London.

40. Go on a walking tour

Walking tours are a great way to get to know any city, and there are plenty to choose from in London. You’ll find a large variety of walking tours for all different parts of the city and for varying interests.

Check out some of the best London walking tours here.

41. Find some of London’s most colourful neighbourhoods

Visiting the rainbow coloured houses in Notting Hill should be on everyone's London bucket list.
Colourful houses in Notting Hill.

You will find a few pockets of colourful houses scattered throughout London, but perhaps the neighbourhood most famous for its vibrant homes is Notting Hill.

Find out where to find them all in our guide to Notting Hill’s colourful houses.

42. Visit a quaint London Mews street

Holland Park Mews in Notting Hill, one of the most Instagrammable places in London

Historically, Mews streets were stables with accommodation located above for staff of the nearby mansion houses. Nowadays they are highly sought-after property. These quaint streets provide a peaceful stroll for admiring the flower-adorned homes.

43. Snap photos of Little Venice

London once relied heavily on its canal system for transport. Today, the canal district of Little Venice provides a beautiful place for an afternoon walk and many photo opportunities along the way of the gorgeous narrowboats.

44. Watch a trial at the Old Bailey

The Old Bailey is the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales. There are free public galleries here to watch criminal trials take place.

45. Visit one of the 10 other royal palaces in London

Everyone has Buckingham Palace on their London bucket list, but did you know there are actually 10 royal palaces in London?!

You may have noticed a couple already on this list; the Tower of London and Palace of Westminster. Kensington Palace and Hampton Court Palace are two more of my other favourites!

46. Discover Roman relics

Around 50AD, London was a Roman settlement known as Londinium. Today, relics of this historical city are still visible. You can retrace the city’s Roman roots at Billingsgate Bathhouses, the Roman Amphitheatre and London Mithraeum.

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Pop Culture and Sports in London Bucket List

London has been the location for many movies, TV shows and music references over the years. It’s also a hub for sports, playing host to some of the world’s largest sporting events.

This section of our London bucket list focuses on seeing some of the city’s more recent and “mainstream” history.

47. Go on a London movie tour

Countless movies have been filmed in London, including Notting Hill, Love Actually, Harry Potter, James Bond and Bridget Jones. Take a London movie tour to discover London’s cinematic icons.

48. Visit Platform 9¾ at Kings Cross

All the Harry Potter fans should know about this one. You cannot be a “Potterhead” and not have a visit to Platform 9¾ at Kings Cross on your bucket list!

Take in even more Harry Potter sights and filming locations with a London Harry Potter tour.

49. Dive into some mysteries at 221b Baker Street

Home to the fictitious character Sherlock Holmes, the address 221b Baker Street never existed prior to the novels by Sir Conan Arthur Doyle. However, now it is a real address and is home to the Sherlock Holmes Museum!

For the ultimate Holmes and Watson fans, combine a stop at the museum with a Sherlock Holmes walking tour.

50. Snap a photo for your next album cover at Abbey Road

A visit to Abbey Road is a london bucket list item for every Beatles fans
Head to Abbey Road to replicate the famous Beatles album cover.

It’s amazing how such a common, nondescript place can become so iconic. The zebra crossing at Abbey Road is an absolute must-see in London for Beatles fans, though it is otherwise pretty underwhelming!

51. Find a Tardis

The fictional time machine in Dr Who is based on the traditional blue police boxes that used to be present throughout the UK. In the 1950s, there were 685 police boxes on the streets of London. While none of these remain today, you can find a replica outside Earls Court tube station for the Dr Who fans!

52. Order a martini “shaken, not stirred” at Duke’s Bar London

Duke’s Bar is where Ian Fleming, the author of James Bond, used to drink. It is rumoured that this bar is where the term “shaken, not stirred” was first coined. The bar is known for making the best martinis in London.

53. Watch a football match at Wembley Stadium

Football is an integral part of a lot of English culture and Wembley is the absolute mecca for footy fans!

54. Experience the cricket at Lord’s

Lord’s Cricket Ground is the most famous cricket ground in the world and is known as the ‘home of cricket’. If you’re a fan of the sport or are curious about it, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to experience a game here.

55. Enjoy strawberries and tennis at Wimbledon

Strawberries and tennis are synonymous with summer for a lot of Londoners. Despite living very close to Wimbledon, I must admit that I’ve never watched a game of tennis here. However, sports fans visiting in the summer will likely have “watch a match at Wimbledon stadium” at the top of their to-do list!

London Bucket List for Foodies

Perhaps my favourite thing about London is all the food. From street food to Michelin star restaurants, London has it all. Make sure you don’t leave London without trying at least a few of these…

56. Feast on a traditional Sunday roast

Whenever I’m asked to explain what British food is, a traditional Sunday roast is the first thing that pops to mind. A staple in most British households, the Sunday roast is the epitome of comfort food, slightly resembling a typical American Thanksgiving dinner. Most London pubs will serve a roast on a Sunday.

57. Have a pint in a traditional pub

Churchill Arms is a traditional London pub decorated in beautiful flowers

You absolutely cannot leave London without having a pint of cask ale in a pub. With over 3500 pubs in London, some dating back centuries, you have plenty to choose from!

58. Try fish and chips

While I prefer fish and chips at the seaside, this is another English staple. However, if you’re staying in London then you still need to try it while in the UK! Poppies Fish and Chips is renowned for having the best fish and chips in London.

59. Treat yourself to an afternoon tea

Is there anything more quintessentially British than afternoon tea? It’s pretty much an English institution.

There are so many great options, from the lavish high-end eateries to creatively-themed teas. No matter where you chose to go, you’ll find your afternoon tea will consist of a pot of tea, finger sandwiches, scones and sweet treats. The presentation and quality, however, may differ.

60. Indulge in a bottomless brunch

A boozy brunch has become quite the weekend event in London. Many venues offer bottomless brunch varieties – with unlimited drinks usually served for 1-2 hours.

61. Experience authentic street food at one of London’s markets

There are so many incredible food markets around London, all of which have a huge variety of foods. My favourites include Borough Market, Camden Market and South Bank.

62. Start your day with a full English breakfast

Get your day started the right way with a full English breakfast. This will typically consist of bacon, sausages, egg, tomato, mushrooms, baked beans and toast. While traditional, it’s less common to find it served with black pudding, a type of blood sausage, in this part of the UK.

63. Try proper Pie, Mash & Liquor

Pie and mash is traditionally a working class food, originating from London’s East End. In the 1800s, when ‘Eel Pie and Mash Houses’ first opened, the pies were made with eel as this was commonly found in the Thames. Today, the pies are filled with ground beef.

This Cockney favourite is typically served with liquor, a parsley gravy. Some pie and mash houses still serve stewed or jellied eels.

64. Go for a midnight feast at one of London’s 24 hour restaurants

It feels rather odd going for dinner in the middle of the night, but in London, you have so many great options it seems rude not to! There are a number of restaurants that serve food 24/7. Some of the best include Vingt Quatre, Duck & Waffle and Polo Bar.

65. Conquer the Bermondsey Beer Mile

The Bermondsey Beer Mile is actually over a mile of breweries and bottle shops, most of which serve craft beer. This is an absolute must for any self respecting beer lover.

66. Go Instagram cafe hopping

Girl enjoying coffee and cake at Peggy Porschen Belgravia London

Have you even been to London if you haven’t posted a picture of one of the many cute cafes and flower displays?

67. Enjoy cocktails with a view at The Shard

There are many bars in London that offer incredible views, but it’s hard to beat those available from The Shard.

68. Devour a curry on Brick Lane

One of the few positive things to come from England’s notorious history India is the immersion of curry into our cultural norms. Nowadays, arguably the best curries in the world can be found in London!

Brick Lane is often referred to as the curry capital of the UK and is THE PLACE to get an Indian curry.

Museums & Galleries

You’ll find that you’re never too far from a museum or gallery in London with over 200 of them scattered across the capital city. Not only do they make for a great rainy day experience, but they are also one of the best free things to do in London.

Most of the museums are free to enter, although they may charge for entrance to specific exhibitions or events.

69. The British Museum

The British Museum is the world’s oldest public national museum, dating back to 1759. Here, you’ll find around 8 million artifacts, including the Rosetta Stone and mummies!

70. Imperial War Museum

A far more moving experience, the Imperial War Museum provides a detailed look at war from WW1 to modern day. Discover war through the eyes of people who lived it.

71. Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is a bucket list London location
The impressive main hall of the Natural History Museum.

The Natural History Museum is my personal favourite. It is a place where you can come face to face with dinosaurs and discover more about our natural world. All this is housed in one of the most magnificent, photogenic buildings.

72. Science Museum

Perhaps the most interactive of museums, the Science Museum has many hand-on exhibitions and is a great option if you’re looking for things to do in London with kids.

73. Victoria and Albert Museum

Uh-oh time to confess… I’ve never been to the V&A. I know, I know. It’s one of the most impressive collections of art and fashion in the world (or so I’ve been told), and should be on your London bucket list (I’ll eventually check it off of mine too!).

74. National Gallery

The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square is a London bucket list thing to do.

The National Gallery is home to a collection of over 2000 pieces of art from the world’s most famous artists including Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Michelangelo and Picasso.

75. Tate Modern

In the Tate Modern, you can find modern and contemporary art pieces including work by Warhol, Dalí and Hockney.

Cultural Bucket List London

Everyone travels with different interests, but experiencing the culture of a new place should always be a priority. These items are among the best options for enjoying the rich, cultural arts of London.

76. Watch a performance at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Located on the south bank of the River Thames, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is an open-air performing arts centre. It is a reconstruction of the theatre for which William Shakespeare penned his greatest works.

If you are a huge Shakespeare fan, you may want to consider a specialised Shakespeare London walking tour, or take in a show at the Globe.

77. Attend a ballet or opera at Royal Opera House

The Royal Opera House is one of the UK’s most beautiful theatres and home to the Royal Ballet, the Royal Opera and the ROH Orchestra. Attending the ballet or opera here is a wonderful London experience.

78. Watch the Proms at Royal Albert Hall

The Proms are daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held over eight weeks during the summer. These primarily take place at the Royal Albert Hall.

79. Read a book at the British Library

The British Library is home to 25 million books and one of the largest historical collections in the world.  Take a break from all your roaming to relax in one of their reading rooms with a good book.

Best London Bucket List Worthy Views

London has no shortage of incredible views, but they’re not all bucket list worthy. These top 4 locations provide the most epic views of the city, and the best part is that most of them are free!

80. Sky Garden

Incredible sunset views from Sky Garden make for an Instagrammable photo in a bucket list London location
Sunset views from Sky Garden.

Perched at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street (aka the Walkie Talkie building), Sky Garden is the highest public garden in London. You’ll find yourself immersed in a lush urban jungle with spectacular 360° panoramic views of the city.

Admission is free but you do need to book online in advance. There are also two restaurants and a bar here, although their price tag is a lot higher!

81. Garden at 120

One of the best views in London from the Garden at 120
View from the Garden at 120.

For more completely free, epic views, you have to add the Garden at 120 to your London bucket list. No booking is required to visit and while it’s not quite as impressive or high as Sky Garden, it does have some incredible and unique views of the city.

82. One New Change

St Pauls Cathedral as seen from the rooftop of One New Change, a bucket list London thing to see.
Rooftop at One New Change.

Take the lift to the rooftop of the One New Change shopping centre for breathtaking views of St Pauls, the London Eye and other London landmarks.

This is another free option for seeing the city from up high!

83. The Shard

The View from The Shard provides unparalleled 360° panoramic views on floors 68, 69 and 72, at almost double the height of any other viewpoints in London.  However, it is the only one on this London bucket list that isn’t free. Tickets start from £35 when you book online.

You can get a similar view at one of the bars. The vantage point is not quite as high as they are located on the 31st and 32nd floors.

London Bucket List Parks and Outdoor Spaces

While green open spaces, flower gardens, and wildlife might not be the first things that come to mind when you think of the capital city, London has some incredible parks and green spaces.

84. Explore the Royal Parks in Central London

St James Park - one of the 8 royal parks that should be on your London bucket list
View from St. James’ Park.

There are eight royal parks in London: Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Green Park, St James’ Park, Regent’s Park, Greenwich Park, Richmond Park and Bushy Park. With the exception of Richmond and Bushy Park, they are all located within the city centre.

These eight parks comprise a total of 5000 acres of green spaces, all of which are free to visit and open year-round. They are perfect places to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a picnic or walk.

85. Deer spotting Richmond and Bushy parks

Deer in Bushy Park London are a must-see in London
Deer in Bushy Park.

Both Richmond Park and Bushy Park are home to red and fallow deer which have roamed freely in these parks since the 1600s. There are nearly 1000 deer between the two parks.

86. Escape the hustle and bustle at Kew Gardens

The Palm House at Kew Gardens
The Palm House at Kew Gardens.

Located 30-60 minutes outside of London by public transport, the Kew Gardens provide a serene environment that feels like an entirely different world to the chaos of central London.

This UNESCO World Heritage site encompasses over 300 acres and is home to 50,000 living plants in a variety of captivating ecosystems.

Book tickets for Kew Gardens online.

87. Enjoy the views from Primrose Hill

View over London from Primrose Hill.
View over London from Primrose Hill.

Not only does Primrose Hill provide beautiful open green spaces for a picnic in the park, it also offers some of the best sweeping views over London from afar.

88. Go wild swimming at Hampstead Heath

View of London from Hampstead Heath.
View of London from Hampstead Heath.

As well as boasting spectacular views over the city, Hampstead Heath is one of the few places you can go wild swimming in London. Take a dip at one of the swimming ponds on the heath – if you’re brave enough to add this one to your London bucket list!

89. Visit the Peacocks & Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park

Tucked away within Holland Park is the beautiful Kyoto Gardens. Complete with Japanese-style gardens and roaming peacocks, it is the perfect place to find a moment of tranquillity in the city.

90. Visit London’s oldest botanic garden: Chelsea Physic Garden

Chelsea Physic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in London, dating back to 1673. Today, it has over 5000 different edible, medicinal, herbal and useful plants.

Festive Things to Do in London

London is a wonderful city to visit at any time of the year. However, it is even more magical around Christmas time! Christmas lights and decorations adorn the streets and stores, ice skating rinks open up, and you can enjoy mulled wine and mince pies at one of the many Christmas markets.

91. Ice skate at Somerset House or Natural History Museum

Ice skating in London during the festive period is an absolute must! Both Somerset House and the Natural History Museum have annual ice skating rinks.

92. Admire the Christmas lights

London is home to some of the world’s best Christmas light displays and many streets and shops are decked out. Perhaps the most famous Christmas lights in London are those on Oxford and Regent Street. Each year they are switched on around mid-November by a local celebrity.

93. Immerse yourself in all things festive at Winter Wonderland

Located in Hyde Park, Winter Wonderland attracts over 2 million visitors each year. Here, you can be fully immersed in all things Christmassy – from Santa’s grotto to Christmas markets, restaurants, bars, shows, rides, ice skating and more! It’s free to enter but a number of the attractions are ticketed.

94. Drink mulled wine at London’s Christmas markets

London has a number of wonderful Christmas markets to visit and get into the festive spirit. Some of the best include South Bank, Leicester Square and Kingston Market, although there are plenty more around the city too!

You’ll find mulled wine served at any of the Christmas markets. Mulled wine is a delicious, traditional spiced warm wine that is only served around Christmas time!

95. Take a picture with the Christmas tree at Covent Garden

Each year, a 55ft tree appears in Covent Garden that is beautifully dressed in festive lights and decorations. Taking a picture here is definitely a must for your London Christmas bucket list!

Other Seasonal Things to Do in London

There are many other events throughout the year that are worth adding to your London bucket list if your visit to London time’s out with them!

96. Enjoy a colourful Chinese New Year parade

It is said that the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of Asia take place in London! Enjoy the colourful Chinese New Year parade with lion dances in Chinatown and entertainment in Trafalgar Square.

97. Celebrate love at Pride in London

The annual Pride in London event brings together thousands of diverse people from all genders, ethnicities and sexualities to celebrate the LGBT+ community and to continue to challenge prejudice and fight for equality.

The colourful Pride in London Parade and related events take place each June. Most of the festivities take place around Trafalgar Square and in Soho.

98. Be immersed in a sea of purple lavender

During the summer months (from June – August), a sea of purple emerges just south-west of the city. Mayfield Lavender Farm grows organic lavender and is open for visitors when the lavender is in bloom during the summer. They even have a red phone box for the perfect photo opportunity!

99. Be part of Europe’s biggest street party during Notting Hill Carnival

Every year at the end of August, the streets come alive with the largest street festival in Europe and the second biggest carnival behind Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro.

Over 2 million people take to the streets over two days to celebrate Caribbean culture, with marching bands, steel drums, costumes, parades and full on partying! This is an experience you should not miss if you happen to be in London in August.

100. Remember, remember the 5th of November

If you’re in London at the beginning of November, then you should add a Bonfire Night fireworks display to your London bucket list.

Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night, traditionally marks the anniversary of the end of the plot to blow up the House of Parliament. You will find spectacular displays across the city on the weekend closest to November 5th.  

101. Discover wildlife at the London Wetland Centre

The London Wetland Centre is brimming with wildlife and allows you an opportunity to get close to nature. Home to a wide variety of birds and insects, and even some otters, it makes for a wonderful day or afternoon out.

Final Thoughts on this Ultimate London Bucket List!

Hopefully you’ve found plenty of inspiration from this ultimate London bucket list. London is an incredible city with an unlimited number of things to do and see, but this list should have covered those absolute must-see attractions!

As always, leave us a comment with your thoughts and let us know if we’ve missed anything from this list that you think is bucket-list worthy!

Finally, you can find more useful tips and inspiration in these London guides:

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12 Comments

  1. October 22, 2020 / 12:39 pm

    This is an amazing list that I will be using someday soon! I’ve always wanted to visit London, and all of these bucket list items looks amazing. I can’t wait! Great read.

    • October 24, 2020 / 4:59 pm

      Thank you Ashley. I do hope you’re able to visit London sooner rather than later, it’s a wonderful city 🙂

  2. Sunetra
    October 22, 2020 / 1:34 pm

    Oh wow.. these are some amazing bucket list to save for my future travel to London. London is so beautiful and iconic and I still can’t believe I haven’t visited yet! Hopefully next year!

    • October 24, 2020 / 4:58 pm

      You definitely do need to come visit once you’re able to 🙂 I am sure you’d love London (and get some gorgeous photos!)

  3. October 22, 2020 / 3:14 pm

    Oh, I love how you have this list laid out! Grouping together similar things for specific interests works wonderfully – it’s an incredible list to boot! I’m impressed (with myself) that I have done so many of these! But it’s always fun to return and keep doing more.

    Also – I especially love the Buckingham Palace picture 🙂

    • October 24, 2020 / 4:58 pm

      That’s great to hear you’ve done lots of these! There’s a couple I still need to do myself 🙂 And thank you so much!

  4. October 23, 2020 / 11:50 am

    I have been to London quite a few times but reading your post tells me that there are lot of things that I have missed:) Next time I plan a trip to London, I will consider your post surely. Thanks for sharing!!

    • October 24, 2020 / 4:57 pm

      I hope you can make it back and tick a few more things off your bucket list 🙂

  5. October 23, 2020 / 5:18 pm

    Wow! What a thorough and exhaustive list! I loved it. I particularly liked how you grouped the suggestions into categories like areas, seasonal, museums, eats, festivals, royalty, theater… A great list for future reference.

    • October 24, 2020 / 4:57 pm

      Thank you so much Ildiko. I’m so glad you found it helpful to have in categories too, it was difficult to know how to break it up most effectively 🙂

  6. October 23, 2020 / 7:18 pm

    There are sooo many cool things on this list!!! Neals yard looks pretty, I love the colours. I’ve never heard of it before. And I absolutely love the photo in front of Buckingham Palace… that dress 💃

    • October 24, 2020 / 4:56 pm

      Thank you so much Sharon. Neals Yard is still a bit of a hidden gem, it’s such a lovely little spot.

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**All photos contained in this photography-based travel blog are copyright of Adam Marland & Sophie Clapton. 
They are not to be used for any purpose without the expressed, written consent of their owners.**