With its exceptional museums and architectural icons, London needs no introduction.
It sprawls around the River Thames in England’s southeast and has a storied past as a political, economic, and cultural hub. Many of its thoroughfares are household names thanks to the success of “Monopoly”, such as the legendary shopping mecca of Oxford Street.
Visiting London can be an overwhelming experience, with so many outstanding attractions and things to do. In this article, we’ll highlight some of the best to add to your itinerary, whether you’re into history, art, or green spaces. For the most memorable experience, be sure to lock in your accommodation early by browsing the property listings of an online rental platform such as Rentola London. It showcases rentals across the English capital so you can easily compare amenities and prices, whether you want to be somewhere central or in a leafy neighborhood.
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kew Gardens is a magnificent botanical garden that should be high on the bucket list of all green thumbs. It features beautifully manicured beds, a striking palm house, and Japanese-style gardens, as well as children’s playgrounds, grassy lawns, and a handful of excellent restaurants.
Boasting a commanding setting between three parks, Buckingham Palace is the most famous of the British monarchy’s residences. Coincide your visit with a state occasion to see the royals appear on the central balcony or visit while they are away to tour the lavishly decorated State Rooms and the John Nash-designed Throne Room. Not to miss is the daily Changing of the Guards.
Housing a mind-boggling number of antiquities, the British Museum is a centuries-old institution that will take you on a journey around the globe. Highlights include the Rosetta Stone with its Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and the Elgin Marbles from ancient Athens. Also not to miss is the Mildenhall Treasure, a significant hoard of Roman silverware dating from the 4th century AD.
Tower of London
Home to the coronation regalia and other royal treasures, this storied castle is named after an 11th-century tower built by William the Conqueror. In addition to getting up close to royal armaments and armor, you can visit the Royal Mint where coins were produced from the 13th century. Walk along the battlements and hear stories of the Yeoman Warders who have guarded the tower since the Tudor period.
Overlooking all the hustle and bustle of Trafalgar Square, this monumental museum houses thousands of paintings dating back eight centuries. Highlights of the collection include Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” and Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Virgin of the Rocks”, as well as the Impressionist masterpiece “Water-Lily Pond” by Claude Monet. You can pick up art-themed gifts and books at one of the three museum stores.
Serving as a green lung for London residents since 1635, Hyde Park centers around the Serpentine Lake where you can go boating and swimming in the summer months. Wander through the Rose Garden, explore the Hudson Memorial Bird Sanctuary, or listen to fiery debates at Speaker’s Corner. Adjacent is Kensington Gardens, home to a royal palace and a children’s playground dedicated to Lady Diana.
Overlooking the Millennium Bridge, the Tate Modern is not to be missed for anyone interested in modern and contemporary art. It is housed within a former power station and showcases works by Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol, to name just a few. After your visit, you can ride the ferry that connects to Tate Britain, renowned for its collection of works by the Romantic painter, William Turner.
Soaring high above the River Thames, this huge Ferris wheel offers panoramic views from its glass capsules, with the scene particularly magical at night. At the base of the London Eye is the Jubilee Gardens with its beloved children’s playground and the London Dungeon, which brings to life some of the more macabre events that have occurred in the city.
The Victoria and Albert Museum
Established in the mid-19th century, the V&A is one of London’s leading museums, with its collection of decorative objects unrivaled. In addition to ceramics, glass, and metalwork, it showcases a large number of Italian Renaissance sculptures and painted portrait miniatures. You can join a guided tour focusing on a particular theme or an introductory tour to discover some of the museum’s highlights.
For a unique memento of your London stay, be sure to visit some of the city’s markets, such as Brick Lane Market with its vintage bric-a-brac or the flower-filled stalls along Columbia Road. More than 100 stores offering everything from furniture to fashion cluster within the Camden Market while the historic Borough Market is not to missed for its artisan food and fresh produce. The Covent Garden Market is the place to head for antiques and handmade wares.