Visiting London means having a busy schedule — especially for those visiting the capital for the first time. There are the standard attractions to visit in London, like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace (including the Changing of the Guard), and the Tower of London, but then there are the other fun things to do in London – those which might go overlooked during a whirlwind tour of the city. Of course, once you get to your London hotel, you’ll be able to see what is around you and plan your own city itinerary. Here’s our choice for 10 very cool things to do in London…
1. Go to a museum
London is home to many famous museums, including the Tate Modern and the National Gallery. From art to history, royals to writers, London’s cultural scene is bursting with options. You’ll want to plan your visits well to make sure you can fit in all of the museums you want while not tiring yourself out. Keep in mind that entrance is free at the National Gallery, and you can even go on a tour of the museum—also for free!
2. Indulge in afternoon tea
High tea in London is one of the most famous British customs. And there are plenty of places that put on a wonderful afternoon tea session in London. In addition to hot tea, also expect to be served small snacks like finger sandwiches, pastries, scones, fruit, and small cakes. Afternoon tea is usually served from midday until 5-6pm. You can find high tea at nearly every hotel in London, but some of the best ones are at Claridge’s Hotel, Brown’s Hotel, and the Chesterfield Hotel Mayfair.
3. Get on your soapbox at Speakers’ Corner
Located at the northeast corner of Hyde Park, Speakers’ Corner has, for centuries, been the place where Londoners have gathered to air their gripes and get up on their soapbox. Even you can join in on the fun! Either stand back and people watch, listening to whatever topic the given passerby has chosen to speak about, or come up with a little speech of your own.
4. See London from above
If you want an aerial view of London, take a ride on the enormous Ferris Wheel located on the south bank of the River Thames. Known as the London Eye, board one of its large capsules and go round and round, seeing the London skyline and snapping some beautiful photos. The Shard is also worth checking out – currently the tallest building in the EU, and reaching a dizzying 1000ft into the air.
5. Stroll through Kensington Gardens
One of London’s many public parks, Kensington Gardens is conveniently located behind Kensington Palace (the current home of Prince William, Princess Kate, little Prince George, and Prince Harry). The garden is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon taking in its beautiful sights, including the Princess Diana Memorial, the Serpentine, and lovely flower gardens.
6. Get literary at The Charles Dickens Museum
This London museum is great for book lovers. Tour the Georgian townhouse where famed British author Charles Dickens, his wife, and three of their ten children lived. In the museum dedicated Charles Dickens, author of A Tale of Two Cities, A Christmas Carol, and Oliver Twist, see some of his manuscripts, rare editions, and portraits.
7. Sail down Regent’s Canal
A unique way to see London is by floating your way from Little Venice to the Docklands, seeing some quintessential architecture, beautiful little parks, the zoo, and lots of quaint neighbourhoods along the way. You can rent a kayak to manoeuvre through the calm waters yourself, hop on a waterbus, or opt for a small boat tour. You’ll likely be able to hop on and off along the way to visit the shops and take photos.
8. Munch on Fish & Chips
London is famous for its tasty food and its signature dish is fish and chips. This London food staple can be found any nearly any pub throughout the city, but not every fish and chips is worthy of comparison. The best plates of fried cod and chips can be found at Fish Central, Poppies of Spitalfields, and The Fish House of Notting Hill.
9. Browse the Portobello Road Market
At this London market in the Notting Hill section of town, you can find all kinds of goodies every day of the week. The near endless row of stalls features vendors selling items that include food and vegetables, clothes, and even antiques. Even if you don’t find anything to purchase, just going and walking through the market is a wonderful experience. And it will get you to a charming part of town that you might otherwise overlook.
10. See a show in the West End
London’s equivalent of Broadway is the West End, and it’s there that you can see amazing productions of some fantastic musicals and plays. With lots of restaurants and bars around, you’ll be able to make it a full night out! Some of the most famous theatres in the West End include the Palace Theatre and the St. Martin’s Theatre, which is home to the longest-running play in the world: The Mousetrap.