From a sightseeing point of view, it’s not always easy to decide what to do in London. From historical sites and museums, to sporting stadiums and river cruises, England’s capital offers SO many sights and attractions, that it can be difficult to choose how to spend your time if you’re just visiting for a few days.
So if you’re planning a day out in London but you need some inspiration, here are some ideas for things to do. Once you’ve decided where you want to go, remember to search online for discounted attraction tickets. For example, smartsave.com offer great discounts for London’s top attractions, offering 20% off entry for up to 6 people.
1. On the water
If you want to experience London in style, take a dinner cruise on the Thames. On the Bateaux London Cruise you’ll get to savour the fine dining experience while taking in the spectacular sights of the capital.
Alternatively you can jump aboard one of the Thames City Cruises boats and admire London’s landmarks from the water. There are frequent departure times and you have the possibility to buy a hop on hop off ticket, so you can use the boat as an alternative means of transport to the underground and buses.
2. Themed tours
For a unique way to discover London, you could take a tour with a specific movie, television or music theme.
Journey back to the swinging 60s on The Beatles Bus Tour and trace the success of the Beatles legends John, Paul, George and Ringo; take a guided walking tour through the streets of London to explore the world of Sherlock Holmes and his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; visit the filming locations and the inspirations for the Harry Potter movies on the Harry Potter Bus Tour; or hop on a bus to visit over 15 locations from Doctor Who.
England’s capital has been the setting for many blockbuster movies. Movie buffs might enjoy the London Film Tour- a 2-hour guided walking tour that leads you around the movie locations that were used in films such as Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Da Vinci Code, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral and many more.
3. Iconic Attractions
One of London’s most iconic landmarks is Tower Bridge, a bridge which was constructed in the 19th century to allow traffic and pedestrians to cross the River Thames without disrupting river traffic. At the Tower Bridge experience you can learn all about this feat of engineering, including how it works and operates. You can also take in the panoramic views of London from its enclosed walkways.
The Globe Theatre was constructed in 1599, and for 14 years it presented Shakespeare’s plays, until its demise by fire in 113, when wadding from a stage cannon ignited the thatched roof during a performance of Henry VIII. The new Globe stands just yards from the original site, and the Globe Exhibition and Tour give you the opportunity to learn more about the building, the life of Shakespeare and what London was like during his lifetime.
Then there’s St Paul’s Cathedral- an architectural masterpiece that took 35 years to build, from 1675-1710. Admire the Cathedral’s beautiful Dome and take a guided tour of the cathedral floor and the crypt, which contains the tombs and memorials to many world-famous Britons, including Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and the Cathedral’s architect, Sir Christopher Wren. Climb the steps to the Whispering Gallery to test out the acoustics, then climb to the Stone and Golden galleries- both of which offer incredible panoramic views of the city.
4. Horrible Histories!
The London Dungeon takes you on an interactive and educational journey back in time to explore some of the more gruesome times in London’s history. Learn about the darkest times over the last 2,000 years, including the Bubonic Plague period, the unresolved mystery of Jack the Ripper’s murders and the great Fire of London.
If the London Dungeon isn’t enough to frighten you, the London Bridge Experience & Tombs has been dubbed “the scariest attraction in England” by Living TV. This two-part attraction begins with a trip through the dark history of the London Bridge, followed by a hair-raising journey through the London Tombs, a series of underground plague pits where the bodies of residents were placed!
5. Sporting Venues
London has lots of great sporting venues, from the Olympic Stadium in Stratford to Wembley Stadium and Wimbledon.
The most famous venues of all has to be Wembley Stadium, England’s national arena. Wembley has not only hosted some of the world’s most famous soccer teams and many pivotal football finals, it has also welcomed many of the world’s music legends. Who can forget the Live Aid concert of 1985, when the world united to fight global poverty? On the guided Wembley Tour you get to explore the stadium and relive some of the world’s best sporting moments.
In the UK we’re mad about football, so depending on who you’d rather support, you could join one of the Arsenal or Chelsea stadium tours. Take a tour of the Emirates stadium, home of the Gunners, or visit Chelsea F.C’s ground at Stamford Bridge.
Lords Cricket Ground is considered “the home of cricket” and the Lords Tour takes you on a tour of the Pavilion, the legendary Long Room and the dressing rooms. You’ll have a chance to see the famous “Ashes Urn” in the MCC Museum, and admire the view of Lords from The JP Morgan Media Centre.
Meanwhile If it’s rugby you’re into, then you’ll want to visit Twickenham Rugby Stadium- home of England Rugby. With 82,000 seats, it’s the largest dedicated rugby union venue in the world. Highlights of the guided tour include the England dressing room, the Royal Box, hospitality suites, medical room, players’ tunnel and spectacular views of the arena from the top of the stand.
Think of Wimbledon and the word ‘tennis’ automatically springs to mind. On the Wimbledon Tennis Museum and Tour you get to see the famous Centre Court and discover the story of lawn tennis. The Museum Features a ‘ghost’ of John McEnroe, the Championship Trophies, film and video footage of Wimbledon’s most memorable matches, and an extensive collection of tennis memorabilia, including equipment, clothing and mementos belonging to the greatest tennis players to ever play on Centre Court.
photo by neilalderney123 on flickr