Tourist Attractions in London

Top 10 Tourist Attractions in London

Are you planning to visit the capital anytime soon but still need to decide what places to put on your must-visit list? Well, that’s one thing about London! The city has countless landmarks, making it hard to choose the ones that stand out. But don’t worry if you’re a first-timer. We’ve got the list of the 10 best attractions in London that every first-time visitor must visit.

For one thing, these attractions are “the best” in terms of budget and experience alike. While in the capital, you’ll surely want to touch the city from every aspect. So, these are your top tourist attractions in London that you can easily plan to visit over the weekend:

1. The British Museum

British Museum
British Museum
  • Entry: Free (Requires Prior Booking)
  • Location: Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury Area, London
  • Timings: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Let’s start with something that adds a flavour of history, art, and culture to your tour. The British Museum hosts many artefacts and exhibits dating back millions of years into human history.

If you’re on a self-guided tour, follow the trails to find the museum’s notable exhibits. The trails take you through different sections that display collections from bygone eras, ancient cultures, and various regions. These include ancient Egypt, Greek and Roman artefacts, and the history of humanity through the era of Enlightenment.

The highlight of your visit is the world-famous Egyptian mummies in the “ancient Egyptian galleries”. These three galleries hold as many as 140 Egyptian mummies and coffins. Visit the upper floor of the museum to see the galleries. Remember to observe the famous Rosetta Stone from Egypt, primarily associated with Egyptian hieroglyphs.

The museum’s central courtyard has a dedicated place called The Great Court. You can relax, refresh, and recharge here before continuing your trip. Have afternoon tea at the cafe or enjoy hi-tea at the restaurant. You can also buy souvenirs and books from different shops in the Great Court.

2. The Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London
  • Entry: £35 (price may fluctuate based on the booking platform)
  • Location: North Bank of Thames near Tower Bridge
  • Timings: 9:00 AM to 05:30 PM

Visit a castle full of haunting history—a history that goes beyond just British royalty. The Tower of London displays the history of the capital throughout the last ten centuries. This 12-acre castle has everything you’d like to see on your visit—from lush green aesthetics outdoors to individual rooms, vaults, and more.

As you enter the castle and visit the South Lawns, you come across the most unique thing about this landmark: its “guardian Ravens”. These Ravens are the resident birds of the castle. Legend has it that the castle must maintain at least 6 Ravens to guard itself and the Crown, or else it’ll mark the fall of either the Crown or the castle. Seven captive ravens are typically found in their lodgings at the South Lawn near Wakefield Tower.

Visit the Jewel House, home to the invaluable Crown Jewels of England. A separate ticket is required to enter the Jewel House. Ensure you buy it before the tour for a smooth experience. The Jewel House also displays hundreds of precious objects and thousands of gemstones.

Other places to explore include Tower Green, White Tower, Royal Beasts, Bloody Tower, and Medieval Palace near the Traitors’ Gate.

3. Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
  • Entry: Free (Self-guided Tour of “Changing of the Guards”, Although Requires Prior Booking)
  • Location: City of Westminster near St. James Park, London
  • Timings: 09:30 AM to 07:30 PM

Want to spend a day in the glory of England’s royal traditions? Buckingham Palace should be your next destination! It is the official residence of King Charles III and one of the world’s most prestigious state houses and palaces.

The most popular tourist activity associated with the palace is the Changing of the Guards ceremony, which is conducted every day during summer (April – July) and on alternate days for the rest of the year. The ceremony begins at 11 AM when the outgoing Old Guard hands over the duties to the New Guard. Be sure to arrive by 10 AM to find the perfect spot in the palace courtyard.

The palace also opens its gates to tourists during different weeks. To enter the palace, you need to book a guided tour. On a guided tour, you can visit the staterooms and throne room and explore the Royal Collection of Paintings and Artwork at the art gallery.

Pro Tip: You can combine your Buckingham Palace Tour with Afternoon Tea and a Panoramic Sightseeing Tour of London – All in One via a Royal London Tour. Together, these trips ensure a perfect day out in London.

4. The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben

Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
  • Entry: £30 (Adults), £15 (Children; Aged 11-17)
  • Location: City of Westminster, London
  • Timings: 9:15 AM to 4:30 PM

Off to the gleaming symbol of British democracy, the Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament. Initially built in 1097, the Houses of Parliament is the official convening place for the UK parliament, hosting the House of Commons and House of Lords.

Guided tours of the Houses of Parliament include a walk through the palace hallways and entering the Westminster Hall. Most of the palace’s structure, notably the Westminster Hall, is around ten centuries old and displays the unique Gothic architecture of medieval times.

Although you can’t enter the Big Ben clock tower, you can explore its history and mechanics at the nearby Visitor Centre. Make sure you book a tour that also includes Westminster Abbey. Visit the High Altar at the Abbey and explore its Nave and Quire, which display spectacular Gothic designs.

5. The London Eye

London Eye
London Eye
  • Entry: £42 (Standard Flight; Per Adult Person)
  • Location: South Bank of River Thames, City of Westminster, London
  • Timings: 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM (Closes at 8:30 on Saturday and Sunday)

Want to catch a glimpse of the city from the highest perspective? How about hopping aboard one of the glass pods of this Ferris wheel and rising 135 metres into the capital’s sky? London Eye is one of the notable icons and modern attractions in London.

Simply buy a ticket and get inside one of its glass pods as it gradually lifts you. The standard 30-minute flight is available at £42 per person (adult). You can also book an entire capsule if you’re with kids in tow or on a family trip. For the best experience, visit the London Eye during the afternoon or sunset to view the famous tourist attractions in London during the golden hour.

6. Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
  • Entry: £19 (Concession Offered for Students, Children, and Senior Citizens)
  • Location: City of Westminster (Adjacent to the Palace of Westminster), London
  • Timings: 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM

We’ve subtly mentioned Westminster Abbey above in the Houses of Parliament tour. But if you want a more immersive tour of the Abbey, go for the individual, verger-guided tours. These tours span 90 minutes of sightseeing and exploration through the Abbey’s Hallways and Rooms.

Of all the magnificent furniture pieces at the Abbey, the Coronation Chair is the most iconic one. It’s the very seat where almost every British Monarch, including the most recent King Charles III, was crowned. The Abbey is a burial site for over 300 British royal family members and monarchs like Elizabeth I.

On a verger-guided tour, you can visit all these sites and listen to the thrilling stories about the Abbey spanning over 7 centuries.

7. Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Warner Bros. Studio Tour
Warner Bros Studio Tour in London
  • Entry: £53.50 (Veries with the Tour Operator)
  • Location: Leavesden, Watford
  • Timings: 9:30 AM to 10 PM

Who didn’t love the magical Wizarding World? Let’s be honest, if you’re a fan of Harry Potter, you must’ve desired to be a witch or a wizard, didn’t you? The Warner Bros. Studio tour brings this desire to life. 

Visit the Harry Potter World in Warner Bros. Studio, where the actual locations from the film await you! Located in Leavesden, almost 30 miles from Central London, the Warner Bros. Studio tour is an attraction in London where your dream of being a wizard comes true. These are some of the best things to do at the Studio:

  • Enter the Hogwarts Great Hall and move to the Dumbledore’s Office to take memorable photos with a lifesize sculpture of the school headmaster.
  • Visit the Forbidden Forest and find Aragog’s lair.
  • Rush towards the Diagon Alley and see if you can locate the Olivaders wand shop.
  • Explore memory vials and props from movies like Golden Snitch and Broomstick.
  • Buy souvenirs, wizard robes, collectables, and wands from the Studio Shop.
  • The animatronics section and green-screen room are a must-visit if you’re a fan of filmmaking. It’s one of the best displays of how those iconic scenes were created.

8. The Victoria & Albert Museum

Victoria & Albert Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum 2
  • Entry: Free (Requires Prior Booking)
  • Location: The Museum Neighbourhood, South Kensington, London
  • Timings: 10:00 AM to 05:45 PM

Did you know? London has an entire museum neighbourhood in South Kensington with some of the most prestigious museums in the UK. Victoria & Albert Museum covers the central part of this neighbourhood.

The museum covers the art, culture, and design aspects with its exemplary collection of more than 2.3 million objects. These include ceramics, photographs, paintings, textiles, and fashion items. Visit V&A and discover how art and fashion have been shaped.

The permanent collections, like decorative arts and sculptures, are free to visit. The temporary exhibitions based on a particular theme or event may charge a few dimes, but it’s worth it. V&A also hosts family events such as:

  • Hands-on craftings for kids
  • Several workshops for toddlers, kids, and youngsters
  • Lectures about a particular theme at the temporary exhibition

9. The Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum
  • Entry: Free (Requires Prior Booking)
  • Location: The Museum Neighbourhood, South Kensington, London
  • Timings: 10:00 AM to 05:50 PM

This museum is famous for its vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history. Located next to V&A, the Natural History Museum leaves you awestruck upon entry when a skeleton model of a giant Blue Whale welcomes you.

At the Dinosaur gallery, see a lifesized model of a T-rex skeleton, almost half of which is made from real fossils. This T-rex model also has the earliest known skeleton of this species.

You can discover millions of years-old specimens that specifically intrigue your kids. In fact, for a more hands-on experience with the specimens, take your kids to the “Investigate Centre”. Watch your kids explore the tiny details of hundreds of specimens and artefacts at the centre.

For more family-friendly museum recommendations in London, don’t miss out on our previous post highlighting the “Top 10 Best Museums in London for Kids,” where we featured the Natural History Museum and many other exciting venues.

10. The Shard

The Shard
The Shard
  • Entry: Free (Requires Prior Booking)
  • Location: 32 London Bridge St, London
  • Timings: 01:00 PM to 09:00 PM (Monday – Thursday), 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (Friday – Sunday)

Are you a fan of aesthetics and sightseeing? How about having a lovely rooftop dinner with a spectacular view of the capital? That’s what “The View from the Shard” is all about. It’s a 360-degree visual experience from the observation decks of London’s tallest building, The Shard.

These observation decks are between levels 68 and 71, while level 72 has an open-air rooftop restaurant. You can have a soothing and romantic dinner at the Shard with an outstanding backdrop of London’s skyline. The observation decks also offer up-close views of London’s various attractions using digital telescopes.

But that’s not how it ends. What about shopping at the “highest shop in London”, the Sky Boutique on the 68th floor? Overall, The View from the Shard combines sightseeing, shopping, and dinner for a perfect night out.


What is the best time to visit London’s top attractions?

If you’re not a fan of crowds and long queues, avoid visiting the famous tourist attractions in London on national holidays. Plan your visit in March, April, September, and October. That’s when exclusive places like Buckingham Palace are open to the public via guided tours.

Are London’s top attractions wheelchair accessible?

All the top tourist attractions in London are wheelchair accessible and friendly for people with limited mobility. However, it’s good to have a confirmation through your tour operator before booking.

Do I need to book tickets in advance for London’s top attractions?

Attractions like the London Eye and the Tower of London offer tickets on arrival, but for a smooth and unforgettable experience, it’s best to pre-book a ticket for all the attractions in London.

How much time should I allocate for each attraction?

90 minutes should be the standard visiting time if you want a fulfilling experience at every attraction. It should be enough to explore a destination from every aspect.

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