The Ultimate Guide to London *Updated 2023!*
Updated: Jan 2
So you’re planning a trip to London…
Whether you’ve visited before, or it’s your first time abroad, there are an endless amount of incredible experiences to have in England’s capital city.
I have a few longer posts going into more detail about each of these experiences but I thought it would be nice to have a totally comprehensive overview for those planning their first trips to London or those who are just looking for something different to do in the city!
I’ve been lucky enough to experience everything on this list first-hand and I highly recommend all of these activities. If you’d like any more information please feel free to drop me a comment below and I will answer them to the best of my ability.
“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”
Let’s get started!
Specifically: London Old Docks – Historic Pubs, Food & Beer Tour
Price: £79 per person
What do we love about it? For even the most seasoned Londoner, the Eating London food tour can uncover some of the best food in the city in places you may never have looked. Eating London offers a range of different tour options including: a cocktail tour and an Indian food tour. Check out my full review of the London Old Docks tour here.
Budget Option: Explore Borough Market on your own
What we love about it: For the traveling foodie on a budget, wander through London’s Borough Market and indulge in the many food samples there. From mulled wine to sausage rolls to kebab there’s nothing you can’t find here. Check out my full guide to the market here.
The London Eye
What we love about it: While there are many places to take in the epic views of London’s skyline, the iconic London Eye is without a doubt the best.
Top tip: I like to book a ride on the eye just before sunset so that you get views of the city in the daylight as well as the city lit up with lights.
Budget Option: Emirates Air Line
Price: £3.50 with an Oyster Card
What we love about it: If you’re looking for a ride with a view in London there Emirates Air Line is also a fun option—especially for young children. It provides transportation over to the O2 so tack it on to the Up at the O2 experience or simply head into the O2 for a meal at one of the many restaurants located there.
The London Helicopter
Price: £220 per person for the London Sights Tour
What we love about it : While this is without a doubt the most expensive experience on this list, it is also one of the most unforgettable. Soaring above London’s most iconic sites in a private helicopter tour you’ll see the city from a perspective unlike anything else. Read my full review of the experience here.
The View from the Shard
What we love about it: The view from the top of the Shard is unparalleled. The cost is a bit steep but the view is truly spectacular.
Shangri-La TĪNG Room
Price: Starting at £58
What we love about it: If you’re feeling really fancy head a few floors down for afternoon tea at the Shangri-La TĪNG room. TĪNG, is a restaurant and lounge located on Level 35 of the iconic Shard. TĪNG offers both a traditional British afternoon tea and an Asian inspired tea.
Budget Option: Sky Garden
Price: Free, but book in advance
What we love about it: The Sky Garden London is a unique public space that offers 360 degree uninterrupted views across the City of London. This is a free attraction but you must book well in advance. The gardens are perfectly kept and there is an open air terrace were you can get incredible views of the Shard, the river Thames and into central London itself.
The London Bicycle Tour Company
Price: £25 per person
What we love about it: I’ve been on two different tours with the London Bicycle Tour Company and both times learnt SO much! The guides are engaging and take you on safe and interesting loops around the city.
Budget Option: Santander Cycles
Price: from £2
What we love about it: You’ll spot the little red bikes at docking stages located all over the city. Check online for recommended tourist routes which will take you off the busier roads and past some of London’s most iconic sites.
Photo taken from Kew Gardens website
Price: £15 per person
What we love about it: Kew Gardens is a botanical garden in southwest London that houses the “largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world.” Especially in the Spring in Summer Kew Gardens is something straight out of the Secret Garden and is a dreamy place to wander around and take photos.
Tower of London
What we love about it: The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. You can also see the Crown Jewels here!
Tower Bridge Exhibition
Price: £10 per person
What we love about it: Tower Bridge offers you the opportunity to step inside one of the world’s most famous bridges and explore its iconic structure, spectacular views and Glass Floor, fascinating exhibitions and atmospheric Victorian Engine Rooms.
Up at the O2
What we love about it: Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge gets all the glory in Australia, but London’s answer to scaling massive landmarks is brought to you in the form of Up at The O2! The ‘expedition’ up the O2 is sure to get your blood pumping and it offers some spectacular views. Like the Eye, I recommend planning your tour around sunset so you get the best of both views: daylight and night-scape.
b Bakery Tea Bus
Photo taken from b Bakery website
Price: £45 to 65 per person
What we love about it: Experience a British classic –afternoon tea– onboard one of b Bakery’s vintage Routemaster buses - could you get any more English?! Cruise around Central London and take in some of the City’s best sights including Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, St James’s Park, Hyde Park, The Royal Albert Hall, Marble Arch, Nelson’s Column, Downing Street and more while dining on some tasty treats from b Bakery. Highly reccomend!
The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit
Price: £16.50 per person
What we love about it: If you’re looking for a thill, look no further than the ArcelorMittal Orbit Slide (try saying that ten times fast). Located within the London Olympic Park the slide is a one-of-a-kind experience that’s not necessarily for the faint of heart. Read my in-depth review of the slide experience here.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter
What we love about it: Whether you’ve got all seven books memorised or are more of a casual fan, it would not be exaggerating to say that the Harry Potter studio tour is MAGICAL. Set aside an entire day to wander around The Great Hall, Diagon Alley and Platform 9 and 3/4.
More Classic Sights:
See a West End Play (I recommend Matilda at the Cambridge Theatre!)
Watch a Premier League football game
Watch the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace
Wander through Harrod’s
Explore some of London’s many free museums
Easy and Fun Day Trips out of London:
Cambridge (guide coming soon!)
Winter Wonderland Admission: Free
Skate at Somerset House Price: £8.90
St Jame’s Park
Brick Lane Market
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