England is calling, so pick up the phone and head to the best places to visit in London, England, for a fab day out.
Whether it’s a stroll along the Southbank to hit up some museums or browsing the bargains at Notting Hill market, these areas have all you need and more for a jam-packed day out. On a budget? Try these cheap things to do in London.
Whatever you choose, the fun activities, delicious eats, and jaw-dropping views in London will have you booking your next trip in no time.
Where to Visit in London
London has so much to see, and unless you’re moving there, you’ll have so little time. But don’t worry. We’ve found the best places to visit for a healthy dose of culture, history, and good food.
From Buckingham Palace to Chinatown, here are the spots you simply can’t miss.
A short ten-minute walk from Victoria train station, the beautiful Buckingham Palace is the icing on the cake of any trip to London.
Fun Fact: Queen Victoria was the first monarch to live at the palace, only leaving after the death of her husband Albert in 1861. Buckingham has been the official residence of British Monarchs ever since.
What to See at Buckingham Palace
Start your visit by trying to make a steely-faced guard smile at the gates. When this fails, head inside to peruse the palaces’ elaborately gilded State Rooms. Be sure to book your tickets early for the best price.
The palace is surrounded by the quintessentially British St.James’s Park — the perfect place to channel your inner Bridgerton character. Promenade in your finery before tucking into a cream tea at The English Rose Café on Lower Grosvenor Place.
Oxford Street and Chinatown
It’s easy to spend an afternoon exploring the area between Oxford Street and Chinatown. From shopping to snacking to spying on impressive architecture, you won’t be bored for a second.
During December, the neighboring streets of Oxford, Regent, and Carnaby are particularly impressive, thanks to twinkling Christmas installations down their lengths. Winter is one of the best times to visit London if you plan on seeing these.
No matter the season, you can start your adventure by hopping on a tube to Oxford Circus. The Bakerloo, Central, and Victoria lines all pass this station, but check if you need to be traveling North or Southbound before boarding.
Once in Oxford Street, shop ‘til you drop before shopping some more in the nearby Regents and Carnaby Street. On Regents Street, pop by Whittards to stock up on luxurious teas and hot chocolates and grab a few tasters while you’re at it.
Top Tip: Fans of the iconic British band ‘The Beatles’ may want to explore Carnaby Street as part of a Beatles walking tour of London.
What to See and Do in Chinatown
London’s Chinatown is a haven of culture, color, and flavor just waiting to be explored.
For the foodies, here are some pit stops you simply have to take:
- Small but mighty, Woo Tea fulfills all your boba needs. Tucked in an alleyway, this tiny shop has a delightfully unusual selection of bubble teas to choose from. So what will it be? Creamy taro and tapioca? Jasmine and mango? Or perhaps red bean coconut?
- Night owls, run, don’t walk, to Old Town ‘97. This late-night eatery offers a tasty selection of Cantonese snacks, from chicken wings to charred meats with rice. The best part? You can grab a bite until four am. Who could ask for a better ending to a night on the town?
- Did somebody say Dim Sum? Dumplings’ Legend offers tasty food, big portions, and an entertaining view of the kitchen to see how they’re made. Get the full experience and go for lunch.
If you love the movie Notting Hill (and even if you don’t), you’ll love this famous area in London. The photo-worthy colored houses are the perfect backdrop for the bustling Portobello Road Market and the diverse community.
One of the most famous markets in the world, here you can find anything from baked treats to vintage clothing and antique furniture. And the best part? You’ll be serenaded as you shop by the many talented buskers in the neighborhood.
After bargain hunting, relax in Holland Park for the afternoon. Be sure to visit Kyoto Garden while you’re at it, a peaceful oasis gifted to London by Japan in 1991 to celebrate the relationship between the two countries. Tiered waterfalls, Koi Carp, and peacocks make it hard to believe you’re in London.
Places to Eat in Notting Hill
As evening falls, head to one of Notting Hills’ incredible restaurants. Try one of the following for an unforgettable meal:
- Visit Sinuhe for a tasty Persian meal in a cozy environment. Perfect for a casual weeknight dinner.
- Nothing beats a good pizza, and at Saporitalia, you can get just that and more. This no-frills, family-run Italian restaurant serves fresh, simple dishes packed full of flavor.
- Fancy splurging on a meal? Core’s pricey menu is well worth your cash. Run by renowned chef Clare Smyth, expect quality ingredients and classic flavors. And with three Michelin stars, each bite will be one to remember.
- Mexican meets Japanese cuisine at Los Mochis, where moody interiors are the perfect setting for small-plate dining. Don’t knock this unusual fusion cuisine before you try it, or risk missing out on delectable dishes like guacamole crab, Shinjuku ceviche, or sesame soy steak tacos. Is your mouth watering yet?
A must-do for any London tourist is Queen’s Walk, a pretty stroll along the Southbank riverside between Lambeth and Tower Bridge. There are plenty of fun things to see and do en route, like the London Eye or one of the cities’ many museums.
Head over to Westminster Bridge for a spectacular view of the River Thames, Big Ben, and Westminster Palace. Keep your eyes peeled for the Southbank lion, too, a 14-ton ceramic sculpture identical to those at Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square.
Fun Fact: The distinct green color of Westminster Bridge isn’t random— it was painted to match the benches in the House of Commons (the UK’s democratically elected body).
If you’re feeling snacky, take your tastebuds on a trip around the world at Southbank Centre Food Market, open on weekends (from Friday to Sunday).
Museums to Visit at the Southbank
Some great museums to check out include:
- The Tate Modern
- The National Portrait Gallery
- The British Museum
- The National Gallery
- London Transport Museum
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
The works of William Shakespeare have wrestled with the human condition, inspired many modern films, and even changed the English language. If it wasn’t clear already, the impact of Britain’s favorite playwright reaches far beyond the stage.
But that’s a good place to start! The Globe is a cozy venue draped in history and unique and atmospheric activity for any tourist.
Important to note: In winter, The Globe is closed, but fear not, you can still watch a play in the nearby Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
What to Expect at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
You can catch performances of the best of Shakespeare’s plays all through summer, with prices starting at only £5 (6.50 USD). Great if you’re on a budget since it’s a good sight cheaper than the West End.
But it’s not just plays you can see at The Globe: there are talks, acting courses, and even themed tours. For theater lovers and history buffs alike, this is a truly fascinating place in London to visit.
Fun Fact: The Globe, as we see it today, isn’t the original. The first one burnt down in 1613 when canons (yes, real canons) caused the roof to catch fire during a performance of Henry VIII.
Last but not least, here’s one for the hipsters. If you visit this uber-cool neighborhood in London, you’ll find funky graffiti art and classic British pubs mixed with fantastic street food and bass-thumping clubs.
Once an industrial area, Shoreditch is now home to many young creatives and fashionistas. What were once factories and warehouses are now cafes, bars, and art studios.
What to See and Do in Shoreditch
Start your day with a browse down the colorful Old Spitalfields Market, open all week. From this 350-year-old market, you can grab a pastry from one of the stalls before you browse arts & crafts, clothes, or maybe vintage records perhaps?
After the market, check out the street art. You’ll find all the big names here, with pieces by Dale Grimshaw, Mr Cenz, and even Banksy. After a wander through the streets, settle down at one of these cafes for an afternoon coffee.
- Grind Shoreditch
- The Attendant
- Department of Coffee and Social Affairs
As night falls, get your boogie on at one of Shoreditch’s clubs or bars. Here are the top picks:
- Maybe you haven’t considered combining cocktails with a ball pit, but Ballie Ballerson
- Equally quirky is Bounce on Old Street, where you can play ping pong, beer pong, or shuffleboard as you indulge in a few drinks.
- If you prefer something a little more lowkey, check out the speak-easy style Night Jar bar for cocktails that can only be described as works of art.
- Or how about The Book Club? Despite the name, you won’t be reading here. Instead, expect cheap G&Ts, pizza, and a great weekday club night.
Fun Fact: Charles Dickens, George Orwell, and Virginia Woolf were all from Shoreditch.
FAQs About Visiting London, England
We may have covered all the best places to visit in London, but some questions may be picking your brain. Here are all the quick answers you need.
What’s the Prettiest Place in London?
While this is a very subjective thing, there is no denying the beauty of Hyde Park. This large public place offers flowing fields of flowers, spots for picnicking, and much more in the heart of the city.
What Is the Most Famous Area in London?
Bucking Palace is the most visited and famous region of the city, as it hosts the most popular attractions.
What Is the Richest Area in London?
Mayfair is often regarded as the richest and most opulent part of London, and for good reason. From its exclusive properties to the high-end boutique shops and Michelin Star restaurants, it’s no wonder Mayfair is such a rich (and expensive) region.
Best Places to Visit in London, England | Final Thoughts
After this short but sweet dive into the best areas in London, you’ll be itching to get out there and experience them for yourself. So whether it’s a romp through St. James’ Park or a wander down Portobello Road market, get your wellies on and don’t let the British weather put you off.