Vanlife UK - Things to do in London, England

Updated: Sep 6, 2021


Things to do in London. Grumpy Gits Road Trip. Things to do. Things to see. Travel list. Travel ideas. Travel blog. Travel blogger. Travel photography. Travel photographer. Wanderlust. Bucket list. Digital nomad. Vanlife. Vanlifer. Cambridge. London. United Kingdom.
Things to do in London, England

Are you planning a road trip to London? Or perhaps you're just looking for a day out with the family?

In this post, I will list all the places I would like to see during my road trip of London.

Photography

Please note that the key driver for this road trip is photography. Therefore, many places listed below will consist of many locations that you may not consider to be 'bucket list' items. But if you are a photographer, or plan a long term road trip, then these may well be places you'd like to check out.


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Okay, I'll stop now 😊


Let's get into the bucket list!

Places to see in London


Jump to a section:

Attractions, Museums etc

Architecture

Castles, Palaces and Stately homes

Streets, neighbourhoods and markets

Nature reserves/national parks/gardens/lakes/forests


Attractions, Museums etc

  • Abbey Road Studios - This studio has stood at the forefront of the recording industry for many years, which is particularly noteworthy as the recording studio used by the famous Beatles during the 1960s and 1970s.

  • The British Museum - A museum of the world, for the world. Discover over two million years of human history and culture. Some of the world-famous objects include the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures and Egyptian mummies.

  • Charles Dickens Museum - The Charles Dickens Museum in London holds the world's most important Dickens collection with over 100,000 items including manuscripts, rare editions, personal items, paintings and other visual sources.

  • Churchill War Rooms - Discover the secrets of the Second World War in the underground nerve centre where Churchill and his war cabinet lived and worked.

  • Clink Prison Museum

  • The Courtauld Gallery - "This place is temporarily closed." We are now closed for a period of at least two years while we undertake a major transformation project called Courtauld Connects. This will enable us to significantly improve our visitor experience by putting accessibility at the heart of everything we do.

  • Cutty Sark

  • Emirates Air Line Cable Car - Royal Docks - Emirates Air Line crosses the River Thames between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks, just five minutes from the O2 by North Greenwich Tube station.

  • Golden Hinde - Visit this living history museum and find out what it was like to sail the mighty seas aboard an Elizabethan galleon during the adventurous days of the 16th century.

  • Harrods - Harrods remains at the height of British luxury retail, attracting millions of loyal customers from across the globe with its unrivalled product selection, world-class service, innovative retail theatre and historic setting.

  • Horse Guards Parade at Whitehall - Built in 1745 to house the old palace guards, this is London's largest single open space that is used for the changing of the guards.

  • London Eye - A trip on the London Eye is truly captivating, a ‘must-do’ and has been London’s number one visitor experience for over a decade.

  • London Mithraeum

  • Museum of London - Step inside the Museum of London for an unforgettable journey through the capital’s turbulent past. Discover prehistoric London, see how the city changed under Romans and Saxons, wonder at medieval London and examine the tumultuous years when London was ravaged by civil wars, plague and fire.

  • National Gallery - The National Gallery houses the national collection of paintings in the Western European tradition from the 13th to the 19th centuries. It is on show 361 days a year, free of charge.

  • National Portrait Gallery - This world-famous museum houses portraits of noted Britons from the Tudors to the present day.

  • Natural History Museum - A center of scientific excellence in the discovery of taxonomy and biodiversity, this world-famous museum promotes the discovery and enjoyment of the natural world through such exciting exhibits as the Life and Earth Galleries, wildlife garden and geological collections.

  • Novello Theatre

  • Old Operating Theatre - The Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garret is one of the most unusual museums in London. It is in quite an amazing location - in the attic of an English Baroque church which was used as a Herb Garret, and later on converted into an Operating Theatre in the 19th century.

  • Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

  • Royal Observatory Greenwich - The prime meridian, zero degrees longitude, runs through the courtyard of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, which was founded in 1675 by King Charles II.

  • Science Museum - Welcoming over 3 million visitors a year, the Science Museum is a must-see for families and adults as part of any trip to London.

  • SEA LIFE London Aquarium - Dive into an underwater world here at SEA LIFE London Aquarium, home to over 5,000 creatures. Explore London's flagship aquarium where you could learn something a-RAY-zing, spot a feeding frenzy or two and even meet some of our FIN-tastic friends.

  • Tate Britain - The home of British art from 1500 to the present day. Tate Britain holds the largest collection of British art in the world. Walkthrough the history of British art from 1500 to the present day.

  • Tate Modern - A visit to London isn't complete without a trip to Tate Modern. Tate Modern is Britain's national museum of modern and contemporary art from around the globe, and the world’s most visited contemporary art gallery.

  • Trafalgar Square - A 145-foot-high monument, bearing a statue of Lord Horatio Nelson guarded by lions, marks the spot considered the center of London.

  • Victoria Palace Theatre

  • V&A - Victoria and Albert Museum - The world's greatest museum of art and design. The V&A's collections are unrivalled in their diversity. Explore historical and contemporary art and design, including works of art from many of the world's richest cultures. Admission free.

  • ZSL London Zoo - ZSL London Zoo is packed full of wonder and amazement, with over 650 species of animals to meet and thousands more surprising and fascinating facts just waiting to be discovered.

^ section list


Architecture

  • BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir - BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir – popularly known as the Neasden Temple – is a masterpiece of traditional Hindu design and exquisite Indian workmanship in the heart of north-west London.

  • Big Ben - Elizabeth Tower is the name of the famous clock tower which stands at the Houses of Parliament. The name Big Ben is often used to describe the tower, the clock and the bell but the name was first given to the Great Bell.

  • Buckingham Palace - Buckingham Palace is recognised around the world as the focus of national and royal celebrations as well as the backdrop to the regular Changing the Guard ceremony.

  • Eltham Palace and Gardens

  • Freemasons' Hall - Freemasons’ Hall has been the centre of English Freemasonry for over 240 years. It is the meeting place for over 1,000 Masonic Lodges and the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England, the first Grand Lodge in the world.

  • Highgate Cemetery - Beautiful Victorian cemetery near to Hampstead Heath. Highgate Cemetery has some of the finest funerary architecture in the country. It is a place of peaceful contemplation where trees, memorials and wildlife flourish.

  • Leake Street Arches - Leake Street Arches is a celebration of urban art, dining and entertainment live from Waterloo.

  • Millennium Bridge - With a modern design giving a unique tubular effect, London's Millennium Bridge is a 330-meter pedestrian bridge linking the City of London at St Paul's Cathedral with the new Tate Gallery at Bankside.

  • Shakespeare's Globe Theatre - Founded by the pioneering American actor and director Sam Wanamaker, Shakespeare's Globe is a unique international resource dedicated to the exploration of Shakespeare's work and the playhouse for which he wrote, through the connected means of performance and education.

  • Southwark Cathedral

  • St. Katharine Docks - Iconic St Katharine Docks is Central London's only marina and has evolved into a thriving waterside community featuring modern and unusual office space, luxury homes and quayside dining and shopping.

  • St. Paul's Cathedral - Rebuilt by Christopher Wren after the great Fire of 1666, St. Paul's has been the site of many historic state occasions; including Sir Winston Churchill's state funeral and the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.

  • Temple Church

  • Tower Bridge - An iconic London landmark and one of Britain's best loved historic sites, Tower Bridge is open to the public 363 days a year. Within the Bridge's iconic structure and magnificent Victorian Engine rooms, the Tower Bridge Exhibition is the best way of exploring the most famous bridge in the world!

  • Westminster

  • Westminster Abbey - Westminster Abbey was initially built by Henry III in 1245 and it is one of the most important Gothic buildings of England. At first home of Benedictine monks, the coronation church since 1066 and the final resting place of 17 monarchs.

  • Westminster Cathedral - Admission to the Cathedral is free but donations are gratefully received Tower Lift - £6 adult; £3 concession; £14 family ticket (2 adult and 2 children) If you enter the Cathedral at a quiet moment in the day, don’t imagine that it is always like this.

  • Whitehall

^ section list


Castles, Palaces and Stately homes

  • Apsley House - Apsley House is internationally famous as the home of the 1st Duke of Wellington and his descendants. As such it is also a memorial to Britain’s triumph over the Napoleonic threat.

  • Kensington Palace - Explore the birthplace of Queen Victoria and home to young royals for over 300 years. Walk in the footsteps of royalty in Victoria’s re-imagined childhood rooms, the magnificent King’s State Apartments and the famous Sunken Garden.

  • Kenwood House - Set on the edge of Hampstead Heath and surrounded by tranquil landscaped gardens, Kenwood is one of London's hidden gems.

  • Somerset House - Somerset House is a spectacular neo-classical building in the heart of London, sitting between the Strand and the River Thames. During the summer months 55 fountains dance in the courtyard, and in winter you can skate on London's favourite ice rink.

  • Tower of London - Discover London’s castle – a secure fortress, royal palace and infamous prison where you can explore 1000 years of history. Prepare to be dazzled by the breathtaking, world-famous Crown Jewels.

^ section list


Streets, neighbourhoods and markets

  • Abbey Road - Walk this historic street in London and you are transported back to the turbulent era of the 1960s and the musical phenomenon of the Beatles.

  • Borough Market - An amazing food market dating back to the 13th century.

  • Brick Lane - This historic street dates back approximately 450 years, and is now a popular place for great Indian food and Sunday markets.

  • Brick Lane Market

  • Canary Wharf

  • Carnaby Street - Carnaby is a unique shopping and dining destination in the heart of London's West End, with over 150 brands, boutiques, concept stores and flagships, and 60 independent restaurants, bars and cafés found across 14 streets, including the world-famous Carnaby Street.

  • Chinatown

  • Columbia Road Flower Market - Columbia Road flower market and shops are open every Sunday from 8 am until about 3 pm. As well as the market, there is also a mass of independent shops, selling everything from jewellery and vintage clothes, to antiques, cupcakes, art and furniture. Columbia Road is located in East London, in-between Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, near Brick Lane and Spitalfields.

  • Greenwich Market - This indoor market dates back to 1737 and is the only in London located on a World Heritage site. Antiques, arts and crafts and London designer-makers.

  • Kensington

  • Leicester Square - Whether it's film, theatre, food or family favourites, Leicester Square exists to excite your senses. Located in the heart of London's West End, the square is within easy walking distance from Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, Soho and Covent Garden.

  • Little Venice - Picturesque London neighbourhood marked by its canal waterway and broad tree-lined streets, Little Venice was built between 1810 and 1870 and was the popular haunt of many artists, writers and scientists.

  • Maltby Street Market

  • Notting Hill - Trendy and fashionable neighbourhood in London with a distinctive, small-village feel, made famous by a movie of the same name.

  • Old Spitalfields Market - Open 7 days a week, it is the perfect antidote to the high street. We bring together small producers with local creatives and artisans, original independent retailers and a few well-known brands under one historic roof.

  • Oxford Street - London's Oxford Street spells action where you can shop 'til you drop along England's most famous shopping street, drop into one of the many pubs for a tasty ale or catch the latest musical at the theatre.

  • Piccadilly Circus - Located at the junction of five busy streets, this famous London landmark blazes with neon displays, which serve as a colorful backdrop to a bronze fountain topped by a figure of a winged archer.

  • Portobello Road Market - Portobello Road is probably the world’s best known market. Though famous for antiques, that’s not all there is. It’s a haven for lovers of fashion, food, books and music; anyone who wants to find something unique or loves a bargain.

  • Primrose Hill

  • Seven Dials - Welcome to Seven Dials, the intriguing network of seven atmospheric streets that link Covent Garden to Soho.

  • Soho

  • South Bank - South Bank is a beautiful riverside stretch in the heart of London featuring the Coca-Cola London Eye, SEA LIFE London Aquarium, Imperial War Museum London, Southbank Centre, National Theatre, top hotels, shopping, dining and more.

^ section list



Nature reserves/national parks/gardens/lakes/forests/walks

  • Battersea Park

  • Chelsea Physic Garden

  • Greenwich Park

  • Hampstead Heath

  • Hill Garden & Pergola

  • Hyde Park - Once the hunting ground for Henry VIII, this large royal park is best known for its famous Speakers' Corner, where people speak their minds, Rotton Row, a famous horse-riding area and Serpentine Lake, home to waterfowl and oarsmen.

  • Kensington Gardens - Separated from Hyde Park by the Serpentine, a lake used by boaters and swimmers, this park is calmer and more peaceful than its neighbor, and features many attractions including a statue of Peter Pan, Albert Memorial and the Serpentine Art Gallery.

  • Kyoto Garden

  • Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - A new heart for east London, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is the city's newest park. It will be a new home to thousands and a new destination for millions.

  • Queen Mary's Gardens - Lovely formal rose gardens located within Regent's Park, which feature visual delights such as a rock garden, statues, fountains and waterfalls.

  • Victoria Park

  • WWT London Wetland Centre - Nestled in a loop of the Thames, London Wetland Centre is an urban oasis for wildlife and people; a rural idyll in the heart of the capital.

^ section list



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