This exciting, vibrant city is just teeming with culture and historical treasures. Famously declared by Samuel Johnson that “when one is tired of London, one is tired of life”, it has earned a reputation as being one of the top cities in the world alongside iconic Paris and New York. The question on every traveler’s mind should be ‘How much time?’ instead of ‘What to do?’ when faced with this sprawling metropolis. Here, we feature some of the top things that travelers must do when in London.
Enjoy the view from the London Eye
This is as ‘touristy’ as it gets in London, but this tremendous Ferris wheel is the first of its kind and one of the largest observation wheels in the world. No other place in London gives you such a camera-friendly view, and if you are willing to splurge on a little special night experience, go on the Champagne Experience during the night – a half hour of sublime views and fantastic drinks which makes it one of the best bars in London
Grab a sandwich and Take a walk in St James’s Park
A gorgeous stretch of romantic English gardens, London’s oldest royal park is perfect for picnics, and therefore a great place to watch Londoners happily soaking up what bit of sun they have. Bounded by the regal Buckingham Palace, it’s a great stop for a rest after sightseeing. Just grab a cheese and pickle sandwich and lounge on the glorious greens. For camera enthusiasts, the Memorial Gardens with its 12,000 red geraniums are enough to impress the kids back home. Be sure to catch the delightful pelicans on the lakes as well.
Lose yourself in the London Natural History Museum
A marvel containing around 70 million exhibits of scientific and historical significance, this free attraction is outstanding in its dedication and presentation. There’s plenty to see at every turn, but the most famous exhibit is probably Dippy, a 32-meter-long, life-size replica of a Diplodocus Carnegie skeleton. If nothing else, the architecture of the building itself is outstanding – ornate and stately.
Shop at the Camden Market
Camden Lock is one of London’s most vibrant shopping and entertainment areas, known for its cosy shops and stalls offering a wide plethora of items for sale – from vintage fashion, and handmade accessories to young designer wear. Be sure to check out the wonderful crafts available. Containing loads of delicious fast food as well, you can chomp on exotic fare while you make your way through the many charming stalls. Alternatively, you can even go on the Camden Waterbus, a traditional canal narrow boat along the picturesque Regents Canal to Little Venice.
Savour the quintessential fish & chips with mushy peas
Perhaps no other dish conjures up British-ness like this staple. Mimicked all over the world in different styles and flavors, this is the place to taste some authentic fish and chips. Although there are few places that serve it in rolls of newspapers like it used to be in the past, you can still eat it like the locals by pairing it with mushy peas and (optionally) pickled eggs. Enjoy a perfectly battered and deep-fried cod or haddock, accentuated by perfectly fluffy chips. To complete the experience, wash it down with good old beer. Some good places to go include the Two Brothers Fish Restaurant and the ever-popular Fisher’s.
Visit the Tower of London
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is historically significant as past Kings had seen it as essential to controlling England. It used to be an opulent royal palace, and today it is popular as a tourist attraction because of the famed Jewel House, containing the stunning Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. These precious stones include some of the world’s most famous diamonds and are symbols of the British monarchy. If sparkling rocks are not your thing, listen up: there is a wondrous exhibition of five centuries of royal armor worn by kings for battles and tournaments.