Planning the ultimate London bucket list? Then you'll want to check out our extensive list below.
Whether you're a culture vulture, fiendish foodie or strictly a sports fan, there's something for everyone in our bustling metropolis! Let us help plan your trip with our handy guide of favourite citywide activities. No matter your budget and interests, there is never a shortage of things to see and do in London. It's time to start creating your London bucket list!
Art and culture
1. Join a free art tour at the National Gallery
to learn more about some of its 2000-plus paintings - entry is also free. 2. See what’s on at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park and enjoy a performance surrounded by nature. 3. Enjoy a free lunchtime concert at St Martin in the Fields, next to Trafalgar Square. 4. Take in an all-singing, all-dancing musical theatre show in the West End. Discounted tickets are available daily at the Leicester Square Ticket Booth. 5. Visit the new extension wing at the Tate Modern
, opened in June 2016 to house an even larger collection of art. 6. Stroll around Somerset House. Built in 1547, it has since been a royal palace and a registry office for births, deaths and marriages. And now houses cultural exhibitions and events. 7. Enjoy some of the many free music performances at the Southbank Centre. 8. Pause at the Queen’s Gallery
at Buckingham Palace to admire artwork from the Royal Collection, in a gallery converted from a private chapel. 9. On the First Thursday of each month, over 150 art galleries in the East End come together and run free events, exhibitions, talks and private views during a special late opening. What will you see? 10. Go backstage at the National Theatre
and see rehearsals, prop and costume making at this national institution. 11. Stand in the courtyard of the The Globe theatre
, to experience Shakespeare as it was originally performed. 12. Walk ‘The Line’: a dedicated modern and contemporary art trail, leading from the Olympic Park to the O2 Arena in Greenwich. 13. Join the Rooftop Film Club and enjoy classic cinema at a variety of high-altitude locations. 14. Enjoy a world-class dance performance at Sadler’s Wells, the famous venue dedicated to international dance. 15. If jazz is your thing, head to world-famous Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in buzzing Soho. 16. Drop by Wilton’s Music Hall near the Tower of London, the oldest grand music hall in the world. A tour offers insights into the history of the building, music halls in general and London’s East End. 17. Head for the Royal Opera House for an evening of high culture. 18. Laugh your head off at one of the free comedy nights at the Angel Comedy club. You’ll need to get there early though, as there is always a queue.
19. Stay up late at the Science Museum
- most major museums offer regular evening opening hours and adult-only events. 20. See some of the world’s most beautiful and important books at the British Library, including the Magna Carta. 21. Take the kids to see the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum, as well as dozens of other exhibitions and hands-on discovery areas. 22. The Wellcome Collection is the place for the incurably curious with exhibitions about the role of medicine in the past, present and future. 23. Learn about the history of money at the Bank of England Museum, which has been at the centre of the country’s economy since the 1600s. 24. Delve into the lives of George Frideric Handel and Jimi Hendrix - the former homes of these two musicians separated by only a wall and 200 years have been turned into the Handel & Hendrix in London museum that often features live performances. 25. Learn more about Britain’s naval history at the National Maritime Museum
and Royal Naval College, in Greenwich. 26. Visit the Freud Museum in Hampstead, the former home of Sigmund and Anna Freud that now provides fascinating insights into their lives and work. 27. Marvel at the Rosetta stone and Egyptian mummies at the British Museum
, which are amongst eight million artefacts in the museum’s permanent collections. 28. Go back to school at the Ragged School Museum and experience what school was like for children in Victorian times, complete with slates to write on and dunces caps. 29. The Victoria & Albert museum
is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, with a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. Well worth a visit! 30. The Wimbledon
tournament is a highlight of the summer, but even if you’re not in time to watch the tennis, the Lawn Tennis Museum is open all year round and Wimbledon Common is a beautiful place for a picnic. 31. Design your own sustainable architecture in the Smart Buildings section at The Crystal, at the Royal Victoria Docks.
The beautiful outdoors
32. Get close to nature at the London Wetlands Centre
, a nature reserve created in four former Victorian reservoirs. 33. Row your way across the Serpentine in Hyde Park. 34. Visit the peacocks in Holland Park and enjoy a stroll in the beautiful Kyoto Gardens. 35. Have a go on a banana bike - also known as recumbent bikes - at Dulwich Park or Battersea. 36. The Chelsea Physic Garden
was founded in 1673 for the study of plants and their medicinal properties. It’s truly one of London’s secret gardens! 37. Swim with the fishes (literally) at the Hampstead Heath bathing ponds. 38. Take your little ones to Peter Pan Park in Kensington Gardens, where there is a full-size pirate ship in the sandpit. Aye aye, me hearties! 39. Try to spot some of the 600 deer living in Richmond Park nature reserve, introduced by King Henry VIII in Tudor times. 40. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the canal towpath at Little Venice. 41. Watch the feeding of the pelicans at St James’ Park. 42. Have your say at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park - established in the 19th century as a place for open-air public speaking and debate. 43. Head for the treetops with Go Ape at Battersea Park for a unique adventure (and workout). 44. Go horseriding on Rotten Row, a 1,384-metre long track in Hyde Park. 45. Get in tune with nature at Mudchute farm, the biggest city farm in London with 32 acres of land. Accessible via the driverless Docklands Light Railway - seats at the front are always popular with kids.
46. Enjoy the view from the top of the Monument
, built in the 1670s to commemorate the Great Fire of London. 47. Stroll around the beautiful Highgate Cemetery, a grade I-listed conservation site, de facto nature reserve and burial place of Karl Marx. 48. Watch the lifting of Tower Bridge
- a timetable is available at http://www.towerbridge.org.uk/lift-times/. 49. Come and see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace - one of London’s most popular tourist events. 50. Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew
, also a key international research institute. 51. Marvel at the crown jewels and the centuries of history at the Tower of London
. 52. Stand on the Prime Meridian, also known as 0o longitude, and learn about the history of time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich
. 53. Play Chinese whispers at the Whispering Gallery of St Paul’s Cathedral. 54. Experience the life of a 16th century explorer aboard the Golden Hinde II, a full-sized reconstruction of the ship Sir Francis Drake used to circumnavigate the globe between 1577-80. 55. Visit Keats House
, the former home of Romantic poet John Keats where he produced some of his best-loved work. 56. Get lost in the maze at Hampton Court Palace
, which belonged to King Henry VIII in Tudor times. 57. Become a keeper for the day at London Zoo
, at the world’s oldest scientific zoo, founded in 1828. 58. Nose around Kensington Palace
, the childhood home of Queen Victoria and former abode of Princess Diana, now the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. 59. Experience 1,000 years of history at Westminster Abbey
, which has been used for all coronations since 1066, not to mention 16 royal weddings. 60. Climb aboard the HMS Belfast
to find out what life was like for a Royal Navy crew during WW2. 61. The Whitechapel Bell Foundry has been in business since 1570 and is the ‘birthplace’ of Big Ben and the original Liberty Bell. 62. Discover what life was like aboard the Cutty Sark in Greenwich
, the famous 19th-century tea clipper.
The best tours and views
63. Experience London at speed, with a speed boat trip on the river! See 22 attractions in 50 minutes – good for short visits! 64. Cross the Thames by cable car with the Emirates Air Line for great views and convenient access to the 02 Arena in Greenwich. 65. Take the weight off your feet and enjoy London from the comfort of a hop-on, hop-off bus tour
. There are multiple routes to suit all interests. 66. Take a spin on a Boris Bike with the London bike hire scheme named after the former mayor Boris Johnson and create your own tour. There are 700 docking stations all over the city. 67. Follow in the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes with a guided walking tour dedicated to the exploits of the famous sleuth. 68. Join a leisurely Thames River cruise
and see some of London’s most famous attractions from a new angle. 69. Delight in the views from the ArcelorMittal Orbit
sculpture, designed by Anish Kapoor for the London 2012 Olympics. Then choose whether to descend via a 178m-long tunnel slide or the world’s highest free-fall abseil (stairs are also available). 70. Go for a trip on a red Routemaster bus. A modern version of the iconic design runs on 24 different routes. 71. Climb the church tower at Westminster Cathedral, London’s central Roman Catholic cathedral, for more spectacular views. 72. Follow the trail of destruction caused by the Great Fire of London in 1666 and gain insight into the history of the City. Guided and self-guided walks are available. 73. Silent discos are held at a variety of locations across the city, including at The View from the Shard. 74. Climb to the top of the O2 Arena - on the outside of the building! Choose a sunset time slot for beautiful photo ops. 75. Get a taste of Butterbeer at the Warner Bros Studio Tour where all eight Harry Potter films were made. 76. London Brewery Tours offer visits to microbreweries and craft beer manufacturers. 77. Hop aboard a Necropolis Routemaster bus, for a comedy horror show that will show you the darker side of London as part of a Ghost Bus Tour. 78. Get your skates on and head to the London Friday Night Skate or Sunday Stroll, which are marshalled street skates that take place in central London every week
79. Set your taste buds alight with at one of the curry houses in Brick Lane - curry is now considered to be the British national dish. 80. Sample the street food at the London’s famous Borough Market. 81. If one dessert is never enough, head to the Café Royal dessert restaurant, where every course is sweet. 82. Sample the beer at a traditional English pub, such as the George Inn in Borough High Street - the only pub to be owned by the National Trust. 83. Enjoy traditional afternoon tea at the Houses of Parliament, after one of the guided tours.
For sports lovers
84. Attempt to understand the rules of cricket at the Lord's Cricket Grounds
. 85. Go white water rafting at Lee Valley White Water Centre, built for the canoeing events at the 2012 London Olympics. 86. Get your football fix with at one of London’s five Premier League clubs: Arsenal
, Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United. 87. Go for a dip at the London Aquatics Centre and swim in the lane where Michael Phelps won gold in the 2012 Olympics.
88. It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing! Get your dancing shoes on at Cahoots in Kingly Court, based in a former underground station and air-raid shelter. 89. Browse through antiques, fashion and bric-a-brac at Portobello Road Market - “the road where the riches of ages are sold”. 90. Head for Platform 93⁄4 at King's Cross Station, where scenes from the Harry Potter movie were filmed (actually between platforms 4 and 5). 91. Peek into the central BBC newsroom at Broadcasting House. 92. Watch the crowds - and street performers - at Covent Garden, a neighbourhood that has everything from luxury shops, to restaurants, culture and nightlife. 93. Recreate the famous photo of the Beatles on the Abbey Road album cover, at the crossing outside the Abbey Road recording studios. 94. Be part of the audience at a TV or radio show being recorded by the BBC. Visit their website to apply for free tickets. 95. Watch an auction or just appreciate the art, at Sotheby’s auction house, founded in 1744. 96. Browse for hours at the beautiful Liberty London department store. Founded in 1875, it was called “the chosen resort of the artistic shopper” by Oscar Wilde. 97. Get your brain in gear at the Frontline Club in Paddington. Founded to promote independent journalism, it runs a full programme of talks, discussions, presentations and films, with an emphasis on conflict reporting. 98. The Sunday flower market on Columbia Road transforms a small high street with exclusively independent shops into an oasis of foliage and flowers. 99. Get the fright of your life at the London Dungeon, where actors, special effects and 360 different sets combine to show you another side of London history - the horrible side. 100. Take part in one of London’s many seasonal events, including the Thames Festival (September), Guy Fawkes’ night and the Lord Mayor’s show (November), Chinese New Year (February), St Patrick’s Day (March) and Notting Hill Carnival (August). Phew! Hopefully we've given you plenty of inspiration for your next trip to London with our ultimate bucket list of the top 100 things to do in the capital!