As part of a new series, we’re asking people to give us their top 10 London bucket list of things to do in London. Some things are ‘off the beaten track’, other things are standard sightseeing favourites – and some are definitely personal preference! We’ve looked within our team to find out some of our top bucket list things to do in London to help inspire you to make the most out of your trip to London. Let us know if any of these are on your bucket list, too!
- Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London
The traditional Ceremony of the Keys has been held at the Tower of London
for centuries (700 years to be precise!) and takes place every night of the year. It used to symbolise the safe keeping of the monarchy, locking them away from harm for the night. Now, it represents the old duty although the tradition is maintained to protect the crown jewels and other precious historic artefacts.
- Witness a Trial at the Old Bailey
Ever wanted to witness the fate of one of the world’s most notorious criminals? Well, head down to the Old Bailey and you might be in luck. Access to the public galleries is free so if you fancy dropping in, just turn up early as it’s first come first serve. If you want in on some action (you never know, it could make headlines) the galleries are open Monday to Friday 9:55 - 12.40 and 13.55 - 15.40 (last admission).
Hampton Court Palace
- Complete the Maze at Hampton Court Palace
is home to the oldest surviving hedge maze in the world. So if you fancy yourself like Alice and Wonderland, go and recreate the experience in West London’s prolific royal residence. Once home to King Henry VIII, it’s one of London’s best haunts if you’re a fan of the British Monarchy. The maze itself was commissioned around 1700, and covers a third of an acre. Open daily, there’s no excuse – go on, we dare you (try not to get lost!)
- Fly on the Emirates Airline, Greenwich
London’s only cable car, the Emirates Airline is a great way to get 360° views of London’s East end and City. Travelling at 90m high the trip lasts 10 minutes and departs from Royal Docks and Greenwich Peninsula. It’s a novel way of travelling across the River Thames and a great way to link you up with Greenwich, where you can explore the Maritime history of London.
- Go ice skating in Somerset House
Hurray for Christmas! Another reason we’re looking forward to Christmas time is when the ice skating rinks come back to London. Our best bucket list one is Somerset House. The iconic Neoclassical building, on the famous Strand, has a history in itself steeped in nobility dating back to the 1700s. This year, from 11th November – 11th January the inner courtyard will be transformed into a skating rink for members of the public to enjoy a seasonal skate. Food stalls hosted by Fortnum & Mason, and club nights for those with enough stamina, will take you into the evening and make sure you’re plenty fed, watered and entertained.
- Take a walk in Kew Gardens
If you go to any gardens in London, make sure they’re Kew Gardens
. There’s almost no limit to what you can discover in this secret sanctuary, waiting to be explored at your heart’s content. From tree top walks, to tai chi, there are so many events and activities going on you’ll never be bored. To explore it properly it warrants a few visits, so you can’t really ever say you’ve ticked it off the list!
- Hire a Boris Bike
Biking in London has now become much more popular thanks to the introduction of the Boris Bike, aka, Barclays Bike and cycle lanes. The pay as you go hire bikes are dotted around the city and are a favourite of local Londoners and tourists alike. A handy way of nipping around the city, just take one and off you go. If you’re not convinced, read our interview with two London cyclist veterans
to find out more.
- See a match at Wimbledon
We’re already looking ahead to next summer; and that means Wimbledon
! The sporting tradition that takes place in the esteemed Wimbledon grounds in South West London is a sell-out affair every year, yet if you time it right you can get cheap tickets, or even ones for free. Head down around 4-5pm and catch those who are coming out of the earlier matches who often hand out their unwanted (but still valid!) tickets to lucky bystanders to catch the later matches. If not, Henman Hill – now renamed Murray Mound – is free of charge where you can watch the match on the big screen.
- Go vintage shopping around Brick Lane
There are a wealth of places in London where you can indulge in a bit of shopping, but if you want something more than air-conditioned high street shops, head to Brick Lane on the weekend where you will be overwhelmed by vintage stalls and sellers selling everything from clothing to antiques – and everything in between. It’s a great place to go for budding designers to get inspiration, as well as to indulge in some delicious street food. The food stalls there are amazing, too, so make sure you visit the indoor pop up food court. Delish.
Afternoon Tea is a true British institution
- Have afternoon tea at The Wolseley
and where better to uphold it than at the iconic Wolseley. Famed for its tradition of tea, scones, finger sandwiches, sweet pastries and champagne – it takes the menu up a notch with celebrated home baking and an ever-changing menu. You need to book in advance though, as it’s a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. But don’t worry, it’s worth the wait.