Over the summer Dane and I went on our first European adventure. It was the first trip that I ever felt the need to create a detailed itinerary for, mainly because there are SO MANY famous London attractions. I wanted to be sure we were able to squeeze it all in!
While I’m glad we were able to, there were definitely some spots that I cared for more than others. So if you’re planning to visit and are on borrowed time, here’s what’s on my London must see list. In no particular order…
London Attractions – 9 Spots You Can’t Skip
1. Buckingham Palace:
There are only a few months per year that you can get a “behind the scenes” view at Buckingham Palace, and we were lucky enough to be in town for one of them! It was honestly the highlight of our trip! You can visit the Royal Collection Trust website to see all openings, package options, and to reserve tickets.
We went with the “Royal Day Out” package. This allows you to experience three areas of Buckingham Palace: the State Rooms, The Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews. You’ll see art and gifts given to the Queen throughout the years and the coach Princess Diana road in to her wedding. You stand in the room that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took their official wedding photos in. And you see paintings and furniture older than The United States itself. It’s pretty wild!
If this option isn’t available during your trip, you should definitely still visit Buckingham Palace. It’s still cool to see! But getting to go behind the curtains is definitely fun and interesting.
2. St. James Park:
St. James Park, considered a “Royal Park”, is right next to Buckingham Palace. It’s known to be the home of pelicans and beautiful flower beds. And if you’re visiting London during the warmer months, it’s a great place to throw down a blanket and a bottle of wine. Either way, it at the very least deserves a walk through!
3. Churchill Arms [and all the cute pubs]
If you’ve ever wondered what the bright, flower-covered pub posted all over Instagram is called, it’s Churchill Arms. And while it’s worth a visit because it is so freaking adorable, know that there are a ton of cute pubs in London. There’s one on just about every corner! So be sure to drop into one and grab a local beer or cider [and a Scottish Egg — YUM!]. You won’t be disappointed!
4. Portobello Road Market
London has a lot of markets [at least more than I expected], but Portobello Road Market was one of my favorites. It’s a street filled with local shops and vendors, and it offers an array of goods – from food to antiques! My friend Amy and I got some super cute handmade necklaces for about $15. They were sized to our liking and everything. But even if you don’t have intentions of shopping it’s a cool experience. The area has a lot of beautiful architecture. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to chat with some locals [who are so nice, BTW!].
Harrods is a famous department store, and it’s also one of the world’s largest (source)! It has beauty halls, cafeteria-style dining halls, restaurants, and it carries some of the most luxurious brands in the world. By no means did I go shopping there, LOL, but I did drool over all of the floor sets and general architecture. It was absolutely breathtaking!!
6. Sky Pod Bar London
Sky Pod Bar London is a beautiful indoor garden, bar, and restaurant. Hands down, it gives you the best view of the city – from inside and out (they have an outdoor deck). You truly don’t realize how vast London is until you see it from their view! But if you want to go, be sure to make a reservation well in advance. For good reason, it’s a very popular spot!
7. Borough Market
If you want to experience the food of countless cultures in one adorable spot, Borough Market is the place to go. With every step you see and smell something different. They offer fresh squeezed juices, produce, hot meals, and even live music. And most of it is covered which is nice – given the weather in London the majority of the year.
8. Tower of London
As I asked my friends for London recs ahead of our trip, I got tons of different ideas. But the one “touristy” thing everyone said we HAD to do was the Tower of London. And they were all right! It was worth the ticket to see the Crown Jewels alone. I truly appreciated the history listen, though, as well!
9. Carnaby and Kingly Court
Carnaby is another quaint lifestyle destination with a variety of things to do and see. Tucked into it you’ll find Kingly Court, an outdoor venue featuring a bunch of cafes, bars, and restaurants. Just like Regent and Oxford Streets, I liked this area best at night when it was all lit up!
So there you have it! If you’ve been wondering what to see when in London, I hope this helps you put together a memorable itinerary. All of these London attractions truly stole my heart, and I hope they do the same for you.
PS: If you plan to travel from London to Paris like we did, check out my 3 Days in Paris post for some suggestions.
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Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading. Do your best today!