London (England) Bucket List
London is the perfect city for a bucket list because there are so many amazing sights to see, foods to try, and cultural experiences to enjoy. This is definitely a city that you can visit year after year and continue to find new things to love. Below I’ve laid out Traveling Chic’s eat-see-do list for London but we’d love to hear what you would add in the comments below!
Things To Do
Say hello to the Queen with a visit to Buckingham Palace – The Palace is open for public tours from July – October (book tickets in advance). If you visit at a different time of the year it is still fun to take a look at the outside of the palace. After your tour, stick around to enjoy the pomp and pageantry of the Changing of the Guard presentation (lasts about 30 min.). For a better chance at seeing the Queen, take a day trip to Windsor Castle which is the Royal residence of the Queen (and you may even spot Prince Harry and Meghan!). Just under an hour drive from London or a quick 30 minutes by train from Paddington Station.
Tour London from the top of a red double decker bus – Hop on a bright red double decker bus to get acquainted with the city. The Hop-on Hop-off bus tours stop at many of the tourist sites, so you can get off to explore, or just enjoy the ride and see what London, England has to offer.
*Traveling Chic Tip – Do this tour on your first day as it will give you a great overview of the city. Sit up top to enjoy the best views!
Stroll through one of London’s beautiful parks – Hyde park (the largest of London’s Royal parks) is a popular choice. Whether you go rowing on the Serpentine Lake, biking through its many acres, or find a chair to relax in, you’ll be wowed by this park. Continue through the park to Kensington Gardens and Kensington Palace (the current home of Kate and William). Alternatively, make your way over to Regent’s Park, the perfect stroll with a coffee on a sunny morning. Check out Queen Mary’s Rose Garden, the London Zoo (if you’re traveling with kids), or make your way up Primrose Hill for a nice view.
Live out your Harry Potter Fantasies – If you’re a Harry Potter fan head over to Kings Cross Station to see Platform 9 3⁄4. There is an organized queue for a great photo opportunity as well as a souvenir shop. There are countless other filming locations around the city to get your Harry Potter fill. In addition, the Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour is the perfect experience for both muggles and wizards! Just 20 miles outside of London, England and accessible by train.
Get lost in Notting Hill – This charming neighborhood is lined with pretty pastel homes and is the perfect place to spend a morning grabbing brunch and pretending you’re a local. You’ll find this neighborhood busy on the weekend due to the famed Portobello Market.
Take a Ride in a Black Cab – Although more expensive than other modes of transportation, be sure to take a ride in a black cab during your stay in London. The drivers are very entertaining and extremely knowledgeable about the city.
Mind the Gap – Taking a ride on the London Underground, also known as the Tube, is a must-do experience when visiting. You’ll find the announcements made in British accents highly entertaining.
Go shopping in the Tiara Triangle – Even though the exchange rate isn’t usually in your favor, London is one of the best places to shop in the world! In the Knightsbridge area you’ll find Harrods, Harvey Nichols and other luxury shops that make up the “Tiara Triangle.” Be sure to browse the food market at Harrods (great for souvenirs) and if you want a luxury experience, head to Harvey Nichols’ 5th floor Champagne bar and toast to your trip. Oxford Street can feel overcrowded with tourists, but there are 300+ shops to visit, Bond and Regent Street are made up of high end designer stores and name brand chains, Carnaby Street is known for unique shops and flagship stores, and King’s Road in Chelsea is another popular shopping area if you are staying in that part of town.
Things To See
London Calling – In the era of cell phones, London’s red phone booths are becoming obsolete. Even so, they still feel very quintessential London and make for a perfect photo to remember your trip by.
See a show in a West End Theater – London, England is a great city to see a play. There are plenty of Broadway shows as well as plays unique to London. You won’t have a problem finding something that appeals to everyone. If there is a show you want to see, we recommend buying your tickets in advance to make sure you get seats. If you are looking for a last minute deal, go to a TKTS booth in Leicester Square the day of the show to see what tickets are available at a discounted price.
Traveling Chic Tip: When you arrive at the theater you can go to the bar and pre-order a cocktail. It will be waiting in the bar for you during intermission.
Step back in time at the Tower of London & admire the Crown Jewels – Take a free tour with a Yeomen Warder (AKA – Beefeater – the guards of the Tower) to learn about the history of the tower. The guards are known to be hilarious and very informative guides. End your tour with a walk through of the crown jewels.
Immerse yourself in one of London’s many museums – London, England has some of the best museums in the world and because most are free it makes it very easy to have a cultured experience on your visit! Stop at the Tate Modern for a taste of the modern art collection (Matisse, Picasso, Dali, Warhol, and more). The Churchill War Rooms are an interactive museum in a former WWII bunker, hidden beneath the streets of Westminster. The London Museum of Natural History is kid-friendly and perfect for lovers of dinosaurs and cultural artifacts. The National Portrait Gallery houses a collection of portraits of important British people (including portraits of Diana and Kate). British Museum – A collection of human history, art, and culture which has the Rosetta Stone and Greek and Egyptian antiquities on display. And those are just to name a few!
Things To Eat And Drink
Enjoy a pint and fish and chips at a local pub – Traditionally pubs are open from 11-11. They are the perfect spot for lunch, dinner, or a pint before bed. Try your ‘chips’ (aka french fries) with vinegar like a true Brit!
Sip Traditional Afternoon Tea – The British tea tradition dates back to the 1700s. High tea was offered to the working class as an afternoon meal taken standing up or on high stools (hence the name “high tea”). The upper class had a more fashionable affair known as Afternoon Tea. There are plenty of lovely places for an afternoon tea experience. Fortnum and Mason is an excellent choice for your first day or try Sketch for a pretty in pink modern setting. I did a blog post on Afternoon Tea options here.
Ease into the week with a Hearty Meal – Try a traditional English Breakfast (aka “fry-up”) which includes sausages, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, blood pudding, potatoes, toast, and tea or visit a pub for dinner and try a Sunday Roast – Meat, potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding (similar to American popovers)
Enjoy Dinner at a Curry House – Dinner at a curry house is a fun experience in London, England. A popular chain around the city is Dishoom.
Duke’s Hotel Bar for a James Bond Martini – Order the Vesper Martini at Duke’s Hotel Bar in Mayfair (where Ian Fleming is said to have coined the phrase “shaken, not stirred”).
Looking for more London Travel Tips?
- London, England – The Perfect Itinerary for First-timers
- 15 Useful Things to Know Before You Visit
- Where to Stay – Hotels for Every Budget
- Dinner & A Movie – Wimbledon
- Kate & Will’s London – A Royal-worthy Trip
- 7 DARLING Spots for Afternoon Tea!
- London Bucket List
Or check out our Inspiration on Pinterest!
What else would you add to the list?