When considering the best things to do in London, the reality is that you are spoiled for choice. There is literally something for everyone in the English capital, so regardless of your personal taste, you can be sure that you will stumble across plenty of things to keep you occupied. In fact, the challenging aspect is figuring out exactly what to do and what to leave off your schedule and save for a return trip.
One of the best ways to experience London for the first time is to purchase the London Pass, which enables visitors the opportunity to visit several attractions plus skip the long lines. The beauty of the London Pass is that you are able to experience a plethora of attractions while at the same time save a huge amount, especially if you visit many of those on the list.
Of course, the difficult aspect is allocating enough time given that most landmarks close around 5:00PM each day, but with an organized schedule you can really maximize this great deal! The variety of London Pass attractions ensures that your schedule will be action-packed all day long.
Let’s take a look at some of the best reasons to visit London. Here is our hectic yet very enjoyable 3 day guide in England’s capital city. Be sure to check out our guide to spending 48 hours in London if you have a shorter amount of time.
Best Things to do in London
Whether you are an avid football fan, architecture aficionado, cuisine lover or simply enjoy having a good time, London is one of the best cities in the world to experience all of this and more. Our focus during this trip was to sample many of the “sporting” experiences in London including football, rugby and of course, tennis given that we were visiting during the week Wimbledon was being played at the infamous SW19.
Realistically, visiting a variety of sport stadia will take a substantial amount of time, not only to navigate your way around the capital from one to another but also because each guided tour is a complete experience. Of course, a visit to London wouldn’t be the same without visiting some iconic spots along the way so we were sure to scatter in those stereotypical English attractions during our journey around the city.
Stamford Bridge Stadium Tour
The first thing on the to do list was visit Chelsea Football Club. We drove into London, so we had to find parking which was very limited though fortunately we found an alley that wasn’t too far away. I would not recommend doing this but we parked and walked over to begin the guided tour of the stadium.
The guide was very knowledgeable and throughout the tour we were able to see a variety of different perspectives, including a view from the press box, a pitch-side view and also inside the home/away changing rooms (the difference between these is very noticeable!!!). Overall the tour lasted about 90 minutes and was great value!
Jason’s Canal Boat
Heading back into the heart of London, we went to Jason’s Canal Boat Ride which offers a scenic and historic canal tour through London’s boroughs, passing the London Zoo, Lord’s Cricket Ground and into Camden Lock marketplace. If you want a detailed route, click here.
After spending the afternoon on the canal tour, we ventured to our hotel based in East Croydon which although the GPS informed us was only 15 miles away, took well over an hour to travel this distance given the crowded congestion throughout London.
This is certainly a time to recommend anyone traveling in London to use public transportation at all costs as driving is NOT the best way to get around! The Holiday Inn in East Croydon was basic but sufficient for our needs and provided easy access to the train station that would lead us back into London city center via the tube.
Tower of London
An early start began with us taking the train and tube back into London. Our day was planned to visit a number of historic landmarks including the Tower of London, London Bridge, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace.
Getting familiar with the color coding of the various tube lines is a necessity but once you understand how they all feed together, it is pretty simple and convenient to navigate around London. Our first stop was the Tower of London which was included on the London Pass.
The history here is breathtaking and offers great opportunities to learn about the history surrounding London’s development. The exit of Tower of London is located below Tower Bridge so it is ideal to take in both of these landmarks at the same time. The tour of Tower Bridge is self-guided which allows you to learn at your own pace at how the bridge was constructed.
Photographs are available for purchase at a reasonable price ($20 for 2 pictures) with the tower in the background, both daytime and evening, providing a memory worth purchasing for anyone visiting this landmark.
Lunch at a local bakery was followed by a trip to HMS Belfast which was yet another prepaid landmark via the London Pass. All of these are within easy walking distance of each other without needing to get back on the underground system.
The afternoon was spent taking in a haunted house experience at the London Bridge Experience. Not as scary as they made out but worthy of using the London Pass tickets.
A ferry down the River Thames gave us the opportunity to view Big Ben, Parliament and the London Eye. After leaving this short tour, we decided to hop on the tube to Wimbledon and see if we could get tickets.
After walking at least 1/2 mile past the entrance, we had to turn around and follow the ‘poor’ signs on how to get into the grounds. Fortunately we were in luck and were able to purchase evening grounds tickets at a discounted rate and experience the atmosphere inside Wimbledon.
Sitting on Henman Hill or the newly named, Murray Mound, eating stereotypical Strawberries and Cream was a perfect way to end an amazing day! Heading back to the tube station we ate Fish and Chips with the locals.
Twickenham Stadium Tour
Another early start saw us venture outside of London to Twickenham Rugby Club for another London Pass tour. This really was one of our surprisingly worthwhile tours because you really get to experience everything on offer at the stadium. The stadium is a magnificent structure, seating over 80,000 and visiting the suites and seeing how they are maintained is an eye-catching experience.
The sporting day continued with us taking the train and tube from Twickenham to Lord’s Cricket Ground, aptly named the Home of Cricket. Taking in the history throughout this ground was amazing and also listening to the guide show us the honors boards where some of the great cricketing legends have their names is memorable.
London’s Famous Landmarks
Our late afternoon and early evening involved a trip to the famous Harrods department store sandwiched between a stroll through Hyde Park and visiting Buckingham Palace. One of the great things about London is that once you are in the CBD, you really are within walking distance of a myriad of tourist attractions (or at worst a short tube ride). Harrods is very overcrowded and expensive but offers a variety of merchandise to remember your trip there.
Hyde Park is a relatively calming experience despite it’s central location a midst the hustle and bustle of the city center. Buckingham Palace really speaks for itself with it’s iron gates protecting Her Majesty from the thousands of tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of her.