Our planet is quite blessed when it comes to exciting destinations and exhilarating experiences. Atop the list of the Earth’s most generously-gifted places comes the incredible English capital, London. London has some of the world’s most renowned architectural landmarks, stunning nature, and fascinating history.
Because London is one of the world’s most rich destinations, planning a London itinerary can be quite an overwhelming task as you can easily get lost in all the incredible things to see and experiences to be had. From classics like the incomparable Buckingham Palace to lesser-known gems like the Postal Museum and Lambeth Palace, it is quite easy to get lost in all the exquisite London landmarks. That’s why we have compiled a list of the top 40 must-see London landmarks so you can experience London right.
1. Big Ben
The first London landmark on our list is quite expected: the rightfully popular Big Ben. The iconic London monument is located at the Houses of Parliament and is one of the city’s most renowned tourist attractions. Although the name ‘Big Ben’ is globally used to refer to the big clock tower, it is actually the name of the bell inside the tower, which weighs 13.5 tons, hence the name.
Constructed in 1859, Big Ben has been an iconic part of the London skyline for centuries. The top of the tower offers incomparable views of the city, and on a clear day, you can see as far as Windsor Castle! Big Ben is a true London stable, so make sure there is a spot for it on your London itinerary.
2. Westminster Abbey
Another iconic London stable is, of course, the one and only Westminster Abbey. In addition to being a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, Westminster Abbey has also been a pilgrimage and worship destination for centuries. Moreover, this magnificent abbey is also where several members of England’s royalty have been buried, including Queen Elizabeth I, Charles II, and Queen of Scots, Mary.
When visiting Westminster Abbey, you can travel back in time while exploring the abbey’s iconic interior design, pay your respect to the British monarchs who are laid to rest under its roof, or take a guided tour and learn about the truly fascinating history of this historic London landmark. Whatever you choose to do, you are guaranteed a one-of-a-kind experience.
3. Buckingham Palace
Built in the early 18th century, Buckingham Palace has been a London icon for decades. Although the palace has been expanded and renovated more than once over the years, the original authenticity and historical ambience of the place have never been compromised.
Today, Buckingham Palace covers over 77,000 square metres, boasting a total of 775 rooms, including 19 State Rooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 78 bathrooms, and 92 offices. Because Buckingham Palace is the official British monarchy residence, it is not open to the public. However, tourists can freely explore the royal gardens of the palace or tour the State rooms, which are dedicated to ceremonial and official occasions.
4. The British Museum
In addition to being the most-visited tourist attraction in London, the British Museum is also one of the world’s biggest museums. Founded in 1853, the museum houses an impressive collection of over eight million monuments and artefacts from all over the world, ranging from ancient Egyptian mummies and the famous Rosetta Stone to modern art.
Visitors of the British Museum can explore the different galleries at their own pace or take part in one of the many guided tours that are on offer. The British Museum is a fascinating London landmark, and it is easy to spend a whole day discovering its many treasures.
5. Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is one of the London landmarks that you can’t afford to miss when visiting London. The bridge, which spans the River Thames, was built in 1894 and consists of two imposing towers connected by a central walkway.
Tower Bridge is particularly noteworthy for its bascule, or drawbridge, which allows ships to pass through the river below. The bridge has become an enduring symbol of London, appearing in numerous films and television shows set in the city. Today, Tower Bridge is a popular tourist destination, with visitors often flocking to the bridge to take in the spectacular views of the English capital.
6. The Monument to the Great Fire of London
The Monument to the Great Fire of London is one of the most recognizable London landmarks. Built to commemorate the devastating fire that destroyed much of the city in 1666, the Monument stands 202 feet tall and is topped with a flaming golden urn. Visitors can ascend to the top of the Monument for sweeping views of London.
The Monument is located close to where the fire broke out, in a bakery on Pudding Lane. Today, the area around the Monument is a lively mix of businesses and residences, and the Monument itself is a popular tourist destination. On a clear day, it’s possible to see all the way to St. Paul’s Cathedral from the top of the Monument. The views make it clear why this London landmark is so popular among visitors and tourists.
7. The National Gallery
The National Gallery is a well-known London landmark and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city. As the world’s leading art museum, it houses an impressive collection of paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries, including works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Van Gogh.
The gallery is free to enter, and it’s easy to spend a whole day exploring its many halls and rooms. With so much to see, it’s no wonder the National Gallery is one of London’s must-see attractions.
8. Madame Tussauds London
Madame Tussauds London is a world-famous attraction and a true London landmark. Founded in 1835, it has been delighting visitors from all over the world for centuries. The museum is home to incredibly lifelike wax figures of some of the most famous celebrities, politicians, and historical figures.
Madame Tussauds London is also known for its innovative and exciting special effects displays. These displays give visitors an immersive and unforgettable experience. From the moment you step through its door, you’ll be transported into a world of excitement, wonder, and fun. Whether you’re a Londoner or a visitor from abroad, Madame Tussauds London is an attraction that you won’t want to miss.
9. London Eye
The London Eye is one of London‘s most iconic landmarks. Standing at a height of 135 metres (443 feet), it offers stunning views of the city below. Visitors can take a leisurely ride in one of the 32 high-tech capsules, each of which can accommodate up to 25 people.
The London Eye has become one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, attracting more than 3.5 million visitors each year. Thanks to its unique design and location, it has also become an important symbol of London itself, appearing on countless postcards and souvenirs. Whether you’re looking for a breathtaking view or simply want to soak up the atmosphere of this great city, a visit to the London Eye is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
10. Sky Garden
Sky Garden is a London landmark that offers incredible views of the cityscape. The garden is located on the top floor of the London Eye Ferris wheel and is open to the public during daylight hours.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of plant life, including tropical trees, herbs, and flowers. Sky Garden also features a café and bar, making it the ideal place to unwind and take in the stunning views. Whether you’re looking for a breathtaking photo opportunity or want to escape the hustle and bustle of London life, Sky Garden is well worth a visit.
11. Regent’s Park
Regent’s Park is one of the most iconic London landmarks. The sprawling park is home to a wide variety of flora, fauna, and several historical monuments. Visitors can stroll through the carefully manicured gardens, feed the ducks on the lake, or explore the Open Air Theatre.
Regent’s Park is also a popular spot for picnics and sports games. With so much to see and many activities to enjoy, it’s no wonder that this London gem is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city.
12. Science Museum
The Science Museum is a fascinating London landmark. It is located on Exhibition Road in South Kensington and houses a collection of over 300,000 items. The museum has interactive exhibits on various topics, including human anatomy, space exploration, and the history of medicine.
The museum also has a library and archives, which are open to the public. The Science Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London and receives over 3 million visitors each year.
13. Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of the most famous London landmarks and is a great place to visit if you’re looking to experience some of the city’s history and culture. The park was home to many important events throughout its long history, including the Great Exhibition of 1851 and the London Olympics in 2012.
Hyde Park is also a popular spot for concerts and other public events, making it a great place to people-watch and soak up the unique atmosphere of London. If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of London, Hyde Park is the perfect place to relax and recharge. With its beautiful gardens, tranquil lakes, and wide open spaces, the park provides a much-needed oasis of calm in the heart of London.
14. Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum in London is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Home to an extensive collection of natural history specimens, the museum is a popular destination for both tourists and Londoners alike. The museum’s collection includes fossils, minerals, plants, and animals from all over the world, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to learn about the natural world.
The museum also houses a number of interactive exhibitions, which are designed to educate and engage visitors of all ages. The Natural History Museum is a London landmark that is not to be missed.
15. The Royal Observatory
The Royal Observatory is a truly intriguing London landmark. Located in Greenwich, it was founded in 1675 by King Charles II. The Observatory played a crucial role in the development of maritime navigation, and it remains an important scientific research institution to this day.
The Observatory’s famous Prime Meridian line divides the globe into east and west, and its timekeeping activities helped to establish London as the world’s financial capital. Visitors to the Observatory can view the historic telescopes, learn about the work of famous astronomers like Edmund Halley, and even observe the night sky through the facility’s modern telescopes. For anyone interested in astronomy or the history of science, the Royal Observatory is an essential London destination.
16. London Zoo
London Zoo opened in 1828, making it the world’s oldest scientific zoo. The 36-acre (15 ha) site is home to over 12,000 animals, many of which are endangered. London Zoo is situated at the northern edge of Regent’s Park and is managed under the aegis of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), a charity devoted to conserving animals and their habitats. The society also manages Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire and Dulag in the Philippines.
London Zoo is open every day of the year except Christmas Day. The zoo was originally intended to be used as a collection for scientific study. This remained its primary purpose until the mid-19th century when Londoners began using it for recreation and entertainment; London Zoo was eventually opened to the public in 1847.
London Zoo received over 3 million visitors in 2015, making it one of Europe‘s most famous zoos. Although London Zoo has more visitors than any other zoo in Britain, it remains third behind Chester Zoo and Colchester Zoo among British zoos based on visitor numbers.
London Zoo’s main entrance is located just north of Camden Lock on Regent’s Canal, where boats deliver visitors through an underground tunnel beneath waterfalls into an enclosed basin surrounded by buildings housing lions, gorillas, penguins, reptiles and tigers. More cramped quarters for smaller animals like rodents and insects can be found near the Reptile House while birds are confined to aviaries that line parts of the northern wing of Penguin Beach. Three aquariums containing freshwater fish can be found along the central pathway between the Gorilla Kingdom and the Land of Lions.
London Zoo is an authentic historic London landmark and is well worth a visit, whether you are passing by London or staying for a long vacation.
17. Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Constructed in 1599, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre was one of the first permanent theatres in the English capital and quickly became a popular London landmark. The theatre was built with a thatched roof and an open-air design, which was ideal for performances during the summer months. However, this also meant that the theatre could not be used during the winter.
In 1613, the theatre was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. It was rebuilt the following year and continued to operate until 1642, when all London theatres were closed by Parliament. Today, a modern reconstruction of the Globe Theatre stands on the original site and is open to the public. Visitors can learn about the history of the theatre and see performances of Shakespeare’s plays.
18. The Churchill War Rooms
The Churchill War Rooms is a London landmark and one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. The rooms are located in the basement of the Ministry of Defence building and were used as the headquarters for the British government during World War II.
The war rooms were designed to be bomb-proof and intended to be used only in an emergency. However, they were also used as a meeting place for Churchill and his cabinet and as a newsroom for journalists. The rooms have been exactly preserved as they were during the war, and visitors can see how the British government operated during one of the most turbulent periods in history. The Churchill War Rooms provide a fascinating glimpse into the past, so if you are a history fanatic, you will definitely enjoy paying it a visit.
19. Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is one of the most popular London landmarks. Opened in 1871, the hall was built to honour Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria. Designed in the neoclassical style, the hall features a massive domed roof and a seating capacity of over 5,000.
Over the years, the Royal Albert Hall has played host to a wide range of events, from classical concerts and theatrical performances to political rallies and pop concerts. Today, it remains one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing visitors and artists from all over the world.
20. St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is a London landmark and one of the most prominent churches in the world. Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, it was completed in 1710 and has been a place of worship ever since.
The cathedral’s imposing dome is its most distinctive feature, and at 365 feet high, it remains one of the tallest in the world. Inside, the cathedral is just as impressive, with a soaring nave and beautiful stained-glass windows. St. Paul’s is also notable for its many famous features, including the tomb of Admiral Lord Nelson and the American Memorial Chapel, which commemorates American servicemen and women who lost their lives in World War II. As one of London’s most iconic buildings, St. Paul’s Cathedral is a London landmark that is truly worth the visit.
21. Palace of Westminster
Situated on the banks of the River Thames, the Palace of Westminster has been the seat of Britain’s government for centuries. The current building dates back to the mid-19th century when it was rebuilt after a fire destroyed much of the original structure.
Today, the Palace of Westminster is home to the House of Commons and the House of Lords, as well as a number of important government offices. Visitors can tour the building, and there are also several museums and exhibits within its walls. The Palace of Westminster is an essential part of London’s history and culture, and it is well worth a visit.
22. Museum of London
The Museum of London is a London landmark that is dedicated to the history of London from prehistoric to modern times. The museum has exhibits on London’s Roman history, the Great Fire of London, and the London Blitz.
The Museum of London is also home to the London Wall, built to protect the city from invaders. The museum is open every day except Christmas Day, and admission is free. The Museum of London is a great place to learn about the history of London and its people.
23. Borough Market
Borough Market is a renowned London food market located near London Bridge. The market has existed since the 12th century and is today considered a London landmark. The market sells a variety of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, loaves of bread, and other foods from vendors representing many parts of the world.
Borough Market is also a popular tourist destination, with visitors coming from all over to sample the food and drink on offer. The market has undergone extensive redevelopment in recent years, making it an even more essential London destination. Whether you’re looking for fresh produce or simply want to explore one of London’s most iconic markets, Borough Market definitely deserves a place on your itinerary.
24. Barbican Centre
The Barbican Centre is a London Landmark and one of the world’s leading art venues. Home to the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Chorus, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, it is a truly world-class institution. Featuring three concert halls, two theatres, an art gallery, and a cinema, it offers something for everyone.
The Centre is also home to a library, education centre, and conference facilities, making it a truly multifunctional space. In addition to its cultural offerings, the Centre also boasts an award-winning restaurant, café, and bar, making it the ideal place to unwind and relax after a busy day sightseeing. Praised for its architectural innovation and engineering excellence, the Barbican Centre is a must-visit for any Londoner or visitor to the city.
25. The Wallace Collection
Housed in Hertford House, a former townhouse of the Marquesses of Hertford, The Wallace Collection is a national museum that houses one of the world’s finest collections of paintings, furniture, porcelain, arms and armour, and Old Master drawings. This London landmark is open to the public, and admission is free.
The Wallace Collection was left to the British nation by Dame Julie in 1897 and was assembled by four generations of the first family of collectors: Sir Richard Wallace, his son Sir John Murray Scott Wallace, his grandson Sir Lionel Walter Rothschild, and finally, Lionel’s widow, Dame Julie Wallop.
The Wallace Collection is one of the most important museums in London and is particularly known for its paintings by old masters such as Rembrandt, Velázquez, and Reynolds, as well as French paintings by artists such as Boucher, Watteau, and Fragonard.
26. Covent Garden
Covent Garden is a London landmark and one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations. The area is home to several theatres, restaurants, bars, and shops, making it the perfect place to spend an evening. Covent Garden is also home to a number of historical landmarks, such as the London Coliseum and St. Paul’s Church. The area is well-known for its vibrant atmosphere and for its wide variety of entertainment options. Whether you’re looking for a night out on the town or a quiet evening stroll, Covent Garden is sure to have something for you.
27. The Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum, located in London, is one of the world’s largest museums of decorative arts and design. Founded in 1852, it houses a collection of over 4.5 million objects from every corner of the globe.
The museum is named after Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert. It was originally established to display works of art that were among the British Crown jewels, but it soon began to acquire other items from around the world.
Today, the Victoria and Albert Museum is home to an unrivalled collection of paintings, sculptures, furniture, textiles, ceramics, glassware, metalwork, and much more. The museum is a London landmark and a must-see for anyone interested in the arts and design.
28. The Imperial War Museum
The Imperial War Museum is one of the most famous London landmarks. It is located in the Kensington district and was founded in 1917. The museum is dedicated to preserving the history of wars that were fought by the British Empire and the Commonwealth. It houses a wide variety of artefacts, including weapons, uniforms, and vehicles.
The museum also has a research library, which contains over two million documents. The Imperial War Museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London, and it receives over two million visitors each year.
29. St Mary Axe
St Mary Axe is an office building that has earned its place among London landmarks. It is located right in the heart of London, on the site of the former St Mary Axe church. The building was designed by Norman Foster and completed in 2004. It has a height of 168 metres (551 feet) and a triangular shape.
The building is clad in glass and steel and has a distinctive “egg-shaped” profile. It is one of London’s most recognisable skyline features. The building is home to offices, restaurants, and a public viewing gallery. It is also known for its environmentally friendly design, which includes features such as double-glazed windows and a “green roof”.
30. Tate Modern
Tate Modern is a London landmark and one of the most visited tourist locations in the city. The museum is housed in a former power station on the banks of the River Thames, and it is home to an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art.
Tate Modern first opened its doors to the public in 2000, and since then, it has welcomed more than 150 million visitors. The museum has also been praised for its innovative architecture and commitment to education and outreach. In addition to its world-renowned collection, Tate Modern also offers a variety of public programs, including lectures, performances, and films. With its rich history and diverse offerings, Tate Modern is an institution that truly has something for everyone.
31. Princess Diana Memorial Fountain
The Princess Diana Memorial Fountain is a London landmark that was built to honour the late Princess of Wales. The fountain is located in London’s Hyde Park, and it consists of a circular pool with a central stone island. Water flows from the island and around the pool, creating a continuous flow.
The fountain is symbolic of Princess Diana’s life, as it represents her capacity for compassion and her dedication to humanitarian causes. The fountain was designed by Kathryn Gustafson, and it was completed in 2004. It has become a popular spot for Londoners to relax and reflect on Diana’s life, and it remains an important symbol of her legacy to this day.
32. London Transport Museum
The London Transport Museum is a London landmark that celebrates the city’s fascinating and complex transportation history. The museum tells the story of London‘s transport system from its early days to the present, with exhibits that showcase everything from early horse-drawn buses to contemporary Tube trains.
Visitors can learn about the engineering feats that made London’s transport system possible, see how transportation has shaped the city’s urban landscape, and discover the stories of the people who have used London’s transport system over the years. With its impressive collection of artefacts and engaging exhibits, the London Transport Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in London’s rich transportation history.
33. Chinatown Gate
The Chinatown Gate is a London landmark located in the heart of the city’s Chinatown district. The gate was built in 1999 to mark the entrance to the Chinatown area, and it has since become a popular tourist destination.
The gate is decorated with Chinese-style dragons and lanterns, and it is often illuminated with colourful lights. The Chinatown Gate is a symbol of London’s diversity, and it is a fitting tribute to the city’s large Chinese community.
34. Holland Park
Holland Park is one of London’s most beloved parks. Situated in the heart of the city, the park is a popular spot for picnics, sunset strolls, and lazy afternoons. The park is also home to a number of important landmarks, including the Holland Park Ecology Centre and the Belvedere Fountain.
In addition to its many amenities, Holland Park is also renowned for its beautiful gardens. The Kyoto Garden is a particular highlight and features a tranquil pond, Japanese maples, and a charming bridge. With its picturesque surroundings and rich history, it’s no wonder that Holland Park is one of the most cherished London landmarks.
35. Cutty Sark
The Cutty Sark is a treasured London landmark. Built in 1869, the ship served as a tea clipper, transporting tea from China to London. The ship is named after the Scotch whisky of the same name.
The Cutty Sark was the fastest ship of its time and held the record for the fastest passage from London to Sydney. The ship is now open to the public, and visitors can explore the decks, cabins, and rigging. The Cutty Sark is a unique and fascinating piece of the English capital’s history and is well worth a visit.
36. HMS Belfast
The HMS Belfast is a London landmark that is both a fascinating museum and a fitting tribute to the men and women who have served in the British Armed Forces. The ship was launched in 1938 and served during World War II, taking part in the D-Day landings and the Battle of North Cape. After the war, it was decommissioned and laid idle for several years before being reborn as a museum ship in 1971.
Today, visitors can explore nine decks of exhibitions and take part in interactive displays that bring the ship’s history to life. The HMS Belfast is an important London landmark that provides insights into the city’s past and pays tribute to the courage and sacrifice of those who have served their country.
37. Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace is a London landmark as well as the official royal residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The palace is located in Kensington Gardens and dates back to 1605, when it was originally built as a country house for Sir George Coppin. In 1689, King William III and his wife Mary II took up residence at the palace, and it has been associated with the British royal family ever since.
Today, Kensington Palace is open to the public and houses several museums, including the Orangery, the Sunken Garden, and the Queen’s Gallery. Visitors can also tour the State Apartments, which are furnished with works by some of Britain’s finest artists. Whether you’re interested in royal history or simply want to admire some beautiful architecture, Kensington Palace is definitely worth a visit.
38. Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus is one of the most beloved London landmarks. The busy intersection is home to a number of famous theatres and department stores, and its bright lights and lively atmosphere make it a popular destination for both Londoners and tourists alike.
Piccadilly Circus is also one of the city’s busiest transport hubs, with a number of London Underground stations located nearby. Despite its central location, Piccadilly Circus is relatively small, measuring just shy of 300 square metres. Nevertheless, it remains one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing millions of visitors yearly.
39. Portobello Road
Located in the Notting Hill neighbourhood of the city, Portobello Road is home to a popular street market. This market dates back to the 18th century, and it is known for its vintage clothing, antiques, and collectables.
More than 100,000 visitors come to the market each week, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in London. In addition to the market, Portobello Road is also home to several pubs and restaurants, as well as a number of small shops and businesses. The street has a vibrant atmosphere, and it is a great place to experience the true character of London.
40. Sea Life Centre
The London Sea Life Centre is a world-renowned aquarium and marine life rescue centre located in London, England. The centre is home to over 300 different species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.
The London Sea Life Centre is also a leading rescue and rehabilitation centre for injured and orphaned marine animals. The centre has been involved in rescuing and rehabilitating animals from oil spills, shipwrecks, and other disasters. In addition to its work with injured and orphaned animals, the London Sea Life Centre also educates the public about the importance of marine conservation. The London Sea Life Centre is one of London’s most popular tourist attractions, drawing over 2 million visitors each year.
After reading this comprehensive guide, you are now armed with the knowledge of 40 different London landmarks that your bucket list needs to have. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to England’s capital city today and see as many of these amazing places as possible. We can guarantee that you won’t regret it!