London is an amazing city that’s full of places you will likely have seen all over the media, in movies, and in popular culture your whole life.
When I first visited London I felt like I was walking around a monopoly board!
From iconic buildings like Big Ben and Tower Bridge to historic sites like the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, the city is filled with countless landmarks that are steeped in history and culture.
So I’ve decided to list the top London landmarks to help you plan a trip to London and tick some of these off your list. Or all, of course, if you’re the list-ticking type!
Whether you’re a first-time visitor to London or a long-time resident, there is always something new and exciting to discover in London.
We will take you on a journey through some of the most famous and awe-inspiring landmarks in London, offering insight into their history and significance and providing tips for making the most of your visit.
So grab your walking shoes, and let’s explore the incredible landmarks that make London such a unique and unforgettable city.
Top 10 Landmarks in London
Tower Bridge is one of the most famous landmarks in London. It is a suspension bridge that spans the River Thames and is Located near the Tower of London.
The bridge is a symbol of London and is often used as a backdrop in movies and TV shows.
The Tower Bridge Exhibition is a Museum that explores the history of the iconic Tower Bridge. Visitors can take a tour of the bridge and learn about its construction and design.
The Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament is where the UK government is located. The building is also known as the Palace of Westminster and is located on the north bank of the River Thames. The building is famous for its Gothic Revival architecture and is home to the famous Big Ben clock tower.
Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the British monarch. It feels strange not to say it’s where the Queen lives!
It is located in the City of Westminster and is one of the most famous buildings in London. The palace is open to the public during certain times of the year, and visitors can take a tour of the state rooms.
The London Eye
The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel that offers stunning views of the city. It is located on the south bank of the River Thames and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London. Visitors can take a ride on the wheel and enjoy the panoramic views of the city.
Big Ben is the nickname for the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster. The clock tower is one of the most famous landmarks in London and is an iconic symbol of the city. Fun fact, the tower itself is actually called Elizabeth Tower, and it’s just the clock that is Big Ben!
King’s Cross is a major transportation hub located in north London. It is home to the iconic St Pancras International Station, which is known for its stunning Victorian architecture and high-speed Eurostar service. Visitors can explore the various shops and restaurants that are housed within the station and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of this bustling area.
It is also famous for being the location of Platform 9 ¾, a fictional platform in the Harry Potter series where students catch the Hogwarts Express train to the wizarding school.
In the Harry Potter books and movies, Platform 9 ¾ is located between platforms 9 and 10 at King’s Cross Station and is accessed by running through a wall.
The popularity of the Harry Potter series has turned this spot into a major tourist attraction, with a dedicated Platform 9 ¾ display featuring a luggage trolley embedded in the wall, where visitors can take photos and purchase souvenirs.
The Shard is an iconic 95-story skyscraper that offers panoramic views of the city. It is located in the London Bridge area and is one of the tallest buildings in Europe. The building is home to offices, restaurants, and a luxury hotel.
I’ll always remember it as where we had lunch after we got engaged!
The Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre is a reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre that was built in 1599 and famously associated with William Shakespeare. The modern-day theatre is located on the south bank of the River Thames and was opened in 1997.
The theatre is a faithful recreation of the original and is an important destination for those interested in Shakespeare and theatre history. If you manage to get a ticket, you can attend performances of Shakespeare’s plays as well as take tours of the theatre and its exhibition on Shakespearean theatre.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral is an iconic Anglican cathedral designed by Sir Christopher Wren. It is located in the City of London and is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. You can take a tour of the cathedral and climb to the top of the dome for stunning views of the city.
The cathedral was an important symbol of resilience and strength during the Blitz, a sustained bombing campaign carried out by the German Luftwaffe against Britain from September 1940 to May 1941.
After the war, St Paul’s Cathedral became a symbol of British endurance and was the location for several important ceremonies, including the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.
The Tower of London
The Tower of London is a historic castle located in the heart of London, on the north bank of the River Thames.
It was founded in 1066 by William the Conqueror, and over the centuries, it has served as a royal palace, a fortress, and a prison. Today, the Tower of London is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London, attracting millions of visitors each year.
Visitors to the Tower of London can take a guided tour led by one of the Yeoman Warders, who are also known as Beefeaters. These guides share fascinating stories about the history of the Tower, its inhabitants, and its many legends.
Landmark Museums in London
The National Gallery
The National Gallery is an art museum located in Trafalgar Square, London. It houses one of the world’s greatest collections of European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries, including works by famous artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, and Rembrandt.
The museum is free to enter and is a must-visit for art lovers and those interested in European history and culture.
The Tate Modern
The Tate Modern is a modern and contemporary art museum located in Bankside, London. It is housed in a former power station and is one of the most visited museums in the world.
The Tate Modern’s collection includes works by famous artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Andy Warhol.
The museum also hosts a range of temporary exhibitions and events throughout the year.
The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is a museum dedicated to the natural world and is located in South Kensington, London.
The museum’s collection includes specimens from plants, animals, and minerals from around the world, including the famous dinosaur skeletons in the Hintze Hall.
The museum is also home to the Darwin Center, which showcases the museum’s research and collections and a range of interactive exhibits and events for visitors of all ages.
The Science Museum
The Science Museum is a museum that celebrates science and technology. It is located in the South Kensington area and is home to a collection of over 300,000 objects.
One of the most popular attractions at the Science Museum is the Wellcome Wing, which houses the interactive Launchpad gallery. This gallery is a hands-on science centre that is aimed at children and families, and it allows visitors to explore the wonders of science through fun and interactive exhibits.
Some of the other popular exhibits at the Science Museum include the Space Gallery, which showcases the history of space exploration, the Energy Hall, which explores the science behind energy, and the Making the Modern World gallery, which features iconic objects from the Industrial Revolution to the present day.
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is an art museum that houses a collection of portraits of famous British people. It is located in Trafalgar Square and is home to a collection of over 200,000 portraits.
The Churchill War Rooms
The Churchill War Rooms is a museum that showcases the underground bunkers used by Winston Churchill during World War II. It is located in the Westminster area and is a popular destination for history buffs.
The Royal Observatory
The Royal Observatory is a museum that explores the history of astronomy and navigation. It is located in Greenwich and is home to the famous Prime Meridian Line.
Madame Tussauds is a world-famous wax museum located in the heart of London. It is known for its lifelike wax figures of celebrities, historical figures, and world leaders. Visitors can take photos with their favourite celebrities and enjoy the interactive exhibits that bring history to life.
The British Museum
The British Museum is a world-famous museum that houses a vast collection of artefacts and works of art from around the world. It is located in the Bloomsbury area and is a must-visit destination for any visitor to London.
HMS Belfast is a historic warship that has been transformed into a museum. It is located on the River Thames and offers visitors the chance to explore the ship and learn about its history. Visitors can climb aboard and explore the various decks and compartments, including the captain’s cabin, gun turrets, and mess hall.
The Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum, or the V&A, is a museum that specializes in art and design. It is located in the South Kensington area and is home to over 2.3 million objects.
London Transport Museum
Located in Covent Garden, the London Transport Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history of London’s transport system. The museum’s collection includes buses, trams, trains, and other modes of transportation that have been used in the city throughout the years. Visitors can explore the interactive exhibits and learn about the fascinating history of London’s public transportation system.
Landmark Buildings in London
The Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall that hosts some of the world’s most famous musicians and performers. It is located in the South Kensington area and is known for its distinctive domed roof.
The Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House is a world-renowned opera house that hosts some of the world’s most famous opera productions. It is located in the Covent Garden area and is a popular destination for music lovers.
The Hampton Court Palace
The Hampton Court Palace is a historic royal palace that was built in the 16th century. It is located in the Richmond area and is a popular destination for history buffs.
The Somerset House
The Somerset House is a historic building that has been used as a royal palace, a government building, and a cultural centre. It is located in the Strand area and is a popular destination for culture lovers.
The Gherkin is a distinctive skyscraper located in the heart of London’s financial district. It is known for its unique design and has become an iconic landmark of the city’s skyline.
You can enjoy stunning views of the city from the top of the building and explore the various restaurants and bars that are housed within the Gherkin.
The O2 Arena is a state-of-the-art entertainment venue located on the Greenwich Peninsula. It is one of the largest indoor arenas in the UK and has played host to some of the world’s most famous musicians and performers.
Wembley Stadium is a world-famous sporting and entertainment venue located in northwest London.
It is home to the England national football team and has hosted some of the world’s most iconic sporting events, including the Olympics and the UEFA Champions League Final.
You can take a tour of the stadium and learn about the history of this iconic venue.
Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station is a historic building located on the south bank of the River Thames. It is known for its iconic Art Deco design and has been used as a backdrop in various films and television shows.
The building has recently reopened after being transformed into a mixed-use development that including residential, commercial, and retail space. So there’s plenty to do and discover!
Landmark Squares and Areas
Portobello Road Market
The Portobello Road Market is one of London’s most famous markets and is located in the trendy Notting Hill neighbourhood. The market offers a vast array of vintage clothing, antiques, and unique souvenirs. Visitors can explore the colourful stalls and enjoy the lively atmosphere while soaking up the vibrant energy of the area.
Camden Market is another popular market located in the heart of Camden Town. The market offers a vast array of unique fashion items, vintage clothing, and handmade crafts. Visitors can explore the various stalls and enjoy the eclectic mix of food and drink options that reflect the diverse cultural heritage of the area.
Carnaby Street is a famous pedestrianized shopping street located in the heart of London’s West End. It is known for its vibrant atmosphere and unique fashion boutiques. Visitors can explore the various shops and restaurants that line the street and soak up the energetic vibe of this iconic London destination.
The River Thames
The River Thames is a historic waterway that flows through the heart of London. It is home to a variety of iconic landmarks, including Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye. Visitors can take a river cruise or a leisurely stroll along the riverbank and enjoy the stunning views of the city.
Oxford Street is one of the most famous shopping destinations in the world, located in the heart of London’s West End. It boasts a wide range of shops, from high street brands to luxury designer stores.
Piccadilly Circus is a bustling intersection located in London’s West End. It is known for its iconic neon signs and bustling atmosphere. Make sure you take a stroll through nearby Leicester Square, known for its theatres and entertainment venues.
Covent Garden is a historic market and entertainment district located in central London. It is known for its beautiful architecture and street performers.
Browse the various shops and stalls in the market, enjoy a meal in one of the many restaurants, or catch a show at the nearby Royal Opera House. I loved it here when I first visited London!
Soho is a vibrant neighborhood located in the heart of London’s West End. It is known for its lively nightlife, trendy restaurants, and entertainment venues. Explore the various shops and markets during the day and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the area at night.
Seven Dials is a unique and quirky neighbourhood located in central London. It is known for its seven streets that converge at a central roundabout and its numerous independent shops and boutiques.
There are also lots of quirky restaurants and shops here to explore.
Regent Street is a major shopping street located in central London. It is known for its elegant architecture and high-end designer stores.
Explore the various shops and restaurants or take a stroll down the street and enjoy the atmosphere, especially at Christmas when they have amazing lights on display!
The first I knew of Notting Hill was the movie, of course, so I’d say it’s a pretty iconic place in London.
Notting Hill is a charming and picturesque neighbourhood located in west London. It is known for its pastel-coloured houses, independent shops, and famous Portobello Road Market.
Explore the various boutiques and antique shops, enjoy a coffee or a meal in one of the many cafes and restaurants, or simply wander through the streets and admire the beautiful architecture.
Old Spitalfields Market
Old Spitalfields Market is a historic covered market located in the heart of East London. It is known for its eclectic mix of stalls selling everything from vintage clothing to artisanal food.
Enjoy a meal or a snack from one of the many food vendors, shop for unique and handmade items, or simply soak up the vibrant and bustling atmosphere of the market.
Brick Lane is a vibrant and diverse neighbourhood located in East London. It is known for its lively street art, vintage shops, and delicious food. Check out the street art installations, shop for unique and vintage clothing, or indulge in the many food options, including the famous curry houses.
Borough Market is a historic and bustling food market located in Southwark, South London. It is known for its wide range of fresh and locally sourced produce, as well as its artisanal food and drink vendors. There are lots of vendors to sample, including ones with local cheeses and wines, or simply soak up the bustling atmosphere of the market.
Southbank is a lively and cultural area located on the south bank of the River Thames.
It is known for its many theatres, art galleries, and cultural venues, including the Tate Modern and the National Theatre. Take time to stroll along the river or simply relax in one of the many cafes and restaurants with stunning views of the city.
Landmark Parks and Gardens
Hyde Park is one of London’s largest parks, with over 350 acres of green space. It is located in the Westminster area and is a popular destination for picnics, walking, and other outdoor activities.
Kew Gardens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in southwest London. It is home to a vast array of exotic plants and trees from all over the world. Visitors can explore the various gardens and enjoy the stunning beauty of this natural wonderland.
The Chelsea Physic Garden
The Chelsea Physic Garden is a botanical garden that specializes in medicinal plants. It is located in the Chelsea area and is a popular destination for nature lovers.
Located in the heart of London, Sky Garden is a stunning glass dome that offers a unique panoramic view of the city. It features beautifully landscaped gardens, observation decks, and restaurants, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
With its breathtaking views, the Sky Garden is a must-visit attraction for anyone looking to experience the beauty of London from above.
Hampstead Heath is a large open space located in north London. It is home to an abundance of wildlife and offers visitors the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of nature.
Explore the various walking trails and enjoy stunning views of the city from the hilltops.
Kensington Gardens is a beautiful park located in west London. It is home to various attractions, including Kensington Palace and the Serpentine Galleries.
Enjoy a picnic on the lawns, take a stroll through the gardens, or visit one of the many sculptures and memorials located within the park.
Regent’s Park is a large, picturesque park located in north London. It is home to various attractions, including the London Zoo and the Open Air Theatre.
Walk around the lake, take a boat ride, or relax on the lawns and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
The British Library
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and is home to over 150 million items. It is located in the St Pancras area and is a popular destination for researchers and book lovers.
The Harry Potter Bridge, officially known as the Millennium Bridge, is a pedestrian suspension bridge in London that spans the River Thames. The bridge gained its nickname due to its appearance in the film adaptation of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” where it was famously destroyed by the Death Eaters.
The Millennium Bridge was opened in 2000 and was designed by architects Norman Foster and Anthony Caro. The bridge is 325 meters long and is made of steel, with suspension cables holding up the walkway. It connects the Bankside area on the south bank of the river with the City of London on the north bank and offers stunning views of the river and the city skyline.
The National Theatre
The National Theatre is a theatre that showcases some of the best productions in London. It is located in the South Bank area and is a popular destination for theatre lovers.
The Barbican Centre
The Barbican Centre is a performing arts centre that hosts a wide variety of events, including music, theatre, dance, and art exhibitions. It is located in the Barbican area and is a popular destination for culture lovers.
The Cutty Sark
The Cutty Sark is a historic clipper ship that has been preserved as a museum. It is located in Greenwich and is a popular destination for maritime history enthusiasts.
Located in the heart of London’s Chinatown, the Chinatown Gate is a vibrant and colourful landmark that welcomes visitors to this bustling area. The gate is a symbol of the Chinese community’s cultural identity and serves as a reminder of the important role they have played in London’s history.
Harrods is one of the world’s most famous department stores and is located in the exclusive Knightsbridge neighbourhood. The store is known for its luxurious interiors, designer fashion, and high-end products.
Make sure you visit Harrod’s Food Hall as well, where you can buy something a bit more affordable!
There are so many amazing things to do in London but I think starting with this list of London Landmarks will really help you to set up your itinerary and not leave anything off your list!
More London Inspiration
- London Itinerary 4 Days: A First-Timers Guide
- A Kiwi’s First Time in London
- Expat Interview: Moving to London For a World of Choices
- Expat Interview: Moving to London to Study
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