London is another Mega City, which is impossible to pin down to 10 items. I’ve been to London around 200 times for both pleasure and business and, similarly to my previous posts about New York and Paris, the list below is my top 10 and does not try to replicate any other popular lists.
Similarly to if not more than New York – London is so cosmopolitan and diverse that you will absolutely find everything here. Samuel Johnson put it best: “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
With that, let’s dive in:
- Buckingham Palace & Big Ben
It was extremely difficult for me to select the top spot and I’ve been changing it few times. At last I decided that the Buckingham Palace has to be there as it’s one of the most impressive buildings ever created. It is considered the most expensive property in the world, valued at around $1.5 billion. With all houses considered, Buckingham Palace is ranked 14th largest palace in the world with 77,000 m2.
Originally built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham, it is currently the home of Queen Elizabeth II and the seat of royal power in the United Kingdom. The architecture, monuments, gardens and smaller residences are absolute “must-see” and make this palace the most identifiable of private “homes” in the UK.
15 min walk to Big Ben, which I don’t have to introduce I’m sure 🙂
Address: Westminster, London SW1A 1AA & www.royalcollection.org.uk/Buckingham
- Tower Bridge
One of the undeniable and most-recognisable London’s landmarks. Whether you’re looking at the bridge, from the bridge or somewhere near it, you can enjoy almost all of London’s glory. The bridge is accessible to both vehicles and pedestrians. Tower Bridge Exhibition is also possible to visit for around 10 pounds.
Definitely a top Instagram-worthy picture spot! 🙂
Address: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP & www.towerbridge.org.uk/
My favourite part of town and definitely deserving top 3 if not the very top spot. I usually stay at The May Fair Hotel (beautiful crowd & design) and have breakfast at the Wolseley (their Eggs Benedict are to die for!) – one of my favourite to-dos in the world. Cecconi is another competitor for breakfast or brunch with one of my favourite pancakes in the world (with apples and nuts…). Even writing this makes me want to teleport there…
Mayfair is all about luxury lifestyle and wealth – hotels, (Claridge’s, The Dorchester, The Ritz) restaurants (Pollen Street Social, Burger & Lobster, Hakassan), bars, shopping, art galleries etc. It’s perfectly located in West End (also for business due to booming financial services industry e.g. hedge funds) with close proximity to Soho, Oxford and Regent Street as well as Hyde Park.
I used to like Notting Hill and Knightsbridge a lot when I first visited London, but after about 15-20 visits, it has been May Fair ever since ❤
Address: London Borough, City of Westminster & www.mayfair-london.co.uk/
- Hyde Park
Beautiful park and the epicenter of the city – similarly to Central Park in New York. Wonderful for a run, stroll, picnic or taking photos with squirrels 🙂
During the winter you’ll experience Winter Wonderland here, which is a major tourist attraction. Adjacent parks are Green Park and Kensington Gardens, which are also really nice and more intimate (smaller).
Address: London W2 2UH & https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/hyde-park
- The Shard
With so much development going on in London, The Shard has really changed the skyline (opened 4 years ago and cost nearly 450m). The view from the top of this 95-storey building (over 300m, tallest in the UK) is absolutely phenomenal (buy the tickets to View from the Shard online).
Shangri-La, one of the top luxury hotel chains in the world, has opened in The Shard (for me personally, one of the most anticipated hotel openings in the world in the last few years) and prides itself by offering one of the best views over entire London.
The Shard also has 6 restaurants / bars making it an absolute must-do and an item on the list which may sway those who haven’t been to London in a while (The Shard opened on 01/02/2013) to get those tickets! 🙂
Address: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG & https://www.the-shard.com/
- Tate Modern
With 5 million visitors a year and recently expanded by 60%, Tate Modern is the Mecca for modern art lovers. It is the most visited tourist attraction in London and the most visited modern art museum in the world. It put London on/near the top of the world’s art map in the recent years, and transformed the British public, which now goes to admire modern art in their spare time.
Many floors are open to the public for free. Make sure not to miss the amazing view from the top! (also free).
Address: Bankside, London SE1 9TG & www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern
- Sushisamba / Vertigo 42
By now you probably know my obsession with amazing views. These 2 places are my favorite places to hang out and enjoy the beautiful London skyline. Sushisamba is on the ‘newer side’ residing on the 38th-floor of Heron Tower with great Japanese cuisine and amazing atmosphere, design and views. Perfect for taking clients out and having really good fun. Some dancing involved after hours…:)
Vertigo 42 is London’s highest champagne bar / lounge and used to be an institution before the more-recently-opened The Shard and Sushisamba. I’d recommend Vertigo 42 for more private, intimate, romantic purposes. The champagne list is really impressive and the views are breathtaking – all my friends thanked me wholeheartedly for this recommendation.
One of my favourite areas to hang out and party in the world. From bars, boutiques, theaters, cafes, to Covent Garden with life music, it is just perfect to unwind and relax. Both tourists and the locals flock here to experience the diversity and the energy of the area. Yes, some do so also because it’s very open-minded and risqué.
It is truly amazing that in London you can move to different worlds so quickly (e.g. Mayfair to Soho). That’s what makes London so diverse, cosmopolitan and impossible to get bored of (see the quote at the beginning of this post).
Address: Soho, London West End & http://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/london-areas/soho
Dinner at Sarastro is certainly an experience. Some would call it magical. Although it’s no longer really my style, I do recommend visiting at least once. You’ll experience live entertainment during dinner (Mediterranean cuisine). The décor and atmosphere of the place are unforgettable and will transport you in time and space. Recommended for a date and also for a group gathering – good fun.
Address: 126 Drury Lane, London WC2B 5SU& www.sarastro-restaurant.com/
- Tower of London
Despite other famous attractions, such as National Gallery, British Museum, London Eye and many others; I decided to include Tower of London on the list. This World Heritage Site is one of Britain’s most iconic buildings and will certainly satisfy your historical curiosity.
Tower of London was built in 1078 and performed many functions throughout the years – from prison to palace, treasure vault, private zoo and many others…It includes remarkable displays of royal armaments and armor, the famous Crown Jewels exhibition, the Beefeaters, the Royal Mint, as well as exhibits about the executions that took place here. The adjacent Tower Bridge made it to #2 of this list and is one of the best-known London landmarks – wonderfully completing this beautiful area.
Address: St Katharine’s & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB & https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/
I must say that after my last trip to New York I somehow degraded London from my list of favourite cities in the world, but after writing this blog post, I am actually putting it back in top 3. There is just so much exciting things to do, that I could just hang out around #3 for a week without the faintest chance of getting bored #londoncalling.
Let me leave you with this song, if London is not calling you yet: