No matter how long you are in the city, you will never run out of things to do and see. Guidebooks will add insight into just how many things that you could (and should) see in London, if given the opportunity. Instead of listing your hundreds of options, we’re going to give you an overview of the top things to do in London and some of the most famous attractions and landmarks where you can visit and see everything in real life.

London Eye

The London Eye is Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel and the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom. You can take a ride in one of the enclosed capsule, each of them representing one of London’s Burroughs, where there is standing and seating space to take in expansive views of the city. We recommend you try it at twilight to take in the beautiful lights of the city below.

Visiting info

Hours

The London Eye is open Monday-Sunday 10-8:30.

Location

It is located on the South Bank of the River Thames opposite the House of Parliament. You can access the London Eye by way of the Waterloo tube station.

Cost

The standard ticket for a 30 minute rotation is £29.95 for adults 16+, children 4-15 are £15.50, and children under 4 are free. If you go to the London Eye website, however, and book your tickets in advance you will receive a discounted price.

Parliament and Big Ben

When you think of London, there are dozens of images that pop to mind, but perhaps the most iconic is of Big Ben and the intense and architecturally stunning Parliament building behind it. The name Big Ben is used to describe the clock tower. While you can’t climb Big Ben unless you live in the United Kingdom, you can spend a day in the Parliament buildings (with a bit of forethought and planning), watching committees and debates happen in real life. You can also take a guided, audio tour of Parliament where you will walk through the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Learn little known facts and details about Parliament and its long history in England.

Visiting info

Hours

Tours are available to overseas visitors on Saturdays throughout the year and on weekdays while Parliament is in recess. Tickets can be booked now for

  • All Saturdays until 29 August 2015
  • Monday to Friday between 31 March and 6 May 2015 (except 3, 6, 30 April and 4 May 2015)
  • Monday to Friday between 3 and 28 August 2015

Location

You can get to the Tower of London by way of the Tower Hill tube station located on the Circle and District Lines.

Prices

  • Adults: £17.50 ($33AUD)
  • Children (5-15 years): One child free with each paying adult, but will require a ticket for admission, £7 (£7.20*) for each additional child
  • Children (under 5): Free, but will require a ticket for admission

Buckingham Palace

Those lucky enough to be visiting London during the months of August or September can take a trip to Buckingham Palace and view the Palace’s 19 state rooms, the ballroom and gardens. These are only open during those two months while the queen is away on her annual trip to Balmoral. The state rooms house many of the Royal family’s greatest treasures while the gardens will offer gorgeous views of the west front and the lake.

If you aren’t able to visit during the two months that the palace is open to visitors, you must still see the Changing of the Guard ceremony that takes place in the forecourt every day at 11:30 am in the summer. The ceremony is about 45 minutes long and is free to watch.

Visiting info

This is info for visiting the inside of the Palace, the Changing of the Guard ceremony is free.

Hours

  • 25 July-31 August: Open daily 9:30-7:30 (last admission 5:15)
  • 1-27 September: Open daily 9:30-6:30 (last admission 4:15)

Location

The Palace can be accessed by either the Victoria, Green Park or Hyde Park stations.

Prices

Prices range from £20-£35 (38-66 AUD) for adults depending on how much of the Palace you want to see. Ages 5-16 range from £11-£20 (21-38 AUD) while children under 5 are free. There is a discounted price for students or those over 60 that range from £18-£32 (34-60 AUD).

Shakespeare’s Globe

This recreation of the original Globe Theater is housed in Southwark on the south bank of the River Thames. The original theater was built, destroyed, and rebuilt before finally succumbing to its final demolished fate in 1644. The modern recreation, however, has tried to replicate as close as possible based on available evidence of the two previous buildings. Take a tour of the theater with a guide that captivates you with the world of Shakespeare. You can also view one of the many live performances for an evening or lunchtime activity.

Visiting info

The theater may not be viewed without a guide especially during a show.

Hours

  • Open daily 10-6

Location

The theater is located in Bankside and is accessible by tube. You can use the Blackfriars stop (10 minute walk) on the District and Circle Lines, as well as, the Southwark and London Bridge stations (15 minute walk) on the Jubilee Line.

The London Pass

Check out the London Pass, a sightseeing card that covers you for 60 different attractions in London, most attractions on this list are covered. Depending on the amount of days you will be sightseeing in London, you can choose a card based on your needs.

Prices

Children prices are for children 5-15 years old. There is also an option to add an Oyster Travelcard to your London Pass which allows public transportation travel all around London. Depending on the amount of attractions you want to visit, this card will pay for itself after just a few attraction visits.

1-day pass

  • Adults: £52
  • Children: £35
  • Adults: £71
  • Children: £52
  • Adults: £85
  • Children: £59
  • Adults: £116
  • Children: £80

Can’t wait to get going in London? We don’t blame you. Get a jump start on your planning now and don’t forget to include travel insurance when you purchase your flights — that way you’ll have all your bases covered, and all the freedom to enjoy your British trip.

Image courtesy of Flickr user David Stanley