There are only two reasons you wouldn’t want to go and visit London at some point in your life. The first is that you live in the UK already and you’ve been to London multiple times. The second is that there’s something seriously wrong with your travel ‘to-do’ list, and you need to make changes to it urgently. As one of the world’s oldest and greatest cities, England’s national capital attracts millions of visitors each year and has no shortage of things to do for adults, single travelers, or families.
When Americans visit Europe, it’s common for them to take in several cities or countries as part of one trip rather than spending multiple days or weeks in the same place. That means they may only spend one or two days in London before moving on to Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Dublin, or elsewhere. That’s an exciting way to see the world, but it also cuts down on the number of activities you can pack into your stay. That’s why it’s very important to know what’s there before you set off, and decide which attractions you wish to prioritize.
We’d be happy to help you with the prioritization aspect of that if you’re considering a trip to London in the future. Trimming down all of the city’s features and attractions into a shortlist of options wasn’t an easy task, but here’s what we’ve come up with!
Go To The Pub
Before you do anything else, go to a traditional English city center pub in London. There’s a big difference between the atmosphere in an American bar and the atmosphere of a British pub. Pubs are at the center of London’s social life. They’re where people meet, unwind, talk, and relax. Some of them don’t even show sports or play music; they’re just bars with tables and space for conversation. The English national obsession with pubs is so strong that the popular online slots game ‘Down the Pub’ is based on the tradition. That, by the way, is another popular British tradition. There are multiple online slots websites Rose Slots based in and around the UK, and that’s because the country is as enamored with casinos as it is with pubs. If visiting casinos or playing online slots is banned where you live, being in London gives you an opportunity to try the habit out!
Ride The London Eye
You could dismiss the London Eye as an oversized Ferris wheel, but that would be cynical and inaccurate. It’s unlikely you’ll ever have encountered a Ferris wheel as big as this before, and it’s even more unlikely you’ll ever have seen a view like the one you’ll get from the top. This giant attraction pulls in more than three million visitors every year and has been entertaining tourists and locals since it was erected as part of the city’s Millennium celebrations twenty years ago. If your visit to the city is of a romantic nature, pay the additional fee to get a private pod for your trip, and go at night when the city is lit up and looking its best.
Say Hello To The Queen
London is, of course, where the Queen of England lives. It would be rude not to go and say hello to her when you’re in her city – or, indeed, her country! While the British Royal Family has a number of official residences, the Queen spends most of her time at Buckingham Palace, which has been the primary home of every British monarch since Queen Victoria decided that she wanted to live in the 18th-century townhouse upon her accession to the throne in 1837. You won’t necessarily see her waving to you from the window, but if you choose the right date for your visit, you might see ceremonies like the Changing of the Guard or the Trooping of the Color, both of which represent British pageantry at its finest. The building and gardens are worth a visit even if there’s nothing special going on.
Take In A Show At The West End
We don’t want to involve ourselves in an argument about where the best theater shows in the world can be seen. Many passionate Americans will tell you that its Broadway. A few of the more ‘glitz and glamor’ enthusiasts prefer Las Vegas. For many a Brit, it’s London’s West End. In truth, many of the same shows visit both Broadway and the West End, but there are also shows here that you won’t find on Broadway. There are some grand old theaters in London’s West End that are worth seeing just so you can appreciate the architecture even if you don’t want to check out a show, and it’s also a short walk from there to Piccadilly Circus. That’s the London equivalent of Times Square in New York, with its glowing neon billboards and vibrant nightlife. This has been the commercial heart of London for more than four hundred years.
Cruise Down The Thames
Before the days of planes, trains, and automobiles, the River Thames was the primary way that business came into London, and by extension, into England. This body of water allows ferries and ships to sail straight into the heart of the city from the European continent and beyond, and it’s also a fun way to spend the afternoon on a guided tour boat. Battles have been fought in and around the Thames for centuries, and a knowledgeable tour guide will be able to tell you the full history of all of the famous buildings you’ll sail past on the way. You’ll also float past the Houses of Parliament, which is where the British government meets to discuss the issues of the day and, presumably, argue about the state of Brexit. Some Thames cruises can also be combined with a meal and onboard entertainment, so always check before you book.
There’s so much more to do in London than this. We haven’t even had time to fit in Hyde Park, the Shard, Leicester Square, or Tower Bridge yet! There’s only so much you can do in a weekend, though, and we think the activities we’ve identified are the ones most likely to provide you with lasting memories. Enjoy your trip, and don’t mention the Boston Tea Party!