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22 Famous London Landmarks to Visit (+ map and tips)

Planning to visit London for the first time? Not sure which London landmarks to include in your itinerary? We have you covered! Discover 22 of the most famous landmarks in London, including tips for visiting each right here – plus a useful map to help you plan your itinerary!

Famous landmarks in London are some of the most iconic to be found anywhere in the world. If you are planning your first visit to London, you could well feel overwhelmed when trying to decide which ones to see and working out how to include them in your itinerary.

In this article, you will discover 22 of the most famous places in London – the places that are worth taking the time to visit. We also include a map indicating the locations of each, so you have a better understanding of where in London each landmark is situated.

Note – In this article the term landmark may be used to refer to any feature, object or building that makes a place easily recognisable. I have therefore included famous buildings, historical monuments and structures as well as locations with cultural and/or geographical significance.

This list will help you to decide which of these famous places to visit in London are must-sees for you. This will depend on your interests, budget and time scale. I have also indicated what I consider the minimal amount of time to visit each, as well as information about the best tours and the cost of entry to each. 

If you are planning to visit a number of the London landmarks it may be cost-effective to purchase a London Pass – for more information about the pass click here.

Table Of Contents


22 of the top London landmarks to visit 

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is one of the most famous London landmarks.
  • Address: Buckingham Gate, London, SW1A 1AA
  • Nearest tube station: Victoria
  • Cost of entry: Standard adult £30
  • How much time to allow: 2 – 2.5 hours
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

As the official London residence of the British monarchy, Buckingham Palace is one of the most famous places in London. Many people from all over the world would have no trouble recognising it, and it’s certainly up there with the best-known London iconic buildings.

It takes at least 2 hours to tour the state rooms here, which is why the last entry for the day is usually 2 hours and 15 minutes before closing. As a working palace, it’s only open in spring and winter during selected dates. Otherwise, it opens to the public for 10 weeks each year between late July and early October. 

In the past it was not possible to see inside the palace, so if you are in London when it is open, a visit is highly recommended. The splendour of the state rooms is an incredible sight to behold. Purchase tickets for the state rooms here.

The Changing of the Guard also takes place several times per week outside the palace. 

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey
  • Address: 20 Deans Yd, London SW1P 3PA
  • Nearest tube station: Westminster 
  • Cost of entry: Standard adult £24
  • How much time to allow: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

Westminster Abbey dates back to 960AD when it was first founded by Benedictine monks, and the current building was begun during the reign of Henry VIII. Today it appears on TV screens across the globe when it is used as the venue for an occasion such as a royal wedding.

17 British monarchs are buried at the abbey and since 1066 it has been the official coronation church. This gothic style structure is at the centre of London life both literally and metaphorically, with services taking place daily. 

As well as past kings and queens, the abbey is the final resting place of over 3,000 notable British figures. There are regular special events, daily services of worship and a respected research library on site. 

Purchase your entrance ticket for Westminster Abbey here.

Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament

Big Ben
Houses of Parliament
  • Address: Palace of Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
  • Nearest tube station: Westminster 
  • Cost of entry: Standard adult guided tour £28
  • How much time to allow: 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

The Palace of Westminster is home to the British government’s House of Commons and House of Lords. You can also find the famous Big Ben tower in London here, with its iconic and recently renovated clock face.

Some visitors like to take the walk from London Bridge to Big Ben, which takes around 15 minutes. This takes you past the City of London, one of the planet’s most important financial centres, and along the River Thames.

Guided or multimedia tours should be booked in advance as capacity is limited. The tour is delivered in English and takes you through what happens in Parliament in addition to the rich history of the building itself. 

Tour options with Take Walks include a Behind the Scenes Parliament Tour which is a fully guided tour at closing time.

The London Eye

London Eye
  • Address:  Riverside Building, County Hall, London SE1 7PB
  • Nearest tube station: Waterloo
  • Cost of entry: Standard adult £33.50
  • How much time to allow: 30 minutes plus waiting, boarding & disembarking
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

The London Eye is the UK’s number one paid tourist attraction, so it’s one of the most highly regarded of all the famous places in London. This is because your 30-minute ‘flight’ gives you an incomparable birds-eye perspective over the city, as well as a sense of scale.

Many classic and modern London landmarks can be spied from your transparent compartment as you hover over the Thames. It moves slowly, so there’s plenty of time to capture what you want on camera while soaking up the magnificent views.

Around 3 million people per year take a trip on the London Eye, so book in advance if you’d like to join them. You can find out all about the options in this dedicated and in-depth London Eye guide

Read – Guide to visiting the London Eye (tips, tickets and tour options)

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral
  • Address: St Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD
  • Nearest tube stations: St Paul’s
  • Cost of entry: Standard adult £21
  • How much time to allow: 2 hours
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

With its iconic dome, St Paul’s is set at the City of London’s highest point. So as well as being one of the most famous places in London to visit, it also gives visitors sweeping views over the surrounding skyline. 

This Anglican cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of London and to visit is to follow in the footsteps of royalty, political leaders and other dignitaries. The dome was designed by Christopher Wren, and the present house of worship is the fifth church to stand on the site. 

While the current structure dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries, there have been churches on this site since 604 AD. During your visit (purchase your ticket here) you can climb up to the Whispering Gallery inside the dome to witness the unique acoustics, look for famous names down in the Crypt or take in the views from the Golden and Stone Galleries. 

The Tower of London

Tower of London.
  • Address: London EC3N 4AB
  • Nearest tube station: Tower Hill 
  • Cost of entry: Standard adult £29.90
  • How much time to allow: 3 hours+
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

The Tower of London is one of the most historical landmarks in London and exploring within is an experience few want to miss. This is why we’ve written a comprehensive Tower of London guide, where you can find out more. 

 
London’s Tower Bridge is one of the most famous sights in the city and simply by visiting the Tower you’ll get to see it at close quarters, as the Tower stands right by the Bridge on the banks of the Thames. 

There’s lots to see at the Tower of London, including the ‘Beefeaters’ in their famous uniform, the Crown Jewels, the ancient buildings, the Fusilier Museum, sets of armour and the Tower’s resident ravens. Make sure you allow at least a full morning or afternoon; longer is ideal if you can spare more time. 

Read more – Practical guide to visiting the Tower of London

Popular London Landmarks and Attractions – Advance purchase and/or fast track tickets

🎡 London Eye – Ride with fantastic views over London. (Skip-the-line tickets available)

🏙 The ShardThe tallest building in the UK with commanding views over London.

⛪️ Westminster Abbey Gothic abbey where coronations and royal weddings are held.

💎 Tower of LondonInfamous prison and mighty fortress. The Crown Jewels are on display too.

Madame Tussauds Get up close and personal with over 250 waxworks of famous people.

London DungeonEnjoy a recreation of some of London’s goriest and macabre historical events.

🐧 London ZooWorld’s oldest scientific zoo and a popular attraction for families.

👑 Hampton Court PalaceKing Henry VIII’s favourite palace.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge
  • Address: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP
  • Nearest tube station: Tower Hill 
  • Cost of entry: Standard adult £10.60
  • How much time to allow: 1 hour+
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

If your visit to the Tower of London has whetted your appetite for seeing more of Tower Bridge, then you may wish to explore this London landmark more thoroughly. It’s a Grade I listed building dating from 1894, when it opened after 8 years of construction.

Tower Bridge is known as a suspension and ‘bascule’ bridge, which refers to the fact that it’s moveable. This is because two sides open up to allow taller river traffic to pass beneath. It’s the capital’s only bascule bridge and was one of the first anywhere to be powered by hydraulics.

At Tower Bridge you can take in panoramic views over the city from the glass-walled walkway and explore the exhibits displayed in the original Victorian engine rooms. On a clear day, you may even make out Wembley Stadium in the distance, and the views of The Shard and St Paul’s Cathedral are pretty impressive. 

Tip – Purchase early entry tickets for the Tower of London and London Bridge and avoid the crowds.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park in London with people enjoying the summer and sailing on the lake.
  • Address: London W2 2UH
  • Nearest tube station: Hyde Park Corner
  • Cost of entry: Free
  • How much time to allow: 2 hours+ 
  • Opening dates & times: 05:00 to midnight daily

Whether you want to escape the crowds or tick the likes of The Serpentine off your London landmarks list, a visit to Hyde Park is a must for many visitors. It’s one of 8 Royal Parks in the city and is one of the finest green spaces to be found in any city on earth.

The park occupies a 350 acre site and highlights include the memorial statue dedicated to Diana, Princess of Wales, a lovely rose garden and The Serpentine, a popular open water swimming spot for Londoners.  

Hyde Park has long been associated with freedom of speech, and seeing the latest airing of views at Speaker’s Corner can be fascinating. If the weather is kind, take a picnic when you visit so you can kick back and relax by the water in this most majestic of inner city parks. 

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace
  • Address: Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX
  • Nearest tube station: High Street Kensington or Queensway
  • Cost of entry: Standard adult £16
  • How much time to allow: 1.5 to 2 hours+ 
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

Kensington Palace was in some ways the predecessor to Buckingham Palace, as it was the favoured royal residence until 1760. Queen Victoria was born here and the public left masses of floral tributes to Princess Diana outside the palace following her death. 

Now, Kensington Palace is home to her son Prince Willam, his wife Kate and their children as well as several other members of the Royal Family. Despite the grandeur, this palace has a more relaxed, intimate feel than the more imposing Buckingham Palace.

Things to see when visiting include themed exhibitions, the King’s and Queen’s state apartments, the story of Queen Victoria and the Jewel Room. Outdoors, Kensington Palace Gardens are also delightful and can be explored without you needing to purchase a ticket. 

Alternatively, why not purchase a tour of the gardens with Royal high tea and make an afternoon of your visit!

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus
  • Address: London W1J 9LL
  • Nearest tube station: Piccadilly Circus
  • Cost of entry: Free
  • How much time to allow: 1 hour+ 
  • Opening dates & times: Public outdoor space

Piccadilly Circus is the British answer to New York’s Times Square. The ‘circus’ part of the name stems from the fact that the road junction is circular, and it was originally created to connect Piccadilly with Regent Street, one of London’s busiest shopping streets. 

The huge advertising screens and the statue of Eros are the most famous sights to see at Piccadilly Circus, while nearby areas to explore include Leicester Square and Shaftesbury Avenue as well as Regent Street.

Shaftesbury Avenue is home to some of London’s leading theatres, while Leicester Square is famous for hosting many movie premieres. Chinatown can also be found on and around Gerrard Street – a great place to go if you crave some dim sum during your stay!

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square
  • Address: London WC2N 5DN
  • Nearest tube station: Charing Cross
  • Cost of entry: Free
  • How much time to allow: 1 hour+ 
  • Opening dates & times: Public outdoor space

When it comes to top London landmarks that can be found outdoors and where you’re free to wander at will, Trafalgar Square is one of the finest. This public square is home to some of the best City of London landmarks, including the fountains, the lion statues and Nelson’s Column.

Trafalgar Square is also known among Londoners as a site of protest, and often plays host to religious, political or social demonstrations. Since the summer of 2003, the square has been connected to the National Gallery via a pedestrianised area. A disabled access lift was also added then.

Nelson’s Column was built to commemorate Lord Nelson, who died aboard HMS Victory despite contributing to Britain’s 1805 win at the Battle of Trafalgar. The square is also close to The Strand, Whitehall, The Mall and London’s theatre district. 

The British Museum

British Museum
  • Address: Great Russell St, London WC1B 3DG
  • Nearest tube station: Holborn or Tottenham Court Road
  • Cost of entry: Free
  • How much time to allow: 3 – 4 hours
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

If you only have time for one museum while in London, add the British Museum to your list of London’s most famous places to explore. Located in genteel Bloomsbury, the museum houses a collection of around 8 million exhibits, and tells the story of human history as well as mankind’s artistic and cultural developments. 

We advise allowing a full morning or afternoon for your visit, as there’s so much to see. Witnessing all these historical sights in London is also free of charge, though you may pay for a guided tour or to see specific exhibitions.

With the dramatic stone columns marking the entrance, this is the oldest national museum in the world. In fact it opened in 1759, 17 years prior to the US Declaration of Independence. The museum once had its own tube station, and was also one of the first buildings to use electric lighting. 

Covent Garden

Covent Garden
  • Address: London, SW8 5BH
  • Nearest tube station: Covent Garden 
  • Cost of entry: Free
  • How much time to allow: As long as you like
  • Opening dates & times: Always open

Covent Garden is popular with locals and visitors alike. This appealing part of the city lies close to Theatreland and is home to a covered market, street entertainers and pedestrianised streets plus lots of shops, pubs and restaurants.

It’s best not to have too much of a plan in mind when visiting Covent Garden – simply wander around, dip in and out of the shops, stroll through the market, watch the entertainers and stop for a pint at the Punch and Judy, a cosy 18th century pub on Henrietta Street.

The light-filled market with its characteristic glass ceilings still bears the original ‘Apple Market’ sign, dating back to the times when fruit and vegetables were sold here. On Mondays the space is devoted to collectable and antique items, while between Tuesday and Sunday clothing, jewellery, arts and crafts are sold. 

The Shard

The Shard a famous London landmark
  • Address: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG
  • Nearest tube station: London Bridge
  • Cost of entry: Standard adult from £25
  • How much time to allow: 1 – 2 hours+
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

Taking a trip up inside The Shard is one of the best things to do in London at night or during the day. Open since early 2013, it has rapidly become one of the most recognisable landmarks on the city skyline. 

You can travel up to the 72nd floor of The Shard to take in magnificent, sweeping views of the London cityscape from this contemporary skyscraper on the banks of the Thames. Inside the space is divided between offices, apartments and a hotel. There are viewing platforms on the 69th and 72nd floors, the highest being open-air.

A number of restaurants and bars can also be found at The Shard, so you may wish to allow longer for your visit if you want to dine or drink cocktails there. The Sky Lounge is in the Shangri-La hotel, while other options include eateries showcasing modern British and northern Chinese cuisine. 

Shakespeare’s Globe

Globe Theatre at night
  • Address: 21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT
  • Nearest tube station: Blackfriars 
  • Cost of entry: Standard adult guided tour £17
  • How much time to allow: Varies
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

As playwright William Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon is one of the other most famous places in England. London, though, is home to the reconstruction of his Globe Theatre, and it has become one of the most popular landmarks in London since it opened in 1997.

The Globe is also close to the Southbank and the Millenium Bridge, so it’s simple to visit several sites at the same time. As an open air theatre, performances do go ahead whatever the weather, so do dress appropriately if you have tickets.

If you’re not attending a play you can book a guided tour if you want to see inside the theatre. These can be booked directly or via third parties such as London Theatre Direct

Wembley Stadium

Wembley Stadium
  • Address: London HA9 0WS
  • Nearest tube station: Wembley Park
  • Cost of entry: Standard adult guided tour £22
  • How much time to allow: 2 hours
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

Although it’s a little way out of town, Wembley Stadium is one of the most iconic London England landmarks, and for football or even music fans it’s not one to miss. 

You can either book a guided tour of Wembley Stadium, or if you plan carefully you might even be able to see your favourite team, artist or band play at this famous venue. Football is often the focus, but there are other sporting options too.

Construction began on the current stadium in 2002, and the arch can sometimes be seen from various elevated viewpoints in central London. The reimagined Wembley stadium opened in 2007, over 40 years after England’s sole World Cup victory here in 1966.

The Gherkin

The Gherkin London
  • Address: 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8BF
  • Nearest tube station: Aldgate
  • Cost of entry: Varies
  • How much time to allow: As long as you like
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

Along with The Shard, the Gherkin (or 30 St Mary Axe as it’s officially known) is one of London’s most familiar skyscrapers. It opened in 2004, and cost several hundred million to build once the land price was factored in.

The best way to get inside The Gherkin is to book a table at the restaurant and bar that occupies the top floors of the tower. It’s called Searcy’s and includes the Helix restaurant and the Iris bar. 

Dress up in anything but flip flops, sportswear or shorts, and you can dine or drink while enjoying one of the UK capital’s finest views. Modern European style dishes are served, or you can book in for afternoon tea or Sunday lunch. 

Millennium Bridge

Millennium Bridge a famous London landmark
  • Address: Thames Embankment, London 
  • Nearest tube station: Blackfriars
  • Cost of entry: Free
  • How much time to allow: 15 minutes +
  • Opening dates & times: Always open

At a cost of over 18 million pounds sterling (about 24 million US dollars), the Millenium Bridge was a pricey project to complete. It spans the Thames, and is currently one of 6 Millenium Bridges in the UK alone. There are others in Newcastle-Gateshead, Salford, Stockton-on-Tees, Lancaster, York and Glasgow, as well in various locations worldwide.

The bridge is close to the London Eye, between the Blackfriars and Southwark bridges. It only takes around 5 minutes to walk across, but as there are interesting sights nearby you may want to take your time. Plus you want to make the most of those incredible views!

A competition was held in 1996 to find a design for the new bridge, and the winner was made into the resulting structure. Colloquially it’s often referred to as the ‘Wobbly Bridge’, and engineers addressed this initial problem by various kinds of shock-absorbing dampers.

Pudding Lane and the Monument to the Great Fire of London 

Monument to the Fire of London
  • Address: Fish Street Hill, London EC3R 8AH
  • Nearest tube station: Monument or London Bridge
  • Cost of entry: Free
  • How much time to allow: 30 minutes +
  • Opening dates & times: Always open

It has a tube station named after it and marks one of London’s worst disasters ever seen – yes, it’s the Monument to the Great Fire of London. Found near the northern end of London Bridge, it’s positioned on the corner where Fish Street Hill meets Monument Street.

Like the St Paul’s Cathedral dome, the Monument was designed by Christopher Wren. In 2007, it closed for 18 months to allow for a period of repair and restoration. This included gold leaf being added to the structure’s copper orb. 

The Monument is located around 200 feet from where the Great Fire of London began at a bakery in Pudding Lane in 1666. It comprises a fluted column made from Portland stone, and an inside staircase with over 300 steps leads to the viewing platform at the top. 

Royal Observatory Greenwich

Royal Observatory Greenwich
  • Address: Blackheath Ave, London SE10 8XJ
  • Nearest tube station: Greenwich
  • Cost of entry: £16
  • How much time to allow: 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

Note – Greenwich Royal Observatory is closed for refurbishment until 31st March 2022.

Located to the south of the River Thames, Greenwich is home to a UNESCO World Heritage SIte that also includes the National Maritime Museum, the Cutty Sark and the Queen’s House. 

In 1884, Greenwich Meridian was selected as the site that would effectively set the time for the entire world. The Royal Observatory lies at longitude 0° 0′ 0”, and as such is the planet’s Prime Meridian, marking the divide between the two hemispheres.

By standing on the Meridian Line, you can have one foot in the eastern hemisphere and one in the west – even if only for a moment. The Royal Observatory also houses a planetarium, and there are regular scientific and astronomic demonstrations led by experts. Don’t miss the Great Equatorial Telescope, either; it’s one of the biggest anywhere and you can clearly see its ‘onion dome’ from Greenwich Park. 

Tip – If you plan to visit Greenwich don’t miss the Tulip Stairs In the Queen’s House or the Painted Gallery in the Old Royal Navy Collge.

Hampton Court Palace 

Hampton Court Palace in London
  • Address: Hampton Court Way, Molesey, East Molesey KT8 9AU
  • Nearest train station: Hampton Court (mainline)
  • Cost of entry: £25.30
  • How much time to allow: 3 hours+
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

As one of London’s Historic Royal Palaces, Hampton Court is located a little way out of London, in leafy Surrey. The train journey from Waterloo takes just over half an hour, so it’s easy to get to this slightly lesser known of London’s most famous landmarks.

 
The glorious gardens are every bit as impressive as the interior, and are home to the Hampton Court Palace maze. This is very well known and is the oldest hedge maze found in the UK today. It takes up a third of an acre and it is thought to have been commissioned by William III. Other highlights of the gardens include the Magic Garden which is great for kids, the Royal Kitchen Garden and the Great Vine in the glasshouse.

Inside the palace, you can see Henry VIII’s kitchens, the Great Hall, William III’s apartments, the Cumberland Art Gallery, the Chapel Royal and more.

Click here to purchase a Hampton Court Palace and Garden Entrance Ticket

River Thames

MBNA Thames clipper on the River Thames
  • Address: N/A
  • Nearest train station: Westminster
  • Cost of entry: Free 
  • How much time to allow: As long as you like
  • Opening dates & times: Always open

The River Thames makes any aerial view of London instantly recognisable due to the distinctive shape it creates as it meanders through the city. The river’s banks are also home to various attractions, including some of the top 10 London landmarks like the London Eye.

A series of bridges spans the Thames and some of these are also famous sights of London in their own right – not least Tower Bridge and the Millenium Bridge, detailed above. 

There are various ways to see the best of the Thames. You can take the tube to a location such as Westminster and wander along the Embankment on the northern side, or stroll around the Southbank area on the other side of the water.

Visiting other central London landmarks such as The Shard may also give you the chance to see the Thames, or you can take a trip on the London Eye to be suspended over the water while gazing at the city.

The way we recommend seeing the Thames is from the water, which you can do by booking a river cruise. If this interests you, read our guide to the top 20 London river cruises to find out more. 

Read – 21 Best Thames river cruises and boat trips

Map of the locations for the 22 London landmarks in this article

Which London landmarks will you see?

As we’ve discovered, there are many famous places in London, England that you really won’t want to miss when you visit. From the dizzy heights of The Shard or the London Eye to putting one foot into both of the world’s hemispheres, make sure you leave enough time to see the most famous London landmarks when putting together your London itinerary and bucket list!

Which are the best London landmarks for you to focus on will depend very much on your interests and preferences – as well as your timings and budget. If you want to know more, why not take a look at our top tips for first-time visitors to London

These London posts were written to help you plan your trip: