“A bad day in London is still better than a good day anywhere else.” Whoever said that wasn’t kidding. I have dreamed about visiting London for as long as I can remember. One of my best friends is from England (hi Steph!) and I remember the first time bombarding her with questions. The whole city has always fascinated me and it did not disappoint! We loved every moment of our trip to London and these are the things you must see and do on your next trip!
Any trip to London can’t be complete without seeing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. You want to make sure you get there early to get a great view of all the action! The ceremony lasts 45 minutes with the guards and band start arriving at 10:45 coming down The Mall as well as from the Wellington Barracks. The official start time is 11:00. The ceremony usually happens every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday but make sure you check the website on specific dates and times.
This historic building is even more beautiful in person. It has been the coronation church since 1066 and 17 monarchs are laid to rest inside. You are given a multimedia guide when purchasing tickets that is a wealth of knowledge. It is a living working church so worship takes place every day at the Abbey, Chelsey and I hit it right at the moment of services so we can officially say we had service at Westminster Abbey. Photography is not allowed inside but the architecture is spectacular (inside and out). Tickets are £22 at the door but if you purchase the london pass, tickets are included.
Guys, the grounds surrounding Kensington Palace are beautiful! I have been a royal watcher for forever and kept looking at Chelsey saying “I can’t believe we are so close to royalty”. It really is amazing (and kinda weird) to be able to get that close to the royal family. While we were there, the Diana: Her Fashion Story exhibit was happening. It was amazing seeing all the trends Diana broke and started throughout her short life. After the tour, be sure to find the spot that Harry and Meghan announced their engagement to the press. Admission to Kensington Palace is £19.50 but if you purchase the London Pass admission is included!
This was definitely one of my highlights! Not only are you seeing so much history in one place, you also have an amazing view of the Tower Bridge from the guard posts. There are so many amazing exhibits including the Crown Jewels, the iconic Yeoman Warder tours, White Tower, and the ravens. Admission to The Tower of London costs £22.70 but is included with the London Pass.
This is the best way to see the city in my opinion. You can get on and off as much as you want to, see what you want to (and then some), and you get the history behind everything you’re seeing that you might not have gotten if you went on your own! If you have the London Pass, there are two companies you can go through; Big Bus London or Golden Tours. Once you select you can not switch between tours.
Even if you’re the tiniest fan of Harry Potter, you need to do the Studio Tour. It was awesome. We could have spent 10 hours in this place and still not have seen everything there was! If this is on your itinerary, be sure to check out our previous post (link) for tips and tricks to booking this sweet tour!
This was not one of the places that we originally had planned but we heard great things about the tour that we decided to add it in the itinerary. We were so happy we did too! Both Henry VIII and William III were royal residents and their different styles can be seen throughout the palace. Queen Victoria opened the palace to the public in 1838. There are 60 acres of formal gardens, including the famous maze and Great Vine. The ticket price for Hampton Court is £19.20 but it included with the London Pass.
Although Big Ben is under construction for the next several years…it’s still a must see! You can’t go to London without seeing Big Ben and Parliament. While visiting, we wanted to sit in on Parliament but they were closed to the public th day we planned to go. Most hop on hop off tours will take you by it if you don’t want to plan a day around going!
I’m so glad we made time to tour Shakespeare’s Globe Theater! It was one of my favorite things that we did. While I wish entry was included with our London Pass, it was well worth the ticket price!! You can also see one of Shakespeare’s plays at the Globe Theater. The tickets for those start at around £5.
After visiting Kensington Palace, we walked over to Notting Hill and Portobello Road. Portobello road is the world’s largest antiques market with over 1,000 dealers selling every kind of antique and collectibles. We unfortunately hit it at a time right before all the store and booths were starting to pack up so we didn’t have much time to look around but we did find some great things! All the stores and stalls were so eclectic that we couldn’t stop looking. Saturday is the main (and busiest) day to go to the market with Friday being the second busiest. Some of the stalls include antiques, fruits and veggies, new goods, fashion, second hand goods, and hot food. Be sure to stop by the Notting Hill bookshop made famous by the Notting Hill movie starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts.
There is nothing like seeing a broadway musical in London. There are so many options with many having permanent residences in central London. Discounted prices are available through the London Pass as well as at the TKTS booth in Leicester Square. Discounted tickets can also be purchased online through a variety of websites