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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!

London’s famous landmarks are some of the most iconic in the world. If you are planning your first visit to London, you could feel overwhelmed when deciding which ones to see and 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 each landmark is situated in London.

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

This list will help you decide which of these famous places to visit in London are must-sees. 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 and information about the best tours and the cost of entry to each. 

If you are planning to visit several London landmarks, it may be cost-effective to purchase a London Pass. For more information about the pass, click here.

Tip – If you have limited time in London and want to see as many of these London iconic landmarks as possible there is always the option of joining a tour such as Take Walks London in a Day, which includes the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey & the Changing of the Guard.

Or you could take a hop-on, hop-off bus trip, which will take you to most of the main landmarks. This will help you decide which famous building in London or attraction you want to explore more.

Top guided tours for London sights

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 worldwide 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, so 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 on selected dates. Otherwise, it opens to the public for ten 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 occurs 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 960 AD when Benedictine monks first founded it, and the current building began during Henry VIII’s reign. Today, it appears on TV screens across the globe when it is used as the venue for an occasion such as a royal wedding.

The abbey is the burial place of 17 British monarchs, 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. 

The abbey is also the final resting place of over 3,000 notable British figures, including past kings and queens. Special events are regularly held, daily services of worship are held, and a respected research library is 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 a 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. 

Walks offer tour options, including 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. Your 30-minute ‘flight’ gives you an incomparable bird’s eye perspective over the city and a sense of scale.

As you hover over the Thames, your transparent compartment allows you to spy on many classic and modern London landmarks. The boat 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 annually take a trip on the London Eye, so book in advance if you’d like to join them. Our dedicated and in-depth London Eye guide explains the options. 

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, it is not only one of the most famous places in London to visit but also gives visitors sweeping views over the surrounding skyline. 

This Anglican cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of London, and visiting it is a way to follow in the footsteps of royalty, political leaders, and other dignitaries. Christopher Wren designed the dome, 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, churches have been 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: 4 hours +
  • Opening dates & times: Check here

The Tower of London is one of the most historical landmarks in London, and exploring it is an experience few want to miss. This is why we’ve written a comprehensive Tower of London guide, where you can learn 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 are lots to see at the Tower of London, including the ‘Beefeaters’ in their famous uniform, the Crown Jewels, the ancient buildings, the Fusilier Museum, armour sets, 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
Need London itinerary ideas? Check out our 3-day itinerary for London
  • 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 eight years of construction.

Tower Bridge is known as a suspension and ‘bascule’ bridge, which refers to its being moveable. This is because two sides open up, allowing 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 enjoy panoramic city views 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 it can be fascinating to see the latest airing of views at Speaker’s Corner. If the weather is kind, take a picnic when you visit so you can kick back and relax by the water in this majestic inner-city park. 

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. 

Kensington Palace was also home to her son Prince Willam, his wife Kate, their children, and several other members of the Royal Family. Despite its 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 needing 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

Regarding 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 it often hosts religious, political, or social demonstrations. Since the summer of 2003, the square has been connected to the National Gallery via a pedestrianised area, and 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 near 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 and 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 before 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, pedestrianised streets, and lots of shops, pubs, and restaurants.

It’s best not to have too much of a plan when visiting Covent Garden—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 time when fruit and vegetables were sold here.

On Mondays, the space is devoted to collectable and antique items, while clothing, jewellery, and arts and crafts are sold between Tuesdays and Sundays. 

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

Going 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. The space is divided into offices, apartments, and a hotel. Viewing platforms are on the 69th and 72nd floors, the highest being open-air.

A number of restaurants and bars are also located at The Shard, so if you want to dine or drink cocktails there, you may wish to allow longer for your visit.

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

Stratford-upon-Avon is one of England’s most famous places, associated with playwright William Shakespeare, and it is his birthplace.

London, though, is home to the reconstruction of his Globe Theatre, which 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 visiting several sites simultaneously is simple. As an open-air theatre, performances go ahead, whatever the weather, so 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 once the land price was factored in, cost several hundred million to build.

The best way to get inside The Gherkin is to book a table at the restaurant and bar on the tower’s top floors. 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! (You may also recognise the bridge as it was used as a filming location in one of the Harry Potter movies – do you know which one?

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, which included adding gold leaf 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

Located south of the River Thames, Greenwich is home to a UNESCO World Heritage SIte that 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 College.

Read more Best things to see and do in Greenwich (One day Greenwich itinerary)

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 getting to this slightly lesser-known of London’s most famous landmarks is easy.

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.

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

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 span 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.

We recommend seeing the Thames 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 learn 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?

We’ve discovered that there are many famous places in London, England, that you 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!

The best London landmarks 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:

London Travel Guide & Itinerary Planner (+ 4 bonus ebooks)

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