15 Things London Is Famous For - Updated 2023

things london is famous for
| 6 min read

London is the capital city of the United Kingdom and England. It is also the largest city in the whole of the European Union. Come to London and experience its​ influence radiate throughout the city. The city sits overlooking the Thames river. This city has a major historical, cultural and economic influence over the world. Heathrow Airport is one of the busiest airports across the globe. This city is home to multiple world heritage sites, cultural and historical landmarks, and a host of museums. The city has been the driver of innovation in sports, healthcare, and medicine. This article lists some of the best things London is famous for. After you’ve checked these out, make sure you find the best retreat at the top hotels and Airbnbs in the city.

1. Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge
Source: Photo by Flickr user edwin.11 used under CC BY 2.0

If you’ve ever seen an establishing shot of London in shows or movies, it is most probably of Tower Bridge. Built between 1886 and 1894, this bridge crossing the River Thames is both a bascule (movable) and suspension bridge and is in close proximity to the Tower of London. Tower Bridge is comprised of two towers connected by walkways on its upper level. It was built to aid commercial development in the East End. This world-famous bridge is accessible to both pedestrians and vehicles; the twin towers, walkways, and engine rooms, however, are part of an exhibition for which there is an admission charge.

2. Big Ben

Big Ben again
Source: Photo by Flickr user allen watkin used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Big Ben is how most of us know and call the striking clock near the Palace of Westminster. Its actual name is the Great Bell. The tower in which the clock was located was named Elizabeth Tower in 2012, with Clock Tower being its official name prior. Big Ben was completed in 1859 and was designed by English architect and artist Augustus Pugin. Following a neo-Gothic style, the clock has become a cultural icon of the United Kingdom. In 1970, the tower has been regarded as a Grade I listed building. Big Ben has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

3. Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square

Open Happiness | Picadilly Circus | Blue-Pink Hour | 120917-1126-jikatu
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jimmy Baikovicius used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square are both world-famous public squares in the City of Westminster in central London. Piccadilly Circus is a junction connecting Regent Street with Piccadilly and is surrounded by major commercial centers in the West End. Since it meets a lot of traffic, the Circus has become an icon of London and a tourist spot in itself. Trafalgar Square, on the other hand, is located in the former Charing Cross area. It was named after the Battle of Trafalgar during the Napoleonic Wars. The square serves as the center for celebrations and events in the city.

4. The Shard

Shard London Bridge
Source: Photo by Flickr user Dave Catchpole used under CC BY 2.0

One of the most interesting structures in London (and the world!) is the Shard. The Shard resembles exactly its namesake, a shard of glass. Located in Southwark, this 72-story skyscraper was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and is part of the Shard Quarter development. The construction of this London architecture was completed in July 2012, and it officially opened to the public in February 2013. Visitors may go to the tower’s top-most floor observation deck, The View from The Shard, and get a spectacular view of the London skyline.

5. Double Decker Bus

Trafalgar Square
Source: Photo by Flickr user Dániel Bagó used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Really, this list will not be complete without London’s most beloved double-decker bus. This two-story bus is one of the most popular means of public transport in the UK. In 1847, inventor and locomotive engineer William Bridges Adams introduced the horse-drawn double-decker omnibuses. This mode of transportation was greatly improved by John Greenwood in 1852. The red London bus has been a cultural icon of England, and double-deckers actually make up the majority of buses in the city. Some tours of the city are even conducted while aboard this iconic bus.

6. Free museum visits

London is home to over 250 registered museums, out of which at least 23 offer free access to visitors. Some of the renowned names include The National Gallery, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Modern, Museum of London, Imperial War Museum, National Maritime Museum and more. Bask in the rich history of London and humanity as a whole as you visit these landmark sites.

7. Shopping on Oxford Street

Oxford Street is a historic street in London which has evolved according to the changing times. This place is great for unique dining experiences, shopping, sightseeing and more. We suggest shopaholics pack light as you will find dozens of great deals here.

Oxford Street

Address: London, United Kingdom

Website: Oxford Street

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 8am - 10pm; Sun: 12pm - 6pm

Price: 17 USD

8. Vibrant parks

London is home to the finest natural spaces in the world. There are a wide variety of parks to cater to everyone. Some of the most popular parks in London are Hyde Park, The Regent’s Park, Richmond Park, Greenwich Park, ​and the Crystal Palace Park. Visit here to take a break from the busy city life and enjoy the peace and serene surroundings.

9. River Thames

River Thames
Source: Pexels

What is London known for? One good answer is River Thames. Also known as Isis in some parts, River Thames is the longest river in England that spans an area of 215 miles (346 km). This scenic river offers a beautiful backdrop to the city’s skyline and it is a great place to unwind after a busy day of exploring tourist spots. Given the sheer size of the river, visiting the ​Thames gives you plenty of opportunities to explore and discover beautiful views. You can either dine at a riverside restaurant or take a ferry across the river.

10. View from the London Eye

London Eye Twilight April 2006
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Diliff used under CC BY 2.5

Standing tall at 135 meters (442 feet), the London eye is the perfect way to view the city from the sky. This attraction also features the London Eye 4D experience. This tourist attraction is an observation wheel of the South Bank of the River Thames and it gives you an opportunity to experience the picturesque skyline of the city.

London Eye

Address: Lambeth, London SE1 7PB

Website: London Eye

Opening hours: 10am - 8.30pm (daily)

Price: 36 USD

11. St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral, London, England - Jan 2010
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Diliff used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The St. Paul’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral which holds the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese. It is located at the highest point in the city. This architectural marvel was built in 1697 and it has attracted global visitors ever since. This famous thing in London is a major place for religious worship.

St Paul's Cathedral

Address: St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD, UK

Website: St Paul's Cathedral

Opening hours: 8.30am - 4.30pm (daily)

Price: 22 USD

12. Gourmet food

A taste of Harrods Food Hall
Source: Photo by Flickr user Loco Steve used under CC BY-SA 2.0

London is famous for its gourmet food. The city hosts a lot of local eateries, food carts, and places that offer such high-end food. This gives you an opportunity to try various delicacies from across the world. If you are a foodie, you will take a special liking to London as the rich culinary history of this city dates back to its roots. Don’t be scared to experiment, this city has strict regulations when it comes to hygiene standards so rest assured that the food you are consuming will not make you sick.

13. Westminster Abbey

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Σπάρτακος used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A World Heritage Site, the Westminster Abbey is a historical landmark whose history dates back to thousands of years. This place has witnessed creative works and announcements that have altered the history of London, this includes soldiers, poets, heroes, kings, and queens. In fact, this place has been the venue for royal weddings as well.

Westminster Abbey

Address: 20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA, UK

Website: Westminster Abbey

Opening hours: 9.30am - 3.30pm (daily)

Price: 72 USD

14. Wireless Festival

Compressorhead at the Wireless Festival, London 2014
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Achim Hepp used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Wireless Festival is a music festival that takes place yearly. This festival attracts music fans from across the globe and it is hosted by some of the biggest names in music. This includes, but is not limited to, Justin Timberlake, Calvin Harris, DJ Khaled, Cardi B, Deadmau5, Drake, Rihanna and more. It’s hard to list all the artists because this three-day festival has hundreds of talented performers who move the crowd with their music. Do not miss this festival and ensure that you buy tickets well in advance as they sell out quickly.

Wireless Festival

Address: Finsbury Park, Harringay, London

Website: Wireless Festival

Opening hours: All day (5th July to 7th July)

Price: 196 USD

15. London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo in the Regent's Park in London, June 2013
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Chmee2 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Known to be the world’s oldest scientific zoo, the London zoo first opened its doors to the public back in 1828. This zoo houses a collection of 673 animal species with close to 20,000 individuals. The place features various sections such as the land of the lions, tiger territory, gorilla kingdom, the aquarium and more. Visit this zoo with your friends and family. Be rest assured that everyone is going to have a lot of fun at this place.

London Zoo

Address: Outer Cir, London NW1 4RY, UK

Website: London Zoo

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 30 USD

Come visit London

City of London, seen from Tower Bridge
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tristan Surtel used under CC BY-SA 4.0

These are a few notable activities that you can experience in London. There are dozens of fun things you can do when you visit. Also, do not miss London’s famous fish n’ chips. With our list above, you have plenty to explore when you do visit this awesome destination.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Karan is a writer with over 4 years of experience in various niches including travel, lifestyle, cryptocurrency, mental health, and technology.

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