You are headed to London on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday trip. You’ve never been to the city before, and there’s no telling if you will ever have the opportunity to return. What do you do? There is far too much in London to take it all in, even 60 or 90 days to play with, let alone a long weekend or seven-day holiday. We want to make your limited time in London as productive as possible. To that end, we have put together the official ‘Things to Do in’ London bucket list. The items on this list are things you are definitely not going to be able to do in any other city in the world. Do them while you are in London.
Take the Jack the Ripper Tour
London’s East End is where a serial killer dubbed Jack the Ripper did his dirty deeds in 1888. We trust you’ve heard the story. If not, suffice to say that Jack was a brutal killer who thought nothing of the pain inflicted on his victims. The mutilated bodies he left behind demonstrated a level of savagery London police officials were shocked by.
Topping our London bucket list is taking a tour of the East End neighbourhoods where Jack the Ripper found his victims more than 100 years ago. A number of tour operators will take you down the dark streets, through scary alleys, and right to some of the scenes where the murders took place. If you appreciate a combination of history and the macabre, this tour is for you.
Watch the Changing of the Guard
There is only one Buckingham Palace and one changing of the palace guard. Anyone visiting London for what could be a single experience should make a point of viewing this spectacular event. It takes place daily at 11.30am from April through until July. The famous British weather determines the rest of the year’s schedule.
Spend an Hour or Two at BYOC
If enjoying a few drinks with friends at the end of the day is your thing, plan to visit an intimate pub in Soho. This is no normal pub, that’s for sure.
At BYOC (bring your own cocktail) the drinks are free – because you bring your own bottle of vodka or whatever spirit turns you on. The bartender mixes your alcohol of choice with a selection of fruits and juices that he/she knows will work well. The resulting cocktail is to die for.
Walk Above the O2
The O2 is a large entertainment area in south-east London housed in what used to be the Millennium Experience. The massive domed structure was originally erected to celebrate the new millennium; it opened in late 1999 and ran through until the end of 2000.
Today, the dome houses an indoor arena, cinema, music club, exhibition space, and a whole lot more. It also offers an incredible walkway suspended above on two giant, yellow masts. For a small fee, you can walk across the walkway and see the O2 from an entirely different perspective; definitely something different for your London bucket list. The venue supplies the necessary climbing suit, shoes, and safety harness. It is available to ages 10 and up.
Tour the Camden Town Brewery
People living outside the UK do not appreciate how wonderful British beer is. You can enjoy plenty of beer as well as a great tour when you visit the Camden Town Brewery in North London. Drop-in tours are available between 1pm and 2pm daily; they are available only to the first ten arrivals. This is a 30-minute tour.
You can enjoy a 90-120-minute extended tour by pre-booking. The extended tour includes plenty of samples along with an opportunity to ask brew masters as many questions as you have. The cost is £12 per person.
Partake of the Sunday Roast Tradition
One of the oldest and most revered traditions in London is the Sunday roast. It is so revered that nearly every pub and restaurant participates in some way. Just find your favourite one, take a table, and enjoy. We recommend checking out Sam’s Brasserie, The Smokehouse in Chiswick, the Borough Market, and the Albion in Islington.
Take a Double-Decker Bus Tour
Red double-decker buses are as iconic to London as the red phone boxes. The red buses took a brief hiatus a few years back, but they have returned in full force. The key to a great tour is not to plan. Just jump on the first bus you see when the mood strikes and see where it will take you. You never know what you’ll see on any given day. And by the way, you really need to sit up top to enjoy the full experience.
Spend an Evening at Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus is to London what Times Square is to New York City. As long as you’re in London, you should make a point of spending at least one evening in this iconic spot. No self-respecting London bucket list would leave out Picadilly Circus! Soak up the bright lights, enjoy a few drinks, and make new friends from all over the world. You’ll have a new appreciation for a part of London that is popular with locals and visitors alike.
Attend an Old Bailey Trial
Courtroom proceedings are not everyone’s cup of tea, but you might enjoy the Old Bailey if you’re fascinated by the legal system. The Old Bailey is one of the most famous courts in the world, having conducted the trials of some of history’s worst criminals. The public is invited to attend any of the daily proceedings by sitting in the galleries. If you’ve ever wanted to see a genuine English barrister at work, the Old Bailey is the place to do it.
How do you like our London bucket list? If there’s anything you want to do that we have not covered, by all means, do it. You can never go wrong in a city as great as London!
Please Comment & Share
I would love to hear your thoughts about the post, so please leave a comment below. And if you think it worthy, please share the post on your social networks.
- The O2: By zakgollop (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
- Picadilly Circus: By Jimmy Baikovicius – Flickr: Open Happiness, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30191118