You’ve bought your ticket; your bag is almost packed. Now you just need to plan some adventures. Do you want to hit the hot spots or discover some unforgettable hidden gems? Either way, we got you covered.
Hitting the hot spots
It’s on pretty much every tourist’s list for a reason. It’s a beautiful view of the city and it’s almost impossible to not take a few great photos of the Thames River. You can check it out without getting trapped in a line by taking our tips. Firstly, try to avoid going on weekends or UK school holidays (check out a list here). Secondly, figure out which line you’re standing in. There are actually two lines - one to get tickets and a second one to get onto the Eye. You can skip the first one by buying your tickets online ahead of time. Go all out by choosing a champagne package where you enjoy some bubbly as you look down on the city. On a clear day, there is no beating checking out the London Eye around sunset. The views are gorgeous and the crowds tend to really thin out by then.
Want to explore modern art in a cavernous space? Take our advice to avoid the crowds while you check out performances, interactive art and video installations from some of the world’s most interesting artists. Though it’s busiest on the weekends, the museum stays open late on Fridays and Saturdays until 10 p.m.; fewer people visit later in the day so aim for 7 p.m. Before you leave, make sure to pop up to the viewing level to take in the London skyline. Entrance is free, but if you want to check out a special exhibit, you’ll need a ticket.
Do you love Harry Potter? Do you know what house you would be sorted into and have opinions on the patronus you got from Pottermore (mine was crushingly a water snake)? The Warner Bros. Studio Tour London is a fun exhibit where you can check out sets, costumes and get behind the scenes looks at how this magical franchise came together. The studios are 20 miles north-west of London and about a 20 minute train ride. The entry to the tour is timed so there isn’t a bad time to go BUT make sure you get your tickets in advance. As soon as you book your flight to London, book your tickets to this tour so you don’t miss out.
Exploring the city
Get ready to travel in time to post-war 1940s Britain at Cahoots, a secret hideaway in an abandoned underground subway station in Soho. Enjoy a picnic, test out an old timey cocktail and try out your swing dance moves. It’s a really fun spot that photographs well (check out their Instagram). Though off the beaten path, make sure to make a reservation in advance. If you’re a night owl, this place is open late, until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
London is home to some fantastic parks worth exploring, but if you can only see one, we recommend you spend an afternoon in Regent’s Park. There is an epic rose garden (particularly great in early June), the London Zoo, boat rentals and multiple cafes to check out if you get peckish along the way.
Check out amazing views of the city in this public garden with a view at 20 Fenchurch Street. You’ll be safe from the English rain here, where you can explore three storeys of gardens, including observation decks and an open air terrace. There are also a few great options for a bite in the space. Entrance to the garden is free but make sure to book your visit in advance to avoid waiting in a line.
Head to Notting Hill to check out this epically large antique market with over 1,000 venders selling every sort of trinket imaginable. Spend an afternoon exploring the eclectic mix of offerings from vintage cameras to artisan cheeses to vegan steaks. Go on Saturday to get the full experience with all the stalls open. If you want to go on a slightly less busy day, most of the stalls are also open Friday.