7 Famous landmarks in London you have to see

The Shard unusual things to do in London
There are just some landmarks in London you just gotta see – whether visiting London for the first time or the hundredth time, there are just some London landmarks that will continually take your breath away. Like the view of the Shard’s sliver lights illuminating the black winter’s sky or St. Pauls’ Cathedral awash by the golden rays of the summer sun.

They are considered iconic London landmarks for a reason and are recognisable through the world.

I’ve compiled a list of seven famous landmarks in London that I think everyone must see.

Check out my London series if you are looking for more things to do in London, 24 hours in London and London 5 days itinerary.

Landmarks in London

London Landmarks – Buckingham Palace

Famous landmarks in London Buckingham Palace

Let’s be real there isn’t a more famous London landmark than – Buckingham Palace. No wonder why it’s one of the most visited buildings in London. With giddy tourist and their selfies sticks, eager to capture their visit to London in front of this majestic. 

This 775 room royal residence with its ornate exterior and well-decorated guards is something that everyone visiting London for the first time should see. The palace is the Queen’s official London home.

Most people visiting the palace will want to know about the changing of the guard ceremony and where the best spots are to witness the ceremony.

The ceremony happens every day around 11:00 am but get there earlier to secure a spot to get a good view. For more information on the ceremony, history, times and how to pick the best spot, click here.

My favourite sight of the Palace is from the Mall particularly when they have all the different commonwealth flags running from the Mall to the Palace for the London Marathon.

Nearest tube station: Victoria Station or Green Park

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is popular amongst Londoners and tourist alike for different reasons obviously. For Londoners, Trafalgar is where we gather to watch events like the royal wedding, Olympic games, celebrate Chinese New Year or have a protest.

For a tourist, Trafalgar Square is used as a meeting point for group tours or a backdrop for getting a holiday snap on one of the four lions guarding the 52 meters high Nelson’s Column, that has been standing in the square since 1843. Trafalgar Square is one of the top London tourist attractions.

To find out more information on what’s happening throughout the year click here

Nearest tube station: Charing Cross

London Landmarks – Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Big Ben Famous landmarks in London

There is just something about the magnificent Gothic architecture, the Houses of Parliament also known as the Palace of Westminster overlooks the Thames River and dominate the City of Westminster. 

Westminster has the highest concentration of attractions and historical landmarks in London.

Officially known as Elizabeth Tower but as Big Ben too many tourists visiting London. Big Ben is one of the most famous landmarks in London and even worldwide. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament is not only a symbol of London but is synonymous with the United Kingdom. 

Currently covered in scaffolding, maintenance of the bell tower began in 2017 putting to a stop to the glorious hourly chimes of the bell until 2021.

Did you know that UK citizens can take a tour inside Big Ben?

To do so, you’ll need to contact your local MP or a member of the House of Lords (if you’re really fancy and know important people) to request a visit.

Tours tend to be sold out for up to 6 months in advance so be prepared to wait awhile. Due to the refurbishment of Big Ben, tours have been suspended.

Pro London travel tip: Try visiting the Houses of Parliament during the evening when the palace is all lit up. This is one of the most beautiful things to see in London.

Nearest tube station: Westminster

London Landmarks – St Paul’s Cathedral

London landmarks St Pauls Cathedral

I doubt when Christopher Wren created his domed masterpiece, that he dreamt of it dominating London’s Skyline for 300 years. It was the capital’s tallest building until 1965. The Baroque style cathedral completed on Christmas Day in 1711 and has remained one London famous buildings.

The cathedral has played host to significant events like the wedding of Prince Diana and a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr. The building narrowly survived the Blitz and a plot by the Suffragettes to blow up the Bishop’s Throne in 1913.

One of the quirks of the St. Paul Cathedral is its whispering gallery, 264 steps up the 528 step climb to the top of the dome. They’re the whispering of conversations can be heard from the opposite side of the building because of its construction (I guess people where even nosier back then).

Also, the cathedral has the largest crypt in Western Europe, housing the tombs of Lord Nelson and where the Duke of Wellington, John Everett Millais and John Constable are buried.

Entry to the cathedral is £18 per person (at time of writing).

To get a view of St Paul’s Cathedral in all its glory or in a photo behind you, head to One New Change rooftop terrace at golden hour. You won’t regret it, it is one of the top places to go in London.

Nearest tube station: St Paul’s

London Landmarks – Sky Garden

The Sky Garden is one of my favourite buildings in London. As the name implies, it offers a little garden in the Sky, with a 360 degrees view of London, where you can see other iconic landmarks in London like – The Shard, The Gherkin, The Monument, Leadenhall Building and Lloyd’s of London. 

The Sky Garden has an observation deck and an open-air terrace and houses restaurants – Darwin Brasserie, Fenchurch Seafood Bar & Grill and Sky Pod Bar. The Sky Garden is one of the top places to visit in London.

Tickets are free to visit the Sky Garden, but you must book in advance. Click here for more information.

Nearest tube station: Monument

London Landmarks – London Eye

London landmarks St Pauls Cathedral

On a good day, the London Eye offers one of the best views in London – stretching out for miles.

The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the Thames River. It is Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel and is the most popular paid tourist attraction in London. It features a 4-D cinema and Champagne bar.

Tickets to ride the London Eye can be brought on the day. However, I recommend purchasing your tickets before visiting as queues to the ride can get annoyingly long with waiting times of 30 minutes to an hour. Riding on the London Eye is one of those top things to do in London if it’s your first time visiting the capital. 

Nearest tube station: Waterloo

London Landmarks – The Shard

The Shard unusual things to do in London

I have a love-hate relationship with The Shard, I was one of the first to visit The Shard’s observation deck. The first week of it being open. I was underwhelmed by it to say the least. 

I do love walking from Brough Market and seeing this glass tower ascending from the earth (it kinda also reminds me of a spaceship from a movie), you can’t help but be impressed by the building and its awe-inspiring architecture. 

Inspired by the concept of a vertical city, the over 1,000-foot-tall structure is one of the tallest buildings in Europe.

I think grabbing a drink or two from one of the restaurants in the Shard is a far better way of seeing London’s skyline than paying to visit the viewing decks.

Don’t miss any of these incredible famous landmarks in London on your next visit.

Nearest station: London Bridge

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