London’s best areas to visit

London skyline at dusk

London has several distinct neighbourhoods, each with their unique character, culture and history. 🇬🇧 We’ve teamed up with Visit London to put together a list of some of the best areas to explore, whether you’re after big attractions 🎡, shopping 🛍, history 🏛 or riverside strolls. 💦

The easiest way to explore the areas is by foot, with walking times between sights under 30 minutes. 👣 The neighbourhoods are well connected to each other too. Hop on the Tube, bus or a Santander Cycle and discover more than one area in a day! 🤗

West End and Soho

🚇 Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, Bond Street

The West End has some of London’s most famous attractions. From Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square to the bright lights of Piccadilly Circus, this is London at its most recognisable.

Head to Oxford Street for highstreet shops or Bond Street and Regent Street for more high-end shopping. Take a turn down iconic Carnaby Street for British brands and independent boutiques. 🛍

Pop into the National Gallery to admire thousands of years of European art. 🎨 Get up close and personal with Anne Boleyn or Winston Churchill and other famous Brits at the National Portrait Gallery.

You’ll have loads of choice when it comes to entertainment too with London’s world-famous theatres in the West End. 🎭 A dazzling West End theatre show like the Lion King or The Book of Mormon anyone?

Big Ben and Westminster Bridge

Westminster and Whitehall

🚇 Westminster, Green Park, Embankment

Visit the bustling political area of Westminster for thousands of years of history.

At Westminster Abbey you can discover ten centuries of royal coronations, weddings and funerals. 👑 Across the road you’ll find the Palace of Westminster, the meeting place for the Houses of Parliament. Admire the Gothic architecture of the palace or listen out for Big Ben as it rings out from its iconic clock tower by the Thames. 🕑

Head down Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square to catch a glimpse of 10 Downing Street, the British Prime Minister’s home and office.

Say hello to the pelicans in peaceful St James’s Park 🐦 before walking down the Mall to Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s official London residence. Pay close attention to the flag at the top of the palace: if the Royal Standard is flying, the Queen is home! 🇬🇧

Jubilee market at Covent Garden.

Covent Garden

🚇 Covent Garden, Temple

Shop, eat and walk your way around the historic area of Covent Garden! 🛍

Covent Garden is a world-class shopping destination with fashion, beauty and lifestyle stores. The heart of the neighbourhood is Covent Garden Market, where you can find market traders selling handmade crafts and goods.

Watch the street performers in the piazza while enjoying a drink or a bite in one of the many outdoor terraces. 🎤 There’s restaurants in the covered market too, because let’s face it – you can never trust the great British weather! ☔️

For a touch of culture, visit Somerset House. The arts centre has a beautiful courtyard and offers a vibrant year-round programme of events. History buffs won’t want to miss out on 200 years of transport history at London Transport Museum. 🚌

Kensington and Hyde Park

🚇 South Kensington, High Street Kensington, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner

Discover the City’s museum district and most loved green spaces. 🍃

South Kensington is home to three of London’s biggest (and best!) museums: the Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum. They’re free too and make for a perfect low-cost day out. 🏛

Unwind in Kensington’s magnificent green spaces. Take in the large lake, meadow and flower gardens of Hyde Park. 🌸 Renting a Santander cycle makes exploring the park’s 142 hectares a breeze. 🚲 Combine a walk around Kensington Gardens with a visit to Kensington Palace, the London home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Indulge in some retail therapy in iconic department store Harrods. With eight floors of designer brands, fine gifts, food and more, you’re bound to find a souvenir to take home. 🛍

South Bank

🚇 Westminster, Waterloo, Southwark, Blackfriars, London Bridge

Wander along one of the most beautiful stretches of the river Thames at South Bank. 💦

Enjoy 360-degree views of the City’s skyline from the London Eye. 🎡 Spot major landmarks like the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace and even Windsor Castle! 🏰 The London Dungeon, SEA LIFE London Aquarium and Shrek’s Adventure are right next door, ensuring a fun family day out. 🥳

You’ll have lots of opportunities to get your arts and culture fix at South Bank too. Visit Southbank Centre for exciting artists or see world famous modern and contemporary art at Tate Modern. 🎨 At Shakepeare’s Globe you can step back into history and witness the works of William Shakespeare in front of your eyes.

There’s plenty of places to eat and drink from street food to fine dining. In between Southwark and London Bridge you’ll find historic Borough Market, offering a range of high-quality food and produce from across Britain and the world. 🍽

Boats on the Thames in front of Tower Bridge at sunset.

Tower Bridge and City of London

🚇 St Paul’s, Monument, Bank, Tower Hill

Spot historic sites and modern landmarks in the City of London. 🏙

Marvel at the Crown Jewels 💎 and meet the legendary Beefeaters at the Tower of London, the famed medieval fortress and prison. Take in panoramic views of the City from Tower Bridge and walk on the glass floor if you dare! For more heights, climb the 311 steps of The Monument, a memorial to the Great Fire of London 1666.

Look up and spot modern skyscrapers like ‘The Gherkin’, ‘Cheesegrater’ or ‘Walkie-Talkie’ as you wander around London’s oldest quarter. 🏙 You can’t miss the world-famous dome of St Paul’s Cathedral, which has dominated the City’s skyline for over 300 years.

The cobblestones and Victorian glass roof of Leadenhall Market make for an attractive place to shop, eat and relax. The market is a popular filming location, having featured in movies including Harry Potter and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. 🎬

Shoreditch

🚇 Shoreditch High Street, Old Street, Liverpool Street

Find unique markets and vibrant street art in trendy east London.

It’s markets-galore in Shoreditch! Hunt for vintage clothing, second-hand furniture and bric-a-brac at Brick Lane Market. 👗 Shop trendy shops and stalls at Spitalfield’s Market or pick up a fresh bouquet of flowers at Columbia Road Flower Market. 🌸 Explore Boxpark Shoreditch where exciting brands and vendors operate from shipping containers.

Shoreditch High Street has an excellent selection of places to eat and drink. The international food stalls and restaurants of Brick Lane are a great option if you’re on a budget. 🥘

Make sure to admire the area’s colourful street art – even Banksy has left his mark here! The ever-changing graffiti scene means you’re guaranteed to discover new pieces each visit.

Group of people walking towards Camden Lock.

Camden

🚇 Camden Town, Mornington Crescent, Regent’s Park

Take in the alternative vibe and pretty canalside of Camden Town.

Sample food from around the world at Camden Market 🥙 or browse for vintage fashion, unique gifts and handmade jewellery. 💎 You could spend a whole day here exploring the thousands of places to shop, eat and drink.

Take a stroll along Regent’s Canal and Camden Lock to see the area’s street art, colourful boats and buskers. ⛵️ Experience the best free view of London from Primrose Hill or hang out in the open spaces and gardens of leafy Regents Park. Peak at the penguins or ape around with the gorillas at ZSL London Zoo for a perfect day out with the little ones. 🦧

The area has a buzzing music scene with top venues like the Roundhouse and Electric Ballroom. From R&B to rock and jazz, there’s something to get adult feet moving at Camden. 🎸

Greenwich

🚇 Greenwich, Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich, North Greenwich

Explore London’s maritime past in the home of Greenwich Mean Time. ⏰

Climb aboard the Cutty Sark, the world’s oldest tea clipper and fastest sailing ship of its time. 🚢 Visit National Maritime Museum for more maritime history, or place one foot in each hemisphere at the Royal Observatory! 🌎

Greenwich Market is a hidden gem, where you’ll find stalls selling crafts, antiques and unique gifts. Sample the irresistible street food stands or try one of the area’s many restaurants. From cheap eats to high-end and historic riverside settings – there’s something for everyone.

Take in amazing views of the Thames from London’s oldest royal park, Greenwich Park or ride the Emirates Air Line for an even higher viewpoint (300 feet!). 🚠 Hardcore thrill seekers can climb the dome of The 02 for more birds-eye views of the City. 🏙

Musicians playing guitar on a stage in Brixton at night.

Brixton

🚇 Brixton

Discover one of the City’s most popular and multicultural areas in South London.

It’s easy to spend all day eating your way around Brixton. Head to Pop Brixton for food and drinks at reasonable prices or to Brixton Village for casual food that reflects the area’s diverse community. The indoor market also has small independent shops and arty boutiques.

In need of a cool down after all that shopping and eating? Take a dip at Brockwell Lido, one of the best outdoor swimming pools in South London, or rest in the shade of a tree in Brockwell Park. 🏊‍♂️

Attend a live gig at Hootananny, Electric Brixton or the 02 Academy Brixton. 🎶 For a more relaxed evening, catch a movie at The Ritzy Picturehouse. With a new releases, indie screenings and late-night showings, it’s the perfect place to relax after a day of exploring. 🍿🎬

Ready to get out and explore? 👇

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