things to do in and around london


London City Guide | The Style Scribe

Happy Saturday! After taking a break for the holidays, I’m back with my final travel post from London! Here’s a roundup of my favorite things to do in and around the city. If you’re looking for the best restaurants, be sure to check out my comprehensive London restaurant guide! Discover more travel content here and be sure to check out all of my travel photography on Pinterest!

Hampton Court Palace | The Style Scribe

Hampton Court Palace

Big Ben, London | The Style Scribe

Big Ben

Bath, England | The Style Scribe

The town of Bath

The Wallace Collection, London | The Style Scribe

The Wallace Collection

Hampton Court Palace | The Style Scribe

Hampton Court Palace – this was one of my favorite things I did on my London tour. While it takes a bit of time to get out there (45 minutes on the tube/overground trains + a 10 minute cab ride), it’s totally worth the trip. If any of you are fans of Tudor history (King Henry VIII, specifically), this is a must! The grounds are outrageously beautiful, and the palace has so much rich history. Try and do this on a day with good weather – it’s something you can plan last minute!

The Wallace Collection – the best museum in London, in my humble opinion. I’ve done all the big ones (The Tate Modern, The British Museum, etc), but this one had the most beautiful art and artifacts, all in a gorgeous setting. The location of the museum is actually the former townhouse of the Seymour family. Best of all, you avoid the large crowds and kids you always come across at the larger museums. It’s a much more pleasant experience and there is just as much to see!

Sir John Soane’s Museum – similar to the Wallace Collection, Sir John Soane’s Museum is also housed in a townhouse. It features the private collection of, you guessed it, John Soane. You will find everything from an original Egyptian royal sarcophagus (dating to 1279 BC!!) to paintings from the 1700’s to over 30,000 architectural drawings. This museum is teeny tiny and they only let 70 people in at a time, so there’s usually a small line outside.

The Cotswolds – if you’re spending a lot of time in London or want to venture outside the city for a day, I highly recommend touring a couple of England’s charming Cotswolds villages. Whether you’re brave enough to rent a car or you’d prefer to leave the driving up to a tour guide (or hire a driver!), it is totally worth seeing those small, history-rich towns. The towns I recommend are Bibury, Burford and Stow-on-the-Wold. If you can swing it, I’d recommend hiring a driver for the day – while the tour I went on was fun, I wish I’d had more time to explore the villages I liked the most! Check out the photos I took on my Cotswolds tour here.

Warner Brothers Studio Tour (Harry Potter) – If you grew up with the Harry Potter book series like I did, or you have kiddos, this is perfect for a rainy day activity. I did this on my last day in London and really enjoyed getting to see all of the props, backdrops, sets and costumes from the movies.

Bath – Another great day trip or overnight stay is visiting Bath. This quaint town is just a two-hour bus ride from London and features everything from gorgeous Georgian architecture, the Roman Baths, stunning gardens and delicious food. For my favorites from Bath, check out my city guide!

Buckingham Palace and The Queen’s Gallery – this particular activity is only open in August and September when the royal family is on holiday. What’s so exciting about this tour is you get to check out the staterooms that the Queen uses to host and entertain guests at the Palace! Many of the rooms are gilded and covered in magnificent works of art – it’s breathtaking! I recommend doing the “Royal Day Out”. It gets you into both the palace, the gallery, and the royal mews! And don’t forget the changing of the guard!

Columbia Road Flower Market – on a free Sunday, hop on the tube over to Shoreditch to check out London’s famed flower market! In addition to fresh blooms from dozens of vendors, there are a bunch of adorable shops and spots to eat right behind the market. Check out more from my trip to the market here!

Big Ben and Westminster Abbey – I actually did both of these tourist attractions over five years ago. I’m not really a fan of large crowds, so I didn’t go again while I was in London this fall, but it’s definitely worth doing if it’s your first trip to the city!

Windsor Castle – another good day trip out of London is to Windsor. The town itself is very charming and photogenic, and you’ll love touring Windsor Castle! I talked more about my Windsor Castle visit here. This is a good one to do with a tour guide if you don’t have too much time and want to fit in a bunch of stuff!

Marylebone – this is one of my favorite neighborhoods in London! There are so many great shopping streets, cute flats, and delicious restaurants. This is a great area to wander around if you have a few free hours. There’s a little something for everyone!

The Tower of London – since my sister had never really spent any time in London, we went to The Tower of London while my family was in town. The most exciting part is obviously the crown jewels, but it was also pretty neat to learn more about the history of the complex and how it became the center of the city.

Cruising the Thames – a great way to see a number of London’s biggest attractions in one day is to hop on a City Cruise on the Thames! I did this back in 2009 when studying abroad and it was so much fun! You get great photos of The London Eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge and more, and you can enjoy a cocktail in the process! I’d recommend working around the weather when you schedule your cruise.

If shopping is on the agenda…

Department Stores: Harrods (in Knightsbridge), Selfridges (in Soho), Harvey Nichols (in Knightsbridge), Liberty London (in Soho)Fortnum & Mason (in Picadilly)

High-End Boutiques: Matches Fashion (in Notting Hill and Marylebone), Brown’s Fashion (in Soho and on Sloane Street), The Exchange London (best designer vintage!), Feathers (in Knightsbridge next to Harrods), JOSEPH (in South Kensington and on Old Bond Street), Oxygen Boutique (in Fitzrovia)

High Street Brands: COS Stores, Topshop, H&M, Whistles, Reiss, River Island

Best Designer Shopping Streets: Old and New Bond Street (they’re connected – right off of Picadilly), Sloane Street (near Harvey Nichols), Elizabeth Street (in Belgravia), South Molton Street (in Soho)

{ all photography by The Style Scribe }


View All