With its British charm, stunning architecture and iconic landmarks, England’s capital city makes for the ideal day trip or short break, no matter the season. Whether London is the place you call home or you’re planning to visit here from further afield, this city is packed so full of fun and exciting things to do that it can be hard to know where to begin.
To fill your time in this sensational city, we’ve put together a London bucket list featuring 15 of the best things to do in London. From floating hot tubs to man-made beaches—not to mention delicious dining spots and the hottest bars, there’s so much to keep you entertained while you’re there.
1. Climb the O2
As one of London’s most iconic buildings, the O2 is a must-visit for anyone heading on a city break to London. This versatile venue hosts everything from the world’s biggest sporting events to music concerts—but did you know you can also book to climb over its world-famous roof? Choose from daytime, sunset and twilight climbs and make the most of the impressive 360° views of London, where you can see landmarks up to 15 miles away!
2. Stand-up on the Thames
If you’re looking for things to do in London in the summer, then try paddle boarding for something a little different. See London from a totally different perspective with a stand-up paddle boarding adventure down London’s most famous river, the Thames, as well as two of the Thames’ tributaries, Mole and Ember. Expect to come across plenty of landmarks as you drift down the river, and if you’re really lucky, your group might even get to see one of the Thames resident seals!
Richmond station is the closest station to the Richmond Bridge site, and is just a nine minutes' walk away.
3. Rooftop Film Club
With London’s incredible skyline, rooftops are the place to be! At Rooftop Film Club, you can enjoy panoramic views of London and spectacular sunsets, while watching some of the all-time best films at Rooftop Film Club. With locations in both Peckham and Stratford, you can relax in the comfort of your very own deckchair and pop on a pair of the club’s state-of-the-art wireless headphones to become truly immersed in your chosen movie. With the option for unlimited popcorn, it just keeps getting better and better!
4. Swim in Hampstead Ponds
If those baking hot summer days give you the desire to go for a swim, then why not head to Hampstead Ponds? A dip in this open water swimming spot in the heart of Hampstead Heath is not only one of the most refreshing summer activities in London, but with adult admission prices at £4.05, it’s also one of the cheapest. With lifeguards on duty all day, safety is a top priority - though since the pond is very deep, being a strong swimmer is a necessity!
The nearest station is Hampstead Heath, which is just a 10-minute walk to Hampstead Ponds.
5. Visit Kew Gardens
As one of the most extensive botanical gardens in the world, Kew Gardens is the perfect spot to be at one with nature while getting those Instagram-worthy pictures. The gardens stay beautiful all year round, though the best months to visit are the warmer summer months when everything is abloom. With over 50,000 different living plants to discover, this is a garden experience like no other.
The nearest stations to Kew Gardens are Kew Gardens station and Kew Bridge station, which are both just a short walk away. Make the most of an exclusive offer and secure yourself 2FOR1 entry tickets!
6. Rent a Santander bike
Formerly known as Boris Bikes, Santander Cycles are a cycle hire scheme that makes travel around the capital a breeze. Grab your friends or family and go on a cycling day out, stopping off to explore London’s famous sights along the way.
7. Go deer spotting at Richmond Park
Home to over 600 deer, Richmond Park is the perfect place for lovers of wildlife and nature. The park covers more than 2500 acres, making it a great spot for a leisurely stroll or a picnic. Climb King Henry’s Mound for spectacular views of the London skyline, and be sure to look for your favourite monuments using the hilltop telescope.
8. Watch the sunrise at Primrose Hill
With the sun rising at around 04:30 in the peak of British summertime, your journey might involve an early start—but it’ll be worth it! Primrose Hill is one of the six protected viewpoints in London, and at almost 63 metres above sea level, it’s quite a hike. But the stunning views of the whole city are worth every step.
9. Book a walking tour
For the ultimate tourist experience, book yourself onto a walking tour with London Walks. Tours usually last for around two hours and are a great way to discover more about the fascinating city of London. Choose from tours such as Jack the Ripper (if you dare!), Westminster Abbey and Classic Greenwich, and don’t forget a pair of comfortable shoes.
Catch the train to London Waterloo, then hop on the tube to the starting point of your chosen tour.
10. Relax in a floating hot tub
Drifting in a floating hot tub has to be one of the most unique things you can do in London, so this certainly needs to be a part of your bucket list. Cruise Canary Wharf’s waterways with up to six friends in your very own private hot tub and see London from a completely different angle.
11. Afternoon Tea
Is there anything more quintessentially British than an afternoon tea? London is full to the brim with hotels and restaurants offering afternoon tea to suit every budget. For a luxury experience, book at The Dorchester or Sketch, or for a more affordable service, The Wallace, or Paul in Covent Garden.
12. Ride the world’s longest tunnel slide
Embrace your inner child as you ride the world’s longest tunnel slide. This record-breaking slide—which is the tallest as well as the longest - towers above Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford and makes for a great addition to your London day out. You can also get 2FOR1 entry for the ArcelorMittal Orbit Slide when you buy train tickets.
13. Eat at Camden Market
No day trip to London would be complete without a visit to Camden Market. As one of London’s top tourist attractions, this popular market is home to over 1,000 shops and stalls, not to mention a huge variety of dining options. From Baba G’s Bhangra burgers and Oli Baba’s halloumi fries to The Cheese Wheel’s fresh handmade pasta and Maize Blaze’s Colombian delights, you’ll be spoilt for choice!
14. Sing karaoke in Soho
As day turns into night, it’s time to grab your friends, don your best outfit and live your popstar dreams. Soho is an area in London that is famed for its karaoke bars, so you couldn’t be in a better place for belting out your favourite songs.
15. Relax at Fulham Beach Club
Continue your night with some delicious cocktails at Fulham Beach Club. Tucked away on the bank of the river Thames, Fulham Beach Club is a man-made beach, outdoor bar and party space which will transport you out of city life and into the tropics! As well as delicious food and drinks, you and your friends can enjoy BBQ supper clubs, yoga sessions on the beach and cocktail masterclasses.
With so much to see and do in London, we hope this guide has given you some inspiration to help you to plan for your trip. If you’re getting here by public transport, keep your journey stress-free by booking in advance. Take a look at our ticket types to find the best one for your journey, and those traveling in a group could make the most of our GroupSave train tickets.