London Landmarks: 14 iconic palaces & buildings you can't miss!

Updated on:  
April 18, 2022
Reading Time:  
Sarah Hartness
Sarah Hartness
London landmarks are often featured in movies, art, magazines, and more. But seeing these famous London places and buildings in real life is much different than through a screen. Here are the 12 iconic London landmarks you can't miss on your next visit to London!

London is a beautiful city full of history and architecture. While there's a huge variety of things to do in London, you're bound to hit some classic London Landmarks during your trip. 

After all, some of the world's most popular and recognizable landmarks are in London. You should not miss them when you visit London!

This article walks you through the 12 best landmarks in London and other classic things to do in the city. 

Top Landmarks in London

London has so many landmarks, but it would take weeks to see them all. If you are only visiting the city for a short time, these are the 14 landmarks you have to see.

Make sure to take lots of pictures for the gram!

1. Big Ben and Elizabeth Tower

Big Ben is arguably the most famous landmark in London. Even though people use the name to refer to the whole tower, Big Ben is actually the name of just the bell. The tower is named Elizabeth Tower, and it stands at 316 feet (96 meters).

You can visit Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben if you are a resident of the U.K. and are willing to climb the 334 stairs to the top. And, be sure to book your tower well in advance because they are free but book up fast.  

The big ben and Elizabeth tower.
Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

2. Palace of Westminster aka Houses of Parliament

Big Ben is connected to the Palace of Westminster, another remarkable landmark in London. It was initially built over ten centuries ago, but it had to be rebuilt after a fire in 1834. 

The building is a government building where the two houses of parliament meet. Still, tours are available for you to book! In the beautiful gothic revival architectural style, the Palace of Westminister is over 1.2 million square feet (over 112,000 square meters). 

3. River Thames

Ah, the classic Thames!

Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster sit on the River Thames, the longest river in England. If you want a cool way to see the city, you can take a tour down the River Thames, where you can see a lot of amazing landmarks along the way and learn a lot about London's history. 

4. Tower Bridge

Crossing the River Thames is the famous Tower Bridge. Inside the bridge's 138 feet (42 meters) walkway, you can get great views of the city, look down through glass floors, and learn about the city's architecture. 

London tower bridge.
Photo by Charles Postiaux on Unsplash

5. The London Eye

Another great way to see the city is from another one of London's top landmarks: the London Eye. The wheel gives views from 443 ft (135 meters), and it is the most popular paid attraction in London. 

Even if you do not ride it, you'll be able to see it from the city or river. 

6. Buckingham Palace

The home of the Queen is another must-see landmark in London. You can see the guards outside and admire the gorgeous architecture of the castle. If you visit London in the summer or early fall, you can book tickets to go inside the palace's staterooms. 

7. Westminster Abbey

Want to take a break from palaces? 

Head back toward Big Ben and check out Westminster Abbey. The gothic church is one of the most important religious sites in the U.K., dating back more than ten centuries. 

Westminster Abbey is open to the public, but you need tickets to enter. 

8. Paul's Cathedral

Another beautiful religious landmark in London is St. Paul's Cathedral, part of the Church of England. It took 35 years to build and was completed in the early 18th century. The cathedral sits on Ludgate Hill, the highest point in London, and you can visit with a ticket.

9. British Museum

One of the prettiest buildings in London is the British Museum. The architecture is Greek Revival, which you'll notice with all the pillars out front. It was built in the 1750s. 

And, when you're done admiring the outside of the museum, check out the inside for one of the world's largest collections of history, with more than eight million items in the permanent collection. 

There are also many other great museums to visit, including the other four must-see museums in London

British Museum.
Photo by Tamara Menzi on Unsplash

10. Shakespeare's Globe

Shakespeare's Globe is the famous theater in London where Shakespeare's plays are performed. The current theater is not the original since the Globe Theatre burnt down in 1613. It was rebuilt and then demolished before being rebuilt again in 1997. 

You can watch a show at the theater or take a behind-the-scenes tour. 

11. The British Library

The British Library is another unique London landmark and the British Library is one of the largest globally. It is a legal deposit, so a copy of every book made in the U.K. and Ireland is sent to the library. 

You can visit the British Library for free to see all the amazing books and rooms. Some highlights of the library include Magna Carta, Leonardo da Vinci's Notebook, and a large collection from the Beatles. 

12. The Shard

The Shard, also called the Shard of Glass, is a 72-story skyscraper near London Bridge. It is quite different from this article's old churches and palaces, but it's still worth seeing. 

Be sure to visit The View from The Shard on the top floor observation deck. You'll get amazing views of London from the open-air sky deck, and you can enjoy a drink at the bar.  

The shard london.
Photo by Aaron Gilmore on Unsplash

13. Covent Garden Market

Covent Garden Market is one of London's best markets, and it's in the heart of the city. You'll find everything here seven days a week, from handmade jewelry and clothes to unique antiques and other arts and crafts. 

14. Notting Hill

The final (but definitely not the least) landmark you need to see is Notting Hill, a neighborhood in West London. Notting Hill is lined with colorful homes. 

You can spend a day here shopping for antiques and first-class clothes or try some of London's best food and cafes. There's also an annual festival called Carnival that takes place in August. 

Notting Hill London.
Photo by Anthony Bressy on Unsplash

Other Things to do in London

There is plenty more to do and see in London and visit and admire these amazing landmarks. We have an article about the best things to do in London that you should check out. 

Or, you can take one of many tours in and around London! One of the tours is all about Shakespeare's Globe, and you'll see a lot of the places in this article on the other tours.

Time to Visit London!

London has some of the most famous landmarks in the world, and you should take the time to see them during your trip to London. After all, while London landmarks have been frequently featured in many forms of media, from music videos to Hollywood movies, it's definitely a different view in real life.

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Published on:  
April 18, 2022

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