I’m just about to visit London for the first time with my family. Although I’ve traveled through London on my own, I’ve never been with my family and we can’t wait!
Before we visit a new city, we always do as much research as we possibly can so we can maximize our time there and feel like we know a fair bit about the location before we visit.
What is London famous for? London is most well known for being the capital of England and the United Kingdom. London’s history dates back to Roman times, which lends itself to being the most visited city in the world. It is home to iconic landmarks such as Big Ben, the London Eye and the Houses Of Parliament which are world-renowned tourist attractions.
London is considered to be one of the most powerful, frequently visited, popular cities in the world, and for that reason, most people will know something about London already.
In this blog post, I share a list of all of the items that London is the most famous for, some of the locations you don’t want to miss if you visit there, and some interesting facts about London that you might not have heard before.
Black cabs are one of the most iconic scenes in the streets of London. They are known as Black Taxis.
You can hail a taxi on the street, jump in one in a taxi rank or book a taxi in advance.
It will cost you a lot more than an Uber, but you have to do it at least once for the experience.
Houses Of Parliament
If you want to go and visit the houses of parliament where the House of Commons and House of Lords meet, you can visit the Palace of Westminster.
Here you can attend debates and committee hearings and take a tour of the buildings.
House prices in London are astronomically high. This is partly due to supply and demand, London being a very attractive city to live in, and foreign investors snapping up rows upon rows of London’s property.
At the moment, London is one of the most expensive places in Europe to buy property, so most people who work in London, don’t actually live in London as they are totally priced out of the area.
If you don’t believe me, check out this table which clearly shows the increase in house prices as well as the increase in buyer price to earnings ratio:
|London Housing Market|
|House Price in Pounds(£)||Price to earnings ratio|
NOTE: London is quite expensive to live in, but visiting is affordable for most people, so don’t hesitate to visit this gorgeous city!
Toilets: Yes Really!
Did you know that you can actually take toilet tours in London?
The Original Loo Tour shows you all the toilet stories from Waterloo to the West End.
You could try the Thomas Crapper’s Times Tour and travel in time through Kensington where Thomas Crapper worked.
A Lot of London toilets are beautiful and in listed buildings, so worth a visit.
And if you want to know where to use the toilet while you’re in London, you can pop into any pub (public house) and ask to use the toilet without being a paying customer. Other than that, museums or chain restaurants are a great place to use the toilet.
The Royal Family is one of the things that London is most famous for.
Queen Elizabeth II and her family is known and loved all across the world.
Members of the Royal Family carry out over 2,000 official engagements in the UK and also help support charities.
Although London is an expensive place to visit, you can actually visit a lot of tourist attractions without spending any money at all.
There is a long list of free museums in London including:
- The National Gallery
- National Portrait Gallery
- British Museum
- Science Museum
- Museum Of London
- Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)
- Tate Modern
- Imperial War Museum
- V&A Museum Of Childhood
- Royal Air Force Museum
- British Library
The Thames is England’s longest river and is one of London’s most well-known landmarks.
The Thames is 215 miles(346km) long and is the longest river in England and the second longest in the UK, beaten only by the River Severn.
You can take a leisurely cruise or a high-speed speedboat ride down the Thames, or walk down it to see other landmarks such as The Tate, National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, or the Southbank Centre.
You can also take a tour of London to find out about all of the most famous people who were born in London.
Some of the most famous people born in London include:
- Henry VIII
- Queen Of England I
- Alfred Hitchcock
- Charlie Chaplin
- Sir Christopher Wren
- Bob Hope
- Charles Darwin
- Elizabeth Taylor
- Charles Dickens
- Joan Collins
- Queen Victoria
- Daniel Day-Lewis
- Florence Nightingale
- Winston Churchill
- Kiefer Sutherland
- Paloma Faith
- Mischa Barton
Food, Glorious Food!
Although the UK definitely has some traditional dishes such as fish ‘n’ chips and the classic Sunday lunch, they also embrace all of the best food from the rest of the world.
Britain isn’t a nation to dismiss good food when it sees it, so you can get the best food from every nation in the world in London.
From the classic greasy spoon, selling cheap cafe food, to 69 Michelin-starred restaurants, you’ll find everything you’re looking for and more in London.
It can be quite challenging to figure out which restaurants to visit during your stay in London, to make it a bit easier you can use this tool to help you find a suitable restaurant for you and the family.
The mix of nationalities and cultures in London creates a wide spread of delicious food, so don’t hesitate to try out as much as you can, i promise you there’s more than enough for you and the family to try!
Hyde Park is a Royal Park linked to 3 other parks that start from the entrance of Kensington Palace to the main entrance of Buckingham Palace.
Hyde Park is over 250 acres and offers a breath of fresh air in the heart of London so you can relax away from the hustle and bustle.
TIP: Try your hand at boating, tennis, horse riding, cycling, jogging, swimming or take advantage of one of the regular concerts held in the park.
One of the best things about London is how easy it is to travel around via the London Underground – otherwise known as The Tube.
You can grab yourself an Oyster Card or a London Travelcard to get discounts on your journey and make it easy to travel without having to buy tickets.
No matter where you are traveling in London, you’ll be able to get there quickly and easily via The Tube.
Red Double Decker Buses
If you don’t fancy traveling underground, why not ride on one of London’s iconic double-decker red buses?
I actually find it nicer to travel through London by bus as you get to see all of the sights and piece everything together, which you don’t get when you travel underground. For a better view, sit upstairs.
TIP: You can use your Oyster Card or debit card to hop on and off the buses with ease.
If you want the best view across London, you should definitely visit The Shard. This is a 95-story skyscraper standing over 1000 feet high.
The Shard is also known as the Shard Of Glass and is the tallest building in the UK and the EU.
Head up to the viewing gallery and open-air observation deck on the 72nd floor for the most spectacular views.
Changing Of The Royal Guards
One of the most memorable attractions of London is the Changing Of The Guard at Buckingham Palace. It is a ceremony where the Queen’s guards will hand over their responsibility for protecting the Queen and Buckingham Palace to New Guards.
The guards wear their instantly recognizable large black bearskin hats and bright red uniforms.
The ceremony is free to watch and lasts for around 45 minutes.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
This is another must-see tourist attraction. Watch your jaw drop as you step food into St.Paul’s Cathedral for the first time.
This massive church is 322 years old and was built in 1697, and until 1967 it was the tallest building in London.
The cathedral is one of the most famous sights in London and for good reason! It has been an iconic part of the city for over 300 years giving the London Skyline a beautiful sight with its 365 Feet(111m) tall dome reaching over most buildings surrounding it.
TIP: When you’ve finished checking out the stunningly beautiful interior, climb up to the Golden Gallery to get a panoramic view across the city of London.
The Home Of 250+ Languages
Although English is the official language spoken in the UK, a survey of over 850,000 London schoolchildren revealed that there were over 250 first languages spoken at home that wasn’t English.
The most popular languages spoken after English are Bengali Panjabi, Gujerati, Hindi, Turkish and Arabic.
The Queen’s English
The Queen’s English is one of the most well-known accents in the world.
It is spoken by The Queen and other members of the Royal Family and upper class citizens in England.
Those who speak with this accent are usually considered to be ‘posh’, well-to-do, intelligent and rich.
Cockney Rhyming Slang
On the opposite end of the spectrum, London is also well-known for its use of cockney rhyming slang. In contrast to the Queen’s English, this use of language used to be used by the lower-class citizens of London, those without as much intelligence or money.
Of course, these days these stereotypes do not apply anymore.
Cockney Rhyming slang is not just an accent, but it is also a way to use rhyming phrases to replace traditional language.
It’s actually a lot of fun to hear and practice cockney rhyming slang. Here are a few examples:
|Cockney Rhyming Slang||Meaning|
|Bill and Benner||10 pounds (tenner)|
|Bag of Sand||1000 pounds (grand)|
|Deep-Sea Diver||5 pounds (fiver)|
|Life And Death||Breath|
|Apples and Pears||Stairs|
|Adam and Eve||Believe|
|Dog and Bone||Phone|
|Trouble and Strife||Wife|
ArcelorMittal Orbit Will Spin You In Loops
The ArcelorMittal Orbit is a 114-metre-high sculpture in London which was built during the Olympic games in 2012.
You can climb up the observation tower and view the entire Olympic Park from the observation platforms.
Another really cool thing to do is to slide down the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide on the Orbit. Parts of the tunnel are transparent so allow you to see different parts of the tower.
Brave souls can also choose to abseil down the tower!
You can find one of the world’s biggest collections of street art all over the place in London, which is another free way to spend some time on your trip.
The most famous street artist is Banksy, who stays anonymous and has been creating political and humorous street art in London for over a decade.
One of the most famous bridges in London is the Tower Bridge with its glass floor and modern exhibitions.
It is a suspension bridge built in 1894 which crosses the Thames and sits close to the Tower of London.
NOTE: It is not to be confused with the London Bridge, and is one of the most iconic symbols of London.
Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s official London residence and is one of the very few remaining royal palaces in official use in the world.
The best thing about it is you can actually visit the palace and explore the magnificent interiors.
Tea can have two different meanings in England. It can either be the drink of tea in a cup that most Brits drink in their homes on a daily basis.
Another British tradition is Afternoon Tea which is actually a mini meal eaten in the afternoon, and often comprises a drink of tea as part of it.
This ritual was introduced in Britain in the 1840s as a way to plug the hunger gap between lunch and a late dinner at 8pm.
Afternoon Tea usually includes cups of tea, scones with jam and cream, cakes and sandwiches. The sandwiches usually have their crusts removed and are cut into small fingers or quarters.
FUN FACT: Afternoon Tea is not an event that most people in Britain regularly participate in.
It isn’t something people normally do in their homes, but people would go out to expensive restaurants or hotels to indulge in Afternoon Tea to celebrate special occasions.
As a tourist, it is definitely something you will want to experience.
Tennis At Wimbledon
Tennis at Wimbledon is something that most people would associate with London as it is the most prestigious and always seems to attract most of the attention out of the 4 top grand slam tournaments across the world.
The tournament normally takes place every year in July for 2 weeks.
All competitors and Royals have to wear white, and strawberries and cream are always served at the event.
Wimbeldon’s Court has now been fitted with a retractable roof which enables the game to go ahead even when it’s raining.
The London Eye
The London Eye is an observation wheel, like a ferris wheel, only with large capsules that allow you to stand up and walk around inside them.
It is located on the South Bank of the River Thames and it is Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel.
FUN FACT: This is the most popular tourist attraction in the whole of the UK and is part of the skyline in London now.
The London eye used to give you the highest public viewing point in London until The Shard’s viewing deck opened its doors to the public.
The London Eye is a cantilevered observation wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. It is Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel, and is the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom with over 3.75 million visitors annually, and has made many appearances in popular culture.
Madame Tussauds is a wax museum founded by Marie Tussaud who was a wax sculptor.
Madame Tussauds has waxworks of famous and historical figures, enabling you to get up and close to your favorite stars who look incredibly life-like.
The Tower Of London
The Tower of London, which is officially Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a castle located on the north bank of the River Thames.
The Tower was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was used both as a prison from 1100 until 1952 and a royal residence.
Elizabeth I was held as a prisoner in this castle before she became queen. Sir Walter Raleigh, and Elizabeth Throckmorton, were also held as prisoners here.
These days, the Tower of London is one of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions.
Red Phone Booths
The red telephone box is a kiosk used by the public for making telephone calls. They were painted red to make them easy to spot.
This used to be one of the things that London was most known for and was voted one of Britain’s top 10 design icons.
Today, due to the invention of the mobile phone, London has lost a lot of their red phone booths.
However you can still find quite a lot of them in London such as a row of them on Broad Court, Covent Garden.
The Music Scene
London is a popular place if you’re into your music. You can find many tributes to famous musicians that have lived and played in London.
London is well-known for the rock scene which started in the 60s with artists such as David Bowie, The Clash, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, Queen, and more recent acts in the 90s such as Blur and Coldplay.
Many popular pop artists also originated in London such as The Spice Girls, Cliff Richard, One Direction and Little Mix.
Whatever type of music you are into, you will find it in London.
In fact, whatever broad interest you have, whatever people you want to meet, and whatever activity you want to do, you will find it in London, home to everything.
Walking around in London, It is easy to get run over if you are not British. In England people drive in the other side of the road, than almost the entire world, except for maybe Australia and Japan.
Luckily there is help to be found, when you look down!
Also, not a single person waits for the lights to turn green, before crossing the roads.