Where to Enjoy Culture and History in London
Give yourself plenty of time to peruse the British Museum. The institution’s permanent collection features eight million works that span human history, art, and culture, meaning there’s no shortage of interesting exhibitions and amazing artifacts. You might even want to go back during the course of your trip—admission is free.
Buckingham State Rooms
Feel like a royal when you visit the 19 State Rooms at Buckingham Palace. Used to entertain visitors with lavish ceremonies, the spaces are furnished with incredible paintings and pieces of furniture. During the tour, you’ll see the Royal Collection which has works by famous artists including Rembrandt and Rubens as well as exquisite furniture from greater England and France.
Make sure that you plan your visit to the State Rooms accordingly. They are open for 10 weeks each summer and on selected dates during winter and spring.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or worship, St. Paul’s Cathedral is a sight to behold. Its world-famous dome is an iconic part of the London skyline, and stepping inside the awe-inspiring space is a peek into 1,400 years of history. Gain extra insight into the church by scheduling one of their guided tours. (Many tours are included in the price of admission.)
Tower of London and Tower Bridge
The Tower of London isn’t just a tower; it’s a historic castle that has an interesting—and sometimes dark—history. Founded at the end of 1066, it was a royal residence early in its existence and used as a prison from 1100 until 1952. Now, it’s a place where you can explore, learn, and admire the world-famous Crown Jewels.
The Tower Bridge, one of the city’s most defining landmarks, is a short walk from the Tower of London. You can simply traverse the bridge or learn more about its fascinating history by taking a guided tour.
Street Art in Shoreditch
If you opt to stay at the Ace Hotel, you’ll be a short walk to the street art in Shoreditch. As you peruse the boutiques and eateries, stop to enjoy the impressive talent painted on the outdoor walls.
Places to Eat and Drink in London
Eating London Food Tours by Eating Europe
When we learn about a culture’s food, we’re exposed to more than just a new dish or flavor. We get an understanding of the history of that place. The immersive Eating London Food Tour shows you how to eat like a local by taking you to beloved restaurants and sharing the stories behind dishes and the people who create them.
If you enjoy the experience of a grocer, be sure to walk around Borough Market. Located in Central London, this space is rich with high-quality food options. Spend some extra time in Three Crown Square, the part of the market that is dedicated to an array of fruits, veggies, meat, fish, and cheese from around the world.
Dishoom (multiple locations)
Did you know that chicken tikka masala is the national dish of England? Give the entree a try when you dine at the renowned Dishoom restaurant. Created as an homage to Irani cafes and the food of Bombay, they have various locations around the city (including Convent Garden and Shoreditch) that offer delicious brunch and all-day service with tasty cocktails to boot.
A trip to London isn’t complete without an afternoon tea, and sketch London’s service is definitely the quirkiest of the bunch. You’ll enjoy tea, tasty finger sandwiches, and other snacks in the gorgeous blush-colored Gallery. Artist David Shrigley leaves his mark all over the pink interior with hilarious framed works on the wall and even tea sets featuring his witty sense of humor.
Make your reservations early—afternoon tea is popular and books quickly. If you can’t make it to tea, try and eat in one of their other themed rooms. And before you leave, be sure to use the bathroom for an out-of-this-world experience.
Resources for Making the Most of Your Trip
London Explorer Pass
As mentioned earlier, the London Explorer Pass gives you access to multiple attractions that will save you time and money at the places you were always intending to visit. Buying the pass isn’t always worth it, however, if you are planning on seeing lower-priced attractions that, together, would cost less than the pass itself. But, if you’re eager to go to the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, or take the Big Bus Tour, you can save a significant amount of money. Just do the math before you buy the pass.
Love and London
Jess of Love and London is a great resource to check out before visiting the city. Her YouTube channel features informative videos with must-visit locales as well as what to avoid.