Famous London landmarks

London has four World Heritage Sites and so many famous buildings that choosing a Top 10 list of landmarks is practically impossible – so we’ve written a Top 25 bucket list as well. We’ve also chosen the 10 most historic sites and the 10 best places for a photo. Craig has also written a list of his favourite places on his blog.

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Top 10 landmarks in London Here’s a list of the ten most famous landmarks in London. These are the ones that every tourist should try and visit before they go home.Big Ben and Parliament
Tower Bridge
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Tower of London
No.10 Downing Street
Buckingham Palace
London Eye
Nelson’s Column
Westminster Abbey
Neon lights at Piccadilly Circus

Recommendations Craig recommends… My personal favourites are Buckingham Palace and Parliament, but you need to go inside to see the best of them. The Tower of London and St. Paul’s are worth a visit as well.

Big Ben

Big Ben is the most famous clock tower in the world, but did you know that Ben is not the tower at all – that’s called Elizabeth. He’s actually the bell that hangs in the belfry.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace has been the official London residence of the monarch since the days of Queen Victoria. The public can see inside the State Rooms during the summer.

City Hall

This helmet-shaped landmark was built by Norman Foster and stands next to Tower Bridge. It contains the offices of the Greater London Authority and Mayor of London.

Cleopatra’s Needle

This ancient Egyptian obelisk is London’s oldest landmark by far, and was carved for the Pharaoh Tuthmose III way back in 1475 BC – making it nearly 3,500 years old.

Covent Garden

Covent Garden’s central piazza used to be a big fruit and flower market, but now it’s a place for street entertainment, cafes, boutique shops and market stalls.

Downing Street

If you peer through the black iron gates of Downing Street then you can see No.10’s famous front door on the righthand-side, where the British Prime Minister lives.

Globe Theatre

The Globe Theatre is a near-perfect replica of the one in which Shakespeare performed his plays. There’s an interesting museum about Tudor times underneath.


This building dates back to the days of Dick Whittington, and is where the Lord Mayor of London holds monthly meetings with the City of London’s Aldermen.


Harrods is the most famous department store in the world – and also one of the most expensive! Try and visit at night when thousands of lightbulbs illuminate the outside.

Horse Guards

The parade ground is for big ceremonies like Trooping the Colour, and the courtyard is where tourists like to take photos of themselves standing by the horseboxes.

Houses of Parliament

Parliament is a World Heritage Site and if you only see the outside then you’re missing the best bit – the decorations inside are fantastic.

Kensington Palace

London’s third palace was home to William III, and was the childhood home of Queen Victoria. Princess Diana lived here too. It is now occupied by William, Harry and Kate.

Leicester Square

Leicester Square is in the heart of London’s West End. It’s where you’ll find a lot of the pubs, clubs and nightlife, and the big cinemas where they hold all the premieres.

London Eye

This big observation wheel is one of London’s most popular landmarks with tourists. It takes 30 minutes to go round and on a clear day you can see as far as 25 miles.

Mansion House

The Lord Mayor gets to live in Mansion House during his one-year term of office. It contains one of the finest rooms in the whole of London: the spectacular Egyptian Hall.

Marble Arch

Marble Arch stands at the end of Oxford St. by Speakers’ Corner, but it once had a much more prestigious spot – it was originally the front gate of Buckingham Palace.


This tall stone obelisk commemorates the Great Fire of London in 1666, and stands close to the spot where it began in Pudding Lane. It has an observation platform at the top.

Nelson’s Column

One of London’s most famous landmarks. It stands in the centre of Trafalgar Square and celebrates the life of Horatio Nelson, who died fighting at the Battle of Trafalgar.

O2 Arena

The Millennium Dome is one of London’s largest events venues and holds everything from rock and pop concerts, to comedy shows and sporting contests.

Old Royal Naval College

The Old Royal Naval College was built by Christopher Wren and is worth a visit for his chapel and James Thornhill’s famous Painted Hall.

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is London’s equivalent of New York’s Times Square, and is famous for its neon lights and Eros statue atop the fountain (which isn’t actually Eros at all!)

Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall is one of London’s best venues for classical music, and is famous for its annual Prom Concerts season which is held during the summer.

Royal Courts of Justice

This gothic building was built by the Victorians in the 1870s. It has a cathedral-like interior and some atmospheric wood-panelled courtrooms.

Royal Exchange

The Royal Exchange is one of the finest sights in The City, but it’s actually nothing more than a shopping centre, filled with very expensive boutique shops.

Royal Hospital

Another building by Christopher Wren, the Royal Hospital is a home for old soldiers like the Chelsea Pensioners, and has a painted Great Hall and chapel.

Royal Observatory

If you visit the Royal Observatory then you can straddle the Meridian Line, which separates the Earth’s two hemispheres. It also has a Planetarium.

St. James’s Palace

Largely unknown by the public, this palace is actually one of the London’s most historic landmarks. It was built by Henry VIII nearly five hundred years ago.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

No list of London landmarks would be complete without mentioning Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece: St. Paul’s Cathedral. Try and visit the crypt and Whispering Gallery.

The Shard

The tallest building in London towers over 1000-feet. The public observation decks are on floors 68-72, and they’ve even got one that’s partially open to the weather.

Temple Church

The Round Tower of Temple Church is associated with the Knights Templar, and is famous for the nine knights that are entombed under the floor of the Rotunda.

Tower Bridge

Every tourist wants to take a photo of Tower Bridge. It looks gothic but it was actually built by the Victorians. The drawbridge opens a couple of times a day on average.

Tower of London

Another of London’s World Heritage Sites, the Tower of London is where you can find the Crown Jewels, Traitor’s Gate, and the chopping block on Tower Green.

Trafalgar Square

The centre of London is where you’ll find Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery, and is a short five-minute walk from Parliament, Covent Garden and Leicester Square.

Wellington Arch

This was built to honour the Duke of Wellington, the man who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, and stands opposite his former home at the top of Constitution Hill.

Westminster Abbey

The Abbey’s history stretches all the way back to Edward the Confessor, and is the setting for coronations, marraiges, and the burial place of England’s kings and queens.

Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral is the most important Catholic church in England, and its campanile bell tower has an observation platform at the top.
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