Planning a trip to the UK almost always includes a stop in London. From London, you can explore the rest of England by train (non-stop trains are easy to find to other major UK destinations such as York and Edinburgh), or by road trip (we would suggest Windsor or the Cotswolds for nearby destinations). While it may feel a little overwhelming to pick what to see in London, you can’t go wrong! However, plan on not seeing everything. Instead, pick a few highlights for each day, and prioritize your time to include those sights. Here are photos of London, England to help inspire your next trip there.
Hyde Park: Our favorite Photos of London, England
Located in the heart of London, Hyde Park is massive, and offers playgrounds, formal gardens, and wild grasses. Hyde Park is also home to Kensington Palace, and the Serpentine (the main lake in the park). If you are looking for a family-friendly activity, consider renting a peddle boat on the Serpentine. Or take your kids to the Diana Memorial Playground, which is one of the best playgrounds we have ever seen (let’s just say it’s not your typical monkey bars and slides).
If you are interested in the more “rural” parts of Hyde Park, walk from Queen’s Gate to the Marble Arch. The area after the Serpentine is the quieter part of Hyde Park, and includes smaller footpaths and taller landscaping. These pictures of Hyde Park are some of our favorite photos of London, England.
Speaking of Kensington Palace, its another must-see stop while in London! Located on the edge of Hyde Park, Kensington Palace is critical to visit while in London, England. Kensington Palace has been the home of many members of the British Royal Family, including Princess Diana and Princess Margaret. In addition, Kensington palace is the current home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Kate). Several apartments make up Kensington Palace, so at any given point in time, several different parts of the Royal Family live there at once.
Visitors are also welcome to tour parts of the Palace! (Due to COVID-19, the Palace was still closed to tours as of July 2021, but should reopen soon. Check the Kensington Palace website for updated information.)
Of all of our photos of London, England, the ones of Buckingham Palace are the most iconic! Whether you are touring parts of the Castle, watching the changing of the guards, or simply walking past for a photo op, Buckingham Palace must be on your priority list. Luckily, it is located within walking distance of Hyde Park, as well as the heart of Westminster and Big Ben. Check online to see when the Changing of the Guards occurs if you want to time your visit to see it (and know it will be really busy during that time).
London Underground and Westminster Station
Did you know that that “London” is actually two cities: the City of London and the City of Westminster? In fact, many of the most famous landmarks in London are located in Westminster, not London! Luckily, Westminster is in the center of London, and is very easy to access by the subway station (called the “Underground” here).
Westminster Station is a great Underground stop if you are hoping to see Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. Plus, Buckingham Palace is only a 0.7 mile walk away. In addition, The Thames River and the London Eye are a brief 0.3 mile walk away.
Photos of London, England’s Communities: Small Mews Streets
Located throughout London (especially in high-end neighborhoods such as South Kensington), mews streets are adorable to wander through. Once upon a time, these houses were actually the stables for the grand row houses on the neighboring boulevards. Essentially, the mews were the back alley. Today though, most mews have become quaint neighborhoods of their own. Plus, many of the houses in the mews are accented with flowers and greenery, only adding to the charm.
If you are looking for a quiet place to stay within busy London, we suggest considering a mews house. We rented one through London Perfect, a boutique apartment rental company with high-end apartments for rent throughout the city, and loved it! London Perfect is also great for families, since you can rent everything from a studio apartment to 3+ bedroom home.
The Marble Arch
Located on Oxford Street, at the edge of Hyde Park, The Marble Arch proudly stands as a symbol of royalty in the UK: the Marble Arch was once a part of Buckingham Palace, before being moved to its current location. Today, you can walk around the arch and marvel at its beautiful carvings on your way from Hyde Park to trendy Oxford Street.
Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and the main Government District
Located right down the street from Buckingham Palace is the historic government center of London. Today, tourists flock here to visit Big Ben (can you see it peaking through the trees in this picture?), the Houses of Parliament, and the City of Westminster.
Double Decker Buses (for tours or transit!)
A classic image of London has to include a red double decker bus! In London, red buses are not just for sightseeing tours (as they are in much of the rest of Europe), but are used for mass transit as well. If you purchase an Oyster Card to use in the Underground, you can also use that card to pay for your public transit bus fares as well (thus saving time while boarding)!
If you would rather utilize a double decker bus for sightseeing, consider taking a city sightseeing tour. Different companies will offer slightly different routes, but most come with either a pre-recorded audio explanation of what you are passing by or a live tour-guide speaking about your stops. We suggest going for the hop-on-hop-off options, so you can jump off and explore different neighborhoods. This way, you can combine your tour with transportation around the city as well! (Note: Check how often buses run and the last boarding time at night before planning to rely on tourist buses for transportation.)
Fun (local) pubs throughout London, England
Of course, no trip to England would be complete without fish and chips and a beer. London offers pubs around practically every corner, so you should have no problem finding a place that looks fun. A few suggestions though:
- pick a place that’s off the beaten tourist path if you want a more authentic local feel. (Hint: a pub a block off of Piccadilly Circus will probably not be as local as a pub on a mews street.)
- Check the menu before picking a where to eat: pubs range from offering no food to full-service gastro-pubs. Check ratings online or glance at the food on other patrons tables before sitting down to make sure it looks good. (Our rule of thumb: if every table has beers but no food, the pub probably is not a great restaurant).
- We love finding locally owned and operated pubs, since they are more unique and authentic. That being said, some chain-run pubs are really good (and offer uniform quality, menus, and service). Two of our favorite pub management companies are Nicholson’s and Greene King, since both ensure that the pubs keep their individual feel (even the name of these pubs are unique to the sight and history), but still offer good food and nice menus. You can learn if a pub is managed by a chain by looking at the logo, menu, and name.