33 Famous landmarks in London – which one is new to you?

This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you buy or book after clicking, I may get a commission.
This is at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Sharing is caring!

Even if you’d never been to London, if you closed your eyes and imagined it you’d likely be able to rattle off at least 10 landmarks in the city. They are *that* famous!

This directory of London landmarks starts with a few that I always love to see whenever I’m in the city – they just make me happy and feel like I’ve actually been to London! I’ve kept it quite a bit shorter than some of the other posts out there because ain’t nobody got time to read about that! I think 33 is a nice wee number to get you started!

This is a list of 33 famous landmarks in London so I bet there are a few here that you didn’t know about and perhaps might want to be adding to your itinerary! Which ones did you forget about? Or which ones are new to you? I’d love to know in the comments!

Famous London Landmarks
A view of quite a few London Landmarks from the Sky Garden – I can see Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and HMS Belfast, oh and of course the River Thames!

Top 33 Famous Landmarks in London – the list!

  1. Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament
  2. Buckingham Palace
  3. The Tower of London
  4. Tower Bridge
  5. 10 Downing Street
  6. Kensington Palace
  7. The River Thames
  8. The London Eye
  9. Westminster Abbey
  10. The Shard
  11. The Sky Garden
  12. the o2
  13. Millennium Bridge
  14. Shakespeare’s Globe
  15. Abbey Road
  16. Natural History Museum
  17. Trafalgar Square
  18. HMS Belfast
  19. St Paul’s Cathedral
  20. Royal Albert Hall
  21. Piccadilly Circus
  22. King’s Cross Station
  23. Paddington Station
  24. Chinatown
  25. Royal Observatory
  26. The OXO tower
  27. Horse Guards Parade
  28. The Gherkin
  29. Portobello Road
  30. Camden Market
  31. Covent Garden
  32. Harrods
  33. Princess Diana Memorial Fountain

And now that we have the list out of the way – do you want to know a little bit more about each one and also how to get to them? Read on for more info including tube stops and whether you need tickets. (and some bonus tips that can make your visit even better!)

Tip – use the table of contents to jump to any of the landmarks in London you’re interested in!

Map of London’s most famous landmarks

Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Bridge with many tourists at sunset in London
Big Ben as seen from the other side of the River Thames – can get quite busy!

Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament

I’ve included these two together since Big Ben is actually a part of the Palace of Westminster (which includes the Houses of Parliament). You can’t see one without the other!

While many people think that Big Ben relates the to large clock tower (I always just think this 0 you’re not alone!) it actually is just the name of the bell that chimes. Recently it’s been renamed as Elizabeth Tower but I don’t think anyone really calls it that!

The Houses of Parliament is where the day to day running of the country goes on. There’s the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Bonus tip – Right by parliament there’s Parliament Square which is where you’ll find a number of statues to famous leaders around the world like Churchill, Ghandi and Nelson Mandela

Do you need a ticket?

You can get a really good view from outside or on Westminster Bridge so you don’t need one unless you’d like a tour of the inside.

Nearest tube stop

Westminster – Circle | District | Jubilee

Buckingham Palace in November

Buckingham Palace

The King’s palace in London needs no introduction and is one of the most famous London Landmarks around. It’s situated in the centre of the city and surrounded by some of London’s green spaces so ideal for adding on to a day with a picnic!

Bonus Tip – every day there’s the changing of the guard ceremony. It can get busy but it’s free to watch and you’ll see a little of the pomp of British ceremonial duties.

Do you need a ticket?

You can see Buckingham Palace well from outside and don’t need a ticket to do that.

You can visit inside and see some selected State Rooms if you’re interested in the Royal family and royal history. Worth booking in advance if you do want to do this as it’s popular.

Nearest tube stop

Green Park – Jubilee | District | Victoria

St James’s Park – Circle | District

Tower of London on bright winter day

The Tower of London

My absolute favourite London Landmark is the Tower of London. I adore the history of this place and all of the tales from the past.

It looks rather odd, huge but somehow nestled in, amongst much newer buildings. I remember some tourists being so surprised at seeing the castle as we rode by on a tour bus once!

Tours are run (and included in your ticket) by the Yeoman Guardsmen (actual military regiment – not just tour guides) who are dressed in their red and black outfits. They are also known as Beefeaters.

Do you need a ticket?

You need a ticket to go in the Tower of London where you’ll get a tour from a Beefeater and see the Crown Jewels.

You can see the Tower from outside as well and there’s plenty of seats around for a leisure stroll along the river.

Nearest tube stop

Tower Hill – Circle | District

tower bridge dolphin statue

Tower Bridge

Bonus tip – to get a nice view of the bridge for photos, head down St Katherine’s Way on the right of the bridge on the north side. There’s a lovely fountain there called Girl with the Dolphin and plenty of benches to take in the view.

Do you need a ticket?

Tower Bridge is best viewed from one of the river banks in my opinion or alternatively from a river cruise.

You can go inside Tower Bridge for some unique skyline views too but you’ll need a ticket for that.

Nearest tube stop

Tower Hill – Circle | District

Downing Street landmark in London

10 Downing Street

Downing Street is probably one of the most famous addresses in London and in Number 10 you’ll find the Prime Minister and in Number 11 the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It’s where much of government business is run from.

You can’t actually go on to Downing Street because of security but you can see it, kinda, from the gates that are on Whitehall. You might even be lucky and see the Prime Minister on his way in or out or maybe even some other important visitor!

Do you need a ticket?

No – you can’t actually get to Downing Street, you can only see it from the side.

Nearest tube stop

Westminster – Circle | District | Jubilee

Kensington Palace and Queen Victoria Statue

Kensington Palace

The other main Royal Palace in central London is Kensington Palace and it’s still home to some of the Royal Family. Famously it was the birthplace of Queen Victoria and residence of Princess Diana – when she died it was absolutely flooded with flowers outside.

Visiting Kensington Palace is a lovely way to spend the day if you then also include spending time in the park and the gardens. Sometimes you forget that you’re in London at all!

Do you need a ticket?

You can visit Kensington Palace Gardens for free and also see the palace from the outside.

You’re also able to visit some of the inside of the palace as well, for which you’ll need a ticket. Obviously some of the palace is closed to visitors since some of the young Royals still live there.

Nearest tube stop

Queensway – Central

High Street Kensington – Circle | District

The River Thames

The River Thames snakes through London and is one of it’s major landmarks yet doesn’t often feature on these lists! I think it’s because it’s just there and people take it for granted!

I love taking walks along the River Thames – South Bank is a good place for a wander or even Embankment as well.

Do you need a ticket?

Nope just go and enjoy the river! Of course a river cruise can be a good idea as well – it’ll help you tick off some more of the top attractions and sights too.

Nearest tube stop

Any near a bridge are good – Westminster perhaps?

image of two children in London with The London Eye in the background
My kids (a few years ago now!) with the London eye in the background

The London Eye

It’s hard to imagine the London Skyline with it’s famous landmarks without including The London Eye. For some of us, I do actually remember that – although that’s possibly ageing me a little.

While it looks like a traditional ferris wheel it actually has huge pods that you go in and it circles slowly around. It gives amazing views of Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, The River Thames and so much more.

Bonus Tip – sunset is the most popular time so if you want that ticket book well in advance!

Do you need a ticket?

Yes tickets are needed for a ride on the London Eye. I was always sceptical of whether they were worth it but we loved our trip on it when we finally did it.

Nearest tube stop

Waterloo – Bakerloo | Northern | Jubilee | Waterloo & City line

Westminster Abbey religious landmark in london

Westminster Abbey

This impressive religious landmark is just one of many such sights in London – St Paul’s Cathedral is another if you’re looking to explore these.

Westminster Abbey was the site of many important Royal occasions and many Kings and Queen’s are buried there. Not only royalty though, some other important names are marked here such as Charles Dickens in poets corner.

Do you need a ticket?

You can worship in the abbey on Sundays but this isn’t for looking around and sightseeing. If you want to do that you’ll need a ticket.

Nearest tube stop

Westminster – Circle | District | Jubilee

The Shard and London Skyline

The Shard

The Shard is another relatively new London landmark and has fast become one of the most noticeable on the skyline. I remember lots of disparaging remarks when it was getting built but I think the consensus is that it’s pretty good now.

You can visit the 72nd floor and get amazing views from all over London and as far as 40 miles away. You can also dine in the restaurant or even stay at there – the Shangri La chain has an upmarket hotel there! Perfect if you want a London hotel with a stunning view.

Do you need a ticket?

Yes – you need a ticket to visit the viewing platform.

Nearest tube stop

London Bridge – Jubilee | Northern

Sky Garden in London
The interior of the Sky Garden

The Sky Garden

It’s often referred to as the Walkie Talkie building because of its shape and it’s starting to be a more recognisable landmark on the London Skyline.

It’s interest to tourists is the fact that on the top floor is an indoor garden, viewing platform and place to get a bite to eat too. You get some amazing views from there – we loved standing and pointing out some of the famous sights in London when we visited!

Best bit is that it’s a free landmark that you can visit!

Do you need a ticket?

You need to book your place in advance (tickets released every Monday) but the good thing is that it’s FREE! (I do love free!)

Nearest tube stop

Monument – Circle | District

o2 arena in greenwich london

The o2

So I keep ageing myself with the names of these famous places in London but I always think of The o2 as the Millennium Dome. It was built for the turn of the millennium and has been an interesting feature on the London Skyline since with it’s funky architecture.

Nowadays The o2 is used for events such as concerts and shows. It’s also a great place to head if the weather is bad because there’s a lot of inside things to do – there’s a shopping outlet, cinema, bowling alley and food court.

Bonus tip – if you take the Emirates cable car you can get a great view of the o2 dome!

Do you need a ticket?

Obviously you’ll need tickets for shows and events but you don’t need a ticket to go inside to the shops or other attractions.

One cool thing I really want to try is climbing the o2 dome!

Nearest tube stop

North Greenwich – Jubilee

Millennium Bridge with St Pauls in background

Millennium Bridge

London has a tonne of bridges that cross the river Thames but the Millennium Bridge is a nice one because it’s a footbridge with no vehicles on it.

It’s quite a unique bridge too and you’ll always find people taking photos of it – with St Paul’s Cathedral in the background it’s very photogenic!

Bonus tip – it can get VERY busy on the bridge, even on weekends. Aim for an early morning sunrise visit if you want to get some nice photos.

Do you need a ticket?

Nope – it’s a nice free London sight!

Nearest tube stop

Blackfriars – Circle | District

Mansion House – Circle | District

Shakespeare Globe Theatre London
Image courtesy of Alex at Impact Rewind (my daughter!) – check out her post about London’s Literary sites

Shakespeare’s Globe

This London sight was actually new to me – I had no idea that it existed until a few years ago. But what a pleasant thing to discover – it’s a replica of Shakespeare’s theatre which was originally about 2 streets away.

It looks like it belongs firmly in the Elizabethan era though and it still puts on Shakespeare plays and much more to this day. You don’t need to know anything about Shakespeare to enjoy it though and there are guided tours that will fill you in on the history!

Do you need a ticket?

Yes you’ll need to book in advance a guided tour. They do a few different ones including a family friendly one and a ghost and ghouls one too!

Nearest tube stop

London Bridge – Jubilee | Northern

Abbey Road crossing and studios in London

Abbey Road Studios & Beatles Crossing

We’ve looked at quite a lot of iconic buildings in London so far but how about something a little more rooted in popular culture? The Beatles weren’t from London but one of their most famous album covers were photographed here – right outside their recording studio.

The walkway at Abbey Road attracts loads of people trying to recreate the famous scene – be aware if you want to do the same that the road can still be busy and Londoners don’t always have patience for those wanting selfies!

Do you need a ticket?

No – you can visit the shop, write graffiti on the wall outside and cross the walkway for free!

Nearest tube stop

St John’s Wood – Jubilee

Natural History museum in London
The imposing building of the Natural History Museum in Kensington

Natural History Museum

I have such fond memories of visiting the Natural History Museum as a child and then also taking my kids – you can’t forget the iconic interior of the entrance hall with the giant skeleton of a dinosaur inside. Outside isn’t to be sniffed at either with its beautiful architecture.

It’s a free attraction (one of many free London museums) so it’s perfect for those visiting London on a budget and wanting to keep costs down. It can also be useful for rainy days as there is so much to see and do inside.

Do you need a ticket?

No!

Nearest tube stop

South Kensington – Circle | District | Piccadilly

Nelson's column at Trafalgar Square in London
A very grey Nelson’s column at Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square & Nelson’s Column

In the centre of London is a great area for having a picnic and eating something you’ve picked up from a local food outlet. Trafalgar Square is a large, open area that’s great for people watching and getting your bearings. Or just resting your feet for a while.

Nelson’s Column rises from the centre of the square and it’s surrounded by some lion statues which are great for getting selfies on. I have some from when I was a small child here!

Don’t miss the National Gallery while you’re here – it’s home to some wonderful words of art!

Do you need a ticket?

No

Nearest tube stop

Charing Cross – Bakerloo | Northern

hms belfast london

HMS Belfast

A warship on the River Thames is not quite what you expect to see when traveling around the London sights but it’s what you’ll find close to Tower Bridge.

HMS Belfast is one of the top WW2 attractions in London where you can go on board and learn about its role in the war and what life was like for the sailors.

Do you need a ticket?

Yes you’ll need a ticket to get on the ship – you can get a good view of it from Tower Bridge and also The Queen’s Walk which is a pedestrian area by the entrance.

Nearest tube stop

London Bridge – Jubilee | Northern

St Pauls Cathedral and autumn colours

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral in London just reminds me of Mary Poppins and that old world London that isn’t quite there any more!

The unmistakable dome on the skyline draws you in and makes you want to explore more. You can go inside the cathedral – I loved the whispering gallery a few years ago now (it’s closed currently.)

Do you need a ticket?

Yes you’ll need a ticket to explore St Paul’s Cathedral. You’ll get access to its galleries and you can also climb to the top for some epic London views

Nearest tube stop

St Paul’s – Central

Royal Albert Hall in London

Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall located by Kensington Gardens. It has a distinctive look with red and cream bricks, a round outer and a domed roof. Good for acoustics I think!

We were lucky enough to enjoy a performance a few years ago in one of the Royal Boxes and it is very much as amazing as you might imagine – so opulent and elegant. And a great classical music show too – although you’ll find all sorts on offer, not just classical!

Do you need a ticket?

You’ll need to purchase tickets for any events on at the Royal Albert Hall. They also do tours of the building – again you’ll need a ticket.

Nearest tube stop

South Kensington – Circle | District | Piccadilly

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus

New York has Times Square and London’s version of it is Piccadilly Circus. I have to say that I prefer London!

With huge lit up bill boards, plenty of London Buses going by (and taxis) and so many people around – it has quite the atmosphere!

The best way to enjoy it is to arrive via Piccadilly Circus tube station – you’ll come out of the stairs and be greeted by the spectacle! Even better at night with all the lights.

Do you need a ticket?

No

Nearest tube stop

Piccadilly Circus – Piccadilly | Bakerloo

St Pancras Station

King’s Cross & St Pancras Train Stations

I’ve included these famous train stations in London since they basically connect.

King’s Cross station is famous forever more now because it has Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter books – you can actually visit a mock up of the platform now and get your picture taken. It’s so much fun!

St Pancras is next door and has the most beautiful building – if you’re nearby you have to take a look at it and enjoy the old architecture.

Do you need a ticket?

Only if you’re going on a train!

Nearest tube stop

Kings Cross St Pancras – Circle | Metropolitan | Piccadilly | Hammersmith & City | Northern | Victoria

Paddington bear statue at Paddington station
Paddington bear statue at Paddington station

Paddington Station

Another iconic London train station and this one with a literary connection. We all love Paddington Bear right?

If you’re around the station then take a moment and head onto platform 1 (you won’t need a ticket) where you’ll find the statue of Paddington and see where he was picked up by the Brown family.

Do you need a ticket?

No

Nearest tube stop

Paddington – Bakerloo | Circle | District | Hammersmith & City | Elizabeth Line

Chinagate in Londons Chinatown

Chinatown

Like many big cities around the world, London has a Chinatown and it’s pretty spectacular to look at. The main landmark to check out is the Chinatown gate which is stunning and ornate.

It’s definitely a different vibe here with loads of tasty Chinese food to try and interesting shops to discover too.

Do you need a ticket?

No

Nearest tube stop

Leicester Square – Northern | Piccadilly

Royal Observatory in Greenwich London

Royal Observatory & Prime Meridian

Almost everyone will have hear of Greenwich Mean Time and will be aware of the line of latitude on a map. This is where 0 degrees is and where time was measured from.

The Royal Observatory was also the home of a lot early astronomy discoveries and if you’re at all interested in that you should definitely explore it (and Greenwich’s other attractions) more.

Do you need a ticket?

While you can get a glimpse of the Prime Meridian from outside the gates it’s better to get a ticket to enjoy the full experience.

Nearest tube stop

Greenwich (DLR)

OXO Tower Building in London

The OXO tower

So often I’ve visited London and spotted the OXO tower on the banks of the Thames and wondered what it was.

It’s actually OXO tower Wharf and it’s home to lots of contemporary designers and you can enjoy restaurants and cafes there too (with spectacular views of course!)

Do you need a ticket?

No

Nearest tube stop

Southwark – Jubilee

Horse Guards Parade in Central London

Horse Guards Parade

The Horse Guards Parade is where the Trooping of the Colour Parade happens annually and where you can see soldiers in their amazing uniforms standing guard.

It’s a fun place to get photos and an alternative viewing spot for the changing of the guard that happens each day.

Do you need a ticket?

No although there are some sights nearby that might interest such as the Horsehold Cavalry Museum. A guided tour might also be useful to learn more about what’s happening when it takes place and they are fairly inexpensive.

Nearest tube stop

Westminster – Circle | District | Jubilee

The gherkin as part of London skyline
The Gherkin is the rounded building to the right. You can also see the Skygarden on the left with its distinctive shape.

The Gherkin

The Gherkin is the nickname of the building 30 St Mary Axe – and so called because it looks like a giant gherkin! It’s one of the most recognised skyscrapers on the London Skyline, located right behind the Sky Garden.

There are a number of restaurants and cafes in the building, which is primarily an office block, where you can grab something to eat while marvelling over the London skyline.

This is a good one to see while at the SkyGarden or the Tower of London as it’s in the same vicinity.

Do you need a ticket?

No

Nearest tube stop

Aldgate – Circle | Metropolitan

Portobello Market in Notting Hill London

Portobello Road

One of my favourite places to shop is the Notting Hill area where you’ll Portobello Road market – a collection of stalls and shops that are filled with quirky items. Great if you’re looking for interesting souvenirs or even some antiques.

Fans of the film Notting Hill will love it here – look out for the bookshop (not the actual one from the film, but maybe Hugh Grant is hiding inside!). The houses round here are a delight too – very upmarket, colorful and one of the most exciting places in London.

Do you need a ticket?

No

Nearest tube stop

Notting Hill Gate – Central | Circle | District

Camden lock in London

Camden Market

Camden Market is based a little out of the centre of the city, enough to have it’s own vibe that is distinctly cooler than the tourist areas, but close enough to not take too long to get to. Teens visiting London will love this place – I know mine did.

You’ll find canals to walk along, plenty of independent food outlets (with some yummy food!) and loads of market stalls and small shops. We spent a fab winters morning here one day – lots of places are indoors so the weather wasn’t an issue.

Do you need a ticket?

No

Nearest tube stop

Camden Town – Northern

Covent Garden Indoor Market at Christmas

Covent Garden

Another shopping area with plenty of wonderful architecture to enjoy, even if you don’t like the shops. Perhaps you can tell that to anyone if they need an excuse to visit while you look round the shops!

The building was once an old fruit and vegetable market and dates back to the 1800s. It’s really a beautiful landmark in London!

Do you need a ticket?

No

Nearest tube stop

Covent Garden – Piccadilly

Harrods Store in London at night and lit up

Harrods

The iconic London store of Harrods is a must visit if you like your designer gear, a bit of high class items or just want to bask in that energy for a bit.

The store is every bit as majestic on the outside as it is on the inside and with doormen letting you in you can feel special even if all you buy is a carrier bag!

Do you need a ticket?

No – although be aware that if you’re dressed inappropriately they have been known to not let people in.

Nearest tube stop

Knightsbridge – Piccadilly

Diana Memorial Fountain in London

Princess Diana Memorial Fountain

The Princess Diana Memorial Gardens are situated in Hyde Park and a great place to go if the hustle and bustle of the city are getting too much. I love these areas of London and it always soothes my soul to be in the greenery! On hot days you can sit on the edge of the fountain and feel the cool water on your feet!

There’s a Memorial playground nearby too for kids to let off steam but it’s not in quite the same spot as the fountain – to the east in Kensington Gardens which connects.

Do you need a ticket?

No

Nearest tube stop

Knightsbridge – Piccadilly

Pin for later!

33 London Landmarks to see pin

Sharing is caring!

Photo of author

Kirsty Bartholomew

Kirsty has been getting lost around the world for over 30 years and writing about it for 10 of those. She loves to help people explore her favourite places in Scotland, England and beyond. She cannot stay away from historical sites.

Leave a comment