12 top things to see in London in less than 2 hours
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12 top things to see in London in less than 2 hours

12 Top Things to See in London

London is a sprawling city with a rich history that spans over 2,000 years. It's a treasure trove of landmarks, attractions, and quirky corners, and if you're on a tight schedule, it can seem impossible to see it all. However, with some savvy planning and strategic stops, you can get a remarkable snapshot of the city's top sights in less than two hours. This guide will help you explore 12 incredible highlights that will make your quick London walking tour or London city tour feel immensely fulfilling.

1. Buckingham Palace

No visit to London is complete without a stop at Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the British monarch. Check the schedule for the Changing of the Guard ceremony, a traditional event that takes place most mornings and offers a glimpse into British pageantry. Even if you miss it, marveling at the grand facade of the palace is an experience unto itself. You can also take a Royal walk self-guided audio tour to discover everything at your own pace.

Pro Tip: Arrive early to find the best spot, especially near the Victoria Memorial, for clear views.

2. Westminster Abbey

Nearby, the iconic Westminster Abbey is another must-see. For centuries, this gothic masterpiece has witnessed royal coronations, weddings, and funerals. While a full tour inside the abbey may not fit your two-hour window, the exterior alone is impressive. Consider booking a Westminster Abbey self-guided tour during a longer stay.

3. Big Ben & the Houses of Parliament

A short stroll away is Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. The unmistakable clock tower is a symbol of London, and the neo-gothic architecture of the parliamentary buildings is breathtaking. Walk along the River Thames to get a perfect view of these landmarks and take some quintessentially British photos.

4. London Eye

Continue along the Thames and cross Westminster Bridge to the London Eye. While a complete rotation on this giant observation wheel takes 30 minutes, just standing beneath it and seeing the sprawling panoramic views of London from below is worthwhile. You can return for a ride if you have extra time during your London city tour.

5. Trafalgar Square

Head back across Westminster Bridge towards Trafalgar Square, the bustling cultural heart of London. Admire the towering Nelson's Column, the majestic fountains, and the surrounding historical architecture. The National Gallery, with its collection of Western European masterpieces, flanks the square if you have extra time for a quick peek.

6. Covent Garden

Take a short detour to Covent Garden, a vibrant district known for its unique shops, street performers, and artisan markets. Stop by the Apple Market or simply watch the lively buskers while savoring local treats.

7. Leicester Square

Leicester Square, London's entertainment hub, is just around the corner. It's where you'll find cinemas hosting film premieres, colorful theaters, and charming gardens. Walk past the famous statue of William Shakespeare or get a taste of London’s theater scene by browsing the many ticket booths offering last-minute deals.

8. Piccadilly Circus

Next, head towards Piccadilly Circus, London's version of Times Square. Its dazzling billboards and the iconic Eros statue mark a bustling junction that epitomizes the city's vibrant spirit. Grab a quick souvenir, and you'll be close to Regent Street and its famed shopping outlets.

9. St. James’s Park

After the urban energy, take a breather at St. James's Park, one of London’s oldest Royal Parks. The park's serene lake and well-manicured lawns offer stunning views of Buckingham Palace and the London Eye. It’s an ideal spot to pause during your whirlwind London walking tour.

10. The British Museum

If history piques your interest, consider popping into the British Museum, which offers free admission to its expansive collection. While you won’t have time to see it all, the Elgin Marbles, the Rosetta Stone, and the Egyptian mummies are sure to amaze you.

11. Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is an architectural marvel, with its twin towers and a central bascule that raises to let ships pass. You can walk across the bridge or head down the riverside for incredible views of the structure in action. The nearby Tower of London is also a World Heritage Site, housing the Crown Jewels and offering centuries of history.

12. Borough Market

Round off your London sightseeing experience with a visit to Borough Market, a paradise for food lovers. Sample local and international delicacies, from cheeses and charcuterie to curries and baked goods. It’s a true melting pot of culinary culture. Get to know everything in detail that is London walking tour suitable for solo travelers. 

Tips and Tricks for Visiting London

Oyster Card or Contactless Payment: Save time and money by using an Oyster card or contactless credit card for travel on London's public transport. It provides daily fare caps and is accepted on buses, the Tube, trains, and even the Thames Clipper river buses.

Walking Shoes: Many iconic sites are within walking distance of each other, so comfortable footwear is essential. A London walking tour is one of the best ways to see hidden gems and neighborhoods.

Weather Readiness: The weather can change quickly in London. Carry a compact umbrella or a lightweight rain jacket for sudden showers.

Free Museums and Galleries: Make the most of London’s cultural wealth by visiting the numerous free museums and galleries, including the Tate Modern, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Natural History Museum.

Off-Peak Hours: Visit popular attractions early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds and enjoy a more relaxed experience.

Booking in Advance: Secure tickets for popular attractions like the London Eye, Tower of London, and Westminster Abbey in advance, as they often sell out quickly, especially during peak seasons.

Additional Hidden Gems in London

Little Venice: A charming canal network near Paddington with colorful houseboats, quaint cafes, and lovely waterside walks. You can even take a boat trip along the Regent's Canal.

Leighton House Museum: A lesser-known art museum in Kensington, once the home of painter Frederic Leighton. It features stunning Islamic-inspired architecture and a gorgeous Arab Hall.

The Wallace Collection: Located in a historic townhouse, the Wallace Collection houses an impressive assortment of fine and decorative arts, from Old Master paintings to medieval armor.

Eel Pie Island: An artist community located on a small island in the Thames near Twickenham, once famous for its rock music scene. It opens to the public only a few times a year for open studio events.

Postman's Park: Tucked away in the City of London, this serene park is home to the "Memorial to Heroic Self-Sacrifice," which commemorates ordinary people who lost their lives while saving others.

Wilton's Music Hall: The world's oldest surviving music hall in Whitechapel. Today, it still hosts eclectic performances in an intimate, atmospheric setting.

Epping Forest: A sprawling ancient forest on the outskirts of London that provides a refreshing escape from the city's hustle. Ideal for long walks or bike rides.

Sky Garden: This garden atop the "Walkie-Talkie" building offers breathtaking views of London for free. Just make sure to book your visit in advance.

Sir John Soane’s Museum: The former home of architect Sir John Soane is a labyrinth of art, antiquities, and curiosities left much as he intended.

God's Own Junkyard: Located in Walthamstow, this neon wonderland is a fascinating collection of vintage signs and artwork created by neon artist Chris Bracey.

These tips and hidden gems will help you uncover the unique layers of London that are often overlooked and enhance your next adventure in this vibrant metropolis! Continue reading our guide if you want to know the best way to tour London city by buses and along with all specific details.


London has something for everyone, even if you have just two hours to spare. From royal residences and medieval cathedrals to vibrant markets and historic bridges, a quick tour of London can still offer a satisfying glimpse into its rich heritage. So, grab a map, lace up your shoes, and embark on an unforgettable two-hour adventure through this magnificent city!


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