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Group Ideas

20 things you must do in London

Rob Reaks , October 30, 2019

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20 things you must do in London. With over 2,000 years of history, it’s hard to whittle things down to just 20, and we’ve definitely missed things out, but hopefully this list will give you inspiration!

To arrange the perfect London group holiday, with a wide range of group-friendly accommodation, including hotels, apartments, houses and party pads, call our Group Travel Aces on 01273 872200. See you soon!

Things to Do in London
Things to Do in London

1. Ice Skating (seasonal)

The Capital City has plenty of outdoor Ice Skating rinks to choose from, that run from late October to early January. Probably the most Christmassy experience the City has to offer, it’s a lot of fun and not as hard as it looks! Check out Somerset House and the Natural History Museum, which are our two favourite London Ice Rinks.

Somerset House, The Strand

2. West End Theatre

Some of the best theatre in the WORLD can be found in the famous ‘West End’; award-winning musicals, including classics like Les Mis and The Phantom of the Opera, as well as fun juke-box musicals like Mamma Mia and &Juliet. Catch a Hollywood icon in a West End Play, perhaps, or brush up your Shakespeare at The Globe on London’s vibrant South Bank. Red7 can organise great theatre seats for most shows.

mamma mia london, west end theatre
Mamma Mia

3. The London Eye, by Merlin Entertainments

The Coca Cola London Eye is Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel and is the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom with over 3.75 million visitors annually. Soar above the Capital in one of the wheel’s 32 sealed and air-conditioned ovoidal passenger capsules. A unique way to see the City from an unrivalled vantage point.

London eye
London Eye Westminster Bridge and Big Ben in the Evening London United Kingdom

4. Buckingham Palace

The British Monarch’s official London residence, Buckingham palace stands on the site of ‘Buckingham House‘, a large townhouse that was build in 1703. King George III acquired the building for his Queen, Queen Charlotte, in 1761 and became known as The Queen’s House. It was subsequently enlarged and became the London residence of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.

There are 775 rooms, including 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, 78 bathrooms, 52 principal bedrooms, and 19 state rooms.

Buckingham Palace State Rooms and gardens are open to the public annually during August and September.

Buckingham Palace. Copyright: Joggie Botma

5. Tom Hardy’s Biker Bar; The Bike Shed Shoreditch

Yes, it really is owned by Tom and yes, he does drink there! (Sometimes). This unique venue is spread across four Victorian railway arches in the heart of Shoreditch. A great vibe, welcoming crowd and freshly prepared food mean this is a very popular place. You can dine in a booth in the restaurant, grab a snack on a sofa in the lounge, or make use of the Bar’s private terrace. If you’re in the area, this is a MUST do. (PS. If you see Tom, let us know, cos we love him)

Why not stay at London’s Courthouse Hotel, one of our favourite five star spa hotels? It’s just over the road from the Bike Shed.

6. 10 Downing Street

This is one London sightseeing destination you can’t get inside, in fact you’ll only get glimpses of the famous Black door from the adjoining street (since Downing Street itself was closed to the public in the height of the IRA Troubles). Originally three houses, Number 10 was offered to Sir Robert Walpole by King George II in 1732. The original town house, from which the modern building gets its name, was one of several built by Sir George Downing between 1682 and 1684.

Did you know, after an IRA mortar attack in 1991, the original black oak door was replaced by a blast-proof steel one. Regularly removed for refurbishment and replaced with a replica, it is so heavy that it takes eight men to lift it. (The original is now on display in the Churchill Museum at the Cabinet War Rooms).

7. The Shard

Transformed from a 1970’s office block to one of the worlds most iconic and recognisable buildings, The Shard is a luxury hotel (Shangri-La), six restaurants and bars, private apartments (gosh, we’d LOVE to live there) and office space at London Bridge. It’s well worth a visit. The public viewing gallery affords visitors the best views of London. Oh, and there’s also a retail arcade which boasts a mix of independent retailers and globally known brands. 

8. Tiger, Tiger

Our favourite London Club, in the heart of the West End. A warm welcome awaits. In a city that’s always changing Tiger Tiger remains the go to in London.

Based in Haymarket since 1998, Tiger Tiger has a capacity of 1500 people spread over six uniquely-themed rooms. Whatever your taste in music, you’ll find it here. Naughty nineties and naughties in the Decadia Room, or a touch of glamour with R&B and house tracks in the LUXE bar. Tiger Tiger is open everyday, so the party never stops.

Hen Parties are made welcome, this is a group-friendly venue, you’ll be whisked through with priority entry and you can pre-order drink packages or reserve a area to dance the night away to make the event more special.

Tiger Tiger, nightclub in London

9. Madam Tussaud’s

If you want to rub shoulders with A-Listers, Royalty and Hollywood Legends, get a selfie with Prince Harry, Justin Bieber or Brad Pitt, you need to visit Madam Tussaud’s. The whole building is one, big Red Carpet! It’s a star-studded experience like no other. Star in immersive experiences like Alien: Escape, Marvel Superheroes 4D and Star Wars.

Madam Tussaud's London, top things to do in London
Madam Tussaud’s London, top things to do in London

10. The Houses of Parliament

It’s a must see building, of course, the Seat of British power for decades, but did you know that you can go inside? Yup, that’s right, tours are available throughout the year. Find out more HERE. The Palace of Westminster has been a Grade I listed building since 1970 and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. During World War II, the Palace was hit 14 times by Nazi bombs.

Houses of Parliament tours, London sightseeing ideas
London skyline including Big Ben at twilight

11. Fortnum and Mason

The home of the Hamper! Our most favourite store in London, and we hear that the Queen and Royal Family are big fans too! It was established in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason. William Fortnum was a footman in the household of Queen Anne. Fortnum’s is the classiest store in town. Why not stay for a cup of tea and cream cake, or some bubbly. How many grocery shops do you know with carpets on the floor!

We often run competitions on Facebook, and a Fortnum & Mason Hamper always attracts a lot of interest.

Photo Credit: The Times

12. The Tower of London and The Crown Jewels

Explore 1,000 years of history at London’s iconic castle and World Heritage Site. See the Crown Jewels, take a legendary Yeoman Warder tour and meet the ravens. Did you know that the Crown Jewels, which are still used in royal ceremonies today, includes 23,578 gemstones?! Maybe they can spare a nice big diamond for your engagement ring? yeah, right!

The Crown Jewels were destroyed at the Tower after the Civil War and remade for Charles II’s coronation in 1661.

“Good memories are our second chance at happiness.” Queen Elizabeth II

13. Canary Wharf

Much like The Shard, there is loads to see and do at Canary Wharf. In fact, it covers over 97 acres! From 1802 to the late 1980s, the Canary Wharf Estate was part of the Isle of Dogs and was one of the busiest docks in the world. After the 1960s, the port industry began to decline, leading to all the docks being closed by 1980. One Canada Square is the second tallest building in the UK, The Shard is now number one.

You’ll find the perfect outlet for some serious Retail therapy and an amazing range of bars and restaurants.

14. The O2 Arena

World class concerts, you can even climb The O2 (outside!). On a clear day you can see for over 15 miles from the top of The O2. New for 2019, the Mamma Mia Party is one of the hottest tickets in town. Created by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus,  this immersive “all-singing, all-dancing theatrical dining extravaganza” (Daily Mirror) puts you right at the heart of the action and proves that “a night out with ABBA is the very best escape” (The Times).

Over the course of more than four hours, you’ll enjoy a spectacular show, a four-course gourmet Mediterranean meal and an ABBA disco all in one unforgettable evening.

15. Regent and Oxford Street

If you love shopping, you’ll love Regent Street and Oxford Street, home to Selfridges.

“My first paid job was delivering newspapers. The first paid acting job I got was dressing up as Edam cheese and handing out leaflets on London’s Oxford Street. I got pushed over by these little herberts and given a good shoe-in”. Jason Flemyng

16. Tea at the Ritz

The ultimate VIP experience has to be Tea at the Ritz, often booked out years in advance (unless you want your ‘afternoon’ tea at 10am that is), this is something we think everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. If the Ritz is out of your price range, try a delicious afternoon tea at The Courthouse Hotel, Shoreditch perhaps?

“In England, justice is open to all – like the Ritz Hotel.” J.M.Barrie

London. November 2018. A view of the sign at the Ritz hotel in London

17. Soho and Carnaby Street

Home of Carnaby Street, Soho shook off it’s seedy past long ago, now home to eclectic, trendy bars, cafes and restaurants, and with narrow street crammed with amazing shops, lose yourself in Soho for a few hours. Old Compton Street remains one of the City’s busiest LGBT areas. Carnaby Street, two minutes away from Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus, is home to 150 shops and over 50 independent restaurants and bars.

“I don’t know what London’s coming to — the higher the buildings the lower the morals.”  Noël Coward

18. Hampstead Heath Ponds

Hampstead Heath Ponds were originally dug in the 17th and 18th centuries as reservoirs to meet London’s growing water demand. The majority of the ponds on Hampstead Heath are fed by the headwater springs of the River Fleet. Three of the main ponds are now large freshwater bathing/swimming ponds: two designated single sex ; and one for mixed bathing.

Even if you’re not planning on swimming, Hampstead Heath is perfect for lazy weekends, especially with a picnic.

Photo Credit: Itv.com

19. Tate Modern

Located on the vibrant ‘South Bank’ (near the London Eye, National Theatre and Globe Theatre) The Tate Modern is one of London’s busiest Galleries. It houses the United Kingdom’s national collection of British art, and international modern and contemporary art. It is not a government institution, but its main sponsor is the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. After your visit, enjoy the South Bank, with it’s amazing choice of bars and restaurants.

If you prefer the old masters, head to Millbank to the Tate Britain, where you’ll see paintings by artists including Constable and Turner.

Did you know, Tate Britain is the home of the annual and usually controversial Turner Prize exhibition

Copyright Tate Modern

20. London Zoo

When in London, visit the World’s Oldest Zoo, in Regents Park. London Zoo opened it’s doors in 1828. Some animals were moved from the Tower of London (1831/32). The Zoo opened to the general public in 1847. The Zoo is home to almost seven hundred species of animals. Almost 20,000 individual animals make it one of the largest collections in the United Kingdom. Want to get up close and personal? Meet the Monkeys is a walk-through enclosure that houses a troop of 20 black-capped squirrel monkeys. The exhibit has no roof, and there are no boundaries between the monkeys and the visitors. It was opened in 2005 by ‘Bake off’s’ Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt of The Mighty Boosh.

ZSL.org

Did you know? February is the month where the fewest tourists arrive, almost half the number who arrive during July (2.2m vs 3.9m). So, that means the City is less busy at weekends and less expensive. Check out where to go by Month. Book your London adventure with Red7 today, we’re ready to take your call 01273 872200.

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