Whether you study abroad in London or just flew through Heathrow to get to your host institution elsewhere in the UK, chances are you will end up spending some time in the city eventually. If you have any family or fellow UCEAP friends come to visit you, there’s a good chance they’ll want to see London too! In order to make sure you make the most of your time both in London and with your family and friends, we’ve compiled this list of the Top 5 tourist attractions that are family-friendly and still plenty of fun!
- Visit the British Museum. While some people might think that museums are boring or stuffy, it’s worth noting that the British Museum is the single most visited tourist attraction in the UK. It’s collection of more than eight million items contains the famed Rosetta Stone in addition to Egyptian mummies, the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, and authentic Samurai armour. The British Museum also features several short term special exhibitions that change regularly throughout the year, so you are sure to see something new every time you visit. Although the special exhibitions sometimes have a small ticket cost, entrance to the rest of the museum is completely free of charge. If the museum’s size seems intimidating, consider taking part in one or more of the many free tours offered throughout the day, which are focused on specific collections and last anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.
Enjoy a Sunday Roast. Eating a roast dinner on a Sunday afternoon is quintessentially British, and sure to be a crowd pleaser. Family and friends are sure to fall for Yorkshire puddings, and a good roast can fill you up for long day of sightseeing and exploring. One of the great things about this tradition is its ubiquity – there are literally hundreds or roasts being serves across London every weekend. Here’s a list of some of the top reviewed roasts you might want to try.
- Visit Westminster Abbey. An officially recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site, Westminster Abbey is definitely a London sight worth seeing. The church is not only significant for religious reasons: it is the final resting place of author Geoffrey Chaucer and its architecture is considered some of the most impressive in the UK. The abbey’s royal significance is also worth recognizing. It has hosted more than a dozen royal weddings, including the 2011 wedding of Prince William and Princess Kate, and provided the venue for every coronation since William the Conqueror became king in 1066. And of course, visiting the abbey means you’ll also be just across the street from the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the UK’s Supreme Court. Trafalgar Square is also only a short walk away!
Check out Borough Market. Although it has been criticized by locals as too touristy, Borough Market is the perfect place to take any tourists who may come to visit you abroad. It provides an authentic open-air market experience with endless options for incredible food: from fresh, handmade pasta and goat’s milk ice cream to authentic curries and artisinal coffee, you’ll be sure to find something that can please even the pickiest palate. This handy interactive map can even help you pick your ideal stalls before you arrive. The market has its own share of history, too: it has been located in Southward for the last 1000 years. You can easily make a day out of your visit to the market by bookending it with a visit to the nearby Tate Modern art museum and a stroll across the Millenium Bridge (best known for it’s cameo appearance in the sixth Harry Potter film) or down the artistic and eclectic Southbank of the river Thames.
Go out for Afternoon Tea. Another distinctly British tradition, the afternoon tea is a great way to beat any hunger pains brought on by taking the long way through Hyde Park. A city as large as London offers plenty of variations on the classic to fit your needs, whether it be gluten-free options, a more modern vibe or a purely traditional approach. Often seen as a bit of a formal treat, afternoon tea is the perfect way to celebrate a reunion with family and friends, or cap off a visit to the city on a high note.