What to see in London that isn’t just Buckingham Palace

There is so much more to the British capital than simply the royal family
London Big Ben and red bus
Look, you'll want to see Big Ben from a red bus, but there is so much more to London!

Of course, you DO have to check out the must-see attractions of London – we’re talking iconic tourist locations like Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London for starters.

Buckingham Palace does deserve a visit, but don’t make it your only stop! Image: Alamy

Why not get them out of the way in one day with a bus tour that will take you around the crowd-pleasers and give you plenty of photo opps along the way? London hop-on hop-off rides start at around $65 per adult, and you can include walking tours and the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace as well.

Look, you know you want to head to this bridge! Image: Getty

Shop up a storm

These days it’s only tourists and workers who battle the crowds down Oxford Street – though it’s worth giving yourself a day to explore what’s on offer, with iconic Marks & Spencer, Selfridges and other big names making it worth stopping on the strip. Nearby Regent Street is still where it’s at for high-end fashion (and just a hop to Liberty, which just may be the world’s most beautiful department store). And of course, no trip to London is complete without a visit to Harrods in Knightsbridge.

Liberty is a slice of history. Image: supplied

If you’re after something a little less intense, try newer shopping hotspots like Coal Drops Yard near Kings Cross station. This shopping complex and public space is part of the impressive King’s Cross Central development scheme, and the former coal sheds are now an extremely desirable luxury shopping and eating destination – both indoors and out. Cafes, bars and luxe designer stores make this worth a visit – and a walk along the canals is an added bonus.

Shoreditch in East London is a new shopping hotspot, Image: Getty

East London is THE place for retail therapy – why not wander around the upmarket boutiques here in what was once quite the rough part of town? Shoreditch is the spot for one-of-a-kind clothes and accessories, with boutiques and second-hand stores on every corner. If you’re looking for bargains nearby, Brick Lane’s Sunday market is the place to look, while those with more contemporary taste should head to Redchurch Street for designer and streetwear labels.

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Close by is Spitalfields – a lively revamped hotspot in East London that is now home to a busy seven-days-a-week market selling everything from fashion, homewares and accessories to vintage and antique clothing, food and furniture.

Don’t miss out on a bit of theatre, dahling…

London is all about the West End, music, larger than life tours and the theatre, darling! Head to to get the lowdown on what’s on if you have time to plan, and for those last-minute tickets, check out Don’t forget that there are so many opportunities to see something amazing away from the famous West End too – from ABBA Voyage, the amazing ABBA experience no fan should miss, to a trip to Warner Bros. Studio’s Harry Potter Tour just outside London, where you can enjoy a Butter Beer and practice your wand work.

Eat your way around the place

While British cuisine has traditionally been a stodgy fare, these days you can get anything you want, at any time. Be warned, eating out isn’t cheap here but there are ways to get more bang for your (Aussie) buck. Our pick of high and low end?


Try the gorgeous Brat. Image: instagram @calamansari . 

Brat – this Basque-inspired Michelin-starred Shoreditch restaurant has a delicious menu, lengthy wine list and takes bookings for lunch from 3pm… what’s not to love? Set in a room above a former pub with original features like wood panelling, arched windows and ornate parquet floors, it’s worth splashing out for.


What a delicious destination… mage: Getty

Borough Market – for 1000 years, a market has existed at the southern end of London Bridge, and it’s a great place to eat or buy ingredients. There are tons of small shops, food stalls and greengrocers here, and it makes a delicious lunch stop, snack spot and your new favourite place in town.

Where to stay

It pays not to scrimp on accommodation – give yourself an oasis to escape to after a busy day out. The Prince Akatoki London is a luxurious five-star hotel located near iconic Marble Arch (which is close to both Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, as well as Oxford Street’s shopping). It’s boutique in feel with world-class amenities and fine dining all wrapped in sleek Japanese touches.

That looks comfy, right? Image: supplied

A deluxe room here isn’t cheap, but it’s money well spent – with complimentary soft drinks and delicious toiletries (including bath salts to soak in while you catch up on the latest TV after a long day walking around), a great breakfast buffet and a very cool bar. Oh, and if you’re a fan of the hotel’s signature scent, the concierge will even give you a spray to take home! Dinner at the in-house restaurant TOKii is a must for Japanese food lovers, too. Book here.

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