London is a vibrant city not to be missed on any trip through England, even if you’re ‘not really a city person‘. After all, there are plenty of quirky corners and small pockets where you can truly get away from it all. So whether you love art, architecture, or drinking oodles of tea, here’s your guide to 15 beautiful places in London you won’t want to miss on any trip to the UK capital city!
Daunt Books, 84 Marylebone High St, Marylebone, London W1U 4QW
Specialising in travel tomes, Daunt Books is located in the heart of Marylebone and has been in business for a couple of decades. Located in an Edwardian building which was also used as a bookstore over a hundred years ago, the bookshop comes complete with several of the original fittings; skylights, oak detailing and all!
Peggy Porschen Parlour, 116 Ebury St, Belgravia, London SW1W 9QQ
Pretty in pastel pink, Peggy Porschen may well be the cutest coffee shop in all of London (although you come for the decor and not necessarily the food- it is a little pricey!) Head to the cake emporium earlier in the day and midweek (if possible) to get the best selection of cakes, as well as an outdoor table. The rise of Instagram means that the cute café is incredibly popular!
St Dunstan in the East, St Dunstan’s Hill, London EC3R 5DD
Of all Christopher Wren masterpieces dotted throughout London, the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral may well be the architect’s most famous project. But what many don’t know is that just nearby, there are the remnants of another of Wren’s ecclesiastical buildings…
During WWII, St Dunstan-in-the-East was heavily bombed during the Blitz. Following the war, the decision was taken to transform the empty shell into an oasis of green in the heart of the city. Today, the garden is a peaceful place to relax, surrounded by sky-high skyscrapers, and even many locals don’t know about it!
The Thames Foreshore
Although the Thames Foreshore, littered as it is with debris from millennia worth of London inhabitation, may not be the first place that springs to mind when conjuring up images of the most beautiful places in London, the mystery behind the place means that it makes the list.
Spanning both sides of the mighty River Thames, the foreshore is a treasure trove of ancient coins, palaeolithic tools, and all manner of historical artefacts. Each day, millions of pieces of forgotten items wash up on the beaches of the Thames, and those who go out to scout its sandy stretches are known as ‘mudlarks’. If you want a glimpse of some very cool Thames finds, then I highly suggest checking out @JasonMudlark on Instagram!
Read more: A self-guided walking tour of London.
Leadenhall Market, Gracechurch St, London EC3V 1LT
One wander through Leadenhall Market and it feels like you’ve stepped back in time, right into the very middle of well-to-do Victorian London. Dating all the way back to the 14th-century, Leadenhall is one of the oldest markets in the capital, and its covered skylight filled dome dates back to the 19th-century.
This makes Leadenhall Market the perfect place to snap photos of a historical side of the city that few ever get the chance to see. Best seen during the weekend when crowds are at their fewest (this area is predominantly populated by city workers), the market was also the filming location for ‘Diagon Alley’ in some of the Harry Potter films!
Read more: Harry Potter in London Locations.
The Sky Garden, 5 St Andrew’s Rd, Exeter EX4 2AA
Free to visit and high up in the sky of the city, the Sky Garden is easily one of the prettiest spaces in London and is a great alternative if you don’t want to fork out for the steep prices that come with a trip up the Shard.
At the top of the Sky Garden, you’ll also find several restaurants and bars, perfect to catch up with friends or enjoy a romantic outing. Please note that while the Sky Garden is free, you have to book tickets in advance, which can be found on the SkyGarden Website here!
Notting Hill & Portobello Road
The vibrant and pretty area of Notting Hill is all pastel coloured houses and candy façades. Every weekend, an outdoor market along Portobello Road is said to be the largest antiques and vintage fair of its kind in the world.
There, you’ll find all manner of sporting equipment, old cameras, and vintage clothing for sale, among other treasures you won’t find in any high street chain store! The market is also home to some great food stalls (look out for the French sweets stand!)
Read more: Notting Hill Filming Locations.
Kynance Mews, Kensington New Town, SW7
Best seen in the wisteria season when purple trails down the houses and the crowds are fewer than in the summer, Kynance Mews is one of those must-see London attractions for any photography lover. Mews streets are dotted throughout the London landscape and were once where horses were housed when the city ran on horsepower.
Today, the stables have since been converted into housing and the addresses are some of the most exclusive in London. Due to the rise of its popularity on sharing sites like Instagram, Kynance Mews is best seen in the morning midweek when tourists are at their fewest (luckily, that’s also when the light is at its best)!
However, when you do go, even if there are other tourists around, you still won’t be disappointed by the mews road’s beauty! Other pretty mews streets worth visiting are those of Bathurst Mews, St Luke’s Mews (the pink house there featured in Love Actually) and Cornwall Mews South.
Read more: Kynance Mews & the Wisteria Season.
Covent Garden Apple Market
Just south of Oxford Street, somewhere between the Thames and the Theatre District of the city, Covent Garden and its surrounds are best known for the wealth of shops and eateries in the area. Best seen earlier in the day when the light is at its best and crowds are at their lowest, the covered Apple Market is easily one of the most beautiful spots in Central London and was designed by Inigo Jones.
Read more: London Life Snapshots.
St Bartholomew the Great, Cloth Fair, London EC1A 7JQ
Dating all the way back to the 12th-century, its hundreds of years worth of history make St Bartholomew the Great the oldest church in London. First founded as a priory and situated in an out of the way location, St Bartholomew’s was founded in 1123 and is filled with beautiful stained glass windows and ecclesiastical artefacts. If you’re an avid follower of church history, then this is a must-see destination!
Read more: Top Photo Locations in London.
Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, Borough of Camden
Since the rise of social media apps such as Instagram, Neal’s Yard hasn’t had a moment of quiet. What was once a small and secluded alcove, hidden from the rest of the shops in Covent Garden by two small passageways, has since become a go-to hub for young people. Once in Neal’s Yard, you’ll find the world-famous brand Neal’s Yard Remedies flagship store, as well as several cafés and open-air bars.
Read more: The Hidden Courtyard of Neal’s Yard.
Monument to the Great Fire of London, Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH
Of all the beautiful places in London, the Monument to the Great Fire of London (near a tube station of the same name), is located amidst a sea of grey buildings in the heart of the City of London. Constructed between 1671 and 1677, the towering column has 311 steps to the top, costs less than a fiver to go up (that’s £5), and offers 360-degree breathtaking views over the city.
Read more: Monument to the Great Fire of London.
Richmond-upon-Thames, Southwest London
Of all the beautiful places in London on this list, Richmond-upon-Thames, once a village away from the hustle and bustle of London life in its own right, is where you should go if you want a break from the city. Home to plenty of pretty flower shops and stunning properties such as the National Trust property of Ham House, Richmond is filled with small pubs, and secret green gardens.
Read more: A quick guide to Ham House.
Biscuiteers, 194 Kensington Park Rd, London W11 2ES
Located a few streets over from the world-renowned Portobello Road market, Biscuiteers is a go-to destination for all sweet tooths. As its name suggests, the café and cookery school is dedicated to all things biscuit related and is a must visit on any coffee shop tour of London. Nearby, Farmgirl Café serves the prettiest speciality hot beverages in the capital and is also worthy of a visit.
Read more: Cutest Cafés in London.
Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP
Often mistakenly called ‘London Bridge,’ Tower Bridge truly is a feat of Victorian civil engineering. Constructed between 1886 and 1894, the structure has since become an iconic symbol in the London skyline. What you may not know, however, is that for a moderate fee (between 5 and 15 pounds depending on what you want to experience), you can go up onto the top of the bridge for a unique view over the city.
Read more: An Instagram guide to London.