London Bucket List

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Gosh there’s a lot to do in London. Gah! How will I ever keep it all straight? Oh yeah… a list 😛

Tourist Traps:

  • Buckingham Palace (inside, not just a walk-by)
  • Changing of the guard FREE
  • Kensington Palace
  • Kew Gardens and Palace
  • Hampton Court (maze a must)
  • London Eye
  • Madame Tussauds
  • Westminster Abbey
  • London Zoo
  • London Dungeons
  • Double-decker red bus Tour
  • Brick Lane curry (bargain for your dinner)
  • Go to Greenwich for a mean time FREE
  • Emeritz Skyline
  • Tower of London
  • The Ceremony of the Keys (you have to apply for tickets to this) FREE
  • The Beatles crossing FREE
  • Boat down the Thames
  • Thorpe Park (really gotta tick off the loop-de-loop rollercoaster from my life bucket list!)
  • Climb Monument
  • St Pauls (still need to climb up to the Whispering Gallery)
  • The Globe (double points if you see a show)
  • Harry Potter Studios
  • London Aquarium
  • Harrods FREE

Seasonal:

  • Zoo lates (Summer)
  • Ice Skating (Christmas)
  • Christmas Carols at the Royal Albert Hall (Christmas, duh)
  • London Boat Show (January)

Markets:

  • Borough Markets FREE
  • Portobello Markets FREE
  • Covent Garden Market FREE
  • Leather Lane FREE
  • Petticoat Lane FREE
  • Camden Markets FREE
  • Spittalfields Markets FREE
  • Brick Lane Markets FREE
  • Southbank Christmas Markets FREE
  • Brixton Market FREE

Walking Tours:

  • Jack the Ripper Tour
  • Quirky London
  • Ghost Tour
  • Street Art Tour

Garden Party:

  • Hyde Park FREE
  • Victoria Park FREE
  • Kensington Gardens FREE
  • Green Park FREE
  • Hampstead Heath FREE
  • Regents Park FREE
  • Kew Gardens (incl. Palm House)
  • Richmond Park
  • London Wetlands
  • Mudchute Farm
  • Tibetan Peach Garden

Be a good sport:

  • Tennis at Wimbledon
  • A cricket match at Lord’s
  • Football Match (maybe Arsenal to see some het-up middle-aged men go nuts)
  • Croquet! (it was on a department store rooftop last summer but missed it – will be looking out for that again)
  • Hire a Barclays bike (and live to tell the tale)
  • Ride horses through Hyde Park.
  • Polo match

More Cultured / Less Known / Cheap Events:

  • Poetry Reading
  • Comedy Night 
  • Taping of a Show
  • Taping of a Show anyone’s heard of (Jonathan Ross, Graham Norton, 8 out of 10 cats)
  • Free Walking Tours FREE
  • Bloomsbury Festival FREE
  • Notting Hill Carnival FREE
  • Outdoor moves at BFI (half-done but rained out) FREE
  • Kenwood House
  • Tour of the BBC
  • Keat’s House
  • Highgate Cemetery & Karl Marx’s grave FREE
  • Go into Houses of Parliament
  • Tube Crawl (e.g. Waitangi Day Pub Crawl) FREE
  • The new atheist church FREE

Museums:

  • British
  • Tate Modern FREE
  • Tate Britain
  • Science FREE
  • Museum of Natural History FREE
  • Portrait Gallery FREE
  • National Gallery FREE
  • Zoological Museum (so grossly awesome!)
  • Charles Dickens Museum (currently closed for refurb)
  • Sherlock Holmes Museum
  • Museum of London FREE
  • Soane Museum
  • Imperial War Museum
  • Churchill Museum
  • Cabinet War Rooms
  • The Royal Observatory (been there but not in)
  • The Maritime Museum
  • Ripley’s Believe it or Not
  • Whitechapel Gallery FREE
  • Petrie Museum (UCL)
  • Florence Nightingale Museum
  • The Fan Museum (?!)
  • HMS Belfast (museum boat!)

Shows:

  • Lion King
  • Les Miserables
  • The Book of Mormon
  • War Horse
  • Matilda
  • Spamalot
  • Legally Blonde
  • Billy Elliott
  • Grease
  • We Will Rock You
  • Wicked
  • The Effect
  • The Magistrate
  • One Man Two Guvnors
  • 55 Days
  • Austentatious

Half the reason kiwis usually cite for moving to London is the ease of traveling to other destinations, which are a world away from NZ but a matter of hours from London and sometimes just a few pounds.

Things to do outside of London:

  • Bath (esp Christmas markets)
  • Stonehenge
  • Windsor
  • Eton
  • Chislehurst Caves
  • Oxford (maybe stay in one of the college dorms and pretend)
  • Cambridge
  • Hogmanay in Edinburgh
  • Glasgow
  • Skeezy night out in Essex (The Only Way is Essex y’know)
  • Skeezy night out in Newcastle (Geordie Shore way-aye)
  • York (ghost tours a must)
  • Liverpool (apparently more than just Beatles mania!)
  • Manchester

Festivals / Celebrations / Icons

  • Queen’s Day (now King’s Day – Amsterdam)
  • Oktoberfest
  • St Paddy’s Day
  • ANZAC Day at Gallipoli
  • Pamplona
  • La Tomatina
  • See the Northern Lights

Countries visited (in order first visited):

New Zealand    Australia    Singapore    England    France    Switzerland    Monaco    Spain    Italy    Vatican City    Greece    Turkey    Bulgaria    Serbia    Bosnia    Herzegovina    Croatia    Hungary    Slovakia    Austria    Czech Republic    Poland    Germany    Netherlands    Belgium    Scotland    Finland    Estonia    Russia    Latvia    Lithuania    Morocco    Ireland

=  33 / 204 (ish)

This means continents:

Australia    Asia    Europe    Africa    South America    North America    Antarctica

=    4 / 7

So, since the pennies are pinched but I’m here to see the big wide world, where would you recommend as a good spot for a short trip like a long weekend, that still packs enough punch to make it worth the flights for only a few days’ stay?

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20 thoughts on “London Bucket List

  1. herschelian

    Add these to your London list – they’re worth it:
    Kenwood House & Hampstead Heath – lovely for a weekend walk, Kenwood has a marvellous art collection besides being a beautiful building (features in umpteen films including ‘Notting Hill’) and entrance is free; it also has a very good cafe in the old kitchens.

    Highgate Cemetery & Karl Marx’s grave. This is a Victorian Valhalla, and well worth a trip. Take the Northern Line to Highgate and its a 15-20minute walk from there. There is an entry charge. Many famous Londoners are buried there. Highgate itself is an interesting city ‘village’ which was the first staging post on the great north road out of London. Lots of great pubs and you can ‘swear on the horns’!

    Hope you are enjoying your time in London, but beware – I did what you have just done, moved to London from South Africa ‘for a couple of years’ – met and married a Brit and now have two adult kids born in London…it could happen to you!

    Reply
    1. shapelle Post author

      I’ll tell you a secret… I would love for that to happen to me! I can’t imagine going home right now. Though it must be really hard deciding to have a family so far from home.

      Thanks for the to do suggestions – they are excellent and I will certainly be dragging my friend who is overfond of cemeteries along with me. Great thing to do in this weather too – adds to the dreary charm of the history rather than just being plain old dreary!

      Reply
  2. autumnleavesarefalling

    London:
    Unsure how you feel about flora/fauna, but there’s deer here in Richmond Park.
    Isabella Plantation (also in Richmond Park) is beeeautiful in April + you can stop for a pint at the german beer garden along the river on your way home.
    Kew Gardens has a treetop walkway.
    Ham Polo club has £5 entry for spectators on Sundays.

    Outside London:
    Cotswolds. Cotswolds. Cotswolds.
    Dartmoor National Park has wild ponies, sheep and highland cattle + spectacular scenery.
    Anywhere in France.

    Happy Travels!

    Reply
    1. shapelle Post author

      Oooh great suggestions and it’s such a good idea to get out in some greenery every now and again. I find it weird here just not seeing the sea every day even! I absolutely must get to the Cotswolds, since everyone raves about it. And ‘treetop walkway’? Sweet!

      Reply
  3. Basketcase

    Edinburgh for a weekend. Climb Arthurs seat, do a “double dead” ghost tour, eat haggis. If you book early enough, you can get one way fares on the train for about 10quid, and it only takes about 4 hours from Kings Cross station. Suggest doing this in “summer” though, especially with climbing the seat and being out till 11pm doing the tour.
    You also haven’t mentioned things like weekends in Paris, or Spain… Shouldn’t be too expensive! You’ll need to update that “out of London” list with some of the things you’ve done like the Christmas markets in Brugges (I know it was you that went, just cant remember where exactly they were), because that looked seriously cool in your photos. I was insanely jealous that instead, I got the Thorndon Fair.

    Reply
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  5. Rebecca Clarke

    This list is great! I’m tempted to abide by it. I have 2 years left and I’m now going into panic mode seeing I’m about to turn 30. Every day the prospect of returning home to do grown up stuff looms closer O_o

    Reply
    1. shapelle Post author

      Haha yeah I think having a time limit actually motivates you more to do things – every Kiwi I know in London has done more in even a few months than any Brits who’ve lived here for yonks/forever!

      Reply
      1. Rebecca Clarke

        I guess it’s the same at home too. I’ve seen more of this country and Europe than I have of my own. Frick, I haven’t even been to the South Island before (I don’t include the two week stay on a farm in Invercargill).
        Definitely going to be rectifying this when I get back! 🙂

        Reply
  6. herschelian

    Get the cheapest flight you can to Naples – stay in youth hostel or similar (two nights is fine) and go to Pompeii- totally amazing – and because of water, pollution etc etc will not be around to see for ever. Herculanium is just a hop-skip-and-jump from Pompeii and also well worthwhile. After trudging round Pompei (take yr own sandwiches/water/juice) go back to Naples and visit the city museum which contains much of the ‘stuff’ recovered from the city. Then have a PROPER neapolitan pizza in the city which invented pizza. Believe me, you will never forget your visit.

    Reply
  7. jessinz

    Love this bucket list – I’ve based mine on it, and I’m impressed you’ve managed to tick off so much! I agree with herschelian’s Naples comment – it is amazing, and once you have pizza there you’ll never want to go back.

    Reply
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  9. Jennifer Miranda

    I have a question…
    Im visiting London next week and I want to check out Wicked on Broadway, but I’m worried that I may not understand the accent of the actors. Am I being dumb for assuming this? I wonder if its the exact same play as in America?

    Reply
  10. Steven Ramey

    Good stuff! Of Monaco Greece Turkey Bulgaria Serbia Bosnia Herzegovina Croatia Hungary Slovakia Austria Poland Finland Estonia Russia Latvia and Lithuania, where would you recommend the most and why?

    Cheers,
    Steve

    Reply

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