Some of the most iconic buildings in London are multipurpose arenas, historic government buildings, world-famous music venues, and football stadiums. There are few places in the world with so many famous, iconic, and historic sites all in one geographic region. You can easily get from one iconic landmark to another, thanks to the city’s extensive public transport system. 

    From the Tower of London, Big Ben, and Parliament to Wembley Stadium, you can experience a world of history and excitement throughout your stay in England’s capital. Whether you're looking to take in a championship football match, see a classical theatrical performance, tour a historic building or stroll through a vibrant art gallery, you'll find it all here. Check out some of the most iconic buildings in London.

    1

    Royal Albert Hall

    Visit the home of the famous Proms concert series

    The Royal Albert Hall is located in London's Kensington neighbourhood and is among the most popular concert halls in the UK and the home of the Proms concert series. The magnificence of the circular auditorium building cannot be understated, and its natural acoustics are nothing short of spectacular. Not only does the Royal Albert Hall host classical music performances, but it's also a popular venue for mainstream artists from all over the world, including off-beat shows like orchestras covering new wave and goth bands. From classical music to hip hop, heavy metal and beyond, this is an iconic location for just about every kind of live music and entertainment performances.

    Location: Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London SW7 2AP, UK

    Open: Vary by individual performance

    Phone: +44 (0)2075 898212

    Map
    2

    Wembley Stadium

    Catch a major football match or global musical performance

    Wembley Stadium is a massive football stadium that's among the largest in Europe and is the home of the England national football team and the FA Cup finals. The stadium offers 90,000 seats and is crowned by the famed Wembley Arch that rises 134 metres high and supports 75% of the stadium's roof load. Besides football matches, Wembley is a home for major live entertainment events. International artists who have played here in the past include George Michael, Bon Jovi, U2, Metallica, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Taylor Swift, Coldplay, AC/DC and Roger Waters. If you're on a trip to London, this stadium is a must-visit site, and it's easily serviced by 2 London Underground stations.

    Location: London HA9 0WS, UK

    Open: Vary by event

    Phone: +44 (0)8001 699933

    Map
    3

    Southbank Centre

    See music, dance, theatre and art all in one complex

    Southbank Centre is a complex of venues on the South Bank of the River Thames that form one of the largest art centres in Europe. It's composed of 3 main performance venues and an art gallery and attracts over 4 million visitors every year. The centre puts on over 2,000 music, literature and dance performances annually, and those are just the paid performances. Besides professional shows, the centre also hosts more than 2,000 free events, educational programmes, workshops and guest speakers. In addition, up to 6 major art exhibitions are on display at the Hayward Gallery every year.

    Location: Belvedere Road; London, SE1; UK

    Open: Vary by venue and performance

    Map
    4

    The Shard

    See the glass-and-steel spike that pierces London's sky

    The Shard is an awe-inspiring spike that pierces the sky in central London, rising nearly 310 metres into the air and offering its own vertical cityscape inside. This iconic tower was inaugurated in 2012 and has become a symbol of the city. From the top, you can see 40 miles in all directions, past the River Thames to the rolling hills beyond the city. The Shard was designed by Renzo Piano, who originally had no interest in designing a skyscraper, which he thought would be garish. Still, once the idea took hold, Piano agreed and created this steel-and-glass structure blocks from the London Bridge that symbolizes the city that has withstood hardship but also celebrated victory and tradition for centuries.

    Location: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)8444 997111

    Map
    5

    St Paul's Cathedral

    Have a whispered conversation across a vast domed room

    St Paul's Cathedral was for 3 centuries the dominating feature of the London skyline and today is an iconic, historic baroque structure that's part of the city's myth and majesty. It opened in 1711 and is considered a national treasure. Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married here, while Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a famous sermon in the building. It has even appeared in such popular works as 'Harry Potter' and 'Mary Poppins'. The cathedral withstood the London Blitz and a 1913 Suffragette plot to blow up the throne of the bishop. It's famed for its vast Whispering Gallery, where you can whisper to someone far across the room due to its unusual acoustics.

    Location: St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)2072 468350

    Map
    6

    Tower of London

    See the home of the Crown Jewels

    The Tower of London has played a role in British history for nearly a millennium, from a famed prison and execution tower to the home of the Crown Jewels. It was originally built in the heart of London by William the Conqueror as a sign of British power. In the 13th century, it functioned as a royal zoo. The tower is famed as the torture and execution place for such figures as Anne Boleyn, Sir Walter Raleigh and Guy Fawkes, and as the modern home of the Crown Jewels. Lucky visitors today can witness the nightly Ceremony of the Keys if they book at least a year ahead of time.

    Location: St Katharine's & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)2031 666000

    Map
    7

    Houses of Parliament

    Visit the heart of British politics and government

    The Palace of Westminster is the heart of British politics where Parliament meets and is informally known as the Houses of Parliament, offering centuries of history and tradition. The formal name is derived from Westminster Abbey next door. It's owned by the British monarch and for ceremonial purposes still functions as a royal residence. The palace is one of the most visited attractions in London and was called 'a dream in stone' by Russian Tsar Nicholas I. It is a Grade I-listed building and a World Heritage Site. No casual access is permitted, but ticketed admission is permitted to certain restricted areas, as well as queued access to view committee sessions. Scheduled guided tours are also held for free.

    Location: Westminster, London SW1A 0AA, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9 am to 5 pm (closed Saturday–Sunday)

    Phone: +44 (0)2072 193000

    Map
    8

    Tate Modern

    Explore one of the most popular art galleries in the world

    Tate Modern was originally the first oil-fired power station in Great Britain and today is a cultural icon that houses a famed modern art museum. It was built in the 1940s but was shut down in the 1980s, where it sat crumbling until 2 relatively unknown artisans won a contest to turn it into the art museum it is today. It's one of the most visited museums of modern art in the entire world. Tate Modern is not only a landmark, but it has also played a major role in revitalising the South Bank area of the River Thames. Here you can view this historic building and its collection of thousands of important works of art spanning decades of history.

    Location: Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)2078 878888

    Map
    9

    The Gherkin

    See the Instagram-worthy bullet-shaped glass skyscraper

    The Gherkin is among the first great contemporary skyscrapers to pierce the London skyline and rises 180 metres above the ground, thrice the height of Niagara Falls. This architectural wonder is officially named 30 St Mary Axe after a legendary church that supposedly vanished and contained Attila the Hun's axe. During its construction, the body of a Roman girl was found in the excavation. She was given a proper funeral and buried nearby. The bullet-shaped skyscraper was ridiculed when it was announced, but upon its opening it became an instant hit with the locals and has since become a destination for visitors. The steel-and-glass structure is nominally an office building, but the exterior is a great Instagram attraction.

    Location: 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8BF, UK

    Phone: +44 (0)2070 715029

    Map
    10

    National Theatre

    Take in a show by the Royal Shakespeare Company

    The National Theatre features unique architecture that has been controversial among Londoners, but since its opening it has been a destination for London culture. The building was opened in 1976 and has made the lists of both the most hated and most beloved buildings in London ever since. The National Theatre is a neighbour of Southbank Centre and has an ultra-modern, angular beauty that's iconic of the Brutalist architectural style. Architecture tours of London highlight this building. It's also, of course, a place to take in publicly funded performing arts performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal Opera House, among others.

    Location: Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PX, UK

    Open: (Hours vary by performance)

    Phone: +44 (0)2074 523060

    Map

    Start planning your trip

    Why book with Hotels.com?

    Keep exploring

    England

    United Kingdom

    Travel alert

    COVID-19 alert: Travel requirements are changing rapidly, including need for pre-travel COVID-19 testing and quarantine on arrival.

    Check restrictions for your trip.
    Back to top

    Maps