Historic sites in London

For those wishing to discover historic sites in London, our city guide is designed to show you a great selection of historical places to visit in this popular tourist destination.

Founded by the Romans in 43AD, London became an important city in Roman Britain. Despite the destruction wrought by Boudicca in 61AD the city recovered and was a thriving centre of Roman life. Although little remains from this period, there are a few scattered Roman ruins, including parts of the Roman walls and the remains of a Roman theatre. After the Romans departed, the city’s influence waned until the site was refortified by Alfred the Great. The Norman conquest of 1066AD saw the city become increasingly important until it was established as the capital of England and the seat of power for the British monarchy – a fact reflected by the many royal palaces and homes which still exist today.

Over the centuries London has faced a multitude of threats - from plagues to the Great Fire of 1666 right through to the modern era and the German bombing of the city. Despite these challenges, London has continually grown, expanded and become a political, cultural and academic hub. Over the years many grand building projects have been undertaken, leading to a wealth of interesting and amazing historical places in London which can be explored today – making the city one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

Once you’ve explored the historical sites of London you can use our itinerary planner tool to plan out your very own London history tour and then print off a free pocket guidebook. Our database of London's historic sites is growing all the time, but we may not cover them all. Remember, if you know of other historic sites in London, you can always add them to Trip Historic now by visiting our upload page.

London: Site Index

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10 Downing Street

10 Downing Street is the home of the Prime Minister of the UK and one of the most important political historic places in London

10 Downing Street in London has been the residence of every British Prime Minister since 1730, when it was presented to Sir Robert Walpole. Walpole, Britain's first Prime Minister, and architect William Kent converted the three existing buildings of 10 Downing Street into a single large one, known collectively by... Read More

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Apsley House

Apsley House was the home of one of Britain’s most heroic figures, the Duke of Wellington.

Apsley House was the home of one of Britain’s most heroic figures, Arthur Wellesley better known as the Duke of Wellington. In fact, Wellington lived there following his most famous victory, that over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Named after the Baron Apsley, who originally built it in... Read More

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Banqueting House

The Banqueting House in Whitehall is famous as the site of the execution of King Charles I and one of the historic sites in London that saw crucial historical events.

The Banqueting House in Whitehall, near Horseguards Parade, is the only complete building of the Palace of Whitehall to remain standing. The original Palace of Whitehall was acquired from Cardinal Wolsey by Henry VIII and was a royal residence until James I came to the throne in 1603. The Banqueting House... Read More

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Battle of Barnet

One of the most decisive and bloody encounters of the Wars of the Roses.

The Battle of Barnet took place on the 14th of April 1471 and was one of the most decisive and bloody encounters of the Wars of the Roses. In 1470 an alliance between Edward IV’s former ally, the Earl of Warwick, and his Lancastrian enemies had forced the Yorkist leader to... Read More

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Big Ben

Big Ben is the name often attributed to the iconic clock tower of the Houses of Parliament. It is one of the most famous historic places in London.

Big Ben is often thought to be the name of the iconic clock tower of the Houses of Parliament. In fact, “Big Ben” is the nickname of one of the bells of this clock tower, originally called the Great Bell. It is unclear exactly where the name Big Ben originated, although... Read More

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British Museum

The British Museum in London is a world-famous museum of history and culture. It is one of the most popular historic attractions in London.

The British Museum is one of the world’s foremost museums of history and anthropology. Based in London, the British Museum has some of the largest and most revered collections from around the globe ranging from Babylonian stonework and Samurai armour to pottery and glass from the Roman Empire. The British Museum... Read More

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Buckingham Palace

One of the most famous historic sites in London, Buckingham Palace has been the royal residence of British monarchs since the reign of Queen Victoria.

Buckingham Palace has been the official residence of Britain's monarchs since 1837, at the start of the reign of Queen Victoria. With its 775 rooms, Buckingham Palace was originally built for the Dukes of Buckingham at the beginning of the eighteenth century. In 1761, Buckingham Palace, then known as Buckingham House, was... Read More

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Bushey Museum

A small museum dedicated to the local history of the village of Bushey in Hertfordshire, which also contains an art gallery.

Bushey Museum in Hertfordshire is dedicated to the history of the local area as well as containing works from notable local artists. Bushey is a village which grew up on the coaching route from London to the North of England. It is mentioned in the Domesday book, which indicates just how... Read More

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Cabinet War Rooms

The Cabinet War Rooms are part of the underground bunker complex in London where Winston Churchill and his government operated during World War Two. One of many military historic sites in London.

The Cabinet War Rooms are part of the underground bunker complex in London where Winston Churchill and his government operated during World War Two. In the 1930’s, realising that there was likely to be a war, the government needed to build a bombproof shelter and cabinet war rooms from which to... Read More

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Clarence House

Clarence House has been the London residence of several members of the British royal family.

Clarence House has been the London residence of several members of the British royal family and is now the home of the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. Built from 1825 to 1827 next to St James's Palace, the prime location of Clarence House has made it the perfect... Read More

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Eltham Palace

Eltham Palace is a spectacular Art Deco palace built in the 1930’s alongside a 15th century medieval hall.

Eltham Palace is a spectacular Art Deco palace built in the 1930's alongside a 15th Century medieval hall. Medieval Eltham The medieval part of Eltham Palace is quite stunning for those who are interested in that era. The Great Hall of Eltham Palace is still extant and was originally built for the... Read More

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Epsom Downs Racecourse

The Epsom Downs Racecourse was the site of one of the most iconic moment in the women’s rights movement.

The Epsom Downs Racecourse was the site of one of the most iconic moment in the women’s rights movement. On 4 June 1913, on the day of the Epsom Derby race, militant suffragette Emily Davison jumped out in front of the King’s horse at the Epsom Downs Racecourse and... Read More

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Fenton House

Fenton House is a well maintained seventeenth century house in Hampstead in North London.

Fenton House in Hampstead in North London was built in the seventeenth century and has since remained almost entirely unchanged. It is unclear who built Fenton House, but it has been continuously occupied over the period of three hundred years. Today, Fenton House and its gardens are managed by... Read More

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Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace is a medieval palace whch has served as everything from a royal residence to a prison.

Hampton Court Palace is a medieval palace once favoured by Henry VIII which has served as everything from a royal residence to a prison.   The first buildings at what is now Hampton Court Palace belonged to the Knights Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem, a religious order founded in the... Read More

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Hatfield House

Hatfield House is a Jacobean country house built on the site of what was Queen Elizabeth I’s childhood home.

Hatfield House is a Jacobean country house built on the site of what was Hatfield Palace. Built in approximately 1485, Hatfield Palace was bought by Henry VIII and became the home of his children, particularly that of a young Elizabeth I. In the gardens of Hatfield House, one can visit... Read More

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Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery is a famous graveyard in North London where Karl Marx is buried. One of the more hidden historic sites in London.

Highgate Cemetery is a graveyard in London where the famous philosopher and political economist Karl Marx is buried. It is also the burial site of several other prominent people, including several novelists, artists, political activists and professionals. A list of famous internments can be found on Highgate Cemetery’s website. Guided tours... Read More

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HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast is a Royal Navy light cruiser ship that played a role in both World War II and the Korean War. One of the most popular historic sites in London.

HMS Belfast is a Royal Navy light cruiser ship that played a role in both World War II and the Korean War. It is now open to the public in London under the remit of the Imperial War Museum. Launched in March 1938, HMS Belfast was commissioned by the Royal Navy... Read More

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Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament are the home of the UK Parliament and are amongst the most famous historical places in London.

The Houses of Parliament or 'Palace of Westminster' is where both houses of the UK Parliament are located. Originally part of the great royal palace that had been home to English monarchs for over 500 years, Westminster Palace became the home of parliament in the 16th century after reign of King... Read More

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Imperial War Museum

The Imperial War Museum is a London-based museum dedicated to world conflict. A popular tourist attraction in London.

The Imperial War Museum is dedicated to exploring worldwide conflicts throughout history. The exhibitions in the London Imperial War Museum cover, amongst other things, different aspects of the First and Second World Wars including military history, the Holocaust, women’s roles in the conflicts, wartime artwork and the political issues of... Read More

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Jewel Tower

The Jewel Tower is one of the last remnants of the medieval Westminster Palace and is amongst the lesser-known historic sites in London.

Originally part of the medieval Westminster Palace, the Jewel Tower was built in 1365 to hold the riches of Edward III, earning it the name of the 'King's Privy Wardrobe'. Following a fire in 1834, the Jewel Tower and Westminster Hall were the only buildings of the palace to survive. Today,... Read More

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Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker

The Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker is an enormous, three-storey, Cold War-era subterranean shelter and operations centre in Brentwood, Essex. It was constructed in 1952.

The Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker is an enormous Cold War-era subterranean shelter and former operations centre in Brentwood, Essex. In 1952, the spectre of the Cold War loomed ever-more menacingly over Britain. With Europe already firmly divided into two hostile and ideologically opposed camps, and with the Korean War raging in... Read More

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Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace was the childhood home of Queen Victoria and the home of Diana, Princess of Wales, until her death.

Originally built for the Earl of Nottingham, Kensington Palace was acquired by King William III in 1689, after he and his wife, Mary II, had taken the throne from her father, James II. They employed Christopher Wren to rebuild and improve it. Other monarchs enjoyed the atmosphere at Kensington Palace. These... Read More

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Kenwood House

Kenwood House is a picturesque historic stately home in North London and among the great summertime historic places in London to visit.

Kenwood House is a picturesque historic stately home in North London run by English Heritage. Initially built in the seventeenth century, Kenwood House subsequently underwent a renovation in the mid-eighteenth century. Today, Kenwood House is famous for its summer concerts, held in its extensive gardens. It also houses an impressive art... Read More

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Kew Palace

Kew Palace is a seventeenth century palace which once served as a royal residence.

Kew Palace was built around 1631 by merchant Samuel Fortrey. The 17th century palace is noted for its distinctive decorative brickwork and gables, and it is the oldest surviving building in the Kew botanical gardens. Kew Palace was the home of various members of the royal family between 1728 and 1898. Queen... Read More

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London Roman Amphitheatre

The London Roman Amphitheatre was built in the first century AD and is the only one of its kind in the city. Amongst the lesser-known historical sites in London.

The London Roman Amphitheatre was discovered in 1988 and remains the only known Roman amphitheatre in the city. Believed to have first been built in 74 AD, the London Roman Amphitheatre was probably extensively renovated in the second century, in around 120 AD. At its peak, the London Roman Amphitheatre would... Read More

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London Roman Fort

The London Roman Fort was a second century fort which housed Roman Londinium’s soldiers. Amongst the lesser-known historical sites in London.

The London Roman Fort was built in around 120 AD - around the same time as Hadrian’s Wall - to house the soldiers of Roman Britain’s most important town of the time, Londinium. Covering around 12 acres in its heyday, the London Roman Fort would have been a square complex... Read More

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London Roman Wall

The London Roman Wall was built in around the third century AD and parts of it can be seen today. Amongst the ancient historical sites in London.

The London Roman Wall was built between around 190 and 220 AD and stretched for about three miles from Blackfriars to Tower Hill. This defensive wall protected what was then the important Roman city of Londinium. Prior to the building of the London Roman Wall, Londinium already had a fort, parts... Read More

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Lullingstone Roman Villa

Lullingstone Roman Villa is a fine example of a 1st Century Roman villa. Built roughly 50 years after the Roman conquest of Britain, it was home to the wealthier elements of Romano-British society.

Lullingstone Roman Villa is a fine example of a 1st Century Roman villa. Built roughly 50 years after the Roman conquest of Britain, Lullingstone Roman Villa was home to the wealthier elements of Romano-British society. A villa stood on the site for over 300 years before its eventual destruction and abandonment.... Read More

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Moor Park Mansion

A listed Palladian mansion now used as a golf clubhouse

Moor Park Mansion in Rickmansworth is a listed grade I Palladian mansion. It is largely the work of Benjamin Styles who owned the mansion in the 18th century, but its roots go back much further. The original building was a palace, built for the abbots of St Albans. Henry VIII... Read More

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Museum of London

The Museum of London explores the history of the UK’s capital city. One of many historic sites in London that is good for children.

The Museum of London explores the history of UK’s capital city through a series of exhibitions. The contents of some galleries at the Museum of London are constantly changing, although there are nine permanent collections. These look at the development of the city since prehistoric times, through to Roman London, the... Read More

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Nelson’s Column

Nelson’s Column is a monument dedicated to Admiral Lord Nelson in London’s Trafalgar Square.

Nelson’s Column is a tribute to one of the great men in British history: Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, victor of many naval battles, including the Battle of Trafalgar (hence the name of the square). Despite the fact that this battle was one of the most decisive victories in British naval... Read More

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St Albans

St Albans is a wonderful market town and the site of the execution of Britain’s first Christian martyr (209AD).

The town of St Albans has something for everyone. Originally a Celtic British settlement known as Verlamion, the town was conquered by the Romans and re-named Verulamium. Despite suffering great destruction during the revolt of Boudicca in 60-61AD, the town was re-built and became a thriving settlement. St Albans has... Read More

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St James’s Palace

St James’s Palace has been the official residence of the British Sovereign since the reign of King Henry VIII.

St James’s Palace has been the official residence of the British Sovereign since the reign of King Henry VIII. In fact, it was under Henry VIII that the redbrick Tudor structure of St James’s Palace was begun in 1531 on the former site of a hospital. It was mostly completed by... Read More

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St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral is an iconic historic building in central London and the seat of the Diocese of London.

Carved into London’s skyline, St Paul’s Cathedral is the city’s central church and the seat of the Diocese of London. The current building of St Paul’s Cathedral was built between 1675 and 1710, however the site on which it sits has been home to cathedrals since 604 AD. In fact,... Read More

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Temple Church

The Temple Church in London was established by the Knights Templar in the twelfth century.

The Temple Church in Central London is named after the Knights Templar, who founded it in the twelfth century. Consecrated on 10 February 1185, probably in the presence of King Henry II, Temple Church became the British headquarters of this famous Christian charitable and military order who played an important... Read More

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The Great Fire of London Monument

The Great Fire of London Monument commemorates the major fire of 1666.

The Great Fire of London Monument, often known simply as “The Monument” is a Doric column designed by Sir Christopher Wren and built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London. It is crowned with a vase of flames. The Great Fire of London was a major fire... Read More

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The London Royal Air Force Museum

The London Royal Air Force Museum offers a great overview of the history of aviation in combat as well as housing over 100 aircraft from around the world.

The Royal Air Force Museum (RAF Museum) in Hendon in North London has a series of exhibitions dedicated to the history of the RAF and aviation in general. Housing a fantastic collection of over 100 aircraft, the RAF museum has an impressive selection of planes including some of the most... Read More

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The Tower of London

The Tower of London is a famous fortress and prison originally commissioned by the first Norman king, William the Conqueror.

The Tower of London, originally known as the White Tower, was commissioned by the first Norman king, William the Conqueror and work on it was underway by the 1070s. It was designed as a fortress-stronghold, a role that remained unchanged right up until the late 19th century. The Tower of London... Read More

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Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is an iconic nineteenth century bridge over the Thames in London.

Tower Bridge is an iconic nineteenth century bridge which stands over the Thames in London. The impetus to build Tower Bridge began gaining momentum in 1876, when it was decided that there was a need for a bridge to the east of London Bridge to accommodate the increasing commercial development in... Read More

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Verulamium

Verulamium was a Roman settlement near modern day St Albans in England.

Verulamium was a prominent Roman settlement near modern day St Albans in England. Formerly the tribal capital of the native Catuvellauni tribe, Verulamium was conquered by the Romans during their invasion of the island in 43 AD. By 50 AD, Verulamium had become a major Roman town, and as such was... Read More

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Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum displays millions of works of art from around the world and spans 3,000 years of history.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, better known as the V and A, in London is one of the world’s most prominent museums of design and decorative art. Housing a vast array of items from around the world and throughout history, including Ancient Chinese art, Indian sculptures and medieval and renaissance masterpieces,... Read More

Watford Museum

This museum is devoted to the history of the local area and that of the town of Watford itself.

Watford Museum covers the history of the local area and that of Watford itself, reflecting the diversity of life in this town located just outside London. It has a number of permanent exhibitions including local history; particularly interesting are the exhibitions on the Earls of Essex and Cassiobury Park. The... Read More

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Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is an iconic medieval structure and the site of many historic royal events, from coronations and weddings to burials.

Westminster Abbey is an iconic medieval structure and the site of many historic royal and national events, from coronations and weddings to burials and even deaths. Centrally located in London, Westminster Abbey was first constructed in the eleventh century by King Edward the Confessor, a Saxon king who dedicated this... Read More