Visiting London makes for an amazing trip, but sometimes it can all get a little... Overwhelming?
That’s why we’ve collected the best things to do near Buckingham Palace – it's a great, central spot to start from and there’s loads of free things to do nearby.
We’re big fans of finding bargain days out – so why not check out our favourite free (and nearly free) days out in London?
1. Green Park
Just a two-minute walk away from Buckingham Palace and officially known as ‘The Green Park’, this spot is one of the Royal Parks of London.
This is a great spot for some down time amongst the madness of the city. A triangle of trees and grasslands makes for the perfect sitting spot – British weather permitting...
2. Trafalgar Square
Take a 17-minute stroll away from Buckingham Palace and you’ll definitely recognise this iconic London Plaza. It’s literally packed with galleries and historic buildings.
Did you know? The Square is named after Britain’s victory in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 – save that gem of knowledge for your next pub quiz.
3. National Gallery
This epic gallery (located in Trafalgar Square) is a must-see spot for history buffs and art lovers – and entry is free.
If you’re looking for cheap and cheery things to do in the capital, this one definitely fits the bill. Loads of the exhibitions are free too – but it’s worth paying for the odd good’un.
Again, this one is around a 17-minute walk from Buckingham Palace.
4. National Portrait Gallery
Also based around Trafalgar Square, this gallery is still only 20-minutes walking from Buckingham Palace.
Known for having the most extensive collection of portraits in the world (with over 215,000 works no-less), this gallery is a time capsule of artwork dating alllll the way back to the 16th Century.
5. 10 Downing Street
Head to this iconic political spot, just 18-minutes' walk from Buckingham Palace, but this time towards the riverbank.
Although you won’t be able to walk down Downing Street itself, it’s one of those spots you can tick off the list – and it’s near-by some other tourist favourites.
6. Banqueting House
This one is just round the corner from Downing Street, so a great opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.
Oh, and this year (2023), the Banqueting House is celebrating their 400th anniversary. The hall is actually the only surviving portion of the lost Palace of Whitehall – so definitely worth a visit for you history buffs.
7. Westminster Abbey
A quick 14-minute stroll from Buckingham Palace, this royal church really takes the cake.
A spot for coronations, royal weddings and a plethora of other spectacular events – visiting is practically a London rite-of-passage. And of course it’s worth keeping your eye out for any upcoming events.
8. Houses of Parliament
Just a couple minutes from Westminster Abbey, you absolutely cannot miss this iconic building.
The Palace Westminster is somewhat of a symbol of London and it’s very difficult to miss - especially since it takes up a staggering 8-acres of land next to the river Thames.
9. The Women of WWII Monument
Designed and created to remember the 7-million women who contributed to the war effort by working in vital jobs, this moment displays 17 different sculpted uniforms – representing the roles women were forced to step away from at the end of the war.
This one isn't far from the riverfront, meaning it's a mere 17-minute walk from Buckingham Palace.
10. Churchill War Rooms
Even someone who doesn’t appreciate history could spend hours at this spot, exploring everything from Churchill’s bunker to the Cabinet War Rooms.
To get here, take yourself on a lovely stroll along the side of St James’ Park which will only take you 12-minutes from Buckingham Palace.
P.S If you’re an Imperial War Museum member, you can get into this attraction for free.
11. Duck Island Cottage
A serene lodge, serving as the offices of the London Historic Parks and Gardens Trust in St James’s Park. And if you were wondering, it’s named fittingly – it's based on a site that has long been the home of many ducks.
Just 12-minutes walking from Buckingham Palace, it’s definitely worth stopping by if you’re already planning on walking through St James’s Park.
12. Wellington Arch
Originally built as an entrance to Buckingham Palace, Wellington Arch later became a ‘victory arch’, celebrating Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon.
Once you’re at the arch’s balconies, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of London – definitely best on a clear day.
Wellington Arch is part of English Heritage, you can save 15% on an annual English Heritage membership to enjoy unlimited access to hundreds of historic places!
Oh, and this one’s a mere 11-minute walk from Buckingham Palace.
13. Westminster Cathedral
Yes, another Westminster must-visit. This one is simply an architectural gem not to be missed – its distinctive style is known as Byzantine (another pub quiz gem).
Explore this wonderful cathedral and the more than 100 different types of marble and mosaics found inside and out.
If this sounds like a bit of you, it’s a 9-minute walk from Buckingham Palace – so, why not visit?
14. St James's Park
So, the perfect thing about this one is that it’s practically attached to Buckingham Palace (meaning the walk is less than four-minutes, love that).
As well as that, the park actually included The Mall too – which you’ll know as the iconic view of Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial (aka the perfect spot for a piccie).
15. Clarence House
Another Royal residence, this one built in 1827, where you can explore five ground floor rooms (and the gardens, of course). Clarence House is also one of the last remaining aristocratic townhouses in London – you can learn a load more fun facts about the home’s history on-site.
The house is just 6-minute walking distance from Buckingham Palace and is based right off The Mall.
16. Admiralty Arch
You may not know this spot by name, but you’ll probably recognise its importance in ceremonial celebrations – think Royal Weddings, Coronations and the London 2012 Olympic Games.
If you’re already exploring the likes of The Mall and St James’s Park, you’re already halfway to Admiralty Arch. Marking the end of The Mall this one is a 15-minute walk from Buckingham Palace.
17. Horse Guards Parade
Found at the edge of St James’ Park, this ceremonial parade ground is the scene of Trooping of the Colour each year, marking the official birthday of the British Sovereign for over 260 years.
The Life Guard change can also be seen here every day at 11am (10am on Sundays).
Walk down The Mall and turn right at the end to find the Horse Guards Parade, just 16-minutes from Buckingham Palace.
18. Nelson’s Column
Located at the centre of Trafalgar Square, this iconic column represents Lord Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The column was built in-between 1840-1843 and still stands tall in the square.
Again, this one is only a 17-minute walk away from Buckingham Palace.
19. The Smallest Police Station in London
This one can also be spotted in Trafalgar Square – but you’ll need to keep your eyes * properly * peeled. When it was originally built, it was said to have accommodated two prisoners but normally housed a single police officer on duty.
Although it’s no longer a police station (now used as a broom cupboard for Westminster Council cleaners), it’s a good one to tick off whilst you’re in the area.
If you hadn’t already guessed it, this one is also around 17-minutes walking from Buckingham Palace.
20. Pride Traffic Lights
You’ll be able to see these traffic signals scattered across the pedestrian crossing lights near Trafalgar Square. How many of them can you spot?
It’s around a 17-minute walk from Buckingham Palace – then however long it takes you to spot one of the traffic signals from there...
21. Oscar Wilde Statue
London is packed with statues and memorials, but this one is definitely special. Oscar Wilde, the Irish poet and playwright was known and loved in the early 1890’s, has been memorialised by this statue which was unveiled in 1998.
Due to its location, this statue is normally missed by tourists, but we reckon it should make it onto your list. Oh, and it’s only a 20-minute walk from Buckingham Palace.
22. Horse & Guardsman Pub
A wood-panelled traditional London pub, this spot is great to stop by after a packed day of London sightseeing.
The relaxed atmosphere and unique Victorian-style character of the interior makes it the perfect lunch, dinner or drinking location – expect a range of cocktails, seasonal dishes and excellent bar service.
Located just a minute away from Trafalgar Square, walking here from Buckingham Palace should only take around 18-minutes.
23. Big Ben
You simply cannot visit London without taking a peep at Big Ben – it's not allowed. Whilst the tower is undergoing its biggest conservation ever, it’s still unmissable next to the Houses of Parliament.
If you needed another reason to make sure you visit, remember this spot is still a mere 17-minute walk from Buckingham Palace.
24. Dean’s Yard
If you fancy catching site of some nature, you’ll find plenty here, it’s trees galore – think red horse chestnut, tulip tree, maple and sycamore.
It’s a nice and small park square, so it'll give you a break from the hustle and bustle of London.
This one is only a 15-minute walk from Buckingham Palace – but it’ll feel like a million miles away.
25. The London Eye
We reckon this is another unmissable London tourist attraction. Though the walk is a little longer (taking 24-minutes from Buckingham Palace), the epic views as you walk across Westminster Bridge will really make up for it.
Not to mention the spectacular views you'll get on the 30-minute rotation of the London Eye - if you look close enough, we're sure you could see the Blackpool Tower (promise).
If you're getting fed-up of the city air, why not escape for the day? Here are our favourite days out from London by car and train - you've got no excuse really.
Looking for something the kids will enjoy? We reckon you should check out our guide to planning the ultimate family staycation in London.
And for some quick inspo, check out these family-friendly London tourist attractions:
- Shrek's Adventure! London
- SEA LIFE London
- Madame Tussauds London
- Chessington World of Adventures Resort(if you feel like venturing out)
At daysout.com, you can book the UK’s best attractions (y’know the proper FOMO inducing ones?) -- we know where’s perfect for you. Find your next adventure.