Photograph by Jason Hawkes
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London packs plenty of sights to see. Here are Samantha Brown's recommendations to make the most of your trip.

Photograph by Jason Hawkes

Visit London Like a TV Host

Here are eight places that Samantha Brown loves in the English capital.

As all eyes turn to England for the May 19 wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the capital city proves it’s still a place where fairy-tales come true.

The setting of many beloved children’s stories, London was one of the first places I discovered beyond my childhood world. I adored Mary Poppins, the ultimate babysitter, and Wendy in Peter Pan. But my absolute favorite character? Paddington Bear. Whether it was a book or the movie counterpart, I would pore over the scenes: the shops, the outfits, the accents. [Read about what to eat while touring the city's top sights.]

When I first visited London, in my early 20s, it delivered the warmth and nostalgia I remembered from the stories. My advice is to wander this magical city to your heart’s delight. Treat the neighborhoods like individual tales, and read each street like a page. Just remember, if you see a bear in a blue duffel coat and red hat, please look after him.


David Bowie, Elton John, and the Beatles recorded songs in this buzzing neighborhood known for music clubs and theaters.

Kensington Gardens

Home to Kensington Palace, where the royal newlyweds will live, this park also features a Peter Pan–inspired playground.

Buckingham Palace

The 775-room complex is the London abode of the queen. Arrive early for the Changing of the Guard, four times a week at 11 a.m.

Trafalgar Square

Commemorating British victory in the namesake 1805 battle, this plaza hosts political protests and holiday celebrations.

Cabmen’s Shelter

About a dozen of these classic green sheds remain, offering drivers snacks and tea inside. Non-cabbies can order at the window.

London Eye

Book in advance online to secure tickets to the towering Ferris wheel that provides panoramic views across the city.

River Thames

Sightseeing cruises explore this waterway, flanked by attractions like the Tower of London, Tate Modern, and Houses of Parliament.

Westminster Abbey

Since 1066, this has been the place of coronation for British monarchs. Later this year, new galleries open in the medieval triforium.

Samantha Brown’s Places to Love airs on PBS. Follow her travels on Twitter. This article appeared in the April/May issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.

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