Pop Culture Changes Some of London’s List of Most Popular Attractions

front of Madame Toussauds

Pop culture affects the ebb and flow of tourism.  It creates new interests and sometimes replaces old interests.

One of the best examples of how it’s changed the face of tourism in London. Originally built in 50 AD, related through ancestry to the United States and steeped in royalty and history but as modern as a city can be.



According to VisitLondon.com the “Top 10 Free Attractions” are:

  1. The British Museum
  2. The National Gallery
  3. Tate Modern
  4. Victoria and Albert Museum
  5. Science Museum
  6. Natural History Museum
  7. Southbank Centre
  8. Somerset House
  9. National Portrait Gallery
  10. Old Royal Naval College

Some of the above may have fees for special exhibits taking place on their property.


giant red lit ferris wheel by a river


Most interesting is what they’ve experienced as their “Top 10 Bookable Attractions.”  In the order in which tickets are purchased for these 10, they are:

  1. Warner Brothers Studio London – The Making of Harry Potter
  2. Coca-Cola London Eye
  3. Buckingham Palace Tour
  4. Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour
  5. Madame Tussauds
  6. Tower of London
  7. Westminster Abbey
  8. Kensington Palace
  9. The View from the Shard
  10. The London Dungeon



Two more I’ll give “honorable mention” to because, according to a printed list I saw earlier this year that included them in the top 10 are Sea Life London Aquarium and Shrek’s Adventure London.

I wondered how this “top 10” would have been in the 1980s when most of our pop culture following “Millennials” were born.  A favorite resource of travel agents in the 1970s and 1980s was the “Pan Am World Guide.”  Many of us have kept the last copy they had. And yes, it was distributed by Pan Am World Airways.  While it’s true that many things change, some things never do. And for that reason, as well as for nostalgia, I sometimes refer to my 1982 copy.


London's Tower Bridge


Although there’s no numbered “top” attractions, there is a section on the most popular sights which included these 15 sights.  Attractions which are on the current lists above are in bold.  As you’ll see— while some things change, others stay the same.

Westminster Abbey
Houses of Parliament
Big Ben (yes, it’s at the Tower of London, but it in itself was very popular)
Downing Street
Tower of London
Tower Bridge
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Buckingham Palace
The British Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum
The National Gallery
The Science Museum
Imperial War Museum
Hyde Park
London Zoological Gardens


I’m not sure that I can mention London’s shift due to pop culture without mentioning Doctor Who.  While there are no specific attractions, many of the places mentioned in this article have been filmed for the show.  I’m sure many of the show’s fans have done the Doctor Who Walking Tour of London.

Whether you want to visit old landmarks or newer “pop culture” spots or, even better, a mix of the two, there’s a lot to do and see in London. It’s well worth an extended stay before or after an escorted Great Britain tour or a cruise which is sailing from Southampton, Dover or Harwich.

When booking your cruise or tour, talk to us about adding more time in London.

Happy Traveling!
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