Things to do in Charing Cross – London – UK

Welcome to Charing Cross, one of London’s most vibrant and diverse districts. Located at the heart of the city, Charing Cross offers a wealth of attractions, activities, landmarks, and events for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re a history buff, a culture vulture, or a foodie, there’s something for everyone in this bustling neighbourhood.

Charing Cross is home to some of London’s most iconic landmarks, including Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, and the West End theatre district. It’s also a hub of entertainment and nightlife, with a range of music venues, cinemas, and bars to suit all tastes.

But there’s more to Charing Cross than just its tourist sites; the district also boasts a rich history, diverse culinary scene, tranquil parks and gardens, and a thriving community of local businesses and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

So whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned Londoner, join us as we explore the best things to do in Charing Cross.

Key Takeaways:

  • Charing Cross offers a diverse range of attractions, activities, landmarks, and events.
  • The district is home to iconic landmarks, a thriving entertainment scene, and a rich history.
  • Charing Cross also boasts a diverse culinary scene, tranquil parks and gardens, and hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

Exploring Charing Cross’s Tourist Sites

Charing Cross is home to some of London’s most iconic landmarks and cultural attractions. Here are some of the must-visit tourist sites in the district.

Attraction Description
The National Gallery One of the world’s greatest art collections, with over 2,300 paintings spanning from the 13th century to the 1900s.
Trafalgar Square A central London square with the famous Nelson’s Column and the iconic lion sculptures. Home to various public events and gatherings throughout the year.
The London Transport Museum Discover the history and evolution of London’s transport system, including iconic red buses, trains and the famous Underground.
The Banqueting House A stunning piece of architecture and the only remaining part of the Palace of Whitehall. Marvel at the ornate ceiling painted by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, and learn about the history of the building.

In addition to these sites, Charing Cross is also home to nearby attractions such as the famous Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye. With so many iconic landmarks and cultural attractions, Charing Cross is a must-visit destination for any London itinerary.

Discovering Charing Cross’s Entertainment Scene

When it comes to entertainment, Charing Cross has something for everyone. From world-class theaters to intimate music venues, there are plenty of options for a night out on the town.

Take in a show: Charing Cross is home to some of the world’s most iconic theaters, such as the National Theatre and the London Coliseum. Catch a West End musical or dramatic performance for a night to remember.

Popular Theaters Location
National Theatre Upper Ground, South Bank
London Coliseum St Martin’s Ln
Wyndham’s Theatre Charing Cross Rd

Experience live music: Charing Cross is also a hotspot for live music, with venues ranging from intimate jazz clubs to iconic concert halls. Catch a rising star or see a favourite band at one of the district’s many music venues.

Popular Music Venues Location
Ronnie Scott’s Frith St
O2 Academy Brixton 211 Stockwell Rd
Royal Festival Hall Belvedere Rd

Catch the latest blockbuster: For a night out at the movies, head to one of Charing Cross’s cinemas. From blockbuster flicks to indie films, there are plenty of options for a cinema date night.

Popular Cinemas Location
Odeon Luxe Leicester Square Leicester Square
Curzon Soho Frith St
BFI Southbank Belvedere Rd

Insider Tip: Charing Cross’s nightlife scene is also worth exploring, with a range of bars and nightclubs dotted throughout the district. From laid-back pubs to exclusive nightclubs, there’s something for everyone.

With so many entertainment options at your fingertips, you’re sure to have a night to remember in Charing Cross.

Indulging in Charing Cross’s Culinary Delights

Charing Cross is a food lover’s paradise, offering a diverse range of culinary delights for every taste and budget. Whether you’re in the mood for a fancy fine-dining experience or a quick bite on the go, Charing Cross has got you covered.

Restaurant Cuisine Price Range
The Savoy Grill British ££££
Dishoom Indian ££
The Ivy Market Grill European £££
Hop Vietnamese Vietnamese ££
Flat Iron Steakhouse ££

For an upscale dining experience, head to The Savoy Grill. This iconic restaurant offers a classic British menu and an elegant Art Deco setting. For a taste of India, Dishoom is a must-visit. This Bombay-style cafe serves authentic Indian dishes in a vibrant, atmospheric setting. The Ivy Market Grill is another popular choice, with its sophisticated European cuisine and stylish decor.

If you’re looking for something more casual, hop into Hop Vietnamese for some delicious and affordable pho or bahn mi. For a quick and easy steak fix, Flat Iron is a great choice with its famous £10 steak and chips deal.

Additionally, Charing Cross is home to a variety of street food markets, such as KERB, offering a range of international flavours and exciting food options. And if you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, don’t miss out on the famous cronuts at Dominique Ansel Bakery.

We recommend trying the signature cocktails at The Savoy Grill, which are expertly crafted and perfectly complement the restaurant’s exquisite dishes.

No matter what your taste buds are craving, Charing Cross is sure to provide a memorable culinary experience.

Immerse in Charing Cross’s Historical Sites

Charing Cross is steeped in history, and there are numerous historical sites to visit to get a glimpse into the district’s past. From ancient monuments to museums, we’ve highlighted some of the most notable places to explore.

Site Description
The National Gallery Located in Trafalgar Square, The National Gallery is home to over 2,000 paintings from the mid-13th to 1900. It is a must-visit for art lovers and those interested in European history.
Banqueting House Banqueting House is an iconic building in Whitehall designed by Inigo Jones in 1619. It was a royal palace for centuries and is now open to the public as a museum.
The Household Cavalry Museum The Household Cavalry Museum offers visitors a fascinating insight into the British Army’s elite mounted regiment. It is located in Horse Guards Parade, adjacent to St James’s Park.

For those interested in ancient history, there are a few notable sites to explore:

  • The Cleopatra’s Needle
  • The Roman Baths
  • The Temple of Mithras

All these historical sites offer a captivating experience and a chance to step back in time. Make sure to reserve sufficient time to immerse yourself in the district’s rich history.

Embracing Charing Cross’s Spiritual Side

Charing Cross is not only a hub of cultural and historical significance but also a place of spiritual importance. The district boasts some of the most beautiful churches and religious sites in London, each with its unique architecture and cultural significance.

One of the most notable churches in Charing Cross is St. Martin-in-the-Fields, located in Trafalgar Square. This iconic church was built in the 18th century and is renowned for its stunning neoclassical architecture and its regular concerts, featuring world-class musicians and singers.

Another significant church in Charing Cross is St. Mary-le-Strand, located on the Strand. This beautiful church was designed by architect James Gibbs and boasts stunning Baroque architecture, as well as being home to a number of artworks by famous artists such as William Hogarth and Joshua Reynolds.

Charing Cross also boasts a number of other significant religious sites, including the Swedenborg Society, a hub of spirituality and philosophy, and the London Buddhist Centre, which offers meditation classes and spiritual guidance.

Charing Cross Churches and Religious Sites:

Site Location
St. Martin-in-the-Fields Trafalgar Square
St. Mary-le-Strand The Strand
Swedenborg Society Bloomsbury
London Buddhist Centre Bethnal Green

Whether you are a person of faith or simply looking to appreciate the beauty and cultural significance of Charing Cross’s religious sites, these places are definitely worth exploring during your visit to the district.

Relaxing in Charing Cross’s Parks and Gardens

In the heart of the bustling metropolis that is Charing Cross, visitors can escape to peaceful parks and gardens that offer a serene oasis from the city’s hustle and bustle.

St James’s Park is one of the most popular green spaces in the city, with its stunning views of Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll along the lake or relax by the fountain while watching the ducks. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a picture with the resident pelicans, which have been living in the park since 1664.

Green Park, located just across from Buckingham Palace, offers a quiet retreat from the busy city centre. With over 40 acres of grassy lawns and mature trees, it’s perfect for picnics, jogging, or simply enjoying the fresh air. The park’s central location makes it easily accessible from all parts of the city.

Lincoln’s Inn Fields is the largest public square in London, surrounded by beautiful Georgian townhouses and historic buildings. The park boasts a peaceful atmosphere, with a large grassy area perfect for relaxing, playing sports, or having a picnic. There’s also a quiet garden area with benches for those who prefer a more secluded spot.

Victoria Embankment Gardens is a hidden gem situated on the north bank of the Thames, offering stunning views of the river and the London Eye. The gardens are a popular spot for lunchtime picnics, and visitors can enjoy the beautiful flower displays and fountains throughout the year.

Charing Cross Green

If you’re looking for a more secluded spot to relax, head to Charing Cross Green, a small green space nestled between busy roads and buildings. The park is a popular spot for locals to enjoy lunch or take a break from work, and it offers a peaceful respite from the surrounding traffic.

Recommended Places to Stay in Charing Cross

Charing Cross offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious stay or a more budget-friendly option, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant district of London.

Hotel Name Price Range Distance from Attractions Rating
The Trafalgar St. James London ££££ Walking distance 4.7/5
The Strand Palace Hotel £££ Walking distance 4.2/5
The Royal Horseguards ££££ Walking distance 4.6/5
Amba Hotel Charing Cross £££ Walking distance 4.5/5
The Grand at Trafalgar Square £££ Walking distance 4.5/5
Travelodge London Central Waterloo £ 1.5 miles 4/5

The Trafalgar St. James London is one of the most luxurious hotels in Charing Cross, offering stunning city views and stylish rooms. The Strand Palace Hotel is another popular choice for its central location and comfortable rooms at a more budget-friendly price range. For a truly unique and historic stay, The Royal Horseguards is a five-star luxury hotel housed in a former government building overlooking the Thames.

Amba Hotel Charing Cross, located inside a beautiful Victorian building, offers a mix of contemporary design and traditional charm. The Grand at Trafalgar Square is another great option for its modern amenities and prime location just steps from Trafalgar Square.

If you’re on a tighter budget, Travelodge London Central Waterloo is a great choice for its affordable rates and comfortable rooms just a short distance from the attractions of Charing Cross.

Experience Charing Cross’s Vibrant Events

Charing Cross is home to a diverse range of exciting events and festivals throughout the year, offering visitors the chance to immerse themselves in the district’s culture and community.

One of the most anticipated events is the Charing Cross Festival, which takes place in late summer and showcases the district’s local talent, food, and drink. The festival features live music, street performances, and a variety of stalls selling everything from artisanal crafts to international cuisine.

If you’re a fan of theatre, the West End is just a short walk away, offering world-class productions and performances throughout the year. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch a show at one of the famous theatres, such as the London Palladium or the Adelphi Theatre.

For music lovers, there are plenty of venues to explore, from the intimate Jazz Cafe to the historic Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. There are also a variety of gigs and concerts taking place at venues such as the Roundhouse and the O2 Academy.

In the winter months, Charing Cross transforms into a winter wonderland with the famous Christmas lights on display. The district is also home to the iconic Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, which is gifted to the city by the people of Norway as a symbol of friendship and peace.

If you’re interested in history, don’t miss the annual Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. This solemn event pays tribute to the soldiers who lost their lives in conflict, and offers an opportunity to pay your respects.

Whether you’re looking for music, theatre, festivals, or cultural celebrations, Charing Cross has something to offer everyone. Keep an eye out for upcoming events and make sure to add them to your itinerary.

Exploring Charing Cross’s Hidden Gems

While Charing Cross is known for its popular attractions and landmarks, there are also many hidden gems waiting to be discovered. These lesser-known places offer unique experiences that showcase the district’s local culture and charm.

Neal’s Yard Dairy

Neal’s Yard Dairy is a small cheese shop located in the heart of Charing Cross. Here, visitors can sample and purchase a variety of British cheeses that are carefully selected and matured in the shop’s own cheese caves. The shop also offers cheese-making workshops for those interested in learning more about the craft.

The British Optical Association Museum

Tucked away in a small alley off Charing Cross Road, The British Optical Association Museum is a fascinating glimpse into the history of optometry. The museum’s collection includes antique glasses, instruments, and documents that showcase the evolution of eye care over the centuries.

The Crypt at St Martin-in-the-Fields

Beneath the beautiful St Martin-in-the-Fields church lies The Crypt, a hidden gem that houses a cozy café, a gift shop, and an exhibition space. The café is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, serving delicious food and coffee in a unique setting.

The Ship and Shovell Pub

The Ship and Shovell is one of London’s oldest pubs, dating back to the 1700s. What makes this pub unique is that it is actually two pubs on two different sides of the street, connected by an underground cellar. Visitors can experience the pub’s historical charm while enjoying a pint of ale or traditional pub food.

The Harold Pinter Theatre

The Harold Pinter Theatre is a small but stylish theatre located in the West End of Charing Cross. While it may not be as well-known as some of its larger counterparts, the theatre has a reputation for showcasing cutting-edge plays and performances, making it a must-visit for theatre enthusiasts.

  • Tip: When exploring Charing Cross’s hidden gems, be sure to keep your eyes open for small alleyways and side streets. You never know what you might find!

Plan Your Visit to Charing Cross

Now that you have discovered the many things to do in Charing Cross, it’s time to plan your visit to this vibrant district in London, UK. Here are some practical tips and information to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.

Getting Around

Charing Cross is conveniently located in central London, making it easily accessible by public transportation. The district is served by several tube stations, including Charing Cross, Embankment, and Leicester Square, which connect to multiple underground lines. Additionally, there are numerous bus routes that pass through Charing Cross, as well as taxi and ride-sharing services.

Useful Tips

When visiting Charing Cross, it is recommended to bring comfortable walking shoes as many attractions are within walking distance of each other. Additionally, it is advisable to check attraction opening times and book tickets in advance to avoid long queues. Visitors can also save money by purchasing a London Pass, which provides discounted access to multiple sights and activities in the city.

Additional Resources

For more information on Charing Cross and its attractions, visitors can stop by the Charing Cross Visitor Centre, located near Trafalgar Square. The centre offers maps, brochures, and helpful staff who can provide recommendations and assistance. Additionally, the Visit London website provides up-to-date information on events, dining options, and accommodations in the area.

We hope this guide has been helpful in planning your visit to Charing Cross. With its rich history, diverse culture, and exciting entertainment scene, there is truly something for everyone in this bustling London district.


Q: What are some popular tourist sites in Charing Cross?

A: Charing Cross is home to several famous landmarks and cultural attractions, including Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery, and the Adelphi Theatre.

Q: Where can I find entertainment options in Charing Cross?

A: Charing Cross offers a vibrant entertainment scene with theaters, music venues, cinemas, and nightlife options. Some popular venues include the Playhouse Theatre and the Hippodrome Casino.

Q: What are the best places to eat in Charing Cross?

A: Charing Cross boasts a variety of dining options, from upscale restaurants to cozy cafes and street food markets. Some recommended establishments include Brasserie Zédel, The Harp, and the Real Food Market.

Q: Are there any historical sites to explore in Charing Cross?

A: Yes, Charing Cross is steeped in history. You can visit historical sites such as Cleopatra’s Needle and the Royal Opera House to delve into the district’s rich heritage.

Q: Are there any churches or religious sites in Charing Cross?

A: Charing Cross is home to several beautiful churches and religious sites, including St Martin-in-the-Fields and St Mary le Strand.

Q: Are there any parks or gardens in Charing Cross?

A: Yes, Charing Cross offers peaceful parks and gardens where you can relax and unwind. Some notable green spaces include Victoria Embankment Gardens and St James’s Park.

Q: Can you recommend places to stay in Charing Cross?

A: There are various accommodation options in Charing Cross, ranging from luxury hotels like The Savoy to budget-friendly choices such as the Strand Continental Hotel.

Q: What events and festivals take place in Charing Cross?

A: Charing Cross hosts a range of exciting events and festivals throughout the year, including the Chinese New Year celebrations in Trafalgar Square and the West End Live music festival.

Q: Are there any hidden gems to explore in Charing Cross?

A: Charing Cross is home to several hidden gems and local treasures. Explore unique experiences and off-the-beaten-path locations such as Cecil Court and The Coal Hole pub.

Q: Where can I find more information about visiting Charing Cross?

A: For more information on planning your visit to Charing Cross, including transportation options and useful tips, refer to our Charing Cross travel guide and visitor information resources.