"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life" Samuel Johnson
Standing on the River Thames, the capital of the UK is a leading force in the arts, commerce, entertainment, fashion, finance and tourism. London dates back to its founding by the Romans, so it's brimming with history, culture and century-old establishments. The city's famous l...
"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life" Samuel Johnson
Standing on the River Thames, the capital of the UK is a leading force in the arts, commerce, entertainment, fashion, finance and tourism. London dates back to its founding by the Romans, so it's brimming with history, culture and century-old establishments. The city's famous landmarks, including Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and The Shard attract over 14 million international visitors per year, making it Europe's most visited city. It is also home to numerous world-renowned museums, galleries, libraries, sporting events and other cultural institutions, such as the British Museum, National Gallery, Tate Modern, British Library and 40 West End theatres.
Established in 1753 with the possessions of the scientist Sir Hans Sloane forming its collection, the British Museum now has one of the largest permanent collections in existence, with some eight million works relating to human culture in its inventory.
Great Russell St, London WC1B 3DG
Underground: Central and Northern lines (Tottenham Court Road); Central and Picadilly lines (Holborn).
Bus: Lines 1, 7, 8, 19, 25, 38, 55, 98 and 242 (New Oxford Street); Lines 10, 14, 24, 29, 73, 134 and 390 (Tottenham Court Road (Northbound)/ Gower Street (Southbound).
It's hard to miss the National Gallery sitting in the centre of London's iconic Trafalgar Square; indeed, it is the fourth most-visited art museum in the world. Founded in 1824, the Gallery is home to a permanent collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-thirteenth century to the 1900s, including treasures such as Van Gogh's Sunflowers, Monet's Water Lily Pond, Holbein's Ambassadors and Da Vinici's Virgin on the Rocks to name but a few. While this impresive permanent collection is free of charge, be sure to check out the equally intriguing temporary exhibitions which the Gallery hosts throughout the year.
Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN
Tube: Northern and Picadilly Lines (Leceister Square); Northern and Bakerloo lines (Charring Cross).
Bus: lines 3, 6, 9, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 139 and 176 (Trafalgar Square).
Boat: Embankment Pier Boat Services.
This little church, designed by the famous architect Christopher Wren, has seen great historical figures pass through its doors.
The church was severely damaged in 1940 during the Second World War, and its graveyard was recently converted into a garden of remembrance. Services are held daily, and there is a handicraft market in the front of the church which visitors can browse at their convenience. Concerts are regularly held at the church.
197 Picadilly, London W1J 9LL
Tube: Bakerloo and Picadilly lines (Picadilly Circus)
Bus: Lines 164 and 413 (St. James's Church)
Trafalgar Square commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Originally, it was the site of the Kings Mews. The architect of the square was Sir Charles Barry, but Nelson's Column was planned independently of his work. A competition was held and William Railton's design won, and the column was raised in 1843. It is 51 meters high and surrounded by four lions, installed 25 years later.
Today, Trafalgar Square is the gathering place for rallies, parties and sporting victories.
Trafalgar Square, Westminster, London WC2N 5DN
Tube: Bakerloo and Northern lines (Charing Cross)
Bus: Lines 11, 15, 23 and 91 (Trafalgar Square/Charing Cross); Lines 3, 4, 12 and 88 (Trafalgar Square)
Best known for the days when it was a fruit and vegetable market, or as an opera venue, Covent Garden derived its name from the Benedictine Convent that stood on its grounds until the "Dissolution of the Monasteries" (1536-1541). It was then used to train the King's falcons, until Henry VIII tired of it and gave the land to the Bedford family, who ordered the construction of the central square and the streets around it. A fruit and vegetable market settled there after the Great Fire of 1666, remaining until the 1970s, until the traffic congestion forced it to move to New Covent Market about three miles (5 km) south-west at Nine Elms.
Today, Covent Garden is a hive of activity - with street performers, market stalls, bars and restaurants. There has always been something to see here, from the aristocrats who contested world-title boxing bouts, to John Logie Baird who transmitted the first television programme from here, or the hoaxer who exhibited a 'mermaid' he caught in China.
Covent Garden, London WC2E 8RD
Tube: Picadilly line (Covent Garden); Northern and Picadilly lines (Leicester Square).
Bus: Lines 3, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15, 23, 87 and 91 (Southampton St./Covent Garden; Line RV1 (Covent Garden/Russell St.)
Piccadilly Circus is a huge junction that connects Regent Street with the shopping street of Piccadilly. The circus is known for its huge neon display signs and the winged statue of Eros, a memorial to the Victorian reformer Lord Shaftesbury. Perhaps London's closest approximation to a Parisian boulevard, Piccadilly is a huge tourist attraction and is near London's Theatreland and many fashionable West end nightspots.
Piccadilly Circus, London W1J 9HP
Tube: Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines (Piccadilly Circus).
Bus: Lines 14, 19 and 38 (Trocadero Haymarket); Lines 6, 23, 94 and 159 (Piccadilly Circus)
Built on the site of a leper hospital, St James's Palace has had an eventful history. Although no sovereign has lived there for over 200 years, it is still the official residence of the Queen and is the most senior royal palace in the UK, thus giving its name to the Royal Court. The Palace was built between 1531 and 1536, and was intended as a secondary palace to Whitehall. Built in red brick around four courtyards, the architecture was originally Tudor, but little of it survives today except the Chapel Royal (commemorating the marriage of Anne of Cleves to Henry VIII) and the Queen's Chapel, which are the only parts of the palace open to the public today. Services are held in these chapels on Sunday mornings.
Marlborough Rd, London SW1A 1BS
Tube: Jubilee, Picadilly and Victoria lines (Green Park); Bakerloo and Northern lines (Charing Cross).
Bus: Lines 9 and N9 (Pall Mall/St. James's Palace)
The National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856 and allows its visitors to admire over 195,000 portraits - be they paintings, caricatures, photos or sculptures - of famous Brtish men and women dating from the 16th century to the present day. Some of its most notable artefacts include the Chandos portrait - the most famous painting of the playwright William Shakespeare - and a sculpture of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in Medieval Dress. Entry to the permanent collection is free, while the Gallery hosts a number of temporary exhibitions which well worth a visit throughout the year.
St. Martin's Pl, London WC2H 0HE
Rail and Tube: Northern and Picadilly lines (Leceister Square); National Rail, Northern and Bakerloo lines (Charring Cross); District and Circle lines (Embankment).
Bus: Lines 24, 26 and 176.
The Royal Opera House, built in 1732, stands on the Covent Garden square. In 1734, the first ballet was performed, and a year later, Handel presented his first season of operas. Many of theses were written for Covent Garden and debuted here. It was here that the piano was performed in public for the first time in 1767, and in 1837 the manager William Macready pioneered the use of limelight in theatre.
Bow St, London WC2E 9DD
Tube: Piccadilly line (Covent Garden).
Bus: RV1 (Covent Garden/Russel St.).
One of the most astonishing things about London is the the huge expanses of parks and gardens right in its centre. The best example is the 23 hectare St James's Park, the oldest Royal Park in London, which is bordered by three royal palaces: Westminster (now the Houses of Parliament), St James, and Buckingham Palace. It has long been a site of considerable importance, even before it was acquired by the British Monarchy. Today it is a favourite of Londoners and tourists with more than 5.5 million visitors each year.
The Mall, London SW1A 2BJ
Tube: District and Circle lines (St. James's Park); Northern and Bakerloo lines (Charing Cross).
Bus: Line 9 (Pall Mall/St James's Palace).
The Tate Modern holds Britain's national collection of art since the 1900s as well as a wide collection of International contemporary and modern art. Welcoming over 4.7 million people each year, it is the most visited modern art museum in the world. The permanent highlights include works by big names such as Delauny, Picasso and Braque and the gallery always has a range of unique and orginal temporary exhbitions to pique the interest of its numerous visitors. Entry to the Permanent collection is free, but tariffs apply to the Speical Exhibitions- which are certainly not to be missed!
The Tate Modern is currently undergoing expansion and renovation works. The new 10-storey building is scheduled to open to the public in June 2016.
Bankside, London SE1 9TG
Tube: Jubilee line (Southwark); District and Circle lines (Blackfriars); Central line (St Paul's).
Bus: Lines 45, 63 and 100 (Blackfriars Bridge Road); Lines RV1 and 381 (Southwark Street); Line 344 (Southwark Bridge Road).
Renowned for its striking brutalist architecture, the Barbican is also the largest performing arts centre of its kind in Europe. The centre has something to offer for every taste: from classical to contemporary music concerts, to theatre performances, film screenings and even art exhibitions. It is even the home of Britain's prestigious Royal Shakespeare company and London Symphony Orchestra. No trip to the Centre would of course be complete without taking the chance to dine in one of its three restaurants. The centre is never short of inspiration for new and original exhibitions,so be sure to check out what's on during your next visit to London!
Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS
Tube: Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines (Barbican); Central line (St Paul's); Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and Northern lines (Moorgate).
Rail: Liverpool Street & Farringdon.
Bus: Line 153 (Chiswell Street).
Describing itself af 'The Museum for Everyone', the Ben Uri Gallery aims to explore the work and lives of nineteenth and twentieth-century Jewish artists in an artistic context stretching beyond the confines of Jewish history. The Ben Uri foundation was originally established in 1915 order to help Jewish migrant artists and craftsmen overcome the obstacles which they faced in joining the mainstream world of art. Today the Gallery holds over 1,300 works and hosts series of fascinating temporary exhibitions which are always worth a look.
108A Boundary Rd, London NW8 0RH
Tube: Jubilee line (St John's Wood); Bakerloo line (Kilburn Park).
Overground: West Hampstead and Kilburn High Road.
Bus: Lines 139 and 189 (Abbey Road/Boundary Road); Line 31 (Abbey Road/Belsize Road).
Since opening its doors in 2006, the Cartoon Museum has sought to present the very best of British Cartoons and Comic Strips to the public. With a library of over 5,000 books on the subjet and a catalog of around 1,700 original cartoons and prints, the Museum has a changing display of 250 exhibits on view, including a range of exhibitions focussing on British Cartoon and Comic history from past to present. With its lively displays and noteworthy collection of Childrens' Comic Books, the Cartoon Museum is a great day out for families in particular, although it has something to entertain visitors of all ages.
35 Little Russell St, London WC1A 2HH
Tube: Northern & Central lines (Tottenham Court Road); Central and Piccadilly lines (Holborn).
Set in the magnificent Kensington Gardens in the London bourough of Chelsea, the Kensington Palace has been an official Royal Residence since the seventeenth century and is the current official reisdence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge among other notable members of the family. A must-see attraction for all those interested in British history and the monarchy.
Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX
Tube: District and Circle lines (High Street Kensington).
Bus: lines 70, 94, 148 and 390 (Bayswater Road); lines 9, 10, 49, 52, 70, and 452 (Kensington HIgh Street).
The London Transport Museum in Covent Garden seeks to display and explain the history of London Transport up the present day. Located in the iron and glass structure formerly home to the Covent Garden fruit and flower market, the Museum takes you back to the atmosphere of Victorian London, a crucial and dynamic moment for the City's Transport.
Covent Garden Piazza, London WC2E 7BB
Tube: Piccadilly line (Covent Garden); Northern and Bakerloo lines (Charring Cross).
Bus: Line RV1 (Covent Garden); Lines 4, 11, 15, 23, 26, 76, 172, 243 and 341 (Aldwych).
Richard Nagy, an independent arte dealer since 1984, specialises in Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, though his gallery also presents works of German Expressionists such as Die Bruecke and Die Neue Sachlichkeit, as well as more recent British artists like Spencer, Bacon and Freud. The Gallery also feautures works from Symbolist artists and other new and upcoming modernist canons.
Unfortunately, the permanent collection is no longer open, but if you're interested in buying art, you can set up a meeting at the gallery. Nagy also displays original and edgy exhibitions that are definitely not to miss out on!
22 Old Bond St, London W1S 4PY
Tube: Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines (Piccadilly Circus); Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria lines (Green Park); Bakerloo, Central and Victoria lines (Oxford Circus ).
If you're looking for original events and exhibitions which will open up fresh discussions about the visual arts then look no further than the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Offering Tours, Conferences and Worshops as well as more traditional exhibitions, the Academy aims to grab the interest of visitors of all tastes, ages and works of life. Be sure to check out the latest exhibition or event on your next trip to London.
Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD
Tube: Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines (Piccadilly Circus); Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria lines (Green Park); Central line (Oxford Circus); Central line(Bond Street).
The oldest and best-known of the galleries in the Tate Network, the Tate Britain in London holds an extensive collection of British art dating from the 1500s to the present day. Indeed, it is the most comprehensive collection of British art to be found in the world. Its rich collection includes works by J.M.W Turner, William Blake and John Constable alongside more recent artists such as David Hockney and Francis Bacon. The galley also holds temporary exhibitions feautring the works of British or international art throughout the year.
Millbank, London SW1P 4RG
Tube and rail: Victoria line (Pimlico); National Rail and Victoria line (Vauxhall); Jubilee, District and Circle lines(Westminster).
Bus: Line 87 (Milibank); Lines 88 and C10 (John Islip Street); Lines 2, 36, 185 and 436 (Vauxhall Bridge Road).
A Tate Boat Service runs every 40 minutes along the River Thames between the Tate Modern and the Tate Britain.
Housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects, the Victoria and Albert is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design. The collection is by no means limited to British artefacts: spanning over 5,000 years worth of objects, the museum houses textiles, glassworks, ceramics, furniature and much, much more from Europe, the Americas, Asia and North Africa. Immerse yourself in its 145 galleries and discover the treasures of whichever period or medium it is that takes your fancy. A great day out for families or visitors of all ages.
Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL
Tube: Piccadilly, Circle and District lines (South Kensington).
Bus: Lines C1, 14, 74 and 41 (Cromwell Road Entrance). The Open Tour sightseeing bus also stops outside the museum.
Craven Cottage has been the home of Fulham Club since 1896 and is the oldest football stadium in London, making it a must-see attraction for any football fan visiting the city. While a trip on any match day is obviously guaranteed to be one of excitement, there is also plenty to see on the Guided Tours troughout the week which allow fans a peek into those ares usually reserved for players and staff.Tours are availble on selected Guests are advised to book with the stadium in advance in order to avoid disappointment.
Nearest Tube Station: Putney Bridge (District line). National Rail: Putney Rail Station. Both London Paddington and Victoria Stations also have direct train links to Putney Bridge Tube Station (approx. 20 minutes journey). Bus: From Kingston-Upon-Thames Bus Station take the 85 or C4 bus to Putney Bridge.
The Lyric theatre on Shaftesbury avenue was constructed in 1888 and still maintains many of its original architectural features- including an electric pump used to operate its iron curtain! The oldest theatre in the street and now a listed building, is also has an intimate feel inside.
29 Shaftesbury Ave, London W1D 7ES
Tube: Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines (Piccadilly Circus); Northern and Piccadilly lines (Leicester Square).
Bus: Lines 14, 19 and 38 (Trocadero Haymarket).
The Cutty Sark Museum Ship is an essential highlight to the National Maritime Museum's venues and a top attraction for all those interested in martime or transport history. The Museum is housed within an original Tea Clipper Ship constructed in 1869, which was also used as a crucial vessel in British wool trade in Australia. The ship has been on public display in Greenwhich since its permanent withdrawal from use in 1954 and is one of only three remaining nineteenth-century composite construction ships in Britain. A great day out for all the family, or as an educational trip for school groups.
King William Walk, London SE10 9HT
DLR and Rail: Cutty Sark, Greenwhich and Maze Hill.
Boat: Greenwich Pier.
Admired in its own time as one of the most ambitious aristocratic residences ever designed, Spencer House is, today, London's only eighteenth-century private palace which has remained intact. Having been recently restored, the House has recaptured the splendour of its eighteenth-century furniature, gardens and neo-classical architecture which will whisk visitors back to the world of lavish entertainment and luxurious living enjoyed by its original inhabitants. A notable addition is a collection of five Benjamin West paintings now on display there, generously donated by her majesty the queen.
27 St James's Pl, London SW1A 1NR
Tube: Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria lines (Green Park).
The largest tennis museum in the world, this surely has to be top of any tennis fan's to-do list! Step into the world of Wimbledon with an itinerary giving a unique insight into the most memorable Championships, players' dressing-room recollections and even the changing fashions of the very British sport. The museum's up-to-date technology also includes screenings in a 200 degree Cinema and interactive games allowing visitors to test their reflexes and act like a true Tennis pro. The highlight of the museum is undoubtedly the CentreCourt 360 viewing platfofm, giving a taste of the charged atmosphere of Centre Court events. The Museum runs year-round but access is limited during Championship season- for that you'll need a ticket to a match! For Guided Tours, it is advised to book in advance.
The Museum is closed or has limited hours during Championship season from May-July. Travel arrangements may also be different, please check in advance.
Nearest Stations: Southfields (District line) and Wimbledon (District line, S.W. Trains and Croydon Tram Link). From either station visitors can then take the 493 bus directly to the museum. Most buses have disabled access. Parking: General Visitor Parking off Somerset Road with escorts to the museum. Special Provision for Blue Badge Parking - please check in advance.
Twickenham Staidum is not only the iconic home of England Rugby, but also the largest venue dedicated to Rugby Union in the world. Having started life as a humble cabbage patch, the ground was transformed after its purchase in 1907 into an awesome stadium seating over 82,000 spectators. Indeed the stadium hosts a range of different events: from union matches to sell-out rock concerts to Jehovas Witness Conventions! The Stadium offers Guided Tours to sports fans including stops in the England player's dressing rooms, the Royal Box, the player's tunnel and a breathtaking view of the arena. The tour can then be rounded off with a trip to the World Rugby Museum, showing memorabilia and interactive footage from some of the favourite players or most memorable mometns in the sport's history. It is advised to pre-book for Guided Tours.
Nearest Tube Stations: Hounslow East (Piccadilly line) and Richmond (District line). Overground services operate between Richmond and North London or Stratford. National Rail Services: Twickenham Station. Bus: Routes 281, 267, 481, 681 and H20.
Located at number 25 Brook Street, London, the Handel House Museum is dedicated to the life and works of the German-born baroque composer George Frederic Handel, who lived there from 1753 until his death in 1759. The Museum has been restored to the design and funriature of the period and holds a collection of several hunderd objects connected to Handel, including his correspondance, manuscripts, early editions of his operas and oratorios as well as a variety of paintings and sculptures of interest.
Nearest Tube Station: Bond Street (Jubilee and Central lines) or Oxford Circus (Victoria, Central and Bakerloo lines). National Rail: Victoria and Marleybone, both connected by tube to Oxford Circus. Bus: Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street.
Ever wanted to know what being a memeber of the Foot Guards is all about? To get a behind-the-scenes view of Buckingham Palace's most iconic employees? Well here's your chance! Situated close to the Palace, the Museum takes visitors through the history and work of the 5 regiments of the Royal Foot Guards from the seveneenth century right up to the present day.
Museum exhibits include uniforms throughout the ages, paintings, weapons and artefacts such as the Guards' Mess Silver.
Wellington Barracks, Birdcage Walk, London SW1E 6HQ
Tube: District and Circle lines (St James's Park); Jubillee, Victoria and Piccadilly lines (Green Park), Waterloo & City, Northern, Jubilee and Bakerloo lines (Waterloo).
National Rail: Charring Cross, Waterloo and Victoria.
Southwark Cathedral, or the Cathedral Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie, is a beautiful place of worship, a stone's throw from The Thames, The Golden Hinde, and Borough Market. Originally the site of a Roman villa, in the seventh century, a nunnery was founded here by a wealthy ferryman, in honour of his daughter, Mary. You can still see parts of the villa's pavement inside the church today. St Swithun, the Bishop of Winchester, converted the nunnery into a church and monastery in the ninth century and these were then rebuilt in 1106. The Norman church however burned down in 1212 and was replaced between 1220 and 1420 by the present building, making it one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in London.
London Bridge, London SE1 9DA
Tube: Jubilee line and Northern lines (London Bridge).
Rail: South Eastern, Southern and Thameslink (London Bridge).
Bus: Lines 17, 21, 35, 40, 43, 47, 48, 133, 149, 501, 521, D1 and RV1 (London Bridge); Lines 21, 35, 40 and 133 (Borough High Street).
Bermondsey Market is an antiques market which takes place every Friday morning, from four in the morning until about midday. The name Bermondsey came from the Saxon "Beormund", meaning an island surrounded by marsh. Formerly the New Caledonian market in Islington, it moved in 1948 to Bermondsey. According to a royal licence, 'marché ouvert', thieves were allowed to legitimately sell stolen goods. Later legislation decreeing that the sale of stolen goods was only permissible until dawn was not repealed until 2000. A famous case in 1994 saw a collector buy several paintings relatively inexpensively, one of which turned out to be a Joshua Reynolds' work. A crackdown by the Metropolitan police has resulted in the market seeing a significant decrease in size and custom. However Bermondsey Market still attracts up to 500 collectors weekly, and is noted for the many silver items on offer.
This legendary site is owned by Marylebone Cricket Club, the guardian of national and international cricket laws. As such, it is also home to Middlesex County Cricket Club, the England and Wales Cricket Board and the European Cricket Council. Every year it hosts some of the best cricket in the world, including Investec Test matches, One-Day Internationals and historic fixtures like Oxford v Cambridge and the Village Cup final. Off the field, Lord’s is home to the MCC Museum. Founded in 1883, the museum explores the long history of the sport through the greatest players and greatest performances. The Brian Johnston Memorial Theatre shows footage from some of cricket’s most spectacular moments, and the exhibition is full of treasures, including kit worn by famous players and an extensive collection of memorabilia relating to WG Grace, the greatest of all cricketers.
This large, imposing building is also known as the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street. It is the UK's central bank. Founded in 1694, nationalised in 1946 and gaining independence in 1997, it is the second oldest central bank in the world. There is a museum with an interesting collection of objects from the bank's history. Through old bank notes and furniture, the colourful past of this massive financial institution is celebrated.
Threadneedle St, London EC2R 8AH
Tube: Northern, Central, Waterloo and City lines (Bank); District and Circle lines (Monument).
Bus: Lines 8, 11, 23, 25, 26, 47, 48, 133, 141, 149 and 242 (Threadneedle Street).
Few museums greet you with canons, but the Imperial War Museum London, aptly encamped within the duck-egg dome and classical pillars of the Georgian former Bedlam hospital, adorns its lawn with heavy artillery. The Imperial War Museum London examines the impact of war on soldiers and civilians, from the First World War until today. Its permanent exhibitions include The Holocaust Exhibition, the Lord Ashcroft Gallery and The Secret War exhibition.
Multimedia guides are available from the Information Desk in English, French, Italian and German.
Lambeth Rd, London SE1 6HZ
Tube: Bakerloo and Northern lines (Elephant & Castle); Bakerloo (Lamberth North).
Part of the National Museum of Science and Industry, the Science Museum was founded in 1857 as part of the South Kensington Museum and became independent in 1909. Exhibitions have won countless awards for design, innovation and the use of multimedia.
Originally made up of objects from the 1851 Great Exhibition, the Science Museum now holds a collection of over 300,000 items, including the oldest surviving steam locomotive (Puffing Billy), the first jet engine, a reconstruction of Francis Crick and James Watson's model of DNA, and specs for the first typewriter.
Exhibition Rd, London SW7 2DD
Tube: District, Circle and Piccadilly lines (South Kensington).
Bus: Line 360 (Victoria & Albert Museum, stop K)
A whopping 142 hectares large, Hyde Park is the largest Royal Park, and together with Kensington Gardens, it is larger than the principality of Monaco! Originally the hunting grounds for Henry VIII, the royal processional road, now called Rotten Row, was built in 1689 and the park hosted the Great Exhibition of 1851. Today it is a hive of activity all through the year, from swimming in the Serpentine on New Years Day, to the thousands of tourists that visit during the summer.
Hyde Park, London W2 2UH
Tube: Central line (Lancaster Gate or Marble Arch); Piccadilly line (Hyde Park Corner or Knightsbridge).
Knightsbridge, together with parts of Mayfair, Chelsea and Notting Hill Gate, is one of the most expensive areas in London, renowned for its pricey shops, swanky restaurants and streets lined with Porsches, Ferraris, and Rolls Royces. Most of its residents are "non doms" which means they are not domiciled in the UK for tax purposes... One Hyde Park, a new development of apartments, just opposite Harvey Nichols, is one of the most expensive places to live in the world. A three-storey apartment was recently sold for £136 million to Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov. The development is the ultimate retreat for the rich, with bomb-proof windows, rotating paintings that become television screens and cameras that allow you to check for dandruff on your back while grooming yourself in the mirror. On your chef's night off you can order a take-away from the vertiginously expensive neighbouring Mandarin Oriental hotel who deliver via an underground tunnel. Originally a small hamlet outside the city of London, Knightsbridge was named after a crossing of the river Westbourne, which is now an underground river. It is recorded that the citizens of London met Matilda of England at the Knight's Bridge in 1141. Today, Knightsbridge is a bustling centre for expensive shopping. Harvey Nichols, just opposite the tube station, and Harrods on the Brompton Road, are the two most expensive department stores in London and are worth a visit, even if you don't want to do any shopping. Both of them have several options for eating and drinking, so if need be you could spend the whole day on their premises. Other places of interest include Cadogan Hall, the Serpentine Gallery and Apsley House, former London residence of the Duke of Wellington.
If you're the artistic type, or want to impress someone by pretending that you are, then Whitechapel Gallery is a great place to visit. Famously hosting Picasso's Guernica in 1938 on its only trip to England, bringing Pop Art to the world with the This is Tomorrow collection in 1956, and showcasing the work of many other notable artists including Frida Kahlo, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Lucian Freud, Sophie Calle and Mark Wallinger, Whitechapel Gallery describes itself as having a 'history of firsts'. Don't miss out on the chance to brag about seeing one of these 'firsts'; with its commitment to contemporary artists you never know which of the works in the gallery will go on to be The Next Big Thing. Expanded in 2009 to merge with next-door neighbour Passmore Edwards Library (a beautiful building in its own right with its ornamental Jacobean architecture), the Gallery is now twice its old size, meaning there's even more room for the collections. It now includes a Collection Gallery, showcasing works from around the world, a Commission Gallery, holding never-before-seen work made just for the Gallery, and an Archive Collection Gallery and Archive Research room which tell the Gallery's story. There's also an Education and Research Tower to help promote the Gallery's key cause: education.
The Southbank Centre is a complex of artistic venues which form the largest single arts centre in the world. It is made up of The Royal Festival Hall, The Hayward Gallery, The Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Purcell Room and The Saison Poetry Library, totaling over eight hectares of creative arts. A brainchild of Herbert Morrison, the centre was inaugurated at The Festival of Britain, with the objective of celebrating the recovery from World War II and showing off the very best in British science, technology, arts and industrial design. This first exhibition ran from May to September in 1951 and The Royal Festival Hall is the only building that remains of it today. Every year more than 1,000 musicians and artists perform at the Southbank Centre, and 22 million visitors pass through its doors.
Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XX
The Museum of London boasts an incredible range of artefacts. Its one million piece core collection, with an additional six million archaeological finds, ranges from the prehistoric to the latest contemporary culture. Charles I's royal costumes stand alongside pieces from Vivienne Westwood whilst pictures, photos and artifacts trace the social history of London through the ages.
150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN
Tube: Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines (Barbican); Central line (St Paul's).
Bus: Lines 4, 8, 25, 56, 100, 172, 242 and 521.
The Foundling Hospital continues as a charity today. This building records its history, as well as exhibiting an impressive collection of donated artworks.
40 Brunswick Square, London WC1N 1AZ
Tube: Piccadilly line (Russell Square).
Bus: Lines 7, 59, 68, 91, 98, 168 and 188.
The Royal Albert Hall is one of the most famous venues in the world. From classical music concerts to rock and pop, from opera and ballet to circus, from community events to tennis, the Hall's programme is incredibly diverse. The Royal Albert Hall opened in 1871 and is a Grade I listed building. You can take a tour of the Royal Albert Hall and experience the excitement as it prepares for the evening's performance.
Tube: District, Circle and Piccadilly lines (South Kensington); Circle and District lines (High Street Kensington).
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament, is the hub of all British Politics and History, where both the Houses of Commons and Lords hold office. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the palace comprises top attractions such the majestic westminster Hall and Big Ben and is situated just next door to Westminster Abbey.
Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
Tube: District, Circle or Jubilee lines (Westminster).
The imposing pillared entrance of the Saatchi Gallery is the gateway to a wonderland of strange and ingenious works of art, displayed in immense white spaces. Large, luminous ceiling panels give the gallery a beautiful neutrality, in which the exhibits alternate between the subtle and the startling.
Duke of York's HQ, King's Road, London SW3 4RY
Tube: District and Circle lines (Sloane Square).
Bus: 11,19,22,49,211,319 (King's Road), 11,137,211 (Lower Sloane Street).
This museum provides a biography of Florence Nightingale, 'founder of modern nursing' through personal artefacts, family photographs and written documents.
Fitzrovia borders the West End, close to Soho and Bloomsbury. It is a traditionally bohemian area and has been popular with writers such as Virginia Woolf and George Bernard Shaw in the past.
A garden square near the British Museum, Bloomsbury Square is a very pleasant spot in which to eat a picnic lunch while taking a break from delving through the British Museum's many halls and exhibits.
Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2RJ
Architect of the Bank of England Sir John Soane collected, arranged and rearranged an enormous number of objects over his life. After his appointment as Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy in 1806, he began opening his house to students on the days before and after his lectures, so that they could benefit from his hoard of casts, models and books. With no sense of priority, famous works of art, like Hogarth's 'The Rake's Progress', are mixed with architectural drawings, roman busts and the alabaster sarcophagus of Seti I.
13 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3BP
Tube: Central and Piccadilly lines (Holborn); Circle and District lines (Temple).
Bus: Lines 1, 59, 68, 91, 168, 171, 188, 243, 521, and X68 (Kingsway); Lines 8, 25, and 242 (High Holborn).
The London headquarters of the Archbishop of Canterbury in around 1080, the church was destroyed by fire, rebuilt by Christopher Wren, destroyed in World War II and finally rebuilt again to its current proportions. St. Mary-le-Bow is renowned for the Bow Bells, which appear in many a London legend.
Cheapside, London EC2V 6AU
Tube: Circle and District lines (Mansion House); Central line (St. Paul's); Central, Northern and Waterloo and City lines (Bank).
The National History Museum opened in 1881 housing a collection that had belonged to Sir Hans Sloane. It was originally a department of the British Museum. It includes other notable scientific institutes, such as the Museum of the Geological Society and the Darwin Centre, and in the future, the David Attenborough Centre, which will be a multimedia studio, built to provide an environment for educational events, building on the programme of events already put together by the Darwin Centre. Today, the museum contains a colossal collection of some of the wonders of the natural world.
Cromwell Rd, London SW7 5BD
Tube: District, Circle and Piccadilly lines (South Kensington).
Bus: Lines 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414 and C1.
Butler's Wharf is an area on the south bank of the Thames. The building that shares its name was built as a shipping wharf to accommodate goods unloaded from ships, and was said to be the largest teahouse in the world. During the 20th century it fell into disuse, like many other warehouses in the area. From the 1980s it has been transformed into a luxury complex with flats, restaurants, and shops. The building is Grade II listed.
London SE1 2YD
Today Clerkenwell is more or less a residential area, but it has a varied history that can be seen in clues still scattered around the ward. The well after which it was named was rediscovered in 1924, the site of an annual Clerks' play in medieval times. The tall, stone Priory Gate is the restored version of St. John's Gate, built in 1504. Oliver Cromwell and Erasmus Smith had houses here and as a sign of its importance, it appears in more than one Dickens novel. The Industrial Revolution brought breweries, distilleries and the printing industry, but Clerkenwell is still known for watch and jewellery making. It also has a reputation for radicalism through history, from the Chartists, in the mid 19th century, to a rumoured meeting between Lenin and a young Stalin in The Crown Tavern, Clerkenwell Green in 1905.
The turrets and towers of the Guildhall have a fairy-tale quality suited to its long history as London's town hall. Built between 1411 and 1440, it is one of few buildings that survived The Great Fire. The building houses the Guildhall Art Gallery, the Clockmakers' Museum and the Guildhall Library, as well as offering a beautiful open courtyard before its gates. The administrative and ceremonial centre of the City of London, the Guildhall holds corporate and political events throughout the year. A highlight of these is the outing of Gog and Magog with the Lord Mayor. These two wooden sculptures represent the giants that Brutus kept chained to his palace on the site of the Guildhall thousands of years ago.
The only complete building left of the great Whitehall Palace, Banqueting House is a grand structure situated on modern-day Whitehall. It is a national monument and makes a perfect stop for anyone with an interest in British art and architecture. It has also played a key role in British history - it was once a part of one of the most important royal palaces in the country. Nowadays, internationally renowned musicians hold concerts here.
Whitehall, London SW1A 2ER
Tube: Circle, District and Jubilee lines(Westminster); Circle and District lines (Embankment); Northern and Bakerloo lines (Charring Cross). National Rail Services: Charring Cross.
Bus: Lines 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 87, 88 and 159.
Leadenhall traces its history as a market site back to AD40. The building today is remarkable enough in its appearance to attract visitors. While it houses a variety of shops, restaurants and bars, the market is primarily based around the sale of high quality fresh food. The current building was designed in 1881 by Sir Horace Jones, and remains a luxuriously ornate shopping environment. Even Hollywood has cashed in on its magical air, using it as Diagon Alley in 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone', and again in 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus'. The market has a reputation for quality, but the gorgeously colourful interior is reason enough to wander its passage-ways.
St Pancras New Church, on the Euston Road in the north of Bloomsbury, was built 1819-1822 to replace St Pancras Old Church as the main church of the parish of St Pancras. The old church was deemed to be no longer suitable for the rapidly expanding city. The architect William Inwood won a competition to design what became the most expensive church to be built in London since St Paul's Cathedral was rebuilt. The church seats 2,500 people, and was built in the 'Greek Revival' style. It has been renovated and expanded (most recently in 1970 when the north chapel was added) but still retains its 19th-century feel.
Euston Road, NW1 2BA London
Tube: Victoria and Northern lines (Euston); Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines (Euston Square); Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines (King's Cross/St Pancras).
Bus: Lines 91, 168, 59, 68, 253, 476, 390, 30, 73, 205, 10, 18, 29 and 134.
Rail: Euston, King's Cross/St Pancras.
The Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret is one of the oldest surviving operating theatres in the world, now open as a museum dedicated to surgical history. The Museum is nestled in the roof space of the English Baroque Church and exhibits a range of herbs and surgical instruments, with fun activities for all the family including their very own pathology trail.
9a St Thomas St, London SE1 9RY
Tube and Rail: Northern and Jubilee lines and National Rail Services (London Bridge).
At the London Canal Museum close to King's Cross visitors can discover the history of those who lived and worked on the city's canals. Located inside Gatti's Ice House, the former ice house of a well-respected ice-cream maker in the nineteenth century, the museum has particuarly interesting exhibits on the ice cargoe trade and ice-cream making. Visitors can also see the inside of a narrowboat canal cabin and discover the history of Canal Craft, the use of horse power and see an old map of the London Waterways.
12-13 New Wharf Rd, London N1 9RT
Tube: Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines (King's Cross/St. Pancras)
Rail: National and International Rail Services (St. Pancras International Station).
The Horse Cavalry Museum is situated in the heart of the Horse Guards and allows museum to look around a living museum for the Horses and Guards of Royal responsabilities. The Museum Collection includes Ceremonial uniforms, royal standards, horse standards and silverware. Guests can also get a peek into the working horse stables in the museum.
The Household Division, Horse Guards, Whitehall, London SW1A 2AX
Tube: Circle, District and Jubilee lines (Westminster); Circle and District lines (Embankment); Bakerloo and Northern lines (Charring Cross).
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is world renowned as a place of tranquil beauty, picturesque gardens and historic buildings with an emphasis on science, education and conservation. In July 2003 it was made a world heritage site by UNESCO.
Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB
District line and London Overground(Kew Gardens) and Kew Bridge Station (South West Trains from Waterloo via Clapham Junction and Vauxhall).
Bus: Routes 65, 391, 237 and 267.
The 02 arena in Greenwich is one of London's greatest entertainment arenas and hosts frequent big-name music concerts. The arena boasts a host of other activities including bars, bowling alleys, a cinema and numerous exhibition spaces. If you want to know what's big in London then this is the place to be!
The National Film Theater, A.K.A the BFI (British Film Institute) was founded in 1933. The theatre combines cultural, creative and industrial roles, bringing together the BFI National Archive and BFI Reuben Library, film distribution, exhibition and education at BFI Southbank and BFI IMAX, publishing and festivals. The theatre aims to host different seasons of classic, non-english language and independent films throughout the year.
Nearest Tube Station: Waterloo (Bakerloo, Northern, Jubilee and Waterloo & City lines).
Combining the sight-seeing elements and tour guide enthusiasm with an altered view of London, the Duck Tours bolster the city's touring scene perfectly by taking guests down the river in an old WWII amphibious boat-cum-truck.
A well connected tube stop in London.
The Tower of London is one of Britain's most iconic historical sites. Started in 1078 by William the Conqueror, the tower is the result of centuries of work and has housed famous political prisoners such as Anne Boleyn, Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth I and tells the tale of many a gruesome or mysterous exectution. The tower has also been home to the Crown Jewels since the fourteenth century.
Tower of London, London EC3N 4AB
Tube: District and Circle lines (Tower Hill).
National Rail Services: London Bridge and Fenchurch Stations.
DLR: Tower Gateway Station.
Bus: Routes 15, 42, 78, 100, RV1.
Boat: Tower Pier (Services for Charring Cross, Westminster and Greenwich).
The imposing Gothic Church that is Westmister Abbey has has been the scene of some of Britain's defining moments since its foundation in 960. The abbey church was rebuilt in the middle of the 11th century by Edward the Confessor, in the Romanesque style. In 1245, Henry III began redesigning a new church which was constructed in the contemporary Gothic style, and it is this building that largely survives today.
20 Deans Yard, London SW1P 3PA
Tube: District and Circle lines (St James's Park); Jubilee, District and Circle lines (Westminster).
Rail Services: Victoria, London Waterloo East and Charring Cross Stations.
Boat: Westminster Mellennium Pier.
The Emirates Stadium in Holloway, London is home to Arsenal F.C. and, with a capacity of 60,338, it's the third largest in the UK. The Stadium offers both a self-guided audio tour and a guided Legends Tour, allowing fans to look around all areas of the stadium. Both Tours include a trip to the Arsenal Museum, which displays exclusive exhibits such as exclusive exhibits including Michael Thomas' boots from Anfield '89, Charlie George's 1971 FA Cup final shirt and Alan Smith's shirt from 1994's European Cup Winners Cup Final.
Nearest Tube Stations : Arsenal (Piccadilly line) and Highbridge & Islington (Victoria line). Overground services from Fnsbury Park. National Rail services from King's Cross Station then join connecting tube lines. Bus: Stops on Holloway Road, Nag's Head, Seven Sisters Road, Blackstock Road and Highbury Corner.
The London Eye, also known as the Millennium Eye, is one of the world's largest ferris wheels and has drawn in huge crowds eager to get arguably the best view of London throughout the city. Situated on the Thames and Opposite the House of Parliament, the Eye should be top of any visit to central London.
London Eye, London SE1 7PB
Tube: Bakerloo, Jubilee and Northern lines (Waterloo); Circle and District lines (Embankment); Circle, District and Jubilee lines (Westminster); Bakerloo and Northern lines (Charring Cross).
Bus: Routes RV1, 211, 77 and 381.
Boat: Millennum Pier.
The huge dome of London's cathedral has long been a defining feature of the city's skyline. Originally founded in 604AD, this is the fifth incarnation of the cathedral since then, designed by architect Sir Christopher Wren. Three times destroyed by fire and restored after the war, the cathedral as it now stands is the second largest church building in the UK (the first being Liverpool Cathedral) and is the official seat of the Bishop of London. Thousands of people come to worship beneath the great dome, or simply to admire its massive structure. Standing at 111.3 metres and weighing 65,000 tons, it is one of the biggest in the world. Regular prayers take place, but the cathedral welcomes visitors of all faiths as well as tourists. Evensong is sung by the choristers on most evenings. The cathedral also has a collection of religious objects and decorative pieces.
St. Paul's Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD
Tube: Central line (St Paul's); District and Circle lines (Mansion House, Cannon Street and Blackfriars). Overground services from Blackfriars, Cannon Street and London Bridge stations.
Bus: Routes 4, 11, 15, 23, 25, 26, 100, 242.
Home to the Original London Tour: One of the city's most esteemed open-top bus sightseeing tours which will take you round all of London's must-see attractions with a multi-language guided commentary in a snap.
Nearest Station: Charring Cross (Bakerloo and Northern Lines and National Rail Services).
Dating back to 1905, the Novello Theatre is one of the most popular and well-known theatres in London.
The Novello Theatre boats some of the best productions in the West End- be sure to check out their latest musicals and plays when you're in the city.
Shakespeare's Globe has been faithfully reconstructed to give visitors the true Elizabethan experience- seeing plays just as guests would have done in the playwright's own era. It is now an unmissable site for all those wshing to catch the best in British Theatre and pay hommage to one of the world's most renowned playwrights of all time.
21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT
Tube: District and Circle Lines (Blackfriars, Mansion House).
Bus: Lines 45, 63, 100 (Blackfriars Bridge); 15, 17 (Cannon Street), 11, 15, 17, 23, 26, 76 (Mansion House); 381 , RV1 (Southwark Street).
London's very own animal kingdom! The oldest scientific Zoo in the world, today London houses a collection of 758 different species of animals from across the globe. The Zoo includes all the classic favourites: an Aquarium, Reptile House, Gorilla Zone, Rainforest area and many more. Visitors can also catch a range of special activities throughout the day, with the highlights such as the Pengui Beach Show or, though not for the squeamish, the deadly spiders talk.
Nearest Tube Stations: Camden Town (Northern line) and Regent's Park (Bakerloo line). Bus: Routes 274 & C2.
Buckingham Palace is the Queen's official residence and offices. It is built on James I's former mulberry garden, and to this day some of the original mulberry trees are still growing there. With its 775 rooms, including 19 State rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms, Buckingham Palace is the largest royal palace in Great Britain. The 17 hectare Buckingham Palace Garden is the largest private garden in London. Although in use for the many official events and receptions held by The Queen, the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open to visitors every year.
Buckingham Palace Road, SW1A 1AA
Tube: Circle, District and Victoria Lines (Victoria); Jubilee, Picadilly and Victoria lines (Green Park); Picadilly line (Green Park Corner).
Bus: Lines 11, 211, C1 and C10 (Buckingham Palace Road)
Rail: London Victoria.
The Courtauld is internationally famous for its Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections, but there are even more gems to be found within the gallery.
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN
Tube: Circle and District lines (Temple).
Rail: Charing Cross.
Bus: 6, 9, 11, 13, 23, 87 and 91 (Aldwych Somerset House)
Leighton House, is the quirky former home cum studio of the painter and socialite, Lord Leighton; one of the most famous Victorian painters. George Aitchison, the architect, built it over almost 30 years, starting in 1865 and ending when Lord Leighton died in 1895. It’s among a handful of small museums in London which offer that fascinating insight of the home of an artist as well as his art collection.
From the outside the house resembles an Italian Palazzo. The interior is no less astonishing: the house is built around a two storey Arab type atrium decorated with more than a 1,000 brightly glazed tiles bought by Leighton on his trips to the Middle East. In the middle of the hall is a fountain where Leighton and his guests were accustomed to retiring after dinner to enjoy post-dinner drinks and cigars. The fountain is topped by a gold-painted dome and surrounded by columns carved with birds. The furniture throughout the house is a mix of arts and crafts and Oriental furniture.
On the first floor is Leighton’s studio/theatre. Note the huge space with monumentally high ceilings, with a stage at one end and a minstrel’s gallery at the other. It was here that Leighton installed a band for parties or worked on enormous canvases. Don’t miss the wonderful view over the garden.
Opposite is the Silk Room where you can admire examples of work by Leighton's fellow artists such as Millais, Burne-Jones, Watts and Sargent, Albert Moore and Lawrence Alma-Tadema, which show the technique they used. About 80 of Leighton's own paintings, as well as his small-scale sculptures and personal ephemera, are on display throughout the house.
Frederic Leighton (1830-1896), came from a well-off family and never had to worry about finances. He often went off on trips to Europe and the Middle East and was used to socialising with the who’s who of London. In 1855 Queen Victoria bought his first major painting and just over 20 years later, in 1878, he was crowned President of the Royal Academy of Arts.
The Great Northern Hotel merits a visit in its own right: travel back in time to the days when every trip was an exciting voyage complete with comfortable, stylish, luxurious surroundings. Who could imagine that just a few years ago this area was a maze of scruffy streets and cheap hotels?