Make the most of your time in London with our guide to some of the city’s best attractions
10 of the best attractions in London
Trust us, trying to pick 10 of the best attractions in London is quite the challenge. There’s just too many of them, all as good as the next; which is, of course, a good thing – you’re never going to be short of things to see and do in the capital. Nevertheless, we’ve taken a crack at it and reckon we’ve done a pretty good job too. After all, as the only airport in London, we like to think we know our way around this amazing city of ours. Enjoy!
The official London residence of the queen, Buckingham Palace is actually a working palace – meaning it’s pretty much only open to the public as a tourist attraction during the summer. However, it’s still worth a visit, as there’s always something happening, such as the Changing of the Guard. Take a selfie outside its famous gates and enjoy a scenic stroll in nearby St. James’s Park.
A London institution since 1753, the British Museum is home to one of the world’s largest and greatest collections of art and antiquities, from Egyptian mummies to ancient relief sculptures. Spanning an impressive two millions years of human history, the museum’s collection includes legendary treasures like the Rosetta Stone and the Lewis Chessmen. It’s free to enter.
Housed mainly in a former power station, Tate Modern is your one-stop-shop for modern and contemporary art. While it regularly hosts blockbuster exhibitions, you won’t have to pay to get in and see impressive works of art by the likes of Mark Rothko, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Yves Klein. As a bonus, you can also enjoy a 360-degree view of the London skyline from the top of the Blavatnik Building.
If you like your art a little ‘older’, head to The National Gallery, whose collection of paintings – in the western European tradition – starts in the 13th century and wraps up in 19th century. Must see works include Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers, George Stubbs Whistlejacket and Paul Cezanne’s Bathers (Les Grandes Baigneuses). Admission to the gallery is free. Conveniently, The National Portrait Gallery is nearby.
Churchill War Rooms
Certainly one for history enthusiasts but a winning attraction for all visitors nonetheless, the Churchill War Rooms transports you from the streets of Westminster to what was the secret and subterranean WW2 headquarters of Britain’s most famous prime minister, Winston Churchill. Now a museum, you can explore its many preserved rooms and discover more about the life and times of the man himself.
Be inspired with a visit to the Science Museum, where you’ll not only get to see some terrific examples of human ingenuity, but also get to learn about the captivating stories and characters behind them. Highlights include Robert Stephenson’s locomotive Rocket, Alan Turing’s Pilot ACE computer and Amy Johnson’s Gipsy Moth aircraft. The museum, which is free to enter, also features an IMAX cinema.
ZSL London Zoo
ZSL London Zoo is home to every sort of creature you could imagine, including penguins, meerkats, gorillas, lions, tigers, giraffes, butterflies and birds. A sure-fire hit for families, the zoo offers a range of activities too: kids can experience being a zoo keeper, while adults can take part in a photography workshop. If you’re feeling brave, try the zoo’s hair-raising spider walkthrough!
Tower of London
Shimmering crown jewels, macabre stories of imprisonment and traditionally dressed guardsmen known as Beefeaters all make the Tower of London one of the city’s most popular attractions. As you’ll discover on one of the tower’s tours, the fortress’ epic and bizarre history beggars belief. At one time or another it’s been a prison – infamous guests include Guy Fawkes and Rudolf Hess – a menagerie and a medieval palace.
One of London’s eight Royal Parks, Kensington Gardens is much more than a lush green space to escape to – even though, of course, that’s one of its obvious charms! For In addition to, for example, its Italian Gardens, Sunken Garden and allotment , it’s also where you’ll find the stately palace it shares its name with, the Serpentine Galleries and the Diana Memorial Playground.
National History Museum
If you thought that two million years’ worth of human history at the British Museum was impressive – which it is – it’s somewhat dwarfed by the 4.5 billion years of history that the National History Museum documents and explores. Among the 80 million specimens in its collection, the first T-Rex fossil to be discovered, a first edition of Charles Darwin’s On the Origins of Species and the World Cottage meteorite are particular standouts.
You can book tickets to some of the attractions listed above here.