London is one of the world’s great capitals, a financial, political and cultural powerhouse that would take a lifetime to fully explore.
Iconic sights and world-famous museums are just part of the appeal; London is a city where it’s exciting just to be there, tapping into its restless rhythms and wandering its storied streets.
Unless you’ve managed to get an exclusive invite, you won’t be able to enter Buckingham Palace. Yet it’s still an essential stop on a trip around London. Walk up the long road known as the Mall, then stop for photos of this iconic royal residence and its furry-hatted guards.
Turner, Gainsborough, Cezanne, da Vinci… the list of masters on display in the National Gallery is extensive and awe-inspiring. Set aside hours to take in everything that this spectacular gallery has to offer. While you’re here, take a moment to relax in iconic Trafalgar Square beneath Nelson’s Column and the surrounding lions.
Palace of Westminster
Parliament meets in the Palace of Westminster, one of the defining buildings of London. It’s easily recognisable by the huge clock tower that contains the famous bell known as Big Ben. The bell’s chimes have been silenced for renovations until 2021, but it’s still impossible to resist stopping for a photo by this quintessential London landmark.
British Museum Visitors crowd around the Rosetta Stone – one of the earliest indications of a written bilingual text ever discovered – but that’s just one marvel in a museum packed with them. This free attraction also displays Egyptian mummies, ancient relief sculptures and archaeological findings from Britain’s most famous burial mounds.
Standing like an art deco sentinel on the river opposite St Paul’s and linked to it by the slim, elegant Millennium Bridge, Britain’s national museum of contemporary art occupies the incredible industrial spaces of a former power station. You’ll have to pay to see the big blockbuster temporary exhibitions, but entry to the permanent collection is free.
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. This is a fortress full of stories, so take a tour and hear about the history of Britain’s exciting capital city.
Exciting attractions for children
London is a destination that will delight younger visitors. Its major museums feature interactive exhibits to help children engage, while many West End shows are family-friendly. You don’t need to head beyond the city boundaries to find an activity that will fill most of the day.
For an educational day out with the kids, head to the Science Museum. A whole floor is dedicated to games for younger visitors, subtly teaching them principles of physics in the process. The staff are friendly and happy to help with any scientific conundrums.
SEA LIFE London
SEA LIFE London is a huge aquarium that houses over 500 species of marine creatures. Particular highlights include a glass bridge over a shark tank and a tunnel beneath the ocean.
ZSL London Zoo
ZSL London Zoo is another great excursion to enchant children. Kids can meet 750 species of animal, including lions, lemurs and penguins, while learning about conserving their habitats and the importance of ecology. There’s even a walkthrough spider exhibit for the braver visitors.