is one of the most exciting cities to visit, full of magnificent
architecture and steeped in history. The city is vibrant and buzzing
with life and you can’t help but get caught up in the wonderful
atmosphere of this magnificent place.
It is true to say that there
is something for everyone and one thing for sure is you will not get
chance to be bored. Many of the city’s attractions are absolutely free
and can be visited on foot, so long as you have some comfortable
Here are 50 of the top places to visit, although I could
go on and on. I have not listed them in any specific order as everyone
has such different tastes. If there’s anywhere not listed that you are
interested in let me know and I’ll see if I can find some more
information for you.
Before you start your
journey it’s worth knowing about the London transport system. There is
an underground train system that interconnects throughout London. It is
commonly known as the ‘tube’. It’s probably the quickest way to get
around. At first it may seem daunting but with a little help from London
Underground’s friendly staff and a tube map you will be on your way in
You may also be familiar with London’s
famous red buses. Never run for a bus as there will be another along in a
matter of minutes. This is not always the quickest way to travel, but
by far the best for viewing the beauty of the city.
carriages or black cabs – stick out your arm and hail a cab. Just not
in rush hour as you will pay dearly. There are plenty of unlicensed
cabs, cheaper but personally I wouldn’t take a risk as a Tourist.
Oyster card – is what all the locals use. If you are staying in London
for more than a few days it’s certainly well worth buying one. As I
speak (September 2012) they are 5 English pounds to buy, and then you
top up as you go. Within 2 to 3 journeys you will have got your money
back. You can use them on buses and the tube.
Travel cards – allow you to travel around London for a set price depending on what zones you are visiting.
London pass – is a pass that allows you to visit many attractions free
or for a reduced cost. This includes some travel. It also allows you to
skip the queues
A – Z Guide – The A-Z is a street index of London.
You can buy one from most news agents. If you are at a tube/train
station then nip into WH Smith’s (news agents) and you will most
certainly see a copy to buy. They are easy to use and will help you find
your way around very easily whilst giving you a sense of where
everything is situated.
1. Tower Bridge – over 8 years to build
and more than 11,000 tons of steel were used to construct this great
bridge. The high walkways allow you to see the River Thames. The bridge
opens it bascules once or twice a day. There is also a permanent
exhibition with the towers of the bridge.
2. Tower of London –
Almost next door to the Tower Bridge, you can get a good view from the
bridge down onto the 900 year old fortress built by William the
Conqueror. You will see the infamous Beefeater’s dressed in their red
uniforms guarding the tower. Every English school child pays a visit to
the tower at least once during their school years. Her majesty’s crown
jewels are kept here and well worth a look, amongst all the other
exciting things to view.
3. St. Pauls Cathedral situated in the
Diocese of London attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. It
was designed by Architect Christopher Wren and built between 1665 and
1670. It is described as a ‘House of prayer for all people of all
nations. It is to protect against injustice and public expression to
hope for a better society’ Martin Luther King collected his Nobel Prize
here in 1964. Royal weddings and state funerals are also held here.
4. Buckingham Palace – official London residence of Queen Elizabeth II. The palace opens its doors to visitors once a year.
Westminster Abbey – if you love history you will not be disappointed
when you visit this fascination building. Over 1000 years old it has
been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place for
6. Big Ben (formal name Elizabeth Tower) – The
Londoner’s favourite icon. The huge bell’s chime is loved by the locals.
Standing tall on the banks of the river Thames next to the houses of
parliament it’s certainly a sight to see.
7. Houses of Parliament – next door to Big Ben you can walk around the Houses of Parliament or take an official guided tour.
The Natural History Museum – you can spend hours wondering around this
superb museum. The huge dinosaur in the main entrance is a real hit with
the kids, as is the enormous T-Rex in the dinosaur exhibition.
Admission is free.
9. The Science Museum – this spectacular museum
will hold you in awe and capture your imagination. There’s a whole are
in the basement of interactive play designed specifically for children.
Admission is free (It’s next to the Natural History Museum).
The V& A (Victoria and Albert) Museum – described as the world’s
greatest museum of Art and Design. It’s definitely worth a look even if
you think it may not be your thing. Admission free (next to the above
11. The National Gallery – Houses one of the world’s greatest exhibitions of Western European art. Admission is free.
12. The Tate Britain – Gallery – a wonderful gallery with many fascinating art and photography exhibitions. Admission is free.
The Tate Modern – Sister museum to Tate Britain, but located on the
South of the river. If you like something a bit more contemporary then
this is the place for you. Admission is free.
14. The British Museum – Arts and Artefacts from British history. Admission is free.
15. Madame Tussauds – The famous wax work museum. Loved by tourists.
London Planetarium – Just next to to Madame Tussauds is the London
Planetarium. Get a real feeling for the night sky. Both are very near to
Baker Street (home of Sherlock Holmes) and beautiful Regents Park.
Hyde Park – One of London’s most famous parks. Popular with everyone.
Visit speaker’s corner and listen to the latest debates or simply wander
around these glorious grounds. At the top of busy Oxford Street.
18. Green Park – Another glorious park close to Buckingham Palace and Piccadilly Circus. The famous Ritz hotel is nearby.
Greenwich – Cutty Sark, Maritime Museum, Observatory – catch a boat
down the Thames to Greenwich Village. You can visit the fascinating
Maritime museum, have a tour around the Observatory and view the famous
20. The Ritz – Anyone for High Tea? If you fancy some
afternoon tea in luxurious surroundings then you can book in for one of
the five daily tea sessions. If you have a healthy budget you can stay
at the hotel, visit the ballroom or cinema. Close to Piccadilly and
21. The Savoy – the famous Savoy hotel with panoramic
views of London skyline and the river Thames. If you book far enough in
advance you may be able to grab a deal.
22. Camden Market – is one
the most popular London markets. Bustling at the weekend with tourists
and locals. You will find funky clothes, music, great food, bars, pubs
and restaurants. A great atmosphere, right on the canal. It’s a little
quieter during the week as there’s no big market but plenty of shops to
23. Portobello Market – the famous market is full of
vintage clothes and antiques. If you are looking for something a little
unique then take a trip, you won’t be disappointed.
House, Hampstead Heath – The heath spans across North London and is the
perfect place to stretch your legs, have a picnic or visit the historic
Kenwood House. There are also natural pools where many of the locals
swim. A word of advice – take a map as you can spend hours wondering
around if you get lost. It’s big and beautiful.
25. Carl Marx and
Highgate Woods – About a 20 minute walk from Hampstead Heath is Highgate
Village. Here you will find the famous Highgate cemetery, the final
resting place of Carl Marx just one of the many famous people buried
here. Highgate itself is a quaint Victorian village with some good pubs
and restaurants (The Flask is very old and particularly good).
Brick Lane – Once home to the Jewish community it is now housed with
Indian restaurants. Actually, most of the curry houses are run by the
Bangladeshi community who make up the majority of the local community.
The Museum of Childhood (Bethnal Green) – something for the children.
Artefacts, costumes, arts and activities, treasure hunts and more. Check
out the exhibitions. Children and Adults will love this family day out.
The Royal London Hospital – (Whitechapel) has a museum open to the
public. It was here that Joseph Merrick (The Elephant Man) spent his
last few years. Displays include those of Joseph Merrick, Edith Cavell
and original material on Jack the Ripper who committed his crimes around
29. Walks around London – one of the best ways to see
London is on foot. There’s the ‘Charles Dickens’ walk, Haunted Holborn,
Money trail through the city’s square mile and much more.
Borough Market – Opposite London Bridge Tube Station. This is one of
London’s biggest wholesale food markets. Delicious game and fish
supplies as well as Artisan Bakers, Specialist Beers stalls and fresh
fruit and vegetables. Open on Friday and Saturday. There is a pub just
along the road called ‘The George’ one of the oldest pubs in London –
worth a visit.
31. Colombia Road Market – in the East End. If you
like flowers then this is the market to visit (Sunday’s only and it
usually closes around 3pm). Close by is the famous Spitalfields market.
32. Shoreditch – Trendy Shoreditch with its warehouse conversions, art galleries and very cool bars is also worth a visit.
Soho – once home to the ‘ladies of the night’ it now a bustling cafe
community. A popular place to drop into for a drink or bite to eat
before you visit theatre land.
34. Covent Garden – one of London’s
most popular tourist spots. Street theatre acts, arts and crafts as
well as a huge choice of cafe’s bars and restaurants.
Street – home to all the big stores including the famous department
store Selfridges. From Oxford Street you can easily access most central
locations on foot.
36. The Globe Theatre – is associated with
William Shakespeare. Originally built in 1599, later destroyed by fire
1613. The theatre that stands here now is approximately 750 feet from
the original site. This newest site was opened in 1997 and is a popular
theatre with all ages.
37. River Cruise – take a river cruise
along the River Thames. You will get to see some of London’s great
architecture and learn about its history.
38. Canary Wharf/London
Docklands – is one of London’s tallest buildings situated in a busy
financial district, alive with shops, cafÃ©s and accessible on the DLR
(Docklands Light Rail).
39. Kensington Palace – in the heart of
the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Home to the late Princess
Diana. Visit the beautiful gardens, have lunch or afternoon tea. Close
to Central London.
40. The Kings Road, Chelsea – One of the posh
ends of town. The Kings Road used to be home to punks, mods and rockers.
Now a bit more sophisticated. There are some beautiful shops, including
the famous designer Vivienne Westwood. It’s also close to Chelsea Pier,
as well as Chelsea and Fulham football clubs.
41. South Bank –
Cross the bridge at embankment to the South side of the river and as
your descend the stairs you will be at the doorstep of The Festival
Hall. This is just one of the many attractions situated along the south
bank. It’s a great area of riverside with views of the Houses of
Parliament and Big Ben. You will find shops, cafÃ©’s, bars, fabulous
entertainment/exhibitions at the festival hall and access to the Oxo
42. London Zoo – close to Camden and Regent’s Park is
London Zoo. You can see some spectacular animal’s right in the middle of
the city, although you wouldn’t believe it.
Square/Piccadilly Circus/Shaftesbury Avenue/Theatre Land – In the heart
of London you can easily walk between these bustling areas of London.
Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus are full of shops, cinema’s pubs
and cafÃ©’s. Running alongside Leicester square is Shaftesbury Avenue
where many of the popular theatres are situated.
44. China Town –
official name is Gerrard Street. A stone’s throw from Leicester Square
to the south and Shaftsbury Avenue to the North. Even if Chinese food is
not your favourite, it’s worth a stroll through the vibrant streets of
45. Trafalgar Square – a popular tourist attraction in
the heart of the city. Home to the National Gallery, Nelson’s column and
St. Martin’s-in-the-field, plus quite a few pigeons.
Royal Academy of Arts – Green Park. The academy is an independent
institution founded by George III in 1768. The original members wanted
to provide a venue for British Arts and Architecture to be displayed to
the public in which their skills could be passed onto future
47. Hamley’s Toy Store – one of the finest toy stores
in the world. You will find it on Regent Street. Don’t expect to ‘pop
in’. There are 4 or 5 floors packed with every toy and game you could
imagine. I’ve never managed to get in and out in less than an hour.
Hampton Court Palace – Former home to King Henry VIII. This Tudor
building houses tapestries, artwork and activities for guests. There is
the famous Hampton maze if you have a few hours to spare.
Harrods Department Store – Situated in Knightsbridge in the Royal
Borough of Kensington. This upmarket store is worth a visit just to see
the building. You will find luxury items of every description and the
most amazing food hall.
50. Kew Gardens – The Royal Botanical
gardens of Kew. Situated just 10 miles outside of London can be reached
easily on the tube.