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Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in London

Cultured, cosmopolitan, and effortlessly cool, London is a city that needs no introduction. The British capital is not only one of the world’s most visited cities, but it’s also one of the most diverse, and there’s something to suit all tastes. Those looking to discover England’s traditional charms can stroll through Westminster Abbey, watch the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace, or take a red double-decker bus tour around the city. Art and history lovers can check off famous institutions such as the British Museum and the National Gallery, while foodies can tuck into artisan delicacies at Borough Market, indulge in afternoon tea at the Ritz, and grab dinner on Brick Lane’s Curry Mile. Those with kids in tow can ride the London Eye, pose with celebs at Madame Tussauds, and discover the magic of Harry Potter at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London. Central London boasts a roll call of iconic sights—Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, the Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden—all within walking distance of the Thames River. Alternatively, a ride on the London Underground will take you to East London’s hip neighborhoods, the pretty waterfront district of Greenwich, or the colorful markets, music venues, and bars of Camden Town. There are also endless options for day trips, including the magnificent Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, the historic cities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Bath, Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, and even Paris.
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Fortnum & Mason

Fortnum & Mason

16 Tours and Activities
Standing proud on Piccadilly since 1707, Fortnum & Mason, along with the equally famous Harrods, takes the prize for London’s best-known and most iconic department store. Named after its principal proprietors William Fortnum and Hugh Mason, the central London store is now owned by Wittington Investments Ltd, but its namesakes still grace the iconic rooftop clock – with four-foot high mechanical statues of the men themselves whirring into action as the clock chimes each hour. Belying its early incarnation as a simple grocery store, Fortnum’s soon earned a reputation for selling the highest quality foods and imported delicacies to London’s high society, even supplying food for a number of Victorian era Royal functions. Today, the variety has expanded but the quality remains top notch, with their luxury Christmas and picnic hampers - a renowned tradition dating back to Victorian times – ranging in price from a very reasonable £35 to a mind-blowing £25,000.
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National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum

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The world's largest maritime museum, this site offers an impressive gallery displaying 500 years of Britain's history with the sea. In total the collection has nearly 2.5 million items, some of which are on loan to other museums across Britain. Visitors can spend hours viewing the maritime art, cartography, ship models and plans, manuscripts and navigational instruments on display, not to mention the ship simulator and interactive exhibits located on the second floor.

One of the most unique offerings of the museum is the Sammy Ofer wing, which houses special exhibitions, a permanent gallery, an extensive library and a cafe with views of Greenwich Park. All together, the National Maritime Museum, the Queen’s House and the Royal Observatory form the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage site. Along with the Cutty Sark, a British clipper ship on display in the area, this collection of historical sites is now known as Royal Museums Greenwich.

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Regent's Park

Regent's Park

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One of London’s most celebrated royal parks, Regent’s Park was first laid out by John Nash in 1811, as a hunting ground for Henry VIII and remained a private royal retreat until 1845. Today the 410-acre public park offers welcome respite for the residents of North West London as well as housing the hugely popular London Zoo, where visitors can get up close and personal to an incredible 760 animal species.

The park’s highlights include a boating lake; the recently opened Hanover Gate treehouse playground; the Queen Mary’s Gardens, an exquisite rose garden containing over 400 varieties; and the formal Victorian William Andrews Nestfield’s Avenue Gardens. Perhaps the most famous spot is the idyllic peak of Primrose Hill, as renowned for its many celebrity residents as it is for its expansive views over London, making it one of the city’s liveliest picnic spots.

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Blackfriars Bridge

Blackfriars Bridge

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Blackfriars Bridge is the busiest of the four bridges located in central London. It crosses the River Thames bringing both road and foot traffic from one side to the other. The bridge has been updated several times, but the current bridge is 923 feet long, 105 feet wide, and has five wrought iron arches. Stone carvings decorate the piers of the bridge. On the east side the carvings show marine life and seabirds, and on the west side the carvings depict freshwater birds. This reflects the tidal turning point in the river. Most river boat tours along the River Thames will sail underneath the Blackfriars Bridge along with Millennium Bridge, Southwark Bridge, and London Bridge.

In 1982 the bridge gained international notoriety when the body of Roberto Calvi, a former chairman of Italy's largest private bank, was found hanging from one of the arches of the bridge. Five bricks were attached to his body, and around $14,000 in three different currencies was found in his pockets.

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Sir John Soane's Museum

Sir John Soane's Museum

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One of London’s most fascinating yet often-overlooked museums, Sir John Soane’s Museum is dedicated to its namesake, the much-celebrated neo-classical architect who designed a number of acclaimed Regency-era buildings including, most famously, the Bank of England. The museum, housed across three purpose-built houses in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Central London, was the personal project and one-time home of Soane, designed to inspire and showcase his works to budding architects and students. Opening to the public after his death in 1837, the museum, although recently restored, remains true to Soane’s original design and displays over 20,000 architectural drawings and models.

The building itself is also part of Soane’s work, with highlights including a unique geometric staircase and an exquisite mirrored dome ceiling in the Breakfast Room.

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Royal Festival Hall

Royal Festival Hall

9 Tours and Activities

It might be the grand centerpiece of the Southbank Centre, Central London’s renowned cultural hub, and among the capital’s most famous classical music venues, but the Royal Festival Hall is also an impressive landmark in its own right. Located in a Grade-I listing building on the banks of the River Thames, the concert hall first opened its doors in 1951 during the Festival of Britain and now boasts a newly restored 2,500-seat auditorium and the lavish Clore Ballroom.

The Royal Festival Hall is best known as the home of the prestigious London Philharmonic orchestra, and the venue is used throughout the year for a host of classical music recitals, pop concerts, operas and ballets, including a number of annual music and cultural festivals.

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Stamford Bridge

Stamford Bridge

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The official home of Chelsea Football Club since 1905, Stamford Bridge Stadium has a long legacy and watching a match at the iconic stadium is a popular choice for football fans. The 42,000-capacity stadium is even more impressive since undergoing £100 million worth of renovations back in 2001 and the complex now includes 2 hotels, a number of restaurants and the Chelsea FC museum, where interactive displays and exhibitions chronicle the rise of West London’s top football club.

Chelsea home matches are held biweekly at Stamford Bridge Stadium during the annual football season, but fans can also peek behind-the-scenes on a stadium tour, allowing access to the changing rooms, the players’ tunnel, the dugouts and the press room.

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Household Cavalry Museum

Household Cavalry Museum

3 Tours and Activities

Located in the heart of London, the Household Division’s headquarters looks back on hundreds of years of tradition and rich history. But the integrated Household Cavalry Museum isn’t just any old dusty exhibition; it’s an actual workplace that provides insight about real people doing their real jobs – jobs that involve longstanding ceremonies that haven’t been changed in over 350 years. The Household Cavalry is responsible for guarding the queen on various occasions in the United Kingdom and also for serving as part of the British Army around the world in vehicles. As a military museum, this site offers an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the ceremonial duties and working role of the British Army’s senior regiment, the Household Cavalry.

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Emirates Stadium

Emirates Stadium

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As England’s third-largest football stadium after Wembley and Old Trafford, and home to Arsenal Football Club, one of the capital’s most renowned football teams, Emirates Stadium is a top choice for those looking to soak up the atmosphere of a British football match. Opening its doors in 2006, the state-of-the-art stadium was designed by HOK Sport and cost an impressive £390 million to build, with seats for up to 60,365 fans.

Touring the landmark stadium is also a popular choice for fans, offering the chance to explore the changing rooms, complete with luxury hydrotherapy spas, walk through the players’ tunnel onto the pitch and stand in Arsenal Manager Arsène Wenger's spot in the dug-out. The on-site Arsenal Museum is another must-see, crammed with iconic photos and memorabilia from Arsenal’s long history, and fans can also shop for sports gear or print a bespoke Arsenal shirt at The Armoury, the official Arsenal shop.

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London National Theatre

London National Theatre

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Both an iconic landmark and a prestigious performance venue, the National Theatre is one of England’s most renowned performing arts centers and a mainstay of London’s theater scene since it opened back in 1963. Even from the outside, it’s an imposing sight, looming over the waterfront of London’s Southbank, and its unmistakable yet rather unattractive concrete façade has long divided public opinion. The National Theatre boasts four purpose-built auditoriums (the Olivier, Lyttelton, Dorfman and Temporary theatres), as well as an open-air performance space in the forecourt, a bookshop and a collection of bars, restaurants and cafés open to the public. The theatre’s ever-changing roster of shows includes over 20 new productions each year, with past hits including West End favorites like 'War Horse' and 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'; classic plays like Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Tempest; and contemporary musicals like Wonder.land.

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ZSL London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo

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The ZSL London Zoo was established in 1828 as a scientific zoo for the study of animals but did not open to the public until 1847. It is still located on its original site at the northern end of the huge Regent's Park in inner London with Regent's Canal running through the middle of the zoo. Today, it contains over 800 different animal species! But in the 1990s, the zoo faced closure due to financial problems largely brought on by its old-fashioned housing of animals in cages. Since then it has reinvented itself by "bringing down the bars" and by building enclosures for the animals which mirror their natural habitats. Some of ZSL London Zoo's highlights include the newly built Tiger Territory, an Indonesian-themed habitat built specifically for the critically-endangered Sumatran tigers. With floor-to-ceiling glass windows, visitors can admire these amazing cats from up close! The Gorilla Kingdom, opened in 2007, is built to resemble a Central African environment.
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