The Top Sightseeing Spots in London
Visit the Georgian home of the Duke of Wellington to see its grand interiors and ﬁne art. Please check for times and prices. 149 Piccadilly, Hyde Park Corner, W1J 7NT. T: 020-7499 5676. www.english-heritage.org.uk/apsleyhouse. Station: Hyde Park Corner. F6.
This 17th-century building was designed for James I, with an exquisite painted ceiling. It is the only remaining part of the Palace of Westminster, which was destroyed by ﬁre. Daily 10am-1pm but call before visiting. Adult £6.50; child free. Whitehall, SW1A 2ER. T: 020-3166 6000. www.hrp.org.uk. Station: Westminster. E8.
BATTERSEA PARK CHILDREN’S ZOO
Zoo with lively keeper experiences. Daily 10am-5.30pm. Adult £8.95; child £6.95. Battersea Park, Chelsea Bridge Gate, SW11 4NJ. T: 020-7924 5826. www.batterseaparkzoo.co.uk. Station: Battersea Park. Off map.
THE BRITISH LIBRARY
The world’s largest public library. To 29 Aug: Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths. This major exhibition has rare documents and other treasures to mark a century since the revolution. Open daily, please check for times. Admission free; charges for tours, some exhibitions and events. 96 Euston Rd, NW1 2DB. T: 0330-333 1144. www.bl.uk. Station: King’s Cross. C7.
The London residence and principal workplace of the monarchy has 775 rooms. Closed to the public (except in summer). Buckingham Palace, The Mall, SW1A 1AA. T: 0303-123 7300. www.royalcollection. org.uk. Station: Victoria/Green Park. F6/F7.
CHANGING THE GUARD
At 11am every Mon, Wed, Fri and Sun, watch the changing of the Queen’s Guard on the Palace’s forecourt (except in heavy rain). Free. Buckingham Palace, The Mall, SW1A 1AA. T: 0303-123 7300. Victoria/Green Park. D5. The Changing the Life Guard Ceremony takes place Mon-Fri 11am; Sun 10am – check for last-minute changes. When the sentries change, trumpeters play. Buckingham Palace, The Mall, SW1A 1AA. T: 0303-123 7300. www.royal.gov.uk. Station: Victoria/Green Park. F6/F7.
CHELSEA PHYSIC GARDEN
Founded in 1673 as the Apothecaries’ Garden. Adult £10.50; child £6.95. Mon 11am-5pm garden only; Tue-Fri 11am-6pm garden and shop; Sun 11am- 6pm garden, shop and café. 66 Royal Hospital Rd, SW3 4HS. T: 020-7352 5646. www.chelseaphysic garden.co.uk. Station: Sloane Square. Off map.
CHISWICK HOUSE & GARDENS TRUST
See Old Masters in this manor, which features neo-Palladian interiors inspired by 16th-century Italy. Gardens daily 7am-dusk; house Sun-Wed 10am-4pm; conservatory Tue-Sun 10am-4pm. House adult £6.70; child £4. Gardens free. Chiswick House and Gardens, W4 2RP. T: 020-8995 0508. www.chgt.org.uk. Station: Chiswick Park. Off map.
This 19th-century ship is the world’s last surviving tea clipper. 3, 10, 17 & 24 May: Toddler Time. Songs, stories and playtime. Daily 10am-5pm. Adult £12.15; child £6.30. Cutty Sark, King William Walk, SE10 9HT. T: 020-8312 6608. www.rmg.co.uk/cuttysark. Station: Cutty Sark/Greenwich. Map inset.
DENNIS SEVERS’ HOUSE
Since 1979, visitors have been able to explore the home of artist Dennis Severs. Ten rooms, from the cellar to the attic, illustrate the life of a family of Huguenot silk weavers from the 17th to 19th centuries. Silent night tour Mon, Wed & Fri 5pm-9pm. Daytime tour Mon noon-2pm & Sun noon-4pm. Tickets £5-£17.50. 18 Folgate St, E1 6BX. T: 020-7247 4013. www.dennissevershouse. co.uk. Station: Liverpool Street. D11.
DR JOHNSON’S HOUSE
Dr Samuel Johnson compiled his ﬁrst English dictionary here in the 1700s. Mon-Sat 11am5.30pm. Adult £6; child £2.50. 17 Gough Square, EC4A 3DE. T: 020-7353 3745. www.drjohnsons house.org. Station: Temple/Chancery Lane. D9.
ELTHAM PALACE & GARDENS
Part showpiece of Art Deco design and part medieval royal palace, make yourself at home as a guest of the Courtaulds and be transported back to the 1930s. Please check for prices and times. Court Yard, SE9 5QE. T: 020-8294 2548. www.english-heritage.org.uk/eltham. Station: Eltham. Off map.
This attractive 15th-century building was the summer retreat of the Bishops of London. Now it’s a museum with gardens, a café and art gallery. 8 May: The Ruisi Quartet Plus One. Travel through 125 years of musical history with the Friends of Fulham Palace during this special recital by the award-winning Ruisi Quartet, who will be joined on the night by violist Jenny Lewisohn. Museum, historic rooms and shop Mon-Thur 12.30pm-4.30pm; Sun and bank holidays noon-5pm. Admission free, charges for special events. Bishop’s Avenue, SW6 6EA. T: 020-7736 3233. www.fulhampalace.org. Station: Putney Bridge. Off map.
GO APE BATTERSEA PARK
Make like a monkey at this treetop adventure playground, which is suitable for children over six and adults. Negotiate ladders, bridges and zip lines while attached to a reassuring harness. Enthusiastic staff are on hand throughout the three-and-a-half-hour experience. Daily from 8.30am. Adult £35; child £27-£35. Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ. T: 0845-643 9236. www.goape.co.uk/ battersea-park. Station: Battersea Park. Off map.
GOLDEN HINDE II
A full-size reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake’s 16th-century ship, in which he circumnavigated the globe. Regular events include dressing up in historical costumes, quiz nights and battle workshops. Daily 10am-6pm. Guided tour adult £7; child £5. 1 Pickfords Wharf, Clink St, SE1 9DG. T: 020-7403 0123. www.goldenhinde.com. Station: London Bridge. E10.
HAM HOUSE AND GARDENS
One of Europe’s greatest 17th-century houses. Its gardens are said to be haunted. Check for times. Adult £10.80; child £5.40. Ham St, Surrey, TW10 7RS. T: 020-8940 1950. www.national trust.org.uk. Station: Richmond. Off map.
HANDEL & HENDRIX IN LONDON
The former homes of Anglo-German composer George Frideric Handel and American guitarist Jimi Hendrix. See where Handel lived and composed for 36 years, plus Hendrix’s bedroom restored to how it was in 1968 and 1969. Mon-Sat 11pm-6pm; Sun noon-6pm. Adult £10; child £5. 25 Brook St, W1K 4HB. T: 020-7495 1685. www.handelhouse.org. Station: Bond Street. D6.
Permanently moored on the River Thames, this is Europe’s only surviving World War II cruiser. Daily 10am-6pm. Adult £14.50; child £7.25. The Queen’s Walk, off Tooley St, SE1 2JH. T: 020-7940 6300. www.iwm.org.uk. Station: London Bridge. E11.
HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT
The site of Parliament since 1265 and still a royal palace, the current building with Big Ben was built in the 19th century. Watch debates for free when the Houses are in session. Bring your passport. Tours every Sat plus Mon-Fri 26 & 31 May. Advance audio tour adult £18.50, child £7.50 (ﬁ rst child free); guided tour adult £25.50, child £11. On the day audio tour adult £20.50, child £8.50 (ﬁ rst child free); guided tour adult £28, child £12. Palace of Westminster, Parliament Square, SW1A 0AA. T: 020-7219 4114. www.parliament. uk/visit. Station: Westminster. F8.
THE JEWEL TOWER
Built around 1365 to house Edward III’s treasures. Please check for prices and times. Abingdon St, SW1P 3JX. T: 020-7222 2219. www.englishheritage.org.uk. Station: Westminster. F8.
This 19th-century home belonged to the Romantic poet John Keats. See his paintings, books, letters and household items, plus the engagement ring he gave to his sweetheart Fanny Brawne. Wed-Sun 11am-5pm. Adult £6.50; child free. Keats Grove, NW3 2RR. T: 020-7332 3868. www.cityoﬂondon.gov.uk/keatshousehampstead. Station: Hampstead. Off map.
This royal residence sits in Kensington Gardens and was Princess Diana’s last home. Diana: Her Fashion Story. Trace the evolution of the Princess’s style, from the demure, romantic outﬁts of her ﬁrst public appearances, to the glamour, elegance and conﬁdence of her later life. Daily, check for times. Adult £17; child free. Kensington Gardens, W8 4PX. T: 0844-482 7777. www.hrp.org.uk. Station: High Street Kensington/ Queensway. Off map.
On the edge of Hampstead Heath, Kenwood house and its landscaped gardens is a hidden gem. Admire Robert Adams’ neoclassical interiors and a wonderful art collection including Rembrandt, Vermeer and Gainsborough. Free admission. Open daily, please check for times. Hampstead Lane, NW3 7JR. T: 020-8348 1286. www.english-heritage.org.uk/kenwood. Station: Hampstead. Off map.
This royal retreat in the grounds of Royal Botanic Gardens Kew was home to King George III. Don’t miss the Royal Kitchens and its garden. Admission free with Kew Garden tickets. Kew Gardens, Richmond, TW9 3AB. T: 0844-482 7777. www.hrp.org.uk. Station: Kew Gardens. Off map.
Parents take a back seat here as children take charge. Three times the size of Trafalgar Square, KidZania has two storeys of everything a child could want including TV and animation studios, a chocolate factory, pit lane, hospital and aviation academy – there’s even a tattoo parlour. You will leave wondering why there wasn’t a KidZania when you were growing up… which is why it hosts occasional adult nights! Daily from 10am, check for closing times. Adult from £15; child from £18. Westﬁeld London Shopping Centre, Ariel Way, W12 7GA. T: 0330-131 3333. www.london.kidzania.com. Station: Shepherd’s Bush. Map inset.
THE LONDON BRIDGE EXPERIENCE & TOMBS
An exciting history lesson on the past of the 1,700-year-old London Bridge site. Special effects and actors bring this spine-tinglingly scary attraction to life. Tickets also include the London Tombs, under the bridge, which are in a former plague pit. Please check for times and prices. 2-4 Tooley St, SE1 2SY. T: 020-7403 6333. www.thelondonbridgeexperience.com. Station: London Bridge. E10.
THE LONDON DUNGEON
This uniquely thrilling attraction will whisk you back to the capital’s most perilous past. See, hear, feel and (ahem) smell the chillingly amusing characters of the ‘bad old days’ as they come to life before you. Not for small children or the faint-hearted, but a great option for brave teenagers. Joint tickets available with Sea Life London Aquarium, Coca-Cola London Aquarium, London Eye, Madame Tussauds and Shrek’s Adventure!. Please check for times and prices. County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7PB. T: 0871-423 2240. www.thedungeons.com. Station: Waterloo/Embankment. F8.
COCA-COLA LONDON EYE
One of the world’s largest observation wheels. Interactive screens in each pod give an insight into landmarks. Joint tickets with the London Aquarium, London Dungeon, Madame Tussauds and Shrek’s Adventure! available. Daily from 10am, check for closing times. Adult £24.95; child £19.95. County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7PB. T: 0871-781 3000. www.london eye.com. Station: Waterloo. F8.
ZSL LONDON ZOO
Immerse yourself in the animal kingdom at the world’s oldest scientiﬁc zoo, which has more than 750 species. As well as an aquarium, penguin beach and endangered Sumatran tigers, you can see the new Land of the Lions exhibition – which features Asiatic lions in surroundings designed to resemble an Indian national park. 17 May: Safari in the City. An after-hours event which includes a twilight tour, talks from conservation experts, an African-themed dinner and prizes. Daily 10am-6pm. Adult £29.75; child £22. Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY. T: 020-7722 3333. www.zsl.org. Station: Camden Town. C6.
Celebrated home of life-sized wax ﬁgures depicting famous people from the worlds of entertainment, politics, sport and history, from the Queen to Adele. Pose with your favourite legend and visit the terrifying Chamber of Horrors and Scream experiences. Don’t miss the permanent Star Wars exhibition, featuring 11 sets from the ﬁlm. The Game’s Afoot, an immersive attraction with actors, illusion and sound effects, is a highlight. Joint tickets with the London Aquarium, London Dungeon, London Eye and Shrek’s Adventure! available. Please check for times. Adult £35; child £30. Marylebone Rd, NW1 5LR. T: 0871-894 3000. www.madametussauds.com/london. Station: Baker Street. C6.
This beautiful stone column in the heart of the City was built in 1677 to commemorate the 1666 Great Fire of London. Climb the 311 steps to its observation gallery. Daily 9.30am6pm. Adult £4.50; child £2.30. Joint tickets with the Tower Bridge Exhibition available. Monument St, EC3R 6BD. T: 020-7626 2717. www.themonument.org.uk. Station: Monument. E10.
Star Wars Identities. Browse 200 original sketches, models and props from Star Wars and ﬁnd out which character you identify with. Mon-Sat 10am-6pm. Tickets £10-£20. Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX. T: 020-8463 2000. www.theo2. co.uk. Station: North Greenwich. Map inset.
OLD ROYAL NAVAL COLLEGE
This Baroque masterpiece, part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, has costumed characters and tours. During its conservation project, you can see the Painted Hall ceiling from an observation deck (adult £10; child £5). Daily, please check for opening times. Admission free. King William Walk, SE10 9NN. T: 0208269 4799. www.ornc.org. Station: Cutty Sark/ Greenwich. Map inset.
QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK
Formerly the site of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, this park includes an aquatics centre and the ArcelorMittal Orbit observation tower. The park is open 24 hours daily. Admission free. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E20 2ST. T: 0800-072 2110. www.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk. Station: Stratford. Off map.
RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT!
This curiosity-ﬁlled museum has 700 oddities over six ﬂoors, from a shrunken head to an albino alligator and the world’s tallest man. Daily 10ammidnight. Adult £27.99; child £20.99. 1 Piccadilly Circus, W1J 0DA. T: 020-3238 0022. www.ripleys london.com. Station: Piccadilly Circus. E7.
ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS, KEW
Better known as Kew Gardens, this World Heritage Site contains plants from across the globe, with Victorian tropical greenhouses, a Chinese pagoda and the Treetop Walkway. You can also experience The Hive, an aluminium structure modelled on a beehive. Buzzing and lights play inside it in response to a real beehive. Daily from 10am, please check for closing times. Adult £15; child £3.50; charges for special exhibitions. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB. T: 020-8332 5655. www.kew.org. Station: Kew Gardens. Off map.
THE ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN
Grade I-listed building housing a museum about the institution’s 15 Nobel Prize-winning scientists. Mon-Fri 9am-6pm. Admission free; charges for talks. 21 Albemarle St, W1S 4BS. T: 020-7409 2992. www.rigb.org. Station: Green Park. E6.
THE ROYAL MEWS
Built by John Nash in 1825, this beautiful part of Buckingham Palace houses the Queen’s vehicles and horses, including the Diamond Jubilee State Coach. Mon-Sat 10am-5pm. Adult £10; child £5.80. Buckingham Palace Rd, SW1W 1QH. T: 0303-123 7302. www.royalcollection.org.uk. Station: Victoria. F6.
THE ROYAL OBSERVATORY
The home of Greenwich Mean Time and London’s only planetarium. The Sky Tonight. Daily planetarium show that explores the Moon, constellations, planets and deep space objects. To 25 Jun: Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year. Skyscapes. Meridian Line and Observatory daily 10am-4.30pm. Adult £9.50; child £5. Blackheath Avenue, SE10 8XJ. T: 020-8858 4422. www.rmg.co.uk. Station: Greenwich/Maze Hill/Cutty Sark. Map inset.
SEA LIFE LONDON AQUARIUM
One of Europe’s largest aquariums, with 500 species. Ocean Invaders: Enter the World of the Jellyﬁsh. Get up close to a swarm of jellyﬁsh at this permanent exhibition. You can also snorkel with sharks (from £80 including admission). Please check for times and prices. Joint tickets with London Eye, London Dungeon, Madame Tussauds and Shrek’s Adventure! available. County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7PB. T: 0333-321 2001. www.sealife.co.uk/london. Station: Westminster/Waterloo. F8.
Ride the magical 4D ‘DreamWorks Tours’ bus to step into live actor fairytale-themed shows where you can meet the characters from the much-loved ﬁlms. Joint tickets with London Eye, London Dungeon, Madame Tussauds and Sea Life London Aquarium are available. Please check for times. Adult £27.50; child £22. Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7PB. T: 0871-221 2837. www.shreksadventure.com. Station: Waterloo. F8.
ST JAMES’S PALACE
One of London’s oldest palaces, constructed in the 14th century and home to royalty for three centuries. Palace and house closed to the public. Marlborough Rd, SW1A 1BS. www.royal.gov.uk. Station: St James’s Park. E7.
ST KATHARINE DOCKS
Dating from the 11th century, this marina is near the Tower of London and is lined with markets, shops, galleries and restaurants. 50 St Katharine’s Way, E1W 1LA. T: 020-7264 5287. www.skdocks. co.uk. Station: Tower Hill. E11.
Landmark Palladian church with tours, a brass-rubbing centre and live classical music (some free). Holy Communion given daily and classical music performed weekly by candlelight. Please check for opening times. Admission free; brass rubbing from £4.50. Trafalgar Square, WC2N 4JJ. T: 020-7766 1100. www.stmartin-in-the-ﬁelds.org. Station: Charing Cross. E8.
ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL
Sir Christopher Wren’s 300-year old cathedral has stunning mosaics. Climb up the dome to the Whispering Gallery and a further 271 steps to the Golden Gallery for a classic London panorama. Don’t miss Oculus: An Eye into St Paul’s, a 270-degree ﬁlm experience. Free tours. Mon-Sat 8.30am-4.30pm. Adult £18; child £8. St Paul’s Churchyard, EC4M 8AD. T: 020-7246 8350. www.stpauls.co.uk. Station: St Paul’s. D9/10.
18 STAFFORD TERRACE
Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne’s former home. A highlight is a costumed actor- led tour. Wed, Sat-Sun 11am-12.15pm & 2pm- 5.30pm. Adult from £7; child from £5. 18 Stafford Terrace, W8 7BH. T: 020-7602 3316. www.rbkc. gov.uk. Station: High Street Kensington. Off map.
TOWER BRIDGE EXHIBITION
Designed in 1884, this landmark has wonderful views; check out the glass ﬂoor on the high walkways. You can also tour the engine rooms. Joint tickets with The Monument available. Daily 10am-5.30pm. Please check for prices. Tower Bridge Rd, SE1 2UP. T: 020-7403 3761. www.towerbridge.org.uk. Station: Tower Hill. E11.
TOWER OF LONDON
This historic landmark includes the Bloody Tower, Traitors’ Gate and the Jewel House, home of the Crown Jewels. Enjoy free guided tours by ‘Beefeaters’ (Yeoman Warders). Book ahead online for the nightly Ceremony of the Keys, which dates back to 1340 (free). 26-27 May: Pride, Power and Politics. Tour exploring changing attitudes to gender and sexuality . Tue-Sat 9am-5.30pm; Sun-Mon 10am-5.30pm. Check for prices. Tower Hill, EC3N 4AB. T: 0844-482 7799. www.hrp.org. uk/tower-of-london. Station: Tower Hill. E11.
This venue used to protect the Queen’s treasures under the old Coutts Bank; now it’s home to rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia. Daily 11.30am-10.30pm. Admission free. Hard Rock Cafe London, 150 Old Park Lane, W1K 1QZ. T: 020-7514 1700. www.hard rock.com. Station: Hyde Park Corner. E6.
THE VIEW FROM THE SHARD
Ascend Western Europe’s tallest building in a high-speed lift. At 1,017ft, on a clear day you can see as far as Windsor – and if you can’t see four major landmarks you can visit again for free. Daily 10am-10pm. Advance adult £25.95, child £19.95; on the day adult £30.95, child £24.95. 32 London Bridge St, SE1 9SG. T: 0844499 7111. www.theviewfromtheshard.com. Station: London Bridge. E10.
WARNER BROS STUDIO TOUR LONDON
Explore behind the scenes of the legendary Harry Potter ﬁlms in The Making of Harry Potter tour. Visitors can witness iconic sets including the Great Hall, Hagrid’s Hut, Diagon Alley and the Forbidden Forest. A fascinating insight into ﬁlmmaking. Please check for times. Adult £39; child £31. Booking essential. Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LS. T: 0845-084 0900. www.wbstudiotour.co.uk. Station: Euston to Watford Junction, then shuttle bus. Off map.
Climb to the viewing galleries of this magniﬁ cent arch for panoramic views over the Royal Parks and Houses of Parliament. It also hosts exhibitions. Joint tickets are available with Apsley House. Daily 10am-5pm. Adult £4.70; child £2.80. Apsley Way, Hyde Park Corner, W1J 7JZ. T: 020-7930 2726. www.english-heritage.org.uk. Station: Hyde Park Corner. F6.
Consecrated in 1065, this abbey is the crowning and burial site of most English monarchs. It also houses Poets’ Corner, the burial place of Charles Dickens and other famous writers. Mon-Sat, check for times. Adult £20; child £9. 20 Dean’s Yard, SW1P 3PA. T: 020-7222 5152. www.westminster-abbey.org. Station: Westminster/St James’s Park. F7.