A city that needs no introduction...
ondon is home to the Queen, tons of history and world-famous architecture - and arguably the greatest city in the world. With a plethora of free museums and art galleries, there is always something amazing to see and do. It’s impossible to walk 100 metres in London without stumbling across a famous monument or place of historical significance. Oh, and the shopping and culture can rival anywhere.
History and Heritage
Since the Roman encampment of Londinium in AD43, the city has survived everything from the Black Death to the Blitz. In 1666 the Great Fire nearly wiped out the city altogether, but this gave Sir Christopher Wren the opportunity to show off his architectural skills including his masterpiece St Paul’s Cathedral . It’s impossible to distil all of London past into words – the only thing to do is experience it for yourself.
Arts and Culture
With its huge Turbine Hall, the Tate Modern is the place to experience modern and contemporary art - you can see work by Picasso, Dalí, and Pollock all for free. Or see the best of British at the National Portrait Gallery . For a musical treat, head to a musical in the West End. If you want something off the beaten track, head to Vyner St for one-off art events featuring up-and-coming talent or pay the White Cube a visit and see some of the biggest names in modern art for free.
Must See Attractions
Take a trip on the London Eye and drink in those tranquil views over the city. Then head past the Houses of Parliament to Buckingham Palace - if the flag is flying it means Her Majesty is at home. Don’t worry if she’s out, you can always head to Madame Tussauds and have your photo taken with her wax model– your friends will never know the difference.
Food and Drink
Splash out on afternoon tea at the Ritz where a cellist soundtracks every delicious bite or get a taste of the real London by heading to Brick Lane for a curry. Gordon Ramsay’s ability to cook as well as he can swear means his Royal Hospital Restaurant is worthy of its three Michelin stars and your attention. For late night dining head to Soho for a maze of restaurants including high-tech Pan-Asian restaurant, Inamo and Soho institution; Bar Italia . Alternatively, head north to Upper St in Islington for independent European eateries and super cool bars.
I love Waterloo Bridge. I can't walk across it without getting a tear in my eye and wanting to start singing Waterloo Sunset. Actress Jenna Russell
Will we finally get a UK Wimbledon champ? Don’t miss the chance of seeing it happen at the greatest grass tennis tournament in the world. You can catch Gerrard, Rooney and co. at Wembley , the home of English football, or watch international cricket at the Oval and Lords . Or take a tour around the Olympic park as it prepares for the 2012 games.
Be warned, when your kids enter Hamleys there’s every chance they will explode – the Regent Street toy shop is chock-full of childish delights. The luxury department store, Harrods , has a similar effect on grown-ups. For performers and quality produce look no further than Covent Garden and for ultra-cool boutiques head to Brick Lane in East London or the centre of all things trendy since the swinging sixties; Carnaby Street .
Nobody knows how to celebrate quite like the Queen - Trooping the Colour with over 1400 parading officers is the ultimate birthday party spectacle. To experience the full force of London’s unique energy head to the Notting Hill Carnival where costumes, sound systems and food make for one hell of a party. And green-fingered flower fanatics should look no further than the Chelsea Flower Show .
Music and Nightlife
London is the city of variety, especially when it comes to nightlife with everything from table-top cabaret (check out Circus ) to blues and jazz bars like Ronnie Scott's ; a legendary Soho venue that's been showcasing virtuoso musicians from across the world for over 50 years. For some good-old fashion clubbing, join the queue for Fabric or Ministry of Sound – institutions in the global dance scene.
Anyone who says science is boring has never been to The Science Museum . You don’t have to be a boffin to enjoy the hands-on exhibits that help bring the theories to life. The London Dungeons are packed full of spooky attractions and horrible history. Or head to London Zoo at feeding time for an unforgettable experience.
Psst... Handy Hints
Grab an Oyster
Invest in an Oyster card for cheaper, easier travel on buses and the Tube.
London on foot
London's a great city to explore on foot and its centre is smaller than you may think.
Make the most of London's many free museums and galleries .
Get cheap theatre tickets at one of the many ticket booths in Leicester Square.
A wander around
...the V&A, followed by tea and cake at the decorative restaurant.The V&A, London
Sign up to our eNewsletter for the latest travel news, top events and great ideas for holidays and breaks in England.