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When it comes to sightseeing, you’re spoiled for choice. Indoors or outdoors, underground or overground, traditional English heritage or modern European attitude – all are on offer here. But be sure to pace yourself: some of the venues detailed in these pages, such as the British Museum, may take more than a morning.

British Museum

This neoclassical gem was built in 1847, but Lord Norman Foster’s glass-roofed Great Court wasn’t added until 2000. Star exhibits at the museum include ancient Egyptian artefacts – the Rosetta Stone on the ground floor, mummies upstairs – and Greek antiquities, including the Pantheon sculptures and objects from all world cultures.

  Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury
  020 7323 8000
  Tottenham Court Road Tube

Kew Gardens

Breathtaking natural beauty, world-class science, and over 260 years of history combine at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Founded in 1759, today Kew’s plant and fungal science and conservation research are tackling some of the world’s most urgent challenges.
Get swept up in the wonder of nature as you explore the largest and most diverse collection of living plants in the world – it is just one of the reasons Kew has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stunning landscapes, iconic buildings, and inspirational art make this the perfect day out for groups of all ages.

  Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Richmond
  020 8332 5655
  Kew Gardens Tube

London Eye

Standing tall on the South Bank of the River Thames, nothing says iconic like The lastminute.com London Eye. Because we’re right in the heart of the city, you get closer views of London’s most spectacular landmarks from Big Ben to The Houses of Parliament and even Windsor Castle on a clear day! From first dates to couples saying “Eye do,” school trips to DJ sets, visits from Hollywood royalty, sports royalty and actual royalty, our 32 capsules – one for each London borough – have seen it all over the years. Don’t just look at London’s iconic skyline, move through it!

 Riverside Building, next to County Hall
  Waterloo Tube or London Eye (Waterloo) Pier 

Madame Tussauds

Step through the world-famous doors of Madame Tussauds London and join your favourite celebs at the ULTIMATE Awards party, strut your stuff on the catwalk or join the Royal Family in the most regal of settings. Hail a cab for a journey through history before joining the Marvel Super Heroes, then use the force with the greats of the Star Wars universe. With new and exciting figures and experience additions every year, there is always a reason to visit. So what are you waiting for?

 Marylebone Rode, Marylebone
  Baker Street Tube

London Transport Museum

The Museum tells the story of London and its transport system over the last 200 years. 19th century horse-drawn buses, the world’s first Underground railway, early red double-decker buses and famous designs of the Tube map form part of its collection.Exhibitions and galleries look at the link between transport and the growth of modern London, while the Hidden London in-person and virtual tours let visitors discover a secret side of the London transport system and its disused Tube stations

 Covent Garden Piazza
 0343 222 5000
  Covent Garden Tube or Embankment Pier

National Gallery

From Leonardo, van Eyck, Raphael and Holbein, to Turner, Constable, Monet and Van Gogh, the National Gallery is home to the world’s most famous paintings. With so many masterpieces gathered in one place, you can explore European art one painting at a time; from glistening 13th-century adorations to colourful Impressionist landscapes.

  Trafalgar Square
  Charing Cross Tube

Natural History Museum

A cathedral to the Victoria passion for knowledge. As well as the fabled dinosaurs, there are millions of plants, animals, fossils, rocks and minerals. To enter the dramatic Earth Galleries, you pass a giant suspended globe and twinkling image of the star system.

  Cromwell Road, South Kensington
  020 7942 5000
  South Kensington Tube

Science Museum

This museum tells the stories of the extraordinary human achievement and technological advances that have helped humanity overcome challenges throughout history. From Amy Johnson’s marvellous Gipsy Moth aeroplane and the iconic Apollo 10 command module to the world’s most significant medical collection, these incredible stories help ignite curiosity, encourage scientific endeavour and spark the imagination.

  Exhibition Road, South Kensington
  0800 047 8124
  South Kensington Tube

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral, with its iconic dome, is England’s architectural masterpiece and place of national celebration. Enter and explore the Cathedral Floor, Crypt and the famous Whispering, Stone and Golden Galleries with their breathtaking views. Included are touch-screen multimedia guides and scheduled guided tours to join.

  Ludgate Hill, City
  020 7246 8350
  St Pauls Tube or Blackfriars Pier

Tate Britain

Tate Britain showcases the true breadth and brilliance of art in Britain. Displays span five centuries of British art from the 16th century, taking in Hogarth, Gainsborough, Beale and Turner. More recent artists such Hockney,  Emin and Hatoum are also represented.

  Millbank, Pimlico
  020 7887 8888
  Pimlico Tube or Millbank Pier

Tate Modern

Tate Modern’s cavernous Turbine Hall is used to jaw-dropping effect for large scale, temporary installations. The permanent collection draws from a deep reservoir of modern and contemporary art and features works from Matisse,  Kapoor, Bourgeois, Shonibare and the Guerrilla Girls’.

  020 7887 8888
  Blackfriars Tube/Rail or Bankside Pier

Tower of London

Discover London’s castle – a secure fortress, royal palace, infamous prison and execution site where you can explore 1,000 years of history. Prepare to be dazzled by the breathtaking, world famous Crown Jewels. Take a Yeoman Warder tour and hear captivating stories of pain, passion, treachery and torture. Meet the famous ravens and discover why they are known as the guardians of the Tower and marvel at the iconic White Tower, a magnificent example of Norman architecture at the heart of the Tower of London.

  Tower Hill, City
  Tower Hill Tube or Tower Pier

Victoria & Albert Museum

The V&A’s grand galleries contain for million pieces of furniture, ceramics, sculpture, paintings, posters, jewellery and metalwork from across the world. There’s an incredible collection of Italian Renaissance sculpture, along with home-grown treasures such as the Great Bd of Ware, Canova’s Three Graces and Henry VIII’s writing desk.

  Cromwell Road, South Kensington
  South Kensington Tube

ZSL London Zoo

Opened in 1828, this was the world’s first scientific zoo and is now one of London’s most historic, iconic and loved attractions. Discover over 500 species, with opportunities to get really up close to lemurs and monkeys in amazing walk-through exhibits, and favourites including tigers, lions giraffes, gorillas and penguins. It’s the perfect day trip.
New Galapagos giant tortoise exhibit opening summer 2021.

  Outer Circle, Regent’s Park
Car parking available (charge applies);
 Booking only in advance at zsl.org/london
  Camden Town or Chalk Farm Tube

Hampton Court Palace

Experience the public dramas and private lives of Henry Vlll, his wives and children with a day immersed in the Tudor world at Hampton Court Palace. Admire Henry’s Great Hall, explore the infamous Haunted Gallery and Tudor kitchens. Discover the spectacular baroque State Apartments built for William lll and Mary that rival the great palaces of Europe and enjoy the never-ending vistas, courtyards, ornamental gardens and parkland designed to impress all those that visit.

  Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey
  Hampton Court Station

Kensington Palace

Explore the birthplace of Queen Victoria and home to young royals for over 300 years. Walk in the footsteps of royalty in Victoria’s re-imagined childhood rooms, the magnificent State Apartments, the famous Sunken Garden, and explore the beautiful private rooms where Mary ll once took her meals, relaxed and entertained. More recently, it has been the official residence of Princess Margaret, Diana Princess of Wales, and is currently home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children

  Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens
  High Street Kensington or Queensway Tube

Kew Palace

Experience the intimate Kew Palace, home of George lll and Queen Charlotte. Explore Queen Charlotte’s Cottage, a rustic country retreat in the grounds of the gardens and admire the spectacular view from the 163ft tall Great Pagoda. Kew reflects the personal and domestic life of the Georgian kings and queens for much of the 18th century. Today, the interior of this atmospheric palace tells the powerful story of George lll, his mental illness and the members of his family who lived and died there.

  Kew Palace, Kew, Richmond
  Kew Gardens Tube

Up at the O2

Up at The O2 is a guided 90 minute walk over the top of one of the world’s most iconic venues, The O2. Choose from Daytime, Sunset and Twilight Climbs to discover a different side of London with a 360 degree view of Historic Greenwich, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and Canary Wharf.

  Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula
  North Greenwich or North Greenwich Pier

Cutty Sark

The Cutty Sark is the world’s sole-surviving tea clipper, celebrated for her record-breaking passages around the globe. Guests can come aboard and experience what it was like to sail this much-loved national icon. A new audio guide at Cutty Sark has been added to enhance the visitor experience by bringing the story of the ship to life. The guide is available in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese and Russian. The audio guide is included in the cost of entry and takes about an hour to explore all levels of the ship.

  King William Walk, Greenwich Peninsula
  Cutty Sark Gardens or Greenwich Pier

The Queen’s House

This beautiful royal villa was designed by Inigo Jones and is Britain’s first classical building and a pioneering masterpiece of 17th-century architecture. Today you can enjoy the spectacular art, architecture and royal history of the Queen’s House. The House is free to visit with the exception of guided tours.

  Romney Rd, Greenwich Peninsula
  Cutty Sark Gardens or Greenwich Pier

National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum is the largest museum of its kind in the world. It appeals to visitors of all ages and is a great addition to any itinerary in Greenwich. The museum is free to visit with the exception of guided tours and special exhibitions.

  Romney Rd, Greenwich Peninsula
  Cutty Sark Gardens or Greenwich Pier

Royal Observatory Greenwich

Explore time and space at the Royal Observatory Greenwich and stand on the Meridian line at the home of the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Discover the site’s rich history, from its royal heritage to its awe-inspiring Peter Harrison Planetarium, all set within Greenwich’s beautiful park.

  Blackheath Ave, Greenwich Peninsula
  Cutty Sark Gardens or Greenwich Pier

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is recognised around the world as the home of Her Majesty The Queen, the focus of national and royal celebrations. Queen Victoria was the first sovereign to rule from Buckingham Palace in 1837 and transformed what was a relatively minor royal residence into a grand stage for state occasions, a symbol of the British monarchy and a national monument. She introduced a number of innovations to the Palace and added the iconic East Front with its famous balcony, which visitors to London love to see and take a photo in front of.

  Westminster, London
  Victoria, St James’s Park, Green Park

SEA LIFE London Aquarium, The London Dungeon and Shrek’s Adventure! London

London’s South Bank is always buzzing and there’s plenty to do. Alongside The lastminute.com London Eye, there are three other Merlin attractions in County Hall, just across from Big Ben and Westminster Bridge. SEA LIFE London Aquarium is home to one of Europe’s largest collections of global marine life, The London Dungeon allows you to live and breathe the city’s darkest history while Shrek’s Adventure! London lets you step into and star in your own hilarious misadventure with Shrek and his DreamWorks® friends.

  Riverside Building, County Hall
  Waterloo Tube

London Hack

During the annual Open House in September (www.openhouse.org.uk), many of the city’s iconic buildings open to the public. For major sights such as the Lloyd’s of London building and the Bank of England, get there early or expect big queues.