Samuel Johnson famously said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” But we believe that even a lifetime wouldn’t be long enough to take in everything the city has to offer. With must-see attractions spanning Medieval castles, music venues and museums, the city is alive in its history and at the forefront of the future. There’s no place quite like the big smoke, here are the must visit places in London.
This eye-catching structure designed by Anish Kapoor was built in 2012 to mark the Olympics, which took place mostly in East London. The ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture and observation tower sits in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford and is the UK’s tallest sculpture. It’s also now the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide, thanks to the slide’s addition in 2016 – and, all in all, it’s a great spot to see a sweeping panorama of the city.
The global museum chain for life-size replicas of celebrities and historical icons, London’s Madame Tussauds waxwork museum is one of the most popular on the planet – possibly because of the quick rate it gets new celebs up and posing. You can have your picture taken with the Queen, meet Meghan Markle or take a selfie with Benedict Cumberbatch.
Right next door to the London Eye is the Sea Life London Aquarium, home to one of Europe’s largest collections of global marine life. Great for kids, the large tanks and varied species ranging from sharks to penguins will keep everyone amused, especially on a rainy London day. It even boasts the UK’s largest jellyfish experience – sting free, of course.
One of London’s most expansive green spaces, this Grade I-listed royal park is also linked to Kensington Gardens and Green Park. While you’re there, admire the Victorian splendour of the Albert Memorial, and get your royal fix at the splendid Kensington Palace. Alternatively, head to the Serpentine Galleries for some world-class contemporary art.
The stretch of the River Thames from Waterloo to Tower Bridge is known as the South Bank and is always busy with strollers, runners, art lovers and music fans. Along the walkway you’ll find an array of architectural masterpieces, including the brutalist National Theatre and Southbank Centre, the low-slung British Film Institute, the industrial-looking OXO Tower and Tate Modern, plus Shakespeare’s Globe. For many, a stroll along the South Bank is as London as it gets.
Want to stay in the heart of the action? Book one of the best hotels near London’s Trafalgar Square through Culture Trip and secure a handy base for exploring all that the city has to offer.
Additional reporting by Nicholas Grantham.