London's top attractions

If you're overwhelmed by the amount of great things to do in the capital, let us guide you in the right direction

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There's a wealth of things to do and see in the capital. Where to start? Here's our round-up of London's top attractions, all of which are a must-see. A handful of London's best attractions are free, but for those requiring tickets, buy yours here.

Royal locations  |  Sightseeing spots  |  Arts and culture  |  Outdoor attractions  |  Family-friendly  |  Churches

Buckingham Palace

The home of Elizabeth II, The Queen's Gallery is where you can see her personal collection of treasures, including paintings by Rembrandt

  1. Buckingham Palace Rd, SW1A 1AA
More info

Changing the Guard

  • Free

See the daily detachment of the Old Guard in Friary Court join up with the rest in the forecourt at Buckingham Palace

  1. Buckingham Palace, SW1A 1AA
More info

The Mall

Tarmacked pink, the Mall is the grand processional route that runs from Buckingham Palace down to Trafalgar Square

  1. The Mall, SW1Y 5AH
More info

Royal Museums Greenwich

  • Free

On this Greenwich Park site you'll find the National Maritime Museum, the Queen's House, and the Royal Observatory

  1. Romney Rd, SE10 9NF
More info
Discover more royal locations in London

Famous sightseeing spots

Houses of Parliament

Guided tours of the Houses of Parliament offer a combination of history, modern day politics, and stunning art and architecture

  1. Palace of Westminster, SW1A 0AA
More info

Big Ben

  • Free

Housed in the Palace of Westminster, Big Ben looks much older than it is: it was built in 1860 to replace the original Houses of Parliament, destroyed by fire in 1834

  1. Whitehall, SW1A 0AA
More info

Tower Bridge

Originally powered by steam, Tower Bridge drawbridge is now opened by electric rams when big vessels need to venture upstream

  1. Tower Bridge, SE1 2UP
Book online

The Shard

At 800 feet, The Shard's viewing platform is nearly double the height of its closest competitor, the EDF Energy London Eye

  1. Joiner St, SE1 9QU
Book online
Visit more iconic buildings in London

Art and cultural institutions

Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall's splendid exterior is matched by the regal red-and-gold interior, which is crowned by a domed stained-glass skylight

  1. Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP
More info

Tate Modern

Housed in the former Bankside Power Station is seven floors worth of stunning art, dating from 1900AD to the present day

  1. Bankside, SE1 9TG
More info

Royal Opera House

The ROH secured its position as one of the world’s great opera houses following a turn-of-the-century refurbishment in 2008

  1. Bow St, WC2E 9DD
More info

British Museum

  • Free

One of the world's oldest museums, the British Museum is vast and its collections, only a fraction of which can be on public display at any time, comprise millions of objects

  1. 44 Great Russell St, WC1B 3DG
More info

National Theatre

The concrete-clad, 1960s modernist grandmother of them all: no theatrical tour of London is complete without a visit to the National

  1. South Bank, SE1 9PX
More info

Shakespeare's Globe

The Globe's unbridled success is thanks to its commitment to faithfully recreating an original ‘Shakespeare in performance’ experience

  1. 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT
Book online

Somerset House

  • Free

Somerset House is home to a formidable art gallery, the wonderful Courtauld, a beautiful fountain court, a terraced café and a classy restaurant

  1. Strand, WC2R 1LA
More info

Regent's Park

Regent's Park is one of London's most popular open spaces. It has several playgrounds, the most interesting of which  is at Hanover Gate, which includes a treehouse

  1. Chester Rd, NW1 4NR
More info

The South Bank

From festivals to alfresco restaurants, fresh food markets to one of the capital's most-loved skating locations, the South Bank stretch is a must-visit

  1. Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX
More info

Hyde Park

At 1.5 miles long and about a mile wide, Hyde Park is one of the largest of London's Royal Parks. London's oldest boating lake, The Serpentine, is also at the bottom of Hyde Park

  1. W2 4RU
More info

Hampstead Heath

The grassy sprawl of Hampstead Heath makes a wonderfully untamed contrast to the manicured lawns and flowerbeds found elsewhere in the capital

  1. NW5 1QR
More info
Explore more of outdoor London

London Zoo

The zoo, which opened to the public in 1847, covers 36 acres. It's home to more than 760 animal species, many of which are endangered

  1. Outer Circle, Regent's Park, NW1 4RY
Book online

EDF Energy London Eye

A circuit on the Eye will show you all the city's key sights in 30 minutes, and each of the 32 pods is equipped with a touchscreen to explain what you're looking at

  1. Jubilee Gardens, SE1 7PB
Book online

Cutty Sark

Visitors can venture underneath the three-masted sailing ship, which has been raised three metres above her dry dock to afford views of the elegant hull

  1. King William Walk, SE10 9HT
Book online

Tower of London

This is one of Britain's finest historical attractions. Who would not be fascinated by a close-up look at the crown of Queen Victoria or the armour of King Henry VIII?

  1. Tower Hill, EC3N 4AB
Book online
See our guide to kids in London

Churches and cathedrals

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey © Andrew Brackenbury

Westminster Abbey

The traditional place of coronation and burial site for British monarchs, Westminster Abbey's cultural significance is hard to overstate

  1. Parliament Square, SW1P 3PA
More info

© Michelle Grant / Time Out

St Paul’s Cathedral

The passing of three centuries has done nothing to diminish the magnificence of St Paul's Cathedral, Christopher Wren's masterpiece and London's most famous cathedral

  1. St Paul's Churchyard, EC4M 8AD
More info

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