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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

Rob Greig / Time Out

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 and palaces

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

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St James's Park

Changing the Guard

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

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St James's Park

The Mall

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

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St James'
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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

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Westminster

Big Ben

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

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Westminster

Tower Bridge

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

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Bermondsey

The Shard

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

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London Bridge
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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

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Knightsbridge

Tate Modern

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

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South Bank

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

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Covent Garden

British Museum

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

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Bloomsbury

National Theatre

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

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South Bank

Shakespeare's Globe

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

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South Bank

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery has everything from oil paintings of stiff-backed royals to photos of soccer stars and gloriously unflattering political caricatures

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Leicester Square

Somerset House

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

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Temple

Parks and outdoor attractions

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

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Regent's Park

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

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South Bank

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

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Kensington

Hampstead Heath

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

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Dartmouth Park
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Great attractions for the children

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

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Regent's Park

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

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South Bank

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

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Greenwich

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?

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Tower Hill
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See our guide to kids in London

Churches and cathedrals

Westminster Abbey

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

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Westminster

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

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St Pauls
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Comments

4 comments
Robbert J
Robbert J

I really like your listed places but some of these are one of my ever best places like as Buckingham Palace and Royal Museums Greenwich . I also explored its other attractive places that are not mentioned there like The London Eye and London Aquarium; both of these places are also worth seeing attractions of this region. I am going there again after my hoover dam visitor center tour to be impressed by http://travelarroundtheworld.blog.com/2013/11/05/hoover-dam%E2%80%93significant-landmark-that-stands-out-unique-in-constructional-elegance/.

armida t
armida t

Nice post thanks for sharing. Also I suggest some other London Tourist attraction -

British Museum - This extremely popular museum displays an array of objects dating from pre-historic times all the way to the modern era.

The London Eye - A ride in the London eye will give you panoramic views of London historical structures, modern buildings and beautiful bridges.

The Tower of London - You can take a tour of the tower to discover the palace, place of execution, prison, jewel house, arsenal, and even a zoo.

Westminster Abbey - This Gothic Church is spectacular in every way. The beautiful and intricate architecture makes it a marvellous sight.

The London Shard - London’s newest landmark, The Shard has a viewing gallery has three levels, begin at level 69 which has interactive touch screen telescopes that allow you a detailed view of London’s beautiful buildings and monuments, then proceed to level 72 which is an open air viewing gallery that lets you gaze all the way up through the shards of glass atop the building.

London Aquarium - The perfect tourist spot to explore if you are looking for a day out with the family. Children love this place! It has about 500 species of aquatic animals on display. There are also some 30 odd sharks of different sub-species.

Riva D
Riva D

Attraction passes, such as London Pass (http://www.londonpass.com/) or London Eye+Madame Tussauds Combo Pass (http://www.madametussauds.com/London/BuyTickets/TicketOptions/Default.aspx), help you save money on London top attractions' ticket cost. Problem with these passes is that whether you can save money or not depends on the list of attractions you plan to visit. You might want to use Trevii (http://www.trevii.com/) to input your itinerary and automatically compare which attraction pass saves you the most.

bigsands
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