With so many top London attractions to see and visit, your London sightseeing checklist could get very long indeed. So where to start? Whether you live and work in London or are just visiting for the day, let us guide you through with our round-up of the top London attractions that simply cannot be missed. Check out our list of 101 things to do in London for more inspiration and go get exploring the best the city has to offer.
A handful of London's attractions are free, but for those requiring tickets, you can buy your London attractions tickets here.
Top London attractions: icons
Since the Victorian times, the zoological gardens in Regent’s Park have amused and enlightened visitors of all ages, but in the past 15 years the Zoological Society London has changed the proposition here beyond recognition. Gradually the 36-acre park has been rebuilt to support conservation, ensure animal welfare and to make your animal encounter a more inspiring experience. It’s no longer about cages and snoozing animals hidden in the leafy distance – now you can walk through a special enclosure for ring-tailed lemurs and watch them run along ropes right in front of you, or step into a spider enclosure with some of the creepiest crawlies on earth, and, new for 2016, you can pass through the Land of the Lions and get closer than ever before to the world’s most feared predators. From the recreated South American coastline of Penguin Beach to an African setting for Gorilla Kingdom, to the nocturnal galleries of the Rainforest Life pavilion, everything is designed to show off the birds and the beasts at their best without disturbing their daily habits. Indeed, the Tiger Territory enclosure, which opened only a couple of years ago to house two examples of the critically endangered species of Sumatran tiger, must have done a great job of making them feel at home because Jae Jae and Melati have had three cubs since they’ve been here. This is as wild as wildlife gets without putting you at risk of being their next meal. Daily events include talks and feeding times, but there arRead more
Like the Pantheon Crypt in Paris, where you can see the tombs and memorials to great figures from history, Westminster Abbey is a popular attraction to peruse the graves, tablets, busts and stone dedications. Seventeen kings and queens are buried here, along with dukes, countesses and history’s ‘celebs’ – Darwin, Dickens, Hardy, Behn, Olivier, etc. Tributes to over 3,000 departed souls are located all over the Abbey’s chapels and cloisters, including the famous Poets’ Corner in the South Transept, where creative greats from Jane Austen to Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Blake to Betjeman, Shakespeare to Scott are all commemorated. Isambard Kingdom Brunel gets his own stained glass window. As well as the various main visitor areas accessible in the Abbey itself, the gardens that once served the monastery are often open too. However, the Abbey Museum is now closed and is being refurbished as a major new display that will reopen in 2018 as The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries. Opening times vary due to services and Abbey business, so check the website for details of which areas are going to be open when on the day you want to visit. The Cellarium Café is usually open weekdays from 8am, 9am on Saturdays and 9.30am on Sundays. There are daily tours available, which look at highlights around the Abbey. These don’t need to be booked in advance but it’s worth checking what times these are running on the day you want to visit. All entry tickets include a free audio guide for each person. WeRead more
On a clear day you can see as far as Windsor Castle, 25 miles away, from the top of the London Eye, one of the world's largest observation wheels. A circuit on the London Eye will show you all the city's key sights in 30 minutes, and each of the 32 capsules (one for every London borough) is equipped with a touchscreen to explain what you're looking at. There are usually tickets available for walk-ups, but tickets are more expensive than if you book ahead online; disabled visitors and wheelchair users must book in advance. These days there are also a number of variations on the basic trip: Champagne, Hotel Chocolat tastings, perhaps a private capsule, or combining your visit with a London Eye River Cruise.Read more
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