101 things to do in London: the full list

See the complete rundown of 101 great things to do in the capital

For those who don’t know where to start (and anyone up for a challenge), here’s the full list. They are in no particular order – we couldn’t possibly rank them – but if you are looking for extra guidance you might like to view the choices on a map, or flick through our category pages.

Did we miss out your favourite thing to do in the capital? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments box below.


1

Contemplate life and death at the British Museum

In galleries lined with the prized possessions of kings and the everyday trinkets of peasants, the British Museum reveals stories of life, death and glory. Get a picture of how Native American cultures lived centuries ago, seek out the sport of a lion hunt in carvings circa 645BC and explore rituals of death and remembrance reflected in the decorated casket of the ancient Egyptian mummy of Katebet.

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Bloomsbury
2

See World War I’s stories re-told at the Imperial War Museum

The IWM’s brand new First World War Galleries examine the politics and legacy of the 1914-1918 conflict, but also day-to-day life in the trenches. In photographs, artefacts like tins of food, and a collection of letters (many from fighters who never came back), the museum tells a powerful and moving story.

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Elephant & Castle
3

Compare Ming with modern at the V&A

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s ceramics collection is the most extensive in the world. Grayson Perry might have revived an appreciation of the artform (see his handiwork here, alongside ornate pieces of the Medici age) but the collection shows how greatly valued ceramics have always been, from figurines crafted in Paris to soup tureens made in Chelsea. 

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Knightsbridge
4

Walk among dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum

For everyone from T-Rex-obsessed toddlers to budding paleontologists, the Natural History Museum remains the ultimate destination for matters pre-historic. A walk around the dinosaurs gallery, with its life-size models and skeletons, allows you to appreciate the sheer scale of these creatures, while the four animatronic displays reveal more about how they lived.

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Gloucester Road
5

Learn through art at the Science Museum’s Media Space

The Science Museum’s stunning new second floor gallery provides a chance to explore the imagination and creativity of invention as captured in photography and art. See a visiting exhibition or installation then kick back and discuss it over a coffee in the café.

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Knightsbridge
6

See The Ambassadors at the National Gallery

Because it’s free to visit, even if you have just ten minutes you can nip into the National Gallery and see one great masterpiece on your way to somewhere else. Try Holbein’s ‘The Ambassadors’. Laden with symbolism, the painting also features the ‘anamorphic perspective’ technique popular in Early Renaissance art; the seemingly smudged image in the foreground becomes a human skull when viewed sideways on.

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Leicester Square
7

See both Tates in a day

Can’t decide between the Picassos at Tate Modern and the Constables at Tate Britain? Do both! The Tate Boat (decorated with Damien Hirst dots) runs along the Thames between Tate Britain by Vauxhall Bridge and the Tate Modern on Bankside every 40 minutes during gallery opening hours, seven days a week (except Dec 24-26).

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Bankside
8

Go stargazing at the Royal Observatory

The Peter Harrison Planetarium in Greenwich Park is the only place in London where you can take your eyes on a tour of the universe. In these days of HD and 3D TV, the Planetarium has raised its game, with state-of-the-art projection technology and spectacular films revealing the latest scientific discoveries. Shows include Space Safari, which is suitable for children under eight.

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Greenwich
9

Drive a tube train at the London Transport Museum

Children can be seen and heard at this lively Covent Garden temple of travel. There are hands-on exhibits and visitors can clamber on board a tube train or experience what it’s like to sit behind the wheel of a bus. Sadly you can’t take one for a spin, but standing still certainly evokes the experience of London traffic.

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Aldwych
10

Read Beatles lyrics at the British Library

The Magna Carta, works of Shakespeare and Dickens, copies of The Beano – they all have a home at the British Library. However, you can also see original manuscripts handwritten by some of the world’s greatest musical talents. See early drafts by John Lennon of ‘In My Life’, ‘She Said She Said’ and ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ written on a piece of Lufthansa-headed paper.

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Euston
11

See inside Buckingham Palace while the Queen’s on holiday

You can visit the Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews all year round, but if you want a glimpse of where Her Majesty entertains presidents and goes about her royal duties, you get just two months of the year, while HRH is out of town. The Summer Opening (from late July to late September) includes a tour of 19 State Rooms, a special exhibition that changes from year to year, and a walk around the palace garden.

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Victoria
12

Celebrate the seasons at Kew Gardens

The colours at Kew change throughout the year – from February’s stunning sea of two million purple and white crocuses and March’s pink blossom Cherry Walk, to the rich red poppies that bloom in August and the autumn fruit of the berberis plants. Download the free Kew Gardens app to find out what’s in bloom on any day of the year.

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Kew, Surrey
13

See medicine grow at Chelsea Physic Garden

Originally created in the late 1600s to cultivate native and exotic plants, this walled garden to this day holds a unique collection of thousands of plants that can be eaten or used in medicine. Popular for wedding hire and perfect for a peaceful stroll, the garden is also a charming spot for afternoon tea (at the Tangerine Dream Café) before you head back out into twenty-first-century Chelsea.

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London
14

Do the time warp at Dennis Severs' House

Imagine you’ve stepped into a painting by one of the Old Masters. Walking into Dennis Severs’ House is rather like that. Restored in the style of east London’s Huguenot period, it’s open for tours throughout the year. In silence, visitors pass through its ‘still life drama’, visiting each room to see evidence of an eighteenth century silk weaver’s family life without ever meeting a soul: a dinner lies half-eaten, a fire still crackles, a chamber pot needs emptying. A unique experience.

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Spitalfields
15

Go deep into Tiger Territory at London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo’s enclosure for its Sumatran tigers, Melati and Jae Jae, is especially designed to replicate the landscape of their natural habitat, with trees to climb and high feeding poles that allow them to hunt and eat as they might in the wild. If the zoo wanted to make them feel at home, it seems to have worked – visitors looking through the large glass windows can now see the couple’s triplet cubs, too.

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Primrose Hill
16

See London from above at the Shard

Making the city’s skyline a whole lot more spiky than it used to be, the Shard has quickly become an iconic London landmark. The tallest building in Western Europe, the tower has floor-to-ceiling windows offering amazing views. The public visiting area, The View From the Shard, allows you to look out 244 metres above ground level, as if you’re perched over the city on your own cloud.

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Southwark
17

Take a spin on the London Eye

Okay, at an elegant 0.6mph, the London Eye doesn’t really spin, but the views as it wheels round to 135 metres above the ground can be pretty thrilling nonetheless. Look out over the Thames and central London (you can even see if the Queen’s opened her curtains at Buckingham Palace), or book a special package – options include romantic champagne trips and a two-trip ticket so that you can ride early in the morning and at dusk on the same day.

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Waterloo
18

Take afternoon tea at the Houses of Parliament

If you’re taking a tour of this grand palace of politics you can book ahead to enjoy afternoon tea afterwards. Sadly there’s no chance of seeing the PM – teas are served on Saturdays and selected days during Parliament recess – but you can nibble on savouries and cakes in in the elegant Terrace Pavilion with views of the Thames rarely enjoyed by the public.

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Westminster
19

Meet the walrus at the Horniman Museum

Victorian south-east London was far more fascinating than most other parts of the capital thanks to tea trader Frederick John Horniman, who wanted to ‘bring the world to Forest Hill’. He began to collect specimens and artefacts of natural history and culture from all over the world to create his own museum in the late 1800s. The present museum opened in 1901 and the 130-year-old over-stuffed walrus is still its star attraction!

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Forest Hill
20

Discover the fascinating history of furniture at the Geffrye Museum

The Geffrye is a museum dedicated to the living room. Focusing on this heart of the British home and furnishing a series of lounges in period style from 1600 onward, it tells a fascinating story of fashion, taste and social change. The mid-century room circa 1955-1965 shows the beginnings of contemporary interior design and the Scandinavian influence. Look closely and you’ll probably see a chair or shelves your parents still own.

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Haggerston
21

See X-rated artefacts at the Wellcome Collection

Medical research charity the Wellcome Trust created its free-to-visit gallery on the Euston Road to help foster a wider appreciation and understanding of medicine. Innovative exhibitions, talks and performance events reflect themes of medicine and the body in all kinds of creative ways, often through art. The permanent collections include an image library so you can see X-rays from over 100 years ago.

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Euston
22

Make sandcastles at the V&A Museum of Childhood

Also known as the Toy Museum, this much-loved institution balances the need to protect priceless antique dolls and teddies behind glass with keeping its young visitors amused. While the adults get nostalgic over dolls house displays, children can raid the dressing-up box, play in the sandpit, do puppet shows and join craft sessions. There is also a shimmering, multi-textured ‘sensory pod’ for babies to prod and gaze at.

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Bethnal Green
23

Visit the park with London’s most unusual door policy

No one is allowed into Coram’s Fields playground unless they’re accompanied by a child. This small green space is a play haven, with playgrounds, sandpits and farm animals. In summer, children can splash about in water and the café is open, too. Surely the only place in Zone 1 where you’ll hear chickens and goats as you pass by on your way to work.

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Bloomsbury
24

Spend a day in London’s newest park

As the last athletes from the 2012 Olympic Games packed their kit bags and left, the trucks moved in to transform the Stratford site into Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Some of the 2012 venues still host events but there is public access to the Velopark and the Aquatics Centre, plus loads of space for cycle rides, waterside picnics and games in the Tumbling Bay adventure playground.

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Olympic Park
25

Meet the city-dwelling alpacas

With Canary Wharf’s shiny towers of high finance in the near distance, the alpacas, cows, shire horses and sheep at Newham City Farm bask in their vast green space in the park at the centre of the Isle of Dogs. Free to visit and open Tuesday to Sunday all year round, it’s a wonderful chance for us townies to remind ourselves what goats, chickens and ferrets look (and smell) like.

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London
26

Have a laugh for free at Theatre Royal Stratford East

A great way to see upcoming talents, Comic Mondays is held in the bar at Theatre Royal Stratford East and is London’s longest running free comedy night. Sessions start at 8pm, with a full bill of stand-ups on a mission to make you smile. And if one of the comics doesn’t tickle your funny bone, you’ll still have cash in your pocket to buy a drink.

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Stratford
28

See an all-singing, all-dancing West End musical

In London’s West End there’s an insatiable appetite for Broadway transfers like ‘The Book of Mormon’, but there’s homegrown success, too: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s epic ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, Cameron Mackintosh’s ‘Les Miserables’, the RSC’s ‘Matilda the Musical’ and Richard Eyre’s acclaimed ‘The Pajama Game’ are among the recent hits. Last-minute tickets from the Leicester Square ticket booth are usually your best bet for a bargain.

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Soho
29

See the best dance in town

From modern movement to traditional dance to classical ballet, Sadler’s Wells presents a dazzling array of dance productions each year. Along with the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House and the English National Ballet at the Coliseum, it leaves us spoilt for choice. But don’t forget other venues like the Roundhouse, too, for stunning international shows that often blend dance with forms like circus and theatre.

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Soho
33

Pop into a pop-up

Restaurants, boutiques, theatres, markets – whether it’s a question of short attention span or high London rents, the pop-up experience has proved a huge hit. For pop-up fashion stores head to Boxpark in Shoreditch, for food head to Street Feast and for shows sign up for newsletters from Secret Cinema and Gingerline.

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Soho
34

Dance till dawn at Fabric

Do the good-time boys and girls who flock to this nightclub have homes to go to? We may never know, because the music (garage, house, techno) plays from 11pm into the night – until 7am on Saturday morning and 8am on Sunday morning. The good news for employers is that it closes at a far more sensible 5.30am on Monday mornings.

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Smithfield
35

See a movie under the stars

London’s outdoor cinema season usually runs from late spring to September, with more screens popping up every summer. Among your choices are the Rooftop Film Club in four urban locations across town, Luna Cinema, which tends to present evening screenings in pretty parks and squares, and Dalston Roof Park where you pay £5 membership and can see films for free.

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Smithfield
36

Spend the night on board Sir Francis Drake’s flagship

Tucked into a little dry dock in bustling Bankside, the full-sized replica of the Golden Hinde galleon looks like it’s just dropped out of the sky, ‘Time Bandits’-style, from another century. As well as daily tours and pirate fun days, there’s the Family Overnight Living History Experience: dress as Tudor sailors, learn about life on a ship then bunk down on the Gun Deck after supper.

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Bankside
37

Get up early to see Columbia Road in full bloom

A weekend institution in east London, the Sunday flower market that lines Columbia Road is the hippest and one of the best places to buy flowers, bedding plants and even a banana tree if you’ve got the patio space at home. It goes on until 3pm in all weathers, but for the best buys you need to get there for 8am.

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Haggerston
38

Forage for antiques on Bermondsey Square

A few blocks south of Tower Bridge, Bermondsey Square has been developed as a classy enclave of bars and arty hangouts. However, the Friday antiques market is no new arrival. For years it’s been a savvy spot for browsing vintage homeware, furniture and jewellery. The hardcore buyers show up when it opens at 6am but you’ve got until 2pm to surf the stalls.

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Bermondsey
39

Find a gem at Princess May car boot sale

One of the trendiest places for bargain gear is a school playground in Stoke Newington. Every Saturday and Sunday sellers just roll up (no need to book a pitch) and spread out their wares. Keen shoppers look for vintage fashions, vinyl and anything stylishly retro. Gates open at 8am Saturdays and 7am Sundays.

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Newington Green
41

See the shop that’s as beautiful as its wares

The ornate mock Tudor exterior and the warren of rooms and galleries are all part of the magical experience of a shopping trip to Liberty. Established in 1875, the original store sold fabrics and fine objets d’art from the Far East. Eclectic style throughout its fashion, beauty, gift and home departments continues to set rather than follow trends, with leading designers selling exclusive ranges through the store.

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Soho
42

Skip the Saturday morning lie-in for the best doughnuts in town

Whether you’re on your way home from a night’s clubbing or you’ve been up since 5am with your three-year-old, gloriously quiet mornings in central London are your reward. Head for St John Bakery, just behind Maltby Street Market for their famous freshly made doughnuts oozing with jam, or go Proustian with just-baked madeleines dipped in your cup of tea.

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Bermondsey
43

See puppets come to life at Little Angel Puppet Theatre

Islington’s Little Angel Theatre presents its own shows and touring productions, runs education programmes and makes its own puppets in the workshop next door. Children and adults enter the worlds of fairy tales, comedy shows and drama and are completely drawn in by the expressive magic of this timeless art. There are children’s holiday workshops and marionette courses for grown-ups, too.

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Islington
44

Venture beyond the West End for fringe at the Finborough

Maintaining the freedom of fringe arts in an intimate space above a pub, the award-winning Finborough Theatre company still manages to compete with theatreland’s bigger players for quality. The focus is on new writing or neglected plays from the nineteenth and twentieth century that would rarely been seen elsewhere, and productions regularly transfer to the West End.

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Chelsea
45

See a gig in the House of St Barnabas’ magical chapel

A former hostel, the House of St Barnabas continues its charitable work helping vulnerable people get into meaningful employment. Its club in Soho remains part of its social enterprise, with an art space including talks, live sessions from upcoming talent, and DJ nights supported by clubbing legends like Gilles Peterson.

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Soho
46

Be a gent, get a wet shave in Mayfair

The metrosexual man may no longer have his own butler to attend to his barbering needs, but Geo F Trumper is here to help. Their Mayfair store on Curzon Street is a shrine to Victorian male pampering. Having a luxurious wet shave here is as relaxing as a massage, but if you’re attached to your bristles, other grooming services include moustache and beard trimming.

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Mayfair
47

Kit out your face with authentic retro specs

At its Chalk Farm store, General Eyewear is passionate about spectacles design from 1790 to 1995. Their collection of original frames reflects the timelessness of genuine style and if you have the money, they’ll make you a replica pair in acetate. Alternatively you can buy from their own ranges, including frames that rework English and Italian designs from the 1940s and ’50s.

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Camden
48

Spend the evening in a world famous jazz club

When saxophonist Ronnie Scott opened a basement jazz club in Soho in 1959, he created a space where musicians could play in an intimate setting rather than big concert halls. From Miles Davis and Count Basie to Nina Simone, all the legends played at Ronnie’s. It moved to its present home on Frith Street decades ago and remains a must on any great jazz musician’s tour itinerary.

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Chinatown
49

Cosy up to the fire in a quaint old pub

Nothing beats sitting by an open fire drinking a good pint in a charming old pub (reading Dickens while you toast your toes, optional). On a cobbled street on the lanes above Hampstead village, the Holly Bush is one of the perfect spots for just that. The menu is reliably gastropub, but the low-beamed bar and the eighteenth century interiors are pleasingly far from contemporary.

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Hampstead
50

Have a riverside pint at the Crabtree

Unlike urban riverside drinking in central and east London spots, the stretch between Hammersmith and Putney Bridges affords far prettier views of the Thames. This popular example has a large wine list and a decent selection of ales to choose from before you head out for a table on the decking or, if you’re lucky, a seat under the willow tree.

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London
51

Sip a craft beer straight from the source

Why not refresh yourself with a genuinely local brew? The Camden Town Brewery makes lagers and pale ales at its base underneath Kentish Town West station and its wares can be sampled in bars all over town. However, its own bar is worth a visit (open Thursday to Saturday), with nosh supplied by guest street food stalls. They also run brewery tours Thursday and Saturday.

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Kentish Town
52

Test your music knowledge at the Lexington’s pub quiz

We’re not talking about a glorified fruit machine asking chart trivia here, this live session every other Monday night is an interrogation in sound. Officially known as the Rough Trade Shop Pop Quiz, it’s a good night’s entertainment, with rounds featuring pictures, music exerpts and general pop questions. There are drinks and record tokens for prizes.

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Clerkenwell
54

Indulge in afternoon tea at the Savoy

You might not have the budget to stay at a hotel that’s been frequented by princes, politicians and film stars in its 125 years-plus history, but for £50 you can get afternoon tea in the Savoy’s Thames Foyer. It’s not cheap, but the feast of finger sandwiches, scones, pastries and cakes should keep you going until breakfast the next day.

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Strand
55

Start your day with a fry-up at E Pellicci

Since 1900 this workers’ caff has provided carbs and protein in eggy, meaty and pan-fried form to the good people of east London. Traces of bygone eras, like art deco interior details and Formica tables have earned it Grade II-listed status but what diners love best is that the fry-ups, grills and Italian dishes are still served by the same family.

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Bethnal Green
56

Stop for coffee in a public loo

Venue says: 20% off evening private hire when you quote 'Timeout'. Email info@the-attendant.com. Now open Sundays 10am-5pm.

Don’t worry, these beautifully converted old Victorian toilets were given a good scrub down before the plates of cakes were laid out. Opened in 2013, Attendant has a small bank of tables where the porcelain urinals once provided relief to gents about town. It’s already a popular spot for attentively prepared Caravan-roasted coffee, sandwiches, salads and sweet treats.

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Fitzrovia
57

Eat five-star food on a one-star budget at the Vincent Rooms

A far more delicious way of supporting the education system than risking your barnet with a trainee hairstylist, the Vincent Rooms near Victoria is an elegant restaurant staffed entirely by students from Westminster Kingsway College. These apprentices are overseen by experienced professionals and the result is great Modern European dining at trainee rates.

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Pimlico
58

Eat food barbecued at your table at Koba

K-Town (New Malden) may be the heart of great Korean dining in London, but you don’t have to travel out to the suburbs for spicy squid and stews with an umami kick, because Koba in the centre of town more than holds its own. Consistently excellent barbecued meats like beef kalbi and bulgogi are grilled at your table for you.

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West End
59

Go for a late night Chinese at Four Seasons

This Chinatown institution bustles into the middle of the night as theatregoers and food lovers alike wait to sit down to rice with roast duck and crispy belly pork. With high demand for tables in peak hours, the experience feels more canteen than restaurant, but the extensive menu rarely disappoints.

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Chinatown
60

Watch your fish and chips being fried on CCTV at Kerbisher & Malt

Every aspect of the fish-frying process has enjoyed an upgrade to ensure this Shepherd’s Bush chippy is the best in town: excellent fish, light batter, homemade tartare sauce and double-fried chips. To compensate for the lack of cheery chippy shoveling potatoes at the fryer there’s a live video feed from the kitchen so you can even watch the peas being mushed.

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Hammersmith
61

Get a caffeine fix while your bike’s fixed at Look Mum No Hands!

Banish thoughts of trouser clips and oily repair kits – now that pedal power is fashionable the savvy cyclist gets his bike checked while enjoying a barista-prepped coffee at a cycle café. Look Mum No Hands! is the cream of the crop. The Old Street branch has a large workshop, plus a menu of salads and hot dishes that changes seasonally, plus locally baked cakes and craft beers.

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City
62

Have a cheap meal with the locals at the Bonnington Café

Community cafés are happily on the rise in London – places where local people come together and serve what their talents can muster. This vegan and vegetarian community café sits in peaceful Vauxhall Square. The dishes reflect the nationalities of its contributors and the meals are super-affordable – starters £3, mains £8, puds £3, BYO drink. Book ahead, it’s very popular.

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Vauxhall
63

See the Christmas lights twinkling in the West End

For generations, an evening stroll to see the lights has been a Christmastime tradition. Switched on in early November, usually by a celeb who’s likely to draw a crowd, the lights in Oxford Street tend to be more modern and might even promote a new movie, whereas the Regent Street lights are usually classic and classy. Check out Selfridges’ beautifully dressed Christmas windows, too. Magical.

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West End
64

Wave a Union Flag at the Proms

From mid-July to mid-September The Proms’ annual festival of classical music takes over the Royal Albert Hall and Hyde Park. For each concert there are about 1400 £5 standing tickets, but if you want to wave your flags at the famously rousing last night, apply by ballot online from mid-spring. Alternatively, for last-minute tickets on the day, join the queues on the Queen’s Steps.

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Knightsbridge
65

Party your way round the Notting Hill Carnival

This celebration of West Indian culture and Europe’s biggest street party always takes place on August Bank Holiday. Sunday is family day, and on Monday the streets get especially crowded so arrive by tube then walk to Chepstow Road, Ladbroke Grove or Westbourne Grove. Sound systems on the street and in the squares are a big draw, but some of best DJ sessions feature at the warm-ups and after parties.

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Knightsbridge
66

Brave the chilly waters of Hampstead Heath’s swimming ponds

Hampstead’s ladies’ and men’s ponds are the UK’s only places offering life-guarded open-water public swimming all year round. (There’s a mixed pond, too, but it’s members-only in winter.) Competent swimmers aged eight-plus are allowed in but remember there’s no shallow end – just jump in. In winter there’s ample health advice to make sure you’re up to splashing about in ice-cold water!

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London
67

Discover the tranquil Kyoto Garden in Holland Park

Holland Park has many great assets including sports facilities, play areas, woodland and an eco centre, but it also has a remarkable hidden treasure: a traditionally designed Japanese garden. Created as part of London’s Japan Festival in 1992, the garden has water features, Japanese trees and other pretty plants, and is carefully tended to ensure it remains a picturesque spot.

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Holland Park
68

Watch the tennis at Wimbledon

In late June leafy south-west London becomes the focus of the world’s greatest lawn tennis championship. Top tickets must be applied for by ballot (UK applications start the August before) but there are also tickets available each day during the tournament for those prepared to queue. The action is also broadcast for free on a big screen just outside the grounds, on Aorangi Terrace.

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Wimbledon
69

Get a taste of the Caribbean at Etta's Seafood Kitchen in Brixton

Etta’s Kitchen is one of the exciting eateries that have made Brixton Village Market a hub for discerning foodies in the last couple of years. Opened as part of the Empty Shops Project, its décor is pretty basic, but Etta’s Caribbean-influenced menu is excellent. It’s fish-focused with the picks of that morning’s visit to Billingsgate, but there are veggie options too.

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Brixton
70

Watch the podium dancers at Cyberdog in Camden Market

Teenagers may flock to Camden for stalls and shops crammed with goth essentials in 50 shades of black, but Cyberdog is a burst of colour with a space-age anti-retro philosophy. Its three-floor flagship store in the Stables Market is as much a club space as a boutique, with music pumping and wildly clad dancers gyrating on podiums to inspire your spending.

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Camden
71

Tour the Royal Opera House

Discover something new at an institution with centuries of Covent Garden heritage. The Royal Opera House backstage tour takes you around the auditorium and behind the scenes, often with a chance to see the Royal Ballet in class. The Velvet, Gilt and Glamour Tour offers a look at the building’s architecture as you hear stories of the opera greats who have performed there.

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Aldwych
72

Make a splash at the Lee Valley White Water Centre

Having played host to some heroic oarwork during the London 2012 Olympic Games, Lee Valley White Water Centre is now open to aquatic adventurers of all abilities. Activities on offer include canoeing, kayaking and – for those with an appetite for some real adrenaline – white water rafting. The latter costs as little as £30 per person (for a full raft of nine during special off-peak times), and includes some basic training and use of the centre’s equipment.

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London
73

Tour the UK’s newest Grade II-listed stadium

After just shy of a century at the old Highbury Stadium, Arsenal FC moved into the Emirates Stadium in 2006. This impressive 60,000-seater arena is open to tours throughout the week (aside from match days, obviously), during which visitors can check out the dressing rooms, dugout, pressroom and more. For diehard gooners, there’s the ‘Legends tour’, which costs £37.50 and is led by a former Arsenal hero. There’s also a dedicated Arsenal museum on site, which costs £7.50 on the door.

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Highbury
74

Go birdwatching at London Wetland Centre

Although most visitors to the capital won’t get further than the common pigeon, there’s a whole lot more to birdlife in London than the feathery pests of Trafalgar Square. Venture out to leafy Barnes in the south-west and, as well as a picturesque landscape, there’s the opportunity to spot kites, sandpipers, kingfishers and more at London Wetland Centre. Over 200 species of bird have been spotted in total, along with various reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and – eep! ­– bats.

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London
75

See the Hogarths at Sir John Soane’s Museum

Sir John Soane’s Museum in Holborn takes its name from the architect whose sprawling art collection it houses (he built the Bank of England, so wasn’t short of a few bob). Among the museum’s biggest crowd-pullers is a series by fellow Londoner William Hogarth entitled ‘A Rake’s Progress’, which, in eight scenes, charts the downfall of a young man who inherits and squanders a fortune.

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Midtown
76

Visit the courtyard at Somerset House

If you somehow plan your visit to miss the many exhibitions, art shows, gigs and film screenings that take place at Somerset House, there’s still plenty to do at this peaceful West End enclave. Top of the list should be enjoying a cold drink in the Edmond J Safra Fountain Court and – if it’s warm enough – having a splash amid its array of graceful jets. In December and January, a huge Christmas tree and ice-rink pop up, with mulled wine stalls completing the festive romance.

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Aldwych
77

Admire the city from the top of Primrose Hill

A postcard-worthy view of the city’s skyline isn’t the only reason to visit Primrose Hill – it’s surrounded by posh cafés and frequented by some of London’s friendliest dog walkers, making this well-kept annex of Regent’s Park a great place to people-watch. When the sun goes down, though, it really is all about that view, so pack a picnic, set your camera to ‘panorama’ and play ‘spot the landmark’ as London is bathed in an awesome orange ligh.

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Primrose Hill
78

Eat authentic Turkish kebabs at Mangal Ocakbasi in Dalston

Such is the density of Turkish restaurants between Dalston and Stoke Newington that, of an evening, the smell of grilled meat can be intoxicating. While Mangal II on Stoke Newington Road is the one with the hilarious Twitter account and famous regulars (artists Gilbert & George), Mangal Ocakbasi, just round the corner on Arcola Street, does the better food. Prices have risen in line with its popularity, but it’s still remarkably good value (especially considering you can bring your own booze and there’s no corkage). Order a mixed meze followed by a mixed grill and you’ll leave fat and happy.

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Dalston
79

See a nineteenth-century clipper from below

The stunning centrepiece of Greenwich’s maritime heritage, the Cutty Sark spent the end of the nineteenth century keeping London supplied with one of its favourite commodities: tea. The ship was nearly destroyed by fire in 2007, but reopened to the public in 2012 looking more handsome than ever. The £30 million restoration has seen the ship elevated three metres above its dry dock, allowing visitors to get closer than ever to its 65-metre-long gilded hull.

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London
80

Watch a puppet show on a barge

For the past 35 years, theatre company Movingstage has been delighting Londoners big and small with its charming puppet shows, which (aside from August and September when they move to Richmond) are performed on a canal boat moored up in Little Venice. Shows range from classic Punch & Judy fare to more contemporary productions, employing the use of everything from traditional marionettes to shadow puppetry. The theatre seats just 55 people, so book ahead to avoid missing out.

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Little Venice
81

Queue for a Brindisa chorizo roll at Borough Market

Sensory overload is a serious danger at London’s oldest food market, with mouth-watering sights and smells at every turn. If you taste just one thing (unlikely, what with all the free samples on offer) make it this: a sublime sandwich from one of the city’s best tapas restaurants. You’ll have to wait a bit at lunchtime, but the queue moves quickly and the anticipation just serves to make that first mouthful of succulent sausage even more memorable.

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Southwark
82

Play in the fountains in Granary Square

There’s plenty of highbrow, sophisticated fun to be had in the redeveloped Granary Square, which is home to University of the Arts London and some seriously posh restaurants. Of course, if you’d rather, you can just strip down to your swimmers and cool off in the fountains. There are over a thousand in total, blocked off into four rectangular grids, which squirt and splash in choreographed patterns from 8am until late. Each of the jets is individually lit, so visit after dark for a stunning light show.

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Kings Cross and St Pancras
83

Eat unlimited toast in Clapham

Carb connoisseurs are in for a treat at friendly neighbourhood café Breads Etcetera which, alongside a menu of hearty brunch fare, operates an all-you-can-eat toast service. A central table is piled high with loaves of all shapes, sizes and grains (all freshly baked on site) and there are individual toasters on tables, allowing you to prepare your morning slice exactly how you like it. Dry toast is no fun at all, of course, so be sure to make good use of the sizeable arsenal of spreads and jams.

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Clapham
84

Drink spritz on the top of a car park

If there’s one thing London’s trendy set love more than an Aperol spritz (a blend of orangey aperitif, prosecco and soda water), it’s an unconventional party space. Open-air Peckham bar Frank’s Café has both (it’s located on top of a multi-storey car park), with sensational views across London to boot. As with all of the city’s rooftop bars, queues can become formidable when the sun’s out. They’re worth sticking out, though: Frank’s is a scene-leading bar that, for once, lives up to the hashtagged hyperbole.

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Peckham
85

Get a beigel from Brick Lane Beigel Bake

After suspiciously cheap curry, Brick Lane’s second greatest contribution to London’s gastronomic index is the salt beef beigel, which have been served up at this charmingly scruffy bakery since 1977. It allegedly churns out 7,000 of the boiled bready beauties a day (that’s why it never closes), which are consumed by everyone from night-shifting taxi drivers and party people to savvy tourists and local pensioners. At just £3.70 a pop, it’d be rude not to.

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Brick Lane
86

Browse more than 200,000 titles at the new Foyles flagship

Having been forced out of the premises where it spent the best part of a century by Crossrail, London’s biggest independent bookshop moved into a shiny new home in June 2014. The 107 Charing Cross Road site boasts eight levels of bookshelves, an events space, art gallery, café and a nifty interactive search tool that makes tracking down books an absolute doddle. It’s also an incredibly beautiful shop just to stroll around. Take that, internet!

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Soho
87

See theatre Elizabethan-style with a groundling ticket to the Globe

Whether it was to bring the audience closer to the action or just because they hadn’t invented chairs yet, back in Shakespeare’s day theatregoers would spend performances on their feet. At the Globe theatre on the South Bank the tradition continues, with 700 standing tickets released for each performance. Not only do these tickets cost a very affordable £5, they also offer the best view of the show – assuming you’re not incredibly short, that is.

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Bankside
88

Visit the Whispering Gallery in St Paul’s Cathedral

Both inside and out, Sir Christopher Wren’s baroque beast is a marvel to look at, but it also sounds pretty awesome, too. Up in the Whispering Gallery (the indoor balcony at the base of the dome), the acoustics of the cathedral’s architecture create a bizarre aural phenomenon: stand on the exact opposite side of the dome as a friend, whisper something (‘I’m watching you’ works rather nicely) and they’ll hear you loud and clear, despite being over 100 feet away. Spooky.

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City
89

Climb the Monument’s 311 steps

It’s far from the most vertiginous landmark in London these days, but the Monument still offers a darn fine view of the City. Tower Bridge, City Hall and the various skyscrapers of the financial district can all be seen from the top of the Christopher Wren-designed column, which was built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London. There’s a certificate for everyone who completes the 60-metre climb to the top, while those unable to make the ascent can check out a live stream of the view via a screen at the entrance.

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City
90

Cross the Thames in a cable car

Part tourist attraction, part overly ostentatious public transport, it’s fair to say the Emirates Air Line (as the cable car that runs from Greenwich Peninsula to Royal Docks is officially known) has proven itself a bit of a white elephant since opening in 2012. Oddly enough, not many Londoners are factoring it into their daily commute. Still, the flipside to its lack of popularity is that, unlike pretty much every other attraction offering a grand view of the city, you shouldn’t have to queue to have a go. Nor will you have to part with much cash – using an Oyster card, a 20-minute round trip costs just £6.40. Bargain.

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Tower Hamlets
91

Admire the ‘Great Room’ at Kenwood House

If you’re looking for the most appropriately named room in all of London, this could be it. Having just emerged from a major renovation, Kenwood House – an eighteenth-century stately home located on Hampstead Heath – is looking smarter than ever, with special care shown to its most opulent bits, such as its sprawling library or ‘Great Room’. Visiting is free, as are the official Kenwood House iPhone and Android apps, with which visitors can take their own audio tour.

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London
92

Visit Karl Marx’s resting place

A stroll through a graveyard may seem like a fairly macabre way to spend an afternoon, but then again the chaotically overgrown Highgate Cemetery really is something special. While a visit to the West Cemetery requires booking in advance, entrance to the East Cemetery costs just £3 on the gate. It’s here you’ll find the final resting places of, among others, ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide’ author Douglas Adams, artist Patrick Caulfield (whose headstone spells out the word ‘DEAD’ in big letters) and father of socialism Karl Marx, whose tomb is modestly topped with a massive sculpture of his head.

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Highgate
93

See London on two wheels

Though London’s cycle hire scheme was the idea of ex-London Mayor Ken Livingstone, the bulky blue steeds will forever be known as ‘Boris Bikes’ after current Mayor Boris Johnson (himself an evangelist of two-wheeled travel), under whom the scheme was implemented in 2010. Access to the bikes costs £2 per day and, as long as you re-dock yours within 30 minutes (time enough to get from Shoreditch to the West End), that’s all you’ll be charged. Download the scheme’s mobile app to check the status of your nearest dock and to plot a cycle-friendly route through town.

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Highgate
94

Learn absolutely no London history on a Bullshit London tour

Facts? Figures? Historical accuracy? All totally overrated, if you believe the comedy duo behind this fun, fallacy-filled walking tour of the city. Starting every Thursday at 7pm outside St Paul’s Cathedral (look for the ‘flamboyant jackets’), the tours cost £10, last around two hours, and comprise of a healthy mixture of improvised skits and out-and-out porkie-telling. Highlights of the route include the South Bank, the Thames Mermaid and Trafalgar Square. One of which we suspect may be made up.

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West End
95

Go on a loo tour

About as far from a bog-standard walking tour as it’s possible to get, London Loo Tours take a look at the city’s history through the murky prism of public sanitation. Running on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the tours drop in on conveniences notable for their heritage, size or location, and often end up at Cellar Door – a cocktail-slash-cabaret bar that enjoyed a former life as an underground gents’ WC. Seriously – we’re not taking the piss.

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96

See the pelicans in St James’s Park

Greenwich Park and Richmond Park have deer, Clissold Park has goats and Holland Park has peacocks. In St James’s, the crowd-pulling wildlife is, believe it or not, pelicans. The baggy-beaked birds were first given to the park in 1664 as a gift from the Russian Ambassador (pelicans being the seventeenth-century equivalent of a bottle of Jacob’s Creek and some Ferrero Rocher, presumably), and can be seen chowing down on fish (and the odd pigeon) by the park’s central lake.

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Whitehall
97

Admire the roses in Regent’s Park

Londoners’ nostrils have a pretty hard time of it, what with the traffic, the bin lorries and the lack of public loos. On balance, though, we really can’t complain, especially considering that we’ve got free and unticketed access to one of the country’s largest collection of roses in Regent’s Park. Queen Mary’s Gardens are home to around 12,000 roses of more than 85 varieties, including the unique Royal Parks rose. The fragrance is fantastic throughout the year, but visit in early June to see the blooms at their best.

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Regent's Park
98

Find the Elfin Oak in Kensington Gardens

A stroll through a graveyard may seem like a fairly macabre way to spend an afternoon, but then again the chaotically overgrown Highgate Cemetery really is something special. While a visit to the West Cemetery requires booking in advance, entrance to the East Cemetery costs just £3 on the gate. It’s here you’ll find the final resting places of, among others, ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide’ author Douglas Adams, artist Patrick Caulfield (whose headstone spells out the word ‘DEAD’ in big letters) and father of socialism Karl Marx, whose tomb is modestly topped with a massive sculpture of his head.

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Hyde Park
99

Visit the Serpentine Gallery’s summer pavilion

Every summer, Hyde Park’s Serpentine Gallery invites a different so-hot-right-now architect to design a temporary outdoor space for visitors to lounge around in. Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry and Ai Weiwei are among the more famous names to contribute work, which often makes the increasingly amorphous architecture of the city’s financial centre look like reserved office blocks by comparison. Perhaps in tribute to the surrounding parkland, Chilean architect Smiljan Radić’s contribution (pictured) for 2014 looks like a massive pebble.

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Hyde Park
100

Harness up and scale the O2

See that big white thing held up by yellow sticks by the Thames in Greenwich? It was originally called the Millennium Dome, and Londoners hated it. But it’s enjoyed a new lease of life since being repurposed as a live music venue, and even if there’s no international megastar playing a gig, there’s still plenty to do. The latest attraction is Up at the O2 – a 52-metre climb up and over the venue’s roof. Book a dusk slot and look westward for one of the most spectacular city views going.

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Tower Hamlets
101

Soak up over a century’s worth of Chelsea history

While other London clubs ditch their old grounds in search of more futuristic lodgings, at Stamford Bridge there’s heritage and history in every last brick. Between matches, Chelsea FC’s Premier League battleground operates tours, which see fans take in home and away dressing rooms, the players’ tunnel and plenty more. Tours last an hour and start at £17 (£11 for kids), or you can check out the dedicated Chelsea museum for £11.

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Chelsea

Comments

4 comments
Will
Will

Fab website, me and the family had no clue what we want to do on a day out, now we have booked a hotel there is so much to do!!!

Wen-Lin Gonglewski
Wen-Lin Gonglewski

For something different Geffrye Museum is a gem and very much overlooked. It showcases the history of the home, how homes and gardens reflect societies in time, behaviors, the various style and taste over the past 400 years from the 1600 on. It's free. Go thru it with an audio guide. Take your kids to their many fun weekend activities and summer program. After the visit, plunk down in one of the many Vietnamese restaurants nearby and enjoy a munch. Perfect weekend outing.

Madeline MacKenzie
Madeline MacKenzie

this was incredibly helpful. my cousin is coming to London and we were not sure what to do, however after looking at this we have gained many ideas. Thank you very much!!

hanna
hanna

WOW THIS IS A GOOD WEBSITE AS IT HAS HELPED ME TO EXPLORE LONDON MORE THANKS! :) :p