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19 London attractions that locals love

Trust the locals when it comes to sightseeing with these big-name spots that Londoners love

By Matilda Egere-Cooper
Tower Bridge from the air at night.
Tower Bridge from the air at night.
©Vincent Laforet - AIR

Tower Bridge

Attractions Sightseeing Tower Bridge

‘It's a thing of architectural beauty especially all lit up at night. I love running over Tower Bridge and my fondest memory is standing on it, cheering during the London Marathon. It was London at its finest. I hope one day to experience the thrill of running the marathon myself.’ 

Fleur Hallett,

Follow Fleur on Instagram: @fleur_runs
Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens
Photograph: RBG Kew

Kew Gardens

Attractions Parks and gardens Kew

‘While central London has some amazing parks, I'll never forget my first adventure out to Kew Gardens. It's well worth it. The beautiful, tropical greenhouse is a perfect oasis on a breezy, rainy day. I could walk around the manicured grounds all day munching on their Bergamot chocolate from the gift shop!’

Eileen Cotter Wright,

Follow Eileen on Twitter: @Crooked_Flight

Whispering Gallery, St Paul's Cathedral
Whispering Gallery, St Paul's Cathedral
© Matt Biddulph

St Paul's Cathedral

Attractions Religious buildings and sites St Paul’s

‘It's impossible not to be in awe when you stand in front of it. It's a true London icon and the views from the top are incredible - if you don't mind terrifyingly claustrophobic steps! There's also loads of sneaky hidden features like the self-supporting staircase.’

Katie Wignall,

Follow Katie on Twitter: @look_uplondon

Museum of London

Museums History Barbican

‘The Museum of London is a little treasure tucked away just west of Moorgate. For me, it's one of the best museums to visit for all the great city's history, from *that* fire right up to the spectacular 2012 Olympics. And there's a particular treat for lovers of the Victorian era.’

Jess Lawrence

Follow Jess on Twitter: @JessLaw247
Trafalgar Square in the sun
Trafalgar Square in the sun
© Garry Knight

Trafalgar Square

Attractions Event spaces Trafalgar Square

‘It always feels like such an exciting place; people falling off the lions, trying to fit the whole of Nelson's Column in a photo and getting sprayed if you stand too close to the fountain during a strong breeze. I also filmed one of my scenes in the film ‘A Royal Night Out’ there at the dead of night and it felt very special (and cold).’ 

Samantha Baines

Follow Sam on Twitter: @samanthabaines
© The National Gallery, London

National Gallery

Art Galleries Trafalgar Square

‘A free gallery means no pressure to do the whole thing in one go, so you can really focus on the art. I'm doing the National Gallery bit by bit. I like to paint, and when I'm despondent, only the Canaletto room can save me.’ 

James Fitzgerald,

Follow James on Twitter: @jamesfitz789


The London Eye

Things to do Event spaces South Bank

‘The first ever time I was in London, I only had 12 hours before flying back to America, so I needed to go up the London Eye. It was a taster of seeing everything in one place that I'd explored that day. For the most incredible views of Big Ben and Parliament across the Thames and the rest of London for that matter, I can't recommend this enough to anyone new visiting London.’

Kelly Prince-Wright,

Follow Kelly on Twitter: @kellyprincew

Natural History Museum

Museums Natural history South Kensington

‘It's one of those places that transcends every generation of your life. You visited as a child, then at school, then as a teenager with little-to-no money (because it's free!) and I still visit now and will for many years to come. It's an icon that changes with the seasons - butterfly house, ice rink - but that blue whale will always be hanging down from the ceiling. The museum wouldn't be the same without it!’

Alice Westoby,

Follow Alice on Twitter: @alicemayw
London Zoo
London Zoo
© Jordi Corbilla

London Zoo

Attractions Zoos and aquariums Regent’s Park

‘One of my earliest childhood memories involved being mesmerised by the penguins. Name me a five-year-old that wouldn't be captivated by England's biggest penguin pool. Spheniscidae aside, not too many other places offer a stay in a sleeping hut near a lion enclosure, the opportunity to socialise with sloths in a rainforest setting and embark on a sunset safari, all within a scenic boat trip of Camden Market.’ 

Alex Foch

Follow Alex on Twitter: @whatsford0ner
Lido Cafe, Hyde Park
Lido Cafe, Hyde Park
Garry Knight

Hyde Park

Attractions Sightseeing Hyde Park
‘With over 4,000 trees, its own meadow, the Serpentine lake and plenty of horses and squirrels, Hyde Park is one of my favourite London parks. Plus, it's one of the only places I really feel comfortable riding a Santander bike (until the ducks laugh when I fall off...)’

Kayleigh Rattle,

Follow Kayleigh on Twitter: @kayleighrattle
Science Museum
Science Museum
© Jonathan Perugia

Science Museum

Museums Science and technology South Kensington

‘It doesn't matter how old you are or what your interests are, you will definitely find something to amaze you here. I love the fact that most of the exhibits have audiovisual or tactile parts and you feel like you are a part of something. It's an interesting and interactive environment where you will learn about things you never imagined.’

Ellen Sinopoulos,

Follow Ellen on Twitter: @taleoftworuns
© The View from the Shard

The Shard

Things to do Borough and London Bridge

‘I knew about the Shard over five years before it was built (yes it took that long!), and it sparked my interest in both architecture and London. I was one of the first to visit the top of The Shard and I'll never forget watching the orange glow of the evening sun bathe over the London skyline. One of the best views in the world if you ask me!’

Daniel Pharaoh,

Follow Daniel on Twitter: @danpharaoh
© Leon Chew/ Time Out

Hoover Building

Things to do Borough of Ealing

‘As soon as you get off the M40, the Emerald City, the Art Deco-inspired building suddenly appears. If you're not careful you miss its illuminated Wizard of Oz green magic. It's the best "Welcome back to London baby" you can get. I've loved it since I was a kid.’

Sanchia Legister,

Follow Sanchia on Twitter: @MissSanchiaLege


Tate Modern

Art Galleries Bankside

‘Tate Modern is so special. I visited every year when at school and then countless times when going on to study art at university. Since moving to London it's the place I go back to time and time again, never failing to see something new. My favourite time to visit is a rainy Sunday afternoon. Best of all, it's free and open to everyone.’ 

Claire Holden

Follow Claire on Instagram: @ladies_leisure

Borough Market

Things to do Borough Market

‘It’s the epitome of London for me, especially in the winter months. People in woolly hats wander round sipping mulled wine, while the nearby pubs are filled to the rafters with friends catching up after not seeing each other all year 'because it's Christmas'. I always get the best fuzzy feeling when walking through the market and the area.’

Jo Irwin,

Follow Jo on Twitter: @_LadyLondon
British Library Architecture
British Library Architecture
Eloise Bergman / Time Out

British Library

Attractions Libraries, archives and foundations Euston

‘Perhaps it's the awe-inducing layout that really presents, front and centre, the toil of thousands upon thousands of authors. Whatever it is, hunkering down in the British Library for a day inspires me like no other. To be surrounded by all that knowledge just feels so impressive, like I might actually be soaking up all that history and wisdom by some form of magical osmosis... Oh, and their coffee is pretty stellar too!’

Hayley Jane,

Follow Hayley on Twitter: @breaktheloop

Regent's Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Regent’s Park
‘A walk through Regent's Park takes you through peaceful pathways and past the London Zoo and Regent's Canal. I love taking a picnic and having a moment of quiet in the middle of a busy city. The view from the top of Primrose Hill always makes me fall in love with London all over again.’ 

Kalyn Franke,

Follow Kalyn on Twitter: @girlsgonelondon

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