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Days out in London

Here are just a few great ways to spend a day – or some days – out in London

Treetop walkway at Kew Gardens
© Matt Brown, Flickr
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Let’s be honest: London is brimming with so many endless things to do, you can spend your entire life trying to tick every last box. But what if you’re after just that one great day out? How do you sift through the endless list of attractions and distractions for one manageable list? That’s where we step in. It’s kind of what we do, y’know. Let us find you the best possible days out in London, plucked from all the beautiful, quirky, thrilling and enthralling things to do in the city.

For instance, you could scale The O2. That makes a pretty leftfield start to the day – climbs kick off at 10am daily. Maybe you could follow that up with a journey down the Thames on the river bus, before getting stuck into one of the best brunches in town and venturing out for a spot of shopping. Of course, the endless supply of top-notch theatre to see in the West End could comfortably fill an evening. And for somewhere to stay? We’ve already rounded up the 100 best hotels in town.

With any luck, you’re feeling inspired to go out and seize London by the horns. Take a look below at our definitive guide to all the best attractions, shops, eateries and events that can make the perfect day out in the capital. Happy exploring!

Attractions

Things to do, Event spaces

London Eye

icon-location-pin South Bank

It might have been knocked from its heady heights as the world’s tallest ferris wheel – you’ll have to head to Las Vegas for that – but the London Eye remains an iconic part of the London skyline. Snap-happy tourists arrive here in their droves, so be prepared to queue for one of the spacious 25-person pods. Once you’re airborne, take in those far-reaching views of the Thames and beyond. On a clear day, you might even see if the Queen’s opened the curtains at Buck House.

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Attractions, Zoos and aquariums

SEA LIFE London Aquarium

icon-location-pin South Bank

What was once a prosaic council building on the South Bank is now full to the brim with sharks, penguins and other water-loving wildlife, thanks to this world-class, world-famous aquarium. The finned predators prowling the Shark Walk are a definite highlight, as are the billowing jellyfish in the fairly recent Ocean Invaders addition. This is the perfect place to keep the sprogs entertained on a morning or afternoon.

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Attractions, Sightseeing

Buckingham Palace

icon-location-pin The Mall

You know how Instagram makes everything look prettier in photos than IRL? Well, you don’t need to worry about that with the Queen’s pad, which is a stunner in the flesh as well as all those postcards. All year round, you can take a gander at pieces from the Royal Collection at the Queen’s Gallery, while from February to November you can check out the Queen’s horses in the Royal Mews.

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Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

Tower of London

icon-location-pin Tower Hill

As long as you leave plenty of ticket-collecting time, your trip to the Tower of London should be a blast. It starts with a 50-minute tour led by a Beefeater where you’ll learn about the 900-year history of this imposing fortress (in short: torture, prisoners, weapons and exotic animals). Feast your eyes on the crown jewels and prisoner graffiti – you’ll even meet the raven keeper. If you want to get eyeballs-deep in London’s bloody history, then put the Tower of London on your bucket list.

Attractions, Historic buildings and sites

Houses of Parliament

icon-location-pin Westminster

If you’re interested in UK politics or just want a better understanding of it, the Houses of Parliament isn’t to be missed. Seriously – this is where laws get passed, y’know! Book an audio tour and soak up the history of this grand old nineteenth-century building and if you’re feeling flush, stay for afternoon tea overlooking the Thames.

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Attractions, Zoos and aquariums

London Zoo

icon-location-pin Regent’s Park

The zoological gardens that reside in Regent’s Park have been entertaining the crowds since Victorian times – but it’s in the last 15 years that the Zoological Society London has really given it an overhaul. The 36-acre park has been refashioned to support conservation, with the welfare of its inhabitants a high priority, and visitor’s encounters more informative than just point-and-stare.

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Museums, History

British Museum

icon-location-pin Bloomsbury

There are more than eight million artifacts within the British Museum’s walls and every single one of them has a story to tell. You could easily spend hours here losing yourself in thousands of years of culture and history from the world over. Its big hitter is the Egyptian mummy, which pulls in gawping kids and adults alike. If you’d rather dodge the crowds, head to the newly re-opened Sir Joseph Hutong Gallery: a treasure trove of objects from China and South Asia.

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© The London Dungeon
Attractions

The London Dungeon

icon-location-pin South Bank

The Dungeon spent four decades under the railway arches on Tooley Street at London Bridge. Then, in 2013, it upped sticks to a new home on the South Bank. It may lack the mucky, subterranean charm of the former site – but believe us, all the frights and gross-out moments inside are still just as icky.

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Museums, Transport

London Transport Museum

icon-location-pin Covent Garden

Not just one for nerdy trainspotting types – TfL’s transport museum offers a genuinely compelling and enjoyable journey trhough the history of getting around in London.

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Visit the 50 top London attractions