Local Host Picks
Founded in 1753, the British Museum is one of the world’s great museums. With works dating from prehistoric to modern times, it is a showcase of collections from around the whole world. Ten years ago, the museum’s inner courtyard was transformed into the largest covered public square in Europe; it is now worth a visit in its own right.
Explore one of London's more popular markets. The one-time undisputed center of London’s alternative scene still has plenty of delights, from vintage fashion and retro T-shirts to second-hand books and bric-a-brac.
Stroll through the famous glass-covered market with its fashionable boutiques, cafés, and arts and crafts stalls or watch the jugglers, mime artists, variety acts, and musicians perform in the open piazza. The small roads around Covent Garden are also full of beautiful shops, lively bars, and great restaurants.
Enjoy amazing views over London from Hampstead Heath. As London's largest ancient park land, it was first mentioned in 974 and remains very popular with locals, who love it for its wilderness areas and ponds.
One of the world's most famous department stores, Harrods has everything—from food, fashion, and furniture to sportswear and 20 in-store restaurants. Must-see sights include the five art deco-style food halls as well as the store itself at night, which is illuminated by 11,500 light bulbs.
Now a Grade 1-listed park, the cemetery boasts a wealth of flora, fauna, and bird life. Over its 150-year history, the burial site and its natural setting have become inseparable, and it is this that makes it unique. Its most famous occupant in the east cemetery is probably Karl Marx.
At more than 350 acres, Hyde Park is one of the largest green spaces in central London and famous for its Speaker’s Corner and Serpentine. Relax in one of the deckchairs that are available from April to September, and enjoy a scoop of ice cream or even a light lunch from one of the many stalls and cafés.
LITTLE ANGEL THEATRE
Founded by John Wright in 1961, this is the only permanent puppet theatre in London. The compact 100-seat theatre stages diverse productions devised here or by visiting companies, and it shares its space with the workshop where the marionettes are carved and created.
NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
The Gallery was founded in 1856 to collect portraits of famous British men and women. Today, it houses 120,000 portraits dating from the 16th century, including one of the best-known paintings of William Shakespeare, a self portrait of William Hogarth, and Branwell Bronte's famous painting of his sisters, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne.
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM
This is the world’s leading museum of natural history. It features hundreds of exciting interactive exhibits, ranging from the dramatic earthquake experience to the spectacular dinosaurs exhibitions.
OLD BAILEY CRIMINAL COURTS
Not a classic tourist sight but the Old Bailey or Central Criminal Court offers a unique authentic insight into London and the British justice system with its peculiar wigged judges and barristers. The Old Bailey was built about a century ago on the site of an old prison. The courts consist of 18 courtrooms and nearly all have public viewing galleries. Entry is free.
The Saturday antiques market on Portobello Road is truly unique as 2,000 antiques dealers tend their stalls full of intriguing items. You can spend hours looking for that special souvenir—and once you leave the antique stalls behind, you find yourself in the middle of the most colorful food market. Go early because it gets crowded.
ROYAL OBSERVATORY GREENWICH
Stand on the world-famous Greenwich Meridian Line, Longitude Zero (0° 0' 0"), which divides Earth’s eastern and western hemispheres. Explore the history of time and astronomy in this charming Wren building.
SAATCHI GALLERY - SLOANE SQUARE
The Saatchi Gallery is a London gallery for contemporary art, opened by Charles Saatchi in 1985 in order to show his sizeable (and changing) collection to the public. The gallery has been a major influence on art in Britain since its opening; it presents work by largely unseen young artists or by international artists whose work has been rarely or never exhibited in the UK.
Why not spend a sunny afternoon on the bustling South Bank? It is an area equally popular with tourists and locals due to the amazing number of famous venues and things to do along this incredibly scenic walk by the Thames.
ST. KATHERINE DOCKS
Situated next to Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, St. Katherine Docks has been the focus of worldwide trade and commerce for over 1,000 years. It’s a quiet and unique place to eat or have a drink—plus, while you’re admiring the yachts, remember that it costs about £800 a month to park a 50-footer here.
If you like the arts, consider a visit to one of the Tate Galleries. Tate Modern is located in an unused power station and exhibits international modern and contemporary art, whereas Tate Britain is home of British art from 1500 to the present. Admission is free.
THE OLD OPERATING THEATRE MUSEUM AND HERB GARRET
Climb a creaky spiral staircase to a church attic for a look at Britain's only surviving operating theatre, where limbs were sawed off in front of a live, viewing audience. Tour an assemblage of other Victorian medical devices—you'll be glad to step soundly back into the 21st century!
WESTFIELD SHOPPING CENTER
Europe’s largest in-city shopping center is a stunning architectural masterpiece with over 275 shops from luxury fashion labels to high street favorites and over 50 places to eat and drink, Westfield London is truly a unique shopping experience.
Westminster Abbey is steeped in more than a thousand years of history; it has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of 17 monarchs. The present church, begun by Henry III in 1245, is one of the country’s most important gothic buildings.
The mother church of the Roman Catholic community in England and Wales is dedicated to the Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. The Byzantine-style architecture of the eastern Roman Empire sets it quite apart from other London landmarks.