© Stewart Marsden
Selection of the London attractions that simply cannot be missed. Read on for more inspiration and go experience the best that the city has to offer.
The Queen’s des-res lives up to its picture-postcard image as soon as you see it
Just across the road from the Houses of Parliament is this royally-approved cathedral
Designed by Sir Christopher Wren, St Paul’s is a true London icon
Big Ben is actually the nickname of the Great Bell inside Westminster’s iconic clock tower, but even locals think ‘Big Ben’ when they see the Elizabeth Tower. No matter, it looks great whatever you call it. You can’t get inside for a tour until 2020 due to maintenance work, but you’re a minute away from the river, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey here, so it’s an easy visit.
Don’t miss: The photo opportunity from Westminster Bridge – the best angle for your selfie.
One of the city’s newest but most-loved icons, the slowly revolving wheel that stands by the Thames continues to be a tourist favourite. Each glass-walled pod is designed to allow everyone (who dares) views to the north, south, east and west, making this a brilliant way to get the measure of London. And each visit now starts with a fun, 4D short film before you board.
Don’t miss: The ‘Champagne Experience’ option if you fancy a romantic date gliding high at sunset.
Where better to put a massive observation gallery than at the top of Western Europe’s tallest tower? Set across three floors, with floor-to-ceiling windows and an open-air terrace for the bravest among you, the View from the Shard has ‘tell-scopes’ so you can find out more about the landscape you’re looking at. Regular events include silent discos and yoga mornings.
Don’t miss: Monthly ‘object handling’ sessions hosted by the Museum of London, where families can get hands-on with archeological finds that reveal secrets from the city’s history.
Go where the locals bring you in London
See the best of London in an afternoon, with a visit to the Tower of London and a city tour including St Paul's Cathedral. The tour also includes a ticket for a sightseeing cruise from the Tower of London to Westminster Pier, to be used after your tour or another time.
Pop in your state-of-the-art Vox headphones as your tour starts and listen to your guide talking clearly about each site. If you want to wander aside and take photos of attractions, you won’t miss any of the commentary!
First stop is a guided tour of Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece, St. Paul's Cathedral. Crowned by the magnificent dome that continues to dominate the London skyline, the cathedral was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666. In recent years it has seen the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, to Lady Diana Spencer and, most recently, the thanksgiving services for both the Golden Jubilee and 80th Birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.
Then it's on to the Tower of London, the ancient fortress steeped in centuries of murder and treason, guarded by jet-black ravens. The splendidly dressed Beefeaters will tell you about the Tower's history, including tragic tales of royals and nobles who met their end within its walls. You'll also see the fabulous Crown Jewels, including the 6,000-year-old Koh-I-Noor diamond and impressive coronation regalia. Before you leave the tower, your guide will hand you a ticket for sightseeing cruise to Westminster Pier.
You'll then continue by coach to the City of London, that famous square mile where brash new architecture towers above buildings dating back to medieval times. The Romans founded Londinium here 2,000 years ago, and the city's square mile of narrow streets follows the cramped medieval street plan.
You'll see the glorious dome of St. Paul's Cathedral, the elegant Mansion House, home to the Lord Mayor of London, and the nearby Bank of England, known as the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, at the heart of the City.
St Paul’s Cathedral is closed to the public on Sundays