London things to do

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British Museum

Price guide: Free
#1/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Best for History -
Expert overall rating:4.8 (out of 5)

A fabulous time capsule of world history housed under one roof.

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#2/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Best for Culture -
Expert overall rating:4.7 (out of 5)

One of the greatest fine art collections in the world - and it's free.

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St Paul's Cathedral

Price guide: Expensive
#4/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Expert overall rating:4.6 (out of 5)

Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece has dominated the London skyline for over 300 years.

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#5/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Best for Romance -
Expert overall rating:4.6 (out of 5)

A lively and switched-on art gallery full of familiar faces.

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#6/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Best for Culture -
Expert overall rating:4.6 (out of 5)

A superlative museum devoted to art and design from all over the world.

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#7/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Expert overall rating:4.5 (out of 5)

Stop here to learn about the wonders of the Earth and the life it supports.

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#8/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Expert overall rating:4.5 (out of 5)

A comprehensive look at the horrors and heroics of modern warfare.

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Royal Botanic Gardens

Price guide: Expensive
#10/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Best for Romance -
Expert overall rating:4.4 (out of 5)

Escape into a beautiful world of gardens and glasshouses that was born over 250 years ago.

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Westminster Abbey

Price guide: Expensive
#12/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Expert overall rating:4.3 (out of 5)

Visit the imposing church where the nation's kings and queens have been crowned since 1066.

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#14/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Expert overall rating:4.2 (out of 5)

Take a journey to the centre of the world.

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Royal Academy of Arts

Price guide: Expensive
#16/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Expert overall rating:4.0 (out of 5)

A grand and historic venue for major art exhibitions.

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#17/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Best for First-time visitors -
Expert overall rating:4.0 (out of 5)

A fine and fulsome introduction to a great city.

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Shakespeare's Globe

Price guide: Expensive
#18/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Expert overall rating:3.9 (out of 5)

Travel back to the great days of Elizabethan theatre.

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Hampstead Heath

Price guide: Free
#19/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Best for Escapists -
Expert overall rating:3.9 (out of 5)

Escape to the country in this vast and varied open space.

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British Library

Price guide: Free
#20/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Expert overall rating:3.9 (out of 5)

A small but powerful display of literary treasures.

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Highgate Cemetery

Price guide: Budget
#21/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Expert overall rating:3.8 (out of 5)

An atmospheric Victorian cemetery with many famous residents.

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Chelsea Physic Garden

Price guide: Mid-range
#22/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Expert overall rating:3.8 (out of 5)

Soothe the soul in a famous botanical garden.

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Harrods

Price guide: Free
#25/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Best for Fun -
Expert overall rating:3.6 (out of 5)

Step inside a historic department store where shopping becomes entertainment.

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St James's Park

Price guide: Free
#28/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Expert overall rating:3.3 (out of 5)

Take a breather in London's oldest Royal Park.

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#29/30
expert-rated things to do in London
Expert overall rating:3.1 (out of 5)

Take a stroll down the world's first shopping arcade.

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Showing 1-20 of 21 results
Set focus

"London is enchanting" the English writer Virginia Woolf noted in her diary entry for 5 May 1924. "I step out upon a tawny coloured magic carpet... and get carried away to beauty without raising a finger." You might not agree as you rattle through the dingy tunnels of the London Underground, or queue in the rain for the latest blockbuster art exhibition, but we all know what she means. This mighty metropolis is truly captivating, as much for its great multicultural mix of people as for its checklist of world-famous sights.

If you're a first-time visitor, my advice is don't try and see or do it all - you can't! If you're a returnee, head for somewhere new. Fortunately, this is a city that is easy to get around, and one thing to do soon leads into another thing to do. Planning is important but don't turn your sightseeing into a military manoeuvre - most neighbourhoods offer a bundle of attractions, so there's little point in racing from one side of town to the other in the same day. As well as checking opening times, keep an eye on the Transport for London website (www.tfl.gov.uk) as roadworks, strikes and delays are a fact of life here.

Where to start? Well, here's my personal Big Five...

1. Take a stroll along the South Bank.

2. Wander through the British Museum.

3. Visit Westminster Abbey.

4. Walk or picnic on Hampstead Heath.

5. Take a boat to Greenwich and visit the Royal Observatory.

Happy travels!

How I’ve picked my things to do: 

Well, it was a lot of fun... Firstly, I thought where I might like to take someone who'd never been to the capital before. Then I added in a few things to do that everyone has heard of and which in my view also deliver, just so you can go home and say 'yeah, we saw that' - and hopefully add that it was well worth it. I then ummed and aaahed a lot as I wittled everything down to my final essential list, aware that a visitor's time is precious. It was a bit like when you're packing and you know you have to chuck some things out. I've stuck to sights that are central, and ensured that there is a reasonable geographical spread so wherever you stay there should be something good close by. There's a good number of attractions that won't cost you a penny to enjoy, and hopefully something that appeals to most ages and interests, But above all, my selection was about giving you a sense of what makes London so special. Get ready for a treat...

Set focus

Well, it was a lot of fun... Firstly, I thought where I might like to take someone who'd never been to the capital before. Then I added in a few things to do that everyone has heard of and which in my view also deliver, just so you can go home and say 'yeah, we saw that' - and hopefully add that it was well worth it. I then ummed and aaahed a lot as I wittled everything down to my final essential list, aware that a visitor's time is precious. It was a bit like when you're packing and you know you have to chuck some things out. I've stuck to sights that are central, and ensured that there is a reasonable geographical spread so wherever you stay there should be something good close by. There's a good number of attractions that won't cost you a penny to enjoy, and hopefully something that appeals to most ages and interests, But above all, my selection was about giving you a sense of what makes London so special. Get ready for a treat...