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    Whether you arrive in London via the underground or inside one of the city's ubiquitous black taxicabs, you will immediately be greeted by a deep sense of history and met with the unique vibrancy of this incredible destination.

    In its dark and troubled past, the city of London has survived Roman occupancy, sackings from the Celts, Romans, Vikings and Saxons, a Norman invasion, two great fires, the bubonic plague and Nazi bombings. This resilient and proud city promises something for everyone and is one of the most iconic tourist destinations.

    The London Eye lifts visitors high above the river into stretching urban vistas. Further down on the South Bank, the Tate Modern contains one of the world's most incredible collections of Modern Art, while the city's 30,000 stores and boutiques will exhaust even the most avid shopper, and its 6,000 restaurants are only too eager to demonstrate why Britons revere their chefs as celebrities.

    For those interested in exploring the country's heritage, the Tower of London is an excellent starting-point. First constructed in the 11th century, the Tower has been rebuilt several times as later monarchs have left their mark. Still one of London's biggest attractions, and a great celebration of pomp that is free to all visitors, is the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, which happens daily.

    As the great dome of St Paul's reflects the colours of the setting sun, London comes alive with an unrivalled nightlife. For those up for something more energetic than dinner and the West End musicals and theatre, London has a vast number of bars and nightclubs catering to all tastes.

    Madame Tussauds

    Madame Tussauds is the most famous wax museum gallery in the world, with more than 400 life-sized models of stars, famous politicians, royals, comic book characters and sportsmen, as well as exhibits presenting the most infamous criminals the world has known. Inside the museum, the 'Spirit of London' ride will take you through the city's history, introducing you to those figures that have shaped the London of today, while the 'A-list Party' section will introduce you to the museum's collection of celebrities, and the 'Scream' exhibition will terrify and delight visitors in equal measure. A must-see tourist sight in London, visitors are advised to book their tickets online in advance, as the queues for tickets outside Madame Tussauds can be very long.

    Address: Marylebone Road
    Transport: Baker Street underground station; or public buses 13, 18, 27, 30, 74, 82, 113, 139 and 274
    Opening time: Open daily 9.30am to 5.30pm (9am to 6pm on weekends and during UK school holidays).
    Madame Tussauds and the London
Planetarium Madame Tussauds and the London Planetarium SkErDi&Ana
    Tower of London

    The Tower of London is perhaps as famous for its traditions as its imposing structure, located on the Thames River. It is guarded by a special band of Yeoman Warders, known as Beefeaters, and dotted with several large, black birds - the ravens. Legend has it that if the ravens ever leave the Tower, a great tragedy will befall England, and to this day the birds are protected by royal decree. The Tower's history dates back to the 11th century, and each new monarch has played a role in its growth and development. It also houses Britain's famous crown jewels, a spectacular display of some of the world's finest gems and workmanship. The Tower is next to Tower Bridge, another famous London landmark.

    Address: Tower Hill
    Transport: Tower Hill tube station, or buses 15, 42, 78 or 100
    Opening time: Tuesday to Saturday, 9am-5.30pm; Sunday to Monday, 10am-5.30pm. Opening hours are slightly reduced in winter.
    Website: www.hrp.org.uk
    White Tower, Tower of London White Tower, Tower of London Bernard Gagnon
    Abbey Road Studios

    The Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road was recorded at this unassuming studio in St John's Wood, London. While many other famous bands, including Pink Floyd, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, Kate Bush, Radiohead, Oasis and Sting, all recorded tracks here, it is almost always the Beatles fans who make the pilgrimage to take their pictures walking across the famous zebra crossing on Abbey Road, which featured on the album cover. The studio building itself is a Grade II listed building, and is not open to the public. There is some fan graffiti and some Beatles-themed coffee shops and the like near the studio, but tourists shouldn't go expecting much to see and do; it is simply a famous London landmark for lovers of rock music.

    Address: 3 Abbey Road, St Johns Wood
    Transport: St. Johns Wood underground station
    Abbey Road, London Abbey Road, London Aaron Webb
    Speakers Corner at Hyde Park

    Located right in the middle of London, Hyde Park is a huge patch of green and blue tranquillity in the midst of the bustling city. Covering 350 acres, it features restaurants, fountains, monuments and flower gardens, and offers a range of activities including ice skating, swimming, boating, tennis, cycling and horse riding. There are also playgrounds for children and spaces for team sports.

    One of Hyde Park's most famous attractions is Speaker's Corner, where people of all opinions come to share them freely. While Speaker's Corner attracts its fair share of unconventional characters, there are usually lively debates, and famous personalities like Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and George Orwell were participants in their day.

    Address: London
    Transport: Within walking distance of Lancaster Gate, Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge underground stations
    Opening time: Open daily from 5am to midnight. Speaker's Corner held on Sundays, from mid-morning to late afternoon
    Speakers Corner Speakers Corner Tom T
    Tate Modern

    Housed in the former Bankside Power Station, which has been transformed by Swiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron into a spectacular new modern building, the Tate Modern is Britain's greatest museum of modern art. It showcases an exhaustive collection, featuring works from 1900 to the present day, including works by Dalí, Picasso, Matisse, Rothko and Warhol, as well as temporary exhibitions by contemporary artists. There is also an exceptional roof café, which affords spectacular views over London, and an impressive gift shop. A must-see attraction for visitors to London, you will be sorely remiss to pass up a visit to the Tate Modern.

    Address: Bankside
    Transport: Southwark or Blackfriars underground stations
    Opening time: Open Sunday to Thursday 10am to 6pm; Friday and Saturday 10am to 10pm. Last admission is 45 minutes before the closing time.
    Website: www.tate.org.uk
    Tate Modern, London Tate Modern, London Christine Matthews
    British Museum

    The British Museum is widely regarded as the world's greatest museum of human history and culture. Containing more than 13 million artefacts from all corners of the globe, the British Museum boasts an overwhelming collection of fascinating objects. Most prized among its collection are its famous antiquities, which include the Parthenon Frieze (or Elgin Marbles), the Rosetta Stone and the Roman Portland Vase, which dates from the 1st century AD. The iconic Great Court with its incredible glass roof covering two acres greets visitors as they enter, and stairwells lead down to the Reading Room, which has been completely restored. Visitors to London should not miss out on the British Museum, which is one of the world's great cultural troves. Budget at least half a day to get a sense of the wealth of history housed within the museum, and don't be surprised if you actually need about three full days to take it all in.

    Address: Great Russell Street
    Transport: Russell Square underground station
    Opening time: Open daily, from 10am to 5.30pm (till 8.30pm on Fridays).
    British Museum British Museum Paul Micallef
    London Eye

    At 443ft (135m) tall, and weighing more than 250 double-decker buses, the London Eye is a truly spectacular feature of London's skyline. Offering incredible views of most of London's major attractions, and an opportunity to put the city's geography into perspective, it is a must-see attraction for first-time visitors to England's capital city. Originally designed by architects David Marks and Julia Barfield as an entry for a Millennium Landmark competition, the project took six years and the expertise of hundreds of people from five European countries to turn it into a reality. Often featured in big-budget movies, and regularly touted as one of the best things to see and experience in London, make sure you include a ride on the London Eye in your UK holiday itinerary. Wheelchair-bound visitors will be delighted to know that both the London Eye and all its on-site facilities are fully accessible.

    Address: Thames South Bank
    Transport: Westminster, Waterloo or Embankment underground stations. Public bus routes RV1, 211, 77 or 381
    Opening time: Open every day of the week. Opening times vary according to season and month - check the website for details.
    London Eye at night London Eye at night Tunliweb
    Shakespeares Globe Theatre

    Situated on the bank of the Thames, just 656ft (200m) from the site of Shakespeare's original Globe Theatre, this fantastic recreation will transport visitors back to the time of the very first productions of Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night. The reconstruction took a total of 10 years to complete at a cost of over £40 million, and now houses a professional theatre company responsible for regular productions of the Bard's famous plays. Adjacent to the theatre is the Globe Exhibition, presenting graphic information about the reconstruction of the theatre, and bringing to the fore the life and works of Shakespeare with interactive displays and live demonstrations. Visits to the exhibition include a tour of the theatre. Tours depart roughly every 30 minutes.

    Address: 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside
    Transport: Mansion House underground station, with a ten-minute walk over the Millennium Bridge
    Opening time: Opening hours vary throughout the year, but are generally from 9am to 5pm daily. Please call ahead to confirm opening hours before your visit.
    The Globe Theatre The Globe Theatre GaryReggae
    Harrods

    Harrods, which former proprietor Mohamed Al Fayed called his 'Palace in Knightsbridge', promises one of the most extravagant and luxurious shopping experiences in the world. With 22 restaurants, and a wide range of departments and services across its seven floors, it is easy to see why this is the shopping choice of London's social elite. With its prominent position on Brompton Road, Harrods is hard to miss - especially at night, when the entire façade is illuminated by a grand total of 11,500 light bulbs. The UK's biggest store by a long way, Harrods certainly makes good on its motto Omnia Omnibus Ubique - All Things for All People, Everywhere.

    Address: 87-135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge
    Transport: Knightsbridge underground station, or London bus routes 9, 10, 14, 19, 22, 52, 74, 137, 414, 452 and C1
    Opening time: Open Monday to Saturday, with reduced hours on Sunday.
    Website: www.harrods.com
    Harrods, London Harrods, London Targeman
    Camden Market

    Camden Market is one of the most exciting shopping experiences London has to offer. Even if you're just browsing, Camden Market is still definitely worth a visit for its huge variety of food, antiques, bric-a-brac and clothing stalls, bars, nightspots and crowds of people ranging from the beautiful to the bizarre. Although the punk scene in London has gone underground, it still seems to flourish here, and you're sure to bump into some interesting characters. Just be sure to ask permission before photographing anyone. Boat rides are also available on the canal which passes through Camden Lock - a fun way to spend some time between browsing the stalls. Although Camden attracts mostly the young and trendy, the market has become more commercial and mainstream than it once was and some real bargains can be found.

    Address: Camden Lock, Chalk Farm Road
    Transport: Camden Town and Chalk Farm underground stations. Numerous buses also pass Camden Lock
    Opening time: The stalls are open daily, from about 10am to 6pm
    Camden Market, London Camden Market, London Grim23
    Greenwich

    Greenwich is the home of the Greenwich (or Prime) Meridian, which splits the globe into East and West, and is responsible for setting the world clock on zero degrees longitude. Apart from this curious distinction (which has earned Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site status), Greenwich has a host of other attractions, including the Greenwich Market with its variety of arts, crafts, food and bric-a-brac, Sir Christopher Wren's Royal Observatory, and the National Maritime Museum. Greenwich Park is beautifully landscaped and is an ideal location for a picnic lunch. The famous tea-clipper ship, the Cutty Sark, was damaged by a fire in 2007 but has been extensively restored and is once again open to the public.

    Transport: Accessible by Docklands Light Railway, the London Underground, by train and by boat
    Opening time: Opening times vary for each attraction - check the website for details.
    Website: www.rmg.co.uk/
    The Cutty Sark, Greenwich The Cutty Sark, Greenwich
    London Dungeons

    Take a trip through London's dark and gruesome history, meet Jack the Ripper and see what became of his victims, or see the chaos and destruction caused by the great fire of London. The London Dungeon brings history's most notorious killers and evildoers back to life in an experience definitely not for the faint-hearted. Beware: some of the exhibitions have a nasty way of coming alive and jumping out at the unsuspecting visitor! The tours last about 90 minutes and are very funny as well as scary. The experience can be enjoyed by both Adults and kids.

    Address: County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road
    Opening time: Opening times vary throughout the year, check the website for details. Generally, however, London Dungeon is open from 10am to 5pm every day.
    London Dungeon London Dungeon www.CGPGrey.com
    St Pauls Cathedral

    The great dome of St Paul's Cathedral has been a distinctive landmark on the London skyline for centuries. Built in 1673 by Sir Christopher Wren, after the previous St Paul's was burnt to the ground during the Great Fire of London, it is the greatest of several cathedrals dedicated to St Paul that have occupied the site for more than 1,400 years. The crypt at St Paul's is one of the largest in Europe, and it houses more than 200 tombs, including those of Admiral Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Wren himself. The Cathedral has hosted many significant ceremonies in London's history, including the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill and the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

    Address: St Pauls Churchyard
    Transport: St Pauls underground station
    Opening time: Open from Monday to Saturday, from 8.30am to 4.30pm. Note that the Cathedral may be closed to tourists at any time due to special services or events, so it is always advisable to enquire before visiting
    St. Paul's Cathedral. St. Paul's Cathedral. pocar
    Piccadilly Circus

    Surrounded by neon advertising and fast-food restaurants, Piccadilly Circus is London's answer to New York's Times Square and, at the junction of Piccadilly, Regent Street and Shaftesbury Avenue, it is the gateway to the West End. With its highly accessible tube station, Piccadilly Circus is a good starting point for those wanting to enjoy London's finest shopping district, being near to Jermyn Street, Saville Row, Regent Street and Bond Street. London's Theatreland is centred on nearby Shaftsbury Avenue, and Soho and China Town are also within easy walking distance. Piccadilly Circus is one of London's meeting points, an atmospheric hub conveniently providing access to a number of famous attractions and streets.

    Transport: Piccadilly Circus underground station
    Piccadilly Circus, London Piccadilly Circus, London Onecanadasquarebishopsgatecommons
    West End Shows

    There are always plenty of child-friendly musicals and shows playing on London's West End, perfect for family holidaymakers looking to soak up some of the great atmosphere of London's Theatre District. Some West End favourites include The Lion King, Roald Dahl's and the relatively new School of Rock Taking in a theatrical performance on London's West End is one of the iconic tourist experiences that the city has to offer, for children and adults alike, and will be a spectacular amusement for the whole family.

    Address: The Strand, Oxford Street, Regent Street and Kingsway
    Aladdin and Jasmine Aladdin and Jasmine Loren Javier
    Hamleys

    Children will love visiting this world-renowned toy store, located in the heart of London on famous, bustling Regent Street. Hamleys is one of the world's largest toy stores, with six floors of magical, cutting-edge toys and games. The store draws over five million visitors each year and is worth a look even if you're just browsing. The Lego collection at Hamleys (located in the basement area) must be seen to be believed. There are helpful and entertaining service staff all over Hamleys eager to show off new toys and play with the kids - the only difficulty for parents is getting out without buying numerous presents.

    Address: Regent Street, London
    Transport: Within easy walking distance of Bond Street, Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus or Tottenham Court Road tube stations
    Website: www.hamleys.com
    Hamleys Hamleys Sheep Purple
    London Zoo

    Boasting a plethora of exciting, cute and fuzzy animals from over 750 species, the London Zoo is a must for all children and animal lovers. Kids will love the Animal Adventure area, where they can climb, touch, tunnel and splash their way through the zoo discovering animals along the way. Other great habitat areas at London Zoo include Gorilla Kingdom, Penguin Beach, Britain's only (man-made) rainforest area, and a komodo dragon enclosure. The recipient of a Gold Award from the Visit London tourism initiative, the London Zoo is a fail-safe choice for a day of family fun and excitement. Be sure to check the website before you go, as the zoo regularly plays host to a variety of interesting exhibitions, festivals and events.

    Address: Outer Circle, Regents Park
    Transport: Within easy walking distance of Camden Town and Regents Park underground stations
    Opening time: Opening times vary according to the season, check the website for details. In general, however, the Zoo is open every day of the week, from 10am until 4pm.
    Website: www.zsl.org
    Lion at London Zoo Lion at London Zoo jimbowen0306
    London Science Museum

    Perfect for inquisitive children, the Science Museum will captivate, educate and thrill kids of all ages. Featuring dozens of state-of-the-art exhibits, the Science Museum also features a 3D IMAX Theatre. The Museum's rotating exhibitions are topical and intriguing ensuring that kids can visit many times and always learn something new and relevant to their world. Other popular attractions include the space descent VR experience with astronaut Tim Peake as your guide, the Tomorrow's World object gallery, and the interactive Wonderlab gallery.

    Address: Exhibition Road, South Kensington
    Transport: South Kensington underground station (served by the District, Circle and Piccadilly lines)
    Opening time: Open daily, from 10am to 6pm.
    Science Museum Science Museum nyaa_birdies_perch
    Chessington World of Adventures

    Located in southwest London, Chessington World of Adventures is a theme park and zoo catering to children of all ages. Featuring rides, roller coasters and water slides, this theme park is best visited during the summer months. The zoo, however, is open all year round. An 'African Adventure' themed area is already proving wildly popular among kids, who'll be able to observe magnificent creatures such as lions, zebras and oryxes, as well as enjoy some traditional African mask displays and listen to some African drumming performances. Other highlights are the exciting events and shows; accommodation is also available, in the form of glamping and elaborately themed hotel rooms.

    Address: Leatherhead Road
    Opening time: Opening times vary according to the season (check website for details), but are generally from 10am to 5pm most days
    Dragon\'s Fury at Chessington Dragon\'s Fury at Chessington gnislew
    Westminster Abbey

    This church in the heart of the city is one of London's top tourist attractions, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and rivals Notre Dame for the accolade of most famous church in the world. Westminster Abbey draws millions of tourists each year, in addition to the locals who worship there every week. The abbey is the site of royal coronations and weddings (including Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton in April 2011). Visitors can marvel at the Gothic architecture, enormous stained-glass windows and paintings that go back 1,000 years, and guided tours are available in several languages. A fantastic sight, Westminster Abbey is a must for visitors looking to experience the heart and soul of England's rich cultural history. Anybody is free to attend the regular religious services held in Westminster Abbey and tourists are also welcome between certain hours.

    Address: 20 Deans Yard, London
    Transport: Westminster Abbey is in walking distance of both St Jamess Park and Westminster underground stations
    Opening time: Opening times vary and the church may be closed for special services on any day. Generally: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9.30am to 3.30pm; on Wednesday from 9.30am to 7pm; and on Saturday from 9.30am to 2.30pm. Note that Westminster Abbey is not open to tourists on Sundays.
    Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey Mark Ramsay
    Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

    Originally built for Edward the Confessor more than 1,000 years ago, the Houses of Parliament, or Palace of Westminster, remained the principal residence of Britain's monarchs for the next 400 years. Thereafter, it became the administrative centre of the country. In 1834 the Great Fire burnt everything except Westminster Hall, and the present Gothic building was completed in the 1840s. It is perhaps most famous for the clock tower, commonly called Big Ben. Located at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, the gigantic clock tower has many distinctions: it is the largest four-faced clock, and third-largest freestanding clock in the world. Built in 1859, each minute hand is 14 feet (4.3m) long, and the largest bell inside weighs more than 13 tons. Although Parliament is closed to visitors during session, it is still a popular attraction for tourists because of its picturesque exterior. While Big Ben itself is not open to overseas visitors, UK residents may arrange tours with a local Member of Parliament. Be warned, though, inside the clock tower there are 334 stairs and no lift. Check the website to see what tours of parliament are available and when.

    Address: Palace of Westminster, House of Commons, London
    Transport: Westminster underground station
    Big Ben Big Ben Tim Morris
    Tower Bridge

    The twin spires of the iconic drawbridge known as Tower Bridge stand 213 feet (65m) above the Thames River, and form one of the most popular tourist attractions in London. Often mistakenly referred to as London Bridge (which is a bit further upstream), Tower Bridge functions as both a roadway and a major tourist sight, and provides a magnificent view of downtown London from its upper walkway. Inside is the Tower Bridge Exhibition, which showcases the Victorian engine that powers the drawbridge, as well as a series of informative displays detailing the history of Tower Bridge, which stretches back to 1886.

    Address: Tower Bridge Road, London
    Transport: Tower Hill underground station
    Opening time: Open daily, from 10am to 5.30pm (April to September), and from 9.30am to 5pm (October to March).
    Tower Bridge Tower Bridge Miquel C
    Victoria and Albert Museum

    Originally known as the Museum of Manufacture, the Victoria and Albert Museum (or V&A Museum, as it is popularly known) in London is a veritable treasure-trove of artefacts from cultures around the world. Devoted to art and design, it houses about 2.3 million works, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, textiles, furniture, metalwork, ceramics and fashion going back 5,000 years. The V&A Museum also hosts regular family activities and workshops, and has an on-site sculpture garden. A must-see tourist attraction in London, the Victoria and Albert Museum is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon, poring over fascinating items and learning more about the world's cultural bounty.

    Address: Cromwell Road, London
    Transport: Within easy walking distance of South Kensington underground station
    Opening time: Open daily, from 10am to 5.45pm (until 10pm on Fridays)
    Website: www.vam.ac.uk
    V and A Museum V and A Museum M.chohan
    Natural History Museum

    The Natural History Museum is one of England's very best tourist attractions. Located on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the Natural History Museum truly will appeal to everyone, from excitable kids to discerning adults. Housed in a gorgeous Romanesque building, the Natural History Museum has often been described as a 'cathedral of nature', boasting fascinating collections magnificently displayed beneath vaulted ceilings. As soon as you step foot inside the museum, you are greeted by the skeleton of a blue whale looming over you. The Natural History Museum has one of the world's greatest collections of prehistoric fossils and remains, and is home to a series of animatronic dinosaurs that will spellbind kids.

    The Museum is divided into four 'zones' for ease of navigation. The Blue Zone deals mainly with animals, and (along with the dinosaurs) is famous for its life-size model of a blue whale that hangs from the ceiling, and its sabre-tooth tiger skeleton. The Green Zone presents exhibitions that focus on plants, insects and ecology, including a termite mound and a cross-section of the world's largest tree, the California redwood. The Red Zone takes a look at the earth's subterranean processes: visitors can try out the earthquake simulator, be moved by the Pompeii exhibition, and ogle at an enormous collection of gemstones, minerals and rocks. Finally, the Orange Zone - built in 2008 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Darwin's Origin of the Species - is primarily a research centre, but also features several cutting-edge exhibitions that will thrill visitors, including the Attenborough Studio, where audio-visual shows are staged.

    A sure-fire winner of a tourist attraction, the Natural History Museum should feature on any holidaymaker's list of things to do in London. Budget at least three or four hours to do the museum's collection justice.

    Address: Exhibition Road, south London
    Transport: Within easy walking distance of South Kensington underground station
    Opening time: Open daily from 10am to 5 50pm. Last entry at 5 30pm.
    Website: www.nhm.ac.uk
    Natural History Museum Natural History Museum Gareth Williams
    Borough Market

    The Borough Market, located on Southwark Street at the southern end of London Bridge, is one of the United Kingdom's premier food markets, and a simply wonderful place to ramble around and find some delicious treats to fuel the day's sightseeing. What distinguishes the Borough Market is its community-centred atmosphere, with most of the stallholders either being producers themselves, or possessing intimate knowledge of the goods they are selling. Visitors are encouraged to chat to the stallholders about their produce, and to find out more about the fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses, jams, meats and artisanal breads and pastries that are so lovingly and elegantly displayed. Perfectly situated, the Borough Market makes a great pit-stop on any walking tour of south-central London's tourist attractions. The Borough Market is also a great place to shop for special souvenirs for loved ones back home.

    Address: Southwark Street, south London
    Transport: Within walking distance of Borough and London Bridge underground stations
    Opening time: Full Market open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 5pm; Fridays from 10am to 6pm; Saturdays from 8am to 5pm. Lunch Market open Monday and Tuesday from 10am to 5pm.
    Borough Market Borough Market Jack Gavigan
    Imperial War Museum

    An absolute must for history buffs, London's Imperial War Museum endeavours to give visitors an understanding of modern warfare, and an appreciation of its effects on both individuals and societies at large. The Imperial War Museum is, in fact, a 'family' of five museums, three of which are located in London. The flagship museum is found in Lambeth Road in south London, and features a unique collection of art, films, photographs, sound recordings, writings and objects that preserve the reactions and memories of Britons who have lived through wartime conditions.

    The Churchill War Rooms, located in King Charles Street, form another fascinating branch of the Imperial War Museum. These bunkers housed the British heads of state during the Blitz, and today offer visitors a truly incredible trip back in time, where they can navigate the underground mazes and view charts and maps that haven't been touched since 1945.

    The last of the Imperial War Museum branches in London is the HMS Belfast, a warship that is moored in the Thames. Tours of the HMS Belfast take in the gun turrets, the mess decks and the clamorous bowels of the ship, and provide an exciting and educational experience that will be appreciated by visitors of all ages. A highly recommended sight, all three London branches of the Imperial War Museum can be visited in a day.

    Address: Lambeth Road, London
    Transport: Within walking distance of Lambeth North, Waterloo, Southwark and Elephant & Castle underground stations
    Opening time: Open daily from 10am to 6pm. Last admission is at 5.30pm
    Website: www.iwm.org.uk
    Imperial War Museum, London Imperial War Museum, London MilborneOne

    London is a great city to explore with children. On a clear day, take the kids for a ride on one of the hop-on hop-off red buses; the constantly changing scenery is exciting and it'll save a lot of energy trying to walk the streets with small children in tow. The bus tickets also allow a Thames River boat ride past sights such as Westminster, Big Ben, the London Eye and Tower Bridge. Kids will be delighted at the amount there is to spot along the way.

    While obvious holiday attractions for kids in London include the London Eye, Big Ben and the delightfully tacky and gruesome London Dungeon, there are also an assortment of parks, museums and shows to keep children happy. Whether children are interested in nature and science or arts and crafts, London is a child's paradise. Children will love discovering the famous wax sculptures in Madame Tussaud's. Don't miss taking the kids to the world-renowned Hamley's Toy Shop for a shopping experience to remember.

    London may be synonymous with cold, rainy weather but is still a year-round holiday destination. For families with kids in tow the city is best enjoyed during spring (April to June), when the days are warm, the flowers are blooming, and the many parks and gardens can be explored.

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    London has a temperate climate without the extremes found in continental Europe. There are four distinct seasons, although the weather can be unpredictable, with out-of-season storms, icy spells, and even heatwaves. Summer temperatures range from 57°F (14°C) to 75°F (24°C), while average winter temperatures range from 37°F (3°C) to 46°F (8°C). July is the hottest summer month, averaging 66°F (19°C), and January is the coldest winter month, averaging 39°F (4°C). London is a great city to visit whatever the weather, but most visitors prefer to visit between April and October, when the temperature is usually warm and the days are long and frequently sunny.

    A melting pot of cultures, eating out in London is an international affair. Renowned for its curries, there are hundreds of Indian restaurants to choose from, from upmarket Mayfair to the trendy Brick Lane. Head to Chinatown in Soho for Chinese, or Brixton for African or Caribbean.

    A city synonymous with celebrity big name chefs like Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and Yotam Ottolenghi, visitors to London can also sample some of the country's finest cuisine, but at a price. For a special gourmet evening out head to one of the famous restaurants in Mayfair, Covent Garden, Soho or Chelsea, but expect to pay for the privilege.

    For the ultimate English experience, traditional fish and chips are the order of the day. Get it wrapped up for take away and head to the nearest park for a greasy snack. If the weather is doing its usual thing then head to a cosy gastro pub instead and sample some heart-warming English fare. Although London is home to some hugely impressive restaurants and chefs the city is probably still most famous for its simple pub grub.

    Eating out in London is expensive but a lunchtime sandwich and soft drink shouldn't cost more than £8 and an evening meal at a standard restaurant, excluding drinks, can be had for £15.

    Avenue

    The Avenue Restaurant and Bar is a favourite with the inhabitants of St James, and produces good modern British and Mediterranean food. This minimalist restaurant is good value and is always packed, despite a sometimes patchy service. The best tables are towards the back, on the mezzanine level. Set menus are usually excellent, and competitively priced. Quality wines are available by the glass. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

    Address: 7-9 St Jamess Street
    1 Lombard Street

    Situated in the domed interior of an old banking hall, opposite the Bank of England, 1 Lombard Street has become a city institution. The brasserie is always bustling with investment bankers and offers a full á la carte menu for both lunch and dinner, featuring seasonal specialities and an extensive wine list. The restaurant situated behind the brasserie, is a better bet for discreet conversation and for enthusiasts of haute cuisine. The menu at 1776 includes favourites like Black Angus beef with a breadcrumb crust, garlic snails, and pan-fried black cod with pak choi and ponzu sauce. The formal dining environment provides a tranquil setting for appreciating Juri Ravagli's sophisticated cuisine. Open weekdays only, for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the dress code is smart casual. They run a tapas menu from 5pm at the bar.

    Address: 1 Lombard Street (Bank)
    Montpeliano

    On a quiet side street just off Knightsbridge and a minutes walk from Harrods, Montpeliano is a wonderfully old-fashioned Italian restaurant, where the food is authentic and the service excellent. The owner is always available, the staff are friendly and welcoming, and the atmosphere has a feel of casual elegance. On warm evenings it is possible to dine al fresco on the outside patio.

    Address: 13 Montpelier Street (Knightsbridge)
    The Abingdon

    The bar at this small but atmospheric pub is always buzzing with locals, while the restaurant often draws visitors from farther afield. Set on a side street a few blocks from High Street Kensington the eating area is awkwardly narrow but makes a good spot for a private and romantic evening á deux, or with a small group of friends. The cheddar and spinach soufflé with wild mushroom sauce, the rib eye on the bone, and the sticky toffee pudding are delicious. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

    Address: 54 Abingdon Road (Kensington)
    Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

    One of London's finest eateries, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay opened in 1998 as the chef's first independently owned venture. Today it has three Michelin stars - an honour held by only four other British restaurant. With 14 tables seating 44 guests, this exclusive venue has become a must for connoisseurs of fine contemporary cuisine from around the world. Feast on pan-fried scallops from the Isle of Skye, suckling pig and Manjari chocolate delice. A vegetarian menu is also available. Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday, book well in advance.

    Address: 539-547 Wandsworth Road, London
    Fire and Stone

    A cosy atmosphere with contemporary trimmings and the smell of fresh oven-baked pizza in the air, the trendy Fire and Stone pizza joint in Covent Garden is ideal for a family outing, a casual meal with friends or a romantic dinner. This franchise pizzeria produces a large variety of pizzas, themed on the different flavours of the continents and made with only the freshest ingredients. Complement your meal with some of their quality red wines. Open daily for lunch and dinner.

    Address: 31/32 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden
    Zaika

    A highly creative contemporary Indian restaurant, Zaika offers sensational Indian cuisine in a cool and vibrant setting. Situated in trendy Kensington, Zaika has won Best Indian Restaurant in the London Restaurant Awards and holds three AA rosettes. Try the tasting menu to get a fuller understanding of the extensive Indian flavours. The Malabar prawns and the Nihari Gosht are also favourites. With great service, plush interiors and excellent cuisine, Zaika is a fail-proof night out. Open for lunch from Tuesday to Sunday, and every evening for dinner.

    Address: 1 Kensington High Street, Kensington
    The Gun

    The Gun is a lovely, British-styled restaurant that has gained popularity for its up-market take on classic dishes. Open for lunch and dinner (reservations essential), be sure to try the 45 day-aged Cumbrian rare breed steaks, served with béarnaise sauce, watercress and hand cut chips. This waterside pub is delightfully British

    Address: 27 Coldharbour Road, London
    Stefs

    Stef's describes itself as 'your local Italian restaurant in London', and its laid-back, family-run atmosphere is a real winner for those looking for unpretentious and high-quality Italian food in England's capital. Choose from pizza, pasta or a range of 'Chef's specialities'. Booking recommended.

    Address: 3 Berners Street, London
    London City Airport
    Location: The airport is situated at the Royal Docks, 10 miles (16km) from the West End.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: Docklands Light Railway (DLR) departs from London City Airport every 8-15 minutes to Canning Town, Woolwich Arsenal and Bank. There are regular London buses from the airport to stations throughout London. Nearby National Rail stations are reached via the Jubilee line from Canning Town (a seven-minute DLR journey). Licensed taxis (black cabs) are available outside the terminal building, a taxi to the centre of London will take only 20 to 30 minutes and cost roughly £30. Car rental desks are situated on the ground floor. There are also chauffeur services available from Quay Cars. Mobile app based taxi services, like Uber, are available, as is car sharing through the DriveNow app.
    Car Rental: Car rental desks are situated on the ground floor, rental companies include Avis, Europcar and Hertz.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis from London City Airport can be hailed outside the Arrivals Hall and a taxi to the centre of London will take only 20 to 30 minutes and cost roughly £30. A taxi to Canary Wharf will cost £14.
    Fascilities: There are shops, bars and a restaurant at City Airport, other facilities include left luggage, a mother and baby room, tourist information and business facilities including Internet and fax. There are also ATMs, a bureau de change and Internet facilities. The disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should ideally inform their airline in advance.
    Parking Parking at London City Airport is located within easy walking distance of the terminal. Short-term parking starts at £3 for the first 10 minutes, £13 for up to an hour, £17 for two hours, £25 for four hours, £53 for up to 12 hours and £61 per day. The long-term car park is £23 for up to four hours and £53 per day. Credit card facilities are available.
    London Gatwick Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 28 miles (45km) south of London.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
    Transfer Between Terminals The two terminals are linked by the Inter Terminal Transit train that leaves every three minutes.
    Getting to the city: The easiest and quickest way into London from Gatwick is on the Gatwick Express train, which takes 30 minutes to the central Victoria railway station. Local buses call at both terminals and run between Gatwick and key destinations including Crawley, Horley, Redhill and Horsham. Taxis are also available from the airport into town, while coaches take passengers to destinations including Heathrow, central London, Bristol and Brighton (ticket desks are in the North and South Terminals). Car rental companies operate from both terminals. Taxis and mobile app based taxi services, like Uber, are also available.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies such as Avis, Budget, Europcar and Hertz operate from both terminals.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis from Gatwick Airport are available outside the Arrivals Hall and a taxi to London city centre will take roughly an hour to an hour-and-a-half as this road can be very busy. Mobile app based taxi services, like Uber, are also available.
    Fascilities: Both terminals have shops, restaurants, bars, bureaux de change, ATMs, an Internet café, baby changing rooms and children's play areas. There are lounges in both terminals that offer multiple services for both business and leisure, for a fee. In the South Terminal, there is a medical centre offering vaccinations and the Regus Express Business Lounge, featuring meeting rooms, refreshments, showers, a document station, high-speed internet and distraction-free private work spaces. Disabled facilities at the airport are good; those who require special assistance should contact their airline in advance.
    Parking Short-term and long-term parking is available and a free shuttle services the parking areas farther away from the terminal building.
    London Heathrow Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 15 miles (24km) west of London.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
    Transfer Between Terminals Terminal 1 is no longer in use. Terminals 2 and 3 are within walking distance of each other, with an average walking time of 11 minutes from one end to the other. Terminals 4 and 5 are connected via the free Heathrow Express train. Allow around 15 minutes for the journey time between terminals.
    Getting to the city: The quickest way into London is on the Heathrow Express train, which leaves every 15 minutes for Paddington station, takes 15 minutes, and costs £22 if booked online or at a ticket machine, or £27 on-board, if travelling during off-peak times. Paddington has good connections to the other London railway stations and all parts of London via the London Underground. Heathrow is also on the Piccadilly underground line, which takes passengers into central London in around 50 minutes. The National Express coach service runs to central London and other towns and cities throughout the UK.
    Car Rental: Car rental options include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt.
    Airport Taxis: London's black taxis service Heathrow Airport; the journey time to central London is around 30-60 minutes, depending on traffic. Taxis are metered, the fare from Heathrow Airport to Central London will cost around £48-£90. Taxis are available from outside each terminal.
    Fascilities: There are numerous shops, bars and restaurants, ATMs, currency exchange facilities, left luggage facilities, pharmacies and postal services in all terminals. A spa offering massages is located in Terminal 5. There are VIP Lounges in Terminals 2 and 3. There are multi-faith prayer rooms in each terminal and St George's Chapel is located close to the central bus station between Terminals 2 and 3. There are shower facilities located in Terminal 3.
    Parking Short-term parking is available adjacent to the airport. A free shuttle service links the terminals and the long-term and business car parks. Valet parking is also available at all terminals.
    London Luton Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 32 miles (52km) northwest of London.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: Trains leave regularly to Kings Cross, Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars and London Bridge stations. Train journeys to central London take 20-25 minutes with providers such as East Midlands Trains and First Capital Connect. Tickets can be bought from the Onward Travel centre at the airport or online. Luton Airport Parkway Train Station is connected to the terminal by a free shuttle bus service. Green Line and National Express buses run daily between the airport and central London. Taxis operate from outside the airport terminal 24-hours a day and car rental is also available.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies include Avis, Hertz, Europcar and National.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis operate from Luton Airport 24-hours a day and can be hailed outside the Arrivals Hall. A taxi to central London will cost around £80 and will take approximately 2 hours.
    Fascilities: Facilities at the airport include shops, bars, restaurants, bureaux de change, ATMs, a children's play area and baby changing rooms. Facilities for the disabled are good; those with special needs are advised to contact their airline or travel agent in advance.
    Parking There is short-term parking next to the terminal. Long-term (valet) parking operates near the terminal - your car will be taken away to another compound while you are away. Passengers who book in advance via the airport website get discounted parking rates.
    London Stansted Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 34 miles (55km) northeast of London.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: The Stansted Express rail service operates between London's Liverpool Street station and the airport, taking approximately 45 minutes. There are also bus and coach services to Victoria Coach Station, Heathrow and Gatwick airports, among other London and national destinations. The bus and coach station is opposite the main terminal entrance. Coach tickets are available from the ticket desk in arrivals and at the station; a ticket to Victoria costs around £10. Taxis are available outside the terminal building and car rental is also available. Uber, and other mobile app based taxi services are also available, although there have been licensing issues as of late.
    Car Rental: Car rental companies available at the airport include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Alamo, National, Enterprise and Hertz.
    Airport Taxis: Many taxi services are available, the Stansted Airport recommended taxi service is 24x7, a reservation desk is located in the international arrivals concourse. A taxi to central London from Stansted Airport will cost in the region of £100.
    Fascilities: There are a number of popular restaurants, shops and bars in the terminal, both before and after security. Other facilities include ATMs, a bureau de change and Internet cafe. There is a VIP lounge for travellers in the main departure lounge, which can be booked via the airport's website. There are also shower facilities at both arrivals and departures, with towels and access available for a small fee at the airport information desk. There are multi-faith prayer rooms, accessible after security. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should contact their airline or travel agent in advance. Stansted is a smoke-free airport, and there are no smoking facilities past security.
    Parking The short-term parking is located next to the terminal building. Long-term parking is further away and is linked to the airport by a free shuttle bus. The mid-stay parking lot is free for the first hour, a five-minute courtesy bus ride from the terminal. The airport also offers valet parking. Travellers who pre-book on the Stansted Airport website receive discounted car parking.
    London Southend Airport
    Location: The airport is situated 36 miles (58km) south of London.
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: London Southend Airport is easily reached via the regional bus and coach networks of Essex such as First Essex Buses and Arriva Bus. Main locations include Stansted, Chelmsford, and central Southend. Conveniently, the closest bus stops are only a quick stroll from the terminal. Taxis and ride-hailing services are available outside the terminal, while it's also possible to rent a car. Taking the train is also an option: a train to Liverpool Street Station will take around 52 minutes, while a train to Stratford Station will take around 44 minutes.
    Car Rental: Europcar is a car rental company that operates in the terminal.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis from Southend Airport are available outside the terminal building.
    Fascilities: There are places to shop, eat, and drink, as well as a duty free. Services and facilities include currency exchange, car hire and parking, ATMs, medical care, toilets, baby change facilities, and a lounge.
    Parking Short-term and long-term parking is available, both with extremely short walks to the terminal.
    Southampton International Airport
    Location: The airport is located in Hampshire, a few miles outside of Southampton,
    Time: GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
    Getting to the city: The airport is conveniently connected to Southampton Central and other parts of England via several train services. The journey to Southampton Central takes approximately 8 minutes, while London is 67 minutes away. There are also buses to downtown Southampton, with the U1C running every 15-20 minutes; the journey takes roughly 35-40 minutes.
    Car Rental: The Car Rental Reception Centre is located near the short-term car park, opposite the terminal building. Car rental companies include Hertz, Avis, Budget, Europcar, National, Alamo, and Enterprise.
    Airport Taxis: Checker Cabs are available 24 hours a day from the taxi desk in the main concourse, near the exit. Prices are fixed in advance, and bookings can be made online or by calling +44 (0) 2380 651 110.
    Fascilities: Airport facilities include a duty-free shop, ATMs, currency exchange, internet access, cafes, and several restaurants both before and after security.
    Parking Short-term and long-term parking is available.

    Useful Contacts:

    London Marathon

    Commonly known as simply the London Marathon, the Virgin Money London Marathon is a 26.2 mile (42km) race from Greenwich Park to the Mall which passes by many famous London landmarks including the Cutty Sark, Canary Wharf, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, and Big Ben.

    Around 30,000 professional and amateur runners compete every year, many dressed in fancy dress to raise money for charity. The route is lined with spectators and the race has a very festive atmosphere. As it is an extremely popular marathon, it is worth booking as far in advance as possible.

    Venue: Starts in Greenwich Park and ends in the Mall.
    Flora London Marathon Flora London Marathon onEdition 2006
    Chelsea Flower Show

    The Chelsea Flower Show is an annual event organised by the Royal Horticultural Society and, since its inception in 1913, has been recognised as the foremost show of its kind in the world. An immensely popular event, the show draws crowds of thousands every year with its colourful and beautifully sculptured displays. Experts from the Royal Horticultural Society are on hand, ready to impart gardening advice to the show's many visitors. Tickets can be bought via the website and visitors are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.

    Venue: Show grounds at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea
    Clivia Miniata Clivia Miniata Raul654
    Trooping the Colour (Queens Birthday Parade)

    The ceremony of the Trooping the Colour (or Queen's Birthday Parade) takes place each year on the Queen's birthday and dates back to the time of Charles II in the 17th century. Although the Queen was actually born on 21 April, her official birthday is celebrated in the summer, when the weather is better. The parade begins with one of the Foot Guard regiments of the Household Division escorting their regimental colour, before giving the Queen a salute in front of Buckingham Palace, and is followed by a march of the Massed Bands before the Queen is escorted back home by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment on their magnificent black chargers.

    Venue: Horse Guards Parade
    Royal Fly By, Trooping the Colours Royal Fly By, Trooping the Colours Carfax2
    Wimbledon Tennis Championships

    The Wimbledon Championships are the highlight of the year's tennis calendar, bringing together the world's leading tennis professionals in a battle for glory. The first championship event at Wimbledon dates back to 1877, but the first Ladies' Singles championship was only introduced in 1884. Since then the tradition of strawberries and cream on centre court has been enjoyed by thousands of fans from around the world. The Wimbledon Championships are the most famous of the four tournaments known as the 'Grand Slam' and many fans of the sport make the pilgrimage to London to watch their favourite players battle it out on the famous grass courts.

    Venue: All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club
    Wimbledon Championships Wimbledon Championships Albert Lee
    Notting Hill Carnival

    The first Notting Hill Carnival took place in 1964 when London's Caribbean community introduced the carnival to ease racial tensions. Since then it has become a popular and colourful annual event celebrated by more than two million Londoners of all backgrounds. It is said to be the world's second largest street party after the Rio Carnival held in Brazil. The carnival consists of costume parades, a steel band, jazz and reggae performances, and countless street vendors selling exotic Caribbean food, as well as a rollicking street party which attracts people from all walks of life. For more information, check out the official website listed below.

    Venue: Notting Hill
    Street celebrations in Notting Hill Street celebrations in Notting Hill
    Lord Mayors Show

    The Lord Mayor's Show is an annual event held in the City of London when the mayor makes their way from Mansion House to the Royal Courts of Justice to swear allegiance to the crown. Earmarked by each Lord Mayor since 1215, the journey has grown into a rich pageant.

    Held through war and plague, the parade has proven extremely resilient. It's now one of the world's most beloved processions, attracting about half a million people, and is watched on the BBC by millions the world over.

    Venue: Central London, between Mansion House and Aldwych
    Lord Mayor's Show, London Lord Mayor's Show, London Rodolph
    Changing of the Guard

    This is one of the oldest and most familiar of all royal ceremonies. Every other day, a throng of tourists gather outside Buckingham Palace to watch the exchange of duty between the Old Guard and the New Guard.

    The Foot Guards wear their traditional uniforms, complete with bearskins, but carry modern weapons as their role is practical as well as ceremonial. A band from one of the five Foot Guard regiments accompanies the handover, playing anything from traditional military marches to pop tunes.

    Guard Mounting also takes place daily at the same time at Windsor Castle and the Tower of London. The Changing of the Queen's Life Guards involves the handover of duty between the two mounted regiments, the Blues and Royals, and the Life Guards.

    It is more flamboyant when the Queen is in residence (most weekdays), with the Captain of the Guard and trumpeter leading the procession. The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace takes place daily at 11.30am between April and July, and on alternating days the rest of the year.

    It is always best to check the calendar for the exact times of the changing of the guard because adjustments are sometimes made to the schedule.

    Venue: Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade
    The Queen's Guard, London The Queen's Guard, London bortescristian
    Reading Festival

    One of the English summer's great festivals of music, the Reading Festival boasts many of the biggest names in Pop/Rock/Indie/Folk and Comedy. The event is increasing in popularity each year and tens of thousands make their way to the fields to enjoy the finest in popular and world music. The festival normally falls on the bank holiday weekend in August. Over the same weekend, a sibling festival is held in Leeds. Headliners like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Arcade Fire, Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age, Blur, the Kaiser Chiefs, Bonnie Tyler, Muse and Eminem have drawn massive crowds.

    Venue: Reading
    Reading Festival Reading Festival C Ford
    Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race

    An annual tradition since 1829, the rowing race between two of Britain's oldest university sides creates a festival atmosphere along the banks of the Thames between Putney and Mortlake. Thousands of people gather at various vantage points along the riverbank, many of them conveniently close to pubs.

    From here, spectators can watch the famous four-and-a-quarter mile race that marks the beginning of the English social season. This famous sporting event is a huge thrill to witness and also a big party for spectators. Naturally, the students of Oxford and Cambridge come out in force to support their teams and the rivalry is epic, though good-natured.

    Venue: Thames River from Putney Bridge to Chiswick Bridge.
    The Boat Race The Boat Race
    BBC Proms

    The Proms claims to be the 'greatest classical musical festival in the world', and every summer it presents a wide range of music, from symphony orchestras to operas and contemporary music. Performances take place in one of the capital's most majestic venues, the Royal Albert Hall, and visitors to London during the summer months would be foolish to miss it. Soloists and ensembles among the greatest in the world are on show during the Proms, and visitors are sure to find the experience enriching. For more information regarding the programme and ticket prices check out the official website listed below.

    Venue: Royal Albert Hall
    Royal Albert Hall Royal Albert Hall www.freedigitalphotos.net
    West End Shows

    Famed for its musicals, the West End in the centre of London boasts some of the best theatre in the world, from musicals to comedy to drama, featuring many famous actors. There are always new shows, as well as ongoing productions such as Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Lion King, Wicked, and Chicago.

    There is plenty on offer for the whole family and catching a show on the West End is an iconic London experience for travellers. For information on what's showing and ticket prices, check out the official website listed below.

    Piccadilly Circus, London Piccadilly Circus, London Onecanadasquarebishopsgatecommons
    FA Cup Final

    The cherished FA Cup (The Football Association Challenge Cup) is football's oldest tournament and has a special place in the hearts of fans in the UK and all around the world. What separates this tournament, first held in 1871, from many of the others is that it champions the underdog, as lower division teams have a chance to play the Premier League teams, and often heroes are created before the tournament has run its course. The supporters of local teams lower down in the official pecking order relish the chance to challenge the top dogs. The dates below are for the final match; for fixtures for the whole tournament and other details check out the official website listed below.

    Venue: Wembley Stadium
    Wembley Stadium Wembley Stadium Cushdy
    BFI London Film Festival

    Film-fever spreads all across London for two weeks during the British Film Institute sponsored London Film Festival. It is the most important film festival in the UK and features premieres, short films, experimental pieces, world cinema jewels and a healthy programme of classics. Many famous British actors and filmmakers attend and a fair amount of celebrity-spotting can be indulged in. For details on what's showing check the official website listed below.

    Venue: Various
    The London IMAX The London IMAX Robert Aleck

    The nightlife in London is some of the best in the world, offering pulsating dance floors at famous clubs and more chilled out and intimate music lounges and bars. Hardcore party animals will love the clubbing scene, complete with well-known local and international DJs, while the countless bars and cosy independent theatres feature an impressive mix local and international live music acts. London is arguably the best possible travel destination for lovers of live music, and on any given night there will be an international or local band playing in more than one of the many venues.

    The West End in particular is home to many bars, clubs and restaurants, and Soho is one of the trendiest and coolest places to drink. This is also where most of London's gay bars and clubs can be found. The perpetually cool Notting Hill and Portobello Road areas still draw large crowds.

    Those in the mood for a quiet drink and some conversation should head down to one of the many traditional English pubs scattered around this cosmopolitan city, where they can enjoy some of the finest ales, stouts, ciders, and malt whiskies on offer in the world. It's also often possible to combine pubbing and clubbing as many of London's bars these days have clubs and dance floors inside them, transforming them into miniature nightclubs and ushering in a new era for those 'heading down to the pub'.

    The West End is also known as 'Theatreland' and those in the mood for Broadway-style theatre shows should head down to the Lyceum Theatre or the Queen's Theatre to catch a show or musical. And while in the area, culture lovers can enjoy an evening at Covent Garden watching the Royal Opera or the Royal Ballet, while lovers of classical music can sample the delights of Albert Hall. There is also plenty of fringe theatre outside of the West End with young professionals and amateurs performing anything from classic plays to cabaret. Common fringe venues range from well-respected miniature theatres to cramped rooms above some of the city's local pubs. Other non-commercial theatres include the world-renowned National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Globe Theatre and the Old Vic.

    London is not just a European shopping destination, but a global one. The city provides a myriad of shopping experiences, with no shortage of popular chain stores, designer boutiques, artisan shops, eclectic markets and interesting finds. Visit the renowned Oxford and Regent streets for big brands like Gap, Zara, Topshop, H&M and United Colours of Benetton. Don't be put off by their loud exteriors; some shops are actually quite affordable with some offering frequent sales. Bond Street and Mayfair are suited to a more high-end shopping trip, where designer goods and luxury boutiques abound.

    London is also renowned for its markets. Camden in North London has become one of the most visited attractions in London and is a haven for alternative sub-cultures, with stalls and shops selling outrageous retro outfits, colourful accessories and eccentric party attire. For an enjoyable weekend outing, Portobello Market is a gem (look out for the Farmers Market in the vicinity). The Notting Hill market, made famous by the romantic Hollywood film, offers many attractive coffee shops, independent retailers and cheap stalls selling clothing, jewellery and music.

    Foodies won't be disapointed with London's weekend markets, Borough Market adjacent to London Bridge is dedicated to gastronomy, visitors can sample homemade pâté, buy fresh cherries, olive oil, sweet cakes and the like. Southbank Centre Market offering fantastic street food and multiple ethically-minded eats, and Maltby Street Market, with a broad selection of delectable international food and drink, are open on weekends.

    General groceries can be bought at the major English supermarket chains such as Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Sainsbury's.

    London's legendary Tube network remains the quickest and easiest way to get around the city, though it is best avoided during rush hour. The famous red buses are a more pleasant, if slower, way to get around. The ubiquitous black cabs are excellent but Uber and other taxi apps are also popular.

    London's main attractions are fairly close to one another; if the weather is nice, walking or taking a riverboat are good options. Driving is not a good option in central London, as parking is difficult to find and very expensive. A 'congestion charge' is also payable by those driving into central London from Monday to Friday 7am-6pm.

    With iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Tower Bridge, visitors will be kept busy with a multitude of attractions to explore. In fact, the vast majority of the UK's most popular tourist attractions can be found in London. Visit the stoic lions on Trafalgar Square, be bowled over by the grand interior of St Paul's Cathedral, or take a stroll through St James Park and watch the famous changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, all this won't even scratch the surface of London's historic appeal.

    Venturing more into the heart of the West End, follow the crowds to the bright montage of lights and billboards at Piccadilly Circus and from there take in Chinatown, Soho and Covent Garden. For those with an appreciation for history and the natural world, the superb British Museum and Natural History Museum in South Kensington are a must on any London vacation. The south bank of the Thames draws visitors with the London Eye, the London Aquarium and the über-cool Tate Modern.

    An easy and pleasurable way to see the major sights is on one of London's red buses or, weather permitting, on foot. Many visitors use the underground to travel the short distances from sight to sight, missing the opportunity to gain a better picture of this vibrant city. A boat tour down the river Thames is also a great way to view some major sights and to learn more about the central role this river has played in London life, or just relax while you ponder what next to see and do in London.

    Canterbury

    The historic cathedral city of Canterbury, with its narrow streets and walkways, is best explored on foot. It is the home of Christianity in England, and has been the ultimate destination for pilgrimages in England for centuries, as described in Chaucer's famous Canterbury Tales. The imposing Canterbury Cathedral is one of the most impressive and evocative in England. It was here that Thomas Becket was martyred in 1170. Visitors can explore the ruins of the original abbey of St Augustine, who brought Christianity to England more than 1,400 years ago, or visit the Canterbury Tales Pageant and meet some of Chaucer's famous characters. For an insight into the cities of medieval England, climb the original West Gate Tower, which is still intact and provides breathtaking views across the city.

    Transport: Train from London Waterloo (90 minutes)
    Canterbury Cathedral Canterbury Cathedral
    Leeds Castle

    Set above a lake in a picturesque valley near the town of Maidstone in Kent, with imposing battlements and a 500-hectare Tudor garden, Leeds Castle proudly describes itself as 'the loveliest castle in the world'. Once a residence of British Queens and a playground for King Henry VIII, it has been open to the public for over 35 years, revealing the majesty of a bygone age. With so much to explore, Leeds Castle requires a full day for visitors to tour the castle, get lost in the garden maze, and dine in one of the excellent restaurants or quaint tea rooms. A highly recommended day-trip for visitors to the UK.

    Address: Maidstone, Kent
    Transport: Coach, bus or train from London
    Opening time: 10.30am to 6pm daily, last admission at 4.30pm (April to September); 10.30am to 5pm daily, last admission at 3pm (October to March).
    Leeds Castle Leeds Castle Adusha
    Windsor Castle

    The charming town of Windsor sits on the River Thames, 20 miles (32km) west of London, and is dominated by the magnificent Windsor Castle, the world's largest and oldest occupied castle. The castle was built by William the Conqueror almost a thousand years ago, and has been lived in by English monarchs ever since. Although Buckingham Palace is the Queen's best-known residence, Windsor is her favourite, and is where the royal family spend their weekends.

    Highlights in the castle include the wonderful State Apartments and the Waterloo Chamber, built to commemorate the British victory over Napoleon at Waterloo. St George's Chapel is one of the finest examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture in the world, and contains the tombs of numerous English sovereigns including King Henry VIII, Jane Seymour, Charles I and King George V. Many of the castle's rooms contain priceless works of art, including pieces by Rubens, Holbein, Van Dyke, Rembrandt and Lawrence, as well as fine tapestries and porcelain, sculpture and armour. The 500-acre (200-hectare) Home Park sits at the back of the castle and includes the site of Frogmore, where Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were laid to rest. Beyond is the vast expanse of Windsor Great Park, a popular place for walkers. Over the river from Windsor is Eton College, the world-famous school founded by Henry VI in 1440.

    Address: Windsor
    Transport: Train from London Waterloo or London Paddington to Windsor station
    Opening time: Generally open daily, from 9.30am to 5.15pm (March to October), and 9.45am to 4.15pm (November to February). Please check the website for the full opening hours schedule.
    Windsor Castle Windsor Castle visitingeu
    Hampton Court Palace

    Situated on the banks of the River Thames, 14 miles (23km) southwest of London, Hampton Court is perhaps the most spectacular royal palace in England, and makes a wonderful day-trip destination from the capital. The palace was built by Cardinal Wolsey in the early 1500s, but later it became King Henry VIII's principal residence and remained the centre of royal and political life in England until 1737. Visitors can see King Henry VIII's Great Hall; King William III's State Apartments, designed by Wren and completed in 1700; and the unmissable Tudor Kitchens, which remain largely unchanged since the 16th century and were no doubt once used to cater for raucous banquets. There is also a fun and exciting 'Ghost Family Trail' tour through the palace that will delight younger visitors. However, Hampton Court is still probably most famous for its grounds and their outstanding hedge maze - called 'the most famous Maze in the history of the world, and immeasurably the one most visited' by Ernest Law - which has entertained children since it was planted in 1705.

    Address: East Molesey, Surrey
    Transport: Train from Waterloo (35 minutes), or public bus routes 111, 216, 411, 461, R68, 267, and 513. For a more scenic ride, take a river boat along the Thames from Westminster, Richmond or Kingston
    Opening time: Opening times vary season to season; check the official website for details.
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