London is recognised around the world as a key cultural capital, amazing the masses with its grand, historic museums, fine art galleries, and edgy exhibitions, not to mention striking landmarks like the Tower of London and the London Eye.

    London is a city steeped in history, but its museums tell stories from all across the world. Established in 1753 and set in a vast glass-roofed complex, the British Museum is a treasury of relics from cultures both new and old, across the globe. 

    You can see authentic and beautifully designed Egyptian coffins, incredible Roman ruins, and early English artefacts. Don’t miss out on seeing the near-legendary Rosetta Stone, the key which unlocked the language of civilizations long extinct.

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    Location: Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 5.30 pm (until 8.30 pm on Fridays), closed for Christmas and New Year

    Phone: +44 20 7323 8299

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    Any serious art-lover would need days to see all of London’s stellar galleries – whether they’re interested in quirky contemporary work or old-world masterpieces. Based in historic Trafalgar Square under the gaze of Lord Nelson's statue, the National Gallery houses a jaw-dropping collection of over 2,300 paintings. 

    You'll marvel at the immense, imposing exterior of Neo-Classical stone columns and domes – a fitting entrance to a gallery which showcases work from early 13th century artists to European masters like Cezanne and Van Gogh.

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    Location: Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN, UK

    Open: Saturday–Thursday from 10 am to 6 pm, Friday from 10 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +44 20 7747 2885

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    Wherever you walk in central London you’re bound to stumble across a landmark, whether ambling by the river near St Paul’s Cathedral, or strolling through Westminster beside Buckingham Palace. And then there's this imposing, iconic landmark. The Tower of London, which dates back almost 1,000 years, is a must-see for history-buffs and appreciators of Norman architecture. 

    You’re sure to get a kick out of pacing across its stone battlements, watching the black ravens in the green courtyards, and walking through the grand halls lined with shiny suits of armour. Be sure to see the White Tower - the oldest and most infamous part of the castle – which houses a Romanesque chapel.

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    Location: St Katharine's & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB, UK

    Open: Tuesday–Saturday from 9 am to 5.30 pm, Sunday–Monday from 10 am to 5.30 pm in the summer, closing time is 1 hour earlier in the winter

    Phone: +44 844 482 7777

    Map

    photo by Doug Kerr (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    The London Eye, set on the cultural stretch of the South Bank, is a giant silver-white Ferris wheel that shoots high into the sky. Opened in the year 2000, this mighty modern marvel stands at a whopping 135 metres tall. 

    Buy a ticket, and step inside a spacious oval-shaped passenger capsule. The 45-minute long tour gives you a pristine and unforgettable bird's eye view of London’s skyline.

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    Location: Lambeth, London SE1 7PB, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 11 am to 6 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 10 am to 8.30 pm

    Phone: +44 870 990 8881

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    London has always had a thriving theatre scene, particularly in the West End, although many visitors will also want to flock to the Globe to see the works of the Bard performed with classical flamboyance. Located by the banks of the Thames, Shakespeare’s Globe is an almost-exact reconstruction of the circular Globe Theatre, an Elizabethan venue where Shakespeare showcased many of his plays to awestruck audiences. 

    The new Globe, built with extreme attention to historic detail, is constructed entirely from sturdy English oak and boasts London’s only genuine thatched roof. It hosts concerts by candlelight, modern dramatic productions, and of course, plenty of Shakespeare’s plays.

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    Location: 21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT, UK

    Open: Daily from 10 am to 6 pm

    Phone: +44 20 7902 1400

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    Those seeking a cool contemporary twist should check out the Tate Modern, which overlooks the shimmering Thames on its south bank in central London. Based within the former Bankside Power Station – a looming, red-brick behemoth of industrial architecture – the Tate Modern showcases artwork of the Expressionist, Surrealist, and abstract schools. See the work of great artists such as Matisse and Rothko, as well as up-and-coming geniuses.

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    Location: Bankside, London SE1 9TG, UK

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 10 am to 6 pm, Friday–Saturday from 10 am to 10 pm

    Phone: +44 20 7887 8888

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    7

    Churchill War Rooms

    Where the British statesman commanded the war

    Churchill War Rooms is a museum dedicated to the life of Sir Winston Churchill, set inside the actual underground bunker from which he conducted much of the British war effort. Over 70 ft below the hustle and bustle of Westminster and just a few hundred yards away from Big Ben, this museum is where you can learn about the war effort and Churchill’s life.

    Much of the bunker is left exactly as it was when the war stopped. The map room has diagrams, maps and charts left on the tables, and you’ll see similar offices like ‘The Committee Room’, some of which have mannequins to help you experience times as they were.

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    Location: Clive Steps, King Charles St, London SW1A 2AQ, UK

    Open: Wednesday–Sunday from 9.30 am to 6 pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

    Phone: +44 (0)20 7416 5000

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    8

    Charles Dickens Museum

    Tour the house where Oliver Twist was written

    The Charles Dickens Museum is a collection of artefacts, belongings and manuscripts previously owned by Charles Dickens, situated in none other than the house he lived in. Found in Holborn, Camden, it's a beautiful Georgian terraced house in which Dickens wrote Nicholas Nickelby and Oliver Twist.

    The museum itself is a great place to learn something about Dickens or Victorian life in general. Aside from all the trinkets that Dickensian fans will love, the house has been kept in a Victorian style, and they even decorate it for Christmas. Call ahead to book a guide, or take a self-guided tour at your own pace.

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    Location: 48-49 Doughty St, London WC1N 2LX, UK

    Open: Wednesday–Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

    Phone: +44 (0)20 7405 2127

    Map

    photo by Peter Trimming (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

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    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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