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What to see and do in London – a guide to notable attractions and landmarks

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When it comes to things to see and do in London, you won’t be short on choices. From museums choc-full of cultural treasures to venues pumping out live music, there is a slice of life to suit everyone. Take a stroll in one of London’s many royal parks and palaces, head to the tallest building in Western Europe, or simply hang out in a rooftop bar in this vibrant cosmopolitan city.

Emily Wilson

My Destination local expert on


Buckingham Palace


One of the few working palaces left in the world, Buckingham Palace is one of London’s most iconic attractions. Today used as administrative offices for the Queen, the expansive palace is open to the public for daily tours. Passing through the front doors, you’ll find a warren of tapestries, portraits and antique sculptures belonging to the Queen’s collection. Home to a stately Ballroom seating up to 150 guests and the Throne Room – the scene of the infamous balcony kiss of Kate and Will – no trip would be complete without a visit here. If you are really lucky, you might even catch the ‘Changing of the Guard’ ceremony; a typical demonstration of British pomp and ceremony.


Houses of Parliament


A view endlessly associated with London, the Palace of Westminster (commonly known as the Houses of Parliament) are high-up on the city’s landmark list. Neatly nestled in the bustling epicenter of Westminster, this majestic building stands as a significant political icon. The meeting point between the UK’S two houses of Parliament, the House of Lords and the House of Commons, this imposing structure has an intriguing history. Also home to Big Ben - an echoing bell struck every 15 minutes from inside the belfry - you’ll find it very difficult to miss this striking attraction.


The Tower of London


Constructed after King Harold of England was defeated in the Battle of Hastings, The Tower of London is a noteworthy landmark. Once used as a defensive fortress for the Duke of Normandy and then as the infamous imprisonment site of Sir Thomas More and Anne Boleyn, the tower has evolved over time to become a public attraction. Today home to the Queen’s Crown Jewels - a sparkling collection of diamonds, pearls, rubies, sapphires and emeralds displayed in the Jewel House – it is easy to understand the draw of this place.


St Paul’s Cathedral


Perched atop of Ludgate Hill - the highest point in the city – St Paul’s Cathedral is a truly mesmerising spot. Drawing in the crowds with its gleaming dome and dazzling decorated interior, this sacred site is definitely worth a visit. Home to the ‘whispering gallery,’ a fascinating passageway where you and a friend can whisper into the walls at opposite ends of the dome (and be heard), you won’t find anywhere else like St Paul’s in the city.


The Shard


The tallest building in Western Europe, at 1,016ft high, The Shard is one of London’s newest landmarks. A towering triangle of crystalline glass, shimmering amongst the city buildings of London Bridge, it is pretty difficult to miss. Piercing the city skyline with its impressive presence, visitors can clamber to the top of the Shard’s viewing platform to enjoy sweeping vistas across London. At the highest climbing point, at 800ft, you’ll even discover a partially open-air gallery where you can soak up uninterrupted panoramas of the city below.


Natural History Museum


A treasure trove of paleontology, zoology, botany and entomology – or rather, dinosaurs, animals, plants and insects – the Natural History Museum is one of London’s most loved attractions. An educational haven for visiting families, here you will uncover a fascinating world of history and wildlife. As you enter the building, you will find yourself face-to-face with a ginormous Jurassic-esque dinosaur. Don’t worry, it’s only a skeleton. If that’s too terrifying to bear, however, you can always take shelter in the nearby Science Museum or Victoria and Albert Museum, both located in walking’s distance to the Natural History Museum.


02 Arena


Tucked away in southeast London’s Greenwich peninsula, this lively concert arena is one of London’s most popular live music venues. Packed full of attractions including a music club, cinema, exhibition space, piazzas, bars and restaurants - in addition to the main concert stage – the O2 Arena is a great place to have a night out with friends.