The sights of London


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Sights, museums, churches, monuments, palaces, and other attractions of London

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The top sights and museums of London, England

The British Museum - Quite possibly the single greatest museum devoted to the ancient cultures of the world. The Rosetta Stone, Elgin Marbles (a.k.a. Parthenon sculptures), Egyptian mummies, and Easter Island moai are but the beginning.... Full Story

The National Gallery - One of the world's premier painting galleries of Old Masters from Michelangelo and Da Vinci to Turner and Monet.... Full Story

London's Most Overrated Sights
These are sights and experiences that are (a) very famous, and (b) utterly not worth your time—especially considering the ridiculously expensive tickets at Madame Tussaud's and the London Eye. (OK, so the Eye is kinda cool in its way; it's still obscenely expensive.)
The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace
Madame Tussaud's wax museum
The London Eye
• Tower Bridge

Westminster Abbey - A glorious church that also serves as the final resting place for hundreds of famous Brits, from Sir Isaac Newton to Geoffrey Chaucer to Laurence Olivier and centuries'-worth of British monarchs.... Full Story

Tower of London - Everything you could want out of a castle: mighty stone walls, moats, a central keep stuffed with arms and suits of armor, and dozens of grisly stories about dungeons and beheadings that are gleefully recited by the Beefeater guides on free tours. Plus: the Crown Jewels.... Full Story

St. Paul's Cathedral - A noble cathedral that stood as a symbol of British resilience during WWII blitz bombings, with still more famous tombs (the Duke of Wellington, Admiral Lord Nelson, Turner, Lawrence of Arabia, and the architect who built it, Sir Christopher Wren), plus fantastic views once you climb the dome. Too bad they charge and arm and a leg they charge you to get in.... Full Story

London's architectural hodgepodge
London tends to measure time by events of grand destruction. The Great Fire of 1666 destroyed almost every last inch of the medieval city (thatched roofs catch fire pretty quickly). Luckily, a Renaissance genius named Christopher Wren was on hand to rebuild the city, raising over 50 churches and countless other buildings. With World War II came the Blitz, German planes raining destruction again over the city. The result: the City of London is today an odd architectural mix of medieval houses, Renaissance churches, Victorian public buildings, and postmodern bank headquarters.

Tate Modern - Absolutely wonderful museum devoted to modern (20th century) and contemporary art installed in a massive former power along the Thames. Not just a great collection thoughtfully arranged (and frequently rearranged), but also great rotating shows, blockbuster temporary exhibits, and a fab gift shop and bookstore.... Full Story

Tate Britain - Some of the greatest hits of British painting and sculpture.... Full Story

Buckingham Palace - Where the Queen hangs her flowerpot hats... Full Story

Parliament and Big Ben - Giant neo-Gothic pile of a building from which the British Empire is run, including a clock tower with the world's most famous set of chimes (often incorrectly referred to by the name of what is, in fact, it's largest bell: Big Ben)... Full Story

The V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum) - To call this the world's greatest museum of decorative arts is seriously underselling the V&A, because I hate decorative arts museums but I love this place. Among my favorites parts: the Asian collections, the stained glass, the galleries of plaster cast reproductions of the world's most famous sculptures, the Samurai outfits, and the amazing musical instrument collection... Full Story

 

 

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Useful London links & resources
How long to spend in London?

Planning your days in London: You can see many of the greatest hits of London in 3 days (though 4 days would be better—a week, if you can manage it).

That said, if you only have 1 day or 2 days to spend in London, we also have itineraries to help you cram in as much as possible into as little or as much time as you have.

» London itineraries

Get the London Pass

The London Pass grants free entry to more than 60 sights across London, including such top attractions as St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, the Churchill War Rooms, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Tour, Hampton Court Palace, Windsor Castle, Kew Gardens, and London Transport Museum—as well as some nifty tours by bike, canal boat, and foot.

If you upgrade to the Travelcard option (an extra £9—or $16—per day) you also get unlimited rides on all public transportation (Underground/Tube, bus, and light rail).

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London tours

Top London tour companies

Top London tours

 

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