Whether you’re visiting London for the first time or just planning a day out with the kids, the capital has no end of things to keep you busy. But with so many galleries, museums and landmarks to visit, it can be hard working out where to start. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of London’s best cultural gems. From the cultural delights to shopping experiences, here’s our pick of the capital’s top ten attractions.
1. Oxford Street
Want to shop til’ you drop? Take a stroll down London’s Oxford Street. It’s packed full of fashion-savvy shops and iconic department stores. You’ll find some of the UK’s biggest brands here including Topshop, John Lewis and M&S. And if you fancy getting away from the crowds, the backstreets are brimming with boutiques and coffee houses. Stay at Thistle’s Marble Arch hotel nearby, and explore the area on foot within minutes.
2. London Eye
Enjoy jaw-dropping views of the city’s skyline from the iconic Coca-Cola London Eye. The 32 capsules give some of the best views of the city and an impressive 360 panorama of the capital. Each of the capsules holds up to 25 people, making it the perfect place to kick back with friends and family for half an hour.
3. The National Gallery
With over 2,000 paintings under its roof, the National Gallery is a must-see attraction for all culture vultures. Iconic art by the likes of Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt are all on display. Plus, the gallery hosts tons of special exhibitions, lectures and events throughout the year. Stay at The Royal Trafalgar nearby for the best variety of galleries and museums on your doorstep.
4. Madame Tussauds
Fancy getting up close and personal with some of the biggest celebs? Madame Tussaauds is probably as close as you’re going to get. Take a selfie with wax-work models of David Beckham, Angelina Jolie and Ronaldo – to name a few. And if the kids still need convincing, vloggers like Zoella and Alfie Deyes will be getting their own wax models, later this year.
5. British Museum
The nation’s most famous museum has an impressive range of art and artefacts, dedicated to human history and culture. Its permanent collection holds around 8 million works! Or enough to keep the kids busy for at least a whole morning. Highlights include the Elgin Marbles and Rosetta Stone. Stay at The Kingsley or the Bloomsbury Park hotel, only a stone’s throw away.
6. Buckingham Palace
The home of the Queen may be London’s most famous landmark. But it’s also a great place to nosey in on the life of royals. Explore the Grand Hall for a glimpse of her majesty’s thrones or take a detour through the palace’s impressive gardens. You can also visit the State Rooms, used to entertain foreign dignitaries. A charming visit all round.
7. Big Ben
No trip to London would be complete without a visit to London’s best loved clock tower. At 96m tall and a whopping 13 tons, it also boasts some of London’s most impressive architecture. Big Ben technically refers to the Elizabethan Tower, but the Houses of Parliament next door are still worth a visit. Visit at night for an even more spectacular view.
8. Tate Modern
The Tate Modern has become a cultural powerhouse, thanks to its cutting edge art and striking architecture. Located in what was once the Battersea Power Station, it offers an impressive collection of modern art and film. Highlights include paintings by Warhol, Pollock and Rothko. With over five million visitors a year, it’s definitely worth a visit.
9. Tower of London
The Tower of London may have a grizzly past full of executions and beheadings but it’s still a fascinating place to visit. See the Crown Jewels, the quaint ‘Warders’ and the ‘Torture Tower’ if you can stomach it. There’s also a gorgeous moat and stunning views over Tower Bridge, the Thames and the rest of the city. Stay at the Thistle City Barbican nearby and you’ll be only a few tube stops away.
10. Camden Market
This hotspot for punks, emos and goths is one of London’s most alternative attraction. Stroll through Stables Market and discover a curious assortment of art and antiques. Of if you’re fashion savvy, there are endless boutiques and clothes stalls to sift through. And we haven’t even mentioned the great food yet! Stay at the Thistle Euston nearby and explore Camden Market in minutes.