Get started by browsing through our 101 ideas and click on each of the numbered tiles to access further information. Alternatively, narrow your search using the filter below.Use the filter
Fabulous food, Great Gatsby glamour & 360-degree vistas of London0
The 28th floor of the Park Lane Hilton is great for diners who like their modern haute cuisine with a side serving of panoramic city views. Galvin at Windows is a fantastic spot to sample Chef Patron Chris Galvin's Michelin-starred menus, which feature seasonally inspired treats with their delicious roots in modern French cuisine. The price tag isn't as steep as you might expect, but you'll probably want to drag your eyes away from the London Eye and Buckingham Palace to make sure you fully savour your toasted fillet of stonebass or Suffolk pork belly.
One of London's favourite strolling spots is just the place to escape the hustle & bustle0
Loved by Londoners old and young, Hampstead Heath is one of the most peaceful and relaxing spaces the Big Smoke has to offer. This sprawling stretch of green boasts amazing views over the city and is crammed with historic spots and things to do. Take a dip in Hampstead Ponds if you fancy a splash, saunter to the Heath's Edwardian pergola for a beautiful history lesson, or walk up Kite Hill for some truly spectacular cityscapes.
Rib-tickling nights all through the week at this Islington comedy institution0
Every night of laughs at the Angel Comedy Club is absolutely free. This is a spot where both fresh-faced and veteran comedians come to test out new material, make their first appearances, or do something a bit different. Weekdays can be varied, but the queue can get long on Fridays and Saturdays - turn up early to avoid missing out.
Rubens' majestic ceiling has to be seen to be believed0
One of the very last things that King Charles I would've seen before he was executed in 1649 on a scaffold just outside the Banqueting House, the incredible ceiling of this opulent building is the last of its kind painted by Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Located in Whitehall, this historic and, frankly, jaw-dropping room is a must-see. Look out for the faux 3D carvings and marble that have been painted to look just like the real thing, creating an impressive optical illusion. It's free to visit too.
Strawberry curry at Chelsea's Painted Heron - sounds weird, tastes great0
It's not every day you come across curry made of strawberries. Then again, it's not every day you visit an Indian restaurant like Chelsea's Painted Heron. The delicacies of this well-heeled establishment range from beautifully made staples to mind-blowing new food experiences. The soft shell crab, deep fried in a rice and sesame seed batter, has to be tried, while adventurous eaters might also be tantalised by the wild boar in karahi spices and rose veal dhansak.
Time to find your inner Robin Hood0
Live out all your bow-and-arrow fantasies at 2020 Archery, near London Bridge and Bermondsey stations (locations change during the week, so don't forget to check). There's an archery adventure for everybody here, with archery-tag games for groups, weekend courses for more serious shooters, and "have a go" sessions for first-timers who don't know their quivers from their nocking points.
Five whole miles of riverside landmarks0
Walking along the Thames from Chelsea Bridge to Tower Bridge will give you a fascinating insight into London's history. Chelsea Bridge is thought to be the spot where Julius Caesar and his army crossed the Thames, while Tower Bridge is one of the most spectacular feats of engineering you'll find. There are plenty of food and drink sellers along the 5-mile stretch, so you can take regular pit stops to refuel.
Ring the bell for bubbles in one of Soho's most glamorous restaurants0
A Soho institution, this glamorous restaurant is a great spot for a decadent dining experience. "Press for champagne" buzzers in each booth let you summon something sparkling at a moment's notice (just try to resist pressing it), while the rest of the restaurant's menu covers indulgent Russian and European gourmet fare. Designed by the legendary David Collins, the glitzy Orient Express-inspired décor is sheer flamboyance at its most fun.
Join the bidding wars for unique antiques at Bonham's on Bond Street0
Founded in 1793, Bonham's is one of the world's oldest auctioneers, with its salerooms on Bond Street and Knightsbridge crammed with treasures from around the globe. From vintage cars and jewellery to spellbinding old books and beautiful furniture, there's something here to tempt every bidder. And if you don't have the funds, simply soaking up the atmosphere can be a fun experience in itself.
Scoff scones, raise your pinkie & take in the sights atop a retro Routemaster0
Is anything more quintessentially English than tea, scones and jam? How about a full afternoon tea with all the trimmings on a vintage London Routemaster bus as it tours the English capital? Yes, we've officially reached peak Englishness. B-Bakery's scrumptious tours take in Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and much more. Retro surroundings are supplemented by canapés, finger sandwiches, cakes, scones and cuppas, so you can feel like the cat who got the (clotted) cream.
Go full foodie under the railway arches of south London's famous market0
It's hard to keep Borough Market's eight centuries of history in mind when you're surrounded by mouth-watering treats and some of Britain's finest produce. The foodie market of choice for many a Londoner, it's home to vendors selling everything from prime cuts of rare-breed meat to seasonal game and artisan cheeses. A market has operated on this site, now located under the railway arches, since the 13th century.
A little taste of English aristocracy in view of the London Eye0
What stay in London would be complete without a traditional afternoon tea? The Royal Horseguards is a charming spot to do exactly that. Visit in spring or summer to take your tea on the hotel's al fresco terrace, with views of the London Eye through Whitehall Gardens' leafy trees. On colder days, the real treats can be found in The Lounge, where the hotel's unique strawberry cream leaf tea blend is served alongside a range of quintessential English afternoon treats.
The 'Magna Carta', Da Vinci's notebooks, original Beatles lyrics - take your pick0
The heart of the UK's literary history, the British Library is a must-visit for fans of the written word. With exhibits showcasing everything from the "Magna Carta" to original, handwritten lyrics by The Beatles, this treasure trove of literature is endlessly inspiring. Explore the exhibitions and be amazed by the huge glass cube of books, or get a free Reader Pass and delve into the hidden corners of this astonishing space.
No words do justice to the fluffiness of the pancakes at Hackney's Bistrotheque0
Lurking in deepest, darkest Hackney, Bistrotheque is one of those places you have to know about to know about. Given the location in an unmarked converted clothing factory, sniffing out your brunch might take a bit of doing but - trust us - it'll be worth it. The pancakes (served with poached plums, smoked almonds and cream) are fluffier than clouds, while the full range of trendy eggy options are cooked with aplomb.
Destroy your opponents in one of 600+ games at Draughts in Haggerston0
If you like your beer with a side serving of healthy competition, Draughts in Haggerston is the place for you. The board game café's collection of over 600 games (yes, 600) is frankly astonishing, presenting opportunities for gamers of all kinds to get their nerd on. There's a small entry fee, but for the price, you'll have access to all the games you desire and the help of a "games guru" who'll point you towards something you'll love.
This all-in-one hotel lets you have a 'curated' east London experience0
Want to enjoy the very best of trendy east London without leaving your hotel? Boundary offers a beautifully curated and tasteful experience for both guests and diners. A hotel, three restaurants, bars, a bakery, a British food store - a visit to Boundary can feel like stepping into an alien dimension where everything is thoughtfully and gorgeously designed. With 12 extremely Instagrammable rooms and a rooftop orangery/restaurant/bar, this is a wonderful location for a city break or a dinner with a difference.
One of the world's greatest collections of historic objects, from the Elgin Marbles to the Rosetta Stone0
The British Museum is an essential stop for every visitor to London. Alongside frequent ground-breaking and temporary exhibitions, the Museum has a priceless permanent collection of treasures from all over the world, spanning all of human history. Marvel at the Elgin Marbles, pay a visit to the Rosetta Stone, check out 5,000-year-old clay figurines from the Dead Sea, or take a peek at an ancient Egyptian prosthetic toe. With over 50 galleries, there's more here than anyone could take in in just one day, but guided tours will help you uncover the highlights.
Drink, dine & dance surrounded by 1920s opulence on Piccadilly Circus0
Step back in time and revel in the vintage-inspired surroundings of Brasserie Zédel's fabulous ballroom-style restaurant. A bit quiet early in the evening, it usually starts to get jazzy after nine, so reserve a table for a late meal or pop in for cocktails accompanied by live jazz that'll make you feel like a real flapper. With pleasingly affordable house wine, this is a fantastic spot for impressing dates. The grand basement restaurant is especially mind-blowing for first-time visitors.
A true blue-blooded British spectacle at the Queen's official residence0
If you're planning to visit Buckingham Palace, make sure you time it to catch the spectacle that is the Changing of the Guard. This proud British tradition full of pomp and ceremony (think tall black hats and marching band), takes place every day at 11:30am from April to July, and every other day (weather permitting) during the rest of the year. Don't forget to explore the rest of the palace, which includes impressive state rooms and secret tunnels that run beneath London's streets.
A cheeky glass (or three) goes down well in these historic candlelit vaults0
One of the most atmospheric spots to enjoy a glass of wine in London, Gordon's Wine Bar (the oldest in the city) lurks unexpectedly beneath Villiers St near Embankment, in a building that was once home to the famed Great Fire of London diarist, Samel Pepys. Established in the 1890s, Gordon's cosy, rickety space is still serving an array of wines, as well as ports, madeiras and sherries straight from the barrel.
Find Greenwich Mean Time & straddle the Meridian Line0
Greenwich is an excellent corner of London to explore, with a sprawling park, vintage markets, the Royal Observatory, the National Maritime Museum (pictured), the Cutty Sark, and of course, the Meridian Line. The latter is free to visit, and you can stand on the spot where GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) begins, setting clocks ticking all over the globe.
The British home of Chinese cuisine, in the heart of London's Soho0
London has been home to a Chinatown since the early 1900s. Originally located in the Limehouse area near the Docklands, today Chinatown makes up an essential and vibrant corner of Soho, centred around Gerrard Street. For the best, most authentic Szechuan Chinese eats in the area, a visit to Baiwei is an absolute must. Their silky, crunchy sweet-and-sour gong bao tofu alone is worth writing home about.
Stop for a bite in the spooky vaults of this central London church0
Conveniently located next to Trafalgar Square, the Café in the Crypt offers a personality-packed alternative to the usual coffee and sandwich chains that abound in this part of central London. Serving everything from afternoon teas to brunches and light lunches, the real 'write home' aspect of this eatery is its incredible setting. Atmospheric and spooky, the crypt beneath this famously charitable church has brick-vaulted ceilings and tombstones beneath your feet. For a great evening out, try to catch one of their live jazz nights.
Over 200 years of history & an excellent gift shop at the London Transport Museum0
If you're into your vehicles and trains, the London Transport Museum will definitely float your boat. Go back to the 1800s and examine the horse-drawn carriages that once carted people around. Then head to the first floor and check out the first steam-powered underground engine and an old wooden railway coach you can actually board - just the ticket for train nerds.
Twelve spins in 40 seconds around the ArcelorMittal Orbit at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park0
Tangled up and built into the eye-catching ArcelorMittal Orbit at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, this 178-metre tunnel slide is the world's tallest and longest. During your descent, you'll spin around the huge sculpture a dizzying 12 times, reaching the bottom a full, thrilling 40 seconds later. Make sure you book your slot in advance to beat the queues and secure some serious sliding time.
Pick your cocktail ration & chomp on a hamper full of treats at Cahoots in Soho0
Sporting a vintage Tube theme, this Soho watering hole was created to transport you to a bygone era of travel - with a drink in your hand. The bar hosts events all week, but their 'Squiffy Picnics' on Saturdays and Sundays (throughout the early afternoon at allotted time slots) are a must-try. Choose your cocktail ration, sit back, and enjoy a picnic hamper full of retro snacks for a quirky couple of hours. Be sure to book in advance, and ask for a table in the carriage for the best seats in the house.
Take in the colours & soak up the atmosphere in this charming east London spot0
Have your camera and Instagram at the ready as you venture into the bouquets and displays of Columbia Road Flower Market in Bethnal Green. Every Sunday from 8am to 3pm, Columbia Road is transformed into a riot of flowers, foliage and sellers touting their wares in true east-London style. From bedding plants and bulbs to pretty little sprigs, there's a botanical treat here for every taste. Turn up early to see it in its full glory, or wait until 2pm to pick up a bargain (don't forget to haggle).
Home to comedy, classical music & the Cirque du Soleil0
The Royal Albert Hall is, for many, the London music venue par excellence. Built as a memorial to Queen Victoria's husband in 1871, it regularly hosts classical concerts, comedy gigs and spectacular Cirque du Soleil performances. But it's probably best known as the venue for the Proms, which have been held under the vast rotunda since 1941. More recently, it launched its Secret History Tours, giving visitors access to areas that are normally off-limits (and the chance to hear some great stories from times gone by).
Go 'Back to Black' at the late singer's old watering hole, The Hawley Arms0
Fans of the late Amy Winehouse should stop in at The Hawley Arms in Camden to pay their respects in true Winehousian style. This big Victorian boozer seems nothing out of the ordinary but does attract an unusually trendy, star-studded crowd thanks to its reputation and location. Comedian Noel Fielding (of "The Mighty Boosh") is a regular, making this otherwise standard-issue Greene King pub something slightly special. Order a pint and raise your glass to the talents of the home-grown Camden songstress.
Jump straight back to your childhood at Hamley's Toy Store on Regent Street0
A trip to world-famous Hamley's will make you feel like a kid again. All five floors of this enormous toy shop are crammed with delights, from soft toys and puppets to board games and electronic gizmos you'll want to play with instantly. If you're visiting during the festive season, brace yourself for some heavy crowds, but an early-morning trip throughout the rest of the year will give you plenty of space to indulge your inner child.
Shop alongside acrobats, jugglers, musicians & more at Covent Garden0
Covent Garden is a must-visit for both shopping addicts and avid people-watchers. Hectic at peak times, but always a buzzing spot to while away time, it's home to a wide array of stores from everyday favourites to one-off boutiques and quirky stalls as well as a host of street performers. Every hour brings something new to this famous destination, from singers and drummers to acrobats and performance artists, which ensures a Covent Garden trip is never boring.
Trendy tipples on the banks of an east London canal at Crate Brewery0
Like your beer with a dose of home-grown style? Crate Brewery in Hackney Wick is where you'll find it. With more than its fair share of beards and tattoos, this unashamedly cool watering hole is housed in a refurbished factory, complete with a bar made of reclaimed railway sleepers. The real star of the show, however, is the beer - including some that's brewed on site before your very eyes. The super-crispy pizzas and live jazz sessions are also an added bonus.
See London like never before on the UK's first urban cable car0
Make the hop from Greenwich's O2 Arena to the Excel Centre at Royal Docks in style on the Emirates Air Line. The UK's first urban cable car offers incredible views of the Olympic Park, the Thames Barrier, the City and Canary Wharf. Jump on using your Oyster (the London travel card) or buy a one-off ticket for a one-way or return journey. During the summer, get on a glittering Night Flight complete with music and video.
Sublime treats come with a twist at this west London bakery0
In beautiful Belgravia, lovers of all things sweet will find their pastry Mecca. The first UK branch of the New York bakery du jour, Dominique Ansel is the home of the cronut. Yes, that's a croissant-doughnut hybrid and yes, it's exactly as good as it sounds. There are other treats to enjoy too, from cookie shots to the DKA (a caramelised, deep-fried croissant). Feeling even more adventurous? The banoffee paella is a whole other world of pudding pleasure. Get there early on weekends to secure a seat.
Pretend that letter came down your chimney after all & enter a world of magic0
Home to many of the sets and props from the Harry Potter movies, this destination will make you feel like you're inside Hogwarts itself. Saunter down Diagon Alley, explore the Great Hall at Hogwarts, drink a flagon of Butterbeer, and discover the secrets behind the films' special effects and animatronics. The Leavesden location (just outside Watford) is a bit of a trek for some, but well worth the journey for anyone with a soft spot for the world of magic and muggles.
Take the classic tour of the city (don't forget your umbrella!)0
See the city in classic style: jump on a Hop-On, Hop-Off tour and enjoy the sights from an open-top bus (like an urban safari). A huge array of tours operate across the city, covering a range of routes. Many include walking tours, river cruises and entry to some of London's must-see attractions.
Gulp down tasty treats while gazing at the skyline at this luxurious 24/7 restaurant0
Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and everything in between - Duck & Waffle, on the 40th floor of Heron Tower and open all day, every day, needs to be on your London itinerary. The "highest 24/7 restaurant in London", this is a spot you'll need to book in advance if you visit during peak times, but a reservation is well worth it. Book your breakfast at sunrise and order the Full Elvis waffles (complete with banana brûlée and Chantilly cream) or a savoury breakfast waffle (the eponymous Duck & Waffle is exceptional).
Catch films at Electric Cinema, one of London's most historic & romantic0
The Electric Cinema on Portobello Road in Notting Hill gives cinephiles the opportunity to recapture some of the glitz and romance of cinema's golden age. With plush leather armchairs and cocktails served at your seat, this is a decadent spot to take in everything from the latest blockbusters to classic flicks. The front row is made up of six velvet double beds - perfect for a romantic date (because smooching in the back row is so passé).
Haggle your heart out for bric-a-brac from around the world0
Bag yourself a bargain at Portobello Road Market, the world's largest for antiques and collectables. Check out emerging designer and vintage clothing stalls and look your best while hammering out a deal. And if all the haggling makes you hungry, there are also plenty of food stalls selling delicious nibbles. Even if you're not looking to buy, the market's well worth a visit just to soak up the vibes.
Book ahead to see an 8.6-metre-long giant squid0
The Natural History Museum is a cavernous space full of wonders from the natural world. At this wild and wonderful place you can take an escalator through "the centre of the earth", experience the ground shaking in an earthquake simulator and even get up close with a giant squid. Encounters with this astonishing creature, as well as many other spectacular exhibits, are available on special private tours. Look out for quirky after-hours events too.
Repeatedly voted the UK's best chippy, Toff's of Muswell Hill is the place for a bit of cod0
For a real taste of London - or indeed Great Britain - hungry visitors should make a beeline for Toff's of Muswell Hill. While exotic cuisines and decadent dining experiences abound in London, there are few things more quintessentially British than fish and chips slathered in vinegar and wrapped in newspaper. Toff's offers the true chippy experience.
Craven Cottage oozes history & atmosphere0
Craven Cottage stands proud as an old-school ground with one football boot placed firmly in the past. Home to Fulham FC since 1896, the Cottage was refurbished in the early 2000s, and although the passion is plentiful (in a civilised West London kind of way), the welcome is warm. Catch a game here, then head for a pint at the nearby Bricklayer's Arms. If you're feeling extra peckish, The Crabtree riverside pub is also close by, and well worth a visit. Remember to get the Tube to Putney Bridge rather than Fulham Broadway (the latter, confusingly, is where you'd get off for a Chelsea match).
Take a tour or watch a debate at the grand home of British politics0
A visit to the heart of British political action makes for a great day out. Although security measures are in place, there are plenty of ways for visitors to get inside this venerable institution. Guided tours run on Saturdays and during parliamentary recesses behind the scenes of the Houses of Parliament. Visitors can also watch debates and committees inside this famous building (UK guests can request a ticket from their MP to watch Prime Minister's Question Time from the public galleries).
Think you can solve all the clues & crack this fiendishly fun team game?0
Tucked away in Euston, HintHunt's escape room provides ample opportunity to prove just how clever you are. Part-"Crystal Maze" and part-40s detective thriller, this interactive mystery game traps you in a vintage PI's office/crime scene. Your mission: crack the case within an hour and win your freedom.
Gaze at one of the greatest art collections anywhere in the world0
The National Gallery is absolutely huge, housing a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. Dotted along the walls of its many rooms are works by some of the greatest painters that ever lived, from Britain's very own Constable, Gainsborough and Turner to European masters like Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Monet. It's worth picking up a map from the information desk before you set off into the gallery's labyrinthine rooms to make sure there's nothing you miss.
Meat, two veg & so much more at this London restaurant chain0
With six restaurants dotted across the city, restaurant chain Hawksmoor has a reputation for top-notch steak and excellent Sunday roasts. Laid-back, but with a high-end feel, they take all the passion they put into serving beautiful, carefully-sourced steak throughout the week and apply it to their roasts on Sundays, starting their meat over real charcoal for amazing flavour before perfecting it in the oven.
Watch The Bard's masterpieces as they would've been staged back in his day0
A trip to The Globe is essential for lovers of literature and theatre. The spiritual home of Shakespeare, this amazing reconstructed theatre is built on the site of the 1599 original and has been painstakingly designed to be as close to its predecessor as possible, offering visitors a true, transporting experience. To see a play on the fly for next to nothing, turn up and get a groundling ticket (you'll need to stand for the entirety of the play, but you'll be right up close to the action). For a more comfortable experience, book a seat in the stalls.
Be dazzled by delicacies at this upmarket London institution0
A trip to Harrods is considered a London essential for many visitors, and for good reason. The luxury department store is all about the finer things in life, offering visitors the chance to shop (and window-shop) to their heart's content. For dedicated foodies, their food hall is simply stunning. Decked out with painted ceilings, brass display cases and ice sculptures, it features treats from all over the world - including just about any kind of chocolate you could think of. Incentives don't get more delicious than that.
Quirky displays & Victorian grandeur at south London's Horniman Museum0
Set in surprisingly suburban-feeling Forest Hill, the Horniman Museum is based in a beautiful Victorian building surrounded by charming grounds, offering great views back over the city and an excellent spot for a picnic. Inside the museum itself, you'll find taxidermied creatures of all kinds, from crabs and owls to bulldogs and an absolutely enormous walrus who's just begging for a selfie. Other collections include anthropological exhibits from around the world and a gallery packed with musical instruments. There's also a little aquarium downstairs, plus regular new exhibitions to watch out for.
Little doctors, vets, builders & pilots earn treats as they develop their 'careers'0
KidZania is a complete "world" where little ones can try their hand at their dream jobs. Along the way, they earn KidZania currency, which they can spend in other corners of the KidZania universe, like the Fruit & Nut Bar Makery and the Supermarket. Grownups can watch through one-way glass, or kick back in the waiting room with a movie. The young at heart should also look out for KidZania Lates when the venue is open to adults.
Get crafty & creative in an old Victorian bathhouse0
Whether your bag is calligraphy, dance, ceramics, cross-stitch, or anything remotely arts-and-crafts, you can get stuck into it with a drink in hand at Drink, Shop & Do. An old Victorian bathhouse decked out in pretty décor (complete with kooky furniture that you can buy), this part-coffee shop, part-bar offers more activities than you can shake a stick at. A true "maker's Mecca".
You can even join in, or explore the rest of this world-famous central London park0
Watch impassioned individuals clamber onto (metaphorical) soapboxes to give anyone who'll listen a piece of their mind on virtually any subject. A traditional location for public debates since the mid-1800s, everyone from Karl Marx to George Orwell has stood at Speaker's Corner to have their say. And if you tire of the tirades, the rest of Hyde Park is just waiting to be explored - the rose garden is especially lovely in early summer.
See where some of the most important WWII strategies were masterminded0
Lurking beneath Government offices in Westminster, the Churchill War Rooms (also known as the Cabinet War Rooms) provide a perfectly preserved snapshot of the world of Winston Churchill as he led the UK through World War II. From Hitler-themed graffiti on the walls and secret sugar cubes found stashed in a wing commander's desk, to the gouged arms of the Prime Minister's red leather chair caused by the nervous pounding of his pinkie ring, this amazing series of underground rooms is a true historical treasure trove, offering unparalleled insight into the upper echelons of wartime Britain.
A serene slice of Japan in Holland Park0
The 55 acres that make up Holland Park in central London were almost entirely destroyed by bombing during WWII. Today, you'd never know. Dahlias flourish here during the summer months thanks to the wife of the Earl of Holland, who first introduced the flowers to the UK. Their mansion, built during the Jacobean period, lies at the heart of the park and was once a spot for political and literary activity, welcoming Lord Byron and Benjamin Disraeli through its doors. The park's beautiful Kyoto Garden is a must-visit spot, tucked away and designed to look just like a corner of Japan.
Ask for 'the Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town' at The Breakfast Club to get served Prohibition-style cocktails0
Like your cocktails with a twist? This hidden speakeasy-style venue beneath The Breakfast Club in Spitalfields definitely offers something a bit different. To access this Prohibition-inspired joint, visitors must search for the fridge that cunningly conceals its entrance and ask for "the Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town". Once let inside, the bar reveals itself as a dimly-lit, quirky affair, decked out in brick and wood, with plenty of taxidermy and kook on the walls. The cocktails, refreshingly, are classics - and very fine ones too. The chilli and lemongrass Margarita is a real treat, while the Old Fashioneds are pure class in a glass.
Hydrospeed, tube & white water rafting on the river0
If you're in the mood for getting seriously soggy and extremely exhilarated, head to the Lee Valley White-Water Centre. A former London 2012 Olympic venue, this "thrill-seekers' nirvana" welcomes everyone from total beginners to seasoned pros, offering white water rafting, canoeing and kayaking as well as lesser known activities like hydrospeeding (which involves surfing waves on a handheld float) and tubing (where you take on the rapids in a glorified rubber ring).
Find your way through the hedges & discover the world of King Henry VIII0
Commissioned by King William III in about the year 1700, the hedge maze at Hampton Court Palace is one of the oldest and best-known mazes in the world, occupying a third of an acre outside the historic site where the legendary King Henry VIII once feasted and held court. An impressive building just to look at, inside the palace visitors will discover the vast kitchens that once cooked for 600 members of the Tudor aristocracy every day, and even Henry's own personal toilet. How's that for a royal flush?
Experience some of the finer things in life with a shopping spree0
Liberty offers shoppers a "cut above" experience at its Great Marlborough Street flagship store. Founded in 1875 and located on its current site since the 1920s, this shoppers' paradise feels surprisingly cosy and intimate compared to other large department stores. Small, wood-panelled rooms, complete with fireplaces and cushioned window seats, open out onto three beautiful atriums, all packed with tempting treats and luxuries for you to buy or gawk at.
A favourite haunt of Charles Dickens (& also famous for bare-knuckle fights)0
The Lamb & Flag in Covent Garden dates all the way back to 1772, but it's still as perfect a pub as you're likely to find in London's West End. Not only are the drinks reasonably priced given its location, but they're also served with a generous helping of history. In the early 19th century, the pub had a reputation for bare-knuckle fighting inside, earning it the nickname "The Buckets of Blood". These days, rather than fisticuffs, you're more likely to get stuck into classic ales and traditional English pub grub.
Who needs a gondola when you can see London from a canal boat instead?0
It may not be the real thing, but London's Little Venice has more than enough for visitors to enjoy. This picturesque narrowboat haunt on Regent's Canal, just a few minutes north of Paddington Station, is an oasis of leafy calm that's home to a floating art gallery, a puppet theatre and a café. On dry land, there are also plenty of pubs and restaurants to enjoy, as well as tree-lined streets to stroll down. Alternatively, it's easy to just find a quiet spot and watch life float by.
Sip champagne as you soar high above the city0
This giant, famous Ferris wheel rotates ever so slowly over the centre of London, giving the passengers of its 32 high-tech capsules unparallelled views over the city. Taking about 30 minutes to rotate, the London Eye provides an ever-changing view of the skyline, allowing visitors to see 360 degrees and up to 40 kilometres on a clear day. If you're after a special treat, try the Champagne Experience and sip on Pommery Brut Royal as you spin.
The green & congestion-free way to take in the city's best sights0
There's no better way to see the city than on a bike, giving those thigh muscles a good workout while learning about centuries of history as you ride on by. There are a number of bicycle tour companies, each offering something different, with some focusing on undiscovered London and others taking you past landmarks like the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. If you're really feeling brave, you can even see London on a tandem (just make sure your co-rider is up to the task).
Watch live actors recreate a macabre history of this gory city0
The London Dungeon is a part-theatrical, part-historical walk-through experience that's designed to educate, terrify and enthral. As you're led through the dark, dingy cobblestone entrance, the smells, sights and sounds you encounter will reveal some of the city's darkest stories - from tales of the Great Plague, with its corpses, boils and scuttling rats, to the death-dealing exploits of Sweeney Todd and Jack the Ripper. The experience lasts 90 minutes, but if you're easily scared (or very young) you should maybe stay away.
A uniquely themed venue, hosting exhibitions by day & dinners at night0
If you like your meals served in strange places, this restaurant/art installation should do the trick. Owned by renowned artist Damien Hirst, Pharmacy 2 is the reincarnation of the first Pharmacy restaurant that was all the rage in Notting Hill back in 1997. The restaurant is still great fun, colourful and creative, with rows of medication providing an unusual backdrop. The food is excellent too, with classic British fare and the occasional exotic dish.
Amateur photographers will love the beautiful backdrop of Neal's Yard0
Neal's Yard can be found at the end of an alleyway in Covent Garden, opening out into a charming courtyard lined with colourful and characterful shops. Feeling like nowhere else in London, the space outside its food shops and cafés is perfect for a photo op or a quiet seat and a meal. The tucked-away location, between Shorts Gardens and Monmouth Street, means most unsuspecting tourists simply stroll on by, helping to maintain Neal Yard's status as one of London's hidden gems.
The story of the world's greatest city, from prehistory to the present day0
The Museum of London has a unique collection of more than six million objects that document the history of London from prehistoric to modern times. Across nine free galleries, you'll be transported back to Roman London, and before that, London before London even existed, to chart the rise of one of the world's leading cities. The museum can be found on London Wall, close to the Barbican Centre and just a few minutes' walk north of St Paul's Cathedral.
Explore Richmond Park's enormous 17th-century hunting grounds, created by Charles I0
Richmond Park is the largest of London's eight Royal Parks, with more than 1,000 acres of green space to explore. If the sheer size of this rugged, hilly landscape isn't enough of a draw, the 650 deer that call it home add even more to its enduring appeal. There are also a number of coffee shops offering a good selection of sandwiches and cakes within the park (you may need a map to find them, though).
Watch cult classics & new releases under the stars at Rooftop Film Club0
There are a number of Rooftop Film Club venues dotted around London, from Kensington Roof Gardens in the west to Roof East, Stratford, in the east. Rooftop's film season runs throughout the summer, from May to September, showing a mixture of latest releases and old faves. There are also a few screenings in the winter, so keep your eyes peeled and your bobble hats at the ready.
See blockbuster exhibitions at the oldest fine arts institution in the country0
The Royal Academy of Arts is the UK's oldest fine arts institution, and hosts some of the best exhibitions in London. While many of these are completely free, you'll have to pay for the blockbuster temporary exhibitions, but they're all well worth it. The Royal Academy is especially known for its summer exhibition, which boasts more than 1,000 different works from both established and lesser-known artists.
Everything from murder hunts to Shakespearian city walks0
Entertaining, educational or downright sinister - whatever you're looking for, you'll find a themed walking tour that's just right for you. London Premier Walking Tours offers a great Jack the Ripper experience, where you can follow in the footsteps of Victorian London's most infamous killer. If that sounds a bit heavy, a Sandemans Walking Tour is an excellent way to see the lighter side of the city (and it's completely free).
Food, drinks, music & art at Mayfair's Sketch0
Sketch is a quirky 18th-century townhouse that transforms from a tranquil tearoom to a swinging cocktail bar and restaurant once the sun sets. With its over-the-top, playful vibe, it's one of the more intriguing spaces in London (its space pod-like capsule toilets definitely add to the wow factor). A Michelin Star doesn't hurt either, and nor does its location on Conduit Street in the exclusive neighbourhood of Mayfair. An afternoon or evening there may be a tad expensive, but it won't be one you'll forget in a hurry.
Visit the old-fashioned English home of the world's most famous fictional detective0
Head to the Sherlock Holmes Museum on 221b Baker Street, the 'residence' of the world-famous fictional detective (the museum actually stands on 239 Baker Street, but don't let that ruin the fun). On arrival, you'll be greeted by a bowler-hat-wearing, whiskered individual, who the sharpest among you may deduce is Doctor Watson himself. He'll then show you a home that's full of Victorian murder weapons and waxworks depicting scenes from the enduringly popular books.
Watch the sun set from the iconic glass dome of the Sky Garden atop the Walkie Talkie0
Go 35 floors up London's shapely Walkie Talkie building (officially 20 Fenchurch Street) to enjoy landscaped gardens among the skyscrapers. You'll be transported to a botanical oasis complete with South African and Mediterranean plants, observation decks to take in uninterrupted city views, two restaurants and a bar. Entry to the Sky Garden is free, but you should book your 90-minute timeslot at least three days in advance.
Experience the unique acoustics of the Whispering Gallery0
Climb the 259 steps up the iconic dome of St Paul's Cathedral to discover one of the greatest "accidentally" man-made tourist attractions in London. The Whispering Gallery is the name of the circular walkway that hugs the base of the dome, so-called because if you whisper along the curved wall, anyone on the other side of the wall will be able to hear you more than 33 metres away (so be careful what you say).
Take to the river for a unique view of London0
A Thames River Cruise will give you a different perspective on this beautiful city. The boats come complete with café-bars serving food, wine and beer, as well as live commentary, so you can enjoy panoramic views (including Big Ben, the London Eye and Tower Bridge) while learning more about London. There's a variety of tours available, from sightseeing trips to themed cruises and dining experiences, all with covered areas where you can shelter from the temperamental British weather.
The Science Museum contains seven floors of spellbinding objects that have changed the world0
Get your geek on at London's Science Museum, where you can both expand your mind and have a thoroughly good time. The museum features seven floors of exhibits, including the show-stealing Apollo 10 command module and flight simulator. There are also regular adult-only opportunities to explore the museum with a beer in hand - just check the website for details of "Lates".
Sip cocktails in style at London's most famous hotel0
The super-luxurious, Grade II-listed Savoy Hotel may not suit everyone's budget for a stay, but even the humble traveller (as long as they're suitably dressed) can experience this famous London landmark from the hotel bar. The Savoy's 125-year-old American Bar comes with retro glamour as standard. With the regularly used baby grand piano, the tasteful colour scheme, and its tie-and-jacketed waiters, this is the place to sip on the finest cocktails and feel like a star. Alternatively, head to the low-key, ultra-suave Beaufort Bar, which is one of the most beautiful spots for a drink in the city.
Head to Westfield London for department stores, cinema & more0
If your idea of a good time is shops, and lots of them, Westfield in White City will be absolute bliss. Along with leading brands and department stores, it's become a leading leisure destination, featuring a cinema, gym, spa and a new library, as well as a central atrium that hosts regular arts and educational events. Get ready to shop till you drop - there are over 265 luxury, premium and high-street retailers to choose from.
The perfect spot for drinks, food & breathtaking views0
Treat yourself to a feast for the senses with panoramic views, modern British food and refreshing cocktails on the 31st floor of The Shard. Whatever you want, whether it's breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea, or wine and cocktails, this vertiginous restaurant and bar can oblige. Food and drink is of very high quality (if a little expensive), but the real reason to visit are the stunning vistas, from Canary Wharf in the east, up the Thames and towards St Paul's, to the BT Tower in the west.
Start your day the right way with a meal like no other0
The Wolseley in Piccadilly, a self-proclaimed "café restaurant in the grand European tradition", is renowned for its breakfasts and serves its diverse clientele everything from caviar omelettes and kedgeree to more traditional breakfast favourites. Going on an empty stomach (and with a full-ish wallet) is recommended.
Cross a 200-metre long treetop walkway above Kew Gardens0
The 18-metre high, 200-metre long Kew Gardens Treetop Walkway twists and turns around the crowns of lime, sweet chestnut and oak trees, letting you get up close and personal with the birds, insects, lichen and fungi that call the canopy home. Bonus fact: the walkway was created by the same team that designed the London Eye.
See Kensington's homage to product, industrial, graphic, fashion & architectural design0
The all-new Design Museum, which recently moved to Kensington High Street, is a cutting-edge space for exploring and celebrating the power of ideas. From fashion and graphics to the humble spoon, this museum houses objects that shape, have shaped, and will shape, all our lives. Alongside an intriguing range of temporary and permanent exhibits, the museum hosts regular talks and plenty of activities for the whole family.
Could this be the best caffeine hit in London?0
Taste your new favourite brew at Monmouth Coffee, a trio of coffee houses across the city (choose from Bermondsey, Borough Market and Covent Garden). Sourcing their beans from single farms, estates and cooperatives around the world, they serve only the freshest, most flavourful cups of caffeine goodness. Coffee enthusiasts travel here from miles around, which means there can be a bit of a queue - but it's well worth the wait.
World-class sing-alongs & star-studded plays0
From long-running classics like "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Les Misérables" to newcomers like "Aladdin" and "Motown the Musical", there's sure to be a show for you. The West End is London's theatre district, and although there are theatres all over the country, this really is the all-singing, all-dancing heart of the UK. Book early to avoid disappointment, but if you're feeling lucky, you can take your chances at the last-minute ticket booths in Leicester Square.
The world-famous church & setting for royal weddings is an essential stop0
If it's good enough for kings, queens, poets, priests and statesmen, it's probably good enough for you too. Westminster Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and beautiful example of Gothic architecture, has been the UK's Coronation church since the crowning of William the Conqueror in 1066. Historic greats such as Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer and Charles Darwin are also buried in the grounds.
The Grade II-listed Wilton's Music Hall is home to an eclectic multi-arts programme0
Tucked behind an ordinary-looking row of East End terraced houses is the vast, barrel-vaulted Wilton's Music Hall, the proud holder of the title of "world's oldest music hall". The good news is that this lovely piece of Victoriana still retains many of its original features and is fully open for business, hosting performing arts shows including plays, opera, puppetry, classical music, cabaret, dance, magic shows and more.
The historic Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese has seen 15 monarchs come & go0
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese isn't only one of the best pub names ever, it also has one of the richest histories. Standing on the same spot on Fleet Street for centuries, it has survived the reign of 15 monarchs and been rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666. Inside, the pub is labyrinthine, with dark passages and staircases linking a number of bars and dining rooms where food is served alongside traditional ales, wines and spirits. It has also reputedly hosted Charles Dickens, Samuel Johnson and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, making it a London landmark for the ages.
Take a well-deserved break in this inner-city retreat0
Originally built in the 12th century, this church made it through the Great Fire of London in 1666, only to be completely destroyed during the Blitz a few centuries later. However, rather than ripping the remains down, it was decided to incorporate the ruins into a garden, creating a leafy, Grade I-listed hideaway right in the heart of the city. Every bit as magical as it sounds.
Bounce, Flight Club & London Shuffle Club offer boozy rounds of table tennis, darts & crazy golf0
Raining outside? Not a problem - head indoors to one of the city's many sports bars to indulge in three of the UK's biggest passions at the same time: sports, eating and drinking. Venues like Bounce, Flight Club and London Shuffle Club combine the classic sporting pursuits of table tennis, darts and crazy golf with beer and award-winning street food, guaranteeing a good time is had by all.
From intimate animal portraits to dramatic landscape shots0
If the Natural History Museum isn't already enough of a draw, the opening of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition will see nature lovers and photography enthusiasts from all over flock to this top London attraction. Each year, the acclaimed exhibition is first shown in the museum before touring more than 60 cities in the UK and across the world. The award-winning images, captured by photographers young and old, will leave you in awe of the beauty and brilliance of the natural world.
Pomp, ceremony & gruesome exhumations - this place has seen it all0
With its eerily atmospheric avenues, Highgate Cemetery is more museum than final resting place. Visitors are free to explore the East Cemetery, where the eagle-eyed will be able to spot memorials to greats like Karl Marx, George Eliot and Henry Moore. The gloomy catacombs and grand Victorian tombs of the West Cemetery are also worth a look, but this part of the cemetery can only be explored on an organised tour.
Dennis Severs' House is full of living history you can see, hear & smell0
This building, a Grade-II listed Georgian terraced house in Spitalfields in London's East End, has become a walk-in time capsule thanks to Dennis Severs, the property's owner from 1979 to 1999. He recreated the rooms as a "still-life drama" to depict the lives of a family of Huguenot silk-weavers from 1724 to the dawn of the 20th century. As you walk from room to room, the sights, sounds and smells of the house create an intimate portrait of day-to-day life as you get transported back through time.
Traditional British food served in velvet-upholstered, wood-panelled surrounds0
In the Covent Garden area and feeling peckish? Head to the oldest restaurant in London, and one of the most celebrated in the world. Established in 1798, Rules Restaurant serves traditional food at affordable prices, including game, oysters, pies and puddings, enjoyed in the plush surroundings of days gone by.
See how the other half lives at the world's most luxurious department store0
Fortnum & Mason is an institution among London's well-heeled, selling the very best of just about everything you could ever wish to eat or drink. Even if you're not in a buying mood, simply wandering around the food hall or checking out the wines is an experience in itself. There's also a homeware section, selling everything the discerning homemaker could ever wish to own. If you're looking for gifts to take home after a visit to London, look no further.
See work by Picasso, Rothko, Dali & Matisse for free at Tate Modern0
The Tate Modern is the most-visited art gallery in the world, where you can see works by Picasso, Rothko, Dali, Warhol and Matisse, to name but a few. As well as its free permanent collection, the gallery has a number of ticketed big-name temporary exhibitions throughout the year. These change all the time, so make sure you check what's on before you go.
Bet you won't just eat one0
This Covent Garden café specialises in pretty much only one thing: pastéis de nata - delicious, traditional Portuguese custard tarts. You may well have had one before, but you definitely haven't had one this good. If you're in the area and you need to refuel, make a beeline for this place on Endell St.
If only city living always felt this good0
If you're booking a health spa, you may as well go all out and enjoy your rest and relaxation amidst the luxurious trappings of a 5-star hotel. The Athenaeum Hotel Spa offers a range of beauty treatments to make even the weariest visitor look and feel their best again. Enjoy a manicure, pedicure, exfoliating body scrub or deep-tissue massage, then head to the hot tub, sauna, steam room and relaxation area to finish the job.
The famous Tower of London (be careful not to lose your head)0
The Tower of London is one of the city's top attractions, and you don't have to be a history buff to see why. Home to more than 900 years of history, the Crown Jewels, the Royal Armoury, the Beefeaters, the crows, and many a gruesome story of beheadings and torture, there's more than enough to entertain and appal in equal measure. There are also plenty of free tours you can tag along on to give you a better understanding of the significance of this fascinating city landmark.
Sit back, relax & let the glad rags come to you0
Want to really look the part? The assistance of a Selfridges personal shopper could be just what you need. Customers are invited to kick back in the store's luxurious private shopping area, which incorporates a bar, a living room and multiple private dressing rooms, while a team of handpicked consultants use their expert eyes to find you some great new threads.
The UK's only permanent bar made of ice0
If London's not cold enough for you already, here's a place where you can really chill out. If you haven't guessed, ICEBAR is literally freezing, and it needs to be - everything from the walls to the bar and the tables is made from pristine ice from northern Sweden. Don't worry though, you'll be given a designer thermal cape to keep you looking cool and feeling warm.
Killer views are your reward for making it to the top0
Have a head for heights? Then clamber to the summit of one of London's most iconic landmarks for amazing views across the city. There are three different climbs to choose from: the Original Expedition (held during the day), the Sunset Expedition (go up as the sun goes down), and the Twilight Expedition (see London lit up against the night sky). You don't need to be an athlete to make it to the top, but fashionistas be warned - safety gear has to be worn at all times.