Even though London is so huge, you don’t have to cover an awful lot of ground to see some of the city’s most famous sights. London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, 10 Downing Street – these are all within walking distance of each other.
Many of the British capital’s premier sights can be found lining the River Thames. The Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, Tate Modern and more are found along the banks of this grand river.
London's museums and galleries – the National British Museum, the Tate, and scores of others – are among the finest in the world. If the weather ever begins to turn on you, they are the best place to go. But if, on the other hand, you are lucky with the weather, go to one of the famous city centre parks such as Hyde Park for a break from the hustle and bustle of it all.
Buckingham Palace Road, London, England
A visit to the British capital wouldn’t be complete without a visit to London’s best-known building and home to the Royal Family. Thousands of tourists always swarm this building but there is always room to take your photos due to the stately home’s size.
Palace (State Rooms) open 26th July - 24th Sept from 9.45am-6pm (last admission 3.45pm); admission £14 adult/£12.50 student.
Queen's Gallery open daily from 10am-5.30pm (9.30am-5pm in summer), last admission 30 mins before close; admission £7.50 adult/£6 student.
Westminster, London, England
On visiting the Houses of Parliament in London it is difficult to do anything but gaze in awe at this building overlooking the Thames. Built between 1834 and 1858 by Charles Barry, and majestically decorated by Augustus Pugin, their Gothic chutzpah simultaneously raises both a smile and a gasp. Although formally still known as the Palace of Westminster, the only surviving part of the medieval royal palace is Westminster Hall (and the Jewel Tower, just south of Westminster Abbey).
London's famous Big Ben clock is located at the Houses of Parliament (though you cannot actually see Big Ben as it is the 14-ton bell that tolls the hours).
Trafalgar Square, London, England
This monument and square commemorates Admiral Nelson who was killed during his triumph over Napoleon's Army at the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson's Column stands in the centre of Trafalgar Square with 4 lions guarding its base. Be careful of the pigeons!
Tower of London, London, England
This is one of the English capital’s most popular tourist attractions as it is home to everything synonymous with the English capital – ravens, beefeaters and the priceless crown jewels which were carefully placed on to the head of Queen Elizabeth on the day of her coronation back in 1953.
Beefeaters give guided tours on the hour and whether you last on one for a full hour or just pick up on one mid-way, they make you get the most of the admission fee.
Open Tues-Sat 9am-6pm, Sun & Mon 10am-6pm (1st March-31st October), ; Tues-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun & Mon 10am-5pm (1st November-28th February), admission £14.50 adult, £11 student.
Millbank, London, England
The Tate has a superb selection of British works from the 16th Century to the present as well as a distinguished selection of international modern art (some is still here even with the opening of Tate Modern). The display usually includes the best of the British artists along with a selection of Monet, Dali, Picasso and Matisse.
Open daily from 10am-5.50pm (last admission 5pm); admission free.
Parliament Square, London, England
Westminster Abbey is one of Britain's finest Gothic buildings and the scene of famous coronations, marriages and burials of British monarchs.
Open Mon-Fri 9.30am-3.45pm (except Wed), Wed 9.30am-6pm, Sat 9.30am-1.45pm; admission £10 adults, £6 students.
, London, England
The neon lights of this electric circus are just as emblematic as the guards at Buckingham Palace or the ravens at the Tower of London. Scene of street performers and restaurant hawkers, this square in the heart of the west end is a feast for the senses and a hive of activity 24/7.
St Martins Place, (north of Trafalgar Square), London, England
This museum at the top of Trafalgar Square is packed with photographs you will instantly recognise, most of are from well-known album covers taken by Mario Testino. Attended by over 1 million people, the National Portrait Gallery is the perfect place to spend a few hours in the city centre.
Open daily from 10am-6pm. Late night opening Thursday and Friday until 9pm. Closed Good Friday, 24-26 December and 1 January. Admission free.
Trafalgar Square, London, England
England’s National Gallery, located on London’s Trafalgar Square, houses the national collection of Western European paining. Here you will find over 2,300 pictures dating from 1250 to 1900. The collection represents all the major European schools of painting and includes masterpieces by many great artists, most notably Van Gogh’s ‘Daffodils’.
As most of the paintings in the permanent collection are on the Main Floor, getting around in an afternoon is definitely achievable.
Open daily from 10am-6pm, until 9pm on Wednesday; admission free.