London Travel Guide


BBC Television Centre
Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the world famous BBC Television Centre. Experience the excitement and thrill of a working TV centre where you could see the News Centre, production galleries, studios or even the odd star! Every tour is different, depending on filming that day, so you never know where it could take you! Visitors must be 14 years or over.

BFI London Imax Cinema
At the new BFI London IMAX Cinema you can be transported from the depths of the ocean to the far reaches of outer space, via 3D and 2D films.

British Airways London Eye
The British Airways London Eye is the world's highest observation wheel and its 30-minute slow-moving flight gives unrivalled views over London. From its steel and glass capsules, you can peek into the back garden of Buckingham Palace and, on a clear day, see across seven counties.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is open to the public from 30 July until 27 September 2005. This is the official London residence of the Queen and you can visit the magnificent State Rooms, where over the centuries, the wealthy and the powerful have walked. Open daily in summer.

Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace is the oldest Tudor palace in England and was where King Henry VIII courted his queens. Visitors can see the State Apartments, Tudor kitchens and the famous maze. The sumptuous interiors are brought alive by costumed guides. Outside there's over 60 acres of riverside gardens and surrounding parkland.

London Aquarium
The London Aquarium features hundreds of varieties of fish and sea life from all over the world, displayed around two huge tanks representing the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Come face-to-face with sharks, and watch divers feeding gigantic conger eels. Seahorses, rays, starfish and piranhas are on show, too.

London Dungeon
The London Dungeon is setting the streets on fire with a brand new 'hot' attraction - The Great Fire of London. You can also take a barge trip down the River Thames on the Judgement Day ride to face a firing squad, after being sentenced to death by a sombre 18th century judge! There's also a torture chamber and the chance to unmask Jack the Ripper - the infamous serial killer. It's not suitable for very young children or those of a nervous disposition!

London Zoo
London Zoo is one of the world's most famous zoos and is home to over 12,000 animals. Meet the Animals shows are held daily, giving visitors the opportunity to learn more about the animals from their keepers. Rare and beautiful animals can be seen in the Aquarium, Elephant House, Penguin Pool, Snowdon Aviary and the new Web of Life exhibition. Highlights include glimpses of the Gaint Anteater, Sloth Bears and cub on Bear Mountain.

The Lord's Tour
This is the home of cricket and on the Lord's Tour visitors can see behind-the-scenes at Lord's Cricket Ground. Highlights include the Long Room, The Ashes fought over by England and Australia and the MCC museum.

Madame Tussaud's
Madame Tussaud's Waxwork Museum is the world famous collection of wax figures of the notable and notorious, everyone from Sigmund Freud to Madonna. Recent additions include their new interactive experiences section where you can try out as a Pop Idol, be snapped by the paparazzi, get up close and personal to serial killers and explore the galaxy. Relive David Beckham’s moment of glory as he scores against Greece to qualify in dramatic fashion for the World Cup and squeeze Brad Pitt’s beguiling biceps.

Photographer's Gallery
This is the UK's primary venue for contemporary photography. There's a year-round programme of exhibitions and educational events and a broad range of photographic work is on show, with the emphasis on developments in the art. There is also a bookshop and print sales area.

Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew Gardens)
At Kew Gardens, there are 300 acres containing living collections of over 40,000 varieties of plants. The Palm House is world-famous and there are other magnificent tropical, alpine and temperate houses. The Princess of Wales Conservatory recreates ten different kinds of environments, with appropriate plants in natural settings.

Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House re-opened in December 1999 as a theatre at the heart of the nation's artistic and cultural life. It is open to the public Monday to Saturday from 1000 (10am), allowing visitors to take advantage of a wide range of daily free events, while in the evenings, there is a programme of world class opera and ballet. During the day, a programme of backstage tours and open ballet classes offers visitors the opportunity to experience the behind-the-scenes life of the theatre.

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral is one of the world's most famous cathedrals, designed by Sir Christopher Wren. This classical cathedral represents inspiration and craftsmanship on a grand scale. The Light of the World by Holman Hunt is its most famous work of art, but it also contains fabulous carvings, statues and mosaics.

Shakespeare's Globe Exhibition
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and Exhibition is the fascinating story of the re-creation of Shakespeare's beloved playhouse. Visitors can see the reconstructed Elizabethan theatre, built with materials, techniques and craftsmanship of 400 years ago. The world's largest Shakesperian exhibition explores the playwright's London, Elizabethan theatre and the Shakespeare's influence around the world. The summer season of plays sees Shakespeare performed in an authentic setting.

Somerset House
Within the elegant 18th century walls of this former tax office, there are three attractions, the Courtauld Gallery of Impressionist Art, the Gilbert Collection and Hermitage Rooms. There's also a the exclusive Admiralty restaurant, riverside café and the ever popular winter ice rink.

Tate Modern
This impressive gallery shows international modern art from 1900 to present day including Dali, Picasso, Matisse and Warhol, plus contemporary works by Gilbert and George. The breathtaking Turbine Hall runs the length of building, creating a massive exhibition space, designed by Swiss architects Hertzog and de Meuron. There are special exhibitions and a cafe with outstanding views over the river.

Tower Bridge Experience

At the Tower Bridge Experience visitors can see one of the most famous bridges in the world and spectacular views from the high level walkways 140ft above the Thames. In the two towers, there's an exhibition which explains the history of Tower Bridge.

Tower of London

At The Tower of London, guarded by the celebrated Beefeaters, visitors can see Traitors' Gate, the priceless Crown Jewels and the famous ravens. Over the centuries, this amazing building has been a fortress, prison, palace and even a zoo. The carefully restored medieval part of the Tower is brought alive by costumed guides. There is also exhibitions of armour and swords and you can see the spot where the notorious second wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, was beheaded.

Vinopolis, City of Wine
Vinopolis, City of Wine is dedicated to the entire world of wine and related pleasures - including demonstrations and tasting sessions. Lately it has been the scene for the dating sensation, Chemistry and is a popular and versatile venue.

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is one of Europe's finest Gothic buildings and the scene of coronations, marriages and burials of British monarchs. It dates back to the 11th century, and highlights include the Coronation Chair made in 1300, Poets' Corner and the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

British Museum
The UK's largest museum is the most visited tourist attraction in London, with over 6 million annual visitors. Millennium renovations led to the inner courtyard - hidden from public view for 150 years - being transformed into a spectacular, light-filled Great Court. It is the oldest, most august museum in the world.

Highlights include the weird Assyrian treasures and Egyptian mummies; the exquisite pre-Christian Portland Vase and the 2000-year-old corpse found in a Cheshire bog. With the removal of the British Library to St Pancras, the Reading Room is now open to the public, sadly making Reader's Tickets a thing of the past.

Camden Market
The huge Camden Markets could be the closest England gets to free-form chaos outside the terraces of a football stadium. They stretch between Camden and Chalk Farm tube stations, incorporating Camden Lock on the Grand Union Canal, and get so crowded on weekends that you'll feel like a sardine in a straitjacket.

The markets include the Camden Canal Market (bric-a-brac, furniture and designer clothes), Camden Market (leather goods and army surplus gear) and the Electric Market (records and 60s clothing).

Covent Garden
Once a vegetable field attached to Westminster Abbey, Covent Garden became the low-life haunt of Pepys, Fielding and Boswell, then a major fruit and veg market, and is now a triumph of conservation and commerce. The piazza is surrounded by designer gift and clothes shops, hip bars and restaurants. Stalls sell overpriced antiques and bric-a-brac.

Houses of Parliament
The neo-Gothic brilliance of the Houses of Parliament was restored by a recent spring clean of the facade. The building includes the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and the grandeur of the incredible exterior is let down only by the level of debate in the interior ('hear, hear').

Hyde Park
Humongous Hyde Park used to be a royal hunting ground, was once a venue for duels, executions and horse racing, and even became a giant potato field during WWII. It is now a place of fresh air, spring colour, lazy sunbathers and boaters on the Serpentine. The park has sculptures by Jacob Epstein and Henry Moore.

Natural History Museum
On Cromwell Rd near the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum is one of London's finest Gothic-revival buildings, but even its grand cathedral-like main entrance can seem squashed when you're confronted with hordes of screaming schoolkids. Despite this, it's a gem of a place, a dizzying combination of august artefact and amusement arcade.

St Paul's Cathedral
Half the world saw the inside of St Paul's Cathedral when Charles and Di tied the knot here in 1981. The venerable building, complete with famous dome, was constructed by Christopher Wren between 1675 and 1710, but it stands on the site of two previous cathedrals dating back to 604.

Its famous dome, the biggest in the world after St Peter's in Rome, no longer dominates London as it did for centuries, but it's still quite a sight when viewed from the river. Visitors should talk low and sweetly near the whispering gallery, which reputedly carries words spoken close to its walls to the other side of the dome.

Tate Britain
The Tate Britain is the keeper of an impressive historical archive of British art. Built in 1897, the Tate underwent an ambitious program of expansion, the Centenary Development, completed in November 2001.

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