London’s one of the most-visited cities in the world, and with thousands of years of history, world-beating culture and top class restaurants, bars and nightspots, it can be difficult to decide how to spend your limited time in the British capital. Here are a few of our suggestions for some of the best things to do while you’re in London.
Visit the Royal Parks. For a city of this scale and urban development, London has an astounding amount of beautiful green space in which to escape the urban madness. London’s eight Royal Parks are the biggest and most lovingly maintained in the city, and rival the best city parks anywhere in the world. The most famous is probably Hyde Park, second only to New York’s Central Park in terms of reputation. Its fame is justified, too: this is a beautiful green expanse, covering over 350 acres, and is home to a number of famous spots including Speakers’ Corner, the Serpentine Lake, and the diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. Various recreational activities are on offer here, including tennis, horse riding, cycling, swimming and boating. Regent’s Park, meanwhile, is arguably the most beautiful, particularly in the spring when it comes alive with blossom; it’s also home to London Zoo, the world’s oldest scientific zoo which is a great day out for kids and adults alike.Richmond Park, meanwhile, was opened as a deer park way back in the 17th century by Charles I and remains home to herds of red and fallow deer – a beautiful and unexpected sight in the centre of London
Soak up some free culture. London is home to some of the world’s foremost cultural institutions, and – for now at least – entry to many of them remains free of charge. That includes the British Museum, where some 8 million objects are held as testament to human history, art and culture – visitors of all ages are entranced by the likes of the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles, and the famous collection of Egyptian mummies.Also free to enter is the Natural History Museum, a ‘cathedral to nature’ housed in an architectural marvel which is worth a visit in itself: purpose built, it features intricate nature-themed stonework and is covered in subtle details like carved animals and plants. Once you’ve managed to tear your eyes away from the building itself, the museum houses an incredible 80 million separate items, spanning the whole of the natural world – a truly incredible place. Other free museums and galleries include the Tate Britain, the Tate Modern, and the Science Museum. The Piccadilly West End Hotel is in a central London location easily accessible from all these destinations; great hotel deals are available on the website.
The Royal Family represent one of the most enduring and recognisable symbols of the United Kingdom, and London is home to some incredibly preserved royal palaces – some of which, such as Buckingham Palace, remain active. Despite remaining the Queen’s primary London residence, visitors are often surprised to learn that large areas of ‘Buck House’ are open to the public; specifically the lavish State Rooms, which are used to entertain visiting dignitaries and diplomats. Rivalling Buckingham Palace as London’s most iconic royal building is the Tower of London. Despite being more commonly thought of as a prison, which it was until as recently as the 1950s (the notorious Kray twins were among its last inmates), the Tower has also served as a royal palace throughout a near-thousand year history. Today, it’s perhaps most famous as the home of the incredible Crown Jewels, which are available for the public to peek at and contain some of the most valuable and beautiful gemstones in the world.