London is home to many interesting and diverse attractions and is the ideal place to visit if you want to inject a little bit of culture into your next city break. There are lots of gems to be discovered in the capital city and many are located close together meaning that there is less travelling time required and more opportunity for you to take in and appreciate what is on offer.
To help you get the most out of your city break we have grouped together the attractions by area and would suggest that you choose which area appeals to you most and then concentrate your time on exploring all the excellent attractions within that smaller space. Of course you are free to pick and choose from the whole of London but this is just one way of really making the most of your time:-
Once the site of a disused power station and rundown wharf buildings, Bankside has been completely transformed. It is considered a cultural hot spot of the capital with the Tate Modern (inside the old power station) and plenty of high end restaurants (inside the once derelict Victorian wharf buildings). This area also houses Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London Dungeon, Clink Prison and the wine-tasting experience Vinopolis. A total transformation from where this area was just a few short decades ago.
Greenwich is one of the oldest parts of London but is often overlooked in favour of the more popular tourist attractions which are located in Central London. Set just a little out of the way it is still well worth a visit nonetheless; you can even catch a Thames riverboat there to throw a little more excitement into the mix. Have a wander around the picturesque Greenwich, which is also a World Heritage Site and visit the market to buy souvenirs and locally crafted trinkets. You can also find Cutty Sark and the National Maritime Museum located here as well as the Royal Observatory. If you are interested in the theatre then Greenwich Theatre is also here.
London’s South Bank is located between Westminster and Waterloo and is a real eclectic offering. It is the home of the Coca-Cola London Eye, the London Film Museum and the BFI London IMAX Cinema. However one of the real specialities is the Southbank Centre; where there is always plenty of great (usually free) exhibitions and events taking place. Also located in South Bank is the Royal Festival Hall which often showcases internationally renowned musicians, orchestras and dancers. For those who have a love of the theatre you will also find the National Theatre, the Old Vic and the Young Vic here.
South Kensington is home to the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum otherwise known as the ‘golden triangle’ being three of London’s biggest museums. They are all also completely free to enter although this does make them very popular and as such you can often find yourself queuing to get in during the peak season and weekends. All that said, you could easily spend the entire day just exploring these three wonderful and fascinating museums. If you are looking for a little bit extra, South Kensington also features the Royal Albert Hall, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens and the Serpentine Gallery, a must visit for anyone with an interest in modern and contemporary art spaces.
Trafalgar Square is an excellent attraction in its own right with the many commemorative statues and sculptures which are dotted around this pedestrianised area. Spend some time wandering around the square before heading to the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery; our top tip is to have a coffee break at the National Portrait Gallery’s rooftop restaurant which offers a stunning panoramic view over Trafalgar Square. Other attractions worth visiting include St Martin’s in the Fields Church where you can often enjoy a classical concert for free if you time your visit right and Trafalgar Square is just a stone’s throw away from London’s West End with it’s many wonderful theatres and productions. If you want to enjoy a great theatre show whilst in the capital then there are many wonderful hotels near the West End theatres which would be worth considering as well as many London West End hotel deals to take advantage too. As one of the greatest theatre districts in the world, standing alongside the likes of New York’s Broadway, it is certainly worth taking the time to see a show if you can fit it into your city break in London.
Of course this is just a tiny percentage of the wonderful and interesting cultural attractions which are on offer in London. If you prefer to head off the beaten track away from the more popular tourist destinations then you might consider some of London’s independent galleries or the lest frequented museums which are just as worthy of being explored as the bigger offerings and yet are often turned over in favour of those which are more well known.
If you are planning your ultimate cultural trip then take some time to plan out your itinerary. There are many handy online guides which will talk you through some alternative attractions should the ones above not float your boat, particularly if your interest lies in finding those attractions which are more likely to be quieter and less well visited. You can also often buy your entrance tickets online which will save you having to queue to get in and may also offer a discount as well as giving you further information on current special events or exhibitions which you may consider worth exploring.