London is so blessed with activities and attractions that you could spend a lifetime there and still not exhaust all of its possibilities. While this variety contributes to the city’s great appeal, it can make planning a short stay somewhat difficult. Keep reading for some of our top suggestions on how to make the most of your stay.
Museums and galleries:
London is home to some of the world’s very best museums and art galleries, and access to most of them – for now at least – is free of charge. The British Museum, in Bloomsbury in central London, includes some 8 million pieces in its collection – one of the largest anywhere in the world. These include treasures of human history, art and culture such as the Rosetta Stone, which dates from 322 BC and helped unlock Egyptian hieroglyphics; the Elgin Marbles, masterpieces of sculpture; and the Lindow Man, a body preserved in a peat bog for thousands of years. The Natural History museum, housed in a stunning building in South Kensington, is one of the world’s most iconic museums dedicated to life on earth, a cathedral of nature which is also an architectural marvel in its own right. Lovers of visual art will also find London to be a paradise: the Tate Britain and Tate Modern are among the most renowned art galleries in the world, and other esteemed London institutions include the National Gallery and the Saatchi Gallery.
As one of the world’s greatest and oldest cities, London is overflowing with historical attractions, at least some of which should be at the top of your itinerary. The royal palaces are some of the grandest buildings in London, and you may be surprised to learn that a significant section of Buckingham Palace – which is still the primary residence of the Queen – is available for the public to visit on guided tours. The Tower of London, despite being primarily famous for its use as a prison, is another of the palaces which has served as a royal residence over the centuries. Its long and storied past – not to mention the ghosts said to roam its halls – make this a fantastically atmospheric place to visit. Kids love it just as much as adults, and if you’re looking for luxury hotels for families, the Montcalm at the Brewery London City is magnificently located for experiencing all of these things and more. The Tower has also been home for hundreds of years to the Crown Jewels, the royal regalia of the monarch of the United Kingdom which include some of the world’s most stunning and valuable gemstones.
London’s buzzing urbanity undoubtedly plays an important part in making it one of the world’s greatest cities. However, even if you’re only in London for a short period of time, you should make sure you balance out your experience with a trip to one of the city’s beautiful parks. There are eight Royal Parks, which include some of the most famous and iconic anywhere in the world. Hyde Park, for instance, covers a whopping 350 acres and is home to a number of famous landmarks including the Serpentine Lake, Speakers’ Corner, and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. Richmond Park is even bigger, the largest in the capital, and the biggest enclosed space in London. As well as the famous herds of red and fallow deer which roam its fields, the park is a National Nature Reserve, London’s largest Site of Special Scientific Interest and a European Special Area of Conservation. It is home to the beautiful Isabella Plantation – an area of woodland – and Pembroke Lodge, a magnificent Georgian mansion.