SIGHTSEEING Apsley House
Visit the home of the Duke of Wellington to see its grand interiors and fine art. Please check for times and prices. www.english-heritage.org.uk/ apsleyhouse. 149 Piccadilly, Hyde Park Corner, W1J 7NT. T: 020-7499 5676. F6. Station: Hyde Park Corner.
This 17th-century building was designed by Inigo Jones for James I, with an exquisite painted ceiling by celebrated baroque artist Peter Paul Rubens. It is the only remaining part of the Palace of Westminster, which was destroyed by fire. Daily 10am-1pm, but call before visiting. Adult £6; child free. www.hrp.org.uk. Whitehall, SW1A 2ER. T: 020-3166 6000. E8. Station: Westminster.
Battersea Park Children’s Zoo
A zoo with keeper experiences, play area and petting farm with donkeys, chinchillas and goats. Daily 10am- 4.30pm. Adult £8.95; child £6.95. www.batterseaparkzoo.co.uk. Battersea Park, Chelsea Bridge Gate, SW11 4NJ. T: 020-7924 5826. Off map. Station: Battersea Park.
The London residence and principal workplace of the monarchy has 775 rooms. To 5 Feb: Exclusive Guided Tours. Discover the state rooms with an expert guide. www.royalcollection.org.uk. Buckingham Palace, The Mall, SW1A 1AA. T: 0303-123 7300. F6/F7. Station: Green Park.
Changing the Guard
At 11.30am every other day, watch the changing of the Queen’s Guard on Buckingham Palace’s forecourt. There is no ceremony in very wet weather. The Changing the Life Guard Ceremony takes place Mon-Fri 11am; Sun 10am – please check for last-minute changes. www.royal.gov.uk. Buckingham Palace, The Mall, SW1A 1AA. T: 0303-123 7300. F6/F7. Station: Green Park.
Chelsea Physic Garden
London’s oldest botanic garden, founded in 1673 as the Apothecaries’ Garden. Admire 5,000 species of plants, especially medicinal ones including tropical plants in glasshouses. Free daily tours. Check for times and prices. 29 Jan: Photographing Snowdrops. Spend the day photographing snowdrops with expert advice on composition, light and techniques.www. chelsea physic garden. co.uk. 66 Royal Hospital Rd, SW3 4HS. T: 020-7352 5646. Off map. Station: Sloane Square.
Chiswick House & Gardens Trust
See Old Masters on display in this manor house, which features neo-Palladian interiors designed by William Kent and architecture inspired by ancient Rome and Italy. The restored gardens inspired Blenheim Palace and New York’s Central Park.
From 19 Jan: Magical Lantern Festival. Stunning illuminations light up the grounds. This year’s theme is ‘Explore the Silk Road’ with lantern scenes, which represent and highlight this significant route of trade and culture from Europe to ancient China (p. 7). Gardens daily 7am-dusk; house Sun-Wed 10am-5pm (closed until Apr); conservatory daily 10am- 4pm. House adult £6.70; child £4. www.chgt.org.uk. Chiswick House and Gardens, W4 2RP. T: 020-8995 0508. Off map. Station: Chiswick Park.
The world’s first centre dedicated to urban sustainability, which aims to educate visitors about future global challenges and their solutions. Tue-Sun 10am-5pm. Adult £8; child free. www.thecrystal.org. 1 Siemens Brothers Way, Royal Victoria Docks, E16 1GB. T: 020-7055 6400. Off map. Station: Royal Victoria.
Cutty Sark PASS PARTNER
This 19th-century ship is the world’s last surviving tea clipper. Explore interactive displays on deck or take part in a lively programme of family-friendly events. Daily 10am-5pm. Adult £12.15; child £6.30. Joint tickets with the Royal Observatory available. www.rmg.co.uk/cuttysark. Cutty Sark, King William Walk, SE10 9HT. T: 020-8312 6608. Off map. Station: Cutty Sark/Greenwich.
Dennis Severs’ House
Since 1979, visitors have been able to explore the home of artist Dennis Severs. Ten rooms, from the cellar to the attic, illustrate the life of a family of Huguenot silk weavers from the 17th to 19th century. Silent night tour Mon, Wed & Fri 5pm-9pm. Daytime tour Mon noon-2pm & Sun noon- 4pm. Tickets £5-£17.50. www.dennissevershouse.co.uk. 18 Folgate St, E1 6BX. T: 020-7247 4013. D11. Station: Liverpool Street.
Dr Johnson’s House
Writer Dr Samuel Johnson compiled his first English dictionary – which was first published in 1755 – in this period home, which dates from the 18th century. Mon-Sat 11am-5pm. Adult £6; child £2.50. www.drjohnsonshouse.org. 17 Gough Square, EC4A 3DE. T: 020-7353 3745. D9. Station: Temple/Chancery Lane.
Eltham Palace & Gardens
Experience the decade of decadence as you are transported back to the 1930s. Part showpiece of Art Deco design and part medieval royal palace, make yourself at home as a guest of the Courtaulds. Please check for prices and times. www.english-heritage.org.uk/eltham. Court Yard, SE9 5QE. T: 020- 8294 2548. Off map. Station: Eltham.
This attractive 15th-century building was the summer retreat of the Bishops of London. Now it’s a museum with gardens, a café and art gallery. Museum, historic rooms and shop Mon-Thur 12.30pm-3.30pm; Sun noon- 4pm. Admission free, charges for special events. www.fulhampalace.org. Bishop’s Avenue, SW6 6EA. T: 020-7736 3233. Off map. Station: Putney Bridge.
Go Ape Battersea Park
Make like a monkey at this treetop adventure playground, which is suitable for children over six and adults. Negotiate ladders, bridges and zip lines while attached to a reassuring harness. Enthusiastic staff are on hand throughout the three-and-a-half-hour experience. Daily from 9.30am. Adult £35; child £27-£35. www.goape.co. uk/battersea-park. Battersea Park, SW11 4NJ. T: 0845- 643 9236. Off map. Station: Battersea Park.
Golden Hinde II
A full-size reconstruction of Sir Francis Drake’s 16th-century vessel, in which he circumnavigated the globe. Regular events include dressing up in historical costumes, quiz nights and battle workshops. Daily 10am-5.30pm. Guided tour adult £7; child £5. www.goldenhinde.com. 1 Pickfords Wharf, Clink St, SE1 9DG. T: 020-7403 0123. E10. Station: London Bridge.
Ham House and Gardens
One of Europe’s greatest 17th-century houses. Its gardens, which include a walled kitchen garden, are said to be haunted. Please check for times. Adult £10.40; child £5.20. www.nationaltrust.org.uk. Ham St, Surrey, TW10 7RS. T: 020- 8940 1950. Off map. Station: Richmond.
Handel & Hendrix in London
Former homes of Anglo-German composer George Frideric Handel and American guitarist Jimi Hendrix. See where Handel lived and composed for 36 years, plus Hendrix’s bedroom restored to how it was in 1968-1969. Mon-Sat 11pm- 6pm; Sun noon- 6pm. Adult £10; child £5. www.handelhouse.org. 25 Brook St, W1K 4HB. T: 020-7495 1685. D6. Station: Bond Street.
Permanently moored on the River Thames, this ship is Europe’s only surviving World War II cruiser. In service until 1965, it’s now a reminder of Britain’s naval heritage. Daily 10am-5pm. Adult £14.50; child £7.25. www.iwm.org.uk. The Queen’s Walk, off Tooley St, SE1 2JH T: 020-7940 6300. E11. Station: London Bridge.
Houses of Parliament
The site of British Parliament since 1265, the current neo-gothic building including Big Ben was built in the 19th century. Watch debates for free when the Houses are in session. Tours every Sat; also weekdays 3- 6 Jan. Guided tour adult £25.50; child £11. Audio tour adult £18.50; child £ 7.50 (first child free). www.parliament.uk/visit. Palace of Westminster, Parliament Square, SW1A 0AA. T :020-72194114. F 8. Station: Westminster.
The Jewel Tower
Built around 1365 to house Edward III’s treasures, this is one of only two buildings left from the medieval Palace of Westminster after an 1834 fire. Don’t miss the ornate ceiling carvings. Please check for prices and times. www.english-heritage. org.uk. Abingdon St, SW1P 3JX. T: 020-7222 2219. F8. Station: Westminster.