All dressed up
A Christian Dior skirt worn by Princess Margaret during post-war rationing and a tartan velvet gown worn by Princess Diana to a dance at Balmoral (above) are just some of the outfits in FashionRules Restyled at Kensington Palace (p. 28). The display includes original sketches of the outfits, and shows how the royals set trends while playing by the rules.
The London residence and principal workplace of the monarchy is closed to the public but it is still a magnificent landmark to witness. It is vast, boasting 775 rooms. www.royalcollection.org.uk. Buckingham Palace, The Mall, SW1A 1AA. T: 0303123 7300. F6/F7. Station: Victoria/Green Park.
Changing the Guard
At 11.30am everyday (not 30 May), watch the changing of the Queen’s Guard on the Palace’s forecourt (p. 18). There is no ceremony in very wet weather. Buckingham Palace, The Mall, SW1A 1AA. T: 030-3123 7300. www.changing-the-guard.com. Victoria/Green Park. The Changing the Life Guard Ceremony takes place Mon-Fri 11am & Sun 10am – check the website in case of last-minute changes. When the sentries change, the trumpeters play. Horse Guards Parade, Whitehall, SW1A 1DH. T: 0207801 2519. www.royal.gov.uk. changing-guard.com. St James’s Park/Green Park. www.royal.gov.uk. Buckingham Palace, The Mall, SW1A 1AA. T: 0303123 7300. F6/F7. Station: Victoria/Green Park.
Chelsea Physic Garden
London’s oldest botanic garden, which was founded in 1673 as the Apothecaries’ Garden. Admire 5,000 species of plants, especially medicinal ones and tropical plants in glasshouses (p. 13). 31 May: Chocolate Tuesday. A look into the history, geography and science of chocolate. Book in advance. £15. Tue-Fri & Sun 11am- 6pm. Adult £9.50; child £6.95. www.chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk. 66 Royal Hospital Rd, SW3 4HS. T: 020-7352 5646. Off map. Station: Sloane Square.
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. 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. 7-8 May: Puppet Pals. Kids can make puppet animals and watch a puppet show. 10 May: Audio Tour. Aimed at blind and partially-sighted visitors. 30-31 May: Dancing Sailors. Kids can make a sailor puppet. Charges for special events. Daily 10am5pm. Adult £12.15; child £6.30. Joint tickets with 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
Explore the home of artist Dennis Severs in this living time capsule. Ten rooms, from the cellar to the attic, illustrate the life of a family of Huguenot silk weavers from the 17th to 19th century. 12 May: Late Night Opening. Explore the house after hours. Charges for special events. Mon-Sat 11am-5.30pm. Adult £4.50; child £1.50. 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, first published in 1755, in this period home. 12 May: Late Night Opening. Explore the house after hours. Mon-Sat 11am-5.30pm. Adult £4.50; child £1.50. www.drjohnsonshouse.org. 17 Gough Square, EC4A 3DE. T: 020-7353 3745. D9. Station: Temple/Chancery Lane.
Eltham Palace & Gardens
Part showpiece of Art Deco design and part medieval royal palace. Mon-Thur 10am- 6pm; Sun 10am- 6pm. Adult £13.60; child £8.10. www.englishheritage.org.uk. Court Yard, SE9 5QE. T: 0208294 2548. Off map. Station: Eltham.
This 15th-century building, which was the summer retreat of the Bishops of London, has a museum, historic rooms and shop. Mon-Thur 12.30pm-4.30pm; Sun noon-5pm. Admission free. www.fulham palace.org. Bishop’s Avenue, SW6 6EA. T: 0207736 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. Daily from 9.30am. Adult £33; child £18-£25. 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 take place. Charges for special events. 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 with gardens that are said to be haunted. House noon-4pm; café, garden and shop 10am-5pm. 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
The former homes of Anglo-German composer George Frideric Handel and American guitarist Jimi Hendrix (p. 22). Mon-Sat 11pm-6pm; Sun noon-6pm. Both houses adult £10; child £5. One house adult £7.50; child £3. 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. 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. Hear Big Ben chime in its clock tower and watch debates for free from the Public Galleries. Guided and audio tours 7, 21, 27 & 28 May 9am- 4.30pm. Guided tour adult £25.50; child £11. Audio tour adult £18.50; child £ 7.50 (first child free). www.parliament.uk/visiting. Palace of Westminster, Parliament Square, SW1A 0AA. T: 020-7219 4114. F8. 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. Mon-Sat 10am- 6pm. Adult £4.70; child £2.80. www.english-heritage.org.uk. Abingdon St, SW1P 3JX. T: 020-7222 2219. F8. Station: Westminster.
This 19th-century home belonged to the Romantic poet John Keats. See his paintings, books, letters and household items. Check the website for details of poetry readings and talks. Wed-Sun 11am-5pm. Adult £6.50; child free. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/ keatshousehampstead. Keats Grove, NW3 2RR. T: 020-7332 3868. Off map. Station: Hampstead.
This royal residence sits in Kensington Gardens and was Princess Diana’s last home (p. 11 & p. 26). Daily 10am- 6pm. Adult £16.30; child free. www.hrp.org.uk. Kensington Gardens, W8 4PX. T: 0844-482 7777. Off map. Station: High Street Kensington/Queensway.
On the edge of Hampstead Heath, Kenwood House with its landscaped gardens is a hidden gem. Admire Robert Adam’s interiors and an art collection made up of works by Rembrandt, Vermeer and Gainsborough. 29 May: Kenwood Stories. Art comes alive through stories told by guides. 31 May: Spring Quest & Craft. Creative workshop for families. Charges for some special events. Daily 10am-5pm. Admission free. www.english-heritage. org.uk/kenwood. Hampstead Lane, NW3 7JR. T: 020- 8348 1286. Off map. Station: Hampstead.
This royal retreat in the grounds of Kew Gardens was home to King George III. Daily 10am-5.30pm. Admission free with Kew Gardens tickets. www.hrp. org.uk. Kew Gardens, Richmond, TW9 3AB. T: 0844482 7777. Off map. Station: Kew Gardens.
Children can test out different careers, including working in TV and animation studios, a chocolate factory and an aviation academy. Check website for opening times and prices. www.london.kidzania.com. Westfield London Shopping Centre, Ariel Way, W12 7GA. T: 0330131 3333. Off map. Station: Shepherd’s Bush.
The London Bridge Experience & Tombs
Scary attraction about the 1,700-year-old London Bridge site. Tickets also include the London Tombs, under the bridge, which are located in a former plague pit. Mon-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat-Sun 9.30am6pm. Adult £26.95; child £21.45. www.thelondon bridgeexperience.com. 2- 4 Tooley St, SE1 2SY. T: 020-7403 6333. E10. Station: London Bridge. Spectacular sets, actors and special effects evoke ghoulish encounters from 1,000 years of Britain’s past in a grimly comedic style. Not for small children or the faint-hearted. Joint tickets with London Aquarium, London Eye, Madame Tussauds and Shrek’s Adventure! available. Mon-Wed & Fri 10am5pm; Thur 11am-5pm; Sat-Sun 10am- 6pm. Adult £28.95; child £24.45. www.thedungeons.com. County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7PB. T: 0871- 423 2240. F8. Station: Waterloo/Embankment. This London icon is one of the world’s largest observation wheels. Joint tickets with the London Aquarium, London Dungeon, Madame Tussauds and Shrek’s Adventure! available. 1-26 May Sun-Thur 10am-9pm; Fri-Sat 10am-9.30pm. 27-31 May daily 10am-9.30pm. Adult £24.95; child £19.95. www. londoneye.com. County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7PB. T: 0871-781 3000. F8. Station: Waterloo.
ZSL London Zoo
Immerse yourself in the animal kingdom at the world’s oldest scientific zoo, which has more than 750 species. As well as an aquarium, penguin beach and endangered Sumatran tigers, you can visit the new Land of the Lions enclosure – which houses Asiatic lions in surroundings designed to resemble an Indian national park (p. 24). 18 May: Safari in the City. After-hours tour, talk, cocktails and an African-themed dinner. Charges for special events. Daily 10am-6pm. Adult £25.50; child £18.50. www.zsl.org. London Zoo, Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY. T: 020-7722 3333. C6. Station: Camden Town. Celebrated home of life-sized wax figures depicting famous people from the worlds of entertainment, politics, sport and history, from the Queen to Adele. Pose with your favourite legend and visit the scary Chamber of Horrors and Scream experiences. Don’t miss the permanent Star Wars exhibition. Joint tickets with the London Aquarium, London Dungeon, London Eye and Shrek’s Adventure! available. Check the website for times. Adult £34; child £29.50. www.madametussauds.com/london. Marylebone Rd, NW1 5LR. T: 0871- 894 3000. C6. Station: Baker Street.
This beautiful stone column standing in the heart of the City was built in 1677 to commemorate the 1666 Great Fire of London. You can climb to the top. Daily 9.30am- 6pm. Adult £4; child £2. Joint tickets with the Tower Bridge Exhibition available. www.the monument.info. The Monument, Monument St, EC3R 6BD. T: 020-7626 2717. E10. Station: Monument.
I Am the Greatest: Muhammad Ali explores the boxer Muhammad Ali’s life. Mon-Fri 10am- 4pm; Sat-Sun 10am-5.30pm. Adult £18; child £9. www.theo2. co.uk. Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX. T: 020- 8463 2000. Off map. Station: North Greenwich.
Old Royal Naval College
This beautiful Baroque masterpiece, part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, is the home of British naval training, with costumed characters and tours. Don’t miss the magnificent ceiling in the Painted Hall. Check for guided tours. 14 May: Architecture for All. Greenwich walking tour. Charges for special events. 27 May: Hidden London. Photographs by students focusing on London’s hidden spaces. To 22 May daily 10am-5pm. From 23 May please check the website for times. Admission free. www.ornc.org. King William Walk, SE10 9NN. T: 020- 8269 4799. Off map. Station: Cutty Sark/Greenwich.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Formerly the site of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, this park includes an aquatics centre and the ArcelorMittal Orbit tower. Park open 24 hours daily. Admission free. www.queenelizabeth olympicpark.co.uk. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E20 2ST. T: 0800-072 2110. Off map. Station: Stratford. Curiosity-filled museum with numerous oddities and artefacts. Daily 10am-midnight. Adult £26.95; child £19.95. www.ripleyslondon.com. 1 Piccadilly Circus, W1J 0DA. T: 020-3238 0022. E7. Station: Piccadilly Circus. Better known as Kew Gardens, this botanical research centre contains numerous plants (p. 11). Gardens Mon-Fri 10am- 6.30pm; Sat-Sun 10am7.30pm. Adult £15; child £3.50. www.kew.org. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB. T: 020- 8332 5655. Off map. Station: Kew Gardens.
The Royal Institution of Great Britain
Grade I-listed building housing a museum about the institution’s 15 Nobel Prize-winning scientists. Mon-Fri 9am- 6pm. Admission free; charges for talks. www.rigb.org. 21 Albemarle St, W1S 4BS. T: 020-7409 2992. E6. Station: Green Park.
The Royal Mews
This beautiful part of Buckingham Palace houses the Queen’s vehicles and horses, including the Diamond Jubilee State Coach. Daily 10am-5pm; closed 28 May. Adult £9.30; child £5.50. www.royal collection.org.uk. Buckingham Palace Rd, SW1W 1QH. T: 020-7766 7302. F6. Station: Victoria. The home of Greenwich Mean Time and London’s only planetarium. Observatory, Flamsteed House and Meridian Line daily 10am-5pm. Adult £9.50; child £5. www.rmg.co.uk. Blackheath Avenue, SE10 8XJ. T: 020- 8858 4422. Off map. Station: Greenwich/Maze Hill/Cutty Sark. One of Europe’s largest aquariums with 500 species of global marine life and walk-through tank tunnels, including a glass walkway above 16 sharks. You can also snorkel with sharks (from £130 including admission). Mon-Fri 10am-7pm; Sat-Sun 9am-7pm. Last entry 13 & 17 May 5pm. Adult £24.50; child £18.10. Joint tickets with London Eye, London Dungeon, Madame Tussauds and Shrek’s Adventure! available. www.sealife.co.uk/london. County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7PB. T: 0871-663 1678. F8. Station: Westminster/Waterloo. Ride the 4D ‘DreamWorks Tours’ bus to step into live actor fairytale-themed shows where you can meet the characters from the films. Joint tickets with London Eye, London Dungeon, Madame Tussauds and Sea Life London Aquarium available. Sun-Wed 10am-5pm; Thur 11am-5pm; Sat 10am- 6pm. Adult £27; child £21.85. www.shreksadventure.com. Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7PB. T: 0871-221 2837. F8. Station: Waterloo.
St James’s Palace
One of London’s oldest palaces, constructed in the 14th century and home to royalty. Visitors can watch part of the Queen’s Guard mount daily at 11am in Friary Court. Palace and house shut to the public. www.royal.gov.uk. Marlborough Rd, SW1A 1BS. T: 020-7930 4832. E7. Station: St James’s Park.
St Katharine Docks
This central London marina dates back to the 11th century and is close to the Tower of London. The waterside is lined with markets, shops and galleries. www.skdocks.co.uk. 50 St Katharine’s Way, E1W 1LA. T: 020-7264 5287. Off map. Station: Tower Hill.
Palladian church with tours, a brass-rubbing centre and live classical music (some free). Holy Communion daily and classical music performed weekly by candlelight. Check for opening times. Admission free; brass rubbing from £4.50. www.st martin-in-the-fields.org. Trafalgar Square, WC2N 4JJ. T: 020-7766 1100. E8. Station: Charing Cross. Sir Christopher Wren’s 300-year-old cathedral has stunning mosaics. Climb up the dome to the Whispering Gallery and a further 271 steps to the Golden Gallery for a classic London panorama. Then head down to the crypt, with its monuments to Wren and Lord Nelson. Free tours. Mon-Sat 8.30am- 4.30pm. Adult £18; child £8. www.stpauls. co.uk. St Paul’s Churchyard, EC4M 8AD. T: 0207246 8350. D9/10. Station: St Paul’s.
Tower Bridge Exhibition
This breathtaking bridge, designed in 1884, is one of London’s most famous landmarks. It has great views; walk on the glass floor on the high walkways. Joint tickets with The Monument available. 18 May: Yoga. Sunrise yoga on the glass walkway (7.15am; £25). Daily 10am-5.30pm. Adult £9; child £3.90. www.towerbridge.org.uk. Tower Bridge Rd, SE1 2UP. T: 020-7403 3761. E11. Station: Tower Hill.
Tower of London
This historic landmark includes the Bloody Tower, Traitors’ Gate and the Jewel House, home of the Crown Jewels. Enjoy free guided tours by ‘Beefeaters’ ( Yeoman Warders). Book ahead online to attend the nightly Ceremony of the Keys, which dates back to 1340 (tickets are free; p. 18). Tue-Sat 9am-5.30pm; Sun-Mon 10am-5.30pm. Adult £22.50; child £10.50. www.hrp.org.uk. Tower Hill, EC3N 4AB. T: 0844- 482 7799. E11. Station: Tower Hill.
This venue used to protect the Queen’s treasures under the old Coutts Bank – and now it’s home to the Jean Paul Gaultier bustier designed for Madonna. See that and other iconic rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia at the Hard Rock Cafe’s revamped museum. Daily 11.30am-10.30pm. Admission free. www.hardrock.com. Hard Rock Cafe London, 150 Old Park Lane, W1K 1QZ. T: 020-7514 1700. E6. Station: Hyde Park Corner. Ascend the tallest building in Western Europe in a high-speed ‘kaleidoscopic’ lift. At 1,017ft, on a clear day you can see as far as Windsor – and if you can’t see four major landmarks you can visit again for free. If you pre-book you can also attend a yoga class (£40). Yoga Sat 8.30am9.30am; Mon 7.30pm-8.30pm. Daily 10am-10pm – please check the website before visiting. Advance booking is recommended. Adult £30.95; child £24.95. www.theviewfromtheshard.com. 32 London Bridge St, SE1 9SG. T: 0844- 499 7111. E10. Station: London Bridge. Explore behind the scenes of the Harry Potter films in The Making of Harry Potter tour. Visitors can see iconic sets including the Great Hall, Hagrid’s Hut, Diagon Alley and a recreation of Platform 9¾. Please check website for times. Adult £35; child £27. You must pre-book ion advance. www.wbstudiotour.co.uk. Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7LS. T: 0845- 084 0900. Off map. Station: Euston to Watford Junction, then shuttle bus.
Climb to the viewing galleries of this magnificent arch for panoramic views over the Houses of Parliament, plus exhibitions. Joint tickets available with Apsley House. Daily 10am- 6pm. Adult £4.70; child £2.80. www.english-heritage.org.uk. Apsley Way, Hyde Park Corner, W1J 7JZ. T: 020-7930 2726. F6. Station: Hyde Park Corner.
Consecrated in 1065, this abbey is the crowning and burial site of most English monarchs. It also houses Poets’ Corner, the burial place of Charles Dickens and other famous writers. Please check website for opening times. Adult £20; child £9. www.westminster-abbey.org. 20 Dean’s Yard, SW1P 3PA. T: 020-7222 5152. F7. Station: Westminster/St James’s Park.
London Duck Tours
Explore the capital by road in a bright yellow amphibious vehicle before taking to the Thames with a ‘splash-down’. Check for times. Adult £24; child £16. www.londonducktours.co.uk. 55 York Rd, SE1 7NJ. T: 020-7928 3132. F8. Station: Waterloo. Live commentary on a 40-minute sightseeing cruise. Daily 10.45am-7.45pm. Adult £13.15; child £6.58. Discounted joint tickets with the London Eye available. www.londoneye.com. London Eye Pier, South Bank, SE1 7PB. T: 0871-781 3000. E8. Station: Waterloo.
MBNA Thames Clippers
Fast and frequent, with departures from major London piers every 20 minutes. River Roamer tickets allow you to hop on and off. Oyster cards are valid. Adult £17.35; child £8.65. Download its free in:flow app for a real-time audio explanation of the landmarks on view. www.thamesclippers.com. Various points along the Thames. T: 020-7001 2200.
Thames River Services
Sightseeing trips from Westminster Pier and St Katharine’s Pier to Greenwich and the Thames Flood Barrier, with live audio commentary. Circular Cruise Westminster operates a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing service from Westminster Pier calling at Embankment Pier, Festival Pier, Bankside Pier and St Katharine’s Pier, returning non-stop to Westminster. Check website for times and prices. www.thamesriverservices.co.uk, T: 0207930 4097; www.circularcruise.co.uk, T: 020-7936 2033. Various points along the River Thames.
Authentic London Walks
Two-hour walks run by an informative, humorous guide. There are seven to choose from, including Highgate and Hampstead in north London. You can also book a private tour. Wed-Sun 11am & Sat-Sun 2pm. Adult £10; child free. Departure points vary. www.authenticlondontours.com. London, N6 5BT. T: 07771- 610737.
Big Bus Tours
Daily sightseeing trips aboard a fleet of open-top double-decker buses. Take in the city’s best sights guided by a multilingual commentary (Blue Tour) or live guide (Red Tour). A hop-on, hop-off ticket for 24 hours includes a river cruise and three guided walking tours. Adult £26; child £12.50. www.bigbustours.com. Various departure points. T: 020-7808 6753. F6. Station: Victoria.
Big Bus Walking Tours
Choose from three guided tours: Royal London at 10.20am; Scene in London, which reveals the locations of popular TV shows and films such as Harry Potter at 1.30pm; and Haunting Mysteries at 4.30pm. All take 90 minutes to two hours. £5, or free with a Big Bus Tour. Daily. www.bigbus tours.com. Depart from Big Bus stop 10, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN. T: 020-7808 6753. E7. Station: Charing Cross.
City of London Guides Walks
A variety of themed walks not offered by other companies, focusing on everything from Fleet Street – the home of British journalism – to Smithfield Market and City gardens. Adult free-£12.50; child £4-£8. www.cityoflondon guides.com. Various departure points.
A range of tours of London and the UK including a Jack the Ripper Walking Tour. £10. www.golden tours.com. Departure points vary. T: 020-7630 2028.
More than 100 themed 45-minute free tours around Bloomsbury and Holborn. There’s no need to book. The 10am & 1pm walks start at the kiosk outside Holborn Tube station (88-94 Kingsway, WC2B 6AA). The 11am, 2pm & 5.30pm walks start at the red sculpture in the courtyard of Central Saint Giles (Giles High St, WC2H 8AG). GoToMidtown shop, 56 New Oxford St, WC1A 1ES. www.gotomidtown.co.uk. Holborn Tube station, 88-94 Kingsway, WC2B 6AA or Central Saint Giles courtyard, Giles High St, WC2H 8AG. T: 020-7078 7077. D7/8. Station: Holborn.
Jack the Ripper Tours
Blue Badge Guide Richard Jones of London Walking Tours devised these popular two-hour walks, offering an intriguing look at the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper. Numbers are limited in order to give participants a better experience. Booking is essential. Daily 7pm from outside Exit 4 of Aldgate East. £10. www.jack-the-ripper-tour.com. Aldgate East Underground station. T: 020- 8530 8443. Off map. Station: Aldgate East.