This 17th-century building was designed by Inigo Jones for James I, with an exquisite painted ceiling by Peter Paul Rubens. The ceiling was one of Charles I’s final images before he lost his head. The king was executed on a scaffold outside in 1649. 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 a play area and a petting farm with donkeys, chinchillas and goats. Children will also enjoy the large sandpit, diggers, fort, life-size tractor and fire engine. There are also new zoo-keeper experiences where you can discover everything you ever wanted to know about the animals and the zoo. 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 British Library
The world’s largest library also boasts temporary exhibitions and a great permanent collection.
To 28 Feb: Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line. See how maps made the world we live in. Library open Mon-Thur 9.30am-8pm; Fri 9.30-6pm; Sat 9.30am-5pm; Sun and bank holidays 11am-5pm. Exhibition galleries open Mon 9.30am-6pm; Tue-Thur 9.30am-8pm; Fri 9.30am6pm; Sat 9.30am-5pm; Sun 11am-5pm. Admission free; charges for tours, some exhibitions and events. www.bl.uk. 96 Euston Rd, NW1 2DB. T: 0330-333 1144. C7. Station: King’s Cross.
The London residence of the monarchy.
To 5 Feb: Guided Tour of the State Rooms. The tour ends with a glass of Champagne and a copy of the official souvenir guide. 1.30pm; 2pm; 4pm & 4.30pm. Tickets £80. www.royal collection.org.uk. Buckingham Palace, The Mall, SW1A 1AA. T: 0303-123 7300. F6/F7. Station: Victoria.
Changing the Guard
At 11am every Mon, Wed, Fri and Sun, watch the changing of the Queen’s Guard on the Palace’s forecourt. There is no ceremony in very wet weather. www.royal.gov.uk. Buckingham Palace, The Mall, SW1A 1AA. T: 0303-123 7300. F6/F7. Station: Victoria.
Chelsea Physic Garden
London’s oldest botanic garden, founded in 1673 as the Apothecaries’ Garden beside the Thames. Admire 5,000 species of plants, many of which are medicinal or edible, including the largest outdoor fruiting olive tree. Free daily tours. To 3 Feb daily 10am-4pm; from 6 Feb Mon-Fri 11am-3pm. www.chelsea physicgarden.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, which has neo-Palladian interiors designed by William Kent.
To 26 Feb: Magical Lantern Festival. Stunning illuminations light up the grounds. 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 & 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. Tue-Sat 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 – the world’s last surviving tea clipper – hosts regular events. Daily 10am-5pm. 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: Greenwich.
Dennis Severs’ House
Since 1979, visitors have been able to explore the home of the artist Dennis Severs. 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, first published in 1755, in this period home. Mon-Sat 11am-5pm. Adult £6; child £2.50. www.drjohnsonshouse.org. 17 Gough Square, EC4A 3DE. T: 020-7353 3745. D9. Station: Temple.
Eltham Palace & Gardens
Experience the decade of decadence as you are transported back to the 1930s. 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. Daily from 9.30am. Adult £35; child £27-£35. www.goape.co.uk/batterseapark. 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. Daily 10am-5.30pm. Guided tour adult £7; child £5. www.golden hinde.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. It’s said to be haunted. 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 composer George Frideric Handel and American guitarist Jimi Hendrix. See where Handel lived for 36 years, plus Hendrix’s bedroom, and attend a music concert. 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 imposing 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, the current neo-gothic building including Big Ben was built in the 19th century. Watch debates for free when the Houses are in session. Guided and audio tours every Sat and 10-17 Feb Tue-Fri. Audio tour adult £18.50; child £7.50 (first child free). Guided tour adult £25.50; child £11. www.parliament.uk/visit. 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. Please check for prices and times. www.englishheritage.org.uk. Abingdon St, SW1P 3JX. T: 0207222 2219. F8. Station: Westminster.
This home belonged to the Romantic poet John Keats. 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 was Princess Diana’s last home.
From 24 Feb: Diana: Her Fashion Story. An exhibition dedicated to the style of the ‘people’s princess’. Daily 10am- 4pm. Adult £15; child free. www.hrp.org.uk. Kensington Gardens, W8 4PX. T: 0844- 482 7777. Off map. Station: Queensway.
On the edge of Hampstead Heath, Kenwood house with its landscaped gardens is a hidden gem. 3, 10, 17 & 24 Feb: Curator’s Tour of Kenwood. 5 Feb: Family Craft. 14-15 Feb: Winter Quest & Craft. Family activity. 26 Feb: Kenwood Stories. Volunteers talk visitors through the house’s art collections. Free admission. Daily 10am-4pm. www.english-heritage. org.uk/kenwood. Hampstead Lane, NW3 7JR. T: 020-8348 1286. Off map. Station: Hampstead.
KidZania has everything a child could want including TV and animation studios, a chocolate factory, pit lane, an aviation academy and a tattoo parlour! Occasional adult nights. Daily from 10am; call for closing times. Adult from £9.50; child from £11.50. www.london.kidzania.com. Westfield London Shopping Centre, Ariel Way, W12 7GA. T: 0330-131 3333. Off map. Station: Shepherd’s Bush.
The London Bridge Experience & Tombs
An exciting history lesson on the spooky past of the 1,700-year-old London Bridge site. Special effects and actors bring this spinetingling scary attraction to life. Tickets also include admission to the London Tombs, which are located under the bridge in a former plague pit. Mon-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat-Sun 9.30am- 6pm. Adult £26.95; child £21.45. www.thelondonbridgeexperience.com. 2- 4 Tooley St, SE1 2SY. T: 020-7403 6333. E10. Station: London Bridge.
The London Dungeon
This uniquely thrilling attraction will whisk you back to the capital’s most perilous past. See, hear, feel and (ahem) smell the chillingly amusing characters of the ‘bad old days’ as they come to life before you. Not for small children or the faint-hearted! Joint tickets with SEA LIFE London Aquarium, Coca-Cola London Aquarium, London Eye, Madame Tussauds and Shrek’s Adventure! available. Please check for times and prices. www.thedungeons.com. County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7PB. T: 0871- 423 2240. F8. Station: Waterloo/Embankment.
Coca-Cola London Eye
This London icon is one of the world’s largest observation wheels. Interactive screens in each pod give an insight into the landmarks on view. Joint tickets with the London Aquarium, London Dungeon, Madame Tussauds and Shrek’s Adventure! available. Daily 10am- 6pm. 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, there is also the Land of the Lions enclosure – which houses Asiatic lions in surroundings designed to resemble an Indian national park, complete with rickshaws. To 11 Feb daily 10am-5pm. From 20 Feb 10am5.30pm. To 10 Feb adult £21.50; child £17.25. From 11 Feb adult £27.04; child £20. www.zsl.org. London Zoo, Regent’s Park, NW1 4RY. T: 020-7722 3333. C6. Station: Camden Town.
The celebrated home of life-sized wax figures depicting famous people from the worlds of entertainment, politics, sport and history, including the Queen, Adele, The Beatles and Margaret Thatcher. Pose with your favourite legend and visit the terrifying Chamber of Horrors and Scream experiences. Don’t miss the permanent Star Wars exhibition, which features 11 sets from the film. The Game’s Afoot, an immersive attraction with actors, illusion and sound effects, is a highlight. Joint tickets with the London Aquarium, London Dungeon, London Eye and Shrek’s Adventure! available. Please check for times. Adult £35; child £29.50. www.madametussauds.com/ london. Marylebone Rd, NW1 5LR. T: 0871- 894 3000. C6. Station: Baker Street.
This stone column was built to commemorate the 1666 Great Fire of London. Climb the 311 steps to its observation gallery. Daily 9.30am-5.30pm. Adult £4; child £2. Joint tickets with the Tower Bridge Exhibition available. www.themonument.org.uk. The Monument, Monument St, EC3R 6BD. T: 020-7626 2717. E10. Station: Monument.
The O2 – Star Wars Identities
As you browse 200 original sketches, models and props from the popular franchise, you’ll be asked questions to reveal your Star Wars character. Mon-Sat 10am- 6pm. Adult £20-£25; child £10-£15. www.the o2.co.uk. Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX. T: 020-8463 2000. Off map. Station: North Greenwich.
Old Royal Naval College
This Baroque masterpiece, part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site, is the home of British naval training. Don’t miss the ceiling in the Painted Hall. Daily, please check for opening times. Admission free. www.ornc.org. King William Walk, SE10 9NN. T: 020-8269 4799. Off map. Station: Greenwich.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Formerly the site of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, this park includes the ArcelorMittal Orbit observation tower. Please check for sporting events. Park open 24 hours daily. Admission free.www.que en elizabeth olympicpark.co.uk. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, E20 2ST. T: 0800- 072 2110. Off map. Station: Stratford.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
This curiosity-filled museum with more than 700 artefacts is a hit across the globe and a great option for families. Explore a range of oddities over six floors, from a shrunken head to an albino alligator and the world’s tallest man. Daily 10ammidnight. Adult £27.95; child £20.95. www.ripleys london.com. 1 Piccadilly Circus, W1J 0DA. T: 0203238 0022. E7. Station: Piccadilly Circus.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Better known as Kew Gardens, this botanical research centre and World Heritage Site has plants from across the globe, with Victorian tropical greenhouses and a Chinese pagoda. You can also experience The Hive, a big aluminium structure modelled on a beehive surrounded by wildflowers. Buzzing and lights play in response to a real beehive. Allocate a whole day for a visit (p. 20).
From 4 Feb: Orchids Festival. The Princess of Wales Conservatory will be transformed into an Indian market with rickshaws, peacock models and an Indian flag made from orchids (p. 21).
From 9 Feb: Orchid Lates. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, see thousands of orchids and tropical flower displays after dark. Flora Japonica. An exhibition celebrating the richness of Japanese native flora and its influence on horticulture in the West. Gardens to 10 Feb daily 10am- 4.15pm. Gardens from 11 Feb daily 10am-5.30pm. Adult £9; child £3.50; charges for special exhibitions. 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 Georgian building housing a museum about the institution’s 15 Nobel Prize-winning scientists. Visit its free Faraday Museum and you can see scientists at work, too. Check for its programme of talks. 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
Built by John Nash in 1825, this beautiful part of Buckingham Palace houses the Queen’s vehicles and horses. Discover the history behind the Diamond Jubilee State Coach and the Golden State Coach, which was built for George III in 1762 and weighed almost four tonnes. Witness daily life and learn about the mews’ history. MonSat 10am- 4pm. Adult £9.30; child £5.50. www.royal collection.org.uk. Buckingham Palace Rd, SW1W 1QH. T: 0303-123 7302. F6. Station: Victoria.
The Royal Observatory
The home of Greenwich Mean Time and London’s only planetarium. Learn about time in the Peter Harrison Galleries and watch planetarium shows throughout the day. The Sky Tonight. Daily planetarium show that explores the Moon, constellations, planets and deep space objects. It has great views of London. Observatory 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.
SEA LIFE London Aquarium
One of Europe’s largest aquariums with around 500 species of global marine life and walk-through tank tunnels, including a scary glass walkway above 16 sharks (p. 20). You can also snorkel with sharks (from £80 including admission) and see lost and found items from the river. Please check for times. 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.
This attraction is a family favourite. Ride the magical 4D ‘DreamWorks Tours’ bus to step into live actor fairytale-themed shows where you can meet the characters from the much-loved films. Joint tickets with London Eye, London Dungeon, Madame Tussauds and SEA LIFE London Aquarium available. Please check for times. 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 for three centuries. Palace and house closed to the public. www.royal.gov.uk. Marlborough Rd, SW1A 1BS. E7. Station: St James’s Park.
St Katharine Docks
This central London marina dates back to the 11th century and is tucked away by the Tower of London. The vibrant waterside destination is lined with regular markets, shops, galleries such as Artopia and The Alexander Miles Gallery and restaurants including CAU, Tom’s Kitchen, Bravas Tapas and White Mulberries. www.skdocks.co.uk. 50 St Katharine’s Way, E1W 1LA. T: 020-7264 5287. Off map. Station: Tower Hill.
Landmark Palladian church with tours, a brassrubbing centre and live classical music (some free). Classical music performed weekly by candlelight. Please check for opening times. Admission free; brass rubbing from £4.50. www.stmartin-in-thefields.org. Trafalgar Square, WC2N 4JJ. T: 020-7766 1100. E8. Station: Charing Cross.
St Paul’s Cathedral
Sir Christopher Wren’s 300-year-old cathedral (p. 22) 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. Don’t miss Oculus: An Eye into St Paul’s, a 270-degree film experience, for an excellent overview. Free tours. Mon-Sat 8.30am4.30pm. Adult £18; child £8. www.stpauls.co.uk. St Paul’s Churchyard, EC4M 8AD. T: 020-7246 8350. D9/10. Station: St Paul’s.
18 Stafford Terrace
This house gives an insight into the personal lives of Punch cartoonist Edward Linley Sambourne, his wife Marion, their two children and their live-in servants, who lived here from 1875. A highlight is a costumed actor-led tour, on which you’ll meet Mrs Sambourne or her parlour maid Mrs Reffell for a dramatic account based on old diaries. Wed; Sat-Sun 11am-12.15pm & 2pm-5.30pm. Adult from £7; child from £5. www.rbkc.gov.uk. 18 Stafford Terrace, W8 7BH. T: 020-7602 3316. Off map. Station: High Street Kensington.
Tower Bridge Exhibition
This breathtaking bridge, designed in 1884, is one of London’s famous landmarks (not to be confused with its less grand neighbour, London Bridge). It has wonderful views; check out the glass floor on the high walkways. Joint tickets with The Monument available. Daily 9.30am-5pm. 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 far ahead online to attend the nightly Ceremony of the Keys, which dates back to 1340 (tickets are free). Tue-Sat 9am- 4.30pm; Sun-Mon 10am- 4.30pm. Adult £22.50; child £10.50. www.hrp.org.uk/ tower-of-london. Tower Hill, EC3N 4AB. T: 0844482 7799. E11. Station: Tower Hill.
This is home to the Jean Paul Gaultier bustier from Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour. See that and other iconic rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia at 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: 0207514 1700. E6. Station: Hyde Park Corner.
The View from The Shard
Ascend the tallest building in Western Europe in a high-speed ‘kaleidoscopic’ lift (p. 20). At 1,017ft, you can see as far as Windsor Castle in the west on a clear day – and if you can’t see four major landmarks you can visit again for free. If you pre-book, you can also take part in a yoga class on Saturdays (£40). 15 Feb: Valentine’s Film. Watch a romantic flick chosen by the public at the top of The Shard. Sun-Wed 10am-7pm; Thur-Sat 10am-10pm. Advance adult £25.95, child £19.95; on the day adult £30.95, child £24.95. www.the viewfromtheshard.com. 32 London Bridge St, SE1 9SG. T: 0844- 499 7111. E10. Station: London Bridge.
Warner Bros Studio Tour London
Explore behind the scenes of the legendary Harry Potter films in The Making of Harry Potter tour. Visitors can witness iconic sets including the Great Hall, Hagrid’s Hut, Diagon Alley and a recreation of Platform 9¾. A fascinating insight into filmmaking. 11-12 Feb: Valentine’s Dinner in the Great Hall. Following a love potion cocktail, you’ll be seated at tables for two in the Great Hall set for a candlelit three-course dinner. Afterwards, you’ll enjoy after-hours access to the Studio Tour to see see sets such as the Gryffindor common room, Dumbledore’s office, the Weasley kitchen at The Burrow and the Malfoy Manor dining table before enjoying a drink on Platform 9¾, which features the original Hogwarts Express locomotive. Please check for times. Adult £39; child £31. Booking essential. 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 Royal Parks and Houses of Parliament, plus exhibitions. Joint tickets available with Apsley House. Daily 10am-5pm. 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. Mon-Sat, please check for 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.
WWT London Wetland Centre
This 104-acre wildlife reserve has the Water’s Edge Café overlooking lakes, ponds and gardens which are home to more than 100 species of rare and wild birds. Otters are fed daily at 11am and 2pm. 3 Feb: Winter Wildlife Photography. 11-19 Feb: Puddle Jumping Championships. Wear wellies! 19 Feb: Udderly Amazing Cows! Learn more about the importance of the centre’s cows and how the wardens look after them. Daily 9.30am- 4.30pm. Adult £11.91; child £6.55. www.wwt.org.uk. Queen Elizabeth’s Walk, SW13 9WT. T: 020- 8409 4400. Off map. Station: Barnes.
Big Bus Tours
Daily sightseeing trips aboard a fleet of open-top double-decker buses. A one-day orientation tour includes three walking tours. Adult £23; child £11. www.bigbustours.com. Various departure points. T: 020-7808 6753. Station: Victoria.
Big Bus Walking Tours
Choose from three guided tours: Royal London at 10.20am, 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.bigbustours.com. Depart from Big Bus stop 10, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN. T: 020-7808 6753. Station: Charing Cross.
Billingsgate Roman House & Baths
Beneath the curious cobbled pathways of the Square Mile lies a rich Roman history that has survived 2,000 years of building, fires and bombings. The Billingsgate Roman Bathhouse was discovered in 1848, and is now open to the public. Explore this insight into ancient life in the City on a 45-minute guided tour and discover the remains of the Roman Bathhouse. £8 adult; £6 child. Check for times. www.museumoflondon.org.uk. 101 Lower Thames St, EC3R 6DL. E11. Station: Tower Hill.
Capital Taxi Tours
Sit back and relax as a qualified Blue Badge or City of London guide drives you around in a licensed taxi for up to five people. Choose from various London tours by day or night, themed tours, treasure hunts and trips to Oxford, Cambridge and beyond. Prices vary and are per taxi. www.capital taxitours.co.uk. Various departure points. T: 020- 8590 3621.
City of London Guides Walks
Choose from a variety of themed walks not offered by other companies, focusing on everything from Fleet Street – the home of journalism – to Smithfield Market and City gardens. Adult free-£12.50; child prices vary. www.cityoflondonguides.com.
The oldest and largest sightseeing company in London has been helping visitors on city tours and out-of-town excursions since 1930. Visit everywhere from Warwick Castle to Stonehenge. Check for times and prices. www.evanevanstours. com. Various departure points. T: 020-7950 1777.
From day excursions to overnight city breaks, these London experts offer quality tour experiences from the capital to popular locations such as Stonehenge. Please check for times and prices. www.goldentours.com. Departure points vary. T: 020-7630 2039. Station: Victoria.
Golden Tours Open-Top Bus Tours
See the sights aboard an open-top bus. Live guided (Essential Tour) or multilingual audio commentary (all routes) tours let you hop-on and hop-off. One-day, 24-hour and 48-hour tickets. Please check for prices. www.goldentours.com. Departure points vary. T: 020-7630 2039.
More than 100 themed 45-minute free tours around Bloomsbury and Holborn. Most walks do not require pre-booking. 10am & 1pm walks start at the orange information kiosk outside Holborn Tube station ( 88-94 Kingsway, WC2B 6AA). 11am; 2pm & 5.30pm walks start from the red sculpture in the courtyard of Central St Giles ( 1 Giles High St, WC2H 8AG). www.gotomidtown.co.uk. Holborn Tube station, 88-94 Kingsway, WC2B 6AA. T: 020-7078 7077. D7/8. Station: Holborn. 1 Giles High St, WC2H 8AG. T: 020-7078 7077. D8. Station: Holborn.
Jack the Ripper Tours
Blue Badge guide Richard Jones of London Walking Tours devised these popular two-hour walks, which offer an intriguing look at the infamous Jack the Ripper. Numbers are limited in order to give participants a better experience. Booking 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.
London Chocolate Tours
Sample truffles and ganaches in Mayfair’s finest chocolatiers on this two-hour tour by a former cocoa trader. You’ll learn how chocolate is made. Booking essential. Sun 12.30pm. £15 for Where London readers (usually £39). Departs from The Ritz London by Green Park station. www.tourguides. org.uk. T: 020-8526 7755. E6. Station: Green Park.
The London Helicopter Tour
Discover the capital from the unique perspective of a helicopter, with its uninterrupted views. Departing from London’s only heliport, glide above the Thames, taking in iconic landmarks including Tower of London, St Paul’s and The Shard. Choose from the 12-minute Buzz, 18-minute Sights or 30-minute Max tour. Prices start from £150 per seat for a shared tour. www.thelondonhelicopter.com. The POD Building, Bridges Court, SW11 2RE. T: 020-7887 2626. Off map. Station: Clapham Junction.
London Literary Pub Crawl
See where the giants of the London literary world ate, drank and worked. This unique tour is artist-led and arranged by the not-for-profit charity The Maverick Theatre Company. Starting in Fitzrovia and ending in Soho, it includes pubs and bars associated with the British Film industry and contemporary writers. Sat 1pm & 5pm. Tickets £24. www.londonliterarypubcrawl.com. 12 Fouberts Place, off Carnaby St, W1F 7PA. T: 020- 8090 5082. D7. Station: Oxford Circus.
London’s oldest walking tour company offers more than 300 walks. Favourites include the Jack the Ripper Walk (daily 7.30pm & Sat 3pm from Tower Hill), a Harry Potter tour ( Wed & Sat-Sun 2pm, departure points vary) and a Ghost Walk (daily 7.30pm; departure points vary). Walks take two hours and there’s no need to book. Adult £10; child free with an adult. www.walks.com. Departure points vary. T: 020-7624 3978.
Original London Sightseeing Walk
Walks depart daily from the Original London Visitor Centre and include Changing the Guard (departing 10.30am), Rock ‘n’ Roll (1pm) and Jack the Ripper (3.30pm from Tower Hill Station). Walking tours are free with Original London Sightseeing Tour. www.theoriginaltour.com. 17-19 Cockspur St, SW1Y 5BL. T: 020- 8877 1722.
E7. Station: Charing Cross.
The Original Tour
With more than 60 years’ experience, these live and multilingual open-top guided bus tours take you to the city’s best attractions, allowing you to hop on and off at more than 80 stops. Its original 24-hour tour includes three free walking tours and a Thames River cruise pass. Book a 24- or 48-hour tour before 3 Mar and you’ll receive an extra 24 hours and a free Greenwich river cruise extension. Adult £30; child £15. www.theoriginaltour.com. 17-19 Cockspur St, Trafalgar Square, SW1Y 5BL. T: 020-8877 1722. E7. Station: Charing Cross.
PlanetPass is an app that allows you to book a private guided tour for up to six people at any time or day. Choose from street art, Jack the Ripper, a Borough Market one for foodies and more. From £9 per person. www.planetpass.com. Various meeting points. T: 01865-922380.
Royal Albert Hall Tours
Take a one-hour Grand Tour of this Victorian concert hall. Most days throughout the year; call for times. Adult £12.75; child £5.75. www.royalalberthall.com. Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP. T: 020-7959 0558. F4. Station: South Kensington.
Royal Opera House
One of the world’s leading opera venues and also home to the Royal Ballet company. Backstage Tour. Tour behind the scenes for an insight into the venue’s history – you may even see a production in rehearsal. Most days 10.30am; 12.30pm & 2.30pm, but check. Adult £12; child £8.50. www.royalopera house.org. Bow St, WC2E 9DD. T: 020-7304 4000. D8. Station: Covent Garden.
See London by Night Tour
Ride around the West End and City in the evening for a different view of the capital. Regular departures from outside The Ritz hotel. Tours last 90 minutes. Daily 7.30pm & 9.20pm. Adult £18; child £10. www.seelondonbynight.com. 150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR. T: 020-7183 4744. E6. Station: Green Park.
Shakespeare’s Globe (Tours)
This reconstruction of William Shakespeare’s original Elizabethan Globe Theatre has the city’s only thatched roofs, while the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is a candlelit performance space (p. 38). Theatre tours Mon-Sun 9.30am-5pm. Exhibition Mon-Sun 9am-5pm. Exhibition and Globe theatre tour adult £16; child £9. www.shakespeares globe.com. 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT. T: 020-7902 1400. E10. Station: Blackfriars.
Innovative site aiming to get people out on foot. Enter your starting point and destination (including street, place or postcode) and the site will work out a route map, distance and time, plus the amount of calories burned and carbon saved. www.walkit.com.
Go behind the scenes at this famous football stadium and concert venue. The 75-minute tour takes you inside the dressing rooms and through the players’ tunnel. Have your photo taken with a replica of the FA Cup. Daily from 10am. Adult £20; child £12. www.wembleystadium.com/wembleytours. Wembley Stadium, HA9 0WS. T: 0800-169 9933. Off map. Station: Wembley Park.
Westways Carriage Horses
Get collected from your hotel and see the sights from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage. Tours last two and a half hours. £475 per carriage. www.westways carriagehorses.co.uk. T: 020- 8572 3155.
Visit St Paul’s Cathedral, Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece (p. 25)