SIGHT­SEE­ING

Where London - - Sightseeing -

Ban­quet­ing House

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.

Buck­ing­ham Palace

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 Crys­tal

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.

Cutty Sark

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.

Ful­ham Palace

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.

HMS Belfast

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.

Keats House

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.

Kens­ing­ton Palace

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.

Ken­wood

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 London

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.

Madame Tus­sauds

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.

The Mon­u­ment

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.

Shrek’s Ad­ven­ture!

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.

St Martin-in-the-Fields

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.

The Vault

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.

Welling­ton Arch

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.

West­min­ster Abbey

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.

Evan Evans

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.

Golden Tours

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.

GoToMid­town Tours

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 Walks

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

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.

Walkit

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.

Wem­b­ley Tours

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)

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