London is a famous hub of culture, business and leisure. When moving to London, we recommend catching some of London’s hotspots and tourist attractions to familiarise yourself with the city before taking the plunge.
The City, or the square mile as it is commonly called, contains some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks and venues — attracting millions of visitors every year.
- St Paul’s Cathedral – designed by St Christopher Wren, St Paul’s Cathedral is famous for its whispering gallery and for holding royal weddings and state funerals.
- The Tower of London – Iconic Royal Palace and the home of the Crown Jewels. The Tower of London is where Anne Boleyn was executed and subsequently buried. Experience pageantry at its best with The Ceremony of the Keys – the closing down of The Tower each evening – it’s free to the public but must be booked in advance.
- The Monument – In commemoration of the Great Fire of London 1666. Climb 311 steps to the viewing gallery at the top. The Monument is 61 metres high and if laid on its side will reach the exact place on Pudding Lane where the Great Fire started.London Bridge – not the original – which is in Arizona – they thought they were buying Tower Bridge!
- The Bank of England
- The Walkie Talkie Building (20 Fenchurch Street) – also home to Sky Garden
The West End is renowned for its theatres, but it’s also home to some of the most popular shops in the capital. Take a look at some of the hottest spots in London’s West End.
- Theatre District – Home to many of London’s top theatres, discover a plethora of shows around Shaftesbury Avenue, Charing Cross Road and St Martin’s Lane. Love Harry Potter? Why not see Harry Potter and The Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre in Cambridge Circus.
- Selfridges – Selfridges is no ordinary store. Taking up a whole block in Oxford Street, this iconic store has been in there since 1909. This historic store boasts one of the best food halls in London and has a garden on the roof in the summer.
- Carnaby Street – Pedestrianised street made famous in the 60s as the home to many modern independent designers, it then became synonymous with Punk in the 70s with the Sex Pistols being photographed on the street. Carnaby Street is now home to a variety of independent fashion boutiques, as well as over 60 bars, restaurants and cafés. For something a bit different, head to Cahoots, a 1940s speakeasy-themed bar.
Keep an eye out for these other West End tourist attractions:
- Royal Academy
- National Portrait Gallery
- Rules – oldest restaurant in London (opened in 1798)!
- Covent Garden
- Fortnum and Masons – great for afternoon tea
- The French House
Kensington and Knightsbridge
Royal Borough of Kensington is home to many historical landmarks including Kensington Palace, which is home to the Prince and Princess of Wales, among other royals.
Tourist attractions in Kensington and Knightsbridge include:
- The Royal Albert Hall – One of London’s most prominent venues, built for Prince Albert by Queen Victoria, is famous for staging a range of shows across all genres, including the traditional Last Night of the Proms. Now also being used to stage showings of classic films, many accompanied by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
- The Natural History Museum – The museum holds a unique collection of more than 80 million species across its many permanent galleries. You can also find a range of exhibitions and featured events throughout the year, including Late Nights for adults only.
Other hotspots to visit in Kensington/Knightsbridge:
- Royal Geographical Society
- Baden Powell House – home of scouts and guides
- Harvey Nichols – Princess Diana’s favourite shop
- Science Museum – IMAX theatre and fun interactive exhibits for all the family
Bloomsbury lies in the heart of London and borders Holborn. It is within walking distance of many top London locations, including Tottenham Court Road, Covent Garden and Leicester Square. Millions of visitors flock to Bloomsbury every year to sample its combination of culture and nightlife.
- The British Museum – The British Museum showcases over 7 million objects spanning two million years of human history, including The Rosetta Stone, which was instrumental in the translation of hieroglyphics, and the Elgin Marbles which are still in dispute today, as Greece has been fighting to have them returned for years.
- Peace Garden at Tavistock Square provides a beautiful setting to stop for lunch. Take a stroll through this little oasis in the centre of London and discover statues and sculptures along the way.
Explore Bloomsbury further by checking out these other London hotspots:
- Charles Dickens House and Museum
- Woburn Walk – one of the first examples of a pedestrian shopping street – home to the poet Yeats
- Brunswick Centre – a Modernist and Grade II listed shopping centre, also featuring the independent Renoir cinema
- Lambs Conduit Street – full of independent restaurants and shops
Canary Wharf has a fascinating past. Once a thriving centre for the West India Docks during the 19th century, it served as a major trading hub, handling goods from around the world. However, with the decline of the docks, in the late 20th century the area underwent a remarkable transformation into the modern financial district it is today.
Among the iconic buildings that define the Canary Wharf skyline, One Canada Square stands tall as one of the UK’s tallest skyscrapers. The striking HSBC Tower and the curvaceous and futuristic Crossrail Place, along with other buildings, symbolise Canary Wharf’s evolution in the recent decades.
Canary Wharf is not only a hub for business and finance but also home to several cultural hotspots that cater to a range of interests:
- The stunning Crossrail Place Roof Garden offers an escape amid the urban landscape, a lush oasis of exotic plants.
- For art enthusiasts, the Canary Wharf Art Trail showcases a collection of contemporary public art and sculptures dotting the waterfront
For those who relish diverse culinary experiences, the numerous restaurants and street food markets in the vicinity cater to an array of tastes. Canary Wharf, with its blend of commerce and culture, is a dynamic and vibrant spot for both residents and tourists to enjoy.
Stratford, situated in the vibrant East End of London, is a cultural hub that offers a rich tapestry of attractions as well as excellent transport links to and from central London. This area was already an industrial and transportation hub during the 19th century. However, it was really the 2012 London Olympics that brought Stratford into the global spotlight, leading to extensive regeneration efforts.
Today, it boasts numerous cultural hotspots:
- The historic Theatre Royal Stratford East has been a bastion of innovative theatre for over a century.
- Visitors can also explore the immersive exhibitions at Discover Children’s Story Centre, which celebrate the world of storytelling.
- The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, a testament to the area’s rejuvenation, provides green spaces, sporting venues, and stunning architecture, including the Orbit Tower, offering panoramic views.
Stratford’s blend of history and modernity makes it a captivating destination for those seeking cultural experiences in London.
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