London is a huge city, so all individual listings are in the appropriate district articles and only an overview is presented here.
. The official London residence of the Queen, in Westminster
. Open for tours during the summer months only, but a must-see sight even if you don't go in. (Tube: Green Park)
. The world's third largest observation wheel, situated on the South Bank
of the Thames with magnificent views over London. (Tube: Waterloo)
is a white Carrara marble monument designed by John Nash. It is located in the middle of a huge traffic island at one of the busiest intersections in central London where Oxford St meets Park Lane in Mayfair
. (Tube: Marble Arch)
is one of the most photographed sights in London. The Shaftesbury Memorial, topped by the statue of Anteros (now popularly identified as Eros), stands proudly in the middle of Piccadilly Circus while the north eastern side is dominated by a huge, iconic neon hoarding. As of January 2013, there is currently scaffolding around the Eros statute. (Tube: Piccadilly Circus))
St Paul's Cathedral
, also in the City
, is Sir Christopher Wren's great accomplishment, built after the 1666 Great Fire of London - the great dome is still seated in majesty over The City. A section of the dome has such good acoustics that it forms a "Whispering Gallery". There is also a viewing area that offers views of the surrounding area including the Millennium Bridge that lies nearby. (Tube: St Pauls)
. The iconic 19th century bridge located by the Tower of London near the City
. It is decorated with high towers featuring a drawbridge. The public are allowed access to the interior of the bridge via the Tower Bridge Exhibition
, tickets for which can be purchased on the website or at the bridge. (Tube: Tower Hill)
Tower of London
. Situated just south east of the City
, is London's original royal fortress by the Thames. It is over 900 years old, contains the Crown Jewels, guarded by Beefeaters, and is a World Heritage
site. It is also considered by many to be the most haunted building in the world. If you are interested in that sort of thing its definitely somewhere worth visiting. Sometimes there are guided ghost walks of the building. (Tube: Tower Hill)
. Home of Nelson's Column and the lions, and once a safe haven for London's pigeons until the recent introduction of hired birds of prey. The "Fourth plinth" has featured a succession of artworks since 1999. Overlooked by the National Gallery, it's the nearest London has to a "centre", and has recently been pedestrianised. (Tube: Charing Cross)
and the Palace of Westminster
, including the Queen Elizabeth II Tower
(the clock tower commonly known as the name of its bell, Big Ben
) and the Houses of Parliament
, in Westminster
. The seat of the United Kingdom parliament and World Heritage
site, as well as setting for royal coronations since 1066, most recently that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. The Palace of Westminster is open to the public only for viewing parliamentary debates, tours of the building are available in July–August when Parliament is away on summer recess. (Tube: Westminster)
30 St Mary Axe or The Gherkin, a peculiarly-shaped 180 m (590 ft) building in the City. There is no public access to it.
The Shard, a futuristic skyscraper, dominates the London skyline and is currently the tallest building in the EU. There is a viewing deck on the 72nd floor that is open to the public, tickets for which must be booked via the website.
Museums and galleries
London hosts an outstanding collection of world-class museums. London is unique among major world cities in that the majority of the museums have no entrance charges, thus allowing visitors to make multiple visits with ease. Although London can be expensive, many of the best museums and galleries are free including:
and most museums in Greenwich. Note that admission to many temporary exhibitions is not free.
Aside from these world famous establishments, there is an almost unbelievable number of minor museums in London covering a very diverse range of subjects. The British Government lists over 240 genuine museums in the city.
Notable smaller museums
London's Transport Museum (Tube: Covent Garden)
Museum of London Docklands (DLR: West India Quay)
The 'green lungs' of London are the many parks, great and small, scattered throughout the city including Hyde Park, St James Park and Regent's Park. Most of the larger parks have their origins in royal estates and hunting grounds and are still owned by the Crown, despite their public access.
is wonderful open park in the northern part of central London.(Tube:Camden Town, Regent's Park)
St James's Park
has charming and romantic gardens ideal for picnics and for strolling around. St. James's Park is situated between Buckingham Palace on the west and Horse Guards Parade on the east.
is a huge open green space in north central London. Not a tended park a such and is remarkably wild for a metropolitan city location. The views from the Parliament Hill area of the heath south over the city are quite stunning. (Tube: Hampstead, Overground: Hampstead Heath, Gospel Oak)
also is a huge green space, but has a thriving deer population that is culled in the spring. Excellent place for cycling. (Tube:Richmond then Bus:371)
, near to Hampton Court Palace, is the second-largest park in London. More low-key than its larger cousin, Richmond Park, it too has a large deer population. Bushy Park contains numerous ponds, bridleways, two allotments, and at its northern edge, the National Physical Laboratory.
English Heritage runs the Blue Plaques programme in London. Blue Plaques celebrate great figures of the past and the buildings that they inhabited. These are among the most familiar features of the capital’s streetscape and adorn the façades of buildings across the city. Since the first plaque was erected in 1867, the number has grown steadily and there are now more than 800. Recipients are as diverse as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sigmund Freud, Charles de Gaulle, Jimi Hendrix and Karl Marx. Look out for these around the city.