Great Russell St., tel.020-7323-8000, www.britishmuseum.org
The oldest museum on earth, the British Museum was founded in 1753. The hallowed institution's awesome collections of antiquities recount the history of humankind and the world's great civilizations. This is without a doubt one of London's must-sees.
Buckingham Palace Rd., www.royal.gov.uk
Buckingham Palace is the British sovereigns' official London residence. Several of the palace's sumptuously decorated rooms are open to visitors. A good time to visit is around 11:30am, when the famous Changing of the Guard ceremony takes place (every day from May to July, every two days during the rest of the year).
Kensington Gardens, tel.0844-482-7777, www.hrp.org.uk
Kensington Palace became one of the British monarchy's official London residences in 1689. Some of the palace's state apartments are open to the public, and there is an interesting exhibit featuring a collection of royal ceremonial dresses.
National Portrait Gallery
St. Martin's Place, tel.020-7306-0055, www.npg.org.uk
The National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856 and features paintings, drawings, sculptures and photos of all of Great Britain's key figures from the 14th century to the present day, including a renowned portrait of what is assumed to be Shakespeare.
at the corner of Shaftesbury Ave. and Regent St.
One of London's most famous landmarks, colourful and lively Piccadilly Circus is a hub of cinemas, shops, theatres, pubs, restaurants and nightclubs, and a popular hangout for the city's young set.
St. Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul's Churchyard, tel.020-7236-4128, www.stpauls.co.uk
A miraculous survivor of the German Blitz that set fire to the city in 1940, St. Paul's Cathedral is architect Christopher Wren's masterwork. The cathedral is also the burial place of more than 200 British notables.
Victoria and Albert Museum
Cromwell Rd., tel.020-7942-2000, www.vam.ac.uk
The Victoria & Albert Museum is one of the world's largest and richest museums, specializing in decorative and applied arts. The V&A, as it is commonly known, houses a great collection of Asian art.
Exhibition Rd., tel.0870-870-4868, www.sciencemuseum.org.uk
The Science Museum is very interesting and comprehensive. Its many floors house thousands of objects and include various hands-on exhibits.
25 Sumner St., tel.020-7887-8000, www.tate.org.uk
The Tate Modern national museum of modern art occupies a former hydroelectric power station and features important works by Picasso, Matisse, Pollock and Giacometti.
Tower of London
Tower Hill, tel.0844-482-7777, www.hrp.org.uk
The Tower of London was built almost 900 years ago at the request of William the Conqueror. Originally a royal palace, it now stands as a testament to cruelty, having served as a prison and a place of torture and execution. The many ravens that inhabit the tower's grounds contribute to its mysterious and gloomy atmosphere.
Parliament Square, tel.020-7222-5152, www.westminster-abbey.org
Westminster Abbey is definitely one of London's must-see attractions. The final resting place of several famous historic figures, it has also hosted numerous royal weddings and, since 1066, the coronations of kings and queens.
Palace of Westminster
Parliament Square, www.parliament.uk
At one end of the Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament, rises the 106m clock tower that is often mistakenly referred to as Big Ben. In fact it is not the tower, but rather the bell that chimes the hour, that bears this name!
Museum of London
150 London Wall, tel.020-7814-5530, www.museumoflondon.org.uk
This museum was inaugurated in 1976 and provides an overview of the city's 2,000 years of history.
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Rd., tel.020-7942-5000, www.nhm.ac.uk
Inaugurated in 1881, the Natural History Museum occupies a Romanesque-style building. Exhibits explore the mysteries of life in all its forms and trace the evolution of the planet. The museum's dinosaur exhibit usually makes quite an impression on children.
The Courtauld Institute of Art and Gallery
Somerset House, Strand, tel.020-7872-0220, www.courtauld.ac.ukA renowned centre for the study of art history and conservation, the Courtauld Institute is also home to a fascinating gallery that showcases masterpieces from the Renaissance to the 20th century.
Hampton Court Palace
Surrey, tel.0844-482-7777, www.hrp.org.uk
Built in 1514 for one of the favourites of King Henry VIII, Hampton Court Palace now opens its doors to visitors who get to marvel at its kitchens, its chapel, its collection of Renaissance paintings and its splendid labyrinthine gardens.