Things to see & do
Your host will be able to suggest interesting local sights and events. Across London there are many more.
Some of the most popular, collected with the help of guests and hosts, are listed in our Insider Guide below. So start planning your trip now!
We’ve highlighted some items as follows:
FREE LONDON – places to go where you don’t have to pay;
VIEWPOINTS – places (generally high up) where you can get an interesting view.
When you return home, why not let us know of any special discoveries you have made? Just send us your suggestions by e-mail or by Online Message and we will include them in future editions of the Guide.
|CYCLING IN LONDON||If you fancy hiring a bike for a short ride around the city then look no further. London now offers Barclays Cycle Hire at very reasonable rates. You get a free map/guide so can explore those more hidden areas. Click the link for details. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/14808.aspx|
|GETTING AROUND LONDON FOR LESS||BUSES Although I’ve lived here all my adult life I still enjoy being a tourist. One of my favourites is to catch a red bus around the main sightseeing areas. With my map I am my own tour guide. For the best view I sit on top of the bus, in the front seat if possible, and get on or off wherever I choose.
A daily travel card for Zones 1 & 2 gives me unlimited, off-peak underground and bus travel for £6.60 a day. The only snag for early risers is that journeys must start after 9.30am. The main sights are in Zone 1, so don’t buy a ticket for all the zones. Here are my favourite routes for sightseeing and shopping.
NUMBER 11 BUS: Fulham, Chelsea, Victoria, Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Aldwych, Fleet Street, St Paul’s, Bank of England.
NUMBER 22 BUS: Chelsea, Sloane Square, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park Corner, Green Park, Piccadilly Circus.
NUMBER 9 BUS: Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Strand, Aldwych [Covent Garden].
NUMBER 10 BUS: Hyde Park Corner, Marble Arch, Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road, Euston, King’s Cross and Archway tube station.
RIVER THAMES For a more peaceful view of the city I take a riverboat from Westminster Pier to Greenwich. I usually pack a picnic as the fresh air makes me hungry. An adult single ticket costs £7.00. A humorous commentary points out the sights. The boat stops at the Tower of London and continues on under Tower Bridge to Canary Wharf, the Docklands and Greenwich.
I never return by boat as it takes too long and you see the same sights but in reverse. So from Greenwich, close to the clipper Cutty Sark, I take the Victorian pedestrian tunnel under the river to Island Gardens [look out for great views of Royal Greenwich Observatory] and catch the Docklands Light Railway from Island Gardens Station back to the Tower of London.
Taken from Grapevine, At Home in London’s insider’s guide.
|GREEN LONDON||Here are some eco-friendly ideas for your visit to London.
KEW GARDENS, recently given a Gold Award by GREEN TOURISM, is 132 hectares of landscaped gardens attracting over one million visitors a year. TUBE: Kew Gardens.
GREEN EVENTS, is a free magazine with what’s on that’s green.
WETLANDS CENTRE. London is the only capital city in the world with a bird and wildlife centre. And it has the best waterside cafe in London. Included in admission are free daily tours and bird feeds. Nearest tube is Hammersmith and then 283 duck bus.
UNPACKAGED is a shop specialising in selling unpackaged goods. When you buy here you know that you have not created any waste.
|HAMMERSMITH GHOST||The ghost of Thomas Millwood has haunted Black Lion Lane in Hammersmith since 1804, when he was shot by Francis Smith. There has been a pub on the site for over 200 years.
|HANDEL HOUSE MUSEUM||Where Handel composed Messiah and Music for the Royal Fireworks. http://www.gfhandel.org/handelhouse
|JOURNEY PLANNER||Up to the minute London travel information
|LITTLE VENICE||Take a walk or a canal boat trip along Regent’s Canal built in 1820. TUBE: Warwick Avenue|
|LONDON THEATRE WALKS||by Jim de Young and John Miller and recommended by several of our clients.|
|LONDON TOUR GUIDE||Don’t miss out! Discover more with your own private, professional London Tour Guide. Tel: +44 (0) 794 1809 534
|LONDON TRANSPORT MUSEUM||Trams, trains, red double decker buses and hands-on exhibits bringing the story of London’s transport system alive. Open daily 1Oam-6pm.
TUBE: Covent Garden
|MAYFLOWER PUB||The spot from which the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for America. 117 Rotherhithe St, London SE16.
|NUMBER ONE, LONDON||Apsley House, Hyde Pk Corner, W1, once the home of the Duke of Wellington. Open Tues-Sun 11.00-17.00. Tel 020 7499 5676. TUBE: Hyde Park Corner. http://www.vam.ac.uk/vastatic/microsites/apsley/|
|PIAZZA COVENT GARDEN||A vibrant Piazza with a market, shops and street entertainers. TUBE: Covent Garden Covent Garden site|
|REGENT’S CANAL||60 Blomfeld Road,Little Venice, W9. 1½ hour trips in
traditional painted canal boat ¾ hour each way. Tel 020 7286 3428.
Departures 10am, 12.30pm, 2.30pm daily. £5.95 adult return, £4.95 adult
single. £4.50 children & OAP return. £3.75 children & OAP single.
TUBE: Warwick Avenue
|THE LONDON PAGEANT (history of London)||A history of London from earliest times to the present.
TUBE: Tower Hill
|FREE LONDON||MUSEUMS – most London museums have free entry.
Changing the Guard, 11.30 am Buckingham Palace.
See a free radio or TV show. Contact the BBC for more details.
Free view, from the top of a London bus. Routes passing the sights include numbers 8,11,12,15 53 and 73.
Free Music: on weekdays, some City churches offer free lunchtime classical music. Ring +44 20 7332 1456. Or http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/leisure_heritage/index.htm
|NATURAL HISTORY & SCIENCE MUSEUM||From dinosaurs to ecology, over 70 million natural history specimens. TUBE: South Kensington.
|PORTOBELLO MARKET||Famous street market selling antiques, bric-a-brac. Best day Saturday, the earlier the better. The further away from Notting Hill tube station, the cheaper it gets. TUBE: Notting Hill Gate|
|SIR JOHN SOANE MUSEUM||Fascinating home of 18th century architect of the Bank of England. Information line: 020 7430-0175. 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, WC2. TUBE: Holborn. http://www.soane.org/|
|ST MARTINS IN THE FIELDS||Famous church in Trafalgar Square, known as the actors church. Cafe in the crypt. Live music Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday evenings. Open Monday to Saturday 10am-9pm summer, 12-6pm winter. Tel: 020 7839-4342. Duncannon Street, Trafalgar Square, WC2. TUBE: Charing Cross.|
|ST MARY LE BOW||Historic church near St Paul’s Cathedral. Lunch in the crypt. Open weekdays, closed Saturday and Sunday. Tel: 020 7329-0789. Cheapside, EC2. TUBE: St. Paul’s|
|THE OLD BAILEY||Central criminal court. View the proceedings from the gallery. Off Ludgate Hill, EC1. TUBE: St. Paul’s.|
|VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM||The V&A is the greatest museum of applied and decorative arts in the world. Explore the breathtaking permanent collections from the four corners of the globe including fashion and textiles, sculpture, ceramics and glass, metalwork, silver and jewellery, furniture, photography and the new British Galleries.
|LONDON EYE||The London Eye [Millennium Wheel] is the world’s highest observation wheel with great views of London. On a clear day you can see Windsor Castle, 25 miles west.
Opposite Westminster on the South Bank. Open daily. 24 hour ticket line: 0870 5000 600.
TUBE: Westminster or Charing Cross.
|NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY.||Good views from the Ondaatje Wing on the top floor.
Open 10am-6pm [until 9pm on Thursday & Friday] FREE.
Nearest tube: Charing Cross.
|OPEN-TOPPED BUS TOUR||View London from the top of one of its famous open-top buses. A recorded commentary will describe all the historic and interesting places. Leave and rejoin at any stop.|
|PARLIAMENT HILL||FREE. Nearest tube: Hampstead.
|PRIMROSE HILL||Magnficent views over London.
TUBE: St John’s Wood or Chalk Farm.
|ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL||Designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Visit the whispering gallery in the dome. No tours during services. Enquiries 020 7236 4128. TUBE St Paul’s.
|TATE MODERN||Magnificent, modern art museum on the South Bank and linked to St Paul’s Cathedral by the millennium footbridge. 180 degree London views from the 7th floor. Open Sunday to Thursday 10am-6pm, Friday & Saturday to 10pm. Tickets 020 7887 8888. FREE.
TUBE: Southwark or Blackfriars
|THE MONUMENT||Designed by Sir Christopher Wren to commemorate the Fire of London. 311 steps to the top [no lift], but great views. Open daily 10am-6pm.