Top London Attractions - The best things to do in London (2nd part)

  1. Before Arriving in London
  2. How to get to London - Getting to London by plane, train, bus or car
  3. Public Transport in London - Getting around London
  4. Cost of Living in London
  5. Save Money in London - Tips for Living in London on a Student Budget
  6. London neighborhoods - The most important districts of London
  7. London Nightlife - A guide to nightclubs and going out in London
  8. Where to eat in London - British Cuisine and British Gastronomy Restaurants
  9. Top London Attractions - The best things to do in London (1st part)
  10. Top London Attractions - The best things to do in London (2nd part)
  11. Top London Attractions - The best things to do in London (3rd part)
  12. Top London Attractions - The best things to do in London (4th part)
  13. Day Trips from London - Places to visit and excursions around London
  14. Festivals in London - Festivities and celebrations calendar
  15. London in 3 days - What to see in London in 3 days

Museums

The Natural History Museum

Famous for its opulent architecture and dinosaur bone exhibitions, the Natural History Museum is a collection and exhibition of a wide range of specimens throughout history. The colossal building is saturated with examples of the Victorian spirit of collecting, preserving, cataloguing and interpreting the natural world.

From dinosaurs to insects to plants and diamonds, take a walk through the history of the natural world as we know it today.

Admission to the museum is free, although you are invited to make a voluntary donation and you have to pay to enter some of the temporary exhibits. The museum is open daily from 10:00-17:50 with last entry at 17:30. The museum is closed on the 13th July and 24th-26th December.

To get to the museum, you can either get the District, Piccadilly or Circle lines on the underground toGloucester RoadorSouth Kensington. In addition to the tube, you can get bus routes 14, 49, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, 430 and C1 which all stop near the museum.

The British Museum

The British museum is probably one of the most important museums around thanks to its collection of around 8 million objects with origins from each of the continents which tell the history, art and culture of man from the beginnings to the present day. Some of the most sought after pieces are featured in the British museum such as the Rosetta Stone, ancient Egyptian structures and sculptures from the Parthenon - it’s partly due to these exhibits that the museum frequently finds itself caught up in controversy with the countries of origin of these objects.

Nevertheless, the museum is still within the top 15 most visited museums in the world with more than an astounding 6.5 million visitors in 2015!

Luckily for us, admission to the general museum is completely free (you can make a voluntary donation to the museum if you wish), with the exception of temporary exhibits and talks. The museum is open every day from 10:00-17:30 (Monday-Thursday & Saturday and Sunday) and until 20:30 on Fridays but is closed from the 24th-26th December and 1st January.

Getting there couldn’t be more easier, there’s 4 tube stops, from which you can get to the museum easily:

  1. Tottenham Court Road: Northern & Circle lines
  2. Holborn: Central & Piccadilly lines
  3. Russell Square: Piccadilly line
  4. Goodge Street: Northern line

There’s a load of buses you can get which stop on nearby roads and there is also Santander Cycle racks located on the corner of Great Russell Street and Montague Street, just outside the museum gates.

The Tate Modern Art Museum

After opening in May 2000, the National British museum of modern art, otherwise known as the Tate Modern, is now the second biggest attraction in London after the British Museum. The permanent collection of contemporary art in the Tate Modern is considered as one of the most important in the world with works from the likes of Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí.

The third and fifth floors are the important ones which house all the permanent contemporary and modern art whereas the fourth floor is used for the biggest temporary exhibitions.

As with other museums in London and the UK, there is no entry fee to the museum itself, however, you will have to pay if you wish to go and see the temporary exhibitions. The opening times for the museum are from Sunday to Thursday, 10:00-18:00 and Friday to Saturday, 10:00-22:00. They are closed over the Christmas period (24th-26th December) but are open every other day, including bank holidays and New Year’s Day.

There are 3 tube lines which service the museum:

  1. Southwark: Jubilee line
  2. Blackfriars: District & Circle lines
  3. St. Paul’s: Central line.

Bus routes 45, 63 and 100 all stop on Blackfriars Bridge Road, the RV1 and 381 stop on Southwark Street and the 344 stops on Southwark Bridge Road. As with other museums, there are public bicycle docking stations located nearby on New Globe Street and Southwark Street.

The Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum

The V&A museum was actually founded in 1852 as the South Kensington Museum, but was then rebaptised in honour of Queen Victoria and her husband, Albert, in 1899. It’s the national museum of art and design in Britain and is fundamentally focussed on decorative arts and fine art.

After successfully surviving World War 2 where the museum only experienced minimal damage, it is now a very popular museum with collections originating from China, the Islamic Middle East and South Asia as well as collections of art throughout time, including Modernism, Renaissance and Medieval works of art. These are only some of the collections on offer!

This museum is also free to get in, although some exhibitions may include a charge, and it’s open daily from 10:00 until 17:45 (10:00-22:00 on Fridays). The only exceptions are the 24th, 25th and 26th December when the museum is completely closed.

Three London Underground stations are located close to the museum, they are:

  1. South Kensington: Circle & District and Piccadilly lines
  2. Gloucester Road: Circle & District and Piccadilly lines
  3. Knightsbridge: Piccadilly line

The 14, 74, 414 and C1 all go to stops nearby the museum.

The Imperial War Museum

In 1917, during the First World War, the Imperial War Museum was established in London, today, the museum has over 10.5 million items and collections of items including, archives of personal and official documents, photos, a Holocaust exhibit, cinematic displays and military vehicles, weapons & planes as well as soldiers uniforms and much, much more!

The museum displays the stories of people from WWI up until present day conflicts which are happening all over the world.

This is another free museum to go to and it’s open from 10am-6pm on a daily basis.

There are three London Underground stations which operate nearby, and they are:

  1. Lambeth North: Bakerloo line
  2. Waterloo: Bakerloo, Northern and Jubilee lines
  3. Elephant & Castle: Bakerloo and Northern lines

All stations are within a 15 minute walk away from the museum. There are also a number of buses including, the 3, 12, 53, 59, 148, 159, 344, 360, 453 and C10 which provide routes to the museum. You can also get the overground to either London Waterloo, Waterloo East or Elephant & Castle stations, or alternatively, cycle as there are docking stations nearby on Lambeth Road and St. George’s Road.

The Churchill War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms - which also include the Cabinet War Rooms - are an old, underground British government command centre which was used during World War II as a secure place for communication between the USA and UK as well as other people and places. There is also a museum with the war rooms which explore Churchill’s 90 years from birth to death.

This isn’t like the other museums in that there is an entry fee, but it doesn’t cost too much:

‣ Adults: £17.25

‣ Students: £13.80

‣ London Pass: Free entry with the London Pass

Tickets can be bought online for fast-track entry at Churchill War Rooms or in person at the war rooms themselves.

The war rooms are open everyday from 09:30 until 18:30, including on bank holidays and in summer (June until August) opening times are from 09:30-19:00 every day.

To get to the war rooms by tube, you can take the underground to:

  1. Westminster: Jubilee and Circle & District lines
  2. St. James’ Park: District & Circle lines

You can also go to one of three overground stations which are Charing Cross, Waterloo or Victoria. There are also bus stops nearby which the 3, 11, 12, 24, 53, 87, 88, 109, 148, 159, 184, 211, 453 lines run to.

Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds isn’t necessarily famous for being British (seeing as Mrs. Tussaud was actually French) and considering there are Tussauds museums all over the world, however, the main one is in London.

There are endless amount of wax figures of famous celebrities in the museum, ranging from pop-stars to politicians and even fictional characters such as one of the robots from Star Wars.

To get to Madame Tussauds, you should get off at Baker Street underground station which is served by the Jubilee, Bakerloo, Hammersmith & City, Circle and Metropolitan lines.

The museum is open every day from 8:30am until 6pm. Entrance to the museum costs £35 if you buy your ticket on the day but £29 if you buy your ticket online in advance!

Bridges

Like a lot of capital and major cities around the world and especially in Europe, London definitely has its fair share of bridges dotted around. Pretty much all of them are located towards the more central area of London and if you look at a map, you can see the bridges giving access to the other side of the river up and down the Thames. Here are the top bridges to visit, mainly for photographic reasons than historical, but some of them have important history!

Tower Bridge

Definitely one of the most famous bridges (and historical) Tower Bridge is probably the most photographed and visited.

The conception for the bridge first came about because the two sides of the river needed to be connected, but a bridge built at street level would have cut off access for ships and other river boats as it would have been too low down. It is for this reason that the bridge is a drawbridge.

The bridge was officially opened in June 1894 and has been upgraded, modernised and even had an extra engine fitted in during the Second World War just in case one of the mechanisms which helped the bridge open were damaged. However, it became redundant so was donated to the London Steam museum.

To tour the museum, adult tickets cost £8.70 and a student ticket costs £6. With the London Pass, you get free entry.

To get to the bridge, you can take the tube - either the District and Circle lines which go toTower Hillstation or the Northern and Jubilee lines toLondon Bridgestation. You can also get an overground train toLondon Bridge, Fenchurch StreetorTower Gatewaystations.

To look at tickets and find out more information about the bridge, please visit the official website here.

London Bridge

London Bridge is the oldest in London and not to be confused with Tower Bridge. London Bridge has had a long history dating all the way back to when the Romans had conquered London as part of their empire. They subsequently put a bridge in place, however, it was probably more of a pontoon type bridge (a floating bridge) which was temporary and thus replaced around AD55. The bridge and the town of Londinium (London) were eventually destroyed by the Boudican revolt in AD60 and the town was abandoned.

The bridge (and parts of the city) were then rebuilt again, probably in 990 under a Saxon King in order to prevent to hasten his troops in a war against another Sazon King’s army. Between 1066 and 1163, the bridge was destroyed and rebuilt over and over again. Reasons for destruction even included a tornado (the London tornado of 1091) and fire. It was 1163 which was the last time the bridge was constructed from timber.

Between the 1200’s and the mid 1800’s, the first London Bridge made of stone was commissioned by King Henry II and by 1209, the first stone version of the bridge was completed! During the 1500’s up until the late 1700’s, the bridge became so overcrowded with shops, buildings and even severed heads, that the then Mayor of London in 1722 ordered that all traffic going in a certain direction must travel on the left - it is thought that this is why people drive on the left in the United Kingdom today.

Demolishment of the bridge was ordered in the mid-1800’s as the bridge was then over 600 years old and clearly needed replacing. In August of 1831, the new bridge was officially opened by King William IV, however, in the 1960’s the bridge once again had to be replaced and was subsequently sold to a man in Arizona, who reopened the bridge over a canal there.

The current bridge was opened in 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II.

You can now take an interactive and virtual tour of the bridge’s more than 2000 year history from Roman conquerors right up to Jack the Ripper and other people throughout the bridge’s spooky history.

An adult ticket costs £19.95 and there is no student price available, however, free entry to the London Bridge experience is available for free if you have a London Pass. To buy tickets, check out their website here.

To get to London Bridge, take the Northern or Jubilee lines toLondon Bridge underground station, you can also get the overground toLondon Bridge overground station.

Millennium Bridge

You can probably guess from its name, but Millennium bridge was initially opened in June 2000 to mark the turn of the millennium. The bridge was nicknamed the Wobbly Bridge by Londoners as it used to produce an unexpected swaying motion whenever people would cross it. It was therefore closed and the problem was fixed and the bridge was later opened again in 2002.

One end of the bridge is situated very close to St. Paul’s Cathedral and its alignment is so perfect that you have a completely clear view of the Southern façade of the cathedral with the bridge supportings acting as frames.

There isn’t really a museum or any sort of experience you can take part in for the Millennium Bridge, but a lot of people do like to photograph the façade of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

To get to the Millennium Bridge, you need to get the tube to get toMansion Housestation (Circle & District lines) or toBlackfriars(Circle & District lines), alternatively there isBlackfriars overground station.

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