Arguably one of the most iconic & recognisable of London’s many Churches, St. Pauls Cathedral was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren when the original building was destroyed in 1666 by the great fire of London. Built on the site of a Roman temple it is a masterpiece of British architecture. Take the stairs to the top of the 365ft dome and take in the spectacular views of London.
Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s official residence in London (check if the flag is flying…. It means that HRH is at home!) Many ceremonies take place here so head along to watch the changing of the guard, trooping the colour or pop inside for a look at the State Rooms, Queen’s Gallery or Royal Mews.
Changing of the guard is at 10.45am every day and lasts around 45 minutes
The Tower of London was built by William the conqueror in 1078 and has served many purposes such as prison, vault, palace and private zoo. It is now famous for holding the crown jewels which are guarded by the world-famous Beefeaters and the Ravens that roam the grounds. Head along to see the gory exhibits portraying the many executions that have taken place here (most famously, some of the wives of Henry VIII!) or enjoy beautiful grounds with spectacular views of the Thames & Tower Bridge.
The British Museum contains one of the world’s biggest collections of antiquities with over 13 million artefacts from the ancient world including Assyria & Babylonia. The amazing treasures include the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, Easter Island heads and the Rosetta stone as well as numerous ancient 4th century Roman treasures.
Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament & London Eye are all situated close to one another and connected by Westminster Bridge. Witness a live parliamentary debate in the former Palace of Westminster, that was once the seat of William The Conqueror, before taking in the beautiful Abbey or listen to the Elizabeth Tower informing you of the hour…. You may know that as Big Ben.
Founded by Edward the Confessor in 1065 it has been the coronation and burial site of many Kings & Queens since then, it is also now the preferred choice for royal weddings. Take a short stroll across the Thames to head up on the Coca Cola London Eye – the largest observation wheel in Europe – and take in the spectacular 360 view of London.
Churchill’s War Rooms are secreted away beneath the streets of Westminster. Witness the epicentre of the Churchills war movement, see the tiny room he slept in and the makeshift radio station where he broadcast his famous war time speeches. Take a step back in time as you see the map and communications rooms in this untouched vault.
Hampton Court Palace sits on the Thames at Richmond and was the home of Henry VIII. Built in 1505 by the King’s favourite Cardinal, Thomas Wolsey, it was gifted to the King in 1529 when Wolsey fell from favour. Enjoy the clock court that houses an amazing astronomical clock that dates to the 1500s as well as the State apartments with their haunted gallery that is said to be where the ghosts of two of Henry’s wives wander frequently! Get lost in the world-famous maze as you enjoy the beautiful manicured gardens and tennis courts.
Greenwich was the British naval hub for centuries and is home to The Cutty Sark tea clipper. Take in the Discover Greenwich visitors centre to experience 500+ years of maritime history before visiting the Old Royal Naval college and the famous painted hall and chapel where Admiral Nelson laid in state after being shot at the battle of Trafalgar. Step across the road to wander around the Queens house and the National Maritime museum which sit at the lower end of Greenwich Park. At the top of the park you can stand with one foot in each hemisphere as you cross the Meridian Line at the Royal observatory & planetarium. A must is to go and see the reindeer that live there all year round – maybe you will spot Rudolph or Comet?
LONDON ZOO & REGENTS PARK
ZSL London Zoo is nestled within the stunning Regents Park and is the world’s oldest scientific zoo originally created to be for scientific use it opened to the public in 1847 and currently hosts 673 species of animals. It is home to many world first such as its public aquarium, reptile house, insect house and children’s zoo.
Take a stroll along Regents Canal to get there and take in the stunning Royal garden or open air theatre along the way.
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, V&A, THE SCIENCE MUSEUM
South Kensington is home to three major museums
London’s natural history museum is an homage to Charles Darwin. It showcases all aspects of nature in its five main sections: botany, entomology, minerology, palaeontology and zoology.
The Victoria & Albert museum (The V&A) is the worlds largest museum of applied and collective arts. It covers 5000 years of art from ancient times to present day as well as showcasing vintage fashion collections from iconic designers such as Dior and Chanel.
The Science Museum is where you can witness Stevenson Rocket, a 10,000 year old clock, Charles Babbage’s difference engine, James Watson’s model of DNA and many more amazing scientific discoveries from centuries ago until present day. Five floors of discoveries that will have you saying WOW!
Standing at 309.6 metres and dominating the London Skyline, The Shard is the tallest building in Europe and home to the amazing viewing gallery. Go shopping and grab a bite to eat in one of the 6 restaurants and bars before taking in the breath-taking London skyline in the view from the Shard observation gallery.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is situated on the River Thames south bank between the Southwark and Millennium bridges. It is a reconstruction of the famous Elizabethan theatre that showcased many of the famous bard’s plays. Enjoy a unique theatre experience as you take in a show in the open top theatre or take a tour and learn about the world recognised writer. With performances daily, both in the main theatre and in the candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse within, it is well worth a visit.
The O2 is the world’s busiest arena hosting the biggest artists on the planet as well as spotlight shows like Disney on Ice. There is also the smaller Indigo 02 arena, bowling alley, cinema, Sky Studios, several restaurant and bars, outlet shopping village and trampoline park so if all of that, as well as catching a live concert, isn’t enough for you, you can always head up and over the O2. Take a walk across the iconic white tent and enjoy the views.
If that isn’t high enough for you, try the Emirates Air Line cable car that leaves from the O2 site on the Greenwich Peninsular and allows you take in the views as you soar across The Thames to Docklands.
Situated on the world famous Baker St, this interactive wax works museum is a great day out. Meander through the many zones including Party, Film, Sport, Culture, Music, World Leaders, Royal, Fashion, Marvel, Star Wars and of course Sherlock Holmes. Mingle with all the stars and global figures and pose with the celebrities. They also offer interactive teaching workshops in areas such as media and customer service.
SHOPPING IN LONDON
London is renowned for its world-famous department stores such as Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty as well as its shopping epicentres Regent & Oxford Streets.
Kids of all ages love a visit to Hamleys toy store with five floors of delight and entertainers and demonstrators interacting with them from street level and throughout the store.
SOUTH EAST ENGLAND
Leeds Castle has been the site of a noble homestead since 857AD and was built by a Saxon Chief named Led (Leed) and rebuilt in stone by the De Crevecoeur family in 1278 to be a Norman stronghold. Since then it has been the home to royalty (including Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon), been used as an arsenal and a prison! In recent years it has hosted overseas dignitaries and was the meeting point for the North Ireland peace talks.
It has stunning maze with a shell grotto exit and two castle themed adventure play areas for under 14-year olds.
Dubbed the most beautiful castle in the world – it is well worth a visit to take in the history while meandering through the amazingly preserved and decorated dining rooms, drawing rooms, banqueting halls and libraries.
Hever Castle has strong links to the Tudor era and Henry VIII. It was the childhood home of his 2nd wife Anne Boleyn and then was his gift to his 4 th wife Anne of Cleves. The castle changed hands before being bought by American millionaire William Waldorf Astor in 1903. He restored it and added the stunning Italian garden. He insisted that any 19 th century additions be removed and replaced with 16 th century replicas. The workmen were not allowed to use modern tools only those that were available in Tudor times.
The Castle is now a busy tourist attraction, that focuses on the links to Henry and Anne, and showcases its stunning mazes, gardens and lakes. It holds many events such as jousting tournaments and archery displays. There are three beautiful floors of antique furniture, Tudor paintings and rare artefacts, such as Anne Boleyn’s prayer books, as well as instruments of torture and a Yeomanry museum. Pop along and try not to get lost in the Yew maze or get wet in the water maze.
MAYFIELD LAVENDER FARM
Mayfield Lavender Farm is situated just outside Epson in village of Banstead. There could be no better location to enjoy a spot of afternoon tea. If relaxing and taking in the amazing views and smell of lavender isn’t for you then why not try the lavender bee safari or some honey tasting – why not jump on a tractor for a ride around the farm. You can sample some of the amazing food and drinks prepared with lavender including lavender lemonade, shortbread, chocolate, tea and fudge. All under 16’s get free entry.
THE WARNER BROS STUDIO TOUR
The Warner Bros studio tour chronicles the making of all the Harry Potter movies. Explore the Wizarding world of Harry Potter and all of the magic it entails. Shop in Diagon Alley, Hop on board the Hogwarts Express or pop in to Gringotts Bank. See all of the stunning sets and costumes on this amazing tour and end it all with a lovely glass of butter beer.