1. The British Museum
The British Museum was first established in 1753 and boasts one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of antiques, prints and drawings to be housed under one roof – over seven million and increasing, and has seventy thousand exhibits ranged over two and a half miles of galleries. The museum is so large that it’s impossible to see everything in one visit, so it’s preferable to concentrate on one or two areas of interest or sign up for one of the museum’s excellent guided tours.
2. The Sir John Soane’s Museum
Architect Sir John Soane was born in 1753, the son of a bricklayer, and died after a long and distinguished career, in 1837. He designed this house to live in, but also as a setting for his antiquities and his works of art. After the death of his wife he lived here alone, constantly adding to and rearranging his collections. Deeply disappointed by the conduct of his two sons, he determined to establish the house as a museum to which ‘amateurs and students’ should have access.
3. London Zoo
Meet some of the most popular animals that you can expect to encounter on your visit to London Zoo. Find out facts about the animals, including where they live, what they eat and whether they are endangered in the wild. See camels, lions, penguins, anteaters, bears, zebras, hippo’s, giraffes and chimps as-well as birds, snakes, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. There’s also a cafe, several refreshment kiosks and a gift shop.
4. The Wallace Collection
A favourite of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, the Wallace Collection is a national museum which displays the wonderful works of art collected in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the son of the 4th Marquess. It is probably best known for its paintings by artists such as Titian, Rembrandt, Hals and Velázquez and for its superb collections of eighteenth-century French paintings, porcelain, furniture and gold boxes.
5. Dickens House Museum
The Charles Dickens Museum is the world’s most important collection of material relating to the great Victorian novelist and social commentator. The only surviving London home of Dickens (from 1837 until 1839) was opened as a Museum in 1925. Visitors can see paintings, rare editions, manuscripts, original furniture and many items relating to the life of one of the most popular and beloved personalities of the Victorian age.
6. The Foundling Museum
The Foundling Museum tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, London’s first home for abandoned children and of three major figures in British history: its campaigning founder the philanthropist Thomas Coram, the artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel. This remarkable collection of art and social history is now housed in a restored and refurbished building adjacent to the original site of the Hospital, demolished in 1926.
7.The British Library
The British Library contains millions of books, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, magazines, patents, music scores, sound recordings, photographs and stamps. Highlights include the Lindisfarne Gospels, Captain Scott’s Diary, the original hand-written version of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and the earliest ever spoken word recording which was of the nurse Florence Nightingale, in 1890. Also on display is the Gutenberg Bible (1455) the earliest book printed using movable type.
8. Regents Park
The Regent’s Park covers 410 acres, includes stunning rose gardens with more than 30,000 roses of 400 varieties. The Park is the largest outdoor sports area in London with ‘The Hub’ a community sports pavilion and sports pitches, with nearly 100 acres available for sports fans of all abilities. There’s also a fantastic selection of cafes and restaurants to choose from, and band stand concerts, puppet shows and deck chair hire in the summer.
9. The Sherlock Holmes Museum
Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson lived in a Victorian lodging house at 221b Baker Street between 1881-1904, according to the stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The house was built in 1815 and is listed by the Government to protect its architectural and cultural heritage. The Sherlock Homes museum is dedicated to the life and times of Sherlock Holmes, and the interior has been faithfully maintained for posterity exactly as described in the published stories.
10. Madame Tussaud’s and the London Planetarium
Drop into Madame Tussauds and land in your very own Hollywood premiere party. Brave the paparazzi and mingle with Brad and Angelina, then star alongside Kylie and Justin Timberlake before addressing the world alongside President Obama in the ‘World Leaders Zone’. Then move on to the ‘Sport Zone’ where winning is everything. Test your putting skills with Tiger Woods, score a goal with Beckham and weigh in with Muhammad Ali.