London visitors can enjoy unique experiences such as bicycling and walking history tours or catch a performance at the reconstructed Globe Theatre, bringing William Shakespeare's theatrical world back to life with historically-accurate performances. Prestigious art galleries highlight the works of renowned artists such as Banksy, while upscale restaurants serve gourmet international cuisine options in beautiful ambient spaces. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.The Tower of London
The Tower of London is one of London's most famous internationally-recognized landmarks, located along the northern banks of the River Thames within the city's downtown district. The tower, which is officially known as Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, has played a significant role in British history since its founding in 1066 and serves as one of the United Kingdom's most famous tourist attractions today, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tower visitors can take guided or audio tours and see famed sights such as the 23,578-gemstone collection of the Crown Jewels, on display to the public since 1669. Other attractions include daily gun salutes, historic reenactments, and the traditional Ceremony of the Keys, held every night for 700 years at the Tower. Four onsite casual and fine dining options make the Tower a great choice for all-inclusive date itineraries.
St Katharine's & Wapping, London EC3N 4AB, UK, Phone: +44-84-44-82-77-77
© Bruno Bernier/stock.adobe.com
Hyde Park the largest of London's four Royal Parks located at the entrance to Kensington and Buckingham Palaces, originally established in 1536 by Henry VIII. Throughout its history, the park has been home to a number of internationally-renowned demonstrations, concerts, and cultural events, including the Great Exhibition of 1851, the regular Speaker's Corner debate forum, and rock concerts held as part of the 2012 Summer Olympics ceremonies. Visitors can bathe at the historic Hyde Park Lido, rental pedal boats at the Serpentine boathouse, or stroll through its seven-mile Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk, which documents the royal figure's life via a set of 90 plaques. During the holiday months, the park is also host to the annual Winter Wonderland event, one of Europe's largest Christmas celebrations, featuring holiday markets and London's largest ice skating rink.
Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH, Phone: 030-00-61-20-00
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Lazinc is the newest acclaimed gallery from internationally-noted contemporary art connoisseur Steve Lazarides, the gallerist responsible for the global rise to fame of graffiti artist and political activist Banksy. The gallery, which opened to the public in January of 2018 in London's Mayfair district, is a collaboration with prominent art collector Wissam Al Mana and is housed within an historic 1731 terrace house designed by architect Robert Adam. Primary artists represented by the gallery include Mark Jenkins, Oliver Jeffers, JR, and Todd James, with substantial collections also held from internationally-acclaimed artists such as Futura and Jean-Michel Basquiat. A rotating roster of gallery exhibitions has highlighted works by Banksy and the Miaz Brothers, along with historical pieces from the Mai 68 riots and the Rammellzee estate.
29 Sackville St, Mayfair, London W1S 3DX, UK, Phone: +44-20-76-36-54-43
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4.Patron Cave a Manger
© Patron Cave a Manger
Patron Cave à Manger is a Parisian-style brasserie and wine bar in London’s Kentish Town neighborhood. Exposed brick walls, long narrow banquettes, and a delightful semi-circular red bar create a romantic atmosphere that feels so Parisian. There are a few tables outdoors for those rare sunny days. The menu is small but perfect, with classic small plates such as French onion soup, escargot, steak tartare, frogs legs, charcuterie, and cheeses. There are only four main dishes, including Patron’s signature open fire onglet steak, duck confit and moules frites, all served with a side of your choice. The bar offers a few cocktails and an affordable wine list.
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© Pitzhanger Manor
Pitzhanger Manor is an historic manor in west London that once served as the country estate for renowned 19th-century architect John Soane. Soane constructed the estate between 1800 and 1804 as a show of his architecture skills, designed to showcase his extensive collection of art and host elaborate parties. Today, the estate is open to the public as a living history museum, public park, and art gallery, placing Soane's gorgeous architectural design on display alongside fine works of art showcased in the Pitzhanger Gallery. The home's beautifully-landscaped grounds showcase plantings common to the early 19th century, along with a children's playground, learning center, and serpentine lake. Visitors can dine at the Soane's Kitchen restaurant, also accessible without home admission through Walpole Park.
Pitzhanger Manor & Gallery, Mattock Ln, London W5 5EQ, UK, Phone: +44-07756866739
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6.Annka Kultys Gallery
Annka Kultys Gallery is a top commercial contemporary art gallery in east London, owned and operated by its namesake curator since September of 2015. The gallery serves as a leading platform for current and up-and-coming contemporary artists, with a focus on artists working in multimedia art and digital media. At least six solo exhibitions are showcased each year at the gallery, along with two group exhibitions showcasing the worlds of new and recently graduated artists. Live performances are also showcased periodically, and art fairs are presented at remote sites throughout the year in collaboration with other galleries and organizations.
1st floor, 472 Hackney Road Unit 3, London E2 9EQ, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-20-33-02-60-70
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© Hang-Up Gallery
Hang-Up Gallery is a contemporary art gallery in London's hip and eclectic Stoke Newington neighborhood, originally opened in 2008 as an online gallery showcasing collectible street and urban art. The gallery quickly made a name for itself as a prime source for selling Banksy works to international collectors, with a focus on rare, limited edition, and canvas prints. Today, the gallery's physical location presents a dynamic annual exhibition program showcasing the works of vibrant, forward-thinking young artists presented alongside established luminaries in the art world. In addition to 100% guaranteed authentic Banksy works, the gallery also sells works by established artists such as Harland Miller, KAWS, and Invader, along with emerging artists such as Anja Niemi, Russell Young, and Stanley Donwood.
81 Stoke Newington Rd, Stoke Newington, London N16 8AD, UK, Phone: +44-20-36-67-45-50
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8.The Zabludowicz Collection
© The Zabludowicz Collection
The Zabludowicz Collection is living art collection and gallery that was founded in 2007 by Anita and Poju Zabludowicz, showcasing the works of emerging artists from the United Kingdom, United States, and Finland. It is within an historic former Methodist chapel in London that was originally constructed between 1867 and 1871 and served as a center for the London Drama School for much of the 20th century. Collections span four decades of contemporary art by artists working in all disciplines, with gallery commissions supporting the continuing production of new works. Rotating solo and group exhibitions are showcased throughout the year, drawing on the works of artists linked to the gallery's core collection. The gallery also presents the annual Testing Ground exhibition, which works with art students from London's premiere universities.
176 Prince of Wales Rd, Belsize Park, London NW5 3PT, UK, Phone: +44-20-74-28-89-40
RHODES is a central London independent contemporary art gallery that is housed within the former gallery space of the Lawrence Alkin Gallery, originally opened as the TomTom Gallery. The split-level boutique gallery strives to help develop the next generation of global artists throughout the showcase of significant emerging and mid-career artists working in a variety of mediums. Throughout the gallery's past incarnations, it traded and exhibited works from acclaimed international artists such as Andy Warhol and Banksy. Today, solo exhibitions showcase emerging artists on the London scene, including Keaton Henson, Miss Bugs, Eelus, Stanley Donwood, Jake Wood-Evans, and Sepe and Noah Taylor.
42 New Compton St, London WC2H 8DA, UK, London gallery, Phone: +44-20-72-40-79-09
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© Arebyte Gallery
Arebyte Gallery is a cross-disciplinary gallery that has been named as one of London's best new galleries by TimeOut in 2018, acclaimed by major international publications such as VICE, Sky News, and The Guardian. The gallery, which has been in operation in east London since 2013, works with regional and international artists both in person and online to to support the development of new and emerging media forms, including performance art and digital works. Multimedia installations are showcased throughout the year, including works containing elements working with virtual reality, AI, 3D printing, and CGI. Creative and coworking spaces managed by the gallery are available for London artists at affordable rates, overseen by the gallery's partners Arbeit Project Limited.
Arebyte Gallery, Java House, 7 Botanic Square, City Island, London 0LG, London, United Kingdom
11.House of Illustration
© House of Illustration
House of Illustration is the only public gallery in the United Kingdom dedicated exclusively to graphic art and illustration, originally opened in King's Cross in 2014 by Sir Quentin Blake. The gallery curates nine exhibitions each year throughout its three gallery spaces, exploring the history of illustration and its contemporary masters and emerging artists. Commissioned works are displayed alongside works produced by the gallery's Illustrator in Residence program and as part of the international Book Illustration Competition, put on each year in collaboration with the Folio Society. Works span illustration genres such as comic books, children's literature, fashion design, advertisements, political cartoons, and animation, highlighting artists such as Lauren Child, E.H Shepard, Hattie Stewart, and Paula Rego. An extensive workshop and masterclass program is also offered, along with an ongoing series of gallery talks and other public special events.
2 Granary Square, King's Cross, London N1C 4BH, United Kingdom, Phone: +44-20-36-96-20-20
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© China Tang
China Tang is one of the premiere hotel restaurants in London's Mayfair district, originally conceived by Sir David Tang, the founder of the lifestyle brand Shanghai Tang. The restaurant, which is housed within the luxurious Dorchester Hotel, strives to evoke the atmosphere of 1930 Shanghai, serving up some of the United Kingdom's most authentic Chinese and Cantonese dishes. Lovely Art Deco-style decor on display at the restaurant includes a collection of traditional and contemporary Chinese art curated by Tang. Dinner entrees include the restaurant's signature Peking duck platter, with an extensive Dim Sum menu also available. The restaurant's bar, widely considered to be one of London's best craft cocktail bars, serves up a list of classic cocktails to complement entrees.
53 Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA, UK, Phone: +44-20-73-19-70-88
© Le Garrick
Le Garrick has been one of London's top French restaurants for more than three decades, originally opened in the city's West End in 1987. The Covent Garden restaurant is renowned throughout the city for its authentic Gallic-style cuisine and candlelit atmosphere, offering a la carte, lunch, and pre- and post-theater menus at affordable rates. Modern twists on French classics such as moules marinière, pâté de maison, beef Bourguignon, and duck confit are taken directly from authentic recipes passed down from generation to generation, with classic appetizers such as escargots de Bourgogne also served up. An all-French wine list is offered to complement all meals, with sommelier service available for best wine selection.
10-12 Garrick St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9BH, UK, Phone: +44-20-72-40-76-49
Pergola is a unique concept food hall located atop the Olympia London, opened to the public in 2018 by the Incipio Group. Visitors can choose from service at four onsite self-service restaurants, including craft burger joint Patty and Bun, which serves up unique beef, chicken, and vegetarian burgers cleverly topped with ingredients such as kimchi, confit chili tomatoes, coleslaw, and herb yogurt sauce. Tacos and seafood rolls are available at Claw, along with shareable favorites such as crab fries, fish fingers, and Asian-style chicken wings. Upscale pizzas are served at Passo, topped with ingredients such as watercress, egg, and aubergine. The restaurant's bar also serves up an extensive menu of fine wines, craft beers, top-shelf liquors, and house cocktails, with coffee and tea beverages available throughout the morning and afternoon hours.
Level Five Rooftop, Olympia Car Park, Olympia Way W14 8UX, United Kingdom
© pavel siamionov/stock.adobe.com
Wedge Issue has been named as one of London's seven best pizza joints by GQ Magazine, originally opened in 2015 by Canadian-based married entrepreneur duo Martha Gall and Darren Atwater. The pizzeria recreates authentic Pacific Northwest-style craft pizza, prepared with dough proofed for 36 hours and sauce crafted with San Marzano. An extensive menu of vegan and vegetarian pizza options highlight toppings such as seitan, butternut squash, harissa, and sweet corn, while meat pizza offerings are topped with housemade pureed 'nduja sausage, sliced chorizo, anchovies, or pepperoni. A selection of appetizers and salads is also available, along with an extensive menu of craft beers from local breweries available on draft.
91-95 Clerkenwell Rd, London EC1R 5BX, UK, Phone: +44-20-72-42-32-46
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© Hashi Cooking
Hashi Cooking present London's first public Japanese cooking courses, overseen by acclaimed sushi chef and teacher Reiko Hashimoto, the author of Hashi: A Japanese Cookery Course and Cook Japan, Stay Slim, Live Longer. Expert tuition is offered at the Hashi kitchen or available for personal tuition at a venue of participants' choice, available for one to 10 participants at a time. Courses offered include London's most complete sushi and sashimi preparation course, which teaches participants how to prepare five types of sushi. Beginners' courses teach an introduction to Japanese-style cooking, while Everyday Japanese courses teach participants how to craft simple, health-conscious Japanese entrees in their home for the purpose of leading healthier lifestyles. Other course options include gourmet sushi masterclasses, ramen and gyoza classes, and vegetarian-focused courses.
60 Home Park Rd, Wimbledon, London SW19 7HN, UK, Phone: +44-20-89-44-19-18
17.The London Bicycle Tour Company
The London Bicycle Tour Company was London's first-ever biking tour company at its founding 1991 by Robert Graham. Today, the company remains London's premiere bike tour operators, offering up the city's largest fleet of privately-owned men's, women's, and children's hybrid, tandem, city, and mountain bicycles. Six tour routes cover London's most vibrant and unique neighborhoods and landmarks, with tours available in eight languages every day except Christmas Day. Daily tour options include a classic tour of central London, showcasing the city's most famous landmarks, and an Old Town tour that focuses on the city's east end near the old docklands. Other tours include a West End tour of the city's most artistic attractions and a nighttime tour showcasing the city's skyline in the dark.
74 Kennington Road, Kennington, London SE11 6NL, Phone: +44-0-20-79-28-68-38
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Yumchaa is a delicious cafe in London's Soho neighborhood, housed within the converted former Deal Real record store facility, which was immortalized on the cover of Oasis' classic album What's the Story Morning Glory. More than 40 blends of tea are offered at the cafe, which strives to travel the world to find the finest green, white, black, rooibos, tisane, and herbal blends. Locally-roasted specialty coffees are also available from a variety of regional roasters, along with tea and chai lattes, matcha beverages, and unique tea shakes. A variety of freshly-prepared sandwiches and salads are served up throughout the day, complemented by housemade cakes, pastries, muffins, and other snacks.
45 Berwick St, Soho, London W1F 8SF, UK
Avenue is a glamorous Manhattan-styled restaurant in London's St. James district, originally opened in 2014 and helmed by executive chef Andras Katona. The restaurant serves up gourmet New American cuisine at breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout the week, striving to capture the inventive spirit of the Big Apple's famed culinary scene. Elegant entrees include filet mignon, salt marsh lamb loin, 30-day dry-aged Angus strip loin, and Mediterranean sea bass, served up with upscale side dishes such as confit artichokes, sweet potato puree, and heritage beetroot salad. Classic Avenue burgers are also served, topped with bacon, cheddar, and sweet chili relish. An extensive menu of classic American cocktails is available, along with a French and American-focused wine list.
7-9, St James's St, St. James's, London SW1A 1EE, UK, Phone: +44-20-73-21-21-11
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© Bistro Vadouvan
Bistro Vadouvan is a delicious Middle Eastern fusion restaurant in London's Putney Wharf district, opened in 2017 by Michelin-starred chef Durga Mistra. The delectable restaurant infuses French cooking techniques with Indian, Middle Eastern, and Asian flavors to create unique contemporary dishes with global flair. Entree options served up throughout the day include grilled Iberico pork chops, sage and yogurt tandoori poussin, and goat's curd labneh served with za'atar flatbread and pistachio and olive tapenade. Weekday lunch menus offer two course options paired with half a bottle of house wine, while weekend brunch options pair favorites such as shakshuka and hake stew with bottomless glasses of prosecco.
30 Brewhouse Ln, Putney, London SW15 2JX, UK, Phone: +44 20 3475 3776
21.PopUp Painting and Events
© PopUp Painting
PopUp Painting and Events is a unique painting event company that offers pop-up events throughout the London, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds areas, originally established in 2013 and hosting its premiere event at the Soho Hotel. Today, the company produces more than 45 events per month at more than 25 partner venues throughout the greater London area, including events at private homes and venues upon request. All painting supplies are provided by the company, including brushes, canvases, palettes, and aprons, with expert instruction on hand to bring creativity out of the art classroom and into the everyday realm. Most events take place in bars and restaurants throughout the London area, with wine and beer available for purchase to help get creativity flowing.
22.The Natural History Museum
© Jan Kranendonk/stock.adobe.com
The Natural History Museum is London's premiere natural history museum, originally known as the British Museum of Natural History from its founding in 1881 until 1992. It is one of three principal museums located on South Kensington's Exhibition Road, adjacent to the city's Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum. More than 80 million natural history artifacts are held within the museum's five primary collections on botany, zoology, entomology, paleontology, and mineralogy. Major holdings include a 105-foot Diplodocus skeleton cast showcased in the museum's dinosaur skeleton collection and a number of specimens collected by renowned naturalist Charles Darwin. The museum's library also holds an extensive collection of volumes, manuscripts, and art collections related to its scientific holdings, accessible via appointment.
Cromwell Rd, Kensington, London SW7 5BD, UK, Phone: +44-0-20-79-42-50-00
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Sky Garden is a unique three-story complex that is home to two restaurants and two destination bars, known for its beautiful 360-degree views of the city's skyline. The complex, which strives to offer a respite from the city's busy pace and offer fine dining experiences from an unparalleled perspective, is home to London's highest public garden, located 35 floors above ground level. Visitors can dine at the complex's upscale Darwin Brasserie or Fenchurian Restaurant, which both serve gourmet British fare, or grab cocktails and coffees at the City Garden Bar or the Sky Pod Bar. Free garden visits are available without dining purchases between 10:00am and 6:00pm on weekdays or between 11:00am and 9:00pm on weekends, allowing visitors to peruse the complex's lush atrium and view landmarks such as the River Thames and the Tower Bridge from floor-to-ceiling windows.
20 Fenchurch St, London EC3M 8AF, UK, Phone: +44-20-73-37-23-44
24.Shakespeare's Globe Theater
Shakespeare's Globe Theater is a reconstruction of London's historic Elizabethan-era Globe Theatre, the renowned playhouse most closely associated with the legendary works of playwright William Shakespeare. The theater recreates the original Globe to the closest possible approximation based on available evidence, opened to the public by Sam Wanamaker in 1997. Annual performances attempt to recreate the original playing conditions of the 1559 Globe, including performances at the venue's intimate candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Theater tours are available daily, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. An exhibition at the theater complex also showcases the life and work of William Shakespeare through a variety of interactive exhibits.
21 New Globe Walk, London SE1 9DT, UK, Phone: +44-0-20-79-02-14-00
25.Alison Jacques Gallery
© Alison Jacques Gallery
Alison Jacques Gallery is a renowned contemporary art gallery in London's Fitzrovia district, originally opened in 2004 by acclaimed gallerist Alison Jacques. Jacques, the former news editor of Milan's Flash Art Magazine, is the United Kingdom's sole representative of works from the estate of Robert Mapplethorpe, curating exhibitions of lesser-known bodies of the artist's photography and sculpture. Other artists represented by the gallery include Maria Bartuszová, Takuro Kuwata, Birgit Jürgenssen, Alessandro Raho, and Juergen Teller. Rotating special exhibitions showcase new and unique works throughout the year, with gallery lectures and events hosted by well-known critics and curators held in conjunction with each exhibition opening. The gallery has also published a selection of books and monographs, including works by Dorothea Tanning, Lygia Clark, and Hannah Wilke.
Orwell House, 16-18 Berners St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3LN, UK, Phone: +44-20-76-31-47-20
25 Best One Day Trip Ideas in London
- The Tower of London, Photo: asiastock/stock.adobe.com
- Hyde Park, Photo: Bruno Bernier/stock.adobe.com
- Lazinc, Photo: Lazinc
- Patron Cave a Manger, Photo: Patron Cave a Manger
- Pitzhanger Manor, Photo: Pitzhanger Manor
- Annka Kultys Gallery, Photo: suthisak/stock.adobe.com
- Hang-Up Gallery, Photo: Hang-Up Gallery
- The Zabludowicz Collection, Photo: The Zabludowicz Collection
- RHODES, Photo: RHODES
- Arebyte Gallery, Photo: Arebyte Gallery
- House of Illustration, Photo: House of Illustration
- China Tang, Photo: China Tang
- Le Garrick, Photo: Le Garrick
- Pergola, Photo: Pergola
- Wedge Issue, Photo: pavel siamionov/stock.adobe.com
- Hashi Cooking, Photo: Hashi Cooking
- The London Bicycle Tour Company, Photo: lenscap50/stock.adobe.com
- Yumchaa, Photo: Yumchaa
- Avenue, Photo: Avenue
- Bistro Vadouvan, Photo: Bistro Vadouvan
- PopUp Painting and Events, Photo: PopUp Painting
- The Natural History Museum, Photo: Jan Kranendonk/stock.adobe.com
- Sky Garden, Photo: jovannig/stock.adobe.com
- Shakespeare's Globe Theater, Photo: lapandr/stock.adobe.com
- Alison Jacques Gallery, Photo: Alison Jacques Gallery
- Cover Photo: sborisov/stock.adobe.com
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