London's top 10 attractions

Michael Manton / 26 July 2013

If you're out and about in the capital, here's our list of the must-see attractions to kick-start your visit to London, many of which are free.

Buckingham Palace

As both the office and residence of the Queen, Buckingham Palace is one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today.

During August and September when The Queen makes her annual visit to Scotland, the Palace's nineteen state rooms and parts of the garden are open to visitors.

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The Tower of London

The iconic Tower of London has been part of British history since the early 1080s when William the Conqueror started building a massive stone tower at the centre of his fortress.

There's plenty here to fill a whole day, including a visit to the Crown Jewels, and it's worth joining one of the highly recommended and entertaining free tours led by the Yeoman Warders (or Beefeaters).

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Madame Tussauds

Millions and millions of people have flocked through the doors of Madame Tussauds since they first opened over 200 years ago and it remains just as popular as ever.

Where else can you strike a pose with Usain Bolt, squeeze Brad Pitt's bum or receive an audience with the Queen?

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London Eye

Since opening in March 2000, the London Eye has become one of the capital's most iconic landmarks and is now the UK's most popular paid for visitor attraction.

Climb aboard one of the capsules for a breathtaking experience, with unforgettable views stretching up to 40 kilometres in all directions.

Buy tickets to the London Eye

Natural History Museum

Famous for its permanent dinosaur exhibition, the Natural History Museum boasts a collection of the biggest, tallest and rarest animals in the world.

See a life-sized Blue Whale, a 40-million-year-old spider and the large Diplodocus cast which dominates the vaulted central hall. 

Entry is free but special exhibitions require tickets.

National Gallery

Located in Trafalgar Square, London's National Gallery is a vast space, filled with Western European paintings from the 13th to the 19th centuries. You can get lost here among the masterpieces by Van Gogh, da Vinci, Botticelli, Constable, Picasso, Renoir, Titian and Stubbs. 

Entry is free.

Warner Brothers Studio Tour

This is an amazing new opportunity to explore the magic of the Harry Potter™ films – the most successful film series of all time. This unique walking tour takes you behind-the-scenes and showcases a huge array of beautiful sets, costumes and props.

It also reveals some closely guarded secrets, including facts about the special effects and animatronics that made these films so hugely popular all over the world.

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British Museum

The world-famous British Museum exhibits the works of man from prehistoric to modern times from around the world. Highlights include the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures, and the mummies in the Ancient Egypt collection. Entry is free but special exhibitions require tickets. 

Entry is free.

Kew Gardens

This is really two attractions in one great day out. Kew Palace was the family country home of King George III and offers a unique insight into royal family life, with a number of rooms restored to the exact condition they would have been 200 years ago.

Then step outside to enjoy the beauty of Kew Gardens, including the historic Palm House and the Xstrata Treetop Walkway.

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London Zoo

The world's oldest scientific zoo, ZSL London Zoo also opened the first reptile house (1849), first public aquarium (1853), first insect house (1881) and the first children's zoo (1938).

This year, for the first time ever, visitors will be able to explore the lush world of the Sumatran tiger in the heart of London. Through immersive and interactive experiences Tiger Territory takes you closer than ever to the natural environment of one of nature’s most awesome predators. 

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