Visit London Blog » london attractions Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 20 Apr 2015 15:31:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 London Video of the Week: Top 10 London Attractions Fri, 20 Jun 2014 09:44:02 +0000

From the British Museum to the EDF Energy London Eye, Tate Modern to the Natural History Museum, watch this video to discover London’s top 10 most popular tourist attractions, based on visitor numbers.

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London’s Best Boats and Ships Fri, 08 Jun 2012 10:13:51 +0000

Has seeing a thousand boats parade down the river during the Thames Jubilee Pageant fuelled your love for all things maritime, or made you fancy a trip on the Thames yourself? Here are our favourite boats and ships to explore and travel on in the capital.

Cutty Sark

The world’s last remaining tea clipper has re-opened after a six-year, £50 million restoration and topped the poll of the best boats in London on our Facebook page. It’s a surreal experience to walk underneath its gleaming hull which has been raised three metres (10 feet) off the ground.

HMS Belfast

The historic war ship re-opened just in time for the Jubilee celebrations. It was built in 1936 and was Britain’s largest cruiser during the Second World War, when it protected arctic convoys and bombarded German defences on D-Day. There are nine decks to visit, including the interactive Operations Room where you are put in the Captain’s shoes to control a fleet of ships off North Borneo.

Golden Hinde

The Golden Hinde is a full-sized reconstruction of the Tudor warship which carried Sir Francis Drake around the world in the late 1500s. The voyage took three years, but you can explore the decks and rooms in a day. To get into the historic mood, book a tour with costumed guides or a pirate workshop which will train you in the art of raising the anchors and firing the cannons.

RIB Tours

If it’s good enough for James Bond, it’s good enough for us. Taking a speedboat is an exhilarating way to see the landmarks littered along the Thames, from The O2 to Tower Bridge. Three companies run sightseeing tours in rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) offering various high-octane trips, whether you want to slow down for guided commentary on the sights or to travel at full throttle for thrills.

Thames Clippers

The KPMG Thames Clippers are a fleet of river catamarans used daily by city commuters that make a pretty exciting day out for the rest of us. The high-speed boats leave London’s major piers every 20 minutes, giving you the flexibility to piece together your own watery sightseeing tour or hop between stops as part of a day’s tourism.

London Duck Tours

Part boat and part bus, London’s amphibious yellow vehicles are easy to spot on the streets as they drive past London sights starting at Waterloo, before launching into the Thames from a slipway near the MI5 building in Vauxhall. The hybrid vehicle is far from a gimmick – the heroic ducks were all used in the D-Day landings in 1944.

What’s your favourite boat or ship in London?

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The Wellington Arch and Apsley House Wed, 09 Mar 2011 13:00:58 +0000

Did you know the Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner is open to the public? I’ve passed the arch a million times on the bus, but this week I decided to stop and visit.

Inside the arch, there are three floors of exhibition space exploring the history of the building. The Wellington Arch was built to create an impressive western entrance to London and has also served as London’s smallest police station.

The Quadriga on the top is the largest bronze sculpture in Europe and replaced a sculpture of the Duke of Wellington which was mercilessly ridiculed for being enormously out of proportion to the Arch.

From the balconies at the top of the Wellington Arch, you can enjoy a fantastic view of Apsley House, the entrance to Hyde Park, Green Park and Constitution Hill.

Apsley House, to the right of the photo, is often known as Number One London and was home to the Duke of Wellington in the 1820s after his victory at Waterloo. The current Duke of Wellington still uses Apsley House as his London base.

The house is very grand, with an impressive collection of paintings, including some from Napoleon’s collection. It’s a must see for anyone interested in military history.

The ticket price includes an enjoyable audio guide for Apsley House packed with facts about banquets and balls, ducal disagreements about the colour of the wallpaper and the current duke’s childhood enthusiasm for sliding down the bannisters.

Book a joint ticket for the Wellington Arch and Apsley House – adult £7.40, child £3.70, concession £6.30

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Birthday Party and Free Champagne at the London Eye Mon, 01 Mar 2010 12:55:08 +0000

On Tuesday 9 March, the London Eye will celebrate its 10th birthday with a spectacular light show and party.

If you take a flight from 7pm on that evening, you’ll also be treated to a free glass of Pommery champagne.

What better way to celebrate 10 years of the iconic landmark, and see the sights of London in style!

The 10th anniversary flights are sure to be popular, so book ahead to reserve your place and receive a 10% discount.

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Duck Heaven at WWT London Wetland Centre Thu, 18 Feb 2010 10:44:58 +0000 Birds on water Black swan Crane Swan Ducks Fish on bikes

Last weekend, I headed to bird-spotter’s paradise the London Wetland Centre in Barnes.

Although not ornithologically-inclined myself, I do like ducks, so seeing numerous species including the White-faced Whistling duck, Indian Running ducks and mallards was a bit of a treat!

The 42-hectare site features ponds, rivers and reed beds, making it a perfect home not just for birds, but bats, insects, water voles and other wildlife too.

You can wander the paths in just a few hours and keen bird-spotters can set up camp in one of six hides located around the site. Admittedly, the centre looked distinctly brown and muddy at this time of year, but our tour guide assured us that it becomes much more colourful by spring.

My highlights included:

  • A pair of bullying Black Swans who chased any other birds off their patch of water
  • The strange and random sculptures scattered around the site, including a seal carcass and a bird sculpture made out of shopping trolleys
  • Ducks, ducks and more ducks!

The WWT London Wetland Centre also runs regular events for kids – look out for pond dipping and Easter egg hunts this Easter.

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Underwater Proposal at the London Aquarium Mon, 11 Jan 2010 15:44:47 +0000

As Valentine’s Day approaches, have you found yourself dreaming about a romantic proposal?

Would it involve flowers, candlelight… or fish, seaweed, and a shark?!

Hopefully, the latter three featured on Natalie Schwaiger’s list, as her boyfriend David Green proposed to her at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium last month.

David and Natalie waited patiently at the Aquarium’s entrance, with Natalie thinking they were going to have their very own personalised tour.

But the wait was really to allow time for the London Aquarium’s Deputy Curator, Jamie Oliver, to dive into the tropical display. Here, he got into position (with the big question written on a board) surrounded by two giant turtles, stingrays and a few species of shark!

When the couple approached the tropical display, David got down on bended knee and said the words written on the board, “Natalie, will you marry me?”

Natalie accepted with tear-filled eyes and the happy couple are due to marry later this year!

David explained, “We went on our first date to the London Aquarium. Natalie had told me that when I did ask her, it had to be good, so I thought this would just about cut it!” 

If you’re interested in popping the question this Valentine’s Day, contact the Aquarium on +44 (0)20 7960 073. The underwater proposal service includes a glass of champagne, your very own diver, and a photo to capture the magic moment. All for £60.

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The Annual Animal Count at London Zoo Tue, 05 Jan 2010 16:12:01 +0000 Meerkats with Keeper Lucy Hawley Penguins with Keeper Tim Savage Giant Galapagos tortoise with Keeper Seb Grant

Today the keepers at ZSL London Zoo had the huge job of counting every single animal as part of the zoo’s annual stocktake.

With more than 750 different species – including gorillas, tigers, giant tortoises, meerkats, penguins and spiders – the keepers had their work cut out as they braved the wintery weather with clipboards.

Last year’s count revealed a total of 14,567 animals, including:

  • 259 mammals
  • 5,570 fish
  • 680 birds
  • 7,510 bugs
  • 341 amphibians
  • 207 reptiles

There are even more heads to count this year: the zoo has welcomed lots of new inhabitants, including lion cubs, a baby mangabey, a komodo dragon, a pair of aardvarks, a pack of coatis and some porcupines.

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