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Great Britain

Recommended attractions in London

Banqueting House, Horse Guards Avenue, SW1
Originally part of Whitehall Palace, Banqueting House was designed by Inigo Jones and completed in 1622. Charles I was executed
here, and William and Mary were crowned here. The highlight is an allegorical ceiling painted by Rubens.
Phone:  7930.4179
Hours:  10AM to 5PM Monday through Saturday
Admission:   4GBP

Bar Rhumba, 36 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1
As the name suggests, Bar Rhumba is great for Latin music. Very popular.
Phone:  7287.2715
Hours:  9PM to 3AM Wednesday through Saturday
Admission from:   6GBP

British Airways London Eye
Hop into one of the 32 capsules (each of which holds 25 people) and take a 30-minute ride on the giant wheel that has become a city landmark. From the 450-ft. apex, you?ll be able to see for 25 miles. The "Essential Guide" is very helpful for identifying all the buildings you?ll see during your "flight." You need to make reservations in advance, and you?ll queue for about half an hour before taking off.
Phone:  0870.5000.600 Reservations recommended
Hours:  9:30AM to 10PM during the summer; closing earlier off season
Admission:   12.50GBP

British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1
The thousands of documents in this collection were moved to this controversial building from the British Museum in 1998. There are some amazing things here, including the Magna Carta, the Lindisfarne Gospels and other illuminated manuscripts, a Guttenberg Bible, a First Folio and the lyrics to "Yesterday," scribbled by Paul McCartney.
Phone:  7412.7332
Hours:  9:30AM to 6PM Monday to Friday; open until 8PM on Tuesdays; 9:30AM to 5PM Saturdays; 11AM to 5PM Sundays

British Museum, Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG
With 5 million visitors each year, the British Museum is London?s greatest attraction. The 94 galleries covering two-and-a-half miles contain some of the most priceless antiquities in the world, including the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin Marbles, and Egyptian mummies. Don?t miss it.
Phone:  0207.323.8299
Hours:  10AM to 5:30PM Saturday through Wednesday; 10:00AM to 8:30 Thursday through Friday

Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace Road, SW1
We think the Changing of the Guard here and the Palace itself are two of London?s most overrated attractions. If you want to see the Changing of the Guard, get here early. And if you want to tour the palace, call 7321.2233 for credit card reservations in advance.
Phone:  020.7766.7300
Hours:  Palace open from 9:30AM to 6:30PM daily from early August to September; Changing of the Guard at 11:30AM daily in summer; on alternating days off season. Call for times.
Palace admission:   14GBP Changing of the Guard is free

Comedy Cafe, 55 Rivington Street, EC2
One of the best comedy clubs in London. The Wednesday night open mike nights are free. Weekends have top acts.
Phone:  7739.5706
Hours:  Shows at 8:30PM Wednesday through Saturdays
Admission from:   5GBP
Weekend admission from:  25.50GBP

Comedy Store , Haymarket House, 1A Oxendon Street, SW1
London?s first comedy club still attracts the biggest names. This is a great spot to hear the best and brightest.
Phone:  020.7839.6642
Hours:  Shows at 8PM Tuesday through Sunday and at midnight Fridays and Saturdays
Admission from:   13GBP

Courtauld Institute Gallery, Somerset House, The Strand, WC2
The foundation stock of this incredible gallery is the private collection of textile magnate Samuel Courtauld. Particularly strong in French Impressionist paintings, the collection includes masterpieces by Manet, Monet, Degas, Cezanne, van Gogh, Gaughin, and Toulouse-Lautrec. There are also some priceless Italian Renaissance paintings.
Phone:  7848.2526
Hours:  10AM to 6PM Daily
Admission:   5GBP Free Mondays from 10:00AM to 2:00PM (exept public holidays)

Dickens House Museum, 48 Doughty Street, Bloomsbury, WC1
In 1837, one year after his marriage, Charles Dickens moved into this brick townhouse where he wrote Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby and finished the Pickwick papers. Many of the rooms are exactly as they were when he lived here. Others display artifacts and memorabilia from the author?s life.
Phone:  7405.2127
Hours:  10AM to 5PM Monday through Saturday, 11:00AM to 5PM Sundays
Admission:   5GBP

Fabric , 77A Charterhouse Street, EC1
This hot super-club specializes in techno and house and really packs them in. The "Bodysonic" dance floor here is basically one big woofer.
Phone:  7336.8898
Hours:  9:30PM to 5AM Thursdays and Fridays: 10PM to 7AM Saturdays
Admission from:   12GBP

Fortnum and Mason, 181 Piccadilly, W1A 1ER
Foodie paradise. If it?s good enough for the Royal family, it?s good enough for you. They do sell other things here, but its the food that?s been keeping loyal -- and Royal -- fans coming back since 1707.
Phone:  020.7734.8040
Hours:  10AM to 6:30PM Monday through Saturday; 12:00PM to 6:00PM Sundays

Gilbert Collection, Somerset House, The Strand, WC2R 1LA
The gift of the Gilbert Collection was partly the impetus for the restoration of Somerset House. This magnificent collection of more than 800 works of decorative arts includes silver plates, intricately detailed gold boxes, portrait miniatures, and Roman mosaics.
Phone:  020.7420.9400
Hours:  10AM to 6PM Daily
Admission:   6GBP
Combined admission with the Courtauld Gallery:  9GBP

Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, KTA 9AU
Built for Cardinal Wolsey in 1515, Hampton Court Palace was later given to Henry VIII, probably to keep him from "appropriating" it. You can tour the Great Hall and the Royal Chapel dating from Henry VIII?s occupancy. Other highlights include the Tudor Kitchens, the Renaissance Picture Gallery, and King William III?s Apartments. There are more than 60 acres of wonderful gardens here including the recently restored Privy Gardens. For many, they are the highlight of a visit here.
Phone:  870.752.7777
Hours:  10:00AM to 6PM Monday through Sunday; closing at 4:30PM in winter; gardens are open from 7AM to dusk daily
Admission:   12GBP

Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, SW1X 7XL
It?s not quite the same now that you can buy half the Harrods label goodies at Heathrow, but get over it. You kind of have to see Harrods to believe it. A London tradition since 1849, it?s more an insight into how the upper half lives than an actual department store. And Mohamed Al Fayed has turned the store into a museum as well. Everything runs like clockwork, and service is the best you?ll experience anywhere. Don?t miss the Food Halls. Bring money and don?t even think about dressing down.
Phone:  020.7730.1234
Hours:  10AM to 6PM Monday through Saturday

Harvey Nichols, 109 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RJ
Known to fans of "Absolutely Fabulous" as "Harvey Nicks," this Knightsbridge store specializes in expensive fashion. The fifth floor is a foodie?s paradise.
Phone:  020.7235.5000

Hermitage Rooms, Somerset House, The Strand, WC2R 1LA
Paintings, jewels, and decorative objects on loan from the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia are displayed here. Current exhibits are listed on their website. Best of all, 1£ of each ticket sold goes directly to the Hermitage.
Phone:  020.7845.4630
Hours:  10AM to 6PM Daily
Admission   5GBP

Highgate Cemetery, Swains Lane, Highgate , N6 6PJ
Perched on 37 acres of hillside outside Hamspstead, Highgate Cemetery was built in 1839. It?s wonderfully atmospheric, and it?s the final resting place of Karl Marx, Michael Redgrave, and Ralph Richardson. Because of restoration work, the Western Cemetery is open only to those who take a tour.
Phone:  020.8340.1834
Admission to the Eastern Cemetery:   2GBP
Admission to the Western Cemetery:  3GBP

Horse Guards, Whitehall, SW1
For fewer crowds and better photographs, skip the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and visit the Horse Guards instead. Members of the Household Cavalry change guard here hourly, so you can easily fit their routine into your sightseeing.
Phone:  414.2396
Hours:  Mounted guards posted here from 10AM to 5PM daily; changeover at 11AM; dismount ceremony at 4:00PM

Houses of Parliament, Westminster Palace, SW1
If you?re interested in visiting the House of Commons or the House of Lords, it?s best to get tickets in advance. Otherwise, you?ll spend lots of time waiting to get in. Comprehensive information about when both houses are in session and when they are open to the public is available at the web site.
Phone:  020.7219.4272

Keats House, Keats Grove, Hampstead, NW3 2RR
John Keats lived in this house between 1818 and 1820 and wrote many of his greatest poems here, including "Ode to a Nightingale."
Phone:  020.7435.2062
Hours:  1:00PM to 5:00PM Tuesday through Sunday
Admission:   3.50GBP

Kew Gardens, Kew Road
Officially named the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Gardens is one of the most important gardens and botanical research centers in Europe. There are more than 50,000 species of plants here on 300 acres. The gardens are lovely any time of year and this is a must for horticulturalists.
Phone:  020.8332.5655
Hours:  9:30AM to 6:30PM Monday through Friday; 9:30AM to 7:30PM Saturdays and Sundays
Admission:   10GBP

Leadenhall Market, Whittington Avenue, The City, EC3
This beautiful Victorian arcade houses some of the best food purveyors in London.
Hours:  7AM to 4PM Monday through Friday

Liberty, 210 Regent Street, W1B 5AH
The half-timbered Tudor building is a London institution, as are the Art Nouveau fabrics Liberty turns into neckties, scarves, glasses cases, and anything else you can imagine. A great place for gifts.
Phone:  020.7734.1234
Hours:  10AM to 7:00PM Monday through Saturday; Thursday until 8PM; noon to 6PM Sundays

London Theatre
Comprehensive London theater listings are available at their web site.

London Travelpass
The London Travelpass provides unlimited transportation on city buses and the underground "tube." It?s a great convenience not to have to purchase tickets every time you want to go someplace. And depending on how much you travel, it can be a good value too.

The LondonPass provides free admission to over 50 of London?s most popular attractions and unlimited transportation on buses and the Tube. One-, two-, three-, and six-day passes are available.
Phone:  1664.485.020 worldwide
Two-day pass:   55GBP
Three-day pass:  71GBP

Marks and Spencer, 458 Oxford Street, W1C 1AP
If you had sticker shock at Harrod?s head for "Marks and Sparks." The Marble Arch store on Oxford Street welcomes 100,000 shopper a day. You?ll find everything here, including some things you don?t expect. And as a rule, things are well priced. During a busy week, the food department sells two tons of strawberries, one ton of smoked salmon, and half a ton of asparagus.
Phone:  020.7935.7954
Hours:  9AM to 9PM Monday through Friday; 9AM to 8PM Saturdays; noon to 6PM Sundays

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN
This is one of the world?s great art museums. Best of breed work by da Vinci, Rembrandt, Botticelli, van Gogh, van Eyck, Piero della Francesca. An absolutely stellar collection. There is a special charge for some temporary exhibitions which are displayed in the Sainsbury Wing.
Phone:  020.7747.2885
Hours:  10AM to 6PM daily; open until 9PM Wednesdays; Tours at 11:30AM to 2:30PM; an additional tour at 6:30PM on Wednesdays

National Portrait Gallery, 2 St. Martin?s Place, WC2H 0HE
Begun in 1856 to collect images of notable Brits, the National Portrait Gallery contains more than 34,000 examples. Everything from a cartoon of Henry VIII by Hans Holbein to photographs of Mick Jagger. The only surviving painting of Shakespeare taken from life is here.
Phone:  020.7306.0055
Hours:  10AM to 6PM daily; open until 9PM Thursdays and Fridays

Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD
This very cool museum is divided into two sections. The Life Galleries include a fantastic Dinosaur Exhibit with life-size, robotic models; a Mammals section with a 70-ft. model of a blue whale; and Creepy-Crawlies, which is just that. The Earth Galleries include interactive exhibits on volcanoes, earthquakes, and the Earth?s Treasury.
Phone:  020.7942.5000
Hours:  10AM to 5:50PM Monday through Saturday; 11AM to 5:50PM Sundays

Petticoat Lane Market, Middlesex Street, The City, E1
This East End market is one of the most popular in London, It?s got a little of everything and it offers great people watching. As the name suggests, you?ll find lots of clothes.
Hours:  9AM to 2PM daily

Portobello Road Market, Portobello Road, Notting Hill, W10
In addition to some of the best antique shopping in London, you?ll find outstanding vintage clothes here. When you?re through at the market, there are more than 90 antique stores on the Portobello Road.
Hours:  Antiques market is from 8AM to 6PM Saturdays; a general market and organic market are open the rest of the week

Ronnie Scott's, 47 Frith Street, Soho, W1D 4HT
This London institution is the place to see jazz headliners from around the world. Great sound quality.
Phone:  020.7439.0747
Hours:  8:30PM to 3AM Monday through Saturday 7:30PM to 11:30PM Sundays; music starts at 9:30 nightly, 8:30 on Sundays
Admission from:   20GBP

Royal Court Theater, Sloane Square, Chelsea, SW1W 8AS
The beneficiary of a $25 million upgrade to their Sloane Square home, the Royal Court Theatre is the place to see new plays by British authors.
Phone:  020.7565.5000
Hours:  Box office is open from 10AM to 6PM Monday through Saturday
Tickets from:   8GBP

Royal National Theatre, South Bank, SE1 9PX
Arguably the finest theater company in the world, the Royal National performs six plays in three venues. There?s usually something classical, a musical, and something cutting-edge. And you?ll see theater legends like Diana Rigg.
Phone:  020.7452.3000
Hours:  Box office is open from 10AM to 8PM Monday through Saturday
Tickets from:   10GBP

Royal Shakespeare Company
Based in Stratford during the summer and and touring during the winter, the Royal Shakespeare Company presents new plays in addition to the Bard?s work. Outstanding in every way, this is one of the world?s best companies.
Phone:  7638.8891
Tickets from:   5GBP

Scala, 275 Pentonville Road, N1 9NL
One of the hottest dance clubs in London, Scala presents live music and a variety of dance formats and special events. Call for details.
Phone:  020.7833.2022
Hours:  10PM to 6AM
Admission from:   10GBP

Science Museum, Exhibition Road, SW7 2DD
This seven-floor museum has the earliest steam engine, a V2 missile, the Apollo 10 command module, several generations of computers, and tons of instruments and inventions.
Phone:  020.7942.4454
Hours:  10AM to 6PM daily
Admission:   0GBP is free, special exhibitions are additional

Shakespeare's Globe, New Globe Walk, Bankside, SE1 9DT
Conceived by American actor Sam Wanamaker, the Globe is a recreation of Shakespeare?s original Elizabethan theater on the banks of the Thames. Open air performances are presented from May through September in circumstances as similar to the original productions as possible. Usually four or five plays are presented in rotation, and audiences sit on wooden benches or stand in the yard. All in all, it?s great fun and exactly what the Bard intended. Visitors can tour the theater and Exhibition, which explains how costumes, scenery, and special effects were created in the Bard?s day.
Phone:  020.7401.9919
Fax:  020.7902.1475
Hours:  Box office is open from 10AM to 6PM Monday through Friday; Exhibition open 10AM to 5PM October through April and 9AM to noon and 12:30PM to 5PM from May to September
Web:   www.shakespeares-globe.Org
Theater tickets from:   5GBP
Exhibition and tour from:  9GBP

Sir John Soane?s Museum, 13 Lincoln?s Inn Fields, WC2A 3BP
The 19th-century architect left his home to the nation in 1837 with the provision that it remain unchanged. Today, the house, which the architect completely reworked, is almost as interesting as its contents which include numerous paintings by Hogarth, an Egyptian sarcophagus, and lots of classical statuary.
Phone:  020.7440.4623
Hours:  10AM to 5PM Tuesday through Saturday; open again 6:00PM to 9PM the first Tuesday of the month; tours are given Saturdays at 2:30
Tour price:   3GBP Admission is by donation

Somerset House, The Strand, WC2R 1LA
The Somerset House is one of London?s hottest destinations. The building, which dates from 1775, has been beautifully restored, it houses three of the city?s best collections: The Courtauld Gallery, the Gilbert Collection, and the Hermitage Rooms. In addition, there are great restaurants, a riverfront terrace, and synchronized fountains.
Phone:  020.7845.4600
Hours:  10AM to 6PM Monday daily

Southwark Cathedral, Montague Close, SE1 9DA
The original church on this site dates from the 7th century and parts of the present church are from the 12th. John Harvard, the founder of the University, was baptized here. And Shakespeare?s brother Edmund is buried here. Inside, there?s a 13th-century wooden effigy of a knight and the tomb of John Gower, a contemporary of Chaucer.
Phone:  020.7367.6700
Hours:  8AM to 6PM daily
Suggested donation:    4GBP

Spitalfields Market, 65 Brushfield Street, E1 6EB
This market is one of London?s best. Sunday is the day to go, when more than 350 merchants sell everything from produce to antiques.
Phone:  020.7377.1496
Hours:  10AM to 4PM Monday through Friday; 9AM to 5PM Sundays

St. Paul?s Cathedral, St. Paul?s Churchyard, EC4M 8AD
Christopher Wren designed this church after the original burned in the Great Fire of 1666. The interior is decorated with beautiful mosaics and intricate carvings. Churchill?s funeral was held here, as was the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spenser. The truly fit can climb the 530 steps to the top of the dome for the best views in the city.
Phone:  020.7236.4128
Hours:  8:30AM to 4PM Monday through Saturday; galleries open one hour later; tours at 11AM, 11:30AM, 1:30PM, and 2PM
Admission:   8GBP

St-Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 4JJ
Built in 1726, St. Martin-in-the-Fields was the inspiration for countless Christian churches in Colonial America. Inside, there?s a Royal Box across from the altar. William Hogarth and Joshua Reynolds are buried here. There?s a craft market in the back.
Phone:  020.7766.1100
Hours:  10AM to 8PM Monday through Saturday; noon to 8PM Sundays, except during services; concerts 1:00PM Monday, Tuesday and Friday and at 7:30PM Thursday through Saturday
Concerts from:   3GBP Admission is free

Tate Britain, Milbank, SW1P 4RG
The main branch of the Tate now displays the museums collection of British art from 1500 to the present. The highlight of the collection is the bequest of J.M.W. Turner of 19,000 watercolors and 300 paintings. Other standouts include the work of the Pre-Raphaelites, and paintings by Constable, Blake, and Whistler.
Phone:  020.7887.8000
Hours:  10AM to 5:30PM
Admission is free  

Tate Modern at Bankside, 25 Sumner Street, SE1 9TG
The former Bankside Power Station was remodeled to house the Tate?s modern art collection. The physical space is breathtaking and the collection includes major works by Dali, Picasso, Warhol, van Gogh, and other modern masters. A must for modern art lovers.
Phone:  020.7887.8000
Hours:  10AM to 6PM Monday through Thursday and Sundays; 10AM to 10PM Fridays and Saturdays
Admission is free  

The Monument , Monument Street, EC3
Designed by Christopher Wren, the monument was created to commemorate the Great Fire of 1666, which destroyed 80% of the city. You can climb the 311 steps to the top for fantastic views.
Phone:  020.7626.2717
Hours:  9:30AM to 5:30PM daily
Admission:   2GBP

tkts (formerly Half Price Ticket Booth), Leicester Square
Run by London Theatre, tkts (formerly the Half Price Ticket Booth) sells day of performance tickets for 50% of face value plus a 2.50 service charge.
Hours:  10AM to 7PM Monday through Saturday; noon to 3:00PM Sundays

Tower Bridge Experience, Tower Bridge, SE1 2UP
This museum inside the tower bridge explains the history of the bridge and its construction through interactive exhibits. The views from the upper walkways are almost worth the price of admission, but the tour takes 90 minutes.
Phone:  020.7403.3761
Hours:  10AM to 6:30PM daily; 9:30AM to 6PM during winter
Admission:   6GBP

Tower of London, Tower Hill, EC3N 4AB
To get the most out of your visit, take one of the tours conducted by the Yeoman Warders. They leave every half hour. You?ll see the White Tower which houses the Royal Armouries, the Waterloo Barracks, where the Crown Jewels are housed, and the bloody Tower.
Phone:  870.756.6060
Hours:  9AM to 6PM Tuesday through Saturday; 10AM to 6PM Sunday and Monday; closes 1 hour earlier in winter
Admission:   13.50GBP

Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL
The V&A is the largest decorative arts museum in the world. Among the four million treasures here are the finest collection of Indian art outside India; the Morris Room, designed by William Morris to serve as a refreshment room for the Museum; the Dress Collection with clothes from the 1600s to the present; and a collection of jewelry from Egyptian times. The shop is a great place for gifts.
Phone:  020.7942.2000
Hours:  10AM to 5:45PM daily; Wednesdays and the last Friday of every month until 10PM
Admission is free   some exhibitions carry a separate charge

Vinopolis, City of Wine, 1 Bank End, SE1 9BU
This $35 million attraction covers more than two-and-a-half acres and takes visitors on an interactive tour of the world?s wine growing regions. There are wine tasting lessons, a wine shop with more than 800 varieties, and more than 40 tasting stations. There?s also a restaurant.
Phone:  870.241.4040
Hours:  12PM to 9PM Mondays; 12PM to 6PM Tuesday through Thursday and Sundays; 12PM to 9PM Fridays and Saturdays
Admission including five tastes of wine from:   13GBP

Westminster Abbey, Broad Sanctuary, SW1P 3PA
This is one of London?s greatest treasures. For majesty, pageantry, history, and general magnificence, Westminster Abbey is unsurpassed. Highlights include the Octagonal Chapter House, which dates from 1250; Poets? Corner, the final resting place of Chaucer, Tennyson, Dickens, Kipling, and dozens of other British authors; and the 16th-century Henry VII?s Chapel which is decorated with the banners and badges of the Knight of the Order of the Bath. Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scotts are buried here.
Phone:  020.7654.4900
Fax:  020.7654.4894
Hours:  9:30AM to 3:45PM Monday through Saturday; 9:30AM to 7:00PM Wednesday; closed Sundays except to worshippers; 90-minute tours are given frequently, call for times and reservations
Admission:   8GBP

Westminster Passenger Services Association, Westminster Pier
WPSA offers cruises on the Thames to Kew Gardens and Hampton Court Palace. It?s a scenic journey, winding past stately country homes, and occasionally negotiating locks. You?ll fit the most into your day by taking the tube to Kew, then cruising to Hampton Court. You can return to London by cruise or train. Due to the tides, times are always approximate.
Phone:  020.7930.2062
Hours:  Call for sailing times
Fares from:   10.50GBP