London is typically known as "The Old Smoke" due to its rich industrial heritage, this capital city is packed full of interesting and exciting attractions. London is steeped in history and culture, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
At Holiday Inn Express we are committed to giving you the best experience possible, which is why we have selected our favourite London attractions for you to visit on your holiday.
Not just the 'Eye' but the heart of London. The impressively-engineered structure itself is huge that it quite literally can't be missed. On a clear day, take the opportunity to appreciate London in a spectacular way.
Centred between London's most famous sights on the banks of the Thames, The London Eye offers the best vantage of the whole city. A trip will take around 30 minutes and will be popular so expect queues especially in the summer months.
We would recommend looking into the flexi fast track ticket which allows you to pick the time of day you wish to visit. Simply pick up your ticket and enjoy the amazing views.
Walking from the Trafalgar Square down the Mall you will appreciate the history of prestige of such an iconic sight. Her Majesty's Buckingham Palace is an unforgettable attraction.
From enormous foyers, extravagant chandeliers, great treasures and immaculate grounds, the splendour of the Buckingham Palace has to be seen.
In total there are 775 rooms, 72 bathrooms and 760 windows and within the months of August and September, 19 State Rooms are open to public viewing, each containing breath-taking collections of paintings and sculptures from Rembrandt, Rubins and Canova.
During the opening weeks in summer, visitors are able to explore the Palace gardens and when the Queen is in residence, the Changing of the Guards ceremony is a hugely popular experience.
A typical visit lasts between 2 and 2½ hours.
No photography is allowed inside the palace.
The chime of Big Ben, the actual bell inside the clock tower of the Palace of Westminster, is as much a sound of London as the buzzing city streets.
Taking 32 years to build and rebuild after the London bombing during Second World War, the magnificent gothic architecture of both attractions are truly beautiful symbols of London. Linger in the presence of Big Ben overlooking the statues of Cromwell, Churchill and Emmeline Pankhurst.
You would do well to discover the building's history with a guided tour inside the Westminster Parliament Building, rich with information, intrigue and plenty to feast your eyes upon, especially in the 1,000 year old Westminster Hall.
Tours are available daily during the summer months and on Saturdays throughout the year and will take approximately 75 minutes.
No photography is allowed except in Westminster Hall.
Allow yourself to be drawn in by the ghost stories and (sometimes gruesome) history of the Tower of London. The 'Bloody Tower' was actually a fort during the reigns of Richard the Lionheart, King Edward I and Henry the III.
Over the centuries it was expanded upon to be the most secure site in the whole of Western Europe, just the place then to imprison Sir Walter Raleigh, Richard III nephews and Anne Boleyn.
Of course the Tower of London is famously the keep of the Crown Jewels, since the early 14th century. Head over to the Waterloo barracks to see legendary and extraordinary collections of Jewels including The Imperial State Crown, The Sovereign's Sceptre and many other symbols of the British Monarchy.
If you have the time, take advantage of the tours conducted by the imposing Yeoman Warders or 'Beefeaters' which operate daily from 9am to 4:30pm. We would recommend beating the crowds by getting in before 10am.
Tuesday to Saturday 09:00-17:30
Sunday to Monday 10:00-17:30
(Last admission - 17:00)
No photography is allowed inside the Jewel House, the Martin Tower, the chapel of St John or in the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula.
Please visit Tower of London website for more details
Journey through the amazing glass tunnel and explore the mesmerising ocean world with the Sea Life London Aquarium. Treat the kids to a great day as they get the chance to get up close to colourful, coastal creatures and deep sea dwellers.
Watch their faces light up as the spend the day with the stars from Finding Nemo and make new friends with the crafty crabs, spectacular seahorses, amusing Arctic penguins, graceful giant sea turtles and the scary sharks.
While travelling along the Oceanic Conveyor, there is plenty of interaction along the way; children will enjoy collecting all the stamps for their sea-life passport, watching diving displays and the touch pool discovery zone.
For a very special experience, visitors have the chance to snorkel dive with sharks.
Make sure to catch the piranha, shark and sting-ray feeding displays which are amazing and there is even a croc to spot too! Handy tips would be to bring a camera that operates well in dimly lit conditions. To see the animals in the best possible way, the aquarium has quite soft lighting.
Another tip would be to look for 2-4-1 offers which are available online, to have the best value from your day at the aquarium.
As well as being a leading marine conservation centre, Sea Life London is a breath-taking day out.
Daily - 10:00-19:00 (last admission - 18:00)
Photography is allowed without flash (for the animals' sake).
The mummy of all museums - From the Egyptian mummies to the Greek Parthenon columns, the British Museum is a fascinating chronicle of civilisations throughout history.
One of the most popular and most visited museums in the world it is also the oldest national museum in the world but best of all its absolutely free. With over seven million artefacts you will be hard pushed to take in everything on one visit but try and pick one or two civilizations and spend an hour or two appreciating their cultures.
However you may wish to head straight for the highlights; the Rosetta Stone (the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics), the Parthenon Sculptures (controversially brought to Britain from Athens in the early 19th century by Lord Elgin), the Aztec mosaic masks or the 'Lindow Man' (a 1st-century fellow that met a sticky end) and of course, the mummies.
Make sure to notice the roof in the courtyard area as you enter, truly striking. Try to catch the 30-40 minute eyeOpener tours that run throughout the day.
Admission to the British Museum is free.
Daily 10.00–17.30 (Fridays until 20.30)
Photography is allowed unless stated otherwise.
Please visit the British Museum website for more details
Your chance to spot the stars, Leicester Square is the centre of entertainment in London. Frequent film premieres take place in Leicester Square, guaranteed to attract crowds looking to catch sight of some famous actors on the red carpet.
If you prefer the sights of the stage to a film you might still want to come here first as the official half-price theatre ticket booth, known as "TKTS", is located on the south side of the square. Christmas time at Leicester Square sees a carnival bringing some seasonal colour to the surroundings that is enjoyed by kids and tourists alike.
Have a visit over to the park for a lovely photo of the fountain with a statue of Shakespeare, Charlie Chaplin as well as the hand prints of stars past and present.
There is always something interesting going on at the Tate Modern. The home to modern and contemporary art in London is a very worthwhile way to spend a day amongst past masters like Monet, Dali, Ernst, Picasso, Pollock and Matisse.
Of course there are plenty of challenging, thought-provoking recent exhibitions throughout. So you can be sure the a few pieces in the 6 floors of displays create an emotion within regardless of your taste in art. Feel free to relax in the café while you soak in the fantastic views of St. Paul's Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge.
There are free daily guided tours at 11:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:00 that will go expertly go through the various visions on display.
Admission to Tate Modern is free, except for special exhibitions.
Sunday to Thursday 10:00-18:00
Friday to Saturday 10:00-22:00
Photography is allowed without flash.
Please visit the Tate Modern website for more details
Learn how to fly a Red Arrow jet, blast off on an Apollo Space Mission or take part in exciting experiments. You might need a whole day to fully explore the brilliant Science Museum and the best part is you won't even realise you're learning.
Your little genius' will love the seven highly interactive areas, each filled with plenty of hands on things to play with, but don't feel embarrassed when you want to join in too!
It's a real treat to have a go at launching your own space craft, learn all about Stephenson's Rocket locomotive and try and manoeuvre a tanker into port. Everything from computing, mathematics, medicine, space, physics and the human mind, from complex rocket engineering to amazing developments in the modern kitchen, the Science Museum has it all.
Complete with highly engaging displays and artefacts, it is a great place to spend time with the family. There are a range of good cafés to keep those busy minds well fuelled, comfy seating to catch a breather and of course the huge IMAX 3D Cinema that will leave your gobs well and truly smacked!
Admission to the Science Museum is free.
Daily 10.00 - 18.00
Photography is allowed unless stated otherwise.
Please visit the Science Museum website for more details
Speed and rib-tickling laughter is what you'll remember from this adrenaline pumping, high-speed boat ride along the Thames. Cutting through the heart of London, try and catch your breath as you experience the most unique and exciting sight-seeing tour of London.
A blast on the Thames River Ribs offers exhilarating and stunning views of London's beautiful landmarks. There is plenty of time to get great photos of Tower Bridge, Big Ben, the London Eye and loads more iconic sights.
The whole tour is very safe, so don't worry about falling in the drink and your guides are extremely knowledgeable with lots of interesting facts about every landmark.
You will be hard-pushed to find a more enjoyable hour long tour in the whole of London. If you don't mind getting just a bit wet, waterproof clothing is provided, tell your pilot to 'open the taps' and enjoy the thrill!
Monday - Friday 09:00-17:30
Saturdays - Sundays 10:00-16:00
The tours depart from Embankment Pier
All prices and times are given as a guide only. We advise checking in advance.