With its ornate palaces and glittering Crown jewels, it’s easy to get swept up by the high life when visiting London. However, all the glitz and glamour can take its toll and once you’ve whizzed around from one castle to another, you mind find yourself looking for something to see that really gets your engines going. If that’s the case, then you have to make sure you put the following attractions in your bucket list next time you find yourself in the UK (of course all of these attractions are friendly for the whole family so make sure you take everyone along)!
There’s nothing more manly than walking the decks of a real-life surviving Royal Navy ship. Accompanied by your free audio guide, you can explore all nine decks of this once working ship, even venturing into the boiler and engine rooms and gun turrets. The ship served her part in battles including D-Day (France) and the Battle of North Cape (Norway) and is expertly set up to really give you a feeling at what life was like on board, there is even a surgery, sick bay and kitchen all waiting to be explored on the HMS Belfast. With Tower Bridge as a backdrop, the view of the city from the ship is pretty iconic and will give you a different perspective of life in war-torn Britain.
Natural History Museum
Free to enter, the massive entry hall at the Natural History Museum with its suspended skeleton of a blue whale is definitely a sight to behold. If all things weird and wonderful tickle your fancy, then there is so much to hold your interest here; from the ginormous giant sequoia tree to the skeleton of the ‘earliest bird’. The calling card however for the Natural History Museum is, without doubt, the dinosaur exhibit with its full-size skeletons and animated robotic life-sized dinos – you can’t help but feel like a kid again!
If world wars aren’t your thing, then perhaps pirates are? If so, be sure to step onboard the Golden Hinde. This full-sized replica of Sir Francis Drake’s ship has actually circumnavigated the globe twice itself and the swashbuckling stewards on board have many an interesting tale to share. Be sure to go during the week to join one of their tours if you want to learn more about Drake and his mission onboard the Golden Hinde for Queen Elizabeth 1.
Royal Air Force Museum
Located outside of London Central, the Royal Air Force Museum requires a bit more effort to get to but it is free to enter and is well worth the journey. Set on an old naval training base, the museum is spread over four hangers covering the history of aviation in the United Kingdom. Travel through time from the early propeller warplanes to the highly engineered machines of World War Two. Stand under The Vulcan or even climb onboard a Spitfire for the ultimate experience. There is so much to see here, an avid aeroplane enthusiast could easily spend the whole day exploring!
London Transport Museum
When you’ve had enough of shopping in Covent Garden, why not pop in for a visit to the London Transport Museum? This fun museum gives insight into the history of public transport in London, through from the early horse-drawn omnibuses, to trams, the introduction of the iconic double-decker red London bus and the elaborate network that is the Underground. With a whole host of interactive displays, it’s a great place to take the kids to (kids go free) as you can sit inside old train carriages and hop on some of the busses that are inside.
If you haven’t got sick of all the boats and maritime history already, then be sure to put the Cutty Sark on your list of things to see in London. This unique British clipper ship has been expertly suspended in its exhibition hall so you can, in fact, walk right underneath its hull. You can also walk along the deck and inside the hull where tea was kept on route to England. Just around the corner from the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, the National Maritime Museum also gives a fascinating insight into Britain’s history on the high seas with a whole host of displays to keep you entertained for hours on end.
Top Tip: If you plan on visiting quite a few attractions in London in one day, then you may want to consider purchasing a London Pass. The pass gives you access to most of London’s top attractions, including all those mentioned above and with hop-on-hop-off bus and riverboat access, getting around is also easy.