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Top 5 experiences – London

London Eye, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben by the River Thames
Image courtesy: David Wall

If you find yourself in London, with just enough time to tick off the highlights, this is what you need. In this extract from Lonely Planet India’s London travel guide we tell you about the 5 unmistakable London experiences.

The London Eye

If you had always wondered what the great city of London looked like from high up, head to London’s great riverside Ferris wheel, the London Eye. The queues move as slowly as the Eye rotates (there are ways to fast-track your way on), but that makes it even more rewarding once you’ve lifted off and London unfurls beneath you. Avoid grey days if possible.

Shopping in Oxford Street

The West End offers one of the most intense and concentrated shopping experiences in the world – especially on Oxford Street. This is the best place to be if you are brand conscious and don’t mind shelling out the extra pound for that designer label. From the endless number of high-street retailers to some of the very best designers in the world, there is enough here even for most extreme shopaholics.

The Palace of Westminster

One of the most recognisable sights of London is Big Ben and the Gothic Palace of Westminster (also known as the Houses of Parliament). When the Parliament is in session, visitors are allowed into the House of Commons Visitors’ Gallery and may even watch debates. During the summer parliamentary recess, there are 75-minute guided tours of the buildings.

Cruise on the Thames

The River Thames divides London into north and south and provides a number of opportunities to tourists. For a city steeped in maritime culture, it’s no surprise that many of London’s most iconic sights lie dotted along the riverbank. A cruise along the River Thames is a chance to see the city’s magnificence unfold before you at a relaxed pace.

The British Museum

The British Museum  is not only the oldest in the world, but also one with the biggest collection of exhibits. With over five million visitors, it is London’s most popular tourist attraction. The best part is that it’s free, so you can visit multiple times and make new discoveries each time. The collection includes a section on Ancient South Asia, as well as an impressive collection of Mughal artefacts.