See also London Transportation Information
The purpose of the Greater London Tour and the London Tour is not to be all-inclusive (London would demand thousands of pages to cover completely—there are several hundred museums alone) but to give an overview of information about some places of interest. All sources don’t agree on the classification of specific areas of Greater London and the central areas. In other words boundaries of areas are not written in stone. But, for the visitor, the important point is where an attraction or a hotel is located and how to get there.
Experiencing the attractions of Greater London area by area saves lots of travelling time, whether on bus, by train or the underground. Commuter trains are a quick and easy option for attractions further afield. Buses are more suited to the central areas of London or as connectors in outlying areas. For bus routes and information go to London Transport. For a map of the underground go to The Tube.
For information on the central areas of London (Westminster/Whitehall/St James/the Strand, Bloomsbury/Fiztrovia, City of London, Covent Garden/Soho/Holborn, Kensington/Chelsea, Knightsbridge/Belgravia, Marylebone and Regent’s Park, Mayfair and Piccadilly, and South Bank) see our London Tour. Most visitor attractions and amenities are found in this central area.
The most popular outlying areas of Greater London for visitors are Docklands, Greenwich, Hampstead, Hampton, Kew, and Windsor. Other areas with attractions are Barnes, Bexley/Bexley Heath, Camden, Chiswick, Clerkenwell/Islington/the East End, Dulwich, Ealing, Edmonton, Edgeware, Notting Hill, Richmond, Tottenham, Wembley and Wimbledon.
Check our London Articles for more and be sure to visit our Attractions section for short listings of many other London/Greater London places to visit.
The London Wetland Centre, located at Barnes is a peaceful oasis in a busy city. The 40 hectare Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) supports nationally important numbers of gadwall and shoveler duck and has 14 habitats, hides, an observatory and much more. It’s a wonderful family attraction.
The Bexley and Bexley Heath area has a full day of attractions. They include Danson Park and House. The house was built in 1755 in the style of a late 16th century Italian villa. A large park and gardens offer walks and picnic areas. Reach it first by train from London to Bexley station, then take a taxi or bus (B13, 89, 96 or B14).
The Red House, a mile from Danson Park, was the only house built especially for designer William Morris. It was the inspiration for his products for his design firm and is a must see for lovers of his designs. Read our review of the book William Morris and Red House.
Another attraction in the same area is Hall Place and Gardens, a Grade I listed house, with the panelled Tudor great hall, a minstrel gallery, and a long gallery surviving. The rest is now a modern art gallery.
Camden’s streets are a jumble of shops and street markets selling junk of all kinds. Camden Lock is the start of the Regent’s Canal boat trip that winds its way along a quiet stretch of the Grand Union canal, cut between 1812-20. You can boat it on a narrow boat or walk it. The back gardens of large mansions back on to the canal. There’s a stop at the London Zoo, while the end of the trip at Little Venice is within walking distance of Paddington station. Plan on lunch at one of the restaurants along the canal walkway.
Chiswick House, in the area of the same name, was built in 1726 in the Neo-Palladian style. Its classical gardens include an Italianate garden complete with statues. Take the Turnham Green tube, then walk for 3.4 mile to reach it.
The Clerkenwell/Islington/East End area is north and east of the city and includes Spitalfields, Whitechapel and Bethnal Green. Methodists will be interested in visiting the Wesley Chapel and Museum. John Wesley’s Georgian house is next to the 1778 chapel (restored), and the Museum of Methodism. Services are held in the chapel on Sundays.
The Geffyre Museum showcases the changing style of the English domestic interior in a series of middle class period rooms from 1600 to the present day. Plan on having lunch—the restaurant serves delicious meals. The Barbican Centre, a performing arts venue, is in this area as is the Whitechapel Gallery on Whitechapel High St. Its galleries are dedicated to presenting collections and new commissions; it also has a permanent gallery and archive research room.
The London Canal Museum is housed in an 18th century building that once sold ice. It sits on the Grand Union Canal. The collection is made up of artefacts and archives relating to canals of London and the ice trade shop.
Docklands is a large area of eastern London that was re-invented from a derelict warehouse area and is home to leisure marinas, apartments, offices, shopping centres, restaurants and pleasant walking pathways. West India Quay, Canary Wharf, and Billingsgate Fish Market are just three of the historic names associated with the space.
Museum in Docklands is a fascinating place right on the water. It tells the story of the Docklands and the Thames River. Allow a minimum of three hours to take it all in, then head for one of the many attractive restaurants and cafés a stone’s throw away to enjoy lunch.
The Greater London area of Dulwich is home to the Dulwich Picture Gallery, England’s first public art gallery. It houses one of the world's most important collections of European old master paintings of the 1600s and 1700s. The Horniman Museum in the Forest Hill section has exhibitions on the cultural and natural world, natural history, and musical instruments. A park with a mini zoo surrounds it.
The Ealing area is the site of the PM Gallery & Pitzhanger Manor, an extension of the Grade I listed Pitzhanger Manor, designed by Sir John Soane. It has a collection of contemporary art.
The Royal Academy Schools Gallery in a renovated Victorian pump house is located in the Edmonton area. Exhibitions are changing. The nearest underground is Turnpike Lane (Piccadilly line) or use the Edmonton Green train station, north of Tottenham.
Edgeware’s attraction is the Royal Air Force Museum London with its collection of aircraft, aviation artefacts, memorabilia, and historic hangers. There’s a Battle of Britain Hall, an interactive centre, films, and a flight simulator. Allow several hours to take it all in.
Greenwich’s attractions are many and include Cutty Sark, Eltham Palace, the Fan Museum, Greenwich Heritage Centre, National Maritime Museum, Old Royal Naval College, Queen’s House, Rangers House, Royal Observatory, St Alfege Church, Severndroog Castle and the Wernher Collection. Allow two full days or more if you want to see them all. You can stay in the area or head out each morning from central London.
Hampstead is an upmarket area of Greater London. Fenton House is a 17th century merchant’s house mostly unaltered. In the house are collections of Georgian furniture, early keyboard instruments, porcelain and 17th century needlework. Kenwood House, north of Hampstead Heath is a neo-classical mansion created by architect Robert Adam. Hampstead is the nearest underground.
Hampton Court Palace is the famous Tudor palace built by Cardinal Wolsey in the early 1500s but commandeered by Henry VIII. State apartments, a great hall, the kitchens and cellars, and collections of paintings and furniture make it a must-see. There’s also 600 acres of parklands and gardens including a maze. Allow at least one full day.
Lauderdale House, in Highgate, is a Grade II listed 16th century building highlighting professional, student and community artists. Highgate Cemetery is the burial place of many famous people including Karl Marx.
Osterley House, a 1760 house in west London, is set in 300 acres of parkland. Allow time to explore the parkland when visiting.
Kew’s main attraction is the world famous Kew Royal Botanic Gardens. Plan on at least a full day (two days is better) to take in the 300 acres, the conservatories and Kew Palace, the country retreat of George III and his family. In the same area is the Kew Bridge Steam Museum with the world’s largest collection of steam pumping engines. There’s an exhibition on the evolution of London’s water supply. Steam railway rides are offered on Sundays.
Notting Hill is the location of the fascinating Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, hidden away in a mews. Allow a minimum of two hours to take in all the displays of packaging and advertising through the centuries.
Richmond is a charming village along the Thames west of central London. It has a lovely green, perfect on a sunny day as a picnic spot. Or walk along the river and enjoy the views. Richmond Park was once a royal hunting ground and still has red and fallow deer wandering around. The park has trees, a lake, and azaleas and rhododendrons blooming in the spring.
Syon House and Park was designed by Robert Adam. In the grounds landscaped by Capability Brown are lakes, trees, and lawns and the great conservatory. Ham House was built in 1610 and has a garden in the same style. Marble Hill House on Richmond Rd, Twickenham, is a Palladian villa begun in 1724 by George II for his mistress. It’s set in 66 acres of grounds and can be reached by a riverside walk from Richmond.
In the Tottenham area is Bruce Castle Museum, a Grade I listed 16th century manor house set in 20 acres of parkland. It houses the Borough of Haringey's local history collections and archives including photos and an interactive exhibition. It’s reached by taking the underground to 7 Sisters, then 123 or 243 bus to Bruce Castle or the underground to Wood Green, then the same bus to Bruce Castle.
Wembley National Stadium offers tours to sports aficionados. Take the Jubilee and Metropolitan underground stations to Wembley Park stadium station or the Chiltern train line.
Wimbledon is synonymous with tennis and the museum offers interactive exhibits, fashions of Wimbledon attire, a 1980s re-creation of a gentlemen’s dressing room, a film on the science of tennis, and 90 minute tours of the grounds.
The town of Windsor has several attractions, including its large home park. The park has a lake, walks, and 4000 trees and shrubs. Frogmore House in the park is only open a few days a year. It’s a 17th century royal retreat built for Queen Charlotte.
Also located here are the Royal Landscape Gardens, a collection of three gardens. Savill Garden a 35 acre ornamental garden, was created in the 1930s. The Valley Gardens constitute 250 acres of woodland, meadows, and landscaped garden with exotic shrubs. The Virginia Water is man made. In the mid 18th century a woodland was planted around the water. At the south-west end of the lake is a farm plantation, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Windsor Castle, officially in the county of Berkshire, is one of the Queen's official homes. The castle was founded by William the Conqueror (1066-87) and has served as a royal castle for 39 monarchs. It sits in 26 acres of walled grounds. It’s easily reached by boat, bus, or train from central London.
There are any number of 30 minute to an hour trips by train from central London that are well worth adding to your itinerary. Examples are The River and Rowing Museum at Henley-on-Thames; Eton College; the Roman town of Colchester, and Hatfield House.
Our Greater London articles, in addition to those listed in the specific areas above, include:
Historic Eastside London Pubs and Walks and
Maritime London: Pubs and Restaurants and
Eastside of London and
Maritime London Interesting Facts and
Haunted Tales at Historic Palaces
The official Visit London website is Visit London
Our London Accommodation Reviews:
Greengarden House, Egerton House Hotel, Aethenaeum Hotel, Draycott Hotel, 51 Buckingham Gate, Holiday Inn Heathrow, Kensington Court Apartments, Le Meridien Hotel, Hoxton Hotel
Indigo Hotel London, Montague on the Gardens, Goring Hotel
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Our London Accommodation Reviews:
23 Greengarden House
Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments
Egerton House Hotel
Holiday Inn Heathrow
Kensington Court Apartments
51 Buckingham Gate
Montague on the Gardens
Le Meridien Hotel
The Great British Heritage Pass-a must for your Britain Visit
Northern Rail Buy train tickets to anywhere in Britain
Time Search Destinations-UK for Historical Information