The Route

Your journey begins at Westminster Bridge, which remains one of the most important and iconic in London even to this day. It was originally opened to the public in the year 1750, though the current Westminster Bridge is actually the second, having been completed in 1862

  1. The Houses of Parliament
    The Houses of Parliament at night
    The Houses of Parliament at night

Situated where the old Royal Palace of Westminster once resided, the Houses of Parliament are considered an architectural masterpiece globally. It’s creators – Charles Barry and Pugin – would sadly not live long enough to see the completion of their most important work. Contrary to popular belief, the stunning clock tower itself is not actually called Big Ben, but rather its enormous bell – all 16 tons of it!

  1. Florence Nightingale Museum at St Thomas
  2. Greater London County Hall

Once the centre of council administration of London, County Hall is now a mixed-purpose building that contains luxury apartments, the London Aquarium, a large hotel and even a McDonald’s!

3a. The London Eye (Millennium Wheel)

Offering unbroken vistas over the capital on a clear day, a trip on the London Eye comes highly recommended.

  1. Old Scotland Yard

The former Metropolitan Police HQ was active until 1967 and takes its name from a Whitehall Palace street – ‘Great Scotland Street’.

  1. Cabinet War Rooms

One of England’s most important strategic government offices during WWII. Now a museum that tells the story of Winston Churchill’s life and legacy.

  1. South Bank Centre Royal Festival Hall
    Royal Festival Hall
    Royal Festival Hall

The Royal Festival Hall was built for the Festival of Britain and opened for the first time in 1951. Today, it forms one part of the famed South Bank Centre, which is also home to the Hayward Gallery, Purcell Room and Queen Elizabeth Hall.

  1. Cleopatra’s Needle

This extraordinary landmark dates back to the year 1500BC, when it was erected for the first time by Pharaoh Thotmes lll. It would go on to be presented to the people of Britain in 1819, in order to commemorate the defeat of the French fleet to Nelson at the 1798 Battle of the Nile.

  1. Savoy Hotel

One of the most luxurious and famous hotels in the world, the Savoy Hotel occupies an area on the North Bank where the Savoy Palace used to reside.

  1. Queen Elizabeth Hall Purcell Room
  2. Museum of the Moving Image and the National Film Theatre
  3. Hayward Gallery
  4. Royal National Theatre

The Royal National Theatre is actually three theatres in one – the Cottesloe, Lyttleton and Olivier theatres. Regular tours of the building are available, which also contains a bookshop and a restaurant.

  1. Somerset House

Now home to the Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House was named after the Duke of Somerset and was completed in 1786. At this time, the River Thames ran right up to the walls of the palace.

  1. Coin Street Development
  2. The Temple

Just slightly north of the site itself can be found the Temple Bar Memorial, which sits right on the barrier separating the City of Westminster from the City of London.

  1. HMS President
  2. Sion College and Library

A historic Anglican Church Clergy meeting place that dates back to the year 1654. The site was once home to a Benedictine monastery populated by monks in black habits, representing the origins of the area’s name – Blackfriars.

  1. St Paul’s Cathedral

The destruction of the original St Paul’s Cathedral by the 1666 Great Fire of London saw Sir Christopher Wren take on the challenge of rebuilding. The St Paul’s of today took more than 35 years to complete and sits right at the heart of the City of London.

  1. Tate Modern

One of the most important modern art museums in the world, housed in a former power station with an imposingly-large turbine room.

  1. Cardinals Wharf

A collection of houses that date back to the 17th century – Sir Christopher Wren himself is said to have lived in the pale house with the red door while he was working on his St Paul’s Cathedral.

  1. Shakespeare’s Globe

An absolute must for literature fans, performances are put on regularly at the Globe Theatre in exactly the same style as they would have been during its opening season, more than four centuries ago. A fantastic opportunity to learn more about the life and times of William Shakespeare, along with historic London.

  1. Museum of London
  2. Vintners (Wine Merchants) Hall

Built and operated by the Vintners Company as a livery hall in the wake of the Great Fire of London, the company was bestowed a unique privilege in 1473 by King Edward IV who granted Vintners permission to own swans on the nearby River Thames. The entrance of the hall is adorned with two decorative swans, still marking the rare privilege today.

  1. Southwark Bridge
    South Bank Centre
    South Bank Centre

Originally opened in 1819 and summarily rebuilt in 1921, Southwark Bridge was not exactly a hit with locals due to its status as a toll crossing. Instead, most travelled the extra distance to use London Bridge, which was free to cross.

  1. Anchor Tavern

One of the most famous taverns in the city, the building has been around since Tudor times and has strong connection with both Samuel Johnson and William Shakespeare.

  1. Guildhall (DLR Bank)

An impressive building with a truly remarkable past, perhaps most impressive of all about the Guildhall is how it managed to survive to great fires and two World Wars to emerge practically unscathed.

  1. Clink Museum and Winchester Square

The origins of the slang term used to refer to any prison, the Clink was a feared a brutal prison operated for debtors and heretics. The original Clink burned down in 1780 and has since reopened as a colourful and lively museum.

  1. Southwark Cathedral

Burial place of Shakespeare’s brother Edmond and the christening venue for Harvard University founder, John Harvard, Southwark Cathedral dates back over nine centuries and remains an iconic local landmark.

  1. Fishmongers Hall (DLR Bank)

Despite dating back to 1272, Fishmongers Hall still plays a hugely important role in London’s culinary scene today. Believe it or not, every fish sold in the City of London must be inspected and approved by an official of the hall, before permission can be granted.

  1. Bank of England (DLR Bank)

The central bank of the United Kingdom was in fact founded to help pay for an enormously expensive war with the French in 1694. It houses a genuinely interesting museum where guided tours come highly recommended.

  1. The Monument (DLR Bank)

Another of Sir Christopher Wren’s undeniable masterpieces, The Monument was erected as a Great Fire of London memorial and was finished in 1677. It measures exactly 202-feet in height, which is also exactly how far it is from the Pudding Lane bakery where the fire started.

  1. Old Billingsgate (DLR Bank)

The heart and soul of London’s fish trading for more than nine centuries, the markets themselves have now been moved to Canary Wharf’s West India Docks. It is one of the oldest quays in the city, dating back to 1877.

  1. London Dungeon

Spooky and often gory fun and games for the whole family!

  1. London Bridge City (DLR Bank)

The biggest and in many ways most impressive commercial riverside development in Europe, London Bridge City is located where green tea clippers used to bring their exotic wares into the capital.

34.Custom House (DLR Bank)

When the first building was erected on the site of the current HM Customs and Excise HQ, it was used to weigh and appropriately tax all wool shipments entering the city. It was with this money that King Henry II was able to part-fun the construction of London Bridge.

  1. Lloyds of London (DLR Bank)

Home to the biggest insurance company in the world and designed by Richard Rogers, Lloyds of London actually takes its name from a 17th century coffee house in which brokers used to conduct their affairs.

  1. Britain at War Museum

Offers a moving, haunting and fascinating insights into how it was to live in the United Kingdom during times of war.

  1. HMS Belfast (DLR Tower Gateway)

A cruiser of huge importance to the Royal Navy during WWII, the HMS Belfast played a pivotal role in the Battle of North cape. Weighing it at an impressive 11,500 tons, she is the last of a now retired breed of ‘big gun’ cruisers and was spared a trip to the scrapyard to be converted into an incredible museum.

  1. Tower Hill Pageant

Now closed to the public

  1. Tower of London (DLR Tower Gateway)

Formerly a feared and famous prison, an arsenal, a royal residence and a fortress, the Tower of London has seen some truly remarkable periods in history come and go. William the Conqueror built the original Tower in 1078, though it was modified and expanded multiple times over the following centuries. Perhaps the most chilling of all sights around the Tower is Traitor’s Gate – an opening that connects with the Thames and was a one-way street for unlucky inmates.

  1. Tower Bridge (DLR Tower Gateway)

Here’s a fact you may not know – each of the two connecting halves of Tower Bridge that can be raised and lowered weighs in the region of 1,000 tonnes! Considering the fact that they were able to power the kind of machinery to operate the bascules using steam alone as far back as 1894, it’s pretty impressive stuff to say the least!

  1. Design Museum and Bramah Tea and Coffee Museum
  2. St Katharine Docks (DLR Tower Gateway)

Entry point for cargos of extreme value and importance to the UK in the 19th century, including silver, tea and ivory. Today, it has been transformed into an incredibly affluent and desirable residential and commercial area, complete with its own marina.

  1. St Katharine Pier
  2. Edward lll's Manor HouseEdward lll’s Manor House

Archaeological digs have uncovered evidence of an opulent manor house protected by a moat on this very site – most likely one of the many dwellings of King Edward III.

  1. Execution Dock (DLR Shadwell)

Where smugglers and pirates were taken to be put to death in a variety of highly unpleasant ways. Some were placed in irons and left at the mercy of three tides, while others were gibbeted to show would-be criminals the fate that awaited them. The was also the place in 1701 that saw the execution of Captain Kidd.

  1. Angel Pub

A preferred drinking hole for many a famed historical figure, including none other than Captain Cook. It’s origins date as far back as the 15th century when it was originally run by Bermondsey Priory monks.

  1. The Mayflower

Prior to taking the Pilgrim Fathers over to America, the Mayflower moored at the spot in the year 1620.

  1. Brunel’s Tunnel Engine Room

An incredibly ambitious project that never quite came to fruition, the tunnel that was supposed to be used for carriages actually became a part of the London Underground.

  1. Prospect of Whitby (DLR Shadwell)

From Whistler and Turner to Judge Jeffreys to Charles Dickens and more, this hugely popular 16th century pub has attracted a uniquely important and influential clientele over the years.

  1. Surrey Water and Quays
  2. Cuckolds Point

It is said that after learning of his wife’s infidelity, William Cuckold used a ducking stool at this precise location to dole out what he thought to be a fitting punishment. Interestingly, it is also said that he would then go on to offer his services to others, ducking the wives of men brought to the same spot for a mere one-penny fee.

  1. Limehouse (DLR)

A highly important contributor to the rebuilding efforts following the Greta Fire, Limehouse takes its name from its role in storing and supplying lime throughout the 17th century.

  1. St Annes Church (DLR Limehouse)

Home to the highest church clock in London, Hawkesmore designed St Anne’s Church in 1724, just a stone’s throw away from Leicester Square.

  1. Canary Wharf (DLR)

The undisputed financial and business centre of the capital, Canary Wharf is a built-for-purpose district packed with more than 14 million square feet of retail and office space. Canary Wharf – aka One Canada Square – was the tallest building into the United Kingdom until the Shard came along, measuring in at 240 meters.

  1. New Billingsgate
  2. Mudchute (DLR)

Mudchute City Park and Farm really couldn’t feel further removed from the frantic financial district on its doorstep. Home to gorgeous open green spaces and a variety of rare-breed sheep, cattle, pigs and horses, it’s a great afternoon out for the family.

  1. Burrells Wharf (DLR Island Gardens)

Site of the launch of the spectacular SS Great Eastern in 1858, Burrells Wharf is now an affluent residential district with a rich maritime history. At the time of its launch, the Great Eastern was at least four-times bigger than any ship in service at a length of over 680-feet.

  1. Island Gardens (DLR)

Take a trip to the very last stop on the DLR and your reward will be incredible views across Greenwich from Island Gardens. Both Greenwich Pier and Greenwich town centre can be easily reached by way of a foot tunnel, which dates back over a century.

  1. Gipsy Moth IV

Sir Francis Chichester took the Gipsy Moth IV around the world between 1966 and 1976m becoming the first person to ever do so single-handedly.

  1. Cutty Sark

The last surviving tea clipper in the world, the iconic Cutty Sark is now open as a permanent museum dedicated to its rich and important history.

  1. Royal Naval College
  2. Crafts Market
  3. St Alfege’s Church

Built by order of Queen Anne and named to commemorate the martyring of the Archbishop of Canterbury, St Alfege’s Church is the work of Hawksmoor and was built in the early 1700s.

  1. Antique Market
  2. National Maritime Museum

An outstanding museum dedicated to the maritime history of Great Britain. Packed with incredible interactive exhibits documenting many centuries of British sea power, the National Maritime Museum makes a fantastic afternoon’s excursion for the whole family.

  1. The Queen’s House

A former royal residence completed in 1635, The Queen’s House is considered one of the most important buildings in the history of British architecture, being the very first classical building to be erected in the UK.

  1. Royal Observatory Greenwich

Another incredible work from the genius of Wren, the Royal Observatory is situated on the exact line where the Eastern and Western hemispheres meets. It is even possible to straddle the line and effectively stand in both hemispheres at the same time! It is also where the world’s first public time signal was displayed in 1833, with the world still referring to time in most times zones with reference to Greenwich Mean Time.

  1. The Fan Museum

Why not take the time to visit the only museum in the world dedicated to the fan? Suffice to say, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget!

  1. Planetarium

Another outstanding excursion for the family – discover the secrets of the stars and the mysteries of the solar system in this incredible exhibition.

  1. Ranger’s House

Once home to the official Greenwich Royal Park ranger, this gorgeous building now houses a permanent collection of important artworks and is looked after by English Heritage.

  1. Trafalgar Tavern
    trafalgar-tavern
    Trafalgar Tavern

Winner of numerous prestigious awards and a favourite among many notable Londoners – Charles Dickens included – the Trafalgar Tavern was originally opened as an exclusive venue for the wealthy and influential.

  1. Millennium Exhibition Site (The Dome)

One of the most immediately noticeable entertainment complexes in the world, the dome’s origins were somewhat controversial though its status as a cherished London landmark is now undisputed.

  1. Thames Barrier

This billion-pound barrier provides protection from rising tides to much of London and has been doing so since 1982. The enormity and engineering behind the Thames Barrier can really only be appreciated by viewing it up close.

  1. Greenwich
  2. Millwall Dock and Glengall Bridge
  3. Canary Wharf from Royal Naval College