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London see + do

London is packed to the gills with world-class museums, a thriving arts and cultural scene, and neighborhoods that include the hip post-industrial vibe of Shoreditch in the east, the genteel central district of Mayfair, and the tourist magnets that are Soho and Covent Garden. Don't let London's vastness overwhelm you: If you're in need of respite, head for one of the city's 3,000 parks and open spaces, where you can listen to the highly opinionated orators at Speakers' Corner (Hyde Park), catch some open-air theater (Regent's Park), or bike through rolling countryside past prancing deer (Richmond Park). And make sure you spend some time along the South Bank of the Thames, which is lined with fantastic theaters (Southbank Centre) and museums (the Tate Modern).

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2 Willow Road, London

Opened by the National Trust, the body charged with preserving British buildings, this is one for you Modernists. It's the 1930s residence of Ernö...more

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British Museum, London

One of the single greatest museums in the world, the British Museum houses collections that date from the prehistoric to the modern—in sum, the works of...more

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Buckingham Palace, London

The queen's London pied-à-terre is not the most beautiful of palaces, but it's big. Most of the year, all you can do is peer through the iron railings at...more

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Camden and Islington, London

Head straight for Camden Town if you're in your early twenties and on the lookout for leather—take that how you will, it's all here. The weekend markets...more

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Clerkenwell and Finsbury, London

The medieval Knights of St. John gave way—over a few centuries—to the new denizens of the hot restaurants and bars of St. John Street: designers and...more

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Covent Garden, London

The area where a fruit-and-vegetable wholesale market once stood—and where Eliza Doolittle met Henry Higgins—is now one of the most touristy parts...more

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Docklands, London

The only truly new neighborhood in London is Canary Wharf, a complex of offices and shopping malls centered around the city's tallest building, César...more

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Geffrye Museum, London

A row of 18th-century almshouses in Shoreditch contain this excellent (free) museum of everyday life. In a series of English domestic interiors from 1600 to the...more

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Greenwich, London

Greenwich is a bustling little market town in its own right, colored by bucketfuls of maritime history. Most importantly, it's where time begins. No, seriously,...more

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Houses of Parliament, London

The mother of all parliaments, the Palace of Westminster comprises Big Ben (which is the bell, not the tower) as well as the chambers of both Houses, Commons...more

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