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BBC World Service | Our London | Sightseeing
  Art: world-famous artwork
  Science and history: the great museums
  Tourism: popular attractions
  Royal sights: Buckingham Palace & The Tower
  Politics: Big Ben & The Houses of Parliament
  Religion: Westminster Abbey & St Paul's
  Favourite places: The Zoo & London's Parks
Tourism: Imax and London Planetarium

Tourism: popular attractions

London Eye

The London Eye is one of London's newest attractions, but already one of the most popular.

Opened in 2000 (hence it also being known as the "Millennium Wheel"), the Eye takes you on a "flight" that gives breathtaking 360-degree views over the capital as your glass capsule gradually ascends into the sky on a revolving ferris wheel structure – at 495 feet high, the biggest in the world.

The Eye is ideally situated for seeing at once most of London's landmarks, being situated on the South Bank, just across Westminster Bridge from the Houses of Parliament. On a fine day the view stretches for miles down the Thames in both directions.

Don't bother going when it's a cloudy day, though. On the other hand, if you've got the time and money to go twice, a trip at night shows the city at it's most spectacular.
Address: South Bank, SE1. Tel: +44 (0) 870 5000 600.
Tube: Westminster


The Imax cinema, opened in 1996 literally in the middle of a roundabout opposite Waterloo station, boasts of being "the biggest screen that Britain's ever seen."

The cinema mainly shows specially-made films that last around 45 minutes and are designed to showcase the sheer scale of the screen. As a result, they tend to be documentaries – recent examples have featured the International Space Station and the Titanic.

Many of these are in 3D – special glasses are supplied – and some of the footage shot for this format really does have to be seen to be believed.

In a way, it is all more like going on a fairground ride than a trip to the movies, but no less fun for all that. Be warned, though, that the cost is only slightly less than that of seeing a full-length picture in the heart of Leicester Square.
Address: 1 Charlie Chaplin Walk, South Bank, Waterloo, SE1. Tel: +44 (0) 20 7902 1234.
Tube: Waterloo

Madame Tussauds & London Planetarium

Madame Tussauds has been attracting London's longest queues for nearly 200 years.

The models of the most famous and contemporary are always at the front in a Garden Party – this is where photos can be taken with the likes of David Beckham and James Bond. There is also a Premier Night section which houses film stars such as Sean Connery and Marilyn Monroe.

The most popular section is the Chamber of Horrors, which includes a reconstruction of an East End street complete with mutilated Jack The Ripper victim.

Madame Tussauds shares a building with the London Planetarium, and if you visit the waxworks, a ticket for stargazing can be purchased at a greatly reduced price.
Address: Marylebone Road, NW1. Tel: +44 (0) 870 400 3000.
Tube: Baker Street

Related links:

vspace=4/ BBC site: Scenic views of London
vspace=4/ The London Eye
vspace=4/ Madame Tussauds
vspace=4/ British Film Institute IMAX Cinema

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