Lonely Planet's top 10 outings in London
8. The world's a stage
Londoners first got the theatre bug in the 17th Century when Shakespeare and his contemporaries starting performing comedies and dramas for the masses on the stage of the original Globe Theatre. Four hundred years later and Londoners are still obsessed with the stage. Theatre-land in the West End around Soho and Covent Garden boasts more than 50 theatres, staging everything from period romps and big-name musicals to occasionally cringe-worthy shows based on banging dustbin lids and rap poetry.
9. Find treasures in the British Museum
Founded in 1753 to house the personal collection of Sir Hans Sloane, the museum was dramatically extended in the Georgian period, and the central Grand Court was covered by a soaring geometric canopy by Sir Norman Foster in 2000.
Inside you can see such historical wonders as the Rosetta Stone and the controversial Elgin (Parthenon) Marbles, swiped from the Acropolis by Britain's ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. The collection of Egyptian mummies in rooms 62 to 63 is legendary.
10. Old masters and familiar faces
The National Gallery and the neighbouring National Portrait Gallery fill in all the gaps in the history of painting that are not covered by the Tate Modern and Tate Britain. These grand neoclassical monuments house some of the country's finest paintings and, refreshingly, not all are stuffy 17th-century oils - there are wacky modernist works and cartoon caricatures as well.