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  Cultural Destinations in London 2010-12-23  
London is home to many cultural destinations, where you'll find lots of different attractions close together. If you're only in London for a short time, why not pick one of these cultural gems, and enjoy some of the best attractions in London in one smaller area

Cultural Destinations on London's South Bank

Between Westminster and Waterloo Bridges, on the south bank of the River Thames is an explosion of cultural venues and attractions. Above the SEA LIFE London Aquarium and next to the London Eye, County Hall is home to the London Film Museum, which also includes an exhibition on Charlie Chaplin. A stone's throw away, in the Southbank Centre is the Hayward Gallery, which has an exciting programme of temporary exhibitions.

Also part of the Southbank Centre are the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room and the Royal Festival Hall. These performance venues showcase work by world-class dancers, musicians and orchestras. There are also three theatres in this same small stretch of riverbank: the Royal National Theatre, the Old Vic (where Kevin Spacey is Artistic Director) and the Young Vic.

But if you prefer film, the BFI London Imax Cinema gives you a high-tech 3D cinema experience, while by Waterloo Bridge you'll find the British Film Institute, which screens art-house, international and classic films.

Culture in London: Trafalgar Square

In 2003, traffic was stopped from driving all the way around Trafalgar Square; now the area is a glorious pedestrianised piazza, with the vast National Gallery as its crowning glory. Just around the corner is the National Portrait Gallery, with its fantastic roof-top restaurant that gives you a bird's-eye view of Nelson's Column.

If you get your timing right, you can enjoy a classical lunchtime or evening concert at St Martin's in the Fields Church. Just north of Trafalgar Square, is Leicester Square; the gateway to London's Theatreland. Visit the tkts booth in Leicester Square for half-price tickets to top West End shows. The booth offers discounted theatre tickets on the day of the show, and full-price advance tickets for theatre, rock, pop, sport and other events.

Greenwich: London's Historic Cultural Hub

One of the most picturesque and oldest parts of London, Greenwich is a worth a visit just to experience Greenwich Market and the village atmosphere. 

It's also where you'll find the Cutty Sark (closed for refurbishment until 2011), the Royal Observatory, home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Meridian, the National Maritime Museum and Queen's House. Catch a performance at Greenwich Theatre or Laban and take the time to enjoy the local delicacy of whitebait at the Trafalgar Tavern. This historic pub was one of Charles Dickens' regular haunts.

London's Bankside: Culture and Variety

Just a few decades ago, Bankside was home to a disused power station (now Tate Modern), and derelict Victorian wharf buildings (now Pickfords Wharf, which is teaming with restaurants and eateries). 

Today the area is a cultural hotspot, with most visitors making their pilgrimage to Tate Modern, London's cathedral to modern art. But while in the area, don't miss Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Vinopolis (a homage to wine), Clink Prison (London's oldest jail) and everyone's favourite horror attraction,London Dungeon.

Cool Culture in South Kensington

London is a big city, and getting around all its attractions can take some time. But not so when visiting three of London's big museums! The Science Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Natural History Museum are all within easy reach of each other and all are free to enter, which makes for a joyfully convenient day out.

Just north of the museums lies the Royal Albert Hall, the ultimate London concert venue. Cross over the road, into Hyde Park to take in the Victorian splendour of the Albert Memorial – and after a short five minute walk you'll be rewarded with a look around one of London's most popular contemporary art spaces, the Serpentine Gallery.

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