London’s Best Cultural Attractions According to the London Lifestyle Awards

We might have mentioned once or twice that Pall Mall Barbers is in this year’s running for the London Lifestyle Awards Hair Salon of the year. We’re pretty pleased with ourselves – the list reads like a guidebook of London’s best restaurants, salons and cultural attractions. You can check out the nominees and cast your vote (for us, hopefully) here until October 14th: https://www.londonlifestyleawards.com/vote. Here’s our rundown of the best cultural attractions category.

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British Museum

 
Great Russell St, WC1B
Nearest Tube: Tottenham Court Road

Taking a pass on Madame Tussauds is one thing for Londoners, but never setting foot in the British Museum is quite another. Their thirteen million strong collection spans the whole of human history, containing objects from every continent and civilisation on Earth. It was once so big, in fact, that they had to have a major clear-out – some seventy-million objects are now housed in the Natural History Museum and another 150 million at the British Library. What was once the Reading Room for all those books is now the centre of the Great Court and its jaw-dropping tessellated glass ceiling. It’s free, so you really have no excuse not to get down there and check out the mummies. And then stroll up to the nearest barbers at Fitzrovia for a trim.

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Natural History Museum

  
Cromwell Road, SW7
Nearest Tube: South Kensington

Approaching the Natural History Museum from Cromwell Road, one could be forgiven for thinking it a cathedral. But this sprawling, awe-inspiring building is a monument to science, not religion. A statue of Charles Darwin watches over visitors as they wander through the main hall, deciding what to see first. There’s the dinosaurs aplenty (obviously), but the museum also houses an astounding collection of fossils, rocks and specimens of creatures great and small. If you really want to avoid the school groups, the museum hosts regular evening events and (!) dinosaur-themed sleepovers for grown-ups.

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Saatchi Gallery

   
Duke of York Square, SW3
Nearest Tube: Sloane Square

The Saatchi Gallery is where a young Damien Hirst made his name in 1992 with a cryptically-entitled work, “The Physical Impossibility of Death in The Mind of Someone Living”. You might remember it better as “The One with The Shark in Formaldehyde”. The gallery still has something of a reputation for courting controversy and launching careers. This is art on the bleeding-edge of modern – you won’t find any Dutch masters or pastoral scenes on these walls. This is the place to come when you want to see something out of the ordinary, and maybe leave a bit shaken up. We should probably mention, it’s closed until September 27th when the Autumn season of exhibitions kicks off.

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Somerset House

     
Strand, WC2R
Nearest Tube: Temple

Somerset House began its life in 1547 as a London pied-a-terre for one Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset. Sadly for him, he was executed at the Tower of London before he could move in (that’s always the way, isn’t it?), but the daughter of King Henry VIII did crash here for a spell, right before she was crowned Queen Elizabeth I in 1558. It’s now home to the Courtauld Institute – one of the finest collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings in the world. Every November, the courtyard transforms into a glittering ice rink, but get in now if you’re planning to get your skates on – tickets are already on sale and they go pretty quickly.

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Tate Modern

Bankside, SE1
Nearest Tube: London Bridge

This glamorous younger sister of the four Tate Galleries stole the show when it opened in 2000 – over five million visitors passed through its doors, double that of the other three branches combined. The Tate Modern houses art from 1900 to the present, including Andy Warhol’s infamous Marilyn Monroe prints and Salvador Dalí’s Lobster Phone (exactly what it sounds like). The main collection is free, but there’s usually an a special event on that’s worth the extra cash. Right now, it’s an exhibition of black artists from the Civil Rights movement and beyond. £29 not only gets you in, but lets you sample two-courses from a soul food inspired menu in the restaurant.

The View from The Shard

Railway Approach, SE1
Nearest Tube: London Bridge

At 95 stories and 1,016 feet high, The Shard is the tallest building in the UK (and the 4th tallest in Europe and the 96th tallest in the world, not that it’s keeping track or anything). Lest you think it’s just a super-cool selfie backdrop, they’ve recently introduced two new virtual reality experiences for thrill-seekers. Depending on your level of bravado, you can pick between racing down a virtual slide at over 100mph or test your nerves on the “Vertigo” experience, which simulates the feeling of being balanced on a ledge as the building falls away behind you. Maybe plan lunch for after?

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Victoria & Albert Museum

  
Cromwell Road, SW7
Nearest Tube: South Kensington

Another one for the “world’s largest collection” list – this time for decorative arts and design. If you can wear it, sit on it, or hang it on a wall, you’re likely to find a priceless example of it at the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington. There’s a labyrinth of rooms to explore, containing everything from Wedgwood ceramics to Dior dresses and even the 16th century Great Bed of Ware, which reportedly accommodates four couples. Moving swiftly on – it’s fair to say that the V&A has upped the stakes for blockbuster exhibitions in the last few years with its sold-out retrospectives of both David Bowie and Alexander McQueen. If that sounds like your thing, we think it’s worth buying an annual membership. £64 gets you free, unlimited entry to exhibitions and a pretty cool looking card for your wallet.

London Eye

Westminster Bridge Road
Nearest Tube: Waterloo

The Eye is something every Londoner should experience at least once, if only to find out why it’s the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom. When it opened in 2000, it captured the title of highest public viewing point in London, though it’s since been pipped to the post by The Shard (more on that later). Prices start at £23.45 for you organized types who like to book online, or if you really want to impress clients at your next meeting, you can spring for a private capsule and have a brainstorming session in the sky. See if you can spot our Trafalgar Square store.

London’s best cultural attractions are among the best in the world.

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