Museum of London - London has a long and varied history, from the prehistoric period, through Roman, Tudor, Victorian eras, to the present day. This museum is chock full of goodies, especially the archaeological stuff, such as 2,000 year old skulls that might be Londoners' heads, lopped off by Queen Boudica, re-creation of a Roman house in London, and finds from the Temple of Mithras.
Other items in the collection include Queen Victoria's dolls, a Victorian walk with toyshop, barber, tailor, pharmacy etc., and 700 years of fashion.
You can't miss the Lord Mayor of London's over-the-top gilded coach, decorated with dragons and cherubs. Photo above is City of London coat of arms on the mayor's coach.
The museum is free.
- Next door to the museum is a section of the Roman wall (the straight part), with a round 13th century medieval tower added on. Ask at the desk for printed directions how to get to the Roman wall.
St. Paul's Cathedral - St. Paul's Cathedral is a crown jewel of English Baroque architecture, designed by Christopher Wren. My kids just loved looking out over London from the top of the cathedral.
Get to St. Paul's early before it gets crowded, and climb up to the Whispering Gallery in the huge dome above the church floor. The acoustics are so good you can hear someone whispering on the other side of the gallery (we heard the gallery guards gossiping). Continue climbing up to the Stone Gallery, and up to the highest gallery, for a pigeon's eye view of London.
The crypt is packed with tombs of admirals and military heroes, most notably Nelson and Wellington.
Bank of England Museum - Bank of England was founded in 1694 as a government bank, and today it issues money (pound sterling) and stores gold.
In the museum, learn about the history of the pound sterling, oldest currency in the world. In Anglo-Saxon times, 240 pennies made up a pound. See examples of historic coinage, and today's currency.
In another room are gold bars (including a Roman gold bar), and kids can try to lift a gold bar – it weighs 28 lbs (13 kg)!
Enter on the Museum on Batholomew Lane. Bank of England Museum is free.
The Monument - In 1666, London was consumer by a Great Fire, which started in Pudding Lane. The Monument is a memorial to the fire, built near to location where the fire started.
Climb up 311 steps to the top, goes round and round (no landings to stop and take a breath). The column is higher and has more steps than climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. From the viewing platform are good views of the Tower Bridge, and skyscrapers such as the Shard and Gherkin.
When you get back down the ground, kids will get a certificate that they climbed "311 steps of the Monument."
Walk along the Thames (Victoria Embankment) - Take a stroll along Victoria Embankment from Blackfriar's Bridge to Westminster. There are gardens on one side, and broad sidewalks along the Thames itself.
Don't miss Cleopatra's Needle
, an Egyptian obelisk more than 3,500 years old. The poor obelisk had quite a trip from Alexandria. It was sunk in the Bay of Biscay, dredged up, and finally put here along the Thames.