This coming summer, enroute to a river cruise in France, we will be in London for two days. Churchill’s War Room is definitely on our list. Other suggestions? Thanking you in advance. Note: Four travelers - 71, 68, 40, and 38 y.o.
While I haven’t got to visit London yet, we did recently publish a London itinerary which is now on my bucket list.
I’m seconding Eric’s recommendation to check out that itinerary—and not just because I wrote it Places on it, like the Banqueting House, are super close to Churchill’s War Room, and the other attractions in/around Trafalgar Square are also nearby. Also, since the War Room is near St. Jame’s Park, you should take a stroll through the park and say hello to its resident pelicans!
I would highly recommend the V&A if you only have time for one museum. Because it’s one of the big capital museums, it’s free to enter (no lines even) so you can spend as little as you want there and it will still feel worthwhile.
When I visited, Holland Park was my favorite green space, because of the phenomenal Dutch and Japanese gardens, which are adjacent to each other. Also, the peacocks!
You’ll also do well to pop into some historic pubs. My favorite was the Black Friar.
Everyone’s given you really good suggestions so far, but I also quite like the National Portrait Gallery if you have time.
The Old Operating Theatre and Herb Garret was one of my favorite discoveries on a recent trip to London. You head up a winding narrow spiral staircase to discover an attic apothecary full of medicinal herbs and information about the history of medicine and the oldest operating theatre in Britain. It’s fascinating and a lot less grim than it sounds!
Touring Highgate Cemetery is also an incredible experience. The grounds are beautifully overgrown and wild and filled with history.
And Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a fantastic pub that was once a monastery, with lots of rooms and corridors to explore and a large blazing fireplace. Also check out Gordon’s, the oldest wine bar in London which is incredibly atmospheric and special, but get there either early or late because it gets bombarded with a post-work crowd in the early evening.
If you’re interested in the War Rooms you might like the Imperial War Museum as well. It’s very in-depth so it can take a while to go through, but well worth it if you’re into history. Plus it’s free.
The Wellcome Collection is really cool. I finally got a chance to check it out last time I was in London, and I highly recommend it.
Also if you’re looking for a really great dinner, there’s an amazing Polish restaurant in South Kensington near the V&A called Daquise. Everything I had there was wonderful.
Since you’ll be in the area for the War Rooms, I’d recommend the tour of Parliament. It’s a cool building (Westminster Hall dates from 1097!) and the audio tour is very informative. St. Paul’s Cathedral and the area around it is also great if you’re a history buff, which it sounds like you are. There’s a couple bombed-out churches preserved from the Blitz (including one right next door to St. Paul’s) that are really haunting and beautiful.
If you like theater and can see a show at the Globe, do.
Also seconding Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, and if you like food, the Borough Market (huge open-air market) in Southwark is great.