The Hunterian and the Sir John Soane museums face each other across Lincoln’s Inn Fields. One is a collection of medical grotesqueries and the other is the result of one man's artistic and architectural obsession where original Hogarths hang on special fold-out walls. Go if you can. In the meantime...
1. National Portrait Gallery
This imposing building, facing on to Trafalgar Square (although the entrance is round the side) is full of portraits of historically significant and famous Brits, based on the importance of the sitter not the artist. Not as stuffy as it looks or sounds. Good for a few fascinating hours.
2. Tate Modern
One of the biggest and most exciting museums of modern art in the world the Tate Modern sits on the south bank of the Thames across from St. Paul’s Cathedral. A new extension has just been opened. Free to enter though tickets are needed for temporary exhibitions.
To pick one venue out of the 40 or so theatres in the West End district would be churlish in an area said to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world. The Palace Theatre is a wonderful building but it is just one of many. Take your pick.
4. Globe Theatre
Tucked away on the Thames not far from the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe is hugely popular so if you’re planning a visit do book ahead. This is the closest you’ll come to seeing the Bard’s plays as they were originally performed.
5. Sadler’s Wells
A world leader in contemporary dance the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in Islington showcases the best of every kind of dance from Bollywood to ballet and beyond to half a million people every year – and has been doing so for more than 300 years.
6. The Royal Opera House
If your artistic tastes run to the more traditional then head for the lovely Royal Opera House (aka Covent Garden), the home of the Royal Opera, the Royal Ballet and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.
7. Comedy club
There are many, many comedy clubs in the capital but the daddy of them all is the purpose built Comedy Store in Oxendon Street near Piccadilly Circus. It’s been there forever (well, since 1979) and keeps it standards high. Good for a laugh. Or two.
It’s a hard choice, given the number of excellent live rock music venues such as Electric Ballroom and the Roundhouse, but Dingwalls in Camden has been doing it and doing it well since 1973. It also hosts the weekly Jongleurs comedy club.
If you prefer to eschew the multiplex then the 107-year-old Rio in Kingsland Road, Dalston, is the place to go. It’s a fiercely independent community cinema with just one screen in a Grade II listed art deco building. Has hosted the annual Turkish Film Festival since 1994.
10. Natural History Museum
Vast, sprawling and full of dinosaurs, there isn’t a schoolkid in London who hasn’t visited this spectacular building. There are 80,000 items inside and it’s free. And did I say there are dinosaurs? The Science Museum is close by so kill two birds with one stone.