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A trip to London simply must include a trip to the glowering presence of the Tower of London and the iconic dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral. But sometimes small is beautiful, so we think you should also take time to join the locals at play – and what better way than in a drop-dead gorgeous pub?

1. Cittie of Yorke pub

To understand London you must understand the lure of the pub and this is one of London's finest. First established in 1430 the Cittie has three bars but the best is the cavernous vaulted space at the rear dominated by a series of enormous wine vats. Grab a spot in the intimate wooden 'snugs’. Cheers!

2. Shakespeare’s Globe

Since it opened in 1997 the Globe has become a quintessential London experience. Watching Shakespeare in a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre just 200 metres or so from the original is not to be missed. There are tours but the play’s the thing.

3. Tower Hamlets, East London

From rags to riches in one generation, this formerly rough borough now houses some of the trendiest areas in Britain. Check out the Sunday morning Columbia Road flower market, the village atmosphere of Shoreditch and the top-notch curries of Brick Lane. 

4. Greenwich

The home of the Cutty Sark tea clipper, the National Maritime Museum and Greenwich Mean Time at the Royal Observatory. The town centre is a pretty collection of Victorian and Georgian buildings with lots of pubs, restaurants and shops. The weekend markets are an interesting mix of arts and crafts and food stalls.

5. Tower of London

Built in 1078 this impressive castle is a 1000-year-old palimpsest on which is written the history of the capital. In its time it's been a prison, a royal home, an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie and, today, the home of the Crown Jewels. A tour is de rigueur if you want to understand London.

6. St Paul’s Cathedral 

Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece – started in 1675 and finished in 1708 as part of rebuilding work after the Great Fire of London – has long been a symbol of British identity. Check out the acoustics of the Whispering Gallery or head down into the crypt where Wren, Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington are buried.

7. Palace of Westminster/Westminster Abbey

Close enough to be lumped in to one visit, these two structures are where London’s history is writ large. Westminster Abbey is a soaring, ethereal hymn to more than 1000 years of history while the neo-gothic pile of the Palace of Westminster is the seat of the UK government. Tours of both are recommended.

8. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The centerpiece of the London Olympics in 2012 is now a sprawling, bustling park covering 227 hectares in Stratford, East London. You must take your cossie and swim in the amazing Olympic pool. 

9. Thames River boat cruise

See London from the back of a boat along the Thames. There are several companies that provide these tours and most of them operate somewhere between the Thames Barrier out east to Westminster in the west. A great way to see the capital.

10. London Eye

This giant Ferris wheel wasn’t much liked when it first opened in March 2000 but Londoners and tourists alike have since taken it to their hearts. This is perhaps because the 30-minute trip in the pod-like glass capsules allows glorious views of London.