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London – Arts and Culture

Things to see and do

There is probably no more vibrant city than London when it comes to culture. Enjoy a wealth of big budget West End shows, smaller scale off-West End productions, hundreds of gigs every night as well as some of the world's finest and best-stocked museums and galleries.

Duckie Cabaret, Royal Vauxhall Tavern
Amy Lamé hosts this arty party playgroup for gays, their friends and fans, with resident DJs Readers Wifes handling the dancefloor. Probably the most consistently adventurous, provocative and funny cabaret in London.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Palace Theatre
The most successful Aussie musical of all time has taken up residence in London’s West End. Don Gallagher stars as Bernadette and is joined by heartthrob Ben Richards as Tick and handsome young leading man Oliver Thornton as Adam. Helping out when things threaten to get out-of-hand is Ray Meagher as Bob, the mechanic. Winner of 4 What’s on Stage Awards in 2010.

Legally Blonde, Savoy Theatre
The show is based on the 2001 film starring Reese Witherspoon. Sheridan Smith plays the blond and brilliant chihuahua-toting Elle. She's ditzy, she superficial, but most of all, she's a blonde - one whose incredible lightness of being blinds others to her true brilliance.

Wicked, Apollo Victoria
This show prequel's sly references to 'The Wizard of Oz' are hugely enjoyable. The musical tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two girls who first meet as sorcery students.

Tate Modern, Bankside
Whether you're interested in modern art or not - and this is the world's biggest modern art gallery - there's a lot to be excited about at Tate Modern: its location opposite St. Paul's, the brutal architecture, even the restaurant is not to be missed.

Banksy in London
Cropping up unexpectedly on walls around London, he stencils pictures of people and animals engaged in rather unexpected behavior. You'll need to look twice to see if you really have just seen a cat building an elaborate bird trap.

National Portrait Gallery, Charing Cross Road
The only National Portrait Gallery in the world, this neighbour of the National Gallery with one of the world's finest collections, covers subjects from Queen Elizabeth I to Kate Moss in paint, sketch and photograph. The attic restaurant is also first rate.

Royal Opera House, Bow Street
There is something to appeal to every ballet and opera taste in the 2011 Season including: Verve, Aida, Macbeth and Rufus Wainwright.

The O2
Not only one of the world's premier venues (the facilities are like nothing you've ever seen in a stadium), the O2 is also something of a modern architectural masterpiece. See listings – Westlife and Peter Andre are due this year - for the global megastars playing here. Another must see is the British Music Experience.

London Parks
London is one of the greenest capitals in the world. Its fabulous parks are loved by Londoners all year round. From sunbathing in the summer, to brisk, refreshing walks in the winter, there's always a reason to visit London's parks.

Saatchi Gallery, King's Road
Fresh in its new location in Chelsea, The Saatchi Gallery is a hub for contemporary art, presenting work by largely unseen young artists or by established international artists whose work has been rarely or never exhibited in the UK.

Changing the Guard, Buckingham Palace
For a display of British pomp and ceremony, watch the Changing the Guard ceremony outside Buckingham Palace. This is where one member of The Queen's Guards exchanges duty with the previous guard. Both guards are dressed in traditional red tunics and bearskin hats, and the ceremony is set to music.

South London Gallery
With an international reputation for its program of exhibitions and live art events, the South London Gallery is one of London's most important contemporary art spaces. A renowned platform for young artists, the gallery has also shown the likes of Tracey Emin, Mark Quinn and Julian Schnabel. Exhibitions and many events are free.

London Eye
EDF Energy London Eye isn't just one of London's top tourist attractions; it's an extraordinary piece of engineering design and architecture.

London Walking Tours
Discover Shakespeare’s haunts, get spooked by Jack the Ripper, follow in the footsteps of your favorite celebrity or discover some hidden gems on a London Walking Tour. Guided walking tours take place all year round in London. For many, you can just turn up and join in: there's often no need to book unless you are in a large group.

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