Central London is loosely defined geographical area that constitutes the core of the city’s history and virtually all of the most iconic attractions. It encompasses numerous Central London neighborhoods including the entire City of Westminster—the Square Mile that was the original medieval walled city. While the geographic boundaries are loosely defined, most references say that Central London lies within the Circle Line of the underground transportation system. Its three primary districts are the City (generally referring only to Westminster), the West End, and South Bank. If you have taken advantage of the London Pass, this area is all located in Zone 1.
The things to do in Central London include sightseeing tours of just about every major attraction in London, including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and the Houses of Parliament. These are all located in the City of Westminster. This is the area to find the most popular historic walks in Central London as it is primarily the Westminster streets and buildings of Old London that were the haunts of such famous real and fictional characters as Jack the Ripper, Sherlock Holmes, the Demon Barber Sweeney Todd, and the characters from the works of Charles Dickens. These walks give you entry to the narrow Victorian cobbled lanes and alleys where the famous double-decker buses and signature black taxis cannot go.
Things to do in Central London in the West End area also include visiting numerous museums. This is additionally the theater and nightlife area—especially in the Soho and Kensington (home of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens) neighborhoods. Here you will find street after street filled with Broadway-style theaters, as well as the Old Vic, the Barbican Centre, the Royal Opera House, and Albert Hall. The neighborhood of Bayswater (which includes Hyde Park) is home to the Marble Arch, based on the triumphal arch of Constantine in Rome; Kensington Palace, most recently the home of Diana Princess of Wales; the Natural History Museum; Harrods Department Store; and the Opus Dei Headquarters of the UK. The neighborhood of Paddington is located just north of Hyde Park, and boasts historic Paddington Station, designed by Brunel and opened in 1847, and the Paddington Green Police Station, the most important high-security police station in the UK.
The East End comprises the eastern border of Westminster, and includes Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, the city’s financial district, Canary Wharf, and the arenas hosting the 2012 Olympics. Another popular place for walks in Central London is on the south side of the Thames River in the borough of Southwark. This is the location of South Bank, a riverside promenade that stretches for more than two miles between London Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge, encompassing the giant Ferris wheel known as the London Eye, the London Aquarium, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern, and the Oxo Tower with its famous stained glass logo windows. One of the most popular things to do in Central London is to enjoy Thames river cruises, which generally follow the river along the South Bank walking route. This route gives you magnificent views of both sides of the river, the impressive riverfront part of the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and even views of St Pauls Cathedral.
Shopping walks in Central London often go through Westminster and the West End area, which is where famous shopping areas that include the charming shops and boutiques of Covent Garden, Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus, and the famous antiques stores of Portobello Road. There are even Central London Beatles walks that often visit Abbey Road Studios and garden walks and bicycle tours are popular in the many parks.