If you’re new to London, try an open-top bus tour such as the Original London Sightseeing Tour. Pick up a Red River Rover pass, and you can hop on and off one of the River Cruise sightseeing boats as often as you like for up to 72 hours.
The Imperial War Museum is only 10 minutes walk from Waterloo station towards Elephant & Castle, and the Florence Nightingale Museum is even closer, within the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital. A 2-minute walk from the station will find you on the South Bank, slap-bang in the middle of the location for countless memorable film scenes. Right in front of you is the Coca-Cola London Eye – book ahead to avoid the queues and get discounts on other attractions too.
Keep walking with the Thames on your left and you’ll hit the Southbank Centre, with its instantly recognisable concrete architecture. It squeezes a lot in – the Hayward Gallery, the Royal Festival Hall, the British Film Institute and the National Theatre, plus plenty of places to eat and drink. You can book any film, show or exhibition in advance. Just along the bank, you can soak in more of the view at the Oxo Tower, with its galleria beneath with boutique shops.
Further out of town, you'll find Greenwich Park - just a short ride by river boat from Embankment or Blackfriars Pier. This used to be the site of the Royal Naval College, designed by Sir Christopher Wren - and now home to a Greenwich University, as well as the Cutty Sark. If you're lucky, you'll arrive on a day where the chapel is being used for practice - and find yourself treated to an impromptu classical concert.