Where to begin? One of the most beautiful buildings in London is also home to one of the richest natural history collections in the world. This is also one of the few museums that pulls off the trick of being immediate and exciting enough for children while providing the kind of depth that keeps adults coming back time and again. Unbelievably, it's also free.
Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD; Nearest tube: South Kensington; www.nhm.ac.uk/
The Eiffel Tower might be the iconic choice, but my favourite view of Paris is from here. Take a leisurely stroll through the shops of the young designers in Abbesses and up through touristy (but still enchanting) Montmartre, and there it is - the whole of Paris laid out beneath you in quite the most spectacular fashion.
The closest metro stations are Anvers, Abbesses, Château-Rouge and Lamarck-Caulaincourt, but I always think half the fun is walking there.
The fact that this is the largest bookstore in Europe, providing a huge range of author events throughout the year, is only one element of its appeal. The cafe on the fifth floor, complete with stunning views to the south, is the perfect place to pass a couple of quiet hours flicking through the bestsellers.
203-206 Piccadilly; Nearest tube: Piccadilly
A huge selection of bottled lager, great, unintrusive music and more table football than you could ever reasonably need. This is a refreshing, fun change from the usual London bars.
43 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell,EC1R 4QL; Nearest tube: Farringdon or Angel; Bus: 19 or 38 from the West End; www.cafekick.co.uk
During the week, the City is a place to be avoided, but come Saturday morning it is eerily, magically silent. The chance to walk the empty streets and explore the extraordinary number of churches, all utterly different in architectural style and atmosphere, should not be passed up.
Nearest tubes: Bank, St Paul's, Mansion House, Monument
A genuinely unique experiment, this Site of Special Scientific Interest features 40 hectares of created wetland in the midst of the city, and should not be missed for its beauty and for the diversity of the plants and animals that thrive there.
From Hammersmith tube a 'Duck Bus' (number 283) will take you to the Centre in ten minutes; www.wwt.org.uk
Re-energised since Nicholas Hytner became the artistic director two years ago, The National has finally begun to reflect 21st century Britain, with productions as diverse as Henry IV, Jerry Springer: The Opera and Elmina's Kitchen. As a result, the whole place is buzzing again, with the most diverse and vital audience of any major artistic venue in Britain. £10 tickets for the TravelEx plays make the whole package even more attractive.
South Bank, SE1 9PX; Nearest tube: Waterloo or Embankment; www.nt-online.org/
This beautiful Viennese salon serves what can only be described as the greatest hot chocolate in the world. Don't bother ordering any of the delicious pastries - half a cup of this is enough to wipe out the most demanding appetite. Decadent, indulgent and glorious.
226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris; Metro: Tuileries; www.angelina.fr/
Shopping on Kensington High Street can be a fraught affair, so cut into Holland Park, ignoring the initial, undistinguished expanse of grass crammed with sunbathers and footballers, and find the little patch of heaven that is the Japanese Garden. Avoid the weekends when it is over-run by tourists, and you are guaranteed to forget that you're in one of the busiest cities in the world.
Kensington High Street; Nearest tube: High Street Kensington or Holland Park; www.rbkc.gov.uk/ParksAndGardens/HollandPark/default.asp
London's loss is Paris's gain. Peter Brook, perhaps the finest theatre director in the world, runs this extraordinary theatre, one of the most beautifully dilapidated buildings in Paris. Now in his eighties, it is worth catching one of his shows whilst he is still at the height of his powers.
37 bis, Bd de la Chapelle 75010; Nearest Metro: La Chapelle
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