This summer, London, understandably, is mostly concerned with heart and nerve and sinew.
The fittest, leanest, most Lycra-becoming humans alive today are to compete in the London 2012 Olympics and millions of mortals will watch with awe, excitement and possibly a little envy. And Usain Bolt will earn more fame, fortune and adulation in 10 seconds than most of us earn in a lifetime.
But there is culture of a different kind to be found too -- in the form of London's World Heritage Sites.
These UNESCO-endorsed sites have been around for decades, even centuries, and this July and August could just be the perfect time to see them.
1. Tower of London
Ever wondered what it would have been like to be strapped to the rack? See the dreaded machine in the Bloody Tower at the Tower of London and learn about various forms of torture used during the reigns of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Mary I.
From St. Thomas' Tower, where the monarch's barge was moored, walk along the south wall for a view across the river to Tower Bridge.
Down in the courtyard the resident ravens are kept in their enclosure. Legend has it that the Tower will fall if the six ravens ever leave, so seven are kept, providing one spare.
Some exhibits are interactive -- visiting school children enjoy putting on the helmets in the White Tower's armory. But these are attached to chains, so there's no taking them home.
This is where it all began, with William the Conqueror constructing a fortress here in the 11th century. The massive White Tower provided a haven in case the newly conquered English rebelled.
Fortifications were added by successive English monarchs, who also used the Tower as a prison.
The Crown Jewels are on display in the Jewel House, from diamonds to maces and crowns, the heaviest of which is the 2.23-kilo, solid gold St. Edward's crown made in 1661.
2. Westminster Abbey
We've seen it on television for Princess Diana's funeral and the wedding of William and Kate, but no visitor to London should miss stepping inside Westminster Abbey.
History tours are led by a verger, one of the laymen assisting in the church.
King Edward, later St. Edward the Confessor, built a stone church here. Consecrated in 1065, it saw William the Conqueror crowned there a year later, as England's monarchs have been ever since.
In the 13th century Henry III rebuilt the church in the Gothic style we see today. His burial here in 1272 established a royal tradition that lasted 500 years.
Many famous people have been laid to rest in the Abbey, from Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton to those in Poets' Corner like Geoffrey Chaucer, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens and Robert Burns.
In the Nave we pay our respects at the grave of the Unknown Warrior.
Other highlights include the 709-year-old wooden Coronation Chair and the marble pavement in front of the High Altar, decorated in 1268 by the Cosmati method of inlaying small pieces of colored marble into a plain background.
At the shrine of St. Edward the Confessor, steps at the base have been worn away by the knees of visitors.
Visitors can inspect the adjacent medieval St. Margaret's Church at their leisure.
3. Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
While most people know Sir Joseph Banks as the botanist who accompanied Captain James Cook on his voyage to the South Seas, which also took in the continent of Australia, many might not be aware of Banks' accomplishments on returning to England.
After he took over as head of the botanic garden at Kew in 1773 its international reputation grew, with researchers bringing botanic specimens from as far afield as India, Africa, China and Australia.