Certainly the sporting events are the top priority to anyone heading to London for the Olympics. But, if it's possible to break away from the drama of the Games, there's plenty to see around town.

History buffs might want to follow the trail of the city's blue plaques. According to English Heritage, the plaques scheme was founded in 1866 and "commemorates the link between notable figures of the past and the buildings in which they lived and worked."

The project now comprises approximately 850 plaques, which hang on the homes once inhabited by artists, musicians, scientists, literary figures et al.

We know visitors will only have a short time to pursue the plaques before the next game or race starts, so, thanks to DK Publishing, we present a list of the top 10 blue plaques around Londontown. And, for even more to-dos in the city, check out DK Eyewitness Travel's "Top 10 London."

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  • #10 Giuseppe Mazzini

    From 1837 to 1849 the Italian revolutionary and patriot (1805-72) lived at No. 183 Gower Street.

  • #9 Henry James

    The American writer (1843-1916) lived in Bolton Street, de Vere Gardens, and in Cheyne Walk, where he died. Correction: A previous image showed the plaque of a different Henry James.

  • #8 Jimi Hendrix

    The American guitarist (1942-1970) stayed in central London at No. 23 Brook Street (left).

  • #7 Mahatma Gandhi

    The "father" of India's independence movement (1869-1948) studied law in the Inner Temple in 1889.

  • #6 Mark Twain

    The American humorist (1835-1910) lived for a year at No. 23 Tedworth Square.

  • #5 Dwight Eisenhower

    During World War II the Allied Commander (1880-1969) lived at No. 20 Grosvenor Square, near the US embassy.

  • #4 Charles de Gaulle

    The exiled general (1890-1970) organized the Free French Forces from No. 6 Carlton Terrace during World War II.

  • #3 Charlie Chaplin

    The much-loved movie actor (1889-1977) was born at No. 287 Kennington Road.

  • #2 Benjamin Franklin

    The US statesman and scientist (1706-90) lived for a time at No. 38 Craven Street.

  • #1 Wolfgang A. Mozart

    The German composer (1756-91) wrote his first symphony, aged eight, while at No. 180 Ebury Street.