Being one of the largest cities in the world, London offers a wide variety of sights and experiences. One of the most striking things about London is the history which can be traced back, particularly in some of the now iconic landmarks.
The Underground is the ideal way to get around the city at speed, however, you will miss a lot of general sights and atmosphere of the city if you spend all the travel time by the Tube. Perhaps mix with some bus rides, or even walking, which can often prove just as quick to get to a location. Best bet is to check a map beforehand and see just how close your next location is.
A great way to get your bearings is to take a hop-on and hop-off bus tour, allowing you to see all the sights and attractions within this city. City Sightseeing* operate an open-top bus tour where you can hop-on and hop-off as much as you like at any of the bus stops on the route.
Below you will find a guide to some of the worthwhile activities on any trip to the city.
Ideally situated to take some good pictures of, Buckingham Palace is seemingly constantly surrounded by tourists taking a photo. Ensure you get a picture taken in front of the gates, with the palace in the background, as well as by the central fountain located opposite.
Tower of London
The Tower of London is home to the Crown Jewels and is yet another historic landmark within the city. Today a popular tourist attraction, the Tower of London holds a rich history which is really worth taking the time to explore.
One of the defining symbols of London, Tower Bridge is an impressive sight when viewed from the banks of the River Thames. Opened in 1894, Tower Bridge offers an exhibition whereby you can visit inside, see the walkway and the Victorian engine rooms.
Houses of Parliament & Big Ben
Tours are available of Parliament, however, the outside of the Palace of Westminster is well worth observing. Consisting of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the Palace spans an impressive area and can be seen clearly from both Westminster Bridge and on the opposite side of the River Thames.
The British Museum holds a history of humankind, the Natural History Museum provides a viewpoint of the natural world, whilst the National Gallery holds over 2,000 paintings from the Middle Ages onward. These are but three of the many museums located in London, a good portion of which are free to visit. Always a worthwhile visit within any city, museums give an informative and interesting experience.
London's oldest food market, with roots traceable back for 1,000 years, this area offers a historical feast alongside a practical modern-day outlook. Ideal to gain a true taste of London.
A world-famous theatre district, London's West End is a great place to take in a show, whether big or small.
The London Eye provides, on a clear day, incredibly impressive views across the whole of London. The pods provide an ideal viewing platform, as you can walk around the inside of them to gain different viewpoints as the Eye slowly spins the pods around it. Have a camera handy, as from the top you will want to be ready to take some spectacular photos.
Home to over a thousand years of history, the Abbey is arguably the central location of the key events in British history. From every coronation since 1066 to the final resting place of seventeen monarchs, Westminster Abbey is an impressive and historical site within the City of Westminster.
St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral is an imposing structure and iconic landmark on the London skyline. One of the largest churches in the world, built between 1675 and 1710, St Paul's is situated on Ludgate Hill, which is London's highest point.
What is London's highest viewing platform, the Shard offers excellent views on a clear day across the capital. Book online for timed arrival tickets, allowing for minimal queue time and enjoy the view at your leisure once at the viewing floors.
Feeling like you are in the centre of London when stood amongst the crowds at Trafalgar Square, this is an ideal destination to really get a feel of the city. Nelson's Column dominates the square, built to honour Admiral Nelson following the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The surrounding lions sit watch, supposedly protecting the column. Fountains and statues add to the experience, as do the multitude of ever-present pigeons!
London has a wide selection of parks to enjoy, with Hyde Park covering an area of 350 acres. Set in the heart of London, Hyde Park is ideally located to step away from the busy streets surrounding it. Hyde Park offers a variety of activities throughout the year whilst allowing you to relax in the green surroundings.
Where to Stay
When visiting a city, booking a short hotel stay can allow you to have a good base to go on and explore the city centre and its attractions. There are a number of hotel options available in and around London, including Intercontinental*, Hotel Indigo*, Crowne Plaza*, Holiday Inn*, Radisson Blu*, Hilton*, and Premier Inn*.
The above article offers an overview of some of the highlights this area has to offer, however for a more complete guide we recommend the travel guide for London, from Lonely Planet.
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