Country: United Kingdom Language: English Currency: British Pound (£)
London is an incredibly historic city in the United Kingdom. The home of Kings and Queens for centuries, it is one of the most popular cities, and is visited by tourists from all over the world. London is an ideal holiday destination for every traveler… It has the perfect mix of history, architecture, entertainment, food, and culture. In the summer months, London comes alive with markets at every turn. In the winter, the city continues its unrelenting bustle with Christmas markets, concerts, and holiday events. Indulge in some of London’s many restaurants, grab a beer at a London Pub, or enjoy a glass of Pimm’s in the park. Then, you can explore London’s history on foot and end your day seeing a show on the West End. Whether you are into history, food, shopping, or entertainment, London will provide the perfect holiday for any solo traveler, couple, or family.
CTW Must See
The London Eye is one of the quintessential features of London. Sitting on the River Thames at 443 meters tall, the London Eye was the world’s tallest ferris wheel when it was built in 2000. It has since been surpassed by the Singapore Flyer and the High Roller in Vegas, but is still Europe’s largest ferries wheel!
Avoid long lines and higher prices, book your tickets online at the official site - londoneye.com
The Palace of Westminster and Big Ben
The Palace of Westminster and Big Ben are two more classic London landmarks. While the palace, the clock face, the bell, and the clock tower all have separate names, most tourists have used “Big Ben” to refer to the whole building block. The Palace of Westminster was originally built in 1016, but was destroyed by a fire in 1834. It was rebuilt between 1840 and 1870, and has undergone some renovations and extensions since then. Big Ben was completed in 1859 and stands 96 meters tall among the London skyline.
The historic 'abbey' dates back to 960. Ironically, since 1560, Westminster Abbey has no longer been considered an abbey but is a church. Since it was founded, Westminster Abbey has held many Royal events, and is considered one of the greatest churches in the world. Check out the famous tombs residing there It is now open for tours on most days of the week.
Avoid long lines by booking your tickets online at the official website - http://www.westminster-abbey.org/
St. James's Park & Green Park
St. James's Park and Green Park are two of London’s Royal Parks. These two parks are connected to each other, and also connect Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, and the Horse Guards Parade. Established in the early 1600s, St. James's Park has a large lake and displays some gorgeous views of Buckingham Palace. Green Park doesn’t have any lakes and is mostly greenery. Together, these two parks make up just over 100 acres and both will lead you directly to the Queen's House, Buckingham Palace.
Buckingham Palace has been the residence of the Royal Family since the 1800s. The palace has 775 rooms and has the largest private garden in the city. Buckingham Palace is open for tours during the summer and for certain occasions during the winter. The Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace is a special ceremony that occurs in the morning out front. It is a great way to see the famous London Guards in action!
See the official website for updated times http://changing-guard.com/dates-buckingham-palace.html
Hyde Park is 350 acres, making it the largest of the four Royal Parks. Established in 1637, Hyde Park has seen many historic events, including duels, demonstrations and protests. Today, it is home to a number of social events, including the music festivals, and London’s Winter Wonderland, one of Europe’s largest Christmas Markets.
Royal Albert Hall & Kensington Gardens
Royal Albert Hall is a popular concert hall that was built in 1871. It has hosted innumerable music events, including the 1968 Eurovision Song Contest, which was the first to be broadcast in color; the 25th anniversary performance of The Phantom of the Opera; and the BBC Proms. Kensington Gardens, just across the street from Royal Albert Hall, is the last of the Royal Parks of London. The garden contains the Albert Memorial, in memory of Prince Albert, the Peter Pan statue, and the Elfin Oak, the trunk of an oak tree that has been carved with fairies and elves.
As one of London’s largest squares, Trafalgar Square has huge historical significance. The square has been used for a number of gatherings, and is endorsed by many museums and galleries, including the National Gallery. The National Gallery was founded in 1824 and holds more than two thousand paintings and sculptures dating back to the 13th century. Some of the most notable works on display in the National Gallery include van Gogh’s Sunflowers and George Stubbs’ Whistlejacket.
Horse Guards Parade
Horse Guards Parade is a parade ground that is used for royal parades and ceremonies. It was formerly the Headquarters of the British Army. This large parade ground hosted beach volleyball during the 2012 Summer Olympics, and has a daily Changing of the Guards Ceremony, much like the one at Buckingham Palace. This ceremony tends to have less of a crowd than Buckingham, making it a perfect photo opportunity!
Piccadilly Circus is a large street junction that connects many London neighborhoods. It’s most known for the large neon signs and screens that take up the majority of the circle. Slightly resembling New York’s Times Square, The Circus is very busy with cars and people, and is generally the meeting point for those heading to West End, Trafalgar Square, Soho, or other nearby neighborhoods.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
On Ludgate Hill, St. Paul’s Cathedral sits on the highest point in London. It held some of the most remembered funerals and weddings of all time. The cathedral still has daily prayer and worship sessions that are open to the public. The dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the highest in the world and the second largest religious building in the UK. The original building was built in 1256, but was destroyed by a fire in 1666. The St. Paul’s we see today, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was built in 1675.
Natural History Museum
London’s Natural History Museum has five main collections and holds over 80 million items. The building was completed in 1881. after nearly ten years under construction. The museum holds some of the oldest and most significant collections, including specimens collected by Charles Darwin! The Natural History Museum’s most notable exhibit is the 32 meter long Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton “Dippy” located in the central hall of the museum.
Book tickets in advance from the official website - https://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/book-tickets.html
Tower of London
A historic UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Tower of London was built between 1078 (following the Norman Conquest of 1066) and 1400. A tour of the tower will you show the dazzling Crown Jewels. The collection of 23,578 Crown Jewels are still used by the Queen today for state occastions. The Tower is made up of several buildings. One of the buildings was used as a prison from 1100 to 1952; another was the royal residence. Today, the tower is a very popular tourist attraction visited by people from all over the world.
Save time by booking tickets in advance at the Tower of London website - http://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/visit-us/tickets-and-prices/
Tower Bridge is one of the most famous, and beautiful bridges in the world. It opened in 1894 and took eight years to complete. Tower Bridge stretches 240 meters across the River Thames and has two tall towers on each side. Cars and pedestrians are able to cross the bridge, crossed by over 40,000 people a day. Tower Bridge is lovely during the day, but make sure to see the bridge light up at night. It is a truly spectacular sight.
As part of London’s business district, London’s City Hall and the Shard are among some of the more modern buildings. Completed in 2002, London’s City Hall is a unique circular shape, designed this way to improve energy efficiency. The Shard opened in early 2013 and stands 95 stories high, making it the tallest building in the UK and the 4th largest in Europe. Southwark is made up of London’s most modern buildings, creating a completely different atmosphere to the rest of the city.
Along the River Thames, Shakespeare’s Globe opened in 1997, in place of the original theatre that stood nearby in 1599. The theatre was built to resemble the original theatre, after careful research and design trials. It opened with a performance of Henry V and has hosted many productions since then.
Heading back towards the London Eye, Southbank extends along the river all the way to the London Eye. It is seen as an entertainment center in London and has been this way since the Middle Ages. Today, Southbank holds festivals and concerts and has a variety of street performers, busters and food vendors. Let’s just say, there is never a dull moment in Southbank.
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