28 Feb

Top London Tourist Attractions

No matter your reason for visiting, London has something for everyone. History buffs looking to brush up on the British narrative will delight in the Tower of London. Admirers of art or theater will praise the National Gallery and the West End Theatre District, while fans of the monarchy can’t skip Buckingham Palace. Below are the nine best Tourist Attractions for first time and veteran visitors. 

 

Big Ben

London is a city of icons. Red buses, black taxis, phone boxes, Parliament, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. There is, though, one icon above all others, our Eiffel Tower and Empire State: Big Ben. The bell and the tower is rings in has long been the pictorial symbol for the capital and is now a must for tourists, but still beautiful to those who pass it daily.

 

The London Eye 

The London Eye is 135 meters high, which makes it one the world’s tallest observation wheels. It has 32 capsules and carries around 10,000 visitors every day. The London Eye has become the most popular paid-for UK visitor attraction, visited by over 3.5 million people a year. While traveling in complete safety you can see up to 40 kilometers away in all directions from each capsule.

The London Eye really has to be included in a trip to London. Because of the way the capsules are suspended it allows for a full 360-degree panorama when you’re at the top of the wheel. Tickets can be booked online, which really is the right thing to do as it saves a lot of time. The queues look long when you arrive, but they move quickly as everyone is issued with a timed ticket. Don’t forget your camera!

 

Tower Bridge

Completed in 1894, Tower Bridge is one of the world’s most famous bascule (a French term for “see-saw”) bridges: It opens in the middle to allow tall boats on the Thames to pass through. Catch a glimpse of the bridge opening (lift times are posted on the Tower Bridge website), and walk across its high-level glass floor walkways 42 metres above the Thames!

 

Buckingham Palace 

You can’t visit London without taking a trip to see the official residence of The Queen. Buckingham Palace is open to visitors from July to September and you have the opportunity to see the state rooms and also the royal gardens. The state rooms are beautifully furnished with lavish ornaments and they’re still used by the royal family when entertaining their guests.

If you’re visiting the palace between May and July you’ll have the chance to see the ceremonious Changing of the Guard. This takes place at around 11.30am and you’ll be able to see the colourful tradition that regularly attracts a huge crowd of spectators.

 

St Paul’s Cathedral

Arguably one of the most spectacular buildings in all of London, St Paul’s Cathedral stands tall and proud as an iconic monument in the centre of the city. You can marvel at the beautiful domed cathedral from the outside or take a multimedia tour inside to really get to know St Paul’s.If you’re feeling energetic then you can climb up into the dome, first visiting the Whispering Gallery with incredible acoustics before catching your breath and climbing up to the Golden Gallery. From here you can enjoy the break-taking panoramic view across London which will make that climb well worth it.

 

Trafalgar Square 

How could you miss one of the capital’s most iconic areas? Come and marvel at Nelson’s Column and the four huge lion statues. Feeding the pigeons is now discouraged (due to the spread of diseases), so please don’t bring them any treats.

On the north side of Trafalgar Square, you can visit the National Gallery and just around the corner on St. Martin’s Lane is the National Portrait Gallery. Both have free permanent displays and regular special exhibitions.

Trafalgar Square was designed by John Nash in the 1820s and constructed in the 1830s. It is both a tourist attraction and the main focus for political demonstrations. Look out for the George Washington Statueand the World’s Smallest Police Box, as well as the London Nose. Within walking distance of Trafalgar Square, you can easily go shopping in Covent Garden, have a meal in Chinatown, walk down Whitehall to Parliament Square and see the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, or walk down the Mall to Buckingham Palace.

 

Victoria and Albert Museum

Named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the V&A wears the crown as the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design. Its priceless collection includes sculptures, paintings, ceramics, fashion, drawings, and books from ancient times to present day. Like most of London’s museums, admission to the Victoria and Albert is free

 

The Tate Modern 

Tate Modern is the national gallery of international modern and contemporary art from 1900 onwards. The gallery opened in 2000 in a converted power station on the south bank of the Thames in an imposing position opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral. You can visit again and again as it’s free and the modern art displays change quite frequently. You’ll often find enormous installations in the Turbine Hall on the ground floor. Right outside is the Millennium Bridge (the one that was ‘wobbly’ when it first opened).

 

The Natural History Museum 

The Natural History Museum is all about discovering the natural world around us and appeals to all age groups. I remember seeing the dinosaurs when I was five years old, and seeing them now still gives me the same tingle down my spine. The Blue Whale is outrageous to see as you really can’t imagine how big a life-size model has to be until you walk underneath it. Don’t miss ‘The Power Within’, where you can experience what an earthquake feels like!

The Natural History Museum is one of the big three museums in South Kensington. It’s a wonderful Victorian building housing the weird and wonderful of the natural world, and every winter there is an ice rink on the east lawn: Natural History Museum Ice Rink.

 

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