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Things to do in London - Top 10 Attractions


When choosing a place for a trip, we're usually considering on what we want to get from our travelling - adventure or relaxation, discover historic sites or all in one pocket.

Speaking of London is a classic. Destination must -to- visit, to see and remember! It offers numerous things to do, and here I'd like to focus on city's famous attractions.

Buckingham Palace in London - things to do, top attractions Buckingham Palace in London, UK. Image by © David Iliff / CC BY-SA 3.0

London is a place for everyone. Kids and adults will find themselves involved into exciting journey which is actually a visit to the Natural History Museum.

You can easily get lost among modern places right after exiting from ancient Egypt (at the British Museum). Yes it's all about London - one of the finest world capitals! And I think it is closer to all in one pocket. I'm sure you familiar with some of London symbols, like Big Ben from a Tea Box. So let's start our observations from the most noticeable Sights and Places to visit when you in the city.

Top 10 Attractions to visit in London

Westminster Abbey

This large Church in the City of Westminster (central London) is a traditional place of coronation and burial site for British monarchs. Westminster Abbey is a 'Royal peculiar', administered directly by the Crown. Every monarch since William the Conqueror has been crowned here. Full name of this UNESCO World Heritage Site - Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster.

Westminster Abbey - London things to doWestminster Abbey (west side) | London, UK. Image by © Christine Matthews / CC BY-SA 2.0

The Abbey was built in the 11th century by King Edward the Confessor. In 1245 - Henry III began work on the new building which was finished in 1388. Then Henry VII began Lady Chapel in 1503, consecrated in 1519. Finaly two western towers of the Abbey was built between 1722 and 1745.

Westminster Abbey (north entrance) - London  attractionsWestminster Abbey (north entrance) in London, UK. Image by © Christine Matthews / CC BY-SA 2.0

You might remember the last notable event here - it was the wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Kate Middleton (now Duchess of Cambridge) in April 2011.

Transport: Westminster metro station, Website: www.westminster-abbey.org , Price: adult/child £15/6, tours £3.

Buckingham Palace

Built in 1705 as Buckingham House, this palace has been the Royal Family’s London lodgings since 1837, when Queen Victoria ascended to the throne. When the monarch is in the Palace, the Royal Standard flies over the roof. Outside the main gates of the Palace is placed the Victoria Memorial, a large statue of Queen Victoria.

Buckingham Palace in London - attractionsBuckingham Palace in London, UK. Image by © Patrick Eustermann / CC BY-SA 3.0

Changing of the Guard, the major ceremony and tourist attraction, takes place on the Forecourt of Buckingham Palace (daily at 11.30am from April till August, and every other day in other months)

Changing of the guard in Buckingham Palace - London things to doChanging of the Guard in Buckingham Palace. Image by © Adrian Pingstone

Transport: Victoria metro station, Website: www.royalcollection.org.uk
Price: adult/child -  £17/9.75

Palace of Westminster (Big Ben Tower) aka Houses of Parliament

The Palace of Westminster, commonly known as the Houses of Parliament, is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. This beautiful historic building located in the city of Westminster on the bank of the River Thames. The Palace was rebuilt during 1840-70 after the fire. The oldest surviving part of the complex - Westminster Hall - built in 1099, seat of the English Monarchy till the early 16th century. The Palace of Westminster is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

When Parliament is in session, visitors are allowed to watch the debates in the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

Palace of Westminster (Big Ben tower), Houses of Parliament - London attractionsPalace of Westminster (Big Ben Tower) aka Houses of Parliament | London, UK. Image by © David Iliff / CC BY-SA 3.0

Surely you know this place because of its famous towers. The Clock Tower (Elizabeth Tower after 2012), commonly known as Big Ben, the famous symbol of London and the UK. Completed in 1858 and since then it is hard to imagine London without Big Ben's clocks and bells.

Transport: Westminster metro station, Website: www.parliament.uk

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge (built 1886-1894), a bascule bridge over the River Thames in the city centre near the Tower of London. The bridge was opened on 30 June 1894 by The Prince of Wales. It has become an iconic symbol of London. In June 2012 the set of Olympic rings was suspended from the Bridge to mark the London Summer Olympics.

Tower Bridge - London attractionsTower Bridge | London, UK. Image by © Cmglee / CC BY-SA 3.0

Transport: Tower Hill metro station

St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral is one of London's most majestic building. It is a working Church of England and the seat of the Bishop of London. Built 1675-1697 by Sir Christopher Wren to an English Baroque design. Towering over Ludgate Hill St Paul's Cathedral is the highest point in the City of London. It has simply gorgeous and impressive interior.

St Paul's Cathedral - London attractions St Paul's Cathedral (west side) in London, UK. Image by © Bernard Gagnon / CC BY-SA 3.0

The main space of the Cathedral rises 108 metres from the floor and holds three circular galleries the internal Whispering Gallery, the external Stone Gallery, and the external Golden Gallery. If you want to see one of the best views of London, then you need to reach these galleries.

To get into the Galleries you will need a bit of energy, actually lots of it, to go up 528 stairs to the top. First stage of this journey will bring you to the Whispering Gallery, so called because if you talk close to the wall it will carry your words around the gallery.

To reach this first stage go through a door on the western side of the southern transept of the Church and get ready to walk about 257 steps above ~ 30 metres. Plus 119 stairs and you'll reach the Stone Gallery, an exterior viewing platform and a place to rest before the third stage. Another 152 steps to finally get to the Golden Gallery, the second exterior platform, 85m above London, with great views of the city.

Interior of St Paul's Cathedral - London attractions Interior of St Paul's Cathedral. Image by © Peter Morgan / CC BY-SA 2.0

Transport: St Paul's metro station, Website www.stpauls.co.uk ,
Price: adult/child £12.50/4.50, Hours: 8.30am-4pm Mon-Sat

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square is a central square in London, place for meetings, celebration, cultural events and demonstrations, - in many ways this is the centre of London. The Square commemorates the victory of the British navy at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 during the Napoleonic wars. The great square is partly free of city transport, which makes it a perfect place for walking. You would like two big fountains, which are beautifully lit at night.

At the centre of Trafalgar Square, since 1843, is standing Nelson's Column, the 52m-high monument honours Admiral Lord Nelson, who led the fleet’s victory over Napoleon.

Trafalgar Square - London attractions Trafalgar Square in London, UK. Image by © David Iliff / CC BY-SA 3.0

Around the square are: the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields and Admiralty Arch, where the Mall begins, leading to Buckingham Palace (Mall is a road in London).

Transport: Charing Cross metro station

British Museum

Founded in 1753 the British Museum is one of the world's greatest museums of human history and culture. The museum is huge and houses some eight million works of its permanent collections. So you will need time to make several visits. Its endless collections will guide you through ancient world cultures, with galleries devoted to: Egypt and the Middle East, the Romans and Greece, India and Africa, Western Asia, Roman Britain and medieval antiquities.

British Museum - London attractionsBritish Museum (main entrance)| London, UK. Image by © Jacek Halicki / CC BY-SA 3.0

Great Court (British Library) of British MuseumGreat Court (formerly British Library) in the British Museum. Image by © Eric Pouhier / CC BY-SA 3.0

Necessarily take a look at: the Great Court, formerly the British Library; Ancient Egypt exposes a large number of artifacts, papyrus texts, the Rosetta Stone (room 4); Ancient Greece with Parthenon Sculptures /Marbles (room 18), Athens (room 19); the world of Alexander (room 22); Roman Empire (room 70); artifacts from the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis are shown in (room 52); to see Roman Britain go to (room 49); also is very interesting Mexican (room 27) and North American (room 26) galleries.

Head of Amenhotep 3, British Museum - LondonThe head of Amenhotep 3, Ancient Egypt in the British Museum (room 4). Image by © M.chohan

Transport: Russell Sq. metro station, Website: www.britishmuseum.org, Hours: 10am-5.30pm Sat-Wed, to 8.30pm Thu and Fri
Price: admission free, audioguides: adult/child £5/3.50

Natural History Museum

The Natural History Museum is one of the popular tourist attractions in London. Built during 1873-1881, it displays five main collections: Botany, Entomology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology and Zoology, which are some 70 million items. The museum is divided into the galleries by themes: Blue Zone (dinosaurs, fishes... ), Red Zone (Earth Lab: minerals, rocks..), Green Zone (birds, fossils..), Orange Zone (Wildlife Garden, Darwin Centre..).

Natural History Museum in LondonNatural History Museum in London, UK. Image by © David Iliff / CC BY-SA 3.0

The main museum building was designed by Alfred Waterhouse in blue and sand-coloured brick and terracotta. Just ahead of the main entrance, in the Central Hall is standing an impressive by the large Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton.

Natural History Museum, Central Hall, Diplodocus Dinosaur - London attractionsNatural History Museum in London, centrall hall (diplodocus dinosaur) | London, UK. Image by © Drow male / CC BY-SA 4.0

Transport: South Kensington metro station, Website: www.nhm.ac.uk
Price: admission free, highlights tours £3.00

London Eye

This modern symbol of London is a giant Ferris wheel situated on the banks of the River Thames. A "flight" in one of the London Eye 32 glass-enclosed pods, each one holding up to 28 people, will be unforgettable.

Transport: close to Waterloo, Embankment, and Westminster metro stations.
Price: around £30.00 per person

London Eye at night - top attractionsLondon Eye at night. Image by © Mike Peel / CC BY-SA 4.0

Double-decker bus ride

A ride at this iconic red bus is a must thing to do when you in London. The red double-decker bus maybe the most recognizable symbol of the city. I'm not sure if a word "cute" can be applied to the transport, but these busses are truly are.

London double decker red bus, things to do attractions Red Double-deckers. London traffic. Image by © Joseph Plotz / CC BY 3.0

The AEC Routemaster, a classic model of double-decker, nowadays can be found at London Buses route 15 (Heritage) - a bus route running between Tower Hill and Trafalgar Square.

London double decker red bus Routemaster route 15 Classic double-decker Routemaster at route 15. Image by © SHERWOOD / CC BY-SA 2.0

Traveler's NotesLocation

  • London is the capital of the United Kingdom of Great Britain
  • Language: English
  • Monetary unit: Pound sterling,£(GBP)
  • Time Zone: UTC +0 (+1 in summer)
  • Phone code: +44 020
  • Climat: temperate oceanic climate
  • Nicknames: The big smoke, The great wen 
  • Useful phones: 112 and 999 - general emergencies

author: © Alexander Theocharis
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