Things to see and do when visiting London, England
London is more than simply England's capital - it's one of the world's leading cities and centres of culture, politics, entertainment, finance, fashion and more. For tourists, there are a huge range of attractions to enjoy, many of which can be negotiated at special prices or even free, for those travelling on a budget. This is a wise approach too, as the city is notoriously expensive. It's well worth signing up for a tourist attractions saver card or tour bus card, both of which tend to offer additional savings on the main attractions. It’s also worth shopping around when booking a hotel in London as accommodation in the city can be pricey. Below, we take a closer look at some of London’s best tourist attractions:
The London Eye
The London Eye is taller than Big Ben and beats all other visitor attractions into the top spot in London. It offers incredible views of the city and on a good day, it's possible to see up to 40 kilometres around. Just get there early on during the summer and at weekends as the queues can get very long. Don't forget to bring your camera!
Still one of the best examples of Victorian expert engineering, the lifting bridge dates back to 1884 and has allowed countless numbers of large ships to sail safely underneath. Even today, it's still lowered and raised on numerous occasions and is an incredible sight. You should see the Bridge's visitor exhibition, which covers both the mechanics and history of this great attraction. Don't forget to spend some time walking around the Thames too. There are boat trips to enjoy, such as the London Showboard, or many other tours, as well as walking tours along the river's bank.
Tower of London and Buckingham Palace
Perhaps one of the best known tourist attractions, the Tower of London offers incredible and often gruesome histories, including the tower where Richard III allegedly imprisoned his (now rumoured to be ghostly) nephews and the site where tragic Anne Boleyn was executed. The crown jewels are an awe-inspiring site and the Yeoman Warder Guide tours are not to be missed. If you liked the Tower, it's also well worth joining the long queues to visit Buckingham Palace and see the Royal splendour of this world famous building.
The Natural History Museum
From the minute you see the imposing dinosaur in the main hall, you'll know you're in for a treat. Just as many of London's museums, this world-class attraction is free to visitors. The museum is huge and you’ll struggle to see everything in a day but you’ll definitely have a great time trying! Also check out the Tate Modern, the Science Museum, British Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Museum of Childhood and the vast array of other incredible displays and exhibitions around the city. Prices vary, but many are offered free or reduced, with concessions for children. More on the Natural History Museum, London.
St Paul's Cathedral
This imposing structure has been in place for 300 years, built by Christopher Wren and famous for withstanding the Blitz. It's a splendid architectural piece in its own right and attractions such as its historical crypt and the Whispering Gallery make it a fascinating and historical visit. Recently, of course, it has been very well known as the site of the anti-capitalism protests, so check for the latest before visiting.
The Royal Observatory
Head to Greenwich to see this part of the National Maritime Museum, which is famous for being the site of the National Meridian and the centre of modern world time. There's a fantastic planetarium and telescope too, to enthral star-gazers of all ages.
There are plenty of other historical sites to see too, such as the Houses of Parliament or Trafalgar Square and modern attractions such as the O2 arena. Don't forget to wander around the home of the swinging 60s, Carnaby Street, check out trendy Soho, enjoy the tourist mayhem of Leicester Square and check out the shopping on Oxford Street.
There are also many lovely parks and gardens to explore, such as Kew Gardens, Regent's Park, Holland Park, Kennington Gardens, Battersea Park and St James' Park. These are utterly gorgeous in spring and summer and become very busy with visitors enjoying picnics and ice-creams. They also provide a welcome 'green lung' in the incredibly busy city of London. It's also well worth taking one of the city buses to take a rest from walking and to hear the local history of key sites, or enjoy one of the famous walking tours such as the Jack Ripper tours in the East End!
Back to London Attractions.