Good times flow in London. The generous big brother of many European cities is known for the whims of weather, a large expanse of greenery, and the smell of hyacinth in the air.
This is the city to get lost in the green patches only to be found in centuries-old museums. London is conscious of its haloed past as history drips from its palaces and cathedrals. It is one of the few cities where the Gothic facades of museums stand in proximity to contemporary architectural marvels.
Facts about London
- The Shard, which stands at a height of 309.6 meters (1,016 ft), is arguably the tallest building in the EU.
- The London Eye is believed to receive more visitors every year than the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Taj Mahal.
- The house of Charles Dickens, which is the only one to be preserved, is located at 48 Doughty Street.
- All Hallows by the Tower, which was founded in 675, is the oldest church in the city.
- The London Underground is the oldest underground subway system in the world.
Places to Visit in London
Tower of London – The White Tower and its four turrets are strikingly beautiful. The Tower houses a collection of royal armories, including Henry VIII’s suit of armor. Much to your surprise, the oldest church in London, St John’s Chapel (dates back to 1080), is tucked away on the first floor of the tower.
British Museum – Undoubtedly, the largest museum in the country, this 18th-century architecture houses an incredible collection of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman artifacts, amongst many others. It draws close to seven million visitors each year.
Globe Theatre – The 17th-century ‘Shakespeare’s Globe’ is a destination that every art enthusiast must visit. As you walk about the open-air yard, stadium-style seats, and the stage, you get a whiff from the past days of glory when actors used to enact the great works of playwrights for the masses and classes.
Natural History Museum – Often regarded as “The Cathedral of Nature,” this 19th-century museum has a collection of over 80 million specimens that span billions of year. It is not without reason that the museum receives over five million visitors annually. The exhibition of dinosaur skeletons and the Romanesque architecture of the place are integral to this museum.
Victoria and Albert Museum – Located close to the Natural History Museum on the Exhibition Road (South Kensington), this leading museum of art and design has 145 galleries with a collection of over 4.5 million decorative arts and design spanning 5,000 years.
National Gallery – From the masterpieces by Van Gogh and Monet to the works of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, this 19th-century gallery houses one of the finest collections of European paintings from different epochs. What many tend to miss out are the beautiful mosaics on the floor.
Westminster Abbey – Considered a fine specimen of Early English Gothic (1190–1300) architecture, this 12th-century Abbey is a very different facet of London. At the heart of the Abbey lies the stage for coronations of kings, royal weddings, and funerals.
Big Ben – This iconic clock tower is one of the most famous landmarks of the city. It is for the chimes of the Big Ben that travelers throng here every day. On 21 August 2017, renovation works started on the tower which is likely to last four years.
Covent Garden – Within walking distance of Trafalgar Square lies the Covent Garden where Londoners come to shop, watch theater, and dine at restaurants. Royal Opera House and St Martin’s Courtyard, are popular tourist hubs in this part of Central London.
Buckingham Palace – Built in 1837, this is one of the most iconic buildings of Britain. This has been the residence of the Royal Family since the accession of Queen Victoria. You can catch the Queen and other members of the Family on the central balcony on special state occasions. In addition, this is also the place where the popular colorful display of the Changing of the Guard takes place.
Madame Tussauds – This is the place to see your favorite celebrity being immortalized in the most glorious way possible. From Shakespeare to One Direction members, you can see stunning wax figures of all influential figures from the world of showbiz, politics, sports, royalty, and politics. Don’t forget to bring your best camera for a likely prolonged selfie-session.
Kensington Palace – Get a glimpse into the lives of Royal families who once made this magnificent palace their home. Know life stories of Queen Victoria in the Victoria Revealed exhibition, learn a fragile dynasty’s secrets in the Queen’s State Apartments or see a modern princess in Diana’s dresses’s exhibition.
Palace of Westminster – Lying on the River Thames’ north bank, this palace serves as the meeting point of House of Lords and the House of Commons.
St. Paul’s Cathedral – This 365-foot domed church is perhaps the most famous church in London. Sitting atop a Roman temple, it’s undeniably a fine example of English architecture.
London Dungeon – Take an offbeat tour to London Dungeon and look back into London’s dark past. Experience thrilling rides & exciting special effects and watch actors making London’s most horrible events come alive for you.
Piccadilly Circus – This is where you can see London’s hustle-bustle in its true form. A junction of 5 busy roads, it really lives up to its name. Be a spectator to men & women rushing to work in the morning, cheerful shoppers en route to department stores or bar & club-hoppers at night.
Things to Do in London
Take a Tour on a Hop-on Hop-off Bus – Sitting on an open-top double-decker bus and taking a ride down the streets of London is a peerless experience. A sightseeing tour of the city on a hop-on hop-off bus lets you admire the Big Ben, London Eye, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, and other tourist attractions.
Enjoy Thames River Cruise – Cruising through the Thames River is one of the best ways to explore London. Travelers swear by this experience of meandering through the city and cruising past some of the famous attractions.
Spend Time in the Parks – Be it the open-air theater in the Regent’s Park or the rose gardens of the Hyde Park, there’s so much of open space for travelers to spend some ‘me-time.’
These amazing parks are an open invitation to lose yourself amidst lakes and meadows.
Visit the Churchill War Rooms – How did William Churchill lead Britain to victory in the World War II? Get access to the Cabinet War Rooms (secret bunker) that unfold stories about Churchill. This historic underground complex is a must-visit museum for history buffs.
Explore Trafalgar Square – This historic square in central London not only fascinates you with its statues and sculptures but also keeps you entertained by hosting a variety of events, including cultural celebrations and screening of films. National Portrait Gallery and St Martin-in-the-Field are located in the vicinity.
View the City from London Eye – There’s hardly any better way to get a 360-degree view of London than to hire one of the passenger capsules of London Eye. Absorb the breathtaking view of the city over a glass of champagne and be grateful to every moment at the top.
Go Shopping – Whether you check out the designer outlets on Oxford Street or step inside the oldest and the famous stores of the Regent Street, shopping will always be a memorable affair. Don’t forget to drop by the Tiffany & Co. in Bond Street or the Harrods at Knightsbridge.
If a luxurious stay is on your mind, then check in at any of the star hotels such as The Stafford London, Hotel 41, The Egerton House Hotel, The Milestone Hotel and Residences, and The Arch London. Some of the preferred mid-range accommodations for travelers include The Wellington Hotel, The Cardiff Hotel, and Bingham. Stylotel, Avo Hotel, Arosfa Hotel, and Church Street Hotels offer decent budget accommodations in London.
For fine dining, settle down at any of the Michelin-star restaurants. While Gordon Ramsay serves contemporary European dishes, Le Gavroche offers the best French cuisine. You can try Indian cuisine at Benares and Spanish delicacies at Barrafina. Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Nandos, and Byron are some of the budget restaurant chains across the city.
Best Time to Visit London
Spring (Between March and May) is the best time to visit London. It’s when the weather is warm and the parks look greener with full of blooming flowers.
How to Reach London?
By Air – Heathrow Airport, the largest in Europe is the key international gateway to the city. London Gatwick and London Stansted Airport are other airports that operate international flights to London.
By Road – National Express operates services from throughout England, Scotland, and Wales. Buses run by Eurolines connect London with various cities in Northern Ireland, Ireland, and continental Europe.
By Train – The high-speed Eurostar trains connect London with Paris and Brussels.