Heading to London for a vacation soon? The city is booming with history and monuments, so here are a few places to see and things to do when in London:
This iconic observation wheel will provide you breathtaking 360 degree views of London. This is considered a must-do attraction in London and you will get up close and personal with the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. From there you’ll be swept up to 135 meters over the landmarks and will likely be able to see 40km out of the city to Windsor Castle on a clear day. If you’re sightseeing after checking out from your hotel, be sure to find luggage storage in King’s Cross Station so you can keep your hands free as you explore and access it quickly once you’re ready to depart.
The British Museum
Museums are a great way to beat the summer heat and spend a good chunk of your day. It’s recommended that travelers take about three hours to explore the museum of the world, for the world. Inside you will see and learn about more than two million years of human history and culture. Some of the world-famous objects inside the British Museum include the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon sculptures and Egyptian mummies.
God save the queen! Constructed in 1703, Buckingham Palace is the home of Queen Elizabeth II. She spends most of her time in the private quarters of Buckingham Palace. The palace is outfitted with 775 rooms and is currently undergoing some renovations. The Queen also spends weekends and Easter at Windsor Castle, which is located in Berkshire.
Tower of London
Not sure where the Crown Jewels are located? Would you be surprised to learn that they reside in a structure that is a secure fortress, royal palace and infamous prison? Tickets to enter this structure are around $65 USD, but you’ll be given the opportunity to take a Yeoman Warder tour, meet the famous ravens and find out why they’re known as the guardians of the Tower, and take in the views at the White Tower.
The National Gallery
There are art museums and exhibits galore in London, but none quite as spectacular as the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. It is free to enter and open 361 days out of the year. The museum is home to the works of several iconic artists like Monet, Renoir, Donatello, Gauguin, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Raphael, the list goes on and on.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s was the location of many historic ceremonies such as Sir Winston Churchill’s state funeral and the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. The original structure had to be rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666. You will need to purchase tickets to enter, but have the opportunity to take a guided tour that is offered in eight different languages.
The Tower Bridge is arguably one of London’s most recognizable landmarks. It’s open to the public virtually every day of the year (closed for two days each year) and remains one of the most spectacular feats of Victorian engineering. Learn more about the bridge and its spectacular Victorian engine rooms by perusing through the Tower Bridge Exhibition.
Westminster Abbey located at 20 Dean’s Yard London SW1P 3PA is home to more than 1,000 years of history. Formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, this Gothic abbey church was initially built by Henry III in 1245 and it is one of the most important Gothic buildings of England. It’s the final resting place of 17 monarchs. It contains a treasury full of paintings, stained glass, pavements, textiles, books and other artifacts.
Churchill War Rooms
The Churchill War Rooms is a military museum and historic site located in Westminster. During the Second World War, this group of basement offices in Whitehall served as the center of Britain’s war effort. This attraction is open daily 9:30am to 6pm, with the last entry provided at 5pm.
Feeling adventurous? Take a 90-minute trek to the top of the world’s most popular entertainment venue, the O2 arena. Built under the Millennium Dome, a large dome-shaped building built to house an exhibition celebrating the turn of the third millennium, the O2 has the second-highest seating capacity of any indoor venue in the United Kingdom. Daredevils can take a 90-minute climbing tour to the top of the arena where you can marvel at the 360° views of landmarks 15 miles away.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Talk about a Midsummer’s Night Dream! Located on the bank of the River Thames in London, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is a reconstruction of the Elizabethan playhouse where William Shakespeare wrote his plays. You can take a Globe Theatre Guided Tour to hear the story of the original 1599 theatre, how the Globe battled to survive plague, fire and political oppression, and how one man’s vision saw it rise again after 400 years.