London is filled with iconic sights to see, from buildings and bridges to landmarks – old and new. The city is filled with rich historic culture that every traveler should experience. Here is a list of some of the top must-see attractions in London that you can add to your sightseeing checklist in England.
The official name is the Palace of Westminster, yet due to the people who inhabit it, it is commonly referred to as The Houses of Parliament. Located on the Westminster banks of the River Thames, this exquisite building can be experienced via arranged tours or simply admired from the outside. This is a great place to learn about British politics!
While in Westminster, you simply cannot make a trip to the area without seeing Big Ben. Although it is the nickname for the Great Bell, most refer to both the clock and its tower as Big Ben. The tower itself is officially named the Elizabeth Tower after Queen Elizabeth II and her Diamond Jubilee. This iconic London landmark was completed in 1859 and it must be on your travel itinerary. However, if you are visiting prior to 2020, you may find the tower closed and covered in scaffolding as it undergoes repairs.
Buckingham Palace is located in the central portion of London, near Green Park and St. James’ Park, and is home of the Queen. You can admire the beauty of the palace from outside the gates or pretend like you are royal and book a tour around the palace. If you are able to attend one of the Changing of the Guards ceremonies, you should definitely do it. But be sure to check the schedule here first.
St. Paul’s Cathedral adds something exquisite to the London Skyline with its unique and iconic dome. This church has been around since the 17th century and was constructed after the Great Fire of London, which demolished much of the city. You can walk around the exterior of the Cathedral as well as go inside. You can also catch a glimpse from the Millennium bridge that runs over the Thames right in front of the Cathedral.
The Tower Bridge is another iconic London landmark and has stood in the city since the 19th century. It is infamous for its drawbridge effect, enabling tall ships to pass down the Thames. This picture perfect bridge is near the Tower of London. If you have time, the Tower of London, which is a World Heritage Site, is worth a visit and tour as well.
When first built, the London Eye was the largest Ferris Wheel in the world as well as the highest viewing point over London until 2013’s opening of the Shard. You can travel up in one of the little pods if you purchase tickets and catch an amazing glimpse of all of London. If you do not fancy heights (or simply do not want to take up too much time at this location), the view is spectacular from the ground up as well, especially at night.
The Shard, at 95 stories high, is the tallest building in the city. It towers over every other landmark and can be seen from many places in London. This skyscraper is home to many high-end restaurants as well as the Shangri La Hotel. You can buy tickets and head up top to the viewing platform to gaze upon the entire city.
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