It’s no wonder London is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, attracting over 15 million visitors each year. The capital of Great Britain is a dynamic artistic and entertainment center (its theaters are always busy) and 50 years after the Beatles, the country’s music scene is still as lively.
London also offers one of the largest concentrations of cultural attractions on the planet. From royal palaces to the People’s Parliament, museums and churches driving a giant ferris wheel for breathtaking views, you could spend endless days exploring the sights of London without ever missing out on unique things to see and to do. An added bonus is that most of the most popular places to visit are free.
1. The Famous Buckingham Palace And The Changing of the Guard
Buckingham Palace, one of Britain’s most famous buildings, is also the setting for London’s most popular display of pomp and circumstance, the changing of the guard. This colorful and free demonstration of precise marching and music attracts many visitors in every season at 11.30 a.m. It also takes place at St. James’s Palace, where you can follow the band along the mall as they march between locations.
Buckingham Palace was built in 1837 and has been the residence of the royal family in London since Queen Victoria joined. If you’re wondering if the queen is there, look at the flagpole on the building: when the royal standard blows day and night, she’s at home. On special government occasions, she and members of the royal family can even appear on the central balcony.
When she’s absent from her summer palace in Scotland, visitors can buy tickets to tour the State Rooms, the Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews. One of the best ways to tour the palace, see the changing of the guard, and enjoy a traditional afternoon tea is a 4.5-hour tour of Buckingham Palace with a changing of the guard and afternoon tea. This tour is a very efficient way to see the highlights in a short amount of time, and a knowledgeable guide who explains the story makes the whole experience much more enjoyable and relevant for first-time visitors.
2. The Tower of London and Tower Bridge
From captive to palace, from Treasury to private zoo, the magnificent Tower of London has served many different purposes for centuries. This magnificent World Heritage Site, one of the UK’s most famous buildings, has hours of fascinating visitors interested in the rich history of the country – after all, so much has happened here. Within the enormous White Tower, built by William Conqueror in 1078, is a royal line from the 18th century to major exhibitions of royal arms and armor. Other highlights include the famous Crown Jewels Exhibition, the Beefeaters, the Royal Mint and brutal exhibitions of on-site executions. The adjacent Tower Bridge, with two large towers rising 200 feet above Thames, is one of London’s most famous landmarks.
Buy your time best, especially during the busy summer season, buy the Tower of London admission ticket, including Crown Jewels and Beefeater Tour, to bypass the ticket counters. This ticket guarantees the lowest price, avoids crowds and saves time and effort.
3. The British Museum
The British Museum displays one of the world’s best collections of antiques and contains more than 13 million ancient artifacts. With priceless objects from Assyria, Babylonia, China, Europe and elsewhere, it is difficult to know where to start. But most tourists first visit the museum’s most famous exhibits: the controversial Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, the Rosetta Stone, the colossal bust of Ramses II, the Egyptian mummies, and the spectacular 4th-century Roman silver treasure, known as the Mildenhall treasure is known.
4. The Big Ben and The Parliament
Nothing says more emphasis on “London” than the 300 meter tower, which houses the huge clock and the bell known as Big Ben. It is a landmark like Tower Bridge. Big Ben’s tolling is known worldwide as a time signal from the BBC radio. Under the Thames are the Houses of Parliament, the seat of the British government for centuries, and once the royal palace of Westminster, which was occupied by William the Conqueror. Guided tours of the parliament buildings offer a unique opportunity to follow debates and lively political discussions in real time. Whitehall is lined with so many government buildings from Parliament Square that its name has become synonymous with the British government.
5. National Gallery
The London National Gallery, one of the best art museums in the world, offers an almost complete overview of European painting from 1260 to 1920. The museum’s greatest strengths lie in the collections of Dutch masters and Italian schools from the 15th and 16th centuries. The highlights include a caricature (preliminary sketch) of the Madonna and Child by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo’s burial, Botticellis Venus and Mars, van Gogh’s sunflowers and the water lily pond by Monet.
6. The Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum (also known as V&A) is part of a museum group based in South Kensington, which includes the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. Founded in 1852, V&A spans nearly 13 hectares and includes 145 galleries spanning 5,000 years of art and related artifacts. The exhibits include ceramics and glass, textiles and costumes, silver and jewelry, ironwork, sculptures, prints and photos.
7. Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square
Not far from each other, these famous squares, two of London’s most iconic landmarks, mark the gates to Soho, London’s lively theater and entertainment district. Trafalgar Square was built in 1805 to commemorate Lord Horatio Nelson’s victory over the French and Spaniards in Trafalgar. Nelson’s column, an 183-foot granite monument, dominates the fountains of the square and the bronze reliefs, which were launched from the French canyons. The Admiralty Arch, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and the National Gallery surround the square. The Piccadilly Circus marks the irregular intersection of several busy streets – Piccadilly, Regent, Haymarket and Shaftesbury Avenue – and dominates this somewhat messy traffic noise of London’s most famous sculpture, the winged Eros, which is finely balanced on one foot and balanced with the bow. “It’s like Piccadilly Circus” is a common expression that describes a busy and confusing scene.
8. The Two Tates: Tate Britain and Tate Modern
The two London Tate Galleries Tate Britain and Tate Modern, which were formerly known as Tate Gallery, are among the most important art collections in the world. The gallery, which opened in 1897 as the basis for a national collection of important British art, continued to make acquisitions and needed more space to properly display its collections. The end result was the creation of Tate Britain in Millbank on the north side of the Thames, where the permanent collection of historic British paintings was located. An excellently converted power station over the Thames housed the modern art collections. Art lovers can spend a whole day seeing both sights, conveniently connected by a high-speed ferry.
9. Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey, another place that has long been associated with the British royal family, is in a place that has been associated with Christianity since the early 7th century. Westminster Abbey, officially known as St Peter’s Collegiate Church in Westminster, was founded in 1065 by Edward the Confessor as a place of burial. From his funeral in 1066 to the funeral of George II. Almost 700 years later, most of the rulers were not only crowned here, but also buried. It has recently become famous as the preferred location for royal weddings.
10. Churchill’s War Rooms
One of the most fascinating and impressive historical sites in London is the perfectly preserved nerve center from which Prime Minister Winston Churchill directed British military campaigns and the defense of his homeland during World War II. Their spartan simplicity and cramped conditions underscore the desperate situation in England when the influence of the Nazis increased across Europe. You see the tiny cabin that Churchill slept in, and the improvised radio studio where he broadcast his famous war speeches. Simple details such as Clementine Churchill’s knitting wool, with which the front lines are marked on a map of Europe, bring the era to life, as a museum could make it impossible.
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