The opening credits of one of the cult classics of Bollywood – Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayege showed us the beauty of city of London. It walked us through some of the famous tourist attractions in London and made us eager to apply for a UK visa just so we can feed the pigeons at the Trafalgar Square like Amrish Puri did or walk down the streets where our beloved “Raj & Simran” once walked while making plans of going on a European holiday with their friends, etc. The movie sure instils a sense of curiosity towards London in our hearts!
What can we say about London? The capital of the United Kingdom is a world-renowned tourist destination and that is no secret. With that hold grave historical importance to spots that showcase the technological advancement of mankind, you will find some really glorious tourist attractions in London just waiting to be explored. Moreover, with so many great places to choose from one can surely face the dilemma of where to go and where not to go, and we are here to help you with that.
We’ve noted down some of the top-rated tourist attractions in London just to give you a glimpse of what all the city has to offer.
Read on to curb your curiosity!
1. London Eye
Built in the year 2000 to mark the millennium, this massive Ferris wheel situated right on the southern bank of River Thames or Southbank as it is usually known as, is amongst the most recognised tourist attractions in London. It offers an impressive bird’s eye view of some of London’s famous landmarks like River Thames, the Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, The Shard, Westminster Abbey, the Tower Bridge, Houses of Parliament, etc. A ride on this largest observation wheel in the UK and this universally recognised symbol of London’s skyline, will allow you to witness the most eye catching 360-degree view of London from 443 feet above the ground.
Why visit the London Eye – Not only does it provide the best view of London, but is also close to quite a few tourist attractions in London like Sea Life London Aquarium, Westminster Bridge, Big Ben, Whitehall (British Prime Minister’s residence) etc. which helps in covering more places in your London bucket list.
2. Tower of London
Guided tours by the royal bodyguards called Yeoman Warders or Beefeaters is one of the highlights of visiting the Tower of London. Apart from housing the Koh-I-Noor and other precious crown jewels like a treasury, and being the Royal Mint, a prison, a royal palace, a zoo, an execution site, an armoury, etc. this historic building has been an important part of the history of London city. Built in the year 1066, this impressive historical monument was damaged during the Blitz – bombing by the Germans, during the World War 2 and then later was restored to its former glory. Let’s just say over the span of 900 years this imperial building has witnessed quite a few significant historical events that makes the Tower of London one of the must see tourist attractions in London.
Why visit the Tower of London – To see the Koh-I-Noor obviously! The Tower of London is renowned for its Crown Jewels exhibition which anyone can visit and also for its famous tours with one of the Beefeaters where one can learn about the long, intriguing, bloody and mysterious history of the Tower of London.
3. Buckingham Palace
It would be impossible to not visit Buckingham Palace when visiting London, it is the most obvious thing to do. Considered to be amongst the most regal tourist attractions in London, this residence of the Queen is an important landmark in the city landscape and holds a magnetic pull over all – visitors and locals alike. An important part of all the royal events from marriages to funerals, to hosting international guests and important political meetings, the Buckingham Palace has been a witness to all.
Why visit the Buckingham Palace – To witness the most iconic display of marching, music and clockwork like co-ordination by the Royal Guards during the Changing of the Guards ceremony, which takes place daily. Or for a chance to gaze upon the art pieces of Royal Collection in the Queens Gallery. Or simply to earn the bragging rights that you got to visit the residence of a reigning monarch.
4. Madame Tussauds Museum
Madame Tussauds Museum has graced many famous cities in the world with its presence, such as New Delhi, Tokyo, Singapore, Dubai, Sydney, Istanbul and 7 major cities in the USA including Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco, etc. but the original and the first ever museum was established in London. Considered to be one of the major tourist attractions in London this museum houses more than 400 life like wax figures of world-renowned personalities from all walks of life. Various wax figures from The Queen to Miley Cyrus, David Beckham to Johnny Depp, the whole gang of One Direction and so many more decorate the different divisions of this museum.
Why visit the Madame Tussauds Museum – When, how and where are we ever going to get a chance to snap pictures with our favourite actors, actresses, singers, musicians, sports – and historical – and political personalities, scientists, and of course the royal family except in this museum? We can still hold out to hope to get a chance to meet them in real life but even then, getting a satisfactory picture is a long shot.
5. Trafalgar Square
Arguably the most liveliest tourist attraction in London, Trafalgar Square is an iconic historical monument. Constructed in honour of Lord Horatio Nelson’s victory in 1805 at Trafalgar against the Spanish and French, it is a sight to behold. With a 183 feet high granite column named – Nelson’s Column right at the centre and bronze statues of lions that surround this fountain this place is highly captivating. The Trafalgar Square glorifies the bravery and courage showcased by the British Troops during the Battle of Trafalgar and is a symbol of the city’s rich history.
Why visit the Trafalgar Square – It is right across the corner from St. Martin-in-the-fields and the National Gallery and just a stone throws away from many famous landmarks in London such as the Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, St. James Park, and also connects to the Piccadilly Circus, another one of the world-renowned tourist attractions in London. So essentially you can cover many bases if you start your sightseeing from the Trafalgar Square.
Westminster Abbey has to be the most royal tourist attractions in London. It has been the site of every coronation that took place since 1066 and 16 royal weddings so far! A fully functioning church still to this present day, the interiors and the exteriors of the Abbey are equally mesmerizing. With gardens full of medicinal plants and interiors showcasing some of the fine pieces of Romanesque style craftsmanship, Westminster Abbey should definitely be added in your London holiday packages.
Why visit the Westminster Abbey – It is the burial site of Hardy, Darwin and Dickens, etc. It pays homage to important historical figures like Shakespeare and Austen and Lawrence and many more. Close to 3000 prominent historical figures have been immortalised forever with busts, statues, plaques and stained-glass windows. This place is a gothic wonderland for those interested.
7. The Shard
Located close to the London Bridge, The Shard is considered to be the tallest building in the Western Europe. Looking like a piece of broken glass ready to pierce the sky, this fine piece of modern architecture has everything that one can imagine. From residential and office space on lower levels, bars, hotels and restaurants at mid-levels and indoor and outdoor viewing decks at the highest levels – at the height of 1000 plus metres, this building is bustling with activities from top to bottom.
Why visit The Shard – Apart from witnessing the beautiful view of the London Eye and St. Pauls Cathedral along with other iconic tourist attractions of London from the viewing deck that has floor to ceiling windows to provide you with breath taking views, you can also enjoy a Silent Disco, Wine and Gin Tasting, Stand and Improv gigs and some of the best lip smacking food offered in the restaurants inside The Shard.
8. Big Ben
Big Ben is synonymous with London. You can’t think of London without picturing the iconic watch tower overlooking the River Thames. What many people don’t know is that Big Ben is the name of the gigantic bell inside the clock named after Sir Benjamin Hall and the tower which holds the clock is actually called the Elizabeth Tower, named after the current Queen to mark the occasion of Diamond Jubilee of her accession to the throne. It is connected to the Houses of Parliament, where the UK Parliament holds its sessions; and together they make up the Westminster Palace. It is the most noteworthy tourist attractions in London and has featured in many iconic movies and shows such as Friends, Mary Poppins, Dr Who, Peter Pan, etc.
Why visit Big Ben – You can witness the House of Lords in session and see the debates and discussions that take place inside at the Houses of Parliament and tour the House of Commons and Westminster Hall. It is situated next to the Westminster Bridge another iconic landmark of the city of London and is at a walking distance from Sea Life London Aquarium, London Eye and Whitehall.
9. Tower Bridge
Often confused with the London Bridge, Tower Bridge is one of the most well-known suspension bridges in the world. Built over River Thames in 1886 and right across the London Bridge, these two 200 feet high towers connected with a walkway and suspension motorways are a sight to behold on a dull and cloudy day. The Tower Bridge splits open right in the middle to allow tall ships, barges and boats to pass through it hence it is also called a see-saw bridge or a Bascule. An exhibition highlighting the history, techniques used in its construction and the reason as to why it was constructed, is held throughout the year for visitors to see.
Why visit the Tower Bridge – Tower Bridge houses the Butlers Wharf on the southern side of it where many local eateries offer delicious food with a view of majestic tourist attractions in London. You can also opt for the behind the scenes tour where you can learn about the mechanism as to how the bridge opens and closes to let the vehicles pass.
10. Hyde Park
If New York has Central Park, then London has Hyde Park. One of the largest parks in the world, Hyde Park sees thousands and millions of visitors throughout the year making it one of the busiest tourist attractions in London. From locals to travellers all are enthralled by the sight of well-known landmarks such as the Serpentine Lake, Achilles Statue, the Speakers Corner, the Joy of Life Fountain, etc. Visitors can be seen enjoying various activities like having picnic, cycling, skating, playing cricket, and tennis or taking a dip or going for boating in one of the lakes. Hyde Park is a perfect gateway to spend your day at leisure.
Why visit Hyde Park – The Hyde Park is close to the Kensington Palace, residence of the current Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate. The Kensington Palace also houses an exhibition dedicated to Diana Princess of Wales where many of her iconic outfits are showcased to the general public.
And then there is the Piccadilly Circus, Lords Cricket Stadium, London Bridge, The Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert museum, The Royal Observatory, Wembley Stadium, Westminster Bridge, Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Playground and so many more places that we couldn’t do justice in such a short span. But be assured when you are in London you may not have ample of time to sit back and relax but you will have ample of places to see.
London is full of contrasts, from historical architectural wonders to the latest architectural marvels, from afternoon high tea parties to indulge in leisure to the happening party scene at night, and many of the top-rated tourist attractions which attracts visitors in waves, there are many things in London to write back home about. So write to us in comments about your past visits or future plans to visit, we are keeping an eye out to read all about them.
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