If you are planning to visit London, which is replete with historic landmarks and other attractions to see and things to do, it is essential to decide which places would interest you the most because it is absolutely impossible to see all of them in a short span of time. Given below are a few suggestions.
Buckingham Palace: With 775 rooms including 19 State Rooms, 52 bedrooms, 188 staff quarters, 78 bathrooms and 92 offices, Buckingham Palace is a massive official royal residence and the administrative headquarters of the British monarch since 1837. The Queen stays here whenever she is in London. Visitors can see its State Rooms during its Annual Summer Opening from July to September when the Queen is away. Most visitors to London make it a point to see at least the Changing of the Guard ceremony that takes place outside the palace.
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum: This world-famous wax museum is located in the heart of London and it exhibits life-size replicas of important people of the world, both dead and alive, from various walks of life including film stars, sports greats, famous world leaders, important artists and other personalities who have made a mark in history, kings and queens and other royal luminaries, musicians etc. There are many branches of this wax museum throughout the world.
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Trafalgar Square: This area in central London is famous for Nelson’s column that is guarded by four lion statues. There are other commemorative statues on the corners as well as fountains. It is an ideal place for weary tourists to relax and have something to eat and drink at one of the cafes around the area. It is also ideal for people-watching.
London Eye: A must-see attraction of London, this giant Ferris wheel having 32 cabins rotates very slowly taking half an hour for one turn. Attracting more than 3.5 million visitors every year, the London Eye stands 135 metres tall and has a diameter of 120 metres. On a clear day, you can get a panoramic view of the city’s skyline on a 40-kilometre radius around the city.
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Oxford Street: Stretching from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road via Oxford Circus, this two and a half kilometer long street is believed to be the busiest shopping street of Europe. It has over 300 shops including some top stores such as Debenhams, Marks & Spencer’s, John Lewis, H&M, HMV Music Shop, and Selfridges. Marks & Spencer’s covers an area of 18,000 square metres.
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Hyde Park: This Royal Park covers 145 hectares of open space in central London and is an ideal place to rest in the midst of all the attractions of London. It offers a lot of leisure activities such as walking, running, picnicking, swimming, rowing, boating, horse riding, cycling and visiting various attractions located in the park such as Speakers’ Corner, Diana Memorial Playground and Diana Memorial Fountain, and Serpentine Lake.
The Big Ben: Although it loosely refers to the tower, Big Ben is actually the name of the largest of the five bells inside the clock that weighs more than 13 tons. It has four faces that are illuminated at night and are a sight to see.
Tower Bridge: This is a unique suspension bridge over the River Thames that opens up to let ships pass under it. It is close to the Tower of London and people can walk across it as well as see the Tower Bridge exhibition to get information regarding its history and to see the Victorian engine room in it.
Covent Garden: Some parts of this area are ideal places to explore on foot and to enjoy shopping, visiting restaurants, bars and theatres. It also offers a market piazza, St Martin’s Courtyard, and a floral street. It has great boutiques offering works by emerging designers as well as quirky craft stalls and street theatre.
Piccadilly Circus: Famous for its large neon hoardings and advertisements, this area in the core of London lies at the intersection of five roads and has a fountain at its centre. It is centrally located being close to Trafalgar Square, Chinatown, Soho, Leicester Square and West End.
Westminster Abbey: An extremely popular and important church, Westminster Abbey is visited by more than a million people a year. It has been the location for coronation of British monarchs ever since 1066 and has also performed 16 royal weddings. Many royals have also been interred here.
St. Paul’s Cathedral: Characterised by its large dome that exceeds that of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and having been designed by Sir Christopher Wren, St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. A huge lantern weighing 850 tons is placed on top of the dome along with three galleries that can be visited by climbing 560 steps. These galleries include the Whispering Gallery which is so designed that a whisper at one end is heard 100 feet away; the Stone Gallery which is outside the dome; and the Golden Gallery which goes around the base of the huge lantern and affords spectacular views of the city. The cathedral’s underground is the Crypt where many important people of Britain have been interred.
These are only a few of the must-visit places in London as there are many more worth-seeing attractions.