London – England
It’s little wonder London is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, having welcomed a record breaking 17.4 million visitors alone in 2014! Britain’s capital city is a vibrant arts and entertainment center (its theaters are always busy), and 50 years after the Beatles, the country’s music scene still rocks.
It’s no surprise, as the city offers a wide range of historic attractions, top museums, art galleries, tours and experiences for every one of all ages to enjoy. One of the most popular historic attractions in London is the Tower of London which dates back to the Norman Conquest in 1066. This old fortress is one of the most recognisable and iconic landmarks in London and has held many roles over the years, including a prison, menagerie and armoury. No visit to the Tower is complete until you join a Beefeater tour to learn about the dark tales, secrets and scandals. Also not forgetting the London’s Iconic Bridge – London Tower Bridge!
London also boasts one of the planet’s greatest concentrations of cultural attractions. From royal palaces to the people’s parliament, from Roman ruins to castles and cathedrals, you could spend endless days exploring London’s sites without ever running out of unique things to see and do.
Top 10 Most Popular Attractions In London
1. British Museum
One of London’s top free attractions, the British Museum is both an architectural beauty and a trove of some of the world’s most noted antiquities. Founded in 1753, the British Museum’s remarkable collection spans over two million years of human history. From the Rosetta Stone to the Elgin Marbles to the Lindow “Bog Man,” and Egyptian mummies are visited by up to six million visitors per year, the British Museum is a history buff’s treasure trove. The immense collection can make an initial museum visit seem overwhelming: Pick the exhibits that most interest you, and plan return trips. If you can, some suggest stopping in for a coffee or quick bite at the atmospheric Court Restaurant. Enjoy this unique comparison of the treasures of world cultures under one roof, centred around the magnificent Great Court.
Recent travelers are impressed with the British Museum; some saying it is the best museum they’ve ever toured. Visit the museum Saturday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Fridays until 8:30 p.m.
2. Tower Of London
From prison to palace, treasure vault to private zoo, the magnificent Tower of London has fulfilled many different roles down the centuries. One of Britain’s most iconic structures, this spectacular World Heritage Site offers many hours of fun and fascination for visitors curious about the country’s rich history – after all, so much of it happened here.
Although its exterior might be grim and even unimpressive (especially when compared to stately Buckingham Palace), the Tower of London’s interior is always bustling with activity. The Tower, which actually comprises 20 towers, offers something for everyone.
If you’re enchanted with the history of the monarch, don’t miss the famous Crown Jewels exhibition. Among the items you’ll see is the Imperial State Crown—which is still worn by the Queen for each State Opening of Parliament — and the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross. If you have more than an hour to spend here, take an entertaining tour led by the Yeoman Warders (Tower guards). During the hourlong excursion, the guards will regale you with tales of the Tower’s bloody past. Lastly, don’t forget to visit the White Tower, built in 1078 by William the Conqueror, an iconic symbol of London’s heritage and one of the world’s most important historic buildings.
Opening hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., though it closes an hour earlier November through February.
Admission fees: Adults cost £22 (approximately $37 USD) and youths younger than 16 cost £11 GBP (around $18 USD). Children younger than 5 get in for free.
3. London Eye
The London Eye is centrally located in the heart of the capital, gracefully rotating over the River Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.Built to mark London’s millennium celebrations in 2000, the London Eye is Europe’s largest observation wheel. Its individual glass capsules offer the most spectacular views of the city as you embark on a circular tour rising 443 ft above the Thames. The journey lasts 30-minutes, often quicker than the time spent queuing for your turn.The experience showcases breathtaking 360-degree views of the capital and its famous landmarks and has been the number one visitor experience in the city for the past decade.
Make the most of your time with us by visiting our London Eye 4D Experience, free with every ticket. See London come to life through unique perspectives and multi-sensory special effects, including wind, bubbles and scent. The four-minute show is perfect to watch at the start of your visit.
Hours: Daily, 10am-8:30pm
Admission: From £29.50 (online discounts available)
Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Rd, London
4. Buckingham Palace
One of Britain’s most iconic buildings, Buckingham Palace, the London home of Queen Elizabeth II, was built in 1837 and has been the London residence of the Royal Family since Queen Victoria’s accession time. On the tour, you’ll have access to the State Rooms where the Queen and members of the Royal Family host guests for State, ceremonial, and official affairs. Opulently accented with chandeliers, candelabra, paintings by Van Dyck and Canaletto, and exquisite English and French furniture, these rooms display some of the most magnificent pieces from the Royal Collection.
When she’s away at her summer palace in Scotland, visitors can purchase tickets for tours of the State Rooms, the Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews (from £34.50), while the wonderful Changing of the Guard ceremony can be seen most days at 11.30am (free).
Tour tickets start at £19.75 GBP (about $33 USD) for adults; £18 GBP (about $30 USD) for seniors (older than 60) and students; £11.25 GBP (about $19 USD) for kids younger than 17 cost; and children younger than 5 enter for free.
If you’d rather skip the admission fees altogether, you can still experience Buckingham Palace by witnessing the storied Changing of the Guard (also referred to as Guard Mounting), which occurs daily at 11:30 a.m., from May until late July, and on alternate days the rest of the year (except during inclement weather).
5. St Paul’s Cathedral
The largest and most famous of London’s many churches – and undoubtedly one of the most spectacular cathedral’s in the world – St Paul’s Cathedral sits atop the site of a Roman temple. With its imposing 365 ft dome, the third largest in the world, St. Paul’s forms a predominant spot along London’s skyline. It’s also a survivor: Although an older incarnation burnt during the Great Fire of London, Sir Christopher Wren’s dome (completed in 1710) survived numerous World War II bombings.
To make the most of your visit, reviewers highly recommend climbing to the top of the dome to the Golden Gallery. You’ll have to hike up 528 steps, but after catching your breath you’ll enjoy far-reaching spectacular views of the River Thames, the Tate Modern, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. And once you’ve seen the top, head below ground to the Crypt, which now houses a restaurant and snack bar.
Sightseers can tour the Cathedral Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adult tickets cost £16.50 GBP (about $27 USD), students and seniors pay £14.50 GBP (about $24), while children (ages 6 to 17) pay £7.50 GBP (approximately $12.50). The cost of admission grants visitors entry to the cathedral floor, crypt, and the three galleries in the dome.
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