A visit to London throws up multiple options. One of the largest cities in the world, London is defined by its variety and history, with settlements ranging from Ancient Rome through to medieval and Tudor grandeur, as well as more expansive Georgian, Victorian and modern designs.
Easy transport links via underground Tube and bus services also makes London an excellent city for hitting a number of destinations over a few days. Moreover, while London can be expensive, careful planning can mean that you can make some savings. Some of the best attractions for London vacations include:
1. St Paul’s Cathedral
Rebuilt in the 17th century, St Paul’s Cathedral is one of London’s most imposing landmarks. Its domed roof and expansive interior make it one of the most distinctive examples of cathedral design in history. The site around St Paul’s is also notable for its extensive range of medieval streets and Tudor and Georgian buildings.
2. Tower of London
One of the oldest parts of the city still standing, the Tower of London retains its medieval walls and keep. Traditionally used as a prison for political prisoners, the Tower of London has one of the richest histories of any part of London. Guided tours are available, while the Tower is also close to a number of related museums like the London Dungeons.
3. Houses of Parliament
Experience the seat of British political power at the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. The main hall of Westminster is impressive in its own right, while tours and viewing platforms in Parliamentary sessions can often be attended. Visits to Westminster should also take in nearby Westminster Abbey.
4. British Museum
Home to some of the finest art and relics in the world, the British Museum retains its Victorian grandeur, and is particularly recommended for its Egyptian collection. Found in Bloomsbury, a short walk from the West End.
5. Victoria & Albert Museum
Located in South Kensington, the Victoria & Albert Museum is another holdover from London’s Victorian boom in global power. The museum, neighboured by the equally impressive Natural History Museum and the Science Museum, features a more eclectic set of collections on modern art and photography.
6. Tate Modern
Found on the South Bank by the River Thames, the Tate Modern is one of the world’s greatest sites for modern art. Featuring a wide range of changing exhibitions, the hangar like space of the Tate Modern is ideal for large parties of children, and is also a short walk from other South Bank attractions such as Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Royal Festival Hall.
7. British Library
An impressive building found North of Bloomsbury; the British Library receives a copy of every new book published in the UK every year. Although membership is by application, visitors can take in free galleries and exhibitions.
8. The 2012 Olympics Site
While work is still continuing on the 2012 Olympics site in Stratford, East London, visitors can view the emerging Olympic stadium and village from special platforms.
9. National Portrait Gallery
Located by Trafalgar Square, the National Portrait Gallery is free to enter, although some special exhibitions will be charged for. Home to a broad mix of different portrait styles and photography, the National Portrait Gallery is a staple of West London.
10. West End
Home to the city’s finest tourist attractions, London’s West End is renowned for being home to the world famous West End theaters. Around 40 theaters make up “Theatreland”, featuring performances such as Mamma Mia & Les Miserables, to plays like The Children’s Hour & War Horse. Some shows will offer discounted theater tickets, so always inquire prior to purchase as you can make a considerable saving.
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