While the Earth spins around and brings dusks, dawns and millenniums, there is this city which never did let, never does and never will let its charisma tumble. The capital of England, one of world’s most iconic and glamorous cities, London has embraced not just extravagant infrastructure but art, fashion, education, finance, media, tourism, medical.
You just name and there is abundance already. With River Thames flowing by, London’s skyline is nothing less than picture-perfect. But with the swift pace of life, the grip on the culture is not loosened; it is home to a diverse culture and people, with more than 300 languages being spoken in the periphery. Another attribute that this enlivening city is recognized because of, is surely its grandeur and sophistication.
Even the ones spending a year or two here end up wanting more of the City, let alone those visiting for a week or so. Either ways people come back again. Being all this said, it becomes apparent that not everything good about London can be listed in a single article, but I intend to let you know about the best of the bests. So here is the article, Top 15 Things to Do in London, which I am sure, would be helpful.
1. National Gallery
Standing with impeccable architecture, The National Gallery houses some of world’s best paintings that you cannot take your eyes off from. More than 2300 paintings are exhibited here, dating between mid-13th century and 1900s.
This is amongst the most visited art museums in the world. And as people say “Good things come for free”, so does entry to National Gallery of which the exhibits are considered public property.
The museum was found in 1824 when bought some 38 painting from one of John Julius Angerstein’s heir. The Virgin of Rocks (by Leonardo Da Vinci), Sunflowers (by Vincent Van Gogh), The Fighting Temeraire (by J.M.W Turner) and The Ambassadors (by Hans Holbein) are few of Gallery’s prime highlights.
2. British Museum
Dating back to 1753, The British Museum focuses on art, culture and history and exhibits all these aspects so brilliantly. There are about 8 million works housed here and belongs to different continents. This is where one can get in polished understanding about culture and the beginning of Homo sapiens.
There are 4 cafes and 3 shops for further visitors. The shops are stocked with nature-inspired goods, crystal, small stones, jewellery, soft toys, puzzles, mugs, models and other such stuff for you to take home. Special services are available for people suffering from visual and/or hearing impairment. You can hire a wheelchair for free and can leave your guide dog outside with an attendant.
3. London Eye
London’s iconic landscape seems incomplete without this humungous Ferris wheel rolling through, The London Eye or the Millennium Wheel. This 135-meter-tall structure was erected in 1999 when it also was the tallest Ferris wheel of the world, but now remains as Europe’s tallest Ferris wheel.
Undoubtedly a major tourist attraction of Europe, this lets people look upon a bird-eye view of the city of London. Just hop-in inside any of the 32 ovoidal capsules and experience the best of London.
Since it is located in the prime location, you can behold from here, some of London’s main highlights like the Buckingham Palace, British Museum and Piccadilly Circus, along with many others.
You can also opt to hire your private capsule for your comfort. And it is not confined to private cubes- there are Dining Capsule, Vinopolis Tasting Capsule and Cupid Capsule.
Plan your tours to London and Paris
4. Camden Market
The Camden Market has been growing strong since thirty years and over the time drastic change is seen around. Camden Market or Camden Lock deals with clothing, fast food, craft and Bric-à-brac and what not!
This also is fourth-most popular attraction of London, visited by about one lakh people every weekend. This is an ultimate destination for shoppers, foodies or for anyone wanting to make their London visit a memorable one. Okay! But if you are a couch-potato, there also is Camden Market website from where you can order trendiest of stuffs.
5. Hyde Park
One of London’s largest and most royal parks, Hyde Park is mainly renowned for its Speakers’ Corner, where a lot of debates, public speaking, discussions etcetera take place.
Princess of Wales Memorial, Holocaust Memorial, Rose Garden are just some of the many attractions inside it. In fact, if you wish you can explore the park at your own pace through the self-guided trial known as The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Walk.
This is a seven-mile long route that takes the visitors through St. Jame’s Park, Hyde Park, Green Park and Kensington Gardens (consisting of famous buildings and locations), via 90 plaques. Wildlife too is an important highlight here. If you want to indulge in sports, you are free to join the people having a merry time.
6. Tower of London
In Central London, on the banks of Thames is where this historical castle, Tower of London, is located. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was established in 1066 by William Conqueror and has witnessed various important events in the history. The spectacular Norman architecture is a treat to the eyes.
The White Tower is specifically known for its Royal Armouries Collections. The collection includes the royal armours of Charles I, James II and Henry VIII. At the top of this four-floored tower is where Block and Axe is located, which were used for beheading, and possibly date back to Tudor Times.
7. Shakespeare’s Globe
Shakespeare’s Globe is a theatre built in 1599 by Lord Chamberlain’s Men, Shakespeare’s playing company. So, the main aim of the Globe is to spread the awareness of Shakespeare in performance.
There are various tours, exhibitions, concerts and events that take place in the Globe and updates are given about the same in the official website. Other than this, Shakespeare’s Globe aims at educating and spreading awareness about the art of drama. If you are coming over with your kids, you need not frown as there is a special playground for then. Shopping and eating are yet another highlights of the Globe.
8. Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace alone defines luxe and grandeur. Mainly built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703, it was acquired by King George in 1761, who used it as a private residence. Later in the nineteenth century it was then renovated and became the official royal palace of the British Monarch.
Buckingham Palace undoubtedly counts as one of the best places to visit in London and this is because you have a lot of things to see and do in Buckingham Palace; like visiting the State Rooms, Grand Staircase, taking the audio tour with Prince Charles, Throne Room, The Garden, Special Exhibitions and other such highlights.
9. Westminster Abbey
One of the most recognized religious shrines of United Kingdom; Westminster Abbey was built between 1540 and 1556 as a cathedral. However, today it is neither an abbey nor a cathedral, it simple is a church responsible to the Sovereign (Royal Peculiar).
Westminster Abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the precincts of the abbey there are many other structures such as schools (Westminster School and Westminster Abbey Choir School), Chapter House, burials and memorials and the Westminster Abbey Museum. The museum is one of the oldest areas of abbey, exhibiting effigies, coronation chair of Mary II, replicas of coronation regalia etc.
10. Victoria and Albert Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum is named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who founded it in the year 1852. This today, is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and designs and covers as much as 12.5 acres with 145 galleries.
The museum houses a collection of art varying between ancient and modern times, belonging to different cultures of North America, Asia, North Africa and Europe. Exhibits related to anything and everything is available here- be it architecture, fashion, books, textiles, print, theatres and what not!
11. London Bridge
Not just in the rhymes, London Bridge is mentioned even in the coolest songs, and it surely deserves to be. This however is not merely one bridge but refers to many historical bridges built upon the Thames River, connecting Southwark and City of London.
The current bridge was built in 1973 replacing the one built in the 19-century, which again replaced another 600-year-old structure. Its central location gives access to some of the most popular sites of the city like the Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Big Ben, British Museum and Piccadilly Circus, among many.
12. Tate Modern
Tate Modern, a modern art gallery, houses a collection of British art ranging between 1500s to the present modern era. About seventy thousand artworks by more than three thousand artists are put in display, with the numbers increasing every year.
The gallery organizes many events and workshops meant for families, young people and general audience. You can opt for any of the many guided tours that best matches you; there even are special tours for the specially-abled.
The most convenient self-guided tour, if you ask me; I would say it’s the Mobile App Tour which is available for iOS and Android. Entry to the gallery is free, except for special exhibitions, but if you are a member or patron you can enter even in the special exhibitions for free.
From Sunday to Thursday Tate Modern stays open between 10:00 to 18:00 and on Friday and Saturday it stays open between 10:00 and 22:00.
13. Natural History Museum
You are already overwhelmed with the grand architecture and then there is this impeccable collection inside that only ascends the awe. National History Museum London houses about 80 million specimens divided into five main classifications- botany, mineralogy, entomology, zoology and paleontology.
Oh! And that’s not all, since the Museum was established in 1881; its history is yet another spectacular facet, like the specimens that Charles Darwin collected. Talking of history in particular, you can find a collection of manuscript, books, journals, artwork and other such things related to research of the scientific department, in the Library where you can enter by appointment.
14. St. Paul’s Cathedral
The masterpiece by Britain’s popular architect Sir Christopher Wren, this magnificent edifice is the holy seat of the mother church of the Diocese of London and the Bishop of London. This, the second-tallest church building of United Kingdom is a dominant part of London’s spectacular skyline.
The Cathedral has its history dating back to 1708 and it’s not just its exterior, the interiors are equally embellished. Sculptures, mosaics, metal-work and many artworks are strategically used for the beautiful interior.
The Cathedral is one of Britain’s most revered cathedrals and isn’t bound to just worshiping, there are various events related to the same are organized and learning too is considered an efficient facet.
To maintain financial stability and maintenance of the buildings, the authority charges entry fees for sightseers, but not worshipers (Charges for the same is £18 and £15 for online purchase).
15. Houses of Parliament/ Palace of Westminster
Just beside the Big Ben, by the scintillating River Thames, Palace of Westminster holds major political and tourism significance. And after just a glimpse of it, it becomes apparent that it also is a pillar of London’s magnificent architecture.
Visitors can attend various events and enter Westminster Hall and, Commons and Lords Chambers. You can also opt for special themed tours. The Palace of Westminster, along with neighboring St Margaret’s and Westminster Abbey is a much-deserved UNESCO World Heritage Site.