Updated: Sep 18, 2021
Europe's one of the most popular cities is situated on the River Thames in South-East England. Being the capital city of the United Kingdom has London an official population of over 8 million. London is considered as one of the world's leading "global cities". Having a great and ruling history during centuries is London still forcing and influencing the world in our century.
London is the political, economic and cultural capital of Britain, and its world class rated tourist attractions are giving a plus to the city and country. The city is full of attractions, 30 historical gardens and 123 historical buildings and more than 200 museums is London offering a first class touristic experience.
Like river Danube in Budapest and Vienna, Tiber in Rome and Arno in Florence, is river Thames runing through the heart of London. The city is well-connected, with five international airports and the high-speed Eurostar rail link to France / Paris. Almost all European countries are within a three-hour flight time and 310 international airports are having have direct flights to London
Here are the must see basic places of London
1. Westminster Palace & Big Ben
The Westminster Palace is the most impressive medieval architectural building in London. It is an example for Gothic Revival and is situated on the north bank of the River Thames. Being located on the banks of the river it made the Palace a strategic point during the Middle Ages and was therefore highly resided. It served as residence for Royal's but was not occupied by monarch after the 16th century. The oldest section of the Palace which is called the Westminster Hall dates back to 1097. The Palace was entirely destroyed by a fire in 1834, the buildings which can been see at the time being are from the 19th century.
The Palace is also known as the House of Parliament of the United Kingdom where the House of Lords and the House of Commons execute their business. These Houses represent the most important parts of the 1.000 rooms which the Palace contains.
It is the complex of important state ceremonies, most notably the State Opening of Parliament. The Clock Tower which is a part of Westminster Palace is known as the Big Ben within tourists.
2. Buckingham Palace
St James Palace, was the royal place where George III (r.1760-1820) held his court functions. In 1761, he bought the Buckingham House for his wife Queen Charlotte to use it as a family house near to the Palace. Buckingham House became known as the residence of the Queen's House until George IV reconstructed the house into Palace in the end of 1826.
Since 1837 the Palace is serving as the residence of the United Kingdom's sovereigns. Today it's the administrative center of the Monarch. The Palace is in use for many official events and receptions are held by The Queen. At the same time the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open to visitors every summer.
The Palace has total 775 rooms. These include 19 State rooms where the receptions are held, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 92 offices1, 88 staff bedrooms, and 78 bathrooms. The building is in a 108 m to 120 m size which includes the central quadrangle.
Guard Change at Buckingham Palace
- The ceremony is a classical and colorful spectacle.
- It lasts about 45 minutes;
- January-March : 11.00-11.45am on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
- Daily Schedule in Summer.
- Some variations to this schedule may take place, please check before programming your schedule.
3. St. Paul's Cathedral
At the current site of St. Paul Cathedral five churches had been constructed during centuries. The initial church was built in 604 AD which was dedicated to St. Paul. The earliest Cathedral buildings had short lives because they were destroyed by fire or Viking attacks. The longest survival, six hundred years, of the Cathedral was recorded for the one which was built around 1087 AD by Bishop Maurice.
The Great Fire of London which occurred in 1666, destroyed four fifth of all of London, erasing around 13.200 houses and 89 churches, including the St. Paul's Cathedral off the map.
Three years after the fire, Sir Christopher Wren a brilliant scientist and mathematician and Britain’s most famous architect to his time was the one to whom was given the work to replace the Cathedral. It took him nine years to plan and design the masterpiece, ensuring that the new design would meet the requirements of a working cathedral. Finally, in 1675, the construction commenced and lasted thirty five years.
The New Cathedral which Sir Cristopher Wren delivered fulfilled all needs which was expected after the great fire London. The Cathedral was the new symbol for the Church of England, the renewed capital city.
Many important events were held in the Cathedral.
- The first one was already in 1697, a Thanksgiving for the Peace between England and France.
- The funeral of Admiral Nelson in 1806.
- The funeral of Winston Churchill in 1965.
- The iconic wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer was here in 1981.
4. Tower of London
Britain's most famous castle is located at the Thames. The construction of the Tower of London begun in 1070 by William the Conqueror. The Tower was built to enforce and secure the power of the Norman king over the newly conquered land. At the beginning the originally fortress was made of wooden material but afterwards it was replaced by the White Tower. With the time the strategic located structure expanded into a twenty tower stronghold. The additions to the fortress complex came by Henry III and Edward I which made the Tower into one of the most innovative and influential castles in Europe during the 13th and 14th centuries.
From the late 13th century, the Tower became more important and was a major repository for official documents, precious goods and the Crown Jewels. An other important role of the Tower was helping to shape the history of the Reformation in England. For both Catholic and Protestant prisoners the Tower was a place of torture and execution.
Other Roles and Features of the Tower
- The Tower served as a Mint for over 500 years, the fortress guarded the
production of all the country's precious coins.
- Yeoman Warders have been guarding the Tower of London since Tudor times.
- The Crown Jewels which is the powerful symbols of monarchy is displayed in
the Jewel House at the Tower and are used at the coronation of sovereign.
-Though it wasn't built to be the Tower is known as an infamous prison.
5. Westminster Abbey
The abbey which is made in Gothic style is an architectural masterpiece of the 13th and 16th centuries. It is located in Westminster in the center of London, opposite to the Houses of Parliament (Westminster Palace) and close to Buckingham Palace.
Saint Edward the Confessor, started to enlarge an existing small benedictine monastery built by King Edgar and St. Duncan around 960 AD. The enlarged stone church was constructed in honor of St. Peter the Apostle. In order to distinguish this new church from St. Paul's Cathedral (the east minster) it became the name "West Minster". When the church was consecrated on December 1065 Saint Edward was too ill to attend and died few days later.
The first coronation in the Westminster Abbey was the coronation of William the Conqueror on Christmas day 1066.
The present building was built between 1245-1272, under the direction of King Henry III. The Cathedral was later expanded, the Chapel was constructed between 1503-1512 by Henry VII, whereas the two west front Towers date back to 1745. The north entrance of the abbey was completed in the 19th century which represents the youngest part.
The Abbey has been the place of coronation of the English sovereings since 1066 and other royal ceremonies, including sixteen Royal Weddings. As the famous burial place the church has 3.300 people, many of them most important and significant in nation's history.
6. Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is one of the favourite icons of London. More than 50 designes were submitted for the bridge. Sir Horace Jones's designs was approved but was finished by George D. Stevenson because he died right after construction has began. The official opening ceremony was (1894) 123 years ago, with the intention to find a solution for the regular road traffic without hindering the river access to the busy Pool of London docks. 432 workers of five major contractors worked each day in order to finish the bridge in eight years.
The bridge is 244 meters (800 feet) in length with two towers each 65 meters (213 feet) high.The central span of is between the towers 61 meters (200 feet). The two equal bascules, which can be raised to an angle of 86 degrees allows the river traffic to circulate. The bascules, weighing over 1.000 tons each, are raising in five minutes.
7. Kensington Palace
The most powerful women of Britain's history was born and grew up in Kensington Palace. Princess Alexandrina Victoria, she was born on 24 May 1819, became queen aged by 18 and ruled for 63 years. During her Reign Britain became the greatest imperial power by powerful social and political change.
Named as the Nottingham House the Jacobean mansion was built by Sir George Coppin in 1605 in the village Kensington. The mansion was bought by William III right after when he came to the throne in 1689. He started directly with the expansion of it, constructor Sir Christopher Wren added the pavilions and the north and south wings and the gardens. At the end of 1689 the royal Court moved in and for the next 70 years the Kensington Palace became a favoured residence of British Monarchs.
The Palace became the residence to Queen Anne after the death of William III. She let Sir Cristopher Wren finish the today known parts, Queen Apartments, Queen's Entrance, Orangery and the baroque parterre.
8. Shakespear's Globe Theatre
To perform art and spectacles the first theatres in the country were built during the Tudor times. The known London's Globe Theatre was built in 1599 and destroyed by fire right after 14 years. William Shakespeare (26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) made the Globe the most famous theatre in the count.
The new Globe, were methods of the 16th century was used for building it was opened in 1997. The Globe is located on the bank of the River Thames in Bankside's Cultural Quarter. The Shakespeare's Globe welcomes thousands of visitors from all over the world to experience world renowned productions of Shakespeare every day.
Opening Hours :
- Open daily - 9.30am – 5.00pm
- Tours depart every 30 minutes
- The Exhibition & Tour is open every day except 24 & 25 December
9. London Eye
The London Eye (known as the Millennium Wheel) is situated on the South Bank of the river Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament. The Eye is located within walking distance from several Underground stations like: Waterloo, Embankment, Charing Cross and Westminster.
With this possibility there is no need to fly our London with a helicopter just sit in one the capsules and enjoy the great view by day and night.