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10 Stunning Things To See In London - Planning Your Perfect Vacation

Updated: Jan 7

London is one of the most beautiful and visited cities in the world, with tourists coming from far and wide to take in the sights, soak up the culture, and immerse themselves in the history of the British capital city.


10. The London Eye


Offering breathtaking views of the City of London, the London Eye is one of the largest ferris wheels in the world, and was constructed in the year 2000 to mark the millennium.


As London’s most visited tourist attraction, the London Eye has large, covered capsules which allow groups of up to 25 people to stand and observe the amazing 360 degree surround views.


9. The Museums


If there is one thing that London has to offer, it is a large number of museums. All of them free to the public (with the option for donations), there are numerous museums, all with something different to offer.


The British Museum is perhaps the most famous of the bunch, housing thousands of historical artifacts from all over the world, including the Rosetta Stone, the Sutton Hoo ship burial helmet, the Easter Island statue ‘Hoa Hakananai’a’, and the famed Elgin marbles.


Another popular museum is the Natural History Museum, which has several large collections of mineral, animal, ecological, and fossil specimens.


8. Tower Bridge


Somewhat synonymous with London, thanks to its appearance in countless films and television series’, Tower Bridge is a grade 1 listed structure built between 1886 and 1894.


Located across the River Thames, where it sits close to the Tower of London (hence its name), Tower Bridge was constructed to provide better access to London’s East End, which had developed new and exciting commercial potential in the latter part of the 19th century.


7. Art Galleries


As well as historical and natural museums, London also boasts several art galleries, including the world famous National Gallery, and the National Portrait Gallery.


Housing some of the most sought after paintings in the world, including the works of Monet, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Leonardo Di Vinci, the National Gallery is a must see, both for art lovers, or for someone looking for a quiet evening in the company of the great masters.


6. Hampton Court Palace


A grade 1 listed building, composed of both Tudor and Baroque architecture, Hampton Court Palace has a long and illustrious history amongst the wealthy and elite of London society.


Loved by locals and tourists alike for its world famous maze, historic royal tennis court, and the world’s largest grape vine (as of 2005), Hampton Court is a prime example of the beauty, history, and quirkiness that London has to offer.


5. The Shard


One of the more modern attractions on this list, The Shard was finished in 2012, designed to represent a large shard of glass sticking out from the ground.


The tallest building in the United Kingdom, and the seventh tallest building in Europe, The Shard has become an instant characteristic of London’s skyline, and a popular attraction for locals and visitors alike.


With 72 habitable floors, a viewing gallery, and an 72nd floor open-air observation deck, The Shard offers the same flair, style, and eccentricity of British architecture, albeit in a modern, reflective form.


4. The Tower Of London


Known officially as Her Majesty's Royal Palace & Fortress of the Tower of London, the Tower of London was first founded in 1066 at the end of the Norman conquest, with William the Conqueror commissioning the White Tower in 1078.


Known historically as a symbol of oppression, and a feared and infamous place of torture, imprisonment, and death, the Tower of London has had many famous (or infamous) guests over the centuries, including Anne Boleyn (second wife of Henry VIII), famed explorer and privateer Sir Walter Raleigh, Guy Fawkes (of gunpowder plot fame), and even the high profile Nazi official Rudolf Hess.


3. Westminster Abbey


Originally founded in 980 AD in dedication to St Peter, Westminster Abbey has undergone a lot of changes in its 1062 year history, including dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII, iconoclastic puritan attacks during the 1640s, and even bombing during the Second World War.


In recent history however, it has served as the coronation site of British monarchs, the site of British royal weddings, and similar royal functions - making its hallowed walls a frequently visited tourist attraction for the millions of visitors to London each year.


2. Buckingham Palace


Synonymous with Britain and the royal family, Buckingham Palace is the primary residence of Queen Eizabeth II, and acts as the center point of state occasions and royal hospitality.


Originally known as Buckingham House, where it was built on the foundations of a large house built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703, the house was acquired in 1763 by King George III as a private residence for Queen Charlotte.


Since then it has been associated with the royal family of the United Kingdom, and sees millions of tourists stand outside its gate, photograph its facade, and interact with its famed bear skin-wearing royal guard each year.


1.Big Ben


‘Big Ben’ is the nickname given to the striking clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster, and is perhaps the most widely recognised British landmark.


Despite being called Big Ben, the name actually refers to the large bell housed behind the clock.


The tower itself was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012, in honor of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, and the tower remains a cultural and historical symbol of Britishness in popular culture around the world.


Conclusion


And there we have it, the ten most stunning things to see in London.


It’s true that London has something to suit just about everyone, which goes some way to explain the continued appeal of the city as a tourist destination, a place of residence, and a culturally significant location to this day.



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Erin Smith, travel advisor, empty nester, Oklahom, Cultivating Connections Travel Planners



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Top Ten Culturally Curious Family Journeys, Cultivating Connections Travel Planners, Erin Smith, travel advisor, Oklahoma
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