Things to do in London

LondonLondon, the capital city of the United Kingdom, is a city full of wonderful monuments, buildings and shopping streets. Whether you live, work or visit the city on holiday, the city offers a great choice of activities to do both during the day and night. This article will give an overview of the must see spots in the city and provide you with various activities to fill a free day with fun.

London Eye

The London Eye is the most popular tourist attraction in the United Kingdom and attracts over 3.75 million visitors on a yearly basis. The London Eye is a large Ferris wheel located on the south of the River Thames which runs through the city of London. The London Eye is often referred to as the Millennium Wheel. However, since January 2015 it has been known as the Coca Cola London Eye, following an agreement made with Coca Cola in 2014. The London Eye is 135 meters high and has a diameter of 120 meters. The London Eye was built in 1999. At the time of its construction it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. However, currently the High Roller in Las Vegas surpassed the London Eye in 2014 with a total height of 168 meters. The London Eye is only supported by an A-frame and is therefore often described as being the tallest cantilevered observation wheel in the world. The London Eye has made many appearances in movies, as well as video clips. It offers the highest public viewing point in London and provides a beautiful view over the Tower Bridge, the Big Ben and the rest of the city of London.

Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge is considered to be one of the iconic symbols of London. The Tower Bridge is a suspension bridge which was built between 1886 and 1894. The river crosses the Thames river and the bridge is located near the Tower of London. Together with four other bridges in London, the Tower Bridge is owned and maintained by the Bridge House Estates. This organization is a charitable trust which is overseen by the City of London Corporation. While the four other bridges all connect directly to the Southwark Bank, the Tower Bridge does not. Instead the bridge connects the Southwark and the Tower Hamlets. The deck of the bridge is accessible to both pedestrians and vehicles. The Tower Bridge towers and the Victorian engine rooms are also accessible, however for the admission a charge is required. The Tower Bridge towers are tired together by two horizontal walkways, and in each tower the operating machinery is located. The closest London Underground stations are Tower Hill and London Bridge. From these metro stations, the walk to the Tower Bridge is only a few minute walk.

Tower of London

The Tower of London is also a must see when visiting the city of London. The Tower of London is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has over 2 million visitors a year. The Tower of London is officially called Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London. It is a historic castle which is located in central London, along the northern side of the River Thames. The Tower of London was founded in 1066 during the Norman Conquest of England. The main tower, referred to as the White Tower, was built in 1078 by William the Conqueror. It was built as a resented symbol of oppression which was imposed by the ruling elite of London. The main purpose of the building was to hold prisoners. The Tower of London was used a prison from 1100 until the middle of the twentieth century. The Tower is a set of different buildings. It was mostly expanded during the 12th and 13th century by the ruling kings of that time. During the Second World War the Tower was closed since it was damaged during the Blitz. After the war, the building was restored and opened its doors to the public. Today it is considered to be one of the most popular tourist attractions, together with the London Eye, the Tower Bridge and the Big Ben. The Historic Royal Palaces is the charity which cares for the Tower.

Buckingham Palace

The Buckingham Palace is located in the City of Westminster, and is the residence of the royal family of the United Kingdom. The palace is the center of royal hospitality and state occasions. Moreover, during times of national rejoicing it is the central point for British people. The building, then referred to as the Buckingham House, was built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703. During 1761 the building was acquired by King George and became a private residence for the queen. In the 19th century, the Buckingham House was renovated and enlarged. Three more wings were constructed around the central courtyard. The palace has a total of 775 rooms and its garden is the largest private garden in the city of London. The rooms which are often used for state and official meetings are open to the public in September and August. These state rooms are sometimes also opened on selected days in spring and winter. Although the monarch of the United Kingdom resides in Buckingham Palace, the building is owned by the Crown. The building also houses a royal collection of art. The galleries are open continuously and are open to the public. Thus, the Buckingham Palace is not only the home of the British monarch, but is also an art gallery as well as a famous tourist attraction.

Big Ben

The iconic clock tower of the Houses of Parliament is one of London’s most famous landmarks. The Big Ben is one of the buildings you must see when visiting the city of London. The Elizabeth Tower and the Houses of Parliament are together often referred to as the Big Ben. Officially, Big Ben is the name of the massive bell which is located in the clock tower. The bell weighs more than 13,000 kilograms. The Big Ben looks beautiful at night, since the clock faces are illuminated at this time. The Big Ben is often visible when movies are filmed in London since it is considered to be the landmark of London. Although the Big Ben is considered to be one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions, the inside of the tower is not open to foreign visitors. Residents from the United Kingdom, on the other hand, are allowed to visit the Big Ben. In order to be able to enter the tower, they need to write to their Member of Parliament who can arrange a tour. The Big Ben, however, has no elevator. Thus, when visiting the tower visitors need to be ready to climb over 334 stairs to reach the top.

St Paul’s Cathedral

The St Paul’s Cathedral, officially called the Cathedral Church of St Paul the Apostle. The Cathedral is located in Canterbury, on the Ludgate Hill. The St Paul’s Cathedral is the highest point in London and the seat of the Bishop of London. The church is an Anglican cathedral and was dedicated to Paul the Apostle, dating back to AD604. The church was designed by Sir Christopher Wren in baroque style in the 17th century. Currently the church is the second largest church in area in the United Kingdom. The largest church in area is the Liverpool Cathedral. As one of the most recognizable sights of London, it was also the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1962. During this time, it dominated the skyline and provided a beautiful view at night. The St Paul’s Cathedral is a working church. This means that services are held daily and there are hourly prayers. Moreover, the church has been used for many important occasions. The peace services held marking the end of the First and Second World War were both in the St Paul’s Cathedral. Also, the funerals of Sir Winston Churchill, the Duke of Wellington and Lord Nelson were all held in the cathedral. Another important ceremony held in the church was the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is a Gothic style church in the City of Westminster in London. It is located west of the Palace of Westminster, and is considered to be one of the notable religious building in the United Kingdom. Westminster Abbey is a must-see when visiting places which have played an important role in British history. The 700 year old church was constructed on the orders of King Henry III. Nowadays, the church welcomes more than one million visitors a year, and more than a thousand people a day visit the church to attend daily prayers and services. Westminster Abbey is open from Monday to Saturday. On religious holidays and on Sundays, the church is only open for worship. Entrance is free and everybody is allowed in. The church is well accessible by public transport. When taking the metro, the closest stops to the church are Westminster and St James’s Park. From these stops, it is a short walk to the church. Westminster Abbey is also accessible by the London River Services. When taking the boat, the best stop to get off is the Westminster Millennium Pier.


Article written by: SarahAjaoud
Times read: 2262x
Added: 28-06-2016 23:59
Last modified: 03-07-2016 21:25

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