It is unlikely that anyone will argue with the fact that London is one of the main tourist destinations in the world. According to official statistics, London attracts over 15 million visitors a year. The British capital is a vibrant concentration of art, entertainment, music and numerous monuments. The British are rightly proud of the huge concentration of cultural attractions in London. From royal palaces to the Houses of Parliament, Roman ruins, castles and cathedrals, you can spend many days exploring the city’s landmarks, but always find something new and interesting.
The capital of England and the United Kingdom is also the most populous city in the UK with over 9 million inhabitants. The history of London goes back over 2,000 years, when the Romans first founded the ancient city of Londinium here. Numerous tourists come here throughout the year, and if you plan to be among them, here is a list of the top 17 London attractions for the active traveler.
Located in the Bloomsbury area, the British Museum is dedicated to human history and culture. Its permanent collection of approximately 8 million works is one of the largest and most comprehensive exhibitions in the world, spanning the history of all continents. The British Museum illustrates and documents the history of human culture from its inception to the present day. Visiting the museum is free, but sometimes there are small queues.
The Palace of Westminster (more commonly known as the House of Commons and the House of Lords) is the Houses of Parliament in the United Kingdom. The history of the House of Commons and the House of Lords spans over 900 years, from the time of the Anglo-Saxons to the present day. The current building was built in the 19th century, restored after a fire in the magnificent tradition of Victorian neo-Gothic architecture. The exterior of the Palace of Westminster is decorated with Big Ben, the legendary clock tower on the banks of the River Thames. This landmark of London is recognizable all over the world and is one of the most visited places in London.
Tate Modern is the UK’s national gallery for international contemporary art. She is part of the Tate Group (along with Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives and Tate Online). Tate Modern is the most visited contemporary art gallery in the world, with 4.7 million visitors a year. Admission to the Tate Modern is absolutely free, with the exception of some special exhibitions.
Tower of London
The Tower of London is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. This famous landmark is located in London’s Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of London City Square by the open space of Tower Hill. The Tower was founded towards the end of 1066, in honor of the Norman conquest of England. In general, this is a complex of several buildings in two rings of protective walls and a moat. The Tower of London has played a very important role in English history.
Madame Tussauds museum
Madame Tussauds is a wax museum in London with branches in many major cities on four continents. It was founded by the wax sculptor Marie Tussauds, becoming one of the main attractions in London. Wax figures of historical and royal figures, movie stars, sports stars and even infamous assassins are on display here.
The Science Museum is the largest museum on Exhibition Road in South Kensington. It was founded in 1857 and today is one of the most visited places in the city, attracting 3.3 million visitors annually. Here you can experience the main scientific achievements of the past 300 years, as well as visit the stunning IMAX cinema. Entrance to the Science Museum is absolutely free.
Museum of Natural History
The museum is entirely devoted to earth sciences and includes approximately 80 million exhibits in five main groups: botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology and zoology. The Museum of Natural History is a world-renowned research center specializing in the taxonomy, identification and conservation of the riches of the earth. Considering the age of the institution, many of the exhibits have a very great historical as well as scientific significance. Some specimens were collected by Charles Darwin himself. Like all other museums in London, the Natural History Museum does not require any entrance fee.
A modern but already very popular attraction in London is the London Eye, a giant ferris wheel located in Jubilee Gardens on the South Bank of the Thames. The 135 meters high Ferris Wheel was created in honor of the millennium of London. On a clear day, visibility from the summit is 40 kilometers.
Victoria and Albert Museum
London’s Victoria and Albert Museum is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design, with a permanent collection of over 4.5 million items. It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Permission to V&A is free except for special exhibitions and events.
The National Gallery is an art museum on Trafalgar Square in London, founded in 1824. It houses the national collection of art in the Western European tradition from the 13th to the 19th centuries. It is one of the most visited museums in the world, after the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Trafalgar Square is a large city square founded in honor of Lord Horatio Nelson’s victory over Napoleon’s navy at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The central monument of the square is a tall pillar with the figure of Nelson contemplating London. His monument is surrounded by four lions and a series of large fountains. This landmark of London got its name in honor of the Battle of Trafalgar — a British naval victory during the Napoleonic Wars, which took place on October 21, 1805 off the coast of Cape Trafalgar.
Westminster Abbey is a large Gothic church in the city of Westminster, not far from the Palace of Westminster. Westminster Abbey has been around for over a thousand years. Benedictine monks first settled the site in the middle of the tenth century, establishing a tradition of daily worship that continues to this day. In 1066, the church became the site for the coronation and is the burial place of seventeen monarchs. The existing structure was built by Henry III in 1245 and became one of the most important Gothic buildings. Admission to Westminster Abbey is free.
This is the London residence and the main workplace of the Queen of Great Britain. Located in the city of Westminster, the palace is the venue for official ceremonies and a symbol of royal hospitality. Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of British sovereigns since 1837, and despite being used for many official events and receptions, the State Rooms of the Palace are open to visitors throughout the year.
Hampton Court is one of the most famous palaces in Europe. Its Grand Hall dates back to the reign of Henry VIII. This is the place where Elizabeth I learned about the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Other points of interest include the Clock Hall with its spectacular 1540 astronomical clock, the Chapel, the Royal Chambers and the Tudor tennis court. The Hampton Gardens are also worth a visit, especially in mid-May when they are in full bloom. The Garden Complex includes the Secret Garden, the Lakes, the Elizabethan Garden, the Wilderness and the famous Palace Labyrinth.
The two most famous tourist areas in London are located not far from each other. Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus are popular for attractions such as the Soho Locks, the London Theater and the Entertainment District. Piccadilly Circus is the intersection of several busy streets — Piccadilly, Regent Street, Haymarket, and Shaftesbury Avenue. London’s most famous sculpture, the Winged Eros, is a finely balanced masterpiece of art on this lively site.
The covered markets of Covent Garden are just the beginning of a larger complex that encompasses the shops and restaurants of Long Acre with its neighboring streets, as well as Central Square with its street performers. The halls and galleries of Covent Garden Market, with their specialty shops and stalls, attract a lot of tourists. Absolutely everything is sold here, from fine handicrafts to small souvenirs. In the building of the former flower market, you will find the London Transport Museum with historical exhibits — vintage cars, trams and buses. This area is also home to the Royal Opera House, another famous landmark in London.
Greenwich and Docklands
For centuries, Greenwich and the Docklands has been the main base of the British Navy. —- Greenwich is best known to tourists as the home of Cutty Sark—-. It is also home to the Greenwich Visitor Center with its exhibitions showcasing more than 500 years of maritime history and the Pallas Athena style mansion known as the Queen’s House. The impressive exhibits of the National Maritime Museum, the largest museum of its kind in the world, illustrate the history of the British Royal Navy. The lively Docklands is located on the other side of the river. It has been transformed into an international business district and is filled with London’s finest restaurants. The excellent Docklands Museum, housed in old Georgian warehouses, is dedicated to the river port and its history since Roman times. Interactive information displays are especially interesting for children.
Kew Gardens is officially known as the Royal Botanic Gardens. It is located in southwest London on the south bank of the Thames. This is a wonderful place to spend time enjoying the many plants on an impressive 300 acres. Established in 1759, the gardens became a government park in 1841. In 1897, Queen Victoria added the Queen’s House and the surrounding woodland to the site. Many tours of the park are completely free, and Kew Gardens hosts numerous concerts and cultural events throughout the year.
Churchill War Rooms
Among London’s most exciting historical sights is the well-preserved command center from which Prime Minister Winston Churchill directed British military campaigns during World War II. Their spartan simplicity and limited conditions highlight the difficulties that England experienced during the expansion of Nazi power throughout Europe. Here you will see the tiny room where Churchill slept and the makeshift radio room where he broadcast his famous war speeches. Numerous simple details, such as Clementine Churchill yarn and maps of Europe with markers, create an indescribable atmosphere.
One of the most visited cities in the world has something for everyone, so don’t miss the chance to visit the capital of England at least once in your life to experience all the highlights of London.