Did You Know?
The London Underground is globally the oldest underground railway network.
When we say just 'London', it can mean either the City of London (1.12 sq mi in area) or Greater London, which is an administrative area that exceeds borders of the city. In this article, we talk about Greater London.
1. Buckingham Palace
Perhaps the most famous palaces in the world, Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the British monarch. State rooms are open to visitors only during the Palace's Summer Opening, which takes place in most of August and September. However, if you are heading to the palace at a different time, you can witness 'Changing of the Guard', where the guard is changed daily from April to July, and on alternate days from August to March.
2. British Museum
This museum showcases works from the birth of human civilization to the modern age, and has contributions from all continents of the world. The main attractions include the much debated Parthenon Marbles (Elgin Marbles), Mummy of Cleopatra from Thebes, and the Rosetta Stone. Entry to the museum is free.
3. London Eye
The 32 capsules on the London Eye, carry almost 10,000 visitors every day. Due to its 360°-rotation ability, you can almost see the entire city of London, when you reach at the top. Until the Shard's privately-operated deck opened in 2013, The London Eye was the tallest public viewing point.
4. London Zoo
The world's oldest scientific zoo, The London Zoo consists of more than 16,000 different types of animals and birds. This is also one of the best places for children, as you can book a VIP encounter with the animals for them. And what's more? You can also stay overnight at the zoo in Lookout Lodge.
5. Sir John Soane's Museum
Other than shopping in the streets of London, one of the best things to do is to check out Sir John Soane's Museum. Sir John Soane was an architect and an avid collector of curios. During the time he lived, he has collected some of the best antiquities from all the four corners of the world. These antiquities can now be seen in the museum, which was the architect's former home. Visit the museum on the first Tuesday evening of every month; the house is lit by candles.
6. Madame Tussauds
At Madame Tussauds, you'll see some of the world's greatest icons face to face. From Queen Elizabeth to Michael Jackson, you'll meet the world's most influential personalities from the field of sports, history, entertainment, etc. Sing along with Madonna, play football with Beckham, and click a photograph with her majesty Queen Elizabeth.
7. Elizabeth Tower (Nickname: Big Ben)
The great bell of the clock at the Palace of Westminster, the Big Ben is one of the most prominent symbols of London. In 2012, it was renamed from 'Clock Tower' to 'Elizabeth Tower', during the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. On 17th April, 2013, during the funeral of Margaret Thatcher, the bells were silenced to mark 'profound dignity and deep respect'.
8. Tate Modern
A modern art gallery, you can reach Tate Modern via the wobbly Millennium Bridge. This can be quite a controversial visit because it has exhibitions of all kinds. Some are for art lovers and some of them are completely for adults. It is globally the most-visited modern art gallery; expect a lot of surprises.
9. Kensington Palace
This magnificent palace has been home to the royal family for more than 300 years and some parts of the palace still exist as private residences. The beautiful state apartments and Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, which contains the dresses worn by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana are open to the public. It is now the official royal residence of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their son Prince George of Cambridge.
10. Westminster Abbey
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this is where all monarchs are crowned, buried, and sometimes married, since 1066. The last wedding to take place at the site was of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.
With a look at these top places to visit, you must have realized that London is a traveler's delight. Make sure you at least get a glimpse of these wonders while in the city. Happy Traveling!