One of the world’s oldest and best-known capital cities, London has been attracting hordes of tourists, from far and wide, for hundreds of years. Now, in the age of affordable international air travel, it’s as busy as ever, welcoming over 4.5 million visitors each year. Still, with so many things to possibly see and do, there remains a conundrum for visitors on just how best to spend their time.
Here we pick out 5 of London’s most significant sights. No trip to the British capital would be complete without an opportunity to see these up close and personal. Especially ones that include stays at London 5 star hotels that bring you that extra bit of luxury too.
One of the largest parks in London, Hyde Park was the site for 1851 Great Exhibition but continues, in the modern age, to serve as a central hub for visitors and locals alike to unwind and take in a bit of greenery and nature away from the urbanity.
Also one of the Royal Parks of London, highlights of Hyde Park include Sunday’s Speakers’ Corner, boating on the lake and the Diana Princess of Wales memorial.
Big Ben is actually the nickname given to the Great Bell of the clock that sits at the north of the Palace of Westminster in the centre of London. It’s a landmark known the world over and continues to chime over London ever since its completion in 1859.
Despite its fame, Big Ben’s interior remains close to overseas visitors, meaning that only UK residents are able to arrange tours through MP’s. Still, that’s not to stop you seeing it in all its glory from the outside, or dropping in on close-by Westminster Abbey either.
Despite being a relatively modern landmark on London’s skyline, the London Eye is still somewhat synonymous to the city and offers amazing panoramic views of all of London’s boroughs. Erected as part of the UK’s Millennium celebrations, the London Eye sits on the South Bank of the River Thames in London, right on the doorstep of the National Theatre and other attractions.
Sitting 135 metres tall, the London Eye has a diameter of 120 metres, making it, in its inauguration year of 1999, the world’s largest ferris wheel. Since then it’s been taken over by Las Vegas’ High Roller but that’s not to say it’s significance is any less.
Tower of London
Sitting on the north bank of the River Thames, the Tower of London was founded as far back as 1066 as a result of the Norman Conquest of England. Most famous, however, as a symbol of repression, the Tower functioned as a prison from 1100 until 1952 alongside that of a grand palace and royal residence.
Worth a visit due to its place in English history alone, the Tower is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is also home to the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom as well as the former homes of many imprisoned former monarchs including Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey.
Finally no visit to London would be complete without stopping by to check out the principal workplace of the British monarchy. Buckingham Palace, usually at the centre of all British state events, is a neoclassic palace first built as a large townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703.
Acquired by King George III in 1761, the palace functioned as the official royal palace of Queen Victoria in 1837 and has continued up until this day.
Whatever you choose to do and see in London, making time for a visit to these iconic symbols of the great city is an absolute must. Even if you don’t have time to drop in and really explore them, a quick glance at them in person is usually enough to understand their cultural relevance to this former world empire.