London is a diverse and exciting city with some of the world's best sights, attractions and activities.
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ABOUT LONDONLondon, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is a 21st-century city with history stretching back to Roman times. At its centre stand the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames River, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city.
Population: 8.136 million (2011) Trending, United Nations
Local time: Thursday 2:46 pm
Weather: 23°C, Wind E at 19 km/h, 50% Humidity
Constituent Country: England
Districts: City of London & 32 boroughs
Sovereign State: United Kingdom
BEST TIME TO VISIT IN LONDONThe climate in the capital is one of the mildest in the UK, but London weather can be quite unpredictable. In autumn and winter, take in a museum or art gallery, or head to one of London's many pop-up ice rinks over the Christmas period. Spring and summer are perfect for enjoying the outdoors at one of the many wonderful parks, or indulging in a drink in the sun at a rooftop bar.
So here's our list of 10 spots to visit in London:
1. TOWER OF LONDON
|TOWER OF LONDON|
Built: White Tower: 1078; Inner Ward: 1190s; Re-built: 1285; Wharf expansion: 1377–1399
Area: Castle: 12 acres (4.9 ha); Tower Liberties: 6 acres (2.4 ha)
Architects: William Vertue, Robert Vertue
Did you know: German spy Josef Jakobs was last man to be executed in Tower of London.
2. THE LONDON EYE aka COCA-COLA LONDON EYE
|THE LONDON EYE aka COCA-COLA LONDON EYE|
Height: 135 m
Open ⋅ Closes 8:30PM
Phone: +44 870 990 8881
Alternative names: Millennium Wheel
Did you know: When it was built, in 1999, it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world.
3. ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL
|ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL|
Construction started: June 1675
Dome height (outer): 278ft (85m)
Architects: Christopher Wren, Nicholas Hawksmoor
Architectural styles: Renaissance architecture, English Baroque
Did you know: Queen Elizabeth II held thanksgiving services for both her Diamond and Golden Jubilees in St. Paul's.
4. HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT aka PALACE OF WESTMINSTER
|HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT aka PALACE OF WESTMINSTER|
Architectural style(s): Perpendicular Gothic Revival
Architects: Charles Barry, Augustus Pugin
The Houses of Parliament, composed of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, fill the massive Palace of Westminster. Guided and self-guided tours (which come highly recommended by recent travelers) take visitors through multiple areas of the building, including Westminster Hall (the oldest building on the Parliamentary estate), the House of Commons Chamber and the Royal Gallery, to name a few. If you're not interested in perusing the halls that make up the U.K.'s governing body, many travelers say that simply admiring the iconic structure's impressive exterior is enough, and an absolute must-do for anyone visiting London.
Did you know: Westminster Palace is an example of Gothic Revival architecture.
5. BUCKINGHAM PALACE
Construction started: 1703
Architects: John Nash, Aston Webb, Edward Blore, Thomas Cubitt, William Winde
Did you know: Buckingham Palace has served as the London residence of the U.K.'s sovereigns since only 1837.
6. WESTMINSTER ABBEY
Architectural style: Gothic architecture
Denomination: Church of England
Architects: George Gilbert Scott, Nicholas Hawksmoor, John of Gloucester, Henry of Reyns, Henry Yevele, Robert of Beverley
Burials: Stephen Hawking, Isaac Newton, Mary, Queen of Scots, MORE
Did you know: Regular worship takes place daily at Westminster Abbey and all are welcome to attend.
7. THE BRITISH MUSEUM
|THE BRITISH MUSEUM|
Founder: Hans Sloane
Architects: Robert Smirke, Sydney Smirke, John Russell Pope, John James Burnet, Spencer de Grey, John Taylor
Architecture firms: Foster + Partners, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, BuroHappold Engineering
If you want a little help navigating the museum's 8 million objects, consider tagging along on a guided tour. Several, including the daily eye-opener tours and weekly lunchtime gallery talks and Friday evening spotlight tours are free. You can also book a highlights and special early morning tour for 14 pounds (around $20) and 30 pounds (less than $45), respectively. Audio guides, which cost 7 pounds (less than $10), are also available to rent daily.
The British Museum is both an architectural beauty and a trove of some of the world's most noted antiquities. In fact, many travelers it's the best museum in all of London. What's more, it's free to visit. From the Rosetta Stone to the Elgin Marbles to the Lindow Man, the British Museum is a history buff's dream containing artifacts in the millions. The immense collection can make an initial museum visit seem overwhelming: Pick the exhibits that most interest you, and plan return trips if you feel so inclined.
Did you know: Important discoveries by people working for the British Museum included the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus by Charles Newton in 1857 and the Temple of Artemis in the year 1869
8. TOWER BRIDGE
Construction started: 21 June 1886
Total length: 244 m
Opened: 30 June 1894
Location: London Borough of Southwark, London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Did you know: Over 40000 people use Tower Bridge every day.primaryfacts.com
9. PICCADILLY CIRCUS
Roads at junction: Regent Street, Shaftesbury Avenue, The Haymarket, Coventry Street and Glasshouse Street
London borough: City of Westminster
Did you know: The closest Underground station is Piccadilly Circus, which is serviced by the Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines.
10. THE NATIONAL GALLERY
|THE NATIONAL GALLERY|
Director: Gabriele Finaldi
Phone: +44 20 7747 2885
Architects: Denise Scott Brown, William Wilkins
Did you know: It was the first major American painting to be purchased by the Gallery.
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WHERE TO STAY IN LONDON:
London Hotels & Resorts | London Transient for Rent
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