A trip to London is incomplete without strolling through Green Park to catch a glimpse of Buckingham Palace. The palace has been home to the British Royal Family since 1837. It features 775 rooms and the largest private garden in London.
Some of the palace is open to visitors so you can see a little piece of the royal lifestyle. From outside, watch the world-famous Changing of the Guard. This procedure happens a few times every day and is a great opportunity to witness a historic tradition and the utmost discipline of the Royal Guard – who are all wearing the iconic London bearskin.
Step inside the Palace of Westminster
Westminster is considered the political hub of London and is home to the Houses of Parliament and the world-famous Big Ben. Big Ben is the name of the bell housed within the iconic clock tower, and it still chimes every hour.
You can also find Westminster Abbey here, which is open to the public most days. Whilst visiting these landmarks, be sure to rest your feet in Parliament Square which features statues of important political individuals including Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill.
Meridian Line at Greenwich’s Royal Observatory
The Royal Observatory, Greenwich is an observatory situated on a hill in Greenwich Park, overlooking the River Thames. It played a major role in the history of astronomy and navigation, and is best known for the fact that the prime meridian passes through it, and thereby gave its name to Greenwich Mean Time. The ROG has the IAU observatory code of 000, the first in the list. ROG, the National Maritime Museum, the Queen’s House and Cutty Sark are collectively designated Royal Museums Greenwich.
The scientific work of the observatory was relocated elsewhere in stages in the first half of the 20th century, and the Greenwich site is now maintained almost exclusively as a museum, although the AMAT telescope became operational for astronomical research in 2018.
Get lost in the Barbican Conservatory
The Barbican Conservatory is the second largest conservatory in London, located at the Barbican Centre. It houses more than 2000 species of plants and trees, as well as terrapins and koi carp. The conservatory covers 23,000 square feet (2,100 m2), and is located on top of the theatre’s fly tower.
Admission to the conservatory is free but public opening times are very limited; currently only afternoons on Sundays and some Bank holiday Mondays. Opening days and times are given on the Barbican website. The conservatory can be hired for meetings and receptions.
Watch ‘Hamilton’ at the Victoria Palace Theatre
The Victoria Palace Theatre is a West End theatre in Victoria Street, in the City of Westminster, opposite Victoria Station.
The theatre began life as a small concert room above the stables of the Royal Standard Hotel, a small hotel and tavern built in 1832 at what was then 522 Stockbridge Terrace, on the site of the present theatre – not, as sometimes stated, on land where the train station now stands. The proprietor, John Moy, enlarged the building, and by 1850 it became known as Moy’s Music Hall. Alfred Brown took it over in 1863, refurbished it, and renamed it the Royal Standard Music Hall.
Walk the canals of Little Venice
Little Venice is a neighbourhood in London, England, around the junction of the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal and the Regent’s Canal. Many of its buildings are Regency white painted stucco terraced town houses and taller blocks (mansions) in the same style. To the south is Paddington Basin and Hyde Park.
The Little Venice ward of the City of Westminster had 11,040 residents in 2015. Warwick Avenue runs through the area, which is also served by a tube station of the same name.
Spot deer in Richmond Park
Richmond Park, in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, was created by Charles I in the 17th century as a deer park. The largest of London’s Royal Parks, it is of national and international importance for wildlife conservation. The park is a national nature reserve, a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation and is included, at Grade I, on Historic England’s Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England. Its landscapes have inspired many famous artists and it has been a location for several films and TV series.
The Royal National Theatre in London, commonly known as the National Theatre (NT), is one of the United Kingdom’s three most prominent publicly funded performing arts venues, alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera House. Internationally, it is known as the National Theatre of Great Britain.
From its foundation in 1963 until 1976, the company was based at the Old Vic theatre in Waterloo. The current building is located next to the Thames in the South Bank area of central London. In addition to performances at the National Theatre building, the National Theatre tours productions at theatres across the United Kingdom.
A trip to London isn’t complete without a visit to the iconic London Eye. Originally constructed to celebrate the millennium, the Eye is a giant ferris wheel offering gorgeous views across the city. At night, the wheel is lit up in seasonal colors and is the centerpiece of London’s annual New Year’s fireworks display.
You can share one of the spacious pods with other keen visitors, or splurge on a private pod for you and someone special. Team your visit to the Eye with a trip to the adjacent London Aquarium to see aquatic creatures from around the world, including jellyfish, seahorses and crocodiles.
Shoreditch is one of the trendiest areas of London having recently undergone extensive regeneration. It is now one of the hottest nightlife spots in the city and one of the coolest places to stay in London.
Packed full of bars and eateries, it’s the perfect place to spend a day and an evening. Check out Trapeze, a circus-themed bar that serves endlessly inventive drinks out of popcorn tub-style cups.
For pop culture lovers, there’s Far Rockaway, a chilled bar and restaurant filled with comic books, band posters and a regular 90s night. Or visit the Blues Kitchen for a blues night accompanied by sticky ribs and other American staples.
Hampstead Heath is one of the largest parks in London, covering a massive 790 acres. It sits atop of one of the highest points in London, offering excellent views of the city from Parliament Hill.
The Heath features grassy fields, wooded areas, and a number of large ponds. It is the best place to experience nature in London with plenty of wildlife around and small woods in which to get lost.
British Film Institute
The BFI – or British Film Institute – is a must-see for film lovers. The BFI is situated on the ever-popular Southbank and is the perfect spot to relax after a stroll along the waterfront taking in the culture and atmosphere of this vibrant part of the city.
The BFI show films every day, from mainstream blockbusters to reshowings of cult classics to one-off screenings of indie hits. There is also a library and shop for those who like to take their cinema seriously. The BFI also houses its own bar and riverfront restaurant for a delicious meal or to chat about the latest film releases over some drinks.
The Thames is the lifeblood of London, bringing industry to the city for centuries. It is England’s longest river, leading into the North Sea at its end. It has been the base for settlements since prehistoric times, and was a strategic importance to the Romans and English Kings, as well as during both World Wars.
There are a number of companies in London offering cruises across the Thames. Cruises run as regularly as every 30 minutes from several key locations. The cruises pass several key sightseeing locations, including Tower Bridge, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye.
One of the cultural staples of London is Baker Street, best known as the street that Arthur Conan Doyle’s infamous detective Sherlock Holmes lived on.
Today you can find a Sherlock Holmes museum near the Underground station, especially popular after the BBC revival ‘Sherlock’.
Madame Tussauds is just around the corner, the internationally-famous wax museum where you can pose with your favorite celebrities.
Afterwards, escape the crowds of Baker Street in the nearby Regent’s Park, or by climbing Primrose Hill for London’s most spectacular view of the city.
For those on a hunt for live music, London has thousands of unique venues to offer. Venues span every niche or you can just go to an open night at a local pub and see some up-and-coming musicians. One of d best venues in town, though, is Brixton Academy in south London.
The Academy was originally a theater and cinema called the Astoria, opened in 1929. Fifty years later, the venue became the Academy and now hosts some of the biggest rock and pop acts in the world.
Chinatown is an ethnic enclave in the City of Westminster, London, bordering Soho to its north and west, Theatreland to the south and east. The enclave currently occupies the area in and around Gerrard Street. It contains a number of Chinese restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets, souvenir shops, and other Chinese-run businesses. The name Chinatown has been used at different times to describe different places in Greater London.
Hyde Park is possibly the most famous park in London, and it is one of the largest. The park has historical significance, having hosted a number of demonstrations and protests including protests by the Suffragettes.
The park’s famous Speaker’s Corner is still occupied by debates, protests, and performance artists every week. The park is home to several memorial features, as well as two bodies of water, the most famous being the Serpentine. Here you can go paddle-boating, see a number of swans, and take in a breath of fresh air in the center of the city. A must-visit.
Camden is a well-known cultural neighborhood in north London. Known for its alternative culture, the crowds here are filled with goths, punks, rockabillies and tourists alike. Camden has a vibrant body mod community and you will find a number of piercing and tattoo shops in this part of town.
Camden Market is eclectic and diverse, featuring street food from international cuisines, and lots of stalls selling trinkets and unique artwork to take home. Rummage through vintage clothing racks, find a used book to take on your travels, or visit one of the city’s best vegan bakeries at Cookies And Scream.
After your shopping spree, stroll down to Camden Lock to relax by Regent’s Canal or walk along the water all the way to King’s Cross.
The O2 Arena was originally constructed in celebration of the millennium, under the name of ‘the Millennium Dome’. It once acted as exhibition center with various exhibits and hands-on activities aimed primarily at children.
Today, it is a premier destination for live music and stage shows, hosting the biggest names in entertainment on a regular basis. It also houses a cinema as well as various bars and restaurants featuring cuisines from all over the world.
The O2 is an ideal spot to hang out with friends. If you’re seeking some adventure, try climbing to the top of the O2. On these guided walks, you can climb along the dome to the roof where you will witness beautiful views of the city. Afterwards, take the Emirates Air Line across the water. The Air Line is a cable car link offering an exciting and unique view of the city.
Piccadilly Circus is instantly recognizable, a square filled with bright lights and big electronic screens. Piccadilly Circus has been a busy London spot since the 17th century when it was a commercial hub.
Today it is still the heart of the West End, with easy access from Piccadilly Circus to some of London’s biggest theaters and nightclubs, including the Criterion Theatre. The Statue of Eros in the center of the circus is itself a popular meeting point and tourist destination.
Pay a visit to Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum at Piccadilly Circus to learn some new facts and see the world’s weirdest things. The Trocadero houses a games arcade and some niche shops to satisfy any pop culture cravings.
Brick Lane was made famous by the book and film adaptation of the same title. As the book’s narrative made clear, Brick Lane is the heart of London’s Bangladeshi community. An incredibly diverse neighborhood, Brick Lane features road signs in both English and Bengali, and is well-known for its abundance of curry houses.
This is the perfect spot to find something spicy to eat but be sure to go to one of the many sweet shops for some authentic South Asian desserts. The area also features a number of trendy bars as well as regular marketplaces, attracting a young and fashionable crowd.
For an art fix, head around the corner to find Whitechapel Gallery – or hunt down the many pieces of street art on Brick Lane and its neighboring streets.
Oxford Street is not only London’s top spot for shopping but is Europe’s busiest shopping street. It has 300 shops and receives over 500,000 visitors every day.
Shop ‘til you drop in designer stores and internationally-famous department stores like Debenhams and House of Fraser. Selfridges features intricate and beautiful window displays that change with the seasons. These frequently feature interactive windows and work by acclaimed artists.
Around Christmas, the Oxford Street Christmas lights illuminate your shopping sprees and add some glitter to the evenings.
Walk in the footsteps of Hollywood stars by paying a visit to Leicester Square. The square is most famous for hosting film premieres to some of the biggest blockbusters. In fact, the square has been a London hotspot since 1670 and an entertainment center since the 19th century.
The square is surrounded by a number of cinemas with some of the city’s biggest screens, as well as a variety of restaurants. The garden in the center of the square is perfect for cooling off in during the summer or resting your feet after a long day of exploring London.
Visit the Prince Charles Cinema for cult films, singalong screenings, and epic marathon nights. Leicester Square also hosts celebrations for the Chinese New Year where you can see traditional dancing dragons and get lost in the crowds.
Harrods is one of London’s most famous department stores, known particularly for serving the elite and the super-rich. Since opening in 1824, Harrods’ patrons have included Oscar Wilde, Laurence Olivier and the Royal Family.
The luxury is spread across a number of floors, laid out in style through Harrods’ themed halls. The food hall sells indulgent delicacies from fresh meat and cheese to superior marmalades and pates. The Egyptian hall sells fashion in opulent style to make you feel like a pharaoh as you pass through.
Platform 9 ¾
King’s Cross is one of the city’s busiest locations with a train station that has been open since 1852 serving much of the country. Recent renovations have given a sleek, modern look to the station – try to find the hidden tunnel with walls that light up with art.
But for many people around the world, King’s Cross is known best for something else: the station that Harry Potter uses to journey to Hogwarts. Now you can visit Platform 9 ¾ in real life, in King’s Cross railway station.
Pose besides a luggage trolley disappearing magically into the wall and have your photo taken to commemorate your wizarding journey forever! Don’t forget to wear house colors.
Bond Street connects to Oxford Street and is a popular shopping district in its own right. Bond Street differs to Oxford Street in its selection of stores, with a much greater focus on the exclusive and the designer. Bond Street is one of the most expensive shopping streets in London and is worth visiting for a taste of the indulgent.
London is an ideal city for art lovers with so many galleries to visit, featuring the best in classic and contemporary art. Most of the city’s galleries are free to visitors, including the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. The National Gallery has something for everyone with work by da Vinci, Turner, van Gogh and Rembrandt on display.
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