Founded by the Romans who called it Londinium, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. It emerged as a great medieval trading city, and eventually went on to become a global centre for culture, arts, industry and government. Once the world’s largest city, London still remains a global capital of food, fashion, finance, and culture. With a population of nearly eight million, there is something for everyone. Samuel Johnson once said, ‘when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford‘. There are many attractions, monuments, events and things to do in London, whether you are visiting London for the first time or just looking for new things and places to visit, we have an itinerary for you. This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you feel that there are places, events etc we should feature, drop us a comment or note!
London Eye – In a city famous for its landmarks, this attraction stands out against the English skyline. Start your day off by taking a ride in this hugely popular tourist attraction. Situated next to County Hall and across from the Ministry of Defence, the London Eye is the tallest observation wheel in the world. Offering unrivaled views of London, the Eye was conceived and designed by Mark Barfield Architects. With 32 capsules, each weighing 10 tonnes, and holding up to 25 people, a trip up is an unforgettable experience. Quick tip: Buy your tickets in advance otherwise be prepared to spend at least two hours waiting in line and going up the observation wheel.
Westminster Abbey – Next, visit the breathtaking historical Westminster Abbey. Also known as the Collegiate Church of St. Peters at Westminster, this Gothic church is located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site,Westminster Abbey is a unique artistic construction representing a striking sequence of the successive phases of English Gothic art. Kings, queens, statesmen and soldiers; poets, priests, heroes and villains – the Abbey is a must-see living pageant of British history. More importantly, Westminster Abbey, where all the kings of England have been crowned since 1066, is inseparable from the parliamentary history of the kingdom. The crowning which takes place on the throne, known as King Edward’s Chair or St. Edward’s Chair is housed within the Abbey and has been used at every coronation since 1308.
Big Ben – After taking in the history and significance of Westminster Abbey, walk over to two of London’s most iconic landmarks, the clock tower commonly known as Big Ben and Houses of Parliament. Technically, Big Ben is the massive bell that resides in the clock tower, which weighs more than 13 tons. When the Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire in 1834, it was decided that the new structures should have a tower and a clock. The bell was refashioned in Whitechapel in 1858 and the clock first rang across Westminster on 31 May 1859. Big Ben’s timekeeping is strictly regulated by a stack of coins placed on the huge pendulum. Big Ben has rarely stopped. Even after a bomb destroyed the Commons chamber during the Second World War, the clock tower survived and Big Ben continued to strike the hours. Today, the clock tower has become one of the most prominent symbols of both London and England. Unfortunately, a tour of the clock tower is not possible for overseas visitors, and UK citizens have to petition their local representatives for a tour.
Houses of Parliament – The Palace of Westminster, commonly referred to as the Houses of Parliament, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom – the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Situated on the north bank of the River Thames, this UNESCO world heritage site is recognized worldwide and is one of the most visited attractions in London. Free guided tours of the Palace are held throughout the parliamentary session for UK residents, who can apply through their MP or a member of the House of Lords. The tours last about 75 minutes and include the state rooms, the chambers of the two Houses and Westminster Hall. Paid tours are available to both UK and overseas visitors during the summer recess.
Covent Garden – In the afternoon, head over to Covent Garden for some strolling, shopping and dining. At the very heart of London, this inspirational world class cultural and retail district has everything from specialty shops, to a huge choice of bars, restaurants & cafés, the Apple craft market and entertainment from street performers, there’s an enormous amount on offer; and with everything housed in and around the iconic Market Building and Piazzas. The central piazza has a thriving café culture and is buzzing with outlandish street entertainers and fun events all day, every day. Two of London’s popular attractions, The Royal Opera House and the London Transport Museum can also be found in Covent Garden.
London’s West End – Perhaps the most famous thing about London’s West End is its theatre scene. Alongside Broadway, West End theatre represents the highest quality commercial theatre in the world. What better way to end the day than with a West End’s musical, classic play or comedy. There are around 40 theatres in London’s “Theatre-land.” Theatre performances in the West End tend to be musicals, classic plays and comedies. At the moment, you can choose from a wide range of West End shows: from musicals like Wicked, Billy Elliot, Mama Mia, and Les Miserables, to plays like War Horse, The Woman in Black, The Children’s Hour and The Mousetrap.