Travellers from around the world love to visit London and it remains the UK’s top destination. In 2016 the city attracted over 19 million people who came to enjoy one of the oldest and greatest cities in the world. For those visiting London it is hard to know exactly where to start – there are just endless things to see and do. But there are certain must-see destinations for anyone visiting the UK capital city for the first time.
The most popular destination is London Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the British royal family. The palace receives many millions of visitors each year and are able to visit the inside of the palace for a glimpse at Royal life in the city. On the outside there is often a spectacle like the changing of the guard, and of course, lots of photo opportunities outside the main gates.
The British Museum hosts antiquities from around the world and has one of the finest collections. Many of its artefacts are one of a kind. There is a hugely popular display of Egyptian mummies housed here. Like most UK museums there is no charge to enter the British Museum and it is easy to spend an entire day inside being amazing by the exhibits within.
Churchill’s War Rooms
If you are a history buff then Churchill’s War Rooms are an essential destination for you. The rooms were used as the command centre during World War II and was the hub where decisions were taken regarding the use of British troops. It is extremely well-preserved and gives a fascinating insight into how Churchill spent his days as Prime Minister during WWII.
Big Ben is probably the most iconic attraction in London. Although most people call the clock tower Big Ben, the name actually belongs to the bell within the clock tower rather than the tower itself. Big Ben is right next to the Houses of Parliament and if you cross Tower Bridge nearby you can also visit the London Eye. In fact if you head towards Big Ben there are a number of attractions to see in the area.
Tower of London
The Tower of London has a long and sometimes bloody history having been used both as a residence for British royalty and, more famously, as a prison. Many famous people were held and executed here. The Crown Jewels are housed here and can be seen as part of the visitor experience. Be sure to look for the Ravens too – it is said that England will fall if they ever leave the Tower.
At 350 acres Hyde Park is the biggest green space in the city and is enjoyed by millions of Londoners every year as well as the visiting tourists taking a break from sightseeing. The park is perfect for walking or cycling and is often used for live music events. Once inside the park it is easy to forget you are in one of the world’s biggest and busiest cities.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Opened in 1997, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is actually located about 250 meters from the site of the original theatre that was built in 1599. As well as hosting plays, talks and concerts help throughout the it is also possible to tour the theatre making it a perfect day out for both history and theatre buffs.
If you love to shop Oxford Street is London’s premier shopping district. There are over 300 shops here ranging from the usual chain stores right down to smaller independent shops. Oxford Street is home to some of the more famous British brands like Selfridges and John Lewis, but you can find most big brands names here.
Royal Botanical Gardens
Another free attraction in the city and as well as its gardens, the Royal Botanical Gardens hosts a number of events, exhibitions and concerts. The gardens house a variety of plants and is a perfect destination for those looking for a little more green space. The Gardens were established in 1759 and have been a firm favourite for tourists since then.
Westminster Abbey is famous around the world and is often used to host royal weddings – 16 so far in fact. The Abbey was founded in 960 AD and is the final resting place for notable figures such as Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens. It also houses various tombs, memorials and sculptures, many dedicated to former British monarchs.