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There’s no denying that London is one of the most exciting and diverse cities in the entire world, rich with history and culture alongside countless things to see and do. Here are just six of the must-see sites in the British capital you simply have to discover.
Heading to London for the first time? Here are 12 things to know before visiting London.
The Houses of Parliament
They’re arguably the most famed buildings in the entirety of the capital – the Houses of Parliament sit prominently by the River Thames in Westminster, the heart of London. It’s here that MPs meet in the House of Commons for televised debates and introducing bills.
You’ll also find Elizabeth Tower located nearby, the famed clock tower housing Big Ben. It stands at the north end of the Palace of Westminster, and although its famous “bongs” have been silenced for renovation, it’s still a spectacle to behold. Research whether you’re able to take a tour of the buildings for a special insight into UK legislation and politics.
Short on time? Why not incorporate The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben into a whistle-stop walking tour of London?
Almost anyone can instantly recognise the iconic London Eye. It’s also by the river, found on the Southbank, and reaches a height of almost 450 feet – being the highest viewing point in the city. This has to be one of the best ways to see London from above.
A circuit on the eye takes around half an hour, so it’s a quick yet unforgettable experience. Be warned, though – it does get busy, with nearly 4 million tourists visiting the Eye every year, so make sure you’re booking your tickets in advance in order to avoid any potential disappointment.
Science & Natural History Museums
Although being separate from each other, the Science and Natural History Museums are a stone’s throw apart meaning you can fill your day exploring them thoroughly. The former is a wondrous part of the capital, full of incredible instalments that still manage to baffle and entertain visitors of any age.
The latter, although not as technological and diverse, is still just as interesting. It’s here you’ll see the famed dinosaur skeletons amongst quite literally thousands of other awe-inspiring artefacts. The best thing about these museums? They’re both absolutely free to enter, meaning it’s a fun family day out, as well as being a perfect trip for kids.
Also check out these other free museums in London.
The Globe Theatre
For an insight into English history, consider watching a theatre production where Shakespeare’s plays were once performed. The Globe Theatre is housed within the renamed Shakespeare’s Globe, reconstructed and reopened 20 years ago so that it could be safe and sufficient for new audiences in the modern day. There’s also a playhouse within the building, showcasing the best of Jacobean plays in an atmospheric setting.
Whether it’s an authentic version of Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night or Much Ado About Nothing you want to watch, the productions here are often unparalleled by any other in the world. It’s a true slice of British culture, providing an authentic insight into the country’s artistic history.
Being the tallest building in the United Kingdom – as well as the fourth tallest in Europe – suggests that The Shard isn’t something you could miss even if you wanted to. Dominating the London skyline, the 1,016ft tall skyscraper is home to offices, restaurants, an observation deck and even a hotel if you’re seeking a very luxurious stay.
Although viewing the building from the outside is satisfying enough, it’s what’s inside that truly impresses. Three restaurants occupy the 31st, 32nd and 33rd floors of The Shard, all of which offer some of the most delectable (albeit also expensive) dishes in the entirety of the city. Retreat to the Shangri-La Hotel in the floors above after dining, where the rooms are sprawling and luxurious, offering unparalleled panoramas of the bustling capital around you.
There’s a special charm about Covent Garden, London’s renowned district full of wondrous marketplaces and quirky stores to explore. Whether you’re travelling solo, with a special partner or even with your family, there’s no denying you’ll fall in love with this little part of the city.
A warm, welcoming feel flows through the air as you wander through Covent Garden, with open-air bars and restaurants watching over market stalls and street performers throughout the year. The food here is some of the best in the entire city, too, with a unique blend of cultures and cuisines coming together to provide some very diverse dishes – anyone for a bacon naan?
Do you have your very own recommendations for special spots in the capital?
Let us know in the comments below…
*This post was written in collaboration with The Travelers Buddy