One of the world’s most visited cities, London has something for everyone: from history and culture to fine food and good times.
London is a city steeped in history, and its rich veins of eye-opening antiquity can be found everywhere. London’s structures are stunning milestones in a distinctive and enchanting history, and a great number of them – the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben – are immediately recognizable monuments around the world.
London is a city of ideas and creativity, and it is a relentless innovator in the fields of art and culture. Londoners have always been fiercely independent thinkers (and critics), but until recently, anything called avant-garde was viewed with suspicion by the majority of the population. Those days are behind us today, and the city’s creative atmosphere is characterized by a distinct left-field mentality, whether it is in the realm of theatrical innovation, modern art, pioneering music, literature and poetry as well as architecture and design. The culinary arts are yet another creative field that has become a never-ending preoccupation in certain circles.
Tip 1: Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace is the official home of the British monarch and is located in London. It is located inside the boundaries of the borough of Westminster. The palace draws its name from a building erected about 1705 for John Sheffield, the Duke of Buckingham, who died at the palace. It was purchased by George III in 1762 for his wife, Queen Charlotte, and became known as “the queen’s home” as a result of this. In the 1820s, John Nash began the process of converting the home into a palace, which was ordered by King George IV. Nash also altered the Buckingham Palace Gardens and constructed the Marble Arch entranceway, which was eventually relocated to the northeast corner of Hyde Park in 1851 after being taken from the palace grounds.
Tip 2: Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge, one of London’s most iconic sights, is a bascule and suspension bridge that spans the River Thames. It was built in 1894. It is composed of two towers in the Victorian Gothic style that are joined by two walkways that are designed to withstand horizontal stresses from the bridge’s hanging sections. In the base of each tower, there are machines that raise two sections of the bridge to enable river traffic to flow under the bridge and through it. Located adjacent to the Tower of London, Tower Bridge is named for the building from which it derives its name.
The East End of London had such rapid economic expansion in the second half of the nineteenth century that it necessitated the construction of a second river bridge. A “Special Bridge or Subway Committee” was established in 1876 to find a solution to the problem.
Tip 3: British Museum
The British Museum is one of the most important museums in the world. Its collection has more than 6 million artefacts, and walking through its halls is like taking a voyage across the world as well as a journey through time. For example, when you take a typical tour of the British Museum’s highlights, you can see how the Assyrian and Egyptian pharaoh’s decorated their palaces, marvel at marble friezes of Greek gods, long for exquisite pieces of Roman silverware, and gaze in awe-inspired wonder at the Rosetta Stone, one of the most important artefacts in existence – and the key to unlocking the secrets of ancient languages. With the help of the stone, the Egyptian characters could be deciphered with the help of the Greek translation. The museum building itself is also worth seeing. In particular, the covered courtyard designed by Sir Norman Foster a good 15 years ago is spectacular. It is the largest covered plaza in Europe. In the middle of the huge space is the British Museum’s grand old reading room.
Tip 4: Big Ben Tower
Big Ben is the nickname given to the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London. Probably one of the most famous sights in London, Elizabeth Tower literally stands out from the plethora of must-sees on offer. Built in 1858 and 96.3 meters high, the clock tower is part of the Palace of Westminster, which together with Westminster Abbey and St. Margaret’s Church has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. By the way, the name “Big Ben” does not refer to the imposing building itself, but to the largest and heaviest of the five bells inside, weighing 13.5 tons. The official name of the bell is “Great Bell of Westminster”.
Colloquially, however, the term Big Ben is used for the entire tower. The largest bell measures 2.20 meters and is struck by a hammer weighing 200 kilograms. The world-famous clock tower – first literally called “The Clock Tower” by the British – was renamed Elizabeth Tower for Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee in 2012. The carillon itself is also a real highlight, which many travelers did not want to miss during their tour: Until now, every quarter of an hour a melody from the famous Handel opera “Messiah” sounded, more precisely, the aria “I know that my redeemer liveth” contained therein.
Tip 5: London Eye
The London Eye, also called The Millennium Wheel is one of the city’s newer prominent tourist attraction, having opened in 2000. It is a massive wheel that was built to commemorate the millennium year. The London Eye was originally intended to operate for a limited period of about five years, but in view of its great success this was discarded. Now it is the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, with over 3 million visitors per year.
The structure is 135 meters high, and the wheel is 120 meters (394 feet) in diameter. When it opened to the public in 2000, it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world. It is located at Millennium Pier, on the South Bank of the River Thames, near to the south end of Westminster Bridge, and is a short walk from the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, among other attractions.
Visitors board capsules that are enclosed in glass and take them on a leisurely circular orbit high above the Thames, providing excellent views of London and the surrounding area. Despite the fact that it resembles a massive Ferris wheel, the London Eye is not a carnival thrill ride, but rather a sedate and dignified way to get a unique perspective over London.