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A trip to the capital wouldn't be complete without seeing the top attractions in London. Plan ahead so you don't miss out on these top things to do in London.
1- Osborne House
Osborne House referred to as a “little paradise” by Queen Victoria has stunning Italian-style floors and gardens with a pair of towers and terraces connected by stairs. The house is built with many windows to provide proper ventilation. Witness the house that provides magnificent yet intimate insights into the life of the Royal family. Have a look at the birthday and Christmas presents the couple exchanged, explore their private family bedrooms, and gaze at the lavish royal apartments. You get to explore the building which was built with several contemporary innovations which include the early use of cast iron beams to fireproof the home and underfloor heating in their private bathroom. The Osborne House consists of three connecting buildings and various wings that are built around an open courtyard whose upper and lower terraces contain flowerbeds, statues, and a large elegant fountain. You can stroll on the huge pathway of the house which is filled with paintings and white marble sculptures which shows Victoria and Albert’s love for arts. Discover the history behind how Queen Victoria commissioned a new wing that features the Durbar room, hired Indian servants, and also learned Hindi. You will also get an option to stay overnight and see a little of an island before you pack your bags for London.
2- William Morris Gallery
The William Morris Gallery is yet another attraction in London dedicated to the rich art and culture of the city. It is the only public museum dedicated to William Morris, the celebrated English arts and crafts designer. Set in Morris’ family home, the museum underwent a major transformation in the year 2012, winning the Museum of the Year award. The collections include fabrics, carpets, rugs, furniture, wallpaper, stained glass and printed tiles designed by Morris, sometimes in collaboration with artists like Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Philip Webb, and Ford Madox Brown among others. Apart from the Morris home, their gardens have also been converted into public spaces and are today known as Lloyd Park. Here, you can spot an old moat, a skate park, a cafe, gallery space, artist studios and more.
3- Guildhall Art Gallery
The Guildhall Art Gallery sits adjacent to the historic Guildhall and is also internally connected. The art gallery holds some of the most prestigious art collections originating from the City of London. This semi-gothic building has been built out of stone with its interiors reflective of Victorian styles. Here, you will find everything from paintings, sculptures, drawings and all kinds of temporary exhibits. The art gallery dates back to the year 1885 and has since experienced almost a complete demolition during air raids of the Second World War. Although a huge chunk of art was lost during the air raids, the art gallery has been rebuilt. The best part is that it still holds the old-world charm through its paintings depicting old London and important sculptures which predate the gallery itself.
4- Trafalgar Square
Resting at the heart of London, amidst the bustling town of Westminster, lies the country's most notable landmark, Trafalgar Square. Constructed in 1840, the Square is not only a popular tourist attraction but is also an iconic landmark glorifying the city's rich heritage, history and culture. From Buckingham Palace and the London Eye to the verdant gardens of St. James's Park, the city's most renowned monuments and destinations are located just a stroll away from the Square. Pearly white fountains are flowing with turquoise water form a decent spot for resting quietly as you admire the intricate sculptures of gorgeous mermaids and fishes carved at the outline. Bronze statues of four majestic lions glistening in the bright sun form the periphery around the tall facade of Nelson Column. Commemorating the valor displayed by British troops in the Battle of Trafalgar, it celebrates the victory of Britain over Spanish and French forces. With the National Gallery in its north and Northumberland Avenue in its south, Trafalgar Square is the best spot to witness the lively and boisterous city life of London.
5- ZSL London Zoo
London Zoo, also known as London Zoological Gardens or Regent’s Zoo’ is the oldest scientific zoo in the world. It was originally founded in 1828 for the purpose of scientific study but was transformed into a zoo in 1847 and is managed by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Located on the northern edge of Regent's Park between Westminster and Camden, the ZSL London Zoo is frequented by millions of tourists every year. It is the first ever zoo that opened a reptile house, insect house, aquarium and a children’s zoo. The London Zoo is split into several different zones, each of which houses an array of wild creatures in their natural habitats. Visit the Land of Lions zone to spot asiatic lions and langur monkeys in the Gir Forest backdrop while you can witness species belonging to Africa in the exclusive Into Africa zone. The zoo also facilitates special scheduled events throughout the day like Feed the Gorillas, Friendly Spider Programme, Giraffe Keeper Experience and Meet the Penguins. The zookeepers give you tips about how to feed and interact with the animals and grant you the privilege of being the zookeeper for the day.
6- London Dungeon
The London Dungeon is one of the iconic tourist attractions in the capital city of the UK. Opened on 15th September 1974, this place currently brings in the history of London’s dark life, which has been perfectly blended with entertainment. The place has 360 sets, each having an interesting story to tell. There are 19 interactive shows and 2 rides, featuring 20 actors. These talented actors give live performances in some scarily funny shows which have been further enhanced through stunning special effects. The actors perform as some of the most infamous characters of London such as Jack the Ripper, Anne Boleyn, Guy Fawkes, Mrs.Lovett and Sweeney Todd. In the form of these shows, some of London’s history, such as the Black Plague attack and the Great Fire of London has been brought alive. A glimpse into the torture chamber of 1605 and the courtroom of the 18th century is also included. In the shows, the visitors are not just silent spectators but are also made to enact as characters. Be it running to safety escaping from the great fire of London or a walk through the rat-infested tunnel, the visitors are kept involved in each drama that unfolds in front of them. In some of the sets, they are suddenly shocked to find the floor below them moving or the chair they are sitting on, shaking. Also, the two rides, a boat ride, and a drop ride are thrilling, scary and add to the fun. At the end of this high voltage tour, visitors get the chance to cool off at the Traven. It is a pub that offers drinks and beverages to visitors with piano music in the background and interesting tales if one cares to listen. For those still looking for fun, there is even an option to join the game of rat hunting.
7- Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of the world's greatest and phenomenal royal parks in Central London, the historical capital city of the United Kingdom. Situated in the heart of the city, the park offers a plethora of activities for the visitors starting from boating, swimming, horse riding, tennis, skating, jogging, walking and many more. Adorned with innumerable varieties of trees and flowers and a beautiful glittering lake, Hyde Park has been attracting thousands of visitors from all over the world. You can witness many amazing buildings, monuments, memorials, fountains, statues and a bird sanctuary inside the park. The park is also the residence for a diverse variety of birds and insects, and hence a paradise for wildlife photographers and bird watchers. Several world-renowned conferences, events, and seminars, music concerts, charity shows are organized in the park. The funds raised from many of those events are dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of the park. Café joints, bars, restaurants, beverage shops inside the park serve delicious refreshments and dishes to the visitors. Every year during the Christmas and New Year, the entire park is transformed into a magical land with the illuminated decorations and glittering lights coupled with several exciting attractions and eateries. Circus shows, skiing, and skating competitions and many musical events form a part of the winter magic in Hyde Park.
8- St. Paul’s Cathedral
Hailed as an angelic masterpiece, St Paul's Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of London. The Cathedral is also regarded as the Mother Church of the Diocese of London. It resides on Ludgate Hill and is deemed as one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. It’s rich historical background and grand design makes it one of the most impressive landmarks of London. It was constructed by Christopher Wren between the period of 1675 and 1711 and it embraces innovation and tradition. Besides being an impressive piece of art itself the cathedral is also home to some of the impressive art pieces spanning to different periods of time. It was destroyed four times during the course of history but it still stands tall as a testament to the belief of people. From art installation to state funeral and royal weddings the cathedral has been the site for the most important events. It also boasts of having the biggest dome in the entire world etched at 366 feet height. The Whispering Gallery is the star attraction of this cathedral where even the quietest whispers are transmitted across the dome. The burial memorial of St.Paul,Florence Nightingale, Sir Alexander Fleming, William Blake and and many other renowned figures can also be found over here.
9- Royal Observatory Greenwich
Located on the top of a hill at the Greenwich Royal Park in London, the Royal Observatory Greenwich was established in the 17th century by King Charles II and was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The observatory is touted to be the home of British astronomy as it was from here that the scientists of the time mapped the stars to help the sailors navigate at sea. The Prime Meridian Line passes through this observatory and the ‘Greenwich Mean Time’ is calculated here. The Flamsteed House is a noteworthy building for it is the original part of the observatory where the renowned Time Ball drop signal has been in operation since 1833. You can also visit the Octagon Room, Time Galleries and Astronomers Royal Apartment as Flamsteed House. The Shepherd Gate Clock on the outer wall of the observatory is a momentous attraction since it was the first clock to show the accurate Greenwich Mean Time to the public. You can also see the onion-dome roof of the observatory that makes space for the Great Equatorial Telescope which is the largest telescope in the UK. A new Peter Harrison Planetarium has been built in the Royal Observatory and hosts shows every day.
10- Big Ben
London’s iconic clock tower, Big Ben is one of the city’s renowned landmarks known for its gigantic bell and accuracy. The bell alone weighs 13.7 metric tons, usually associated with the entire clock tower of the Houses of Parliament. Big Ben is one of London most sought-after attractions, which looks splendid after dusk when the clock faces of the tower are illuminated. London's Big Ben is situated in the Elizabeth Tower at the north end of The Houses of Parliament in Westminster, Central London. This tower was built by Augustus Pugin and was completed in 1859 with the most accurate four-faced chiming clock in the world. The tower's height is about 316 ft and includes over 334 steps from the base to the top. Big Ben is designed in Pugin's Gothic revival style and is commonly used in the shot of film sets in London. It is also considered to be the third tallest clock in the whole of the UK. This tower is designed so that a ventilation shaft runs from the ground level to the belfry, which acts as the air-conditioner.
11- Sea Life Centre
Sea Life Centre London Aquarium, located on the ground floor of County Hall on the banks of the river Thames, is a family-friendly tourist attraction that receives about 1 million visitors every year. It is the safe haven of underwater sea creatures and other marine animals since they are preserved and nurtured in their natural habitat. The aquarium rose to popularity in 2005 when it displayed three robotic fish that could swim around and cross the obstacles like real fish. It is divided into 14 different themed zones that are home to an array of fishes like sharks, jellyfish, clownfish, turtles, coral reefs, and octopuses. You can witness a multitude of tropical fish like Stingrays and Cownose Rays at the Open Ocean Zone, tickle a starfish at the Rockpool Explorer Zone, experience a close encounter with the sharks at the Shipwreck zone or spot ray fishes at the Ray lagoon zone. The aquarium also hosts fun events like the Pirate Treasure Hunt for people of all ages in which the participants have to find the lost treasure that is hidden around the aquarium. It has two classrooms themed like the conservation campaigns supported by the zoo to organize education programs for school students and the general public.
12- Westminster Abbey
The Westminster Abbey is a religious building that has stood witness to the rich history and heritage of Great Britain. It is the crowning jewel of the City of Westminster in London, England. Formerly known as the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter, this gothic church has been a place of great religious significance to the Monarchy. Traditionally, this is where the official King or Queen gets coronated, and also where they get buried. In fact, this place is so sacred that Queen Elizabeth the second highness, got married to the Duke of Edinburgh here in 1947. It later became the venue for the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana also. This church was founded over a thousand years ago and is still functional today as a place of worship instead of just being a monument living off past glory. It is the testimony of the reverence and patronage that it has received over the years. Interestingly, Westminster Abbey has its own flag, with Tudor arms and Tudor roses on it. The breathtakingly spectacular architecture and the mesmerizingly calm and spiritual environment definitely sets it apart from the other glorious sites of London.
13- Madame Tussauds
Often known as one of the most popular tourist attractions in London, Madame Tussauds is visited by millions of people every year, and has attracted nearly half a million tourists since its first opening. Madame Tussauds London is, in fact, one of one of the many wax museums situated in several cities around the world. It is one of a chain of institutions named after the founder of the first such museum that was opened in London in the early 19th century. It is especially famous for some of the most life-like replicas of celebrities from all over the globe. The museum has over 400 wax figures of some of the most famous people in the world, including musicians, actors, politicians, historical figures, scientists, geniuses, religious heads, and even criminals. Madame Tussauds was founded by the famous wax sculpture called Marie Tussaud, who is also the founder of the chain. She was born in the city of Strasbourg in France in the year 1761. While she was alive, Tussaud became quite famous and made quite a name for herself, because of her unparalleled ability to be able to sculpt real-looking and almost life-like figures of some of the most famous people of the time, like Sir Walter Scott, Winston Churchill, Lord Nelson, etc. The museum in London first opened in 1835, and it was located on Baker Street at the time. It was then moved to its current location in 1894, which is Marylebone Road. The figures in the museum are divided into various categories, which include Hollywood division, the Royal Family division, a section consisting of political and religious leaders, and one dedicated to comic book heroes, among many others. However, the museum is not just a place for seeing wax figures. It also offers many other entertainment options like taxi rides in some of the most historically significant regions of London, a small movie experience featuring 4D figurines of Marvel Superheroes, as well as a bar where adults can get alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks.
14- Alton Towers
On April 4, 1980, Alton Towers became a theme park. For nearly 40 years, the theme park has been open every summer. The modern park, inspired by Disneyland, was created to house a variety of otherworldly activities while remaining true to English heritage. The Corkscrew, Britain's first double-loop roller coaster, the Pirate Ship, Cine 2000, and the Wildlife Museum were all part of the Alton Towers theme park when it was initially opened. Over 40 rides and attractions are available for visitors of all ages at Alton Towers Resort. The show's highlights are each of the over ten primary rollercoasters, including record-breaking features created to excite and please everyone courageous enough to ride. Alton Towers is the only venue in the UK where you can meet some of CBeebies' most beloved characters, and it has 20 attractions geared for young children and families. Alton Towers belongs to every wide-eyed child, adrenaline, and daring family who make life-long memories there.
15- River Thames
Popular for its virgin beauty and serene atmosphere, River Thames is known to be one of the major attractions in the city of London. It is considered to be an integral part of London's tourism and economy as well. River Thames, the most famous river from east to west of the UK has it all starting from luxurious hotels to cruiser ships and it is one of the best tourist places in England as well. Passing through the bustling city of London, it happens to be one of the most important waterways in the whole world that drives inspiration for many. It might be just a river for the local Londoners but it is surely a great place for visitors coming from all over the world. This site is a great place for adventure junkies, bookworms, history buffs, fans of style and substance, avid explorers, aspiring don drapers, green-fingered folk and river walkers.Cruising here will surely satisfy you and offer you an exhilarating experience. When at this river, you can catch a glimpse of the various nearby places of tourist interest and get a chance to enjoy some water sports as well. You can also participate in various exciting events at this river such as Totally Thames, Boat Race, Virgin Money London marathon, Great River Race, and Mayor's New Year's Eve fireworks display. A visit to the River Thames will certainly be a tonic for anyone keen to experience the majesty and royalty that London has to offer.
16- Warner Bros. Studio
With the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in the UK, you can see the Wizarding Wonders of the Potterverse. The Warner Bros Studio, located in Leavesden, is one of the country's largest film studios.The studio's Making of Harry Potter tour has been its top-rated attraction worldwide since it initially launched in 2012. It is home to the world's only permanent filmmaking display of its magnitude. This award-winning attraction attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Meet Dobby, Buckbeak, and Mad-Eye Moody, put your wand-waving talents to the test, peak into Professor Dumbledore's office, ride the Hogwarts Express, face your phobias, and get up close and personal with death eaters, the Basilisk, and more. Hundreds of thousands of artefacts, famous costumes, and souvenirs from the sets of the beloved franchise are on display at the Harry Potter World in London, allowing you to immerse yourself in the intriguing mysteries of the Potterverse.
17- Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is an iconic bridge located on River Thames that has become symbolic to London. During the earlier times, it was also called “Tower of London” due to a royal prison that was located inside this tower. This bridge has been built with a unique combination of bascule and suspension elements. It took eight years to construct this bridge, and it is exemplary to great engineering and design. The bridge was opened for public on 30th June 1894 by the Princess of wales. It is 240 meters in length, and it’s twin towers rise 61 meters above the River Thames. The rising bascule and the grand towers of London Bridge make it one of the most recognized bridges in the entire world. The most striking feature of Tower Bridge is it’s two magnanimous towers that are connected through two parallel walkways. The high-level walkways offer you a chance to have a panoramic view of the city life of London, and its Victorian Gothic design takes you into the era of Victorian London. The spectacular glass floors across the walkways give you a chance to gush over the pedestrians whizzing across the Bridge. It operates through a computer control system and can be lowered down and raised remotely. The bascules are raised three times a day during which the ships need the notice to pass through the river on which this bridge has been built. It does not just serve as a medium of easy passage but has transformed into the historical and cultural landmark of London.
18- Tower Of London
The enthralling majesty and historical importance of the Tower of London can be felt from the moment a visitor steps inside its grounds. This iconic historic site reveals about the most momentous tales and happenings in British history. Located in Central London itself, it is officially Queen Elizabeth II's Royal Palace and Fortress. Though it is called the 'Tower of London', it is actually a castle made of many concentric towers. It has played many prominently historic roles over the years, including being a prison for infamous prisoners, housing royal documents and being the grounds where coins were minted. It even was a royal zoo for a brief period of time! Bordered by the sparkling river Thames, the Tower of London is today known worldwide for its riveting architecture and craftsmanship. Other famous aspects of this monument include the White Tower and the Tower Bridge. It is also noteworthy that the families of the Yeoman Warders live in the tower today, and that adds to the glory of this tower.
19- Buckingham Palace
One of the most iconic Royal buildings in the United Kingdom, Buckingham Palace is the royal residential hub of the Queen of England. Notably, it crowns itself as one of the very few working Royal Palaces existing across the world and it is one of the best places to visit in England. On the occasion of both national and royal celebrations, the Queen of England gives her public appearance through the Palace’s central gallery. Buckingham Palace features around 775 rooms which are inclusive of the 19 staterooms and 78 modernized bathrooms. The lavishly decorated staterooms here are reserved for the monarchs to receive their rewards. There are sparkling candelabras, sumptuous carpets, fine furniture, marble columns, damask wallpaper to embrace the overall beauty of the Palace. The Royal Palace homes to the Throne Room which forms a central attraction for all the visitors coming from different parts of the world. This is the place where the royals plan their ceremonial receptions – the one like the Queen’s Jubilee. The Garden of Buckingham Palace spans across an area of 39 acres with 350+ wildflower types and 200 trees. Apart from this, there is a 3-acre vast lake located within the Gardens. Tennis courts, herbaceous border, summer house, Rose Garden, and the Waterloo Vase are the principal attractions of this Garden of Buckingham Palace.
20- Kew Gardens
Popular as one of the unique UNESCO World Heritage sites in London, Kew Gardens is one of the pleasant getaways in the city to enjoy with your family and friends. It is home to a fascinating collection of living plants and also has an internationally recognised scientific research centre. It has a collection of more than 14,000 trees and is known for its exquisite natural landscape which leaves everyone spellbound. Spread across a site of 300 acres, Kew Gardens is a leading centre of research having a library and museums along with its beautiful gardens. It invites people of all ages to discover a day of serenity in the city of London. The visitors here can enjoy a number of activities whether it is taking a stroll along the colourful canopies of trees or exploring the beautiful glasshouses. Some of the popular attractions of Kew Gardens include the Palm House, Princess of Wales Conservatory and the Waterlily House. There are activities which the visitors can enjoy at Kew Gardens like the 59 ft high Treetop Walkway, catching the views of the city by climbing the Great Pagoda and getting to know about its history at the Kew Palace. Kew Gardens is also a paradise for photographers who wish to capture the natural beauty of London at its best.
21- London Eye
Located on London’s Southbank, London Eye is the world’s tallest cantilever wheel and an the iconic figure in the London sky. This wheel attracts nearly 4 million visitors every year. This staggering figure suggests the popularity among the tourists and the locals. Wheel consists of 32 capsules which are made of glass. On a clear day one can see up to 40 km from the wheel. There are multilingual guides giving a commentary on the details of the spectacular view of the city. Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, and other famous London landmarks can be seen from the London Eye. The slow rotation of the wheel enables one to take pictures of the famous landmarks. Apart from the stunning view, another major attraction is a 4D show that forms a part of your London Eye experience. Over the past 19 years, it has become an important feature of the London skyline. You can also look out for special themed events like pop-up dining events, Valentine day celebrations or an anniversary dinner. London Eye is one of the major attractions in London’s New Year day firework celebrations. Seeing London at a glance should definitely be a part of your London itinerary. The wheel was dedicated to the public in 2000. It was originally planned to be in public service for only 5 years. However, its popularity made it a permanent feature in the tourist map of London. Tourists love the experience of the thrilling ride on the wheel and observe the breathtaking view of the London city over the River Thames.
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