Visiting London - What to See and Do
(London Heathrow Airport LHR, England)
needs no introduction. At 2,000 years old, it is still sitting on the pulse of the world with no sign off letting off the gas. Fashion, art, music and finance are created and transformed in Britain's capital on a regular basis. It is a city where things happen, and where people want to be if they can afford it.
Above all, London is a city of interwoven villages each with its own interesting history and contribution to the fabric of the city. There are architectural landmarks like London Bridge and the Houses of Parliament, incredible repositories of art and treasure like the British Museum, and a lifetime of neighbourhoods to shop in, dine in and party in.
Plan your itinerary efficiently, because there is never enough time in London. West End shows by night, the Tate Modern and other cultural attractions by day. Shopping in Chelsea and partying down in Soho or Shoreditch - the capital isn't a cheap travel destination, but it is typically worth every penny.
Ten things you must do in London
- Get your bearings of this vast city atop the London Eye attraction. This iconic observation wheel on the south bank of the Thames has comfy cabins ideal for any weather. There are simply no better views in the city, and evening rides are particularly photogenic.
- The British Museum is everything a good museum should be. It has ancient artefacts like the Rosetta Stone and vast collections of treasures that define humanity's great civilisations. This is the kind of place that could well take more than a day to properly explore.
- Watch the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, the residence of the Queen herself. This timeless ritual is overflowing with unnecessary pomp, but that is half the fun. Plus, you won't want to miss taking a peek at Buckingham Palace itself.
- Of the many pleasant parks in London, few are as entertaining (or huge) as Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. The Serpentine Lake divides these two lovely parks in the heart of London, with rowing boats available for rent. Highlights include the ranting at Speakers' Corner and the Albert Memorial.
- The art on display at the National Gallery is presented in such a way that few visitors leave unmoved. With roughly 2,500 works of art, it isn't as massive as other European galleries, but it can still take more than a day to fully absorb all the world-class creativity hanging on its walls.
- An unmistakable feature of London's skyline is St. Paul's Cathedral, designed by the master Christopher Wren himself. Climbing up to the Golden Gallery rewards the hardy with 360-degree views of the city centre. However, it is the tombs that are the real highlight inside, with some legendary names on the wondrous crypts.
- Besides being one of the planet's best-preserved castles and most famous tourist attractions, the Tower of London holds some genuine treasures inside. It is reason enough to visit to gawk at the crown jewels of England, but the Royal Armoury is also spectacular, and the history of the place simply oozes from its weather-beaten walls.
- London's Theatre District is certainly among the world's very best. The variety and number of performances on any given night is astonishing, so fans of the stage will have plenty to drool over. Just be sure to book your tickets online well before your arrival.
- One of the best districts for boutique shopping is Notting Hill. It is like a magnet for creative independent shopkeepers, from Ledbury Road to Westbourne Grove. Leave time to hit the Portobello Market on a Sunday, when the entire street transforms into an outdoor street fair.
- Football fans have their pick of teams in London. When the English Premier League is in season, weekend games are common involving Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Bolton and West Ham. Tickets can be hard to come by, but if you are willing to pay, there is always a seat somewhere in the grounds.