London

The busy, modern 21st century city was once the Capital of the Empire where the sun never set. The city brilliantly showcases its history and tradition. It is also one of the most modern cities in the world. The city is one of the most sought after tourist destination and would be so even if it had only its historic landmarks like Westminster Abbey and the Buckingham Palace alone to boast.

The ‘Must-sees’ of London.
Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guards

The palace is an iconic edifice, the residence and workplace of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom. The Changing the Guards is a ceremonious taking over of charge, by the soldiers, for the new shift.

Held at 11:30 am on scheduled days, during the season (April to July), the grand, colourful ceremony takes place between three locations – the Buckingham palace, St. James palace and the Wellington barracks.

The British Museum

The British Museum houses the world’s finest antique collections, with more than 13 million ancient artefacts, priceless pieces from Assyria, Babylonia, China, Europe and many other countries. The most sought, are the controversial Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, the Rosetta Stone, the colossal bust of Rameses II, the Egyptian mummies and hoard of the 4th-century Roman silver known as the Mildenhall Treasure.

The Tower of London and Tower Bridge

Through the centuries the Tower of London has been a prison, a palace, a treasure vault and a private zoo. It is Britain’s World Heritage site. The massive White Tower was built in 1078 by William the Conqueror. Inside this is the fascinating display of royal armaments and armour of the Line of Kings of the 17th century. The famous Kohinoor diamond, the Beefeaters, the Royal Mint, and the gruesome exhibits of the executions that took place on the grounds, are the highlights.

The 62 meters high towers of the Tower Bridge above the River Thames is one of London’s best known landmarks. It is often mistakenly called the London Bridge.

Big Ben and Parliament

The iconic landmark, the 97-meter tower of Big Ben has become synonymous with London. Big Ben is the name of the huge bell weighing more than 13 tons, inside the clock tower. Its toll is the time signal of BBC radio. Below are the Houses of Parliament, stretching along the Thames. It is the seat of Britain’s government for many centuries. At the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of the Lords lies the Palace of Westminster, that was occupied by William the conqueror. Tourists are allowed to see the debates actually taking place in the parliament. Whitehall, the thoroughfare running south from the southern end of the Trafalgar Square towards Parliament Square, is lined by many government buildings.

Westminster Abbey

The Westminster Abbey was formerly the Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster, since the early 7th century. Founded by Edward the confessor in 1065 as his place of interment, the Westminster Abbey was not only the place where the royals were buried, but also the place where most sovereigns were crowned, for almost 700 years, from the death of Edward in 1066 till the time of George II. It has more recently become the preferred location for royal weddings.

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Part of a South Kensington-based group of museums, the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) includes the Natural History museum and the Science museum. Sprawled across 13 acres, the V&A was found in 1852, and contains 145 galleries, housing 5000 years of art and related artefacts. Some of the exhibits are of ceramics and glass, textiles and costumes, silver and jewellery, ironwork, sculpture, prints and photos.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park covers 350 acres. It is London’s largest open space and has been the favourite destination for sightseers since 1635. Serpentine, the man-made, 18th century lake in the park is known for boating and swimming.

The London Eye

Europe’s largest observation wheel, the London Eye, built to mark London’s millennium celebrations in 2000, offers the most spectacular views from its individual glass capsules. It rises to 135 meters above the Thames. The journey lasts for 30 minutes.

Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square

Marking the gateways to Soho, London’s theatre and entertainment district, are the two famous tourist spots, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square. Built to commemorate the victory of Lord Horatio Nelson over the French and Spanish at Trafalgar in 1805, the Trafalgar Square has a 56 metres tall granite monument, the Nelson’s Column. It overlooks the square’s fountains and bronze reliefs, cast from French cannons. The square is surrounded by Admiralty Arch, St.Martin-in-the-Fields and the National Gallery.

The irregular intersections of various busy streets, like Piccadilly, Regent, Haymarket and Shaftesbury Avenue are marked by the Piccadilly Circus. Overlooking this junction stands the winged Eros sculpture, standing on one foot with a poised bow in hand.

St Paul’s Cathedral

One of the most spectacular cathedral in the world and the largest in London, is St. Paul’s cathedral. It is built on the site of a Roman temple. The Great Fire of 1666 destroyed the previous church structure. Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt the present one. The twin Baroque towers and the resplendent 365 ft dome speaks volumes of the English architecture.

Tate Britain and Tate Modern

World’s most important art collections are housed in London’s two Tate Galleries, Tate Britain and Tate Modern. A significant collection of British art is housed in the galleries, opened in 1897. Continued acquisitions lead to space exigency which resulted in the establishment of Tate Britain in Millbank on the north side of the Thames. It is a transformed power station! Both the galleries are open to public throughout the day. They are connected by high-speed ferry.

National Gallery

The National Gallery of London ranks among the top art museums in the world. It represents a complete survey of European painting dating from 1260 till 1920. The collections of famed artworks of the Dutch Masters and the Italian schools of the 15th and 16th centuries are the museum’s highlight. A preliminary sketch of the Madonna and the Child by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo’s The Entombment and Botticelli’s Venus and Mars also share the limelight.

For the best tour of London…

A double-decker sightseeing tour is the best way to see the sights of London. It is popular for a reason! It is informative, easy and convenient. It is the best for first-time visitors. Tickets are flexible and with open dates, valid for 24 hours.The Stonehenge

A day trip from London can take you to some excellent sights beyond the city. A 11 hour guided trip takes you to the Stonehenge, the Bath and other such interesting destinations close by.

Bath Photo

A trip to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Oxford Custom is yet another alternative for a day tour.

If you are a Harry Potter fan, the Harry Potter – Warner Brothers’ Studio tour is for you. Get a glimpse behind-the-scenes of the making of the movie. Enjoy a walk through the amazing sets of the film. The site, the costumes and the props make the tour interesting. A walk through the great Hall can throw light on the experience of filming. The tour is inclusive of transportation to and from the studios from London and the entrance ticket.

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