Things to do in London: Landmarks

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Welcome to yourtravelsk’s guide on London. In this part 1 of the guide on things to do in London, we are going to talk about the Landmarks. In my upcoming posts we will cover Museums and Galleries, Parks, Shopping, London food guide and where to stay in London.

A bad day in London is still better than a good day anywhere else

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London is a city full of frenetic energy. The largest city of England and United Kingdom. It is an international capital of culture, music, education, fashion, politics and finance.

The Landmarks in London can be mainly clubbed in to two separate regions.

On the West you have The London Eye, Palace of Westminster, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace and Marble Arch.

On the east side you will find Tower Bridge, Tower of London, The Shard, Monument to the Great,Fire of London, 30 St Mary Axe or The Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral, Shakespeare’s Globe and Tate Modern.

If your trip to London is more than 1 day. Its smart to divide sight seeing in to two days to cover west on one day and the east on other.

The London Eye

The London Eye
The London Eye

Located on the Westminster Bridge Road, London Eye is an enormous 135-meter high observation wheel. It has 32 glass-walled capsules, which offer a stunning view of the city of London.

Book your tickets in advance, particularly in Summers as you will save over an hour of time otherwise spent in the ticket queue. You can purchase your tickets online on the official website and then collect them from the ticket counter on the day of your visit.

The Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster

The Palace of Westminster is a fine example of neo-Gothic architecture. Built in the early 19th century, it Houses the Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom and Elizabeth Tower, also known as Big Ben.

If you wish to visit House of Commons Strangers’ Gallery or House of Lords Strangers’ Gallery plan to leave most of your belongings at your hotel as there is strict checking and you will be asked to leave all your belongings outside. You also have the opportunity to view the house in sitting, but try to avoid Wednesday’s as the Prime Minister takes the question on this day and the possibility of you getting a place is extremely less.

If you do visit the two chambers, do not miss the stunning Throne in the House of Lords, upon which the Queen of England delivers speech once a year.

Westminster Hall is great for history lovers. It dates back to the 9th century. The Plaques on the floor mark the bodies of deceased families and important events which took place in the hall. Get your camera’s out as it is one of the few places in the palace where photography is permitted.

Elizabeth Tower or Big Ben is one of the most popular tourist attraction in London. Unfortunately, the number of tickets is limited and the tours are reserved only for UK citizens. But you are free to check the tower and click a beautiful picture for your memories.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Sqaure
Trafalgar Sqaure

Trafalgar Square is a public square commemorating the English victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. It is one of the great iconic images of London.

It is famous as the location of a large number of important buildings that surround the square.

St Martin-in-the-Fields stands at the north-east corner of the square and hosts frequent and popular classical music concerts. National Portrait Gallery is located just across the church. Leicester Square is also very close.

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is one of the major attractions in the London West-end. The circus is a road junction and open space, which is extremely popular among tourist due to the popular building surrounding it.

The north side of the Circus holds video display and neon mounted signs, which is a major tourist attraction.

The Buckingham Palace

The Buckingham Palace
The Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is the main residence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Palace is open for public viewing only in Summers between July end to September end when the Queen moves to her Scottish Palace. However, the tickets are limited and advance booking is recommended.

Major tourist attraction at Buckingham Palace is the Guard changing ceremony. There are no charges to view the ceremony and you can catch a good view by standing at the fence. A board placed outside the Palace in the morning states whether the Guard changing ceremony will take place on the day and at what time. Do try to reach early to ensure you get a good view.

Marble Arch

Marble Arch
Marble Arch

Located in Hyde Park, Marble Arch is an enormous white marble-faced triumphal arch. It stands isolated, on a large traffic island at the junction of Oxford Street, Park Lane, and Edgware Road. The arch can be easily accessed using the subway beneath it.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

Often confused with The London Bridge, the Tower Bridge is a 19th-century bridge that was built to allow tall boats for pass through.

The Bridge features high towers along with a drawbridge that opens several times during the day to permit ships to pass through. Tickets can be purchased to get a view from the top of the towers.

Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London

Now this is my personal favorite. The Tower of London has a 900 year long history. It has served as fortress, prison, place of execution, mint, arsenal and a jewel house, during various times in it past. The tower has a lot of items on display and you can easily expect to spend a full day there. Guided tours are available from very knowledgable retired British Army officers.

Do try to catch the ceremony of the keys. In this ceremony the locking of the Tower is performed. The tickets are free but must be prearragned.

The Shard

The Shard London
The Shard London

Welcome to the London of future. The shard is a futuristic skyscraper that dominates the London skyline. It is the tallest building in Europe at 310 m. The viewing deck is at 72nd floor and offers a stunning view of the city of London.

Obviously the best time for view is at dusk so that you can get a view in both daylight and night. Tickets prices are a bit cheaper when booked online and also helps in saving time. Although The shard is not as crowded as The London eye, still purchasing tickets in advance is recommended.

One of the best features of the The Shard is that they offer a second free visit if bad weather ruins your visit. So if you have a couple more days to stay do try out The shard first.

Monument to the Great Fire of London

The Monument to the Great Fire of London
The Monument to the Great Fire of London

The Monument or Monument to the Great Fire of London was built between 1671 and 1677 to mark the alleged site where the Great Fire of London broke out in 1666.

The Monument comprises of a fluted Doric column built of portland stone topped with a gilded urn of fire (As seen in the picture). The height of the column is 62 m and it can be climbed to get a great view. However be ready to climb the 311 steps to reach the top.

30 St Mary Axe or The Gherkin

The Gherkin
The Gherkin

One of the most recognizable tower in London, The Gherkin is a weird shaped commercial skyscraper in the financial district of London. The building opened in 2004 and is 180 m tall.

The building has many restaurants and fast food dining options. Do Try one of those, However keep this building in one of the last things to do in London.

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral

The Cathedral is one of the most significant building in British History. The Cathedral has been site for various including British military leaders like Nelson and Churchill and held peace services after the end of two world wars.

The cathedral is also famous for its whispering gallery and offers stunning view of the city of London. The cathedral is open to general public for several services during the day. It may also be possible to attend some of the services for free. Do contact the Catherdal office for inquiries.

Shakespeare’s Globe

Performance underway at Shakespeare's Globe
Performance underway at Shakespeare’s Globe

You guesses it correctly. Shakespeare’s globe celebrates one of the world’s greatest writers, William Shakespeare. The Theatre presents exquisite and impressive reproduction of the 37 plays that William Shakespeare wrote during his lifetime.

Along with theatrical productions, Shakespeare’s Globe offers various programs for all ages. Acting workshops, lectures, staged readings include a few. The place is a must visit for theatre buffs.

Map of Landmarks

I know with so many places to see, It can get overwhelming on what to see first. This is why I have marked all the locations mentioned in this guide on a very friendly map. You can view it directly here or view on google maps by clicking on the enlarge button. You can also print it on google maps, which is very helpful.

I am overwhelmed by the love you all have shown me. Did you like my London guide on things to do in London, Landmarks to see. Do tell me what are the places that you would like to see added to the list.

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Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to keep in touch and start a conversation. Before you go, do check out my guide on How to book the best flight tickets in your budget. This guide is going to save you a lot of money when you book your flights to London. next up will be London Museums.


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