Since the Romans settled in London over two thousand years ago it has been a place of great art, history, entertainment, fashion and tourism. It’s one of the must-see cities of Europe with its Four World Heritage Sites, many museums and galleries and dozens of sites to visit. Planning a trip to England’s capital and one of the world’s greatest cities can be overwhelming. If you are going to visit London, here are five sites you can see in one day.
1. London Eye
Begin your morning by riding the London Eye, one of the most famous Ferris wheels in the world. Located on the River Thames, it is close to 450 feet high and offers an amazing view of the city. Each of the 32 capsules of the London Eye holds 25 standing people and completes a rotation every 30 minutes. This site has special events on holidays and offers private options. There’s no better way to start your London trip by taking a look at the city from the sky.
Photo courtesy | Shellmush
2. Big Ben
When you’re finished seeing the entire city at once, it is time to see it close up. Take a 10 minute walk from the London Eye, over the River Thames by way of the Westminster Bridge, and you will reach Big Ben. Big Ben is the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is over 150 years old. Once called the Elizabeth Tower, it was designed as a new palace after an older one was burned down. The inside isn’t open to overseas visitors, but there’s enough awe to be had from the outside. If you’ve seen a movie located in London, chances are you’ve seen Big Ben. It is arguably the most popular landmark in the United Kingdom and an overall symbol of the country.
Photo courtesy | Kosala Bandara
3. Westminster Abbey
From Big Ben, take a 2 minute walk down the street and visit Westminster Abbey. This church has thousands of years of history. It has been the location of many monarch coronations, royal weddings, and it is a royal burial site. The architectural style of the church is Gothic with many paintings, stained glass, pavements, textiles and other artifacts on the inside. Take time to visit the graves of some famous writers: William Blake, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Lord Byron, Geoffrey Chaucer and Ben Jonson.
Photo courtesy | HJ Janisch
4. Buckingham Palace
If you’re not too tired of walking yet, about a quarter of a mile down the road is Buckingham Palace. Home to England’s monarchs, the Palace is a national symbol of culture and history. Take an exclusive guided tour and see some high ceilings, artwork, sculptures, chandeliers and other traditionally grand English architecture. Visitors can see The Queen’s Gallery which hosts art, The Royal Mews which is one of the finest working stables in existence, or The State Rooms which is the setting of many ceremonial occasions. If you’re feeling hungry, stop at the Garden Café which overlooks the famous Palace lawn.
Photo courtesy | Martyn Lucy
5. Royal Albert Hall
After you’ve seen what you can at the Buckingham Palace, take a 10 minute walk to Green Park where you will use the Underground, or simply “The Tube,” to get to South Kensington. The ride is on Piccadilly towards Rayners Lane and it takes about 10 minutes. Half a mile away you’ll find Royal Albert Hall. For those with energy or a fear of unfamiliar public transportation, Royal Albert Hall is also a 40 minute walk from Buckingham Palace. This Hall is an impressive piece of architecture which has a 20,000 square foot glazed-iron roof and a mosaic frieze surrounding the building. It is a place which enhances and preserves England’s arts and sciences. Leading names have performed on this remarkable stage. End your busy day by booking tickets for an evening show of music, dance, or other performances. Sit back and enjoy what London has to offer.
Photo courtesy | Paul Hudson