London Landmarks Guide
London is a great place to visit for a number of reasons, whether you go for the entertainment, art or just to see the sights, London has it all.
There are a number of independent tour providers operating around London, offering boat rides, bus tours and walk around guides throughout the city. These guided tours are a great way to see all of London’s most famous sights as they allow you to step off at any point you wish and rejoin another tour at a later time. These guided tours can cost anywhere between £10 and £60 per person depending on what form of travel you use.
The most well-known tourist attractions in London are often the busiest, so allowing time for long queues will help your day run a smoothly.
Below is a list of London Landmarks that you should take the time to visit when you’re in the capital:
The Houses of Parliament (Big Ben)
The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben are the most famous landmarks in London. Millions of tourists visit each year to view the magnificent architecture inside Westminster Hall and listen to the sound of Big Ben chiming on the hour.
Trafalgar Square is home to a number of London’s famous landmarks like Nelson’s Column and the National Gallery. It was built to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and to this day is a popular destination for tourists and pigeons alike.
Tower Bridge, often mistakenly referred to as London Bridge (London Bridge is the next crossing upstream), is another of the city’s most famous landmarks. The bridge is remotely raised to allowing passing boats access further along the Thames, a sight that visitors love to see.
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Tower of London
The Tower of London was ordered to be constructed by William the Conqueror in 1078 and acted as both a palace and prison for many years. The Tower of London is synonymous with gruesome tales of treason and torture and has become a tourist hot spot thanks, in part, to its visceral history, as well as being the current location of the Crown Jewels.
Buckingham Palace, one of a number of stately royal homes, is the official London residence of the British monarch. There is a wide belief that the royal family live in Buckingham Palace on a year-round basis, but this is not true. You can tell if the Queen is in residence at Buckingham Palace if the flag on the top of the building is flying. If it is not, then the Queen won’t be around to invite you in for tea and cucumber sandwiches.
The London Eye
Just across the river from the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye stands at a huge 135 metres tall, making it the largest Ferris wheel in Europe. The Eye offers fantastic views of The Mall, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and the SIS Building (the home of MI6).
Click here for more information on The London Eye
Royal Courts of Justice
The Royal Courts of Justice, found on The Strand, are the home to the Court of Appeal and the High Court, dealing with the most high profile cases in England and Wales.
Royal Geographical Society
Found in Kensington, The Royal Geographical Society is centre for advancement in geographical sciences in the UK. There is no public access to the building. The current President is Michael Palin.
Wellington Arch can be found on Hyde Park Corner and was built between 1826 and 1830. Wellington Arch is a tourist hot spot as Hyde Park, Marble Arch and Buckingham Palace are all close by.
St. Pauls Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral, located on Ludgate Hill, is the seat of the Bishop of London and is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Designed by Christopher Wren in the 17th century, St. Paul’s is one of London’s most popular tourist destinations.
The Cutty Sark is a clipper ship, built in 1869 to serve as a merchant vessel. The Cutty Sark is now preserved in a dry dock in Greenwich. Due to a fire in 2007 ship tours are off limits, but they will re-open again in Spring 2011.
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Southwark Cathedral is situated in Southwark on the south of the River Thames, near London Bridge. It is known as one of the oldest buildings in London, and it’s close vicinity to the Tate Modern makes it an ideal stop on your tour of the city.
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Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace, found in Richmond in south west London is a royal palace, but has not been lived in by the royal family since the 18th century. It is now a popular tourist site where guided tours offer to take the public around the grounds.
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HMS Belfast has been moored on the River Thames for a number of years, but has been operating as a museum since 1971. The Belfast was a light cruiser used in the Second World War, most notably in Operation Overlord, acting as a support vessel in the Normandy landings.
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Located within a short walking distance of the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey is a unique gothic church that has seen a number of royal weddings, coronations and is the burial site for monarchs of the Commonwealth Realms.
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The Guildhall in London has been used as a town hall for hundreds of years. Today it is used as a base of operations for the City of London Corporation, and is open to the public during the annual London Open House weekend.
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Middle Temple is one of the fours Inns of Court that are entitled to call their members to the English Bar as barristers. Middle Temple is just a short walk away from the Royal Courts of Justice.
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Christ Church, Spitalfields
Situated on Commercial Street in the borough of Tower Hamlets, Christ Church is one of the “Commissioners’ Churches”, an act passed by parliament in 1711 ordering the construction of fifty new churches. Christ Church in Spitalfields is widely regarded as one of the finest built from the act, and is a popular tourist destination.
Found in the up-market Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Kensington Palace is the official residence of Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Duke and Duchess of Kent, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and occasionally by Prince Harry.
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Officially opened in 1997, Shakespeare’s Globe is a reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre, used by Shakespeare for a number of his plays. The theatre was originally built in 1599 by Lord Chamberlain’s men, the playing company to whom Shakespeare belonged.
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The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, usually referred to simply as Kew Gardens, are 121 hectares of gardens and botanical glasshouses between Richmond and Kew in southwest London. Kew’s mission is to inspire and deliver science-based plant conservation worldwide, enhancing the quality of life. The Gardens are now a World Heritage Site.
Click here for more information on Kew Gardens
Somerset House is a large residence situated on the south side of the Strand, overlooking the River Thames. The building is known for its architectural beauty and, most recently, the dancing fountains installed in the 1990’s.
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Royal College of Physicians
The Royal College of Physicians of London was the first medical institution in England to receive a Royal Charter. It was founded in 1518 and is one of the most active of all medical professional organisations.
Click here for more information on the Royal College of Physicians
Freemasons' Hall in London is the headquarters of the United Grand Lodge of England and a meeting place for the Masonic Lodges in the London area. It is in Great Queen Street between Holborn and Covent Garden and has been a Masonic meeting place since 1775.
Click here for more information on the Freemasons' Hall
The Corporation of Trinity House of Deptford Strond is the official General Lighthouse Authority for England, Wales and other British territorial waters. It is responsible for the provision and maintenance of navigational aids such as lighthouses, lightvessels, buoys and maritime radio/satellite communication systems.
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