London is a fascinating place. The fact that it has such a long history, and has been relatively well preserved is one of the reasons so many people visit this city, every year.
The list of historical sites you could visit is a long one, but the ones I am going to tell you about are by far the best ones. As well as telling you which they are I explain how best to see them, so you get the most out of your visit.
The Tower of London
No trip to the city would be complete without visiting The Tower of London. Every year, nearly 2.5 million people enjoy this ancient fortress.
You can get there using the vintage Routemaster No. 15, or better still take the Thames Clipper and get off at the Tower Millennium Pier. Depending on where you embark, you get a view of other tourist attractions like Westminster and Tower Bridge on your way down the river.
Every 30 minutes, free tours are available. They take an hour, and because it is the Yeomen who actually live in the tower that conducts the tour you get access to great insider knowledge. There are paid tours available too. The audio tour is a particularly good option for those who do not speak English.
See Tower Bridge London opening
If you are lucky your visit will coincide with the passing of a big ship. In which case you will get to see the impressive site of the bridge being opened. As you can see here the opening of tower bridge really is an impressive one, so check when you get to London to see if it is due to open while you are in the city.
Buckingham Palace is an impressive and fascinating place to visit. There are lots of ways to experience this beautiful, historic building. By far the best tour is The State Rooms tour. It takes 2.5 hours, and if you time it right you can see The Changing of the Guard too. Unfortunately, this tour is only available in the summer. Therefore, you need to check availability.
A private tour of Buckingham Palace
If you are really interested in royal history you could always book with a private tour operator and enjoy a visit to Windsor Castle. Some of them include a very nice traditional British afternoon tea in the package.
This is a very popular attraction, so it is a good idea to book your tickets in advance. Getting there is easy, because it is on several bus routes, and Westminster tube station is nearby. We choose to walk there taking in St James Park on the way.
There is a lot to see, so allow yourself at least an hour for your visit. The Coronation Chair has been used in the crowning of every British monarch (except Queen Mary II), since 1308. Poet’s Corner, The Chapter House and the Grave of the Unknown Warrior should all be on your must see list. You should also take a bit of time to enjoy Parliament Square, which is located directly in front of The Abbey.
It is definitely worth booking yourself a guided tour of Westminster Abbey to make sure that you do not miss anything. The Verger’s tour only costs a few pounds, and I would say it is the best tour.
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral is an impressive place with a long history. To see it all set aside several hours. The cathedral runs its own guided tours, which take about 90 minutes to complete.
This tour is worth taking because it gives you access to areas that are not normally open to members of the public. You cover the floor of the cathedral, the crypt, the Geometric Staircase, the Chapel of St Michael and St George as well as the Quire areas. If you go on the right day you can also go on the Triforium Tour, which includes the library and The Great Model.
The Whispering gallery is always fun
While there make sure that you take the time to go up to the famous Whispering Gallery. It is a favorite with couples who like to whisper sweet nothings to each other.
Horse Guards Parade
One historic site a lot of people forget to visit is Horse Guards Parade. This ceremonial parade ground is one of the biggest open spaces in London. The Changing of the Queen’s Lifeguard ceremony is well worth seeing.
Afterward, take in some of the beautiful buildings around the parade ground. The startling Admiralty Citadel is a bit of a surprise, but it has become an iconic building in its own right.
It is also worth taking a look around the Household Cavalry Museum. The parade ground backs onto 10 Downing Street, so it is not out of your way and is well worth a visit.
An alternative way to see historic London
If you are interested in a particular era of London’s history, it is really worth taking a themed tour. There are plenty to choose from, some of the best are available from this very experienced London tour firm called London historians. They offer tours of Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian London, all of which are great fun and extremely educational.
About the author:
Adam Chapman is the founder of the Meet and greet parking service – www.premierparkinggatwick.com
A big Football fan who can travel to any part of the world to watch England’s Match.
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