As a born and bred Londoner I often take the beauty of the city for granted. I am a bit biased but for me London is the greatest city in the world, it’s full of history, art and culture and some pretty amazing food too! I thought I would share my top 5 london attractions to get a real feel for the city. Now these 5 places aren’t going to be hipster hangouts (is that a thing anymore?) but actual tourist attractions that will help you see as much of the city as you can in a short period of time!
Let’s start off with one of the newest ‘attractions’ in the city. Imposing and beautifully designed, the Shard is located near London Bridge and is a really great place to visit for an epic view of London (and if you want to skip the insane queues at the London Eye) You can visit ‘The View from the Shard’ where you can see across London from 800 metres high in the sky. Made using toughened laminated glass from the TuffX portfolio, the building has somehow seamlessly slotted into the London skyline. Minutes from a whole host of other attractions, the Shard is a great starting point for your day in London (I recommend visiting the Clink the oldest prison in London, and walking along the South Bank to check out the Christmas Market!)
The Tower of London.
Within easy walking distance of the Shard and with the added benefit of walking over the iconic Tower Bridge sits The Tower of London. If you have any interest in history, specifically from the War of the Roses/Tudor/Elizabethan eras than you simply have to visit. The Tower is steeped in so much history you can’t help but feel overwhelmed when you walk its cobbled streets. You can view the Crown Jewels, see where Anne Boleyn stayed before her coronation, and then Traitors Gate, the entrance she would have arrived back through as a prisoner just a few years later! You can also see the spot where she was executed and pay your respects to her, Catherine Howard and a host of other famous historical names in the St Peter ad Vincula church in the grounds. Make sure you keep an eye out for the ravens, although I’d advise against touching them- they bite! The Beefeaters are always walking around and are happy to take photos and chat, it’s a really magical experience for anyone with an interest in London’s history (and if you like creepy stories, you can find out all about the princes in the tower, and their grisly fate!)
Jump on the thames clipper from tower pier down to embankment and walk through to Covent Garden, no where in London looks as magical as the market at Christmas. You can do a spot of shopping here, all the brands you know and love are scattered throughout, but the Apple Market is my favourite. Notoriously hard to get a stall in, the market is a creative haven full of one of a kind art prints, jewellery and home decor. Grab a table at one of the street lined cafes at the front of the market for a coffee and people watching session. Food wise you are absolutely spoilt for choice, they have everything from Pizza Pilgrims to the Ivy Market Grill. It’s the perfect place to end your day and take in the beauty of the city!
The V &A.
I can’t imagine you’d visit the V&A on the same day as the pervious three landmarks as honestly you could spend a whole day there. Full to the brim of the most stunning Sculptures, Paintings and Artefacts from around the world, every time I visit I am inspired and stunned at the size and beauty of the place. It’s free to visit, but please donate as it’s the best museum in London (in my humble opinion) and you will leave feeling culturally nourished and truly astounded by what man can create! You can walk down to the Royal Albert hall in about 10 minutes or the Natural History Museum in 5 (which I recommend at this time of year just to see the magical ice rink!)
Westminster Abbey is one of the most iconic ‘attractions’ in London. It’s where both Kate Middleton and Prince William and the Queen and Prince Phillip were married so a must see if you love the royals (plus I personally think Buckingham palace is a bit underwhelming!) it’s also the burial place of everyone from Elizabeth I to Stephen Hawking (the tombs of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York – Henry VIII’s mum and dad – are truly breathtaking) Plus it’s a 2 minute walk from Big Ben, can you visit London and not see Big Ben?! (even if it is covered up at the moment for refurb) You can do tours of Parliament at certain times of the year (they have to be pre-booked) but I would recommend doing one as outside of the Tower, Parliament has some of the richest history in the City and a tour is a truly once in a lifetime experience.
So those are my 5 must visit London attractions, are there any places in London you loved to visit when you visited or somewhere you’d love to see?