Top Ten Things to Do in London

Jack sent in an excellent list of the things we should be sure to do if we are ever in London. I’ll be in Paris next week, you know. I hear London is only a “hop, skip and jump” from there! However, I doubt I’ll have time to make it over during this trip, since I’m there for a conference. Hopefully, I’ll have a chance to visit one day!

  • Big Ben – A great sight to see, possibly the most famous clock in the world and part of the Palace of Westminster. It really is something worth seeing. Tours of Big Ben are also run during summer months for those who would like to see more of it.
  • London Eye – From here, you’ll see a large amount of London from high up. A truly great experience that is something for all to enjoy. Private capsules are available to hire.
  • Tower of London – The Tower of London remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in London. Complete with tales of historical drama, infamous Beefeaters, the Crown Jewels and the Royal Armouries, a visit to the Tower is a must for all visitors to London.
  • Buckingham Palace – This is the Queen’s official residence. The State Rooms of the Palace are open to visitors during the Annual Summer Opening in August and September.
  • Trafalgar Square – How could you miss one of the capital’s most iconic areas? Come and marvel at Nelson’s Column and the four huge lion statues. Feeding the pigeons is now discouraged (due to the spread of diseases) so please don’t bring them any treats. On the north side of the square, you can visit the National Gallery. Just around the corner on St. Martin’s Lane is the National Portrait Gallery. Both have both permanent displays and special exhibitions, so check what’s on before you go.
  • Tate Modern – The Tate Modern is situated within a converted power station and has an imposing position opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral along the River Thames. You can visit again and again as it’s free and the modern art displays change quite frequently. You’ll often find enormous ‘installations’ in the Turbine Hall on the ground floor. Right outside is the Millennium Bridge (the one that was ‘wobbly’ when it first opened). Don’t forget Tate Britain – you can take the Tate Boat between the two Tates and the London Eye.
  • Houses of Parliament – The Houses of Parliament is only a short walk down Whitehall from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square. The building is stunning from Parliament Square, but it is worth taking a walk over Westminster Bridge and getting the view from the South Bank. Big Ben is actually the name of the bell in the clock tower which chimes every 15 minutes. Tours inside the Houses of Parliament for overseas visitors are only available during August and September.
  • Natural History Museum – Known for its underfed Dinosaur at its entrance, the Natural History Museum itself is large and quite impressive. Have a good look at the columns and floors for the detail
    > contained within their architecture. Some of the exhibits may cost more, such as the Antarctic experience, but it’s worth it on a hot day. You could easily spend more than a day in the Natural History Museum (Antarctic is pretty big 🙂 ) but fear not, the museum is spilt into different zones so you can focus on what you want to see most and come back for anything you miss.
  • Westminster Abbey – For many, this was the place to be seen, dead of course. Where as most of us keep our skeletons in the cupboard, Westminster Abbey keeps its bodies buried under the floor. The impressive list of dead people is only matched by the architecture. Westminster Abbey just oozes of the royal dead. Go out back behind the Abbey to the courtyard and take in the views. You can sit on benches or lie in the grass and relax for a while. You will not be disappointed be this amazing place.
  • Windsor Castle – Located just outside of London, Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. It has been the official residence of the British sovereign for over 900 years and the amazing State Apartments are a favourite with London tourists.

How about you? What’s cool to see and do where you’re from?