Ancient monuments rub shoulders with gleaming modern skyscrapers in this historic city, where every street holds a story of its own.
From the narrow passageways of the historic City of London to the relaxed riverside atmosphere of the South Bank, the capital of the United Kingdom has an impressive amount to see and do.
Originally a collection of villages and towns, the various parts of the city have retained their own distinctive identity. This lends a fascinating flavour to the teeming Metropolis, as hidden amongst the urban tumult you can still find hints of rural charm.
London is perhaps most well-known as the official residence of the British Royal Family. Aim to visit Buckingham Palace at 11:15 am if you want to catch the changing of the guard, a daily ceremony carried out by the red-liveried Queen’s Guard. On Parliament Square, the white stones of Westminster Abbey have played host to centuries of royal occasions, from christenings to coronations. Their catacombs have even provided a place of sanctuary during the battles of the past.
A stroll along the banks of the River Thames will take you past some of London’s most famous landmarks. The towering clock-face of Big Ben tops the Houses of Parliament, whilst the city’s biggest collection of modern art is housed in a former power station – now Tate Modern – across the river from St Paul’s Cathedral. Situated on the southern riverbank between the two, the London Eye never stops turning, offering unparalleled views over the city. Crossing the river is easy, as it is spanned by a series of bridges. Perhaps the most eminent of these is the majestic Tower Bridge, whose elaborate gothic towers are lit up at night.
Head to Trafalgar Square to see the famous fountains and get your photo taken with the brass lions at the base of Nelson’s Column, before taking a stroll towards the bright lights and bustle of Piccadilly Circus. See treasures from around the world at the British Museum or simply relax with a picnic under the ancient trees of Hyde Park.
Getting around is easy – just hop on a tube train or catch a double-decker bus and be at your destination in minutes. You can buy tickets as you go or get a refundable oyster card which can be topped up in shops and train stations across London.