Having portrayed the mental map of London together with its main attractions, we will introduce you to each place to visit and their corresponding useful information. Just as it is impossible to go to Rome without visiting the Coliseum, or the Tour Eiffel in Paris, or Plaza de Toros in Madrid the following are compulsory stops so as not to leave London with the sour taste of not having visited it in full.
This museum is 253 years old, and although it is considered the oldest in England, it was actually formed with objects and belongings from other cultures that had once been British colonies. In the year 2003 Elizabeth II building was built within the courtyard of the old museum.
The British Museum has 94 galleries and over three million paintings and drawings from the XV century to now with different expositions. Except for the learned and art lovers, the 90 minute tour including the most important items is recommended.
Great Russel Street. WC1
Tube station: Tottenham Court Road, Russell Square,Holborn.
Mondays through Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays from 10.00 a.m. to 8.30 p.m.
Buckingham Palace was built in 1703. It has been home for the British Royal Family ever since queen Victoria settled there. Although the palace looks antique and classic, it was restored two decades ago and its original facade was kept.
It’s main attraction is the Changing of the Guard, which is a musical and rather old fashioned ceremony that takes place every day at 11.30 a.m. If the queen is not in the palace, the change of guard takes place twice a week. However, and in order to satisfy unhappy tourists, a tour round the 161 rooms of the palace is provided.
Tip: in order to see the changing of the guard it is advisable to arrive one hour in advance. There are many people willing to witness the ceremony, the place gets crowded and after a while nothing can be seen.
Buckingham Palace Road SW1.
Tube station: St. James Parl, Victoria, Green Park.
From July 31st to September 26th from 9.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
Westminster Palace ceased to be the royal home after a fire and since then it has been the English Parliament. In the year 1834 the building caught fire again, and obtained nowadays’ shape after being re built. In this building we can find the Big Ben, the most famous clock in England. Year after year, thousands of tourists arrive to listen to its well known bells.
St. Margaret St., SW1.
Tube station: Westminster.
Tower of London
This is perhaps the most interesting tour in England. Former royal home, Treasury Department and even prison, the tower was proclaimed Humanity’s heritage in the XIX century. Nowadays, all the buildings and the walls within can be toured. The Crown Jewels are the most visited, and they can be found within the Waterloo Barracks. In Martin Tower there is also an exposition on how the jewels were forged.
The tower’s general services are very complete, there are gift shops and two restaurants. There is also a bureau de change, and toilettes in several places next to water fountains.
Tip: it is advisable to visit the tower during morning hours, given that then the number of visitors is ever higher and queues become endless. The queue to the Crown jewels is always the worst. Therefore, they should be visited sometime when there are few people awaiting.
Tower Hill, EC3N.
Tube Station: Tower Hill.
Open from April to October from 10.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., and from November to March from 10.00 a.m. to 6.45 p.m.
Guided tours only in English. Audio guide available in six languages.
Entrance fee charged.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
This cathedral stands out from other antique cathedrals in London because it was the first to be built by the Romans. The dome is 530 steps up , and from there a closer and wonderful sight of London can be appreciated.
In the interior, a mosaic of Byzantine inspiration on the Creation of the World stands out. The crypt and treasure can also be visited.
The guided tour is really helpful and the stories of the characters buried in the crypt are very curious. Access to non-free zones is also allowed.
St. Paul’s Churchyard, EC4.
Tube station: St. Paul’s.
From 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. daily.
It is the largest park in the center of London. It is over two kilometers long and it has several activities to be performed, such as boat trips in the lake, once river Westbourne. You can also visit Crystal Palace. However, what makes this huge park famous is the Speaker’s corner, a place where several speakers gather on Sundays to speak freely, standing on a box, on any topic whatsoever, given that as they are not stepping English ground, they are not subject to the law.
Tube station: Hyde Park Corner, Lancaster Gate, Queensway.
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