No matter what is the purpose of your visit, London has something in store for everyone. For students, there are world-class universities and a fantastic nightlife; art lovers have a whole box of museums and galleries to explore; historians have 2000 years of history to gawk at; kids are intrigued by the Aquarium and Science Museum; and women for a dreamy shopping spree!
Coming to travelers. For them, London is a jack of all trades. There is plenty to explore in and around the city. London truly has an international soul. It rains a lot here, no doubt. But who cares! Pack an umbrella in your bag and you are all set.
It is a common conception that London is a very expensive city; even a coffee costs you a fortune. Well, I’d say that every city has residents from all walks of life. So naturally, there are reasonable ways to survive too.
Anyway, I am writing this blog to compile a list of all the known as well as unconventional places for travelers. London is not merely a city for business meetings or higher education, or a hault while heading on to other parts of Europe. The city treasures many beautiful things to see and do.
Let’s begin with the most famous ‘London’s Attractions’.
London’s Points of Interest
Have a look at the grandeur of Buckingham Palace
The official residence of the Queen of England is definitely a show-stealer. This 19th century building has 775 rooms! The palace hosts about 50,000 guests every year for private events and social gatherings.
Tourists can visit 19 stunning State Rooms in the summer. These rooms are ornate with the most exquisite collection of chandeliers and paintings by Canaletto, Rembrandt and Rubens.
Don’t forget to take an audio guide to learn the history behind the Royal life.
Take a stroll at the gigantic Tower Bridge
First thing’s first, Tower Bridge and the London Bridge (the one that’s falling) are two separate entities. This epic bridge is the one that connects both river sides of the Thames since 1894.
After several processes of renovation, it looks as good as new till date. The bridge now has stunning Victoria Bascules and a brand new Glass Walkway. The best sight is when the Bridge open to let the River Traffic pass!
Visit the multifarious Tower of London
Perhaps the most visited attraction in London, The Tower of London is old as William the Conqueror. The place resides the Crown Jewels and is a Royal Residence for a fortress. It also has a zoo and was once a notorious prison.
The exterior of this Tower may not successfully fascinate you as much, but the interiors are full of activity and fervor.
Pay your prayers at the Royal Church- Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey, where Prince Williams and Kate took their wedding vows, is a UNESCO World Heritage site in its own right. A coronation church of the British Royal Family, it holds the identity of a graveyard for many eminent historic celebrities. There’s Newton, Dickens, Chaucer, Darwin, all buried in here.
This church is always full. So make sure you plan a visit accordingly. The book-lovers have The Poet’s Corner to explore, the final resting place of Geoffrey Chaucer, Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling.
Take a ride at the Coca Cola London Eye
The most beautiful jewel of the London skyline, this giant Ferris Wheel at the banks of Thames justifies its name in every sense. Its 32 capsules can accommodate 25 people each. Do visit the place for a stunning panoramic view of the city.
This 30 minute ride promises a bird’s eye view of 55 tourist attractions! But don’t mistake it to be one of those Floridian rides which check your guts to the core. The sole purpose of this ride is to see London in one go.
Get a few souvenir clicks at the photogenic Big Ben
Every visitor of London will definitely have at least one click of Big Ben in his travel diaries. Also known as the Elizabeth Tower, this spire is the second largest Clock Tower in the world.
More than 150 years, Big Ben survived the World War II bombings. Do hear the Great Bell chiming in the area every quarter hour.
Grab a ticket to the ground-breaking art exhibitions at Tate Modern
Tate Modern has a pride of a place on the southern bank of Thames. Also popular as the British National Museum of Contemporary Art, it’s offbeat structure is for the fact that it was a power-house earlier.
Tate’s restaurant offers fantastic vistas of the city. Many iconic exhibitions are held here, showcasing works by Lichtenstein and Warhol. The place is a part of 4 museums, all named Tate. These all together house about 70,000 collections of art and design which are a part of the National Collection of British Art. Tate Modern, as the name says, holds the contemporary pieces out of these. Apart from the special exhibitions (which require an entry ticket), entry to this museum is free!
Gawk at thousands of paintings at the National Gallery
The National Gallery is centered in the Trafalgar Square. Its intricate interiors are a true brain-stormer. So equip yourself with a color-coded map. Best thing about this Gallery, it’s Free!
The Gallery houses about 2,300 paintings, the most epic being ‘Venus and Mars’ by Botticelli and ‘Sunflowers’ by Van Gogh. Then there’s Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt too. This red-letter collection of artworks. dates back between 13th and 19th centuries.
Educate yourself about Dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is world-famous for its collection of the rarest and the most fascinating fauna in the world. A gigantic blue whale as large as life, a 40-million year old spider and a stunning Central Hall, this place has every reason to leave you awe-struck.
From T-rex fans to aspiring Paleontologists, this place is fun for all! Four animatronic displays give you an insight into how these pre-historic creatures survived. Check out the schedule of various exhibitions carried out here.
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Check out the treasure troves of Victoria and Albert Museum
This one has the most authentic collection of goodies from around the world. It owns a collection of world’s finest toys, games, costumes and doll houses. This museum has been amassing epic childhood toys since 1872. there are firgurines of ‘Incredibles’, Barvie Dolls, Puppets and Victorian Praxinoscopes.
The facelift of ‘Museum of Childhood’ had made it all the more fascinating with a lovely entrance. Then there are other sections exhibition exquisite collections of paintings, furniture, sculptures and textiles. It is arguably world’s greatest museum of Art and Design. It showcases more than 3,000 years of human genius.
Traveling with kids? Head on to the Science Museum
This museum is a wonderland for kids in its own right. The place leaves you thinking about your existence and makes you perform Olympic-level mental exercise. Witness and gape at scientific innovations in the past 300 years.
Not to mention the in-built Imax cinema. I’m sure you will be as awe-struck as your kids.
It no houses more than 300 was figures of celebrities from 14 interactive areas. There’s the red Carpet area to have a ramp-walk with Johnny Depp and Benedict Cumberbatch, a Sports area to game with David Beckham. Enjoy an encore with Music divas and get a click with the Queen of England.
The latest addition is of Star Wars, Season I-VI. You can experience walk-in sets inspired by the main scenes of the film.
An open-bus tour of London is something you just can’t miss!
London Bus Tours are a great way to explore the city. There are various tours including Top London Landmarks, Movie Tours and Nighttime tours.
I’d suggest you to go for a ‘Hop on Hop off Bus tour’ so that you can comfortably see all the attractions, grab a meal and even go shopping!
Find some peace at the Royal Botanic Kew Gardens
These West London’s urban Gardens are an eclectic variety of flora and foliage. This place is a peaceful sanctuary and a lush retreat from the hurly-burly London city.
Then there’s a gorgeous Dutch-style Kew Palace, not to mention the thrilling Tree-top Walkway and the ethnic Palm House.
What to do in London when you are starving
This cosmopolitan has every cuisine and delicacy to offer! From Indian to Middle-eastern, to Portuguese, you will find the rarest of servings in the many restros stationed here.
There are approximately 20,000 restaurants in London. Holy Smoke stands out to be one of the top restaurants here. Small but beautifully decored, the place is world-famous for its authentic wine collection and amazingly well-cooked food. Friendly and quick service, it tops the list of tourists and locals alike.
Then there’s a French Restaurant located in Battersea called Gastronhome. The place is again popular for its delectable wine collection, classic French delicacy and mouthwatering cheese options. So for the true French food lovers, this place is not to be missed!
Those looking for a fine British cooking should head on to The Five Fields. Chefs, here, create the most choicest contemporary dishes keeping in mind the seasonal demands.
Caffeine lovers have hundreds of options to grab a coffee. To get the best Filter coffee, visit Timberyard. This cafe has been awarded the best individual cafe in Europe.
Among the pocket-friendly options are Laughing Garvy Bar an Restaurant, Leon-The Strand, Lord Wargrave, Donna Fugassa and many more. Grab a scrumptious dessert at Gela-Ti-Amo. The place is renowned for its eclectic ice-cream flavors and home-made cakes. It’s collection of gluten and diary free products is very popular too.
While most of us prefer an Espresso Coffee while on the chase, Kaffeine serves a highly potent espresso. The guys here know all about milk temperature, dose amounts and grind refinement. So don’t try to mess around!
Then there are other places like The Attendant, EtnaCoffee and Mommouth Coffee serving the perfect caffeine.
When in London, Drink like a Fish
Among Things to do in London, Boozing is the greatest stress-buster. The city has a plethora of options for booze lovers and jags. It’s wide range of International Pubs, varying from Irish to French, wouldn’t let you feel homesick on your vacation.
First of all, you can check out the many coffee shops all around London. There are cute cafe’s everywhere. If you want to shop online for coffee and coffee accessories like a grind brew coffee maker, check out coffeedorks.com.
TheFrench House Pub is replete with French Wine and Champagne options. Canadian Beer fans have Maple Leaf to grab a Moosehead Beer and Poutine. Irish Hooch lovers can head on to Waxy O’Connor to grab a pint of Guinness. As for the German alcohol aficionados, Bavarian Beerhouse makes you celebrate Oktoberfest every night!
While touring London, or planning a tour soon, make sure you keep a separate fund to
visit the top attractions here. While some of them are free, the others charge outrageously expensive entry fees (like the Buckingham Palace).
Visit the Harrods Departmental Store to splurge out. The building is an amazing sight. And don’t forget the epic Oxford Street. You can locate all brands and spend on whatever suits your pocket. Try Primark for some really amazing and cheap shopping.
There’s Portobello Road to shop all the teeny-tiny things and gifts. Try out a Nutella Crepe here. It’s simply delicious!
And when you are out of cash, just grab a coffee and get yourself some alone-time at the Trafalgar Square. You could find the true spirit of London here; families and couples strolling by the fountain, enjoying the pleasant weather. And when it begins to drizzle (an everyday story in London), just let loose. London rains are the most trusted friends. They’d never leave you alone. Might as well enjoy their company!