Good old London Town – it is one of the world’s great cities, and has been for centuries. Not content to rest on its historical laurels, the London of today is a dynamic, bustling place with endless cool small bars and high-end restaurants. Within London, it’s different neighborhoods all offer something slightly different – from the ultra cool Soho to the upper class Piccadilly Circus, there’s so much to explore.
Even many Londoners complain they’ve only seen a fraction of what the city has to offer, however there’s a few things you just can’t miss. Here our are top 5.
1. Buckingham Palace
One of the most recognizable buildings in the whole world, Buckingham Palace is nonetheless probably more famous for those who are within its walls than the building itself. Home to England’s Royal Family for generations, the sombre guards with their peculiar hats are also a massive tourist drawcard. Though the Palace is always busy and worth a visit, it is particularly so when there is the famous “changing of the Guard” ceremony.
2. The London Eye
A positively modern addition to the skyline by London standards, the London Eye was built at the start of the new millennium. Although it originally drew a few complaints from Londoners (complaining is a bit of a national pastime), it has come to be an unmissable tourist attraction that has been begrudgingly accepted. Step onto the comfort, ferris-wheel esque experience and be treated to beautiful views out over London and the River Thames. Bonus points if you book the “champagne experience” that comes with – you guessed it – plenty of sparkling wine.
3. Tower of London
While there are many historic buildings in London, the Tower of London perhaps boasts the most interesting history. With construction commencing in 1066 (although most of what we see today began in 1285), it was an important fortress to protect London. Over the years, it has had many uses, perhaps most famously as a prison where famous prisoners such as Ann Boylen and Guy Fawkes (who tried to blow up the London Parliament) were held. Join the two million others who visit the Tower annually – it’s well worth it.
4. Piccadilly Circus
It may seem like a strange name for a place with absolutely no acrobats or other performers – however it draws its name from a Latin term meaning “circle”. Essentially Piccadilly Circus is a large junction that is one of the busiest places in all of London, and just a stone’s throw from attractions including Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, 10 Downing Street and the West End. It may seem intimidating, but it is well worth a visit – perhaps on a tour if you fear getting lost (or run over by a cab!)
5. Walk through Camden
With so many wonderful tourist attractions on offer, it can be easy to forget that London is a home for millions of people. However, as soon as you get away from the main tourist drags and into the “villages” within London, you will see why. One of the absolute best is Camden, with fantastic markets, multicultural food and shopping to die for. Be sure to spend at least an afternoon here – you might just end up wanting to move to London!