Guide to London's Tourist Attractions
This year not only is London great value for the foreign visitor owing to the low rate of the pound, but this year London also celebrates the sixty year reign of Queen Elisabeth II and will also be hosting both the Summer Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games.
For those of you considering a trip to London, I have compiled a guide to some of the more popular sites and attractions London has on offer, in order to help you find your way around this vast metropolis.
London is a myriad of architectural splendours, graceful parks, royal pomp and pageantry and a rich and diverse cultural heritage going back two millenia.
Built along the banks of the stately River Thames London caters to everyone from culture vultures to backpackers.
This guide is split into twelve zones or areas of London attractions, in order to help you get around more easilly and to make the most from your visit.
There are also lists of famous London events, famous sporting venues and other important venues not mentioned in the main lists
I have given you directions of access via the London Underground, the metro system, known locally as the Tube.The London Underground is the world's oldest and largest underground rail system, with 12 different routes known as lines.
London issues discount travel cards for both bus and train travel and information and prices for these can be found at any tube station,tourist office or newsagent.
When visiting London a map of the town and a tube map is essential, these can be obtained from the airport of your arrival,your hotel foyer, Underground and British Rail stations or any London Tourist Office, that can be found near most of the tourist areas.
For people driving to London, you may want to read this - london-congestion-zone-information-for-visitors-and-tourists
For people with electric vehicles, you may find this article of interest - public-electric-vehicle-ev-charging-stations-in-london
For people visiting the Olympic Games please read - london-2012-summer-olympic-games-london-venues
Londons' Houses of Parliament, featuring the clock tower of - big-ben-
CITY OF LONDON.
The City of London proper is just one mile square in size, where you will find
St Paul's Cathedral.
The Tower of London.Featuring Traitors Gate,The Crown Jewels, The Beefeater Guards and the ravens who roam free within the Tower's grounds.
Tower Bridge.spanning the Thames, linking The Tower of London with Butlers Wharf, an area of once thriving docklands, that have now been turned into trendy eateries and wine bars.
30 St Mary Axe. ( The Gherkin ).
The Bank of England.
Accessed from Bank and Monument tube stations.
For more information read - london-guide-the-city-of-london
TIP; The Gherkin and the Bank of England are purely architectural venues and do not allow entry to the public.
CITY OF WESTMINSTER.
London was built by the mergence of two cities, the second of which is the City of Westminster, where you will find the following attractions.
The Houses of Parliament, incorporating The clock tower of Big Ben.Home of the British Government.
Westminster Abbey.venue of Britain's state weddings and funerals.
Westminster Bridge, that will take you across the Thames to St Thomas's Hospital ( where Florence Nightingale trained ) to the right and the London Eye to the left.
Accessed from Whitehall tube station.
For more information read - london-guide-the-city-of-westminster
For more information read - london-guide-the-west-end
TIP 1; Buy tickets for the London Eye over the telephone or on line, as the queues at the ' wheel ' ticket office are massive.
TIP 2. Entry is not allowed into the Houses of Parliament, unless by prior arrangement, which is only given to British citizens.
THE SOUTH BANK.
the-london-eye-is situated along the South Bank of the River Thames. This area is Londons cultural centre where you will find the attractions of;
The National Gallery.
The National Theatre.
The National Film Theatre.
The Tate Modern.
The Globe Theatre.
For more information read - london-guide-the-south-bank
Also numerous smaller galleries, coffee shops, wine bars and street entertainers.
TIP; All the above attractions are along a stretch of the Thames of about a mile in length.
Accessed from between Waterloo and Blackfriars tube stations.
St Pauls Cathedral in the City of London.
From the Houses of Parliament one walks along Whitehall to access the attractions of;
Trafalgar Square, featuring Nelson's Column.
The Mall, leading to Buckingham Palace.
Accessed from Victoria or Hyde park Corner tube stations.
TIP; The changing of the guard takes place every day along Horse Guards Parade, outside Buckingham Palace, at 11.00 A.M.
A short walk from Trafalgar Square will bring you to China Town and Leicester Square.
From China town there is access to London Piccadilly and Piccadilly Circus the official West End of London, featuring London Theatreland along Shaftesbury Avenue,London red light district in Soho, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden,the Ritz Hotel and Fortnum and Masons.
Accessed from Leicester Square or Piccadilly Circus tube stations.
For more information read - london-guide-theatreland
TIP.Buy cheap tickets for that nights show from the Leicester Square ticket office on the day of showing.
The official residence of the Queen of England is surrounded by parkland including;
St James Park, featuring its lake with rare water fowl species.
Hyde Park, featuring the Serpentine boating lake and the Princess Diana Fountain and Walkway Memorials.
Accessed from Hyde Park Corner tube station.
KENSINGTON HIGH STREET.
Kensington Palace and Gardens,birthplace of Queen Victoria and former home of Princess Diana, featuring the Albert Memorial statue.
The Royal Albert Hall concert hall.
Access to South Kensington that will take you to The Natural History and Science museums, which are annexed to one another, and are free to enter.
A short walk from these museums will take you to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Accessed from Kensington High Street and South Kensington tube stations.
For more information read - visitor-information-for-the-five-largest-museums
City Hall, Southwark, where the office of the Mayor of London is situated..
18 miles outside London is the town of Windsor with its castle,the Queen's official 'home ', featuring Windsor Great Park and the Windsor Ferris wheel.
Situated on the banks of the River Thames, which is home to the Queen's swan sanctuary ( a bird that is protected in the U.K ).
Take the bridge from Windsor across the Thames to the public school town of Eton with its antique shops and public school buldings.
Accessed from a two train journey from Paddington station or a direct train journey from Waterloo station.These are not tube stations but part of the British Rail network.
For more information read - london-guide-windsor-and-eton
CAMDEN HIGH STREET.
Featuring the world famous Camden Market and shops, a myriad of cobbled streets with quirky shops and market stalls, aimed at the under 30's. Also where you can take a canal longboat cruise and see the longest canal tunnels in the U.K.
Accessed from Camden Town tube station.
For more information read - london-guide-camden-market
Madame Tussauds wax works.
Regents Park featuring London Zoo and London's Open Air Theatre, a summer only venue for the works of Shakespeare.
Fictional home of the detective Sherlock Holmes, situated at 221B Baker Street, now a museum of the works of Conan Doyle.
Accessed from Marylebone and Baker Street tube stations.
The Borough of Richmond situated both in London and the county of Surrey features the attractions of
Richmond Park, featuring the Royal Deer herd.
The world famous botanical gardens at Kew Gardens.
Hampton Court Palace, former royal residence of King Henry VIII, featuring its beautiful Palace,elegant gardens and famous Maze.
Accessed from Kew tube station.
For more information read - the-borough-of-richmond-upon-thames
TIP; None of these venues are close to one another, a taxi, bus or private / hire car will be needed to see them all on the same day.
Piccadilly in Londons' West End.
Known as the London Docklands in London's East End, Canary Wharf Tower is an office and shopping complex and the tallest building in London,
Also situated here is the pier and ticket office of the Thames Clipper boat service.
Accessed from Canary Wharf tube station.
For some interesting facts about London, read - london-little-known-facts-about-the-uks-capital
FINDING THE RIGHT TUBE STATIONS FOR -
VARIOUS TOURS / TRIPS.
The London Eye River Cruise.Acccessed from Waterloo tube station.TIP. Pre book it online or by phone.
The Thames Clipper boat service. Accessed from Waterloo and Canary Wharf tube stations.
London City Guide / Guide Friday bus tours accessed from any where in London at pre - arranged signposted bus stops.
Various other tours / trips you can find advertised on- line including cycle tours and themed walking tours.
FAMOUS LONDON EVENTS.
New Years Day Parade. January 1.Oxford Street. - Piccadilly Circus tube station.
Oxford / Cambridge boat race. Held in April. From Putney Bridge to Chiswick Bridge.It is traditional to walk along the route.
Chelsea Flower Show. Royal Hospital, Chelsea. Held in May - .Sloane Square tube station.
The Hampton Court Palace flower show. Held in July. - Richmond tube station change for Hampton Court rail station.
London Marathon. Begins at Piccadilly Circus. 11 July. - Piccadilly Circus tube station.
Notting Hill Carnival. Held every August bank holiday weekend. - Notting Hill tube station.
London to Brighton veteran car run. Begins at Hyde park Corner. - Hyde Park Corner tube station.
Lord Mayors Show. Held in November. Begins and ends at Mansion House. - Mansion House tube station.
FAMOUS LONDON SPORTING VENUES.
The Oval cricket ground. Kennington. - Oval tube station.
Lords cricket ground St Johns Wood. - St Johns Wood tube station.
Wembley stadium. - Wembley tube station.
Wimbledon.All England Tennis Club. - Wimbledon tube station.
OTHER FAMOUS VENUES.
Apollo Theatre. Hammersmith. - Hammersmith Broadway tube station.
Sadlers Wells Ballet Company. - Clerkenwall.Angel tube station.
The O 2 Arena and greenwich. - North Greenwich tube station.
Harrods. Knightsbridge. - Knightsbridge tube station.
Oxford Street. - Oxford Circus tube station.
London Palladium. South Argyll Street. - Oxford Circus tube station.
The Tate Britain, art gallery. Millbank. - Plimlico tube station.
For facts about london-heathrow-airport
For admission fees and opening hours, and events dates and times, please go to the relevent attractions website.
Some more London articles you may find of interest -
© D.B.Bellamy.March. 2010.
All images courtesy of wikimedia commons.