London, the bustling capital of England, is the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom. That can make sightseeing a little overwhelming.
Many opt to tour on a red double-decker bus, but don’t let a bus tour determine everything you see.
The attractions are plentiful, and one could spend a full vacation just in London and never get bored. From the rich diversity (over 300 languages are spoken within its boundaries) to the parks, gardens, museums, and cathedrals, London has it all. Enjoy this list of just five (of the many) must-see sights in London.
1. Buckingham Palace
Buckingham is one of the few remaining working palaces in the world. Home and office to The Queen, as well as the official London residence of the British Monarchy since 1937, Buckingham should be at the top of any tourist’s priority list. Visitors are able to tour the 19 State Rooms during the summer, which are decorated with Rembrandts, Rubens, and more. The Changing of the Guard is one of the many things you’ll want to witness at Buckingham Palace, and this takes place at 11:30 from May through August. The switching is on alternate days during the remaining months.
2. Westminster Abbey
Since the Royal Wedding in April, it’s hard to get the gorgeous view of Westminster Abbey out of mind. The 700-year-old Abbey is located in the heart of London. It is open for visits Monday through Saturday, but only open for worship on Sundays and religious holidays. All are welcome to attend the worship ceremonies. With more than 1000 years of history, the Westminster is a sight that can’t be missed!
3. Abbey Road
Abbey Road Studios is where the Beatles recorded 90 percent of their recordings. It also inspired the name of their final record as a group. Of course, what we all know about is the iconic image of them walking on the zebra crossing outside the studio. Abbey Road is still visited by high-profile artists, such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Snow Patrol. The crossing remains one of the most popular pedestrian crosswalks of all time. Abbey Road is definitely worth a visit, and there is even a Beatles Coffee Shop located nearby.
4. Big Ben
London’s clock tower and Houses of Parliament, commonly referred to as Big Ben, is one of the most recognizable and noteworthy landmarks in London. Whether in a movie, poster, or brochure, you’ve seen Big Ben, and you certainly shouldn’t leave London without seeing it in person. Technically, what is called Big Ben is the13-ton bell inside the clock tower. Big Ben is definitely a place to see by day and by night; at night, the four clock faces are illuminated. The clock tower is not open the general public to tour, but can still be seen from the streets.
5. Tower of London
The Tower of London is another one of those must-see places, full of history and culture. From the Crown Jewels, to the White Tower and Medieval Palace, there is a lot to see on a visit. There are live historical reenactments and children’s activity trails, making the Tower of London a perfect destination for the whole family.
Those are just five of the many incredible, historical, and cultural places you will find in London, so do some research, go with a plan, and have fun. Public transportation is good on the wallet, easy to use, and quickly goes to most of the attractions, so be sure to make the most of it! Most importantly, enjoy your trip!
Author bio: Stephanie is a student, writer, and editor with a passion for traveling and experiencing culture. On her most recent trip, when traveling to different places in Europe, she found this universal adapter plug to be the most helpful thing she packed. She dreams big and plans on seeing more of the world!