It can be difficult when visiting a city as diverse as London for the first time to select what sights to see, especially if time is of the essence. Countless attractions and museums are tucked away all over the English capital, meaning your London days and London nights will be packed with a wide range of activities. To help out even the most experienced of travellers, we’ve compiled a list of eight essential London landmarks that you should go out of your way to discover for yourself.
One of the most iconic buildings in the world is just a short walk away from central London and approaching the royal residency on foot down the Mall is an experience in itself. Buckingham Palace boasts 775 rooms and while access for the general public may be limited to just a handful of those, visitors can still watch the Changing of the Guard or possibly catch a glimpse of a dignitary or even the Queen herself.
The eyes of the world regularly fall on Leicester Square for glitzy and glamorous film and theatre premieres. The square itself is always a hive of activity at all hours of the day and night as it neighbours with numerous interesting areas of the city like Covent Garden. A plethora of cinemas and theatres make it the heartbeat of London’s entertainment scene.
It says everything you need to know about the London Eye that it’s the UK’s most popular paid tourist attraction as the views from the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe really are truly amazing. Take a ‘flight’ in one of the 32 capsules, one for each of the city’s 32 boroughs, and you’ll be treated to a unique panoramic view that you won’t forget in a hurry.
With its huge flashing neon and LED signs, Piccadilly Circus is London’s answer to Times Square in New York and is wedged in between Regent Street and Leicester Square. It’s one of the most recognisable backdrops on the planet and is a firm favourite with snap-happy sightseers.
The Houses of Parliament
The Palace of Westminster, as it is otherwise known, is an architectural masterpiece and iconic London landmark. You don’t even need to have any interest in British politics to appreciate the pomp and ceremony that surrounds the Houses of Parliament on a daily basis. No trip to the city is complete without the obligatory photograph stood next to or near to the famous ‘Big Ben’ clock tower, which is named after the massive bell found inside.
Tower Bridge is a more than just a bridge. For starters, it’s one of the greatest feats of engineering in London and it remains fully functional nearly 120 years after it was built. It really is a stunning sight to behold, whether you catch a glimpse of it from a boat or on the banks of the River Thames.
Tower of London
Virtually in the shadow of the Tower Bridge is the Tower of London, where you can learn all about the rich history and heritage of London and marvel at England’s crown jewels, which are housed here. The medieval castle has many a tale to tell. Before coming to London, it might be useful to have a look at London hotel reviews in order to pick accommodation right for your needs.
Nelson’s Column will tower over you should you stumble across Trafalgar Square. It stands as a tribute to Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, who became a national hero when he died in victory during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Four lions cast from bronze can be found at the foot of the column as well as a fountain that makes the square such a popular place to relax amid the hustle and bustle of London life.