If you’ve made it this far, you have now read about London’s great galleries, museums and theatres. However, my discussion on London would not be complete without recommending you some of its famous landmarks and beautiful green spaces. This list is by no means a full comprehensive list of all the things to visit, but rather some of my favourites. Without further ado, let us begin.
If you are going to visit London then it only seems right that you visit the residency and administrative headquarters of the monarch. It is not only a residency, but stands as a representation of the British royalty and its power in England. It is a beautiful structure and situated in front of it adding to its beauty is the beautiful Victoria Memorial, dedicated to the late Queen Victoria. This memorial is absolutely stunning with its marble structure and gilded bronze. It is the perfect place to take stunning photos and witness people from all the corners of the world congregating together to visit the palace. If you are visiting Buckingham Palace, be sure to find out when the Changing of the Guard takes place as it is a sight worth seeing complete with marching and music. Although I did not see this during my visit three years ago, I was able to witness the Changing of the Guard at the Tower of London which was equally mesmerizing.
Buckingham Palace and Victoria Memorial
Hyde Park and St. James Park
Now after visiting Buckingham Palace, make your way north for Hyde Park or southwest for St. James Park. These two parks are full of lush greenery and friendly wildlife. If you are looking for a peaceful afternoon, these parks will provide you with a sense of calm and peace as you walk along the lake. If you decide on Hyde Park, consider renting a bike from the Barclay’s bike rental stands in Hyde Park to explore the large park. For those looking for more recreational activities, during the warm weather rowing and pedal boats are available for rental to glide across the Serpentine lake. If you are short on time, I would recommend visiting St. James Park instead which offers the same lush greenery but is not as large as Hyde Park. In addition, St.James Park is perfect for photo taking opportunities as the London Eye is visible in certain areas of the park. Whichever park you choose, you will not be disappointed. If you have time to visit both, then go out there and enjoy. If you are pressed on time, St.James Park will lead you to your next destination: The London Eye and Big Ben.
The London Eye and Big Ben
I have lumped these two together due to the fact that they are both in very close proximity to one another. Now I’m going to be honest in that during my entire time I was in London and even during my most recent visit, I have only seen the London Eye and have never actually gone on it. If you are wondering why I have not stepped foot into one the little pods that make up the London Eye, my answer is simple: the line is too bloody long. Thus, for those wanting to take a ride, my advice to you is to buy tickets in advance and go early. I cannot comment on the views from the London Eye but a quick google search yields many positive reviews in regards to the the incredible view from The Eye. So I only hope you have better luck than me and manage to make it on one of London’s most well known landmarks. After your successful ride, visit Big Ben if only for a photo opportunity. It is a short walk from The Eye and although the clock tower is currently undergoing renovations, it is still a beautiful tower to see despite the construction.
Tower of London and Tower Bridge
Next up on your itinerary is the Tower of London. The Tower of London is a historic castle which is better known for its history as a prison. Take a stroll through the complex and educate yourself on the torture that occurred within these walls. Within Wakefield Tower, you will find replicas of the torture instruments used on the prisoners of the tower. After learning about the torture that went on, bring yourself to a happier place by seeing the Crown Jewels which are housed in the Tower of London. After you have walked around the Tower of London, Tower Bridge can be clearly seen from the yard where you can continue with your photo shoot. And with that you have crossed off two more places to see in London.
Now when you get to London you will notice something very quickly…. it is very expensive! My advice to you is if you are looking for cool vintage items or cheap food, then head over to the various markets scattered across London. If its vintage items, music, and fashion you are looking for then Camden Market should be your first stop. If it is food you are seeking, head over to the Old Spitalfields Market for an array of different foods to try from meat pies to Chinese noodles. With a full belly and a one of a kind vintage piece you have now maneuvered through two of London’s markets.
So you’ve made it to the end! I hope my guide on London has been helpful and informative in making the most out of your trip to London. As mentioned, the places I have mentioned are by no means a comprehensive list of places you should visit but rather the places I found most intriguing that I believe others will appreciate. There are many more museums, galleries, landmarks, green spaces, and markets to discover and this is just the starting point of your adventure. For those who live in London, I hope I have done well in representing the city you call home. There is so much to see in London and I am sure that my next visit will only lead to new discoveries. If you have any questions, feel free to send a message. I am always happy to suggest additional places and/or talk about my experiences abroad. Below I have left some suggestion of British literature both fiction and non fiction which might be of some interest to you in getting a better understanding of London’s history and culture. Happy Travels!
Sam Selvon- The Lonely Londoners
Night Haunts- Sukhdev Sandhu
The Buddha of Suburbia- Hanif Kureishi
London in the Twentieth Century: A City and Its People – Jerry White