Answering the question: what to see in London is not easy, as the places of interest are – almost – infinite, like the souls of this fascinating city. Rich in history and suggestions, lively and multicultural, the British capital is the eternal Swinging London of the 1960s and the capital of punk, the cultural movement born 40 years ago and still, today does not stop influencing music, fashion, and fashion, and Western culture.
Museums, monuments, squares, streets, neighborhoods, parks, the Beatles, the Queen, the legends, her ghosts. From London, you never risk going home empty-handed, but even a single weekend spent in the British capital leaves us something.
What to see in London?
Here are some ideas on what to see in London and above all places to visit when you are in the British capital.
Let’s start with the Museums and of course the British Museum, the London museum par excellence. Crossing the threshold of the Victorian building that houses it, one has the sensation of entering another dimension where silence reigns supreme.
Here you can admire some of the most important historical and artistic testimonies of the history of humanity. For the sake of brevity, I mention only the very famous Rosetta Stone.
Among the leading museums in London, the National Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Tate Modern Gallery, and the Natural History Museum. The Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, one of the city’s main tourist attractions with its wax figures of stars and celebrities, is quite different.
The central districts are not to be missed
The neighborhoods of London and its streets deserve a separate chapter because they are the beating heart of the city and tell its story.
From the elegant and very British districts of Chelsea and Notting Hill to the transgressive Soho to that little hidden jewel of Neal’s Yard to Mayfair, the London aristocracy district, and the beautiful Covent Garden ultra-modern City, the business district par excellence. Do not miss the South Bank district, home to major attractions such as the London Eye and the Shard, respectively the Ferris wheel and the tallest skyscraper in Europe.
Top things to see absolutely in London
Many cities are referred to as open-air museums, and in London, this is very true. Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Houses of Parliament, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, and Tower Bridge. These are just some of the many monuments and squares that you meet along the way, simply walking through the center’s streets.
London is also famous all over the world for its parks. There is nothing more relaxing than strolling along Hyde Park’s boulevards and perhaps stopping at Speaker’s Corner and listening to the preacher on duty.
There is nothing in the world more English than buying a hot dog or a sandwich and eating it lying under a tree in St. James Park or Regent’s Park.
Last but not least, as the icing on the cake, we have two London symbols: the Thames and Buckingham Palace.
From its origins to today, two constants of English history, the river that crosses the city and around whose banks London was born, grew and spread, and the monarchy that has always existed in England and the subjects linked by a relationship almost visceral.
A cruise on the Thames and witnessing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace are two experiences you absolutely must do before leaving London.
Three and a half million people, every year, climb the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, the London Eye. For New Year’s Eve, don’t miss the fireworks display that starts right here above at the stroke of midnight on 31st December.
135 meters high and 2100 tons heavy, the London Eye is located in front of the Westminster Building, is open every day (except 25th December), and usually from 10 am.
Big Ben London
A symbol not only of London but the Palace of Westminster is also an emblem of democracy worldwide. Rebuilt in the 19th century following a major fire that hit the city, the Houses of Parliament has 1,100 rooms and 4 floors.
Hours and days of opening: every Saturday (until 27th June, except 21st March); from 13 to 20th February from Tuesday to Friday and from 31st March to 6th May from Monday to Friday (except on 3, 6, 30th April and 4th May).
Sumptuous and regal, the official residence of the ruler of the British monarchy could not be different.
Open to the public: it can only be visited during the summer months when the Queen is on holiday in Scotland.
For 2018, it can be visited from 21st to 31st August and from 1st to 30th September.
The entrance fee for adults is £ 24, from 6 to 17 years old £ 13.50 and free up to 5 years.
Notting Hill London
Notting Hill is a pleasant surprise: elegant and simple, it is one of those destinations capable of giving an extra touch to our holiday in London.
Famous for its collections of archaeological finds and works of art, the British Museum is one of the world’s oldest and most important museums.
Hours: open every day from 10 am to 5.30 pm (some galleries open until 8.30 pm on Fridays), except on 1st January, December 24th, 25th, and 26th; free entry.
The Great Court is open Saturday through Thursday, 8 am to 6 pm; Friday, from 9 to 20.30;
Visits to temporary exhibitions generally require a fee.
Tower Bridge, London
Towards the end of the 19th century, the need for a new bridge was identified to connect the Southbank with the London Tower. So here is the construction of this interesting bridge, accessible from the North Tower.
Opening hours: from April to September 10:00 – 17:30; from October to March 09:30 – 17:00.
Closed from 24 to 26th December; 1st January, open from 10 am.
Quirky and unconventional, Camden Town seems light years away from the style of the main monuments in the heart of the city. Here you can find everything from famous markets to restaurants, clubs, museums, theaters.
Its name is certainly linked to the meridian and military and monarchical history and… to the green. Here, a beautiful and peaceful park will recharge you with the energy spent these days.
Then there are the symbolic streets of the city, such as Portobello Road and Carnaby street, where in the 60s, there was the boutique of Mary Quant, inventor of the miniskirt, or the first salon of Vidal Sassoon.
You may also like to read, London in three days