Visiting London – Places to see
Visiting London – Places to see
Visiting London needn't just be a whistle stop tour of the standard landmarks; there are lots of different types of places to see and things to do in London, England, far too many in fact for just one post on Hub Pages. So, what I've done is taken a selection of six places to visit in London that would give a visitor to London a mixture of the must-see standard historical sights of interest along with some of the places where can see a another side of London too.
None of the places listed here are so off the beaten track that a tourist to London would feel uncomfortable, but nor are they all historical monuments and royal buildings!
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The London Eye
The London Eye offers spectacular views across the city of London (on clear days!). The London Eye, or the Millennium Wheel as it is sometimes called, is a Ferris wheel that is 443ft tall and it has a diameter of 120 meters. It’s the most popular tourist attraction in London, so expect to queue and it attracts around 3.5 million visitors every year. On a clear day you can see up to 25 miles across London and a full circuit takes about thirty minutes (without the queuing)
I highly recommend a visit to the London Eye for any visitor London, it really gives you a spectacular view of many of the famous landmarks and it’s quite an experience. The London Eye is definitely not for those afraid of heights though, as the glass capsules do afford you an all-round, and down, view.
Tickets are pretty pricey for half an hour's entertainment, at nearly £20 per adult and £14 for children, at the time writing, but well worth the queue and the price.
You can bypass the queues by paying extra for fast track tickets which cost £32 per ticket for both adults and children.
The Tower of London
If you want to learn some of the history of London then The Tower of London will be a perfect place to visit. The castle was founded in 1066, so it’s been around for a while, and it is steeped in history and legend including battles, imprisoned royalty and torture.
The Tower of London isn’t just a quick photo opportunity, you could easily spend a day there and attractions include guided tours by the Yeoman Warders, otherwise known as beefeaters, historical re-enactments of course, the Crown jewels of England.
I definitely recommend tagging along on one of the guided tours by the Beefeaters. Not only are they informative, they are also very entertaining. They last for approximately one hour.
Tickets to he Tower of London include access to the Tower and grounds, the Crown jewels exhibition, guided tours, entry to the White Tower and various other exhibitions and events. Prices are adults £22 and children £11 or you can get a family ticket for two adults and up to three children for the price of £59.
Buckingham Palace is the Queens official London residence and the head office, if you like, of the British Monarchy. This is where all the big state occasions and celebrations take place and where the Queen entertains visiting foreign dignitaries.
You can now visit inside the palace itself and see some of the state rooms, the gardens and the Royal Mews, where they keep the state carriages including the famous Gold State coach, which is the one used in coronations.
If you love British Royalty and all the pomp and circumstances that go with it, then you will love a tour of the palace (the parts that you can get to anyway) and you do get an audio guide that you take around the tour with you, and that does give some interesting facts about the workings of the palace.
The palace tours, including the state rooms, are available through most of August and September and if you get a ‘ Royal Day Out’ ticket, which includes the Royal Mews, The Queen's Gallery and the State Rooms then the entire visit will probably take around four hours. Ticket prices are around £36 per adult and £20 per child.
- Royal Collection Trust
Royal Collection Trust, is responsible for the care of the Royal Collection and manages the public opening of the official residences of The Queen.
Covent Garden is a bustling centre for entertainments, shopping and the arts. If it’s a sunny day, then Covent Garden is the place to be, especially if you are touring London as a family. For the kids, there is a virtually non-stop show of street entertainers varying from jugglers and comedians to musicians and that makes it a must for my kids every time we spend some time in London. As well as the famous Opera House, Covent Garden has 13 theatres, 60 pubs and bars, restaurants and plenty of shops and market stalls.
Covent Garden is on the eastern edge of the West End of London and it used to be associated with the famous fruit and veg market which was housed in the central square. The street entertainers are mainly to be found in and around the central square, you can’t miss them, and there you will also find restaurants and bars, many with outdoor dining. At the Southern end of the Covent Garden area you will find a plethora of independent shops in Neal’s Yard and Sven Dials.
Admission is free, but you will be asked to make voluntary donations to street entertainers. It can get very crowded, so keep your belongings close to hand and beware of pickpockets. Also, keep a close on your children. As I found out, the street entertainers can be a big draw for the children and my youngest once wandered off on his own to get a closer look.
Many people head straight for Oxford Street when they want to go shopping while visiting London, but my preference would always be the nearby Regent Street. It’s hard to put this tactfully, but Regent Street is just less tacky than Oxford Street and often it’s a lot less crowded. You also have Soho, just around the corner, if you want to find some more upmarket and interesting places to eat.
Some people now rate Regent street alongside Fifth Avenue and the Champs-Elysées as a world class shopping destination and it has over 2km or store frontage including international brands like Apple, Burberry, Anthropologie, J.Crew and Aquascutum.
What makes it an attractive destination for families as well is that give the children incentive to go shopping by mentioning that the world famous toy shop, Hamleys, is located on Regent Street too. Just a word of warning about Hamleys though; make Hamleys the last shop you visit or you’ll never get the kids out again in time for you to visit any other shops!
If you visit London near the Christmas period, the Christmas lights in regent Street are usually pretty spectacular too.
If you want to see something a bit different form the standard tourist destinations then try Camden Market. It’s actually a number of adjoining markets and retail areas that consist of over 1,000 different independent shops and market stalls selling anything and everything that you can think off including fashion clothing, bric-a-brac, and loads of different types of food from all around the world.
What makes Camden market such an exciting place to visit is the huge diversity that will find both in terms of the shops and the customers! The area attracts all kinds of visitors and it is the fourth most popular tourist destination in London. If you are looking for some goth, punk, mod or rockabilly clothing, then this is the place to be as there are many alternative fashion shops and stalls in the market.
If tartan bondage trousers are not your thing, then it’s still a great place to visit for bargains or just for sitting outside one of the many pubs watching the London world go by.