Famous London landmarks

London has four World Heritage Sites and so many famous buildings that choosing a Top 10 list of landmarks is practically impossible – so we’ve written a Top 25 bucket list as well. We’ve also chosen the 10 most historic sites and the 10 best places for a photo. Craig has also written a list of his favourite places on his blog.

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Recommendations Craig recommends… My personal favourites are Buckingham Palace and Parliament. The Tower of London and St. Paul’s are also worth a visit.

Big Ben

Big Ben is the most famous clock tower in the world, but did you know that Ben is not the tower at all – he’s actually the bell that hangs in the belfry.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace has been the monarch’s London residence since Queen Victoria. The public are allowed in the State Rooms during the summer.

City Hall

This helmet-shaped building next to Tower Bridge was designed by Norman Foster. It is home to the GLA and Mayor of London.

Cleopatra’s Needle

This ancient Egyptian obelisk is London’s oldest landmark, and was carved for Pharaoh Tuthmose III in 1475 BC – making it nearly 3,500 years old.

Covent Garden

Covent Garden’s central piazza used to be a big fruit and flower market, but now it’s a place for street entertainment, cafes, boutique shops and market stalls.

Downing Street

If you peer through the big black iron gates of Downing Street then you can see No.10’s famous front door where the British Prime Minister lives.

Globe Theatre

The Globe Theatre is a near-perfect replica of the one in which Shakespeare performed his plays. There’s an interesting museum underneath.

Guildhall

This building dates back to the days of Dick Whittington, and is where the Lord Mayor of London holds meetings with the City of London’s Aldermen.

Harrods

Harrods is the most famous (and expensive!) department store in the world. Try and visit at night when thousands of lightbulbs illuminate the outside.

Horse Guards

The parade ground is used for big ceremonies like Trooping the Colour, and tourists enjoy taking photos of themselves standing by the horseboxes.

Houses of Parliament

Parliament is a World Heritage Site and if you only see the outside then you’re missing the best bit – the stately decorations inside are fantastic.

Kensington Palace

London’s third palace was home to William III and Queen Victoria. Princess Diana lived here as well. It is now occupied by William, Harry and Kate.

Leicester Square

Leicester Square is in the heart of London’s West End, where you’ll find a lot of pubs, clubs and the biggest cinemas where they hold all the premieres.

London Eye

This huge observation wheel is one of the most popular landmarks with tourists. It takes 30 minutes to revolve and you can see as far as 25 miles.

Mansion House

The Lord Mayor is allowed to live inside Mansion House during his term of office. It’s most spectacular room is the famous Egyptian Hall.

Marble Arch

Marble Arch now stands at the end of Oxford Street, but it once had a much more prestigious spot: it was originally the front gate of Buckingham Palace.

Monument

This tall stone obelisk commemorates the Great Fire of London in 1666, and stands close to the spot where it began in Pudding Lane.

Nelson’s Column

One of London’s most famous landmarks stands in Trafalgar Square and commemorates the death of Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.

O2 Arena

The Millennium Dome is one of London’s largest events venues and holds everything from pop concerts to comedy shows and sporting contests.

Old Royal Naval College

The Old Royal Naval College was built by Christopher Wren and is worth visiting for the chapel and famous Painted Hall.

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is London’s equivalent of Times Square, and is famous for its huge neon lights and the Eros statue atop the fountain.

Royal Albert Hall

The Royal Albert Hall is one of London’s best venues for classical music, and is best-known for its annual Prom Concerts season.

Royal Courts of Justice

This gothic building was built by the Victorians in the 1870s. It has a cathedral-like interior and some atmospheric wood-panelled courtrooms.

Royal Exchange

The Royal Exchange is one of the finest sights in The City, but it’s actually nothing more than a shopping centre, filled with very expensive boutique shops.

Royal Hospital

Another building by Christopher Wren, the Royal Hospital is now home to the Chelsea Pensioners, and has a chapel and painted Great Hall.

Royal Observatory

If you visit the Royal Observatory then you stand with one foot either side of the Meridian Line which separates the eastern and western hemispheres.

St. James’s Palace

This palace is one of the London’s most historic landmarks, built by Henry VIII nearly five hundred years ago. It is not open to the public.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

No list of London landmarks would be complete without mentioning Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece. Don’t miss the Whispering Gallery.

The Shard

The tallest building in London has public observation decks are on the 68th-72nd floors, one of which is partially open to the weather.

Temple Church

The Round Tower of Temple Church dates back to the Knights Templar, and is famous for the stone knights that are entombed under the floor.

Tower Bridge

Every tourist takes a photo of Tower Bridge. It looks gothic but it was actually built by the Victorians. The drawbridge opens a couple of times a day.

Tower of London

Another World Heritage Site, the Tower of London is where you’ll find the Crown Jewels, Traitor’s Gate, and the chopping block on Tower Green.

Trafalgar Square

Home to the National Gallery and Nelson’s Column, Trafalgar Square is a short walk from Parliament, Covent Garden and Leicester Square.

Wellington Arch

This was built to honour the Duke of Wellington, the man who defeated Napoleon, and stands opposite his former home at the top of Constitution Hill.

Westminster Abbey

It’s history goes back to Edward the Confessor, and is the setting for Royal weddings, coronations, and the burial place of England’s kings and queens.

Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral is the most important Catholic church in England, and its campanile bell tower has an observation platform at the top.
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