London has hundreds of different things to do, but which are the ten best? It’s virtually impossible for any two people to agree, but we’ve put together a list of the 10 best tourist attractions that we think every tourist to London will enjoy.
No trip to London would be complete without seeing the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. There are actually two detachments of soldiers that get changed – one at Buckingham Palace and the other at St. James’s Palace. If you arrive early then you can take up a position by the front gates, and enjoy the marching bands as they play on the forecourt.
The London Eye is one of the capital’s newest landmarks, built for the millennial celebrations in 2000. As one of the largest observation wheels in the world, it offers visitors a 360 degree view up to 25 miles, in a trip that lasts for half-an-hour. Opening times: 10 AM to 8.30 PM (Jan–Mar), 10 AM to 9 PM (Apr–Jun), 10 AM to 9.30 PM (Jul–Aug), 10 AM to 8.30 PM (Sep–Dec). Cost: Adults £18.60; Children £9.54 (4–15); Infants free (under-4); Family ticket £56.28.
A trip to St. Paul’s is a must, and so is a visit to the famous Whispering Gallery. The huge dome rises 259 steps above the mosaic floor and, due to a bizarre acoustic effect, everything said on one side can be equally understood on the other – 107-feet away! Try and arrive early, or your whisper will get drowned out by all the other tourists. Opening times: 8.30 AM to 4.30 PM (Mon–Sat); Last admission 4 PM; Galleries open from 9.30 AM; Last admission to the galleries 4.15 PM. Cost: Adults £15.00; Children £6.00 (6–17); Infants free (5 and under); Family ticket £36.00.
You don’t have to wait for summer for Parliament to open its doors to the public… they also offer tours every Saturday. You’ll get to see many of the finest rooms, including the House of Commons and House of Lords. Opening times: House of Commons public gallery (when in session): 2.30 PM to 10.30 PM (Mon, Tue); 12:30 AM to 7.30 PM (Wed); 10.30 AM to 6.30 PM (Thu); 9.30 AM to 3 PM (Fri).
Next time you visit the Tower of London join one of the famous Yeoman Warder tours. The tours are always very informative and amusing, and will contain tales of intrigue, imprisonment, execution and torture. Opening times: 9 AM to 5.30 PM (Tue–Sat, Mar–Oct), 10 AM to 5.30 PM (Sun, Mon, Mar–Oct), 9 AM to 4.30 PM (Tue–Sat, Nov–Feb), 10 AM to 4.30 PM (Sun, Mon, Nov–Feb); Last admission 30 minutes before closing time. Cost: Adults £19.80; Children £10.45 (5–16); Infants free (under-5); Family ticket £55.00.
An tour on an open-top bus is probably the first thing that any visitor to London should do. It will give you a good overview of the city, and introduce you to things that you never even thought about. Most of the bus tour companies operate in a hop-on, hop-off manner, so you can use them to travel around without having to pay extra for the bus fare.
If you buy just one present in London, make sure it’s from Harrods – the world’s most luxurious department store. If you want something cheap then check out their sweet section… the posh pick-n-mix is like nothing you have ever seen! Just remember to pick up one of their famous green carrier bags… so you can prove to your mates back home that the sweets really were from Harrods. Opening times: 10 AM to 8 PM (Mon–Sat), noon to 6 PM (Sun).
The O2 (or ‘Millennium Dome’) is a world-class concert venue. The seats cling to the sides of the dome, sometimes rising so high that they give you vertigo! The incredible acoustics and unobstructed views make this one of London’s best nights out. You can find out which music concerts and comedy gigs are playing on our O2 events page.
Getting your photo taken outside Horse Guards is obligatory. There are two horse boxes on the Whitehall side, and tourists like to stand there and try to make the soldiers laugh. If you hang around until 4 PM then you can catch the Dismounting Ceremony. But there’s an even better parade that takes place in the parade ground – the daily Changing of the Guard ceremony.
The boat ride to Greenwich is one hour of pure bliss. Starting off at Westminster Pier, in the shadow of Big Ben, the one hour trip will take you past Cleopatra’s Needle, the Globe Theatre and St. Paul’s Cathedral, before sweeping under Tower Bridge and past the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf. It will then drop you off at Greenwich, a short walk from the Cutty Sark and National Maritime Museum.
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