London is packed full of sights and attractions which will appeal to every conceivable visitor. Here are a number of suggestions to get you started:
For the last thousand years, the Tower of London has dominated the river bank at the entrance to the City. Built by William the Conqueror as his fortress in the capital, the Tower has over the centuries been a Royal Palace, an armoury, a zoo, a mint, a prison and a place of execution. Within its massive walls you can see dungeons, armour, weapons, the site of several notable executions, and of course the ravens, whose presence in the Tower (according to legend) guarantees the future of the Monarchy. The highlight of any visit is the Crown Jewels, priceless symbols of Royal authority.
Westminster Abbey is the Royal church, site of coronations and burials of kings and queens. It also contains the graves of military leaders, politicians, scientists, composers and writers. In 2011, the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton was broadcast around the world from the Abbey
London has some of best museums and galleries in the world. The British Museum is the world’s oldest museum of human history and culture. There you can see Egyptian mummies, Greek statues, Roman silver and the Rosetta Stone. The National Gallery displays some of the world’s most beautiful paintings, by artists from Michelangelo to Van Gogh. If you prefer more contemporary art, Tate Modern is the most popular modern art gallery in the world. And entry to all our national museums and galleries is free!
In the heart of Westminster is Buckingham Palace, the London home of the Queen and Prince Philip. Nearby is Clarence House, home of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla. William and Kate live in nearby Kensington Palace. All three homes are surrounded by pleasant parks with lawns, trees and lakes. A walk through the park, timed to coincide with the regular Changing of the Guard, is essential for any visitor.
From the designer boutiques of Bond Street to Harrods to a wide selection of street markets, London is a shopper’s paradise. There are specialist areas for antiques, food, flowers, medals and coins, silver and retro clothing. For large purchases, remember to claim back the Value Added Tax (VAT) when you leave the UK.