Whether you’re going on your first trip to London or your tenth, the city can be more than a little intimidating. After all, the greater London area covers around 600 square miles! Before you go, it’s worth your while to invest some time in planning which London attractions you’d like to see, as well as exploring some transportation options.
London Sight Seeing Attractions
With so much to do in this beautiful, historic city there's just never enough time to see it all. Here are the top five "must-see" attractions in London to make your trip planning a little easier:
Tower of London
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
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- Tower of London:
One of the city's most prominent landmarks, the Tower of London is best known as a castle of imprisonment, torture, and execution - but it's also been a Royal Palace, a fortress, and a Royal mint! The crown jewels are one of the most popular attractions at the Tower of London. The jewels include the crowns worn by the monarch at coronation and at the opening of Parliament.
The tower also contains an impressive collection of armor, which is a treasure unto itself. Shown in an exhibit called the “Line of Kings,” a show at the tower that first started more than 300 years ago, it features such items as a life-size wooden horse carved about 1690 and a set of armor, gilded with gold, created for Charles I around 1612.
- Kensington Palace:
Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, England. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century, and is presently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
Today, the State Rooms are open to the public and managed by the independent charity Historic Royal Palaces, a nonprofit organization that does not receive public funds. The offices and private accommodation areas of the Palace remain the responsibility of the Royal Household and are maintained by the Royal Household Property Section. The palace also displays many paintings and other objects from the Royal Collection.
London Zoo is the world's oldest scientific zoo. It was opened in London on 27 April 1828, and was originally intended to be used as a collection for scientific study. In the early 1830's, the animals of the Tower of London menagerie were transferred to the zoo's collection. It was eventually opened to the public in 1847. Today it houses a collection of 698 species of animals, with 20,166 individuals, making it one of the largest collections in the United Kingdom.
Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. It has been the family home of British kings and queens for almost 1,000 years. It is an official residence of Her Majesty The Queen, whose standard flies from the Round Tower when she is in residence.
Shakespeare Globe Theatre
5.Shakespeare's Globe Theatre:
The Globe Theatre was constructed in 1599, out of timber taken from the Theatre. It stood next to the Rose, on the south side of the Thames, and was the most elaborate and attractive theatre yet built. The Globe was designed and constructed for the Chamberlain's Men by Cuthbert Burbage, son of the Theatre's creator, James Burbage. Much of Shakespeare's wealth came from his holdings in the Globe.
The Globe was the primary home of Shakespeare's acting company beginning in late 1599, and it is a possibility that As You Like It was written especially for the occasion. On June 29, 1613, during a performance of Henry VIII, a misfired cannon ball set the Globe's thatched roof on fire and the whole theatre was consumed. Swift reconstruction did take place and the Globe reopened to the public within a year, with the addition of a tiled roof. The new Globe theatre lasted until 1644, at which time it was demolished, and housing was quickly built where it once stood
Windsor is still very much a working royal palace. The Castle is used regularly for ceremonial and State occasions. It is here that The Queen often hosts State Visits from overseas monarchs and presidents. St George’s Hall makes a spectacular setting for a State Banquet, when a single table, stretching the length of the hall and seating 160 people, is decorated with porcelain, and silver-gilt from the Royal Collection.
If you're a London tourist, you have access to a number of trains and buses that will take you to the major London attractions. These include the London Underground trains, London buses, the Docklands Light Rail, over-ground trains, Tram link, and the First Great Western (for travel to Windsor Castle).
A guided tour lets you Save Money While Sightseeing
London sightseeing can be incredibly expensive. Individually, London attractions may not charge much, but together they can quickly add up to a significant cost. Likewise, travel expenses to and from popular tourist locales can also take a bite out of your pocketbook. The money you spend on admissions and travel within London is money you won't be able spend on accommodations, souvenirs, and meals. Be smart and link all of your adventures together in a guided tour, so that you can get the best deal.
In addition to cost savings, a guided tour will usually allow you to bypass long lines and receive priority admission to all of the best London attractions. Planning ahead and taking advantage of all of the resources online, will help to make your London sightseeing trip hassle free. You'll be able to enjoy the rich variety of attractions the city has to offer without having to spend a fortune on admission fees and transportation costs.