Founded 2000 years ago, London is a world’s leading tourism destination that attracts 30 million international visitors per year thanks to its numerous famous attractions such as the Tower Bridge and the Big Ben. It is one of the culture capitals of the world, whether you prefer history or modern art, and boasts over 300 museums and galleries, as well as royal palaces. Among the best outdoor spaces of any city in the world, London’s parks must be on your list of top places to go when you visit London as well. Below you will find a list with the Top 30 Places in London.
1 – The Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
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The neo gothic Palace of Westminster, better known as the Houses of Parliament, and its Clock Tower, commonly called Big Ben, are among London’s most famous landmarks. The Clock Tower’s fame has surpassed that of the Palace itself. It is the largest four-faced chiming clock and the third-tallest free-standing clock tower in the world. The elegant tower is not open to the general public, but the views over it are spectacular, especially at night when the four clock faces are illuminated.
2 – Hyde Park
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Hyde Park is one of the several royal parks in London connected to each other, forming one large green lung in the middle of the city. Divided in two by the artificial lake Serpentine, Hyde Park covers 142 hectares (350 acres) with over 4,000 trees, a lake, a meadow and horse rides. It is also a popular place for jogging, swimming, rowing and picnicking.
3 – National Gallery
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The National Gallery is one of London’s most important museums that houses the greatest collections of Western European painting in the world, with over 2,300 paintings dating from the period between 1260 and 1900. It is housed at Trafalgar Square, in an impressive neo-classical building, which itself offers all sorts of sculptural and decorative delights. The National Gallery was established for the benefit of all, not just the privileged. The paintings belong to the public and are on show 361 days a year, free of charge.
4 – Natural History Museum
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The Natural History Museum is home to one of the largest natural history collections in the world, comprising some 70 million items of life and earth science specimens, including the ones collected by Darwin. The building itself is impressive with cathedral like structure, frescoes and sculptures. One of the museum’s biggest attractions is the exhibition of dinosaur skeletons as well as an enormous skeleton and model of a blue whale and several elephants.
5 – London Eye
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The London Eye is a 135-metre (443 ft.) tall giant Ferris wheel situated on the banks of the River Thames, in the centre of London. When erected in 1999 for the London’s millennium celebrations, it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, and since then has become one of the iconic sights of London, visited by over 3.5 million people a year. The wheel carries 32 glass passenger capsules, each one offering 25 visitors great panoramic views over the city.
6 – Buckingham Palace
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Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s official London residence and is used to receive guests on official occasions for the Royal Family. It is one of the few working royal palaces remaining in the world today. With over 77,000 m2 (830,000 sq. ft.) of floorspace, it has 775 rooms, and a large and park-like garden, which is the largest private garden in London. The states rooms are open to the public each year on August and September. The changing of the guard takes place daily at 11 o’clock in front of the Palace.
7 – British Museum
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The British Museum is a museum of human history and culture that features one of the world’s most impressive archaeological collections. It is one of the largest museums in the world, with more than seven million objects from all continents, illustrating the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. The centre of the museum was redeveloped in 2001 to become the Great Court: an indoor courtyard enclosed by a glass roof that surrounds the famed domed circular Reading Room.
8 – British Museum Reading Room
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The British Museum Reading Room stands at the heart of the British Museum, in the centre of the Great Court. It is one of the most beautiful rooms in London and one of the most incredible Reading rooms in the world. In 1997, this function moved to the new British Library at St Pancras. It has been transformed into a special exhibition hall, but the Reading Room still remains in its original form. In the past, access was restricted to registered researchers only, and it received great names in history such as Karl Marx and Gandhi.
9 – Tower of London
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The Tower of London is a historical castle that was first built as a fortress. For over 900 years it has been standing guard over the capital as a Royal Palace, a prison, place of execution and torture and even a Royal Zoo. In the centre of the castle is the famous White Tower, which is the oldest part of the fortress. Today it is open to the public as a museum that houses the Crown Jewels with 23,578 gems in the collection, including the Koh-i-Noor, a 105 carat diamond, one of the world’s most famous diamonds.
10 – Royal Albert Hall
Photo by: David Samuel – Wikimedia Commons
The Royal Albert Hall is London’s historical entertainment hall and one of the top European performing arts venues. The circular hall of red brick with terra cotta ornamentation is one of the UK’s most treasured and distinctive buildings. Since its opening by Queen Victoria in 1871, the world’s leading artists from every kind of performance genre have appeared on its stage. It hosts performances that range from classical concerts, ballet and opera to rock and pop shows and award ceremonies.