Major attractions of London
London is a giant in more ways than one. The largest urban area in Europe, London also enjoys global renown as something of a cultural colossus. The Palace of Westminster is widely held to be the seat of the oldest parliamentary democracy in the world, and London is rich in such historical attractions, as well as being the birthplace of many modern cultural movements. London is well geared up for tourism, with the full range of accommodation available. Whether you plan to stay in a backpacker's hostel, or one of the luxury hotels in London offered by the likes of Millennium Hotels, here are some of the highlights on offer.
The Houses of Parliament occupy Westminster Palace, and during the summer recess the Palace is open to visitors from Monday through to Saturday (excluding bank holidays). Be prepared for a busy day if you fancy taking a tour of the Houses of Parliament, as this attraction and the surrounding areas like Parliament Square are always busy during the summer months.
No visit to London would be complete without a visit to Buckingham Palace, the permanent London residence of the reigning Monarch since the time of Queen Victoria. The Changing of the Guards outside Buckingham Palace is on the 'must do' tick list of the majority of tourists visiting the capital, and takes place most but not all days – if you want to see this prime example of pomp and ceremony, it's best to check the schedule online before you arrive in London.
Buckingham Palace is in fact a great place to start of walking tour of the historic centre of the capital known simply as the City of London. As well as the Houses of Parliament, famous sites and landmarks like Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus and 10 Downing Street (official residence of the Prime Minister) are within easy reach of Buckingham Palace.
The London Eye is a thoroughly modern landmark that provides an excellent opportunity to get a bird's eye view of the City of London, or the Square Mile as it also commonly known. The London Eye is in fact the biggest observation wheel in the world, and over a thirty minute revolution the ride will take you a full 135 metres above the River Thames. On a clear day you will be able to a panoramic view that stretches some 25 miles.
Lovers of art of pretty much all eras will find something of interest in the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, or the Tate Gallery of Modern Art just south of the Thames. The British Museum houses another fine collection, this time of historical artefacts from around the world, and is located on Great Russell Street.