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London guide: where to go, what to see

City guides Destinations Recommended Travel tips

All my school I was learning English and the majority of texts started from “London is a capital of Great Britain“. So it was at the top of the places to visit. Let me share with you what places are must visit in “the capital of Great Britain”. Not all of them were in the student books =) 

Big Bus

Big Bus – is a bus tour with guides for London for a one or two days (depending on the ticket price). With this 24-hour ticket you can enter and exit at any stop, then continue the tour again. In addition to this, the ticket will give you the opportunity to ride on the Thames by boat in the same day and join 3 walking tours. 

To have enough time to visit all the attractions, it may make sense to buy a ticket for 2 days and explore some of London’s most famous places, such as Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and Trafalgar Square.

London Pass

Before planning a tour, take a look at the London Pass – a multi-day ticket that gives you an ability to visit about 60 major attractions of London with a significant discount and without waiting in a queue. You just need to should show this ticket at the entrance to any location included in the list:  http://www.londonpass.com/london-attractions/index.html

Walking guide to London

1. The Tower of London

The Tower of London the Holy of holies – definitely must see. Discover its 900-year history of English Kings, prison and place of execution, arsenal, jewel house and zoo! Gaze up at the White Tower, tiptoe through a medieval king’s bedchamber and marvel at the Crown Jewels.

It is located in 5 min walk from London Bridge, Tower Hill metro Station. Please note, tickets will include a “voluntary donation” that can be declined.

You can buy a ticket on-line (click on the “tick” for cheaper ticket) in advance for 10 days – then the tickets will be sent to your hotel address, or you can pick up tickets at the entrance on the day of visiting the Tower of London.

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2. Tower Bridge

London’s Tower Bridge is one of the most recognizable bridges in the world. Its Victorian Gothic style stems from a law that forced the designers to create a structure that would be in harmony with the nearby Tower of London. Here you also can buy tickets online – it will give you a discount and will save your time. 

In 2014 glass floors were installed in the walkways, giving visitors another, unusual view from the bridge. The 11 meter (36 ft) long glass floors, more than 40 meters above the river, allow you to observe the traffic over the Tower Bridge from above. It is particularly fascinating to see the bridge open and close below your feet.

london markets
3. Trafalgar Square

Start one of the days from the walking around the heart of the London – Trafalgar Square. Ever since the Middle Ages, this area has been a central meeting place. In the middle of the square stands a tall column honoring admiral Nelson. The square was originally called Charing. Later it became known as Charing Cross, after a memorial cross on the square. The nearby underground station (the ‘tube’) is still named Charing Cross. There you can also find National Gallery National and Portrait Gallery.

4. Change of guard

Going down the Whitehall street (from Nelson Column), you will find the Household Calvary Museum. The Museum is situated in Horse Guards, the heart of ceremonial London, with access off Horse Guards Parade. http://www.householdcavalrymuseum.co.uk/

Every weekday at 11 am there is a ceremonial change of the guard of the Royal soldiers – it is actually a gorgeous view.

Walking further, you will find the Downing Street where the Prime Minister of Great Britain lives (building 10). Don’t forget to make a photo!

5. Westminster Abbey

Then you can get back to the Westminster metro station via the Birdcage Walk street or through the park to visit the Westminster Abbey where the English Parliament sits. Westminster Abbey – is one more Holy of holies in London and England, the history of 1066, almost all the English Kings and Queens were crowned here, and the most famous people in England were buried. http://www.westminster-abbey.org

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6. Warner Bros. Studio

Yes, may be it is not included into the tourists’ guides, but it is a really exciting place! Have a magical day out with a behind-the-scenes tour of the Harry Potter films at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London  – The Making of Harry Potter. See first-hand the sets, costumes, and props used in all the Harry Potter films, and step inside some of the films’ locations including the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s office and Hagrid’s hut. It’s the ultimate Harry Potter experience!

telephone in london
7. Big Ben

Here, near the Westminster metro station, you won’t miss the Big Ben. The Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower, commonly called Big Ben, are among London’s most iconic landmarks and must-see London attractions. Technically, Big Ben is the name given to the massive bell inside the clock tower, which weighs more than 13 tons (13,760 kg).  The clock tower looks spectacular at night when the four clock faces are illuminated.

8. St James Palace and Clarence House

If you go from Trafalgar Square in the direction of Buckingham Palace, the other way through the Mall, you will also see the home of the Royal Family – St James Palace and Clarence House – One of the last remaining aristocratic townhouses in London and the official residence of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. These houses are still used by the Royal family. 

9. London Eye

Next to the bridge over the Thames you will see the London Eye. It is a major feature of London’s skyline. It boasts some of London’s best views from its 32 capsules, each weighing 10 tonnes and holding up to 25 people. Climb aboard for a breathtaking experience, with an unforgettable perspective of more than 55 of London’s most famous landmarks – all in just 30 minutes!

They offer 10% discount with online tickets: https://www.londoneye.com/

Are you afraid of heights? =)

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10. London Aquarium

The underwater world is closer than you think! Get a taste of the deep blue sea at SEA LIFE London. Walk over a glass window with incredible views into the magnificent Pacific display in the London Aquarium. Take a long look at some of the most majestic creatures in the ocean as they swim just inches beneath your feet. Spot up to 400 species including sharks, stingrays, moray eels and clown fish at the aquarium. 

You can find online tickets on their main website

11. Temple Church

Also I recommend to visit one of the oldest buildings in London, built in 1185 — Temple Church, with an amazing history of Crusades in Jerusalem (and their tombs) to the present days. This is the church of Inner and Middle Temple, two of England’s four ancient societies of lawyers, the Inns of Court. The whole area around the Church is imbued with some unique style and spirit — you will not regret the walk. 

12. Thames

A walk along the Thames will show you London from a completely another side: transformed into a luxury and expensive apartments of the old workshops on repair of boats and ships wharf, it is a fashionable district of the world banks Canary Wharf, and you may even hit the white with green buildings “SIS MI6” — the Secret Intelligence Service, the office of British Intelligence (which was “blown up” in the last film about James Bond) — super secret! https://www.sis.gov.uk/

13. Madame Tussauds London

At Madame Tussauds, you’ll come face-to-face with some of the world’s most famous faces. From Shakespeare to Lady Gaga you’ll meet influential figures from showbiz, sport, politics and even royalty. Strike a pose with Usain Bolt, get close to One Direction or receive a once-in-a-lifetime audience with the Queen.

Big ben london bridge

Bonus advice!

Don’t forget to take a socket adapter.

In England, they use three plugs. Of course, you can find the adapter at the place, but it is better to take care and buy it at home. It will be easier than searching for it in London.

And of course, make sure you have checked the weather. It is very changeable in London.

The forecast: https://www.bbc.com/weather/0/2643743