London, England Travel Guide

London, England’s mix of culture, history, grandeur, and style gets all the more enticing each passing year. Aside from its iconic double-decker buses, black cabs, and the Westminster Abby’s tapering spires, London’s museums also line up as the tourists’ most memorable spots. Sometimes earthly, sometimes cutting-edge, these cultural museum attractions will stun you.

An iconic double decker bus in motion in front of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster. http://suitcasesandsunsets.com/london-england-travel-guide.html
An iconic double decker bus in motion in front of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster.

There is intrigue in the majestic architecture and ancient streets, wood-clad pubs and world-class art galleries. Also add the charm of London’s Royal parks. The exciting West End is neon-lit, with surrounding innovative dining scenes and favorite designer shopping outlets.

The Shard is another new attraction in London, England that’s stealing the limelight now. Towering at 1,016 feet (310m) from the ground, this West Europe tallest building added more interest to London’s skyline. Visitors can glimpse stunning views of the city from its 800 feet (244m) point of view.

Tower Bridge, London, England http://suitcasesandsunsets.com/london-england-travel-guide.html
Tower Bridge, London, England

Just nearby is the historic Tower of London and the sleek skyscrapers of the financial district as you cross the London Bridge. And Hyde Park, to the west, is also worth exploring, as are the well heeled neighborhoods of Chelsea and Kensington.

This capital of England is still reveling at the success of the 2012 London Olympics, but now the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has transformed into an abode for shows and exhibitions, with the surrounding venues and areas also turning into parks and relaxation facilities.

All these variety, indeed, has created such a special city as London, England—a truly global “melting pot” city with about 300 different languages and varied culture and cuisine originating from just about anywhere. London feels much more like the-world-in-one-city, not just the “centre of the world.”

An aerial view of the city of London and the Tower Bridge. http://suitcasesandsunsets.com/london-england-travel-guide.html
An aerial view of the city of London and the Tower Bridge.

Tourist Passes

You can have an unlimited tour of London, England through the London Pass card (www.londonpass.com). It provides tourists free access to more than 60 tourist attractions in London (including the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, London Aquarium, Hampton Court Palace, etc). Availing its ‘with transport’ option will give you free transport on all London trains, Tubes, and buses.

Available cards are for 1, 2, 3, or 6 days, although the card is fairly expensive. It is worth buying though if you want to do a lot of sightseeing in London during your entire stay, or, if you have limited time as being a card holder will help you avoid queues at a lot of the attractions). You can buy the London Pass card at the airport or any of the tourist information offices within London.

Interesting places to visit in London, England

Tower of London

A royal fortress on Tower Hill. The nearby Tower Bridge spans the River Thames

Unesco heritage site: YES

Location: Tower of London, EC3

Tower of London, London, England
Tower of London, London, England
Tower of London
Tower of London

The Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

The Palace of Westminster is home to the Westminster Hall

Unesco heritage site: YES

Location: Parliament Square, SW1

Houses of Parliament, London http://suitcasesandsunsets.com/london-england-travel-guide.html
Houses of Parliament, London

St Paul’s Cathedral

On the inside of the dome is the Whispering Gallery

Location: St Paul’s Churchyard, EC4

British Museum

Its centerpiece is the glass-roofed Great Court of Norman Foster

Location: Great Russell Street, WC1

Westminster Abbey

Buries kings, warriors, scientists, statesmen, poets, and musicians

Unesco heritage site: YES

Location: Westminster Abbey

Westminster, London, England
Westminster, London, England

Buckingham Palace

A chance to see the inside of a royal residence (in Summer only)

Location: Buckingham Palace Road, SW1

Covent Garden/ Piazza

Also located here are the Royal Opera House, home to the Royal Ballet and, of course, the Royal Opera; and the reputed London Transport Museum

Location: Piazza, Covent Garden

Trafalgar Square, London
Trafalgar Square, London

Square

See the National Gallery, Nelson’s Column, The Ondaatje Wing-National Portrait Gallery, and St. Martin-in-the-Fields 18th century neoclassical church which regularly hosts music concerts

Location: Trafalgar Square, WC2, London, United Kingdom

The Shard

London’s tallest skyscraper building

Location: 32 London Bridge Street

The Shard amidst the London skyline.
The Shard amidst the London skyline.

London’s Parks

St. James’s Park and The Green Park (at the center of royal London), the Hyde Park (Speakers Corner), Kensington Gardens (the Serpentine Gallery, Albert Memorial, and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain), the Regent’s Park (London Zoo), the Primrose Hill (chic village atmosphere and view), Hampstead Heath (acres of natural parkland), and the Greenwich Park (the oldest hilltop royal park overlooking magnificent views of East London)

Website: http://www.royalparks.gov.uk

St. James Park and Horse Guards Buildings, London, UK
St. James Park and Horse Guards Buildings, London, UK
St. James's Park, London
St. James’s Park, London

London Eye and County Hall

Located across the River Thames; home to the Dalí Universe and the London Aquarium

Location: Jubilee Gardens, South Bank, SE1

London Eye
London Eye

Tate Britain

View the Gallery of Modern British Art

Location: Millbank, SW1

Tate Modern and Bankside

Former Bankside power station turned avant-garde gallery for 20th century art featuring major works by Picasso, Matisse, Warhol, and other more contemporary pieces; now includes the £14 million-worth Millennium Bridge

Location: Bankside, SE1

Snowy London in wintertime
Snowy London in wintertime

Natural History Museum

Exhibits include the Wildlife Garden and The Darwin Centre

Location: Cromwell Road, SW7

Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A)

A museum of art and design; among London’s 3 major museums in South Kensington along with the Natural History Museum and Science Museum

Location: Cromwell Road, SW7

Stormy Skies over London
Stormy Skies over London

Science Museum

‘Making the Modern World’ gallery here is a must-see

Location: Exhibition Road, SW7

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

“Meet” the British Royal Family with its life-size replicas of icons, celebrities, and Hollywood stars; Also see some of the world’s most notorious criminals throughout history, and torture instruments, at the Chamber of Horrors below

Location: Marylebone Road, NW1

London Dungeon

Horror-themed park based on some of London’s most shocking historical murders/executions

Location: 28-34 Tooley Street, SE1

Other things to see and do in London, England

  • Wine tasting in Vinopolis located in London Bridge
  • Horseback riding in Hyde Park, which runs beside the Serpentine Lake, or in the Richmond Park countrysides
  • Watch football in Wembley Stadium, Arsenal, Chelsea, or Tottenham
  • Ice skating near Somerset House, Canary Wharf, and the National History Museum (seasonal), or in the Alexandra Palace Ice Rink (year-round)
Red Phone Boxes, London
Red Phone Boxes, London