London City Breaks
Let’s talk about London
Welcome to talkholiday’s city travel blog! A targeted fact-find of useful information, hints and tips gathered from various sources, with the aim of making planning your 1st (or next) trip to London a walk in Hyde Park.
In our 1st issue, we are focusing on some of London’s most iconic landmarks and popular tourist attractions which, once visited, will leave you feeling all patriotic or wishing you lived within all the hustle and bustle and immersed in all that history! We hope by reading and absorbing the information and tips below, you’ll feel so attached to London that you’ll be walking down Oxford Street with an overwhelming urge to sing ‘Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner!’ Moving swiftly on …
Bridges over the river Thames
There are 34 different bridges that cross over the river Thames, with the iconic Tower Bridge being arguably the most recognizable and synonymous with the capital. As a result, loads of tourists confuse Tower Bridge with London Bridge and the well-known nursery rhyme “London Bridge is Falling Down”, despite London Bridge being the name given to several historical bridges built on the same locale (although the newest crossing, which opened in 1973, is actually sited 98 ft further upstream from its’ predecessors). Our personal favorite is Waterloo Bridge, or more commonly referred to as the Ladies Bridge, as its construction was completed solely by woman during the Second World War. That isn’t what makes it our favorite. Waterloo Bridge was built from self-cleaning Portland stone so, every time it rains in London, it cleans itself. Brilliant work ladies! You can see all the magnificent bridges and hear all about their history by taking a river boat cruise in the River Thames. Highly recommended!
Museums and Galleries
London is an expensive city, but there are a lot of free attractions that will immerse you in history and culture, but still keep your pounds and pence firmly in your pocket! The Tate Modern, the National History Museum, British Museum and National Gallery to name a few. The more infamous Tower of London may house the crown jewels, but will cost you circa £20 per adult to see them. No wonder they are based within a fortress! You can wander around the area for free, so our suggestion is to soak up the atmosphere there but get your culture fix, for free, elsewhere!
From the Tube to buses and the famous London black taxis, London gets people moving! The length of the Tube network alone is a staggering 402km, which ferries over 1.2 billion passengers in and around London per year! Although not my personal favorite mode of transportation, it is the quickest and easiest ways to get around the capital of the UK. We advise downloading a map of the tube network and familiarizing yourself with the routes and different lines. That way, you can pinpoint which attractions are close to which stations, thus helping you plan. Londoners are renowned for being ‘in a rush’, so if you do need help and assistance, good luck slowing someone down enough to help! That said, we would recommend any ‘first time visitors’ to London take an Open Top Bus Tour around the city. Not only does it guarantee you see all the major landmarks and attractions, but you can also hop on and hop off the bus at places of interest.
Palace of Westminster
Built between 1840 and 1870, the Palace of Westminster or Houses of Parliament as it is most commonly known as, are one of my personal favorite buildings in London. Whether you view them from a river cruise on the Thames or up close, they never fail to impress! Visitors to Parliament from the UK and overseas can watch debates and committee hearings taking place in the House of Commons and House of Lords. This is especially interesting as you get to watch MP’s debate current issues and legislation! Order!! Order!! You may also be lucky and get to see live news reporters broadcast from here. This area has such a buzz around it and the buildings themselves are iconic. Everyone has heard of the gun powder plot and how Guy Fawkes was caught red-handed in the cellar in 1605, however don’t expect to see the cellar during your visit; this cellar was destroyed in a fire in 1834, which virtually destroyed all the mediaeval Houses of Parliament. Ironic huh? Visitors travelling on the London Underground should travel on the District, Circle or Jubilee lines to get to Westminster Station. On bus routes, you should disembark at Parliament Square.
From palaces and castles, carriages to corgi’s, something that is quintessentially British is the British Royal family! No visit to London is complete without viewing the Queen’s main residence, magnificent Buckingham Palace. The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace has become a ‘must view’ for a lot of visitors and you can find a list of dates and times. You can also glimpse inside the palace as the State Rooms are also open to visitors each year. These rooms are used extensively by The Queen and other members of the Royal Family, to receive and entertain guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions. Canapé anyone?
We hope this helps give you a ‘London Eye’ view of some iconic landmarks in London and tips on how to navigate the vast, but pretty awesome capital city of the United Kingdom!
Expert on London? Why not help fellow thourists on all the sites and places of interest that our capital city has to offer and join in the chat at talkholiday.com. You never know, we may just use one of your hints and tips in a future publication!
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