The Top Five Attractions in London England
London is a city rich and varied in history and yet has a blend of modern facets to please any type of traveler. With hundreds of art galleries, museums and dozens of other attractions including zoos, music, theater and nightlife, it is no wonder that London is one of the most popular cities in the world. A visit to London should include these five must see attractions:
This burial ground, church and coronation site is the final resting place of great poets, kings and other notables of British descent. Westminster Abbey is still used as a chuech on a regular basis for events and religious services. The visit is made very worthwhile by the works of art contained in the Abbey. A painting of Richard II hanges inside the west entryway. This is the oldest portrait of a British monarch on display today, having been painted back in 1390.
Buckingham Palace, the official residence of British monarchy, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in England. If you visit in August or September you'll find that the Palace's 19 staterooms are open to the public. Some areas of the Palace are open all year and visitors can see the grandiose architecture of the building along with other exhibits. A must see for visitors is the Changing of the Guard as is a stroll through the 40 acre gardens and grounds.
Tower of London
Many have heard of the Tower of London, but not everyone knows it served as a prison for many years. The original structure was built to be used as a fort by William the Conqueror around 1100 AD. Later the Tower evolved into a prison and then into a monument for the sizable collection of Crown Jewels which are still on display today. The highlight of the collection is the 530-carat Star of Africa. The pear shaped diamond is the 2nd largest in the world and was extracted from a South African mine. The Royal Armouries are also an interesting stop at the Tower of London. The spiral staircase running up the interior is the only way up and this British national museum of arms and armour has more than 40,000 pieces on display.
Trafalgar Square is often the site of public events and political demonstrations in London. The square, an intersection for many major streets, is a spectacular gateway to sightseeing for tourists visiting the area. You'll find the National Gallery on the north side of Trafalgar Square which is among the world's best art museums. Looking to the west, one will see Canada House, where Canadians who are visiting can get a taste of home. To the east, although close to the public, the stone arches of South Africa house with African animals are worth a look. Be sure to visit 10 Downing Street once you've seen all there is to see in Trafalgar Square. Since 1732, 10 Downing Street has been the home of British Prime Ministers. Along with Churchill Museum, 10 Downing is within walking distance of Trafalger Square.
What would a trip to London be without a little shopping? The world's greatest department store, Harrods, is great even for the window shoppers. And, for those who are looking to spend a bit of dough, this million square feet of merchandise is every shoppers dream. In fact, Harrods motto is - Omnia Omnibus Ubique - which means "All Things For All People Everywhere". Although it has been around for 150 years, Harrods is as modern as the latest iPod. Many of its departments, including the seasonal Christmas shop and the Food Hall, are world famous for their quality and abundance of selection. Where else can you choose from 300 different types of cheese?
These top London attractions are a good start point but a second visit will be required as you will find how much London has to offer.
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