This travel post took a long time coming! It has been on my drafts for the longest time and for some reason, I have always postponed its publishing! But since I am still writing my most recent trip to Italy and am now in a blank state of mind thinking where to go next…I thought I would look back now and share with you some of the highlights of my previous visit to the English capital — London, known as one of the most visited cities in the world.
But before I go into the details… let me just say that in this trip, we also just didn’t stay in London. We drove around, went outside the city and saw some interesting sights and landmarks in different places as well.
Here’s my shortlist if you are planning a trip to this part of the world soon!
Sights to see in London
1) Marble Arch — This is a monument that was built to form a grand gateway to the Buckingham Palace.
2) Picadilly Circus — This is a road junction and public space built in 1819 to connect Regent Street with the shopping street, Picadilly. It is called the Picadilly Circus, because it is a round open space area.
3) Her Majesty’s Theatre — This theatre at the West End hosts large-scale musical productions and musicals. In the earlier times, it hosted premiers of major playwrights like George Bernard Shaw, J.M. Synge and J.B. Priestley. When we were here, we caught the musical Billy Elliot.
4) Big Ben — This huge clock in the Elizabeth Tower, named after Queen Elizabeth II in her diamond jubilee year is more commonly known as Big Ben. It is now more than 150 years old and has become one of the most prominent symbols of London and England.
5) The Westminster Abbey — This is a large Gothic church in the middle of the city, where traditionally, coronations and burials of English monarchs take place. It is now made even more famous as this was where Kate Middleton and Prince William got married. It was also in this church where Princess Diana’s public funeral was held. This is definitely an important church for the people of England.
6) St. James Park — This is the oldest Royal Park in London. Here, we enjoyed the quiet and lovely scenery of lush greens with ducks freely roaming around. The park is perfect for picnics, cycling, walking the dogs and simply just relaxing for the afternoon.
7) St. James Roman Catholic Church — It is one of the most beautiful looking churches in the West End of London. It is of early Gothic design built entirely of stone and several marble pillars. The design is reminiscent of French cathedrals filled with rich textures and symbols.
8) Greenwich Park — This is also one of the Royal Parks of London. It used to be a hunting park with one of the largest green spaces in south-east London. It is notable for its Maritime history, giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time, also known as the “GMT” — a time system originally referring to sun’s position in the sky at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, now adopted as a global time standard.
9) Tower Bridge — This bridge is always mistaken as the London Bridge, which is really the next bridge upstream! It is near the historic Tower of London near the River Thames. One cannot leave London without a photo here!
10 ) The Science Museum of London — A visit to this museum is a must if you are with kids. It is filled with historic collections, inspiring exhibits and galleries. The Science Museum holds a collection of over 300,000 items — including the oldest surviving steam locomotive, the first jet engine, and documentation of the first typewriter.
11) The London Eye — This is a giant Ferris Wheel situated in the banks of River Thames. The entire structure is 135 meters tall and a diameter of 120 meters. The Eye has done for London what the Eiffel Tower did for Paris, which is to give it a symbol and to let people climb above the city and look back down on it.
This is the tallest Ferris Wheel in Europe and the most popular paid tourist attraction as well. It is also known as the “Millennium Wheel” and has been the focal point of London’s New Year celebrations, with 10-minute displays taking place involving fireworks fired from the wheel itself.
Inside the tube, one could stand freely and enjoy the view! As you can see, the weather was kind of gloomy that day.
But we still had a great view from the top! I guess this is really London for you!
12 ) Portobello Road Market — Portobello Road is a street in the Notting Hill district. It is notable for its weekend street market. If you like antiques and vintage finds, this is a must. And the big romantic-comedy hit of Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, aptly called Notting Hill, was filmed right here too!
So if you like outdoor markets and you think you have a talent for looking for treasures, then this beats any commercial shopping place to get something unique from your London trip!
13) The Buckingham Palace — Last but not the least, of course, when you see a soldier in red with that black furry red hat, you know you can only be in London… and at the Buckingham Palace at that.
The Buckingham Palace is the principal workplace and official residence of the British monarch. This venue has been a witness to the British peoples’ national rejoicing and crisis too. It is the official London residence and principal workplace of the British monarch.
Located at Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality.
The Queen’s Guard and Queen’s Life Guard are the names given to these soldiers in red. They are not purely ceremonial as some may believe; they are actually real soldiers serving in the army!
Sights to see outside London
1) The Stonehenge — this is definitely a site worth visiting as this place dates from prehistoric times! This is a monument in Wiltshire, made up of standing stones built somewhere around 3000 – 2000 B.C.
There are several myths and legends about this place. Some researchers say that it could have possibly been a burial ground or a ceremonial place. Whatever it was, the site remains a mystical, ethereal place. It is simply amazing to see something from the prehistoric times still standing strong today, right before our very eyes!
2) Oxford — This is where the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the second-oldest surviving university in the world is located : the Oxford University. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching here as far back as 1096!
3) Canterbury Cathedral — This is one of the oldest and most famous Christian structures in England. This is where the leader of the Church of England and the worldwide Angelican Communion stay and hold office. It is a World Heritage site.
Revisiting London and the cities around it through these photos make me get giddy with excitement again. I am planning to go back and most possibly, see other places around it as well. If you have any suggestions where I should go, leave me a comment below. Till then!!