London Tourist Attractions

by : Thomas Smith

London will please most any kind of traveler, what with it's blend of modern facets and it's rich varied history. It's no wonder that London is one of the most popular cities on the globe considering it's hundreds of art galleries, museums and other attractions which include theatre, nightlife, zoos and music. If you are planning to visit London you should plan to take in these five attractions:

Westminster Abbey
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 church 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 hangs inside the west entryway. This is the oldest portrait of a British monarch on display today, having been painted back in 1390.

Buckingham Palace
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
This large, open plaza is often the site of political demonstrations and other public events in London. Aside from being the intersection for several major streets, the square is a great gateway to sightseeing in the area. On the north side of Trafalgar Square, you will find the National Gallery, one of the world's prime art museums. To the west, you will come across Canada House, where vi siti ng Canadians can get a taste of home; it's worth a visit for everyone. South Africa House is on the east side and although it is closed to the public, the stone arches with African animals are worth a look. When you have seen all there is in Trafalgar Square, be sure to visit 10 Downing Street, the home of British Prime Ministers since 1732 and the Churchill Museum, both are located within walking distance of the 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, these 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 five London attractions will get you started but you will discover London has so much to do and see a second visit will be in order.

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