“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford” – wrote Samuel Johnson over two and a half centuries ago, but his words still ring true to this day!
London, being among the oldest of the world’s greatest cities can entice you with its incredible history spanning nearly two millennia; from the remarkable buildings that silently have witnessed the modern age pass, to the weathered pavements on which you hear the roaring of modern cars, everything in London seems to represent the intricate balance between the old and new, vintage and modern, which is the essence of London’s charm!
London has so many faces and truly exploring it requires you to take time to get the grips of the emotions and realities of each of his parts, from the noisy wide avenues and fancy tea shops to the quiet backstreets with the edgiest, tiny bookshops that will lure you in with their mysterious looks.
While some may describe it as a bit of wallet-destroying, exploring London does not necessarily need to be the end for your wallet; a contrary, as we already said, London can offer you both: remarkable places that you can visit and explore for free, and those who may cost you. But either way, trust us, they are worth every second and pound you spend!
Here are 7 remarkable, must-explore places you simply need to see when visiting London:
Westminster & Big Ben – the most famous place in London!
Probably the world’s most famous clock and what you see on all London brochures, the Big Ben is the nickname of the striking clock in the Elizabeth Tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster; definitely no tour or visit to London can be considered complete without seeing the biggest symbol of UK’s capital!
While visiting the Westminster Abbey can be done for free, several different paying tours can take anywhere from 1 to 2-3 hours and offer you plenty of activities like visiting the usually-restricted access to the House of Commons and the Lord’s Chamber accompanied by lectures on British politics, or visiting the Shrine, Royal Tombs, Poet’s Corner, or having a lovely mass in the Westminster Cathedral and experiencing the ceremonies, etc. The choice is entirely yours!
London Eye – iconic and breath-taking!
See London from a whole different perspective! London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel which was created to celebrate the millennium; but when riding it, you are also celebrating the remarkable, breathtaking view it gives you over London’s city! If the tickets seem to you a bit too pricy, you can always choose to share the spacious pods with other tourists. But please do visit it twice! Once, during the day for the irreplaceable view of the city and all, its streets, and another time, at night, when the entire wheel is lit up in the seasonal colors and looks like it is part of a Disney movie!
Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square – the culture of London!
Marking the irregular intersection of few busy streets – Regent, Haymarket, and Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly is the entertainment center of London, much like Times Square/Broadway in New York but with much more delicate, interesting history. You can take a free tour on foot here, and you will not get bored for sure since it is home to some of the most popular theaters in London: Prince of Wales, Leicester Square, Piccadilly, Apollo, Queen’s Theatre, they are all here!
And Trafalgar Square, famous for being the home of the National Gallery and The National Portrait Gallery, and the iconic Nelson’s Column, is a great place to take a rest, admire the incredible sculptures, fountains, and buildings around you and drink a cup of coffee.
Camden – the edgy side of London!
Known as an alternative culture neighborhood in north London, Camden will show you the different, edgier side of London. Vibrant, eclectic, and diverse, with remarkable nature and buildings, blessed with people with unique styles and even more unique shops and stalls selling trinkets and amazing artwork, Camden is a must-visit for everyone who wants to experience the new, artsy side of London. From vintage clothing ranks to street food offering you numerous international cuisines, including some of the city’s best bakeries (yes, vegan as well), Camden is the hidden, artsy soul of London.
Baker Street – the street of mystery!
Another cultural staple of London is Bake Street which is probably most known as the street on which the famous detective Sherlock Holmes lived. Any mystery/crime-solving book or movie lover is familiar with Sherlock Holmes and his adventures; and on this street, near the Underground station, you can find the Sherlock Holmes museum. If that is not your cup of tea, then just around the corner you can find the Madame Tussauds – the internationally-famous wax museum where you will find wax figures of your favorite celebrities!
Oxford Street – Europe’s busiest shopping street!
Welcome to Europe’s busiest shopping street where over half a million visitors do their shopping in over 300 shops that this street offers! Oxford Street is the top spot for shopping and offers you some of the most exquisite designer stores and internationally famous department stores! If you are visiting during the holiday season, this entire street altogether with the stores’ windows displays is festively decorated and will illuminate your shopping spree and add magic to your trip!
Hyde Park – the heart of London!
As Charles Dickens put it himself, “The Parks be the lungs of London”, and one can’t simply leave London without having visited at least one of them! Hyde Park is the largest park in the central and royal parks of London, with its main attraction being the speaker’s corner. It is the very heart of London. Famous for providing Royals as well as members of the public a green getaway to get peace from the bustling streets of the city, Hyde Park is another must-visit when exploring London. Allow yourself one afternoon in its beautiful nature, and discover its hidden gems – the statues and monuments, like the Princess Diana’s Memorial Fountain.
Regardless of the season when you are visiting, London is always a lovely, vivid, and remarkable place to explore. It is a beautiful city that requires your devotion and time when exploring it, as every corner you take a turn has its history, lovely eye-sights, and interesting stories that are waiting to be discovered!