London is home to dozens of noteworthy historical attractions, such as Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London, while also sporting contemporary architectural marvels, such as Wembley Stadium and the Olympic Stadiums. Regardless of your plans or the season you intend to travel to London, there are tons of opportunities for tours and self-guided expeditions to these popular attractions.
Buckingham Palace is the principal residence and workplace of Queen Elizabeth II and the British monarchy, and has served as the seat of the monarchy since 1837. Renovated in the 18th century to accommodate Queen Victoria and other members of the British Court, Buckingham Palace is arguably London (and the UK's) most well-known monument, despite being considerably damaged and once again, renovated after severe bomb damage courtesy of World War II. In contemporary times, the palace is used for official and state entertainment, and is open 60 days per year for visitation. If you'll be in London during visitation dates, your trip will be incomplete without a visit to the world-famous Buckingham Palace and toast to the Queen.
Believe it or not, London City is technically the least populated city in the United Kingdom, with a mere 8,000 inhabitants. London City composes the historic city center from which the rest of metropolitan London has emerged, and the castle compound surrounding the Tower of London. With almost 2.5 million visitors in 2013, the Tower of London and its surrounding areas compose one of the most population tourist attractions in all of the United Kingdom. The historic city of London was believed to have been constructed on the ruins of the Roman city of Londinium, and the Tower of London constructed on the periphery of the city walls by William the Conqueror in the late 11th century. Many famous people were imprisoned in the Tower of London, including Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I, and the crown jewels are currently stored in the Waterloo Barracks at the Tower of London. Rumors of ghosts haunting the grounds of the castle make exploring even more intriguing.
The stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Part was constructed to serve as the host stadium for the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics. Despite being about 7 miles away from central London, the stadium is conveniently accessed via rental car or by public transportation. The stadium is currently being renovated to accommodate the West Ham United Football Club, but tours of the stadium and it's grounds are still available and will surely be even more enticing once the roof, and it's associated skywalk, are completed in early 2016.
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The Natural History Museum in London is one of three large museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, along with the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum. The Natural History Museum is noteworthy for being home to over 80 million specimens within five major departments of botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology. The Natural History Museum, like other publicly funded museums in the UK, does not charge an admission fee, and given the massive collection of specimens and the age of the institution, a tour through the Natural History Museum is an excellent way to spend a day. Auto Europe recommends travelers exploring the Natural History Museum explore the specimens and works of Charles Darwin, as well as the many dinosaur skeletons.
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The London Eye is a massive Ferris wheel located on the south bank of the River Thames. The London Eye is currently Europe's largest Ferris wheel, and is the second tallest public viewing point of London. With over 3.5 million annual visitors, the London Eye is the United Kingdom's most popular paid tourist attraction. Described by architects as serving a similar function to the Eiffel Tour of Paris, the London Eye is not only among London's most popular tourist attractions, it is also one of its most beautiful, and its lighting schemes vary by the day and season, providing an impressive light show.
In addition to touring the Tower of London in historic London City, Auto Europe recommends travelers make it a point to also visit Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral when they're visiting the UK, both attractions are located in London City. The Cathedral is among the most recognizable and famous structures in London, which dominated the city's skyline for over 300 years and sports the most elevated domed structure in the world. St. Paul's Cathedral is impressive because it also remains as a working Church, with hourly prayer and daily services. Westminster Abbey is also an essential structure that characterizes British medieval history, having been constructed in the 10th century, there have been 16 royal weddings at the Abbey and countless coronations. Additionally, the Abbey has an impressive collection of royal funeral effigies housed in the oldest parts of the structure, which would surely excite any amateur historian.