The Best Things to Do in London
London is the capital of England and it used to be the capital of the Former British Empire, today it is considered one of the most iconic cities in the world. With a population edging ever closer to nine million it is a city that never fails to excite. There are so many things to do in this city that coming up with the best things to do was virtually impossible. Everybody has different tastes so I could only go with my own.
Although there are ten things on the list below I am sure you can think of a million more, so without further waiting lets take a look at the list.
1. Take a Stroll Down to Big Ben
One of the main landmarks of London and one that is often confusing, most people think of the whole tower when they hear the name Big Ben. It is actually the nickname of the clock bell. The tower is officially called the Elizabeth Tower, it was renamed this as part of the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. The tower was completed in 1858 and celebrated its 150th birthday in 2009. This iconic monument is one of the symbols of the United Kingdom and is seen in many movies based in London.
2. Admire the River Thames
The River Thames starts its journey as a little stream in the Cotswolds before travelling some 210 miles through many famous English Towns, into the heart of London and finally, out into the North Sea. A lot of tourists choose to go on a Thames River Cruise as it is the perfect way to see London, away from all the traffic jams and also a much more tranquil way to travel. Before the 19th Century started the cold winters would on occasion freeze the river and people would take to the ice to dance and skate. Today the flow of the river is too fast to see a repeat of those historical days.
3. Watch a Show in Covent Gardens
For many years street entertainers have been wowing the crowds in Covent Gardens with their various forms of street entertainment. There are jugglers, human statues, fire shows, people laying on beds of nails and many more. The area of Covent Gardens is a trendy one as has plenty of cool bars and fine restaurants to spend your evenings in. There is also a market selling souvenirs and clothes. Covent Gardens Tube Station is worth a mention as well as it is one of the only ones that has a lift from platform to street level instead of a series of escalators, always fun when rush hour hits.
4. Go For a Meal in China Town
Every major city seems to have their own China Town these days and London is no exception. Sitting between Soho and Leicester square is London’s China Town. It mainly focuses along one road called Gerrard Street which is full of Chinese restaurants and betting shops. The restaurants offer the best choice of Dim Sum in the UK as well as a fine selection of Chinese Food throughout the day. The restaurants open from early morning till last thing at night and in typical Chinese fashion the service is fast and efficient.
5. Party in Soho
Soho sits next to China Town and is part of the London West End, it has long been established as a district that had many sex shops and seedy bars, although there are a few of these that still exist overall the area has been through a huge revamp and you now see the headquarters of some leading film companies as well as many upmarket bars and restaurants. Soho is one of the most open thinking parts of London with its various gay and lesbian bars. There is always a party to be had in this part of town so why not head on down and blow away those cobwebs.
6. Spend the Day in Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of the greatest landmarks in London, every year millions of people pay it a visit. Covering 350 acres, the park is home to some famous landmarks, these include Speakers Corner, Serpentine Lake and Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. There have been many famous rock concerts at Hyde Park including Queen, Pink Floyd, Rolling Stones and Blur. Pope Benedict XVI also had a prayer vigil here in 2010 which was attended by about 80,000 people.
7. Go for a Ride on The London Eye
Standing at 135 metres tall the London Eye is the largest cantilevered observation wheel in the world. The London Eye was launched in 2000 and has already won over 85 different awards. Sitting on the South Bank of the River Thames it is also often referred to as the Millennium Wheel. It is currently the most popular tourist attraction in all of the United Kingdom with a mammoth 3.75 million visitors each year. There are 32 capsules on the Eye with each one weighing ten tonnes and able to carry up to twenty five people. The wheel rotates at 0.6mph so the entire journey takes approximately thirty minutes from start to finish.
8. Get Locked up in the Tower Of London
Tower of London
The Tower of London is Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress. The white tower which gives the whole castle its name was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, the castle became a prison shortly after from 1100 until 1952. The Tower of London is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been since 1988. One of the talking points of the Tower of London is the crown jewels which are kept here for safe keeping. There is so much to see and do on a trip to the Tower, an entire day can be spent wandering the grounds and learning more of the royal families illustrious history.
9. Hang out with Celebrities at Madame Tussauds
If you need a break from the museums and serious sides that London has to offer then why not head down to Madame Tussauds. Here you get to hang out with wax lookalikes of your favourite celebrities. The wax models are the closest you can get to the real things as every inch of the actual celebrity is measured and photographed before being painstakingly copied. Every celebrity wants to be made into a wax work and Madame Tussauds in London has some of the biggest you can think of, there are the Beckhams, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp and George Clooney in one part, in another you have the royal family including several of the princes and princesses. There is the prime minister and Barack Obama, the list seems to go on forever, overall it is a fantastic day out with a lot of excellent photo opportunities.
10. Take a Tour of the Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
The houses of Parliament are one of the most iconic buildings in the world. The original property was demolished in 1834 due to irreparable damage caused by fire, they were then rebuilt between 1840 and 1870 to become what we see today. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Grade 1 listed building. During World War II there were fourteen separate bomb attacks on the building which left much damage again to the building. In 2015 a report was released showing that it could cost as much as £7.1 Billion pounds to restore the fabric of the Houses of Parliament and take up to six years to complete.