8 Essential Places to See in London

8 Essential Places to See in London
Photo by John Smith from Pexels

The capital of the United Kingdom repeats every year as one of the ten most visited cities in the world. Today we bring you the eight essential places to see in London when you decide to become one of the more than 20 million tourists who visit it every year.

Feel like royalty at Buckingham palace and Westminster Abbey, cross Tower Bridge, discover world history at the British Museum, stroll through Hyde Park and soak up the bohemian atmosphere of Covent Garden. Welcome to London!

1. Admire Westminster Abbey

Did you know that the majority of coronations of English kings have been celebrated in Westminster Abbey? In this Anglican Church, known in London as Westminster Abbey, from William the Conqueror to the current Queen of England, Elizabeth II, have been crowned. Furthermore, Prince William married Kate Middleton here in 2011.

As big as a cathedral, Westminster Abbey is one of the most prominent landmarks to see in London. Admire its Anglican Gothic architecture and, inside, don't miss the Throne of Saint Edward and the Lady’s Chapel. You can also visit the tombs of the royal family as well as those of other UK personalities such as Charles Dickens or Isaac Newton.

2. Get on time with Big Ben

The clock tower of the Palace of Westminster, seat of the British Parliament, is popularly known as Big Ben. But, in reality, Big Ben is the name of the bell that houses the tower, of 16 tons. Standing 96 meters high, the clock tower has been officially called Elizabeth Tower since 2012, in honor of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.

His four-sided watch is the largest in the world, started in 1859 and is famous for its great precision. It withstood the bombings of World War II without losing its punctuality and, to this day, is one of the most recognizable symbols of London and the United Kingdom.

3. Take to the heights on the London Eye

Do you want to enjoy the best views of London and do not have vertigo? Then get on the London Eye! The largest Ferris wheel in Europe is located on the banks of the River Thames, it is 135 meters high and has a diameter of 120 meters. Each of its 32 glass capsules can accommodate up to 25 people gazing at London from the sky.

Not for nothing has it become London's busiest attraction since its opening in 2000, with almost 4 million visitors a year. Dare to climb and enjoy up to 40 kilometers of visibility on clear days. You will be able to see the most famous monuments of London, such as Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace or Westminster Abbey.

4. Cross the Tower Bridge

Near the Tower of London, the palace wherethe Crown Jewels are kept is this imposing bridge with two twin towers in Victorian Gothic style. Its construction was completed in 1894 and it is known for its drawbridges that are raised to allow river traffic on the River Thames.

Tower Bridge is one of the places to see for free in London. The bridge is open to pedestrians and cars, an estimated 40,000 people cross it every day. If you want to visit the towers and hydraulic machinery that make the bridge work, you will have to pay the entrance fee for the Tower Bridge Exhibition. Lastly, don't confuse Tower Bridge with London Bridge, located further up the Thames.

5. Stroll through Hyde Park

Get lost in the lush greenery of London's largest royal park! Hyde Park opened its doors to the public in the 7th century and has been one of the largest green lungs in the city ever since. Its extension is 142 hectares and is part of the set of four parks that link Kensington Palace with Buckingham Palace.

As you stroll among its groves, lakes and fountains, don't forget to visit the Diana of Wales Memorial and the Speaker’s Corner, where public speeches are allowed. If your trip is in spring or summer you can rent a lounger to sunbathe and relax in the park. If you visit short term rentals London at Christmas, don't miss Winter Wonderland, a small amusement fair to enjoy with the family.

6. Visit the main museums in London

The British Museum, or British Museum, is one of the most visited in the world for its collection of more than seven million objects from all continents. The Egyptian Gallery stands out, where you can see mummies and sarcophagi, and the Greek Gallery, which has fragments of the Parthenon in Athens.

If you are passionate about art, you should visit the National Gallery, located in Trafalgar Square, which has more than 2300 paintings on display, most of them European artists. Nor can you miss the Tate Modern, the British National Museum of Modern Art, which houses contemporary works from the 20th century by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador DalĂ­ or Maya Deren, among others.

7. Get closer to royalty at Buckingham Palace

Visit the official residence of the English monarchs since 1837, where Queen Elizabeth II lives today. In addition, major events such as royal ceremonies, state visits or investiture are held at Buckingham Palace. It is one of the most important buildings to see in London and in its Patio de Armas you can witness the famous Changing of the Guard.

Inside it has more than 770 rooms and, at the back, it has the largest private gardens in the city. If you want to visit Buckingham Palace from the inside, keep in mind that the tours only run while the royal family is on vacation, that is, from the end of July to the end of September.

8. Get carried away in Covent Garden

Covent Garden is one of the liveliest and most popular districts in London that you won't want to miss. The epicenter is the Covent Garden Piazza, a former flower, fruit and vegetable market, which today is a center for shops and restaurants, reflecting the character of the neighborhood. As in neighboring Candem, here you can find designer products created by local artists. If fashion is your thing, go shopping at Floral Street.

Another must see in the Covent Garden neighborhood is the Church of St. Paul in London, better known as the Church of the Actors. Many are said to have come here to pray before their performances at the nearby Theater Royal and Royal Opera House.