With a population of approximately 8 million people, London covers an area of over 600 square miles on either side that of River Thames. London exudes an unquestionable excitement of achievement and is where the nation’s news, culture and commerce are created, while the life here is rapid (just observe commuters speeding down the elevators). But, the high-octane thrill isn’t without cost in terms of accommodation and transportation costing among the highest worldwide.
The high costs of living are however a reality for many Londoners due to the fact that there is an abundance of things to do and see and much of it is completely free.
Visit The city’s (mostly free) world-class galleries and museums and make sure you visit at least some of the outdoor spaces. London is among the most green cities in the world and has a myriad of parks and cemeteries to discover.
The famous department stores of London and market stalls on weekends that are offbeat provide endless shopping options, and the cultural scene in London caters to every budget and taste and produces everything from epic theatrical performances to innovative live music.
Although food isn’t cheap The city’s diverse population allows for an amazing variety of cuisine which is usually very cost-effective.
London – What to see and Do
Most sights are located north along the River Thames, and a great place to start is the center of the regal and political world. The area that surrounds Whitehall includes Trafalgar Square at one end, Parliament Square at the opposite, and Buckingham Palace off to the side.
Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery
Trafalgar Square’s central point is Nelson’s Column which features the single-eyed admiral who lost his life to the French in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Battle of Trafalgar. Extending across the north side of the square is the National Gallery (daily 10am-6pm, Fri till 9pm; free; nationalgallery.org.uk), one of the world’s great art collections.
Masterpieces include works created by Raphael, Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Rembrandt and Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and Seurat’s Bathers at Asnieres.
On the other side to the National Gallery located within St Martin’s Place, is the intriguing National Portrait Gallery (open daily 10am to 6pm, Thurs & Fri till 9pm) The gallery houses photographs of the best and the famous such as Hans Holbein’s gigantic sketch of Henry VIII to Sam Taylor-Wood’s video portrait of David Beckham.
A few minutes to the northeast from Trafalgar Square between Shaftesbury Avenue and the Strand is Covent Garden, a lively space that revolves around a piazza from the early 17th century and market hall in the 19th century which was the site of the city’s largest vegetable and fruit market up to the end of the 1970s.
The old structure is now awash with stylish shops and stalls . In the front of Inigo Jones’s classic St Paul’s Church street entertainers like opera singers or mime performers entertain. In the Long Acre from the station is Neal Street and the Seven Dials which are both lined with excellent bars, shops and eateries.
The British Museum
A short stroll from the northern part of Neal Street near Holborn tube station is the British Museum, Great Russell Street (daily 10am-5.30pm and on Friday until 8.30pm Free; Wbritishmuseum.org), one of the most popular museums in London.
amazing museums around the globe. The building, which has a amazing Greek Revival facade, is becoming more stunning due to Norman Foster’s glass and steel-covered Great Court, at the core of which is The Round Reading Room, where Karl Marx penned Das Kapital.
With more than 4 million exhibits that are too large to see in one sitting – search for the exhibits that will interest you the most. There are many things to see. Roman or Greek antiquities are among the best and include those of the Parthenon Sculptures – taken by Lord Elgin in 1801 and remained an issue of contention among governments – the British and Greek government – and the museum’s other famous display is that of that of the Rosetta Stone, which led to the current appreciation of hieroglyphics. The museum hosts a variety of high-profile exhibits all through the season (ticket cost varies).
A lot of tourists opt to go straight to Buckingham Palace. The tree-lined sweeping that is The Mall runs from Trafalgar Square southwestwards through Admiralty Arch, flanked by St James’s Park on the left and then on towards Buckingham Palace, which has been the monarch’s official residence since the time of Queen Victoria in 1837.
The exterior of the building, which was renovated in 1913, looks rather bland, however it’s actually the back of the Palace The more elegant front is a view of the garden of the monarch. If Buckingham Palace is closed, crowds of people walk around near the gates to witness the changing of the Guard;
However, it’s better going to Horse Guards over the other side of the park in which there’s an extensive equestrian show (Mon-Sat 11am, Sunday 10am) and also where there was an Olympic beach volleyball event was held in 2012. In Buckingham Palace you can retrace your steps and walk down Whitehall towards Westminster or go to the west, passing via Green Park to Hyde Park Corner.
Whitehall and Westminster
Whitehall which is flanked by government buildings, runs out south from Trafalgar square towards the region known as Westminster The Mall, which was the country’s official home for almost 1000 years. The first White Hall was a palace constructed to honor Henry VIII. Henry VIII, but a fire in 1698 led to the fact that the subsequent monarchs were forced to relocate into St James’s Palace (closed to the public) located just off The Mall. To the west off Whitehall there is Downing Street, where No. 10 was the home of the prime minister from 1732.
The Houses of Parliament
The most prominent feature at the southern end of Whitehall is London’s most beautiful Gothic Revival building, the Palace of Westminster, better known as the Houses of Parliament. It is distinguished by its elaborate, gilded clock tower, which is popularly referred to by the name of Big Ben, after the thirteen-ton bell it houses. The palace that was originally royal constructed by the emperor Edward during the 11th century, was demolished in 1834. The only remaining part is the stunning Westminster Hall, which can be seen on the way to the galleries for public viewing, from where it is possible to watch the proceedings of parliament. Many tour options can be found on the website.
The Houses of Parliament dominate their older counterpart, Westminster Abbey. It encompasses the entire scope of the history of England The abbey has served as the location for every but two coronations in the time of William the Conqueror and many of the monarchs of the country, along with some of its most famous citizens, are buried here. Of particular interest is Poets’s Corner, where famous names like Chaucer, Tennyson and Charles Dickens are interred. In the past, the abbey was the chosen venue for the wedding in 2011 of Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Central London’s largest green area, Hyde Park is made by manicured gardens, woodland glades and shaded nature areas. In the middle of the park is The Serpentine, a lake with a popular lido; the nearby Serpentine Gallery (daily 10am-6pm; free; Wserpentinegallery.org) hosts excellent contemporary art exhibitions. In the northeastern part of the park, to the left of Marble Arch Speakers’ Corner was long associated with free public speech as well as the well-known British eccentricity. Anyone is welcome to speak on any topic they want to discuss and Sunday is the ideal time to enjoy a passionate debate.
The southwest-facing corner in Hyde Park, Exhibition Road connects you to a variety of museums that are free. The amazing Science Museum (daily 10am-6pm, the last entry 5.15pm and closes at 7pm on weekends during summer) exhibits inventions from Crick Watson’s DNA-based model, up to Puffing Billy, the world’s oldest steam train that is still in existence along with a variety of others interactive exhibitions.
Further south, off Exhibition Road on Cromwell Road The Natural History Museum (daily 10am-5.50pm and last entry at 5.30pm) must be visiting for its amazing German Romanesque building designed by Alfred Waterhouse in the 1880s (look out for the intricately carved animals that cling to the pillars that surround it) The museum also has iconic Dinosaur Gallery, the new Treasure Gallery, highlighting some of the museum’s most sought-after exhibits and the state of the art Darwin Centre which holds over 20 million biological specimens.
In terms of the sheer diversity and scope In terms of sheer variety and scale, the close by Victoria and Albert Museum (daily 10am-5.45pm until 10pm Friday) is the largest museum of applied art worldwide. Alongside its exhibits of fashion throughout the years The most well-known of the exhibits are Raphael Cartoons, fashion from the 18th century to contemporary haute couture, and the massive Ardabil carpet, which is the longest of its kind in the world.
South Kensington tube is the closest tube to all three museums, and it has an underground walkway that connects them.
A short stroll to Parliament Square west along Millbank, Tate Britain exhibits British works of art dating from 1500 until today and includes a whole wing that is dedicated to Turner. The galleries that are permanent usually have works by Hogarth Constable as well as Bacon, as well as the museum is home to an infamous Turner Prize for contemporary British artists every year, along with other exhibitions that are temporary (entry costs are applicable). Tate to Tate Boat Tate is a short distance akes passengers between Millbank up to Tate Modern at Bankside.
Tate Britain is a museum of British art and culture in London. It is one of four museums of Tate Britain. It is part of the Tate network, including Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool Tate Liverpool, and Tate St Ives. Tate Britain is located on the south bank of the River Thames and exhibits a extensive selection of British art that spans the 16th century through today. Tate Britain also hosts regular exhibitions of contemporary and international contemporary art.
South Bank forms the stretch along the Thames approximately starting from Westminster Bridge to London Bridge (a 50 minute walk). The riverside footpath is alive with lifeas pedestrians walk and run past street performers and art installations, or chill in the numerous restaurants. The central point of attraction of the area is London Eye (open daily 10am-8.30/9.30pm) which is a 135m observation wheel that rotates over the river. Go north from here and pass an imposing South Bank Centre- which comprises The Royal Festival Hall and the Hayward Gallery – the adjacent National Theatre and the British Film Institute. There are craft shops and eateries located in Gabriel’s Wharf and the OXO Tower before you reach Bankside.
Bankside and Tate Modern
Contemporary Bankside is the main focus of Tate Modern, constructed in a postwar-style minimalist power station. There are expensive temporary exhibits, however, as the permanent collection contains pieces by nearly every major modern artist, such as Monet, Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso, Dali, Mondrian, Warhol, and Rothko more, you can have the best of contemporary art at no cost. Just to the left of Tate Modern is Norman Foster’s Millennium Bridge. Its breathtaking views take you across the river towards London’s City of London and St Paul’s Cathedral.
Globe Theatre to London Bridge
Dwarfed at Tate Modern is Shakespeare’s Globe. It’s a reconstructed polygonal theatre where many of Shakespeare’s later plays were first staged. If you’re comfortable standing at the bottom of the pit, you can see shows as low as PS5. A quick stroll to the east takes you from the river beneath Victorian railway arches to London Bridge and the famous Borough Market, a fantastic spot to replenish your energy.
The City of London
Watch the commuters traverse London Bridge to the City of London. Despite the recent development of Canary Wharf stealing many companies further to the east, the area remains the financial heart of London. In the absence of business hours, it’s a City that may seem a little empty. Yet, its appeal is in the magnificent buildings that are dotted with small chapels along narrow streets that wind around.
St Paul’s Cathedral
In the west of London’s City lies one of the City’s best-known attractions, St Paul’s Cathedral (Mon-Sat 8.30 am from 830am to 4pm). The most notable aspect of the architect Christopher Wren’s Baroque building is its vast dome, one of its most significant structures. The highlights are the Whispering Gallery located in the crown, a name derived from the fact that words spoken towards the wall from one side can be heard clearly on the other side; the vast external Stone Gallery; and the topmost Golden Gallery with views of London. It is also the burial site for Wren, Turner, Reynolds, and many other artists; however, the most impressive sarcophagi are those belonging to Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. Duke of Wellington and Lord Nelson.
Museum of London
Nearly to St Paul’s, situated in the 1970s-styled Barbican Centre, is the Museum of London (open daily between 10am and 6pm). It tells the history of London from the prehistoric era to the current day, featuring particular attention-grabbing exhibits on Roman London as well as London during the Great Fire, plus the Lord Mayor’s official coach that dates back from 1757 to the present. Barbican Centre Barbican Centre itself is one of London’s most popular cultural destinations, with theaters, cinemas, and galleries.
The Museum of London is a museum that is dedicated to the past and culture of London. It is situated at the foot of the London Wall in the Barbican part of the City. The museum, as well as its medieval gallery, exhibits items that date to that the Middle Ages.
Tower of London
The Tower of London is a historical fortress in the middle of London, England. It was established around 1066 under the reign of William the Conqueror. It’s been used as an imperial palace, prison, treasury, and zoo. It is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site and an attraction popular with tourists, recognized for its famous buildings, iconic White Tower, and intriguing historical background. It is also home to the Tower of London is also the home of the Crown Jewels, which are displayed for tourists to see. Other noteworthy features of The Tower of London include the Ravens, seven ravens housed in the Tower, and the Yeoman Warders. They serve as guards for the Tower.
Despite the hype and the entry cost is still a bargain. The Tower of London, on the River Thames, which runs east to the southeast of St Paul’s by Tower Bridge, is still one of London’s most impressive structures. The Tower was founded by William the Conqueror and was almost completed by the 13th century. The Tower is Europe’s best preserved (albeit extensively restored) castle. World. Centrally, the White Tower holds part of the Royal Armouries collection. At the top of the building is the Norman Chapel of St John, the oldest Church in London. Nearby is Tower Green, where two of Henry VIII’s wives were executed. It is believed that the Waterloo Barracks house the Crown Jewels and include the three largest diamonds cut in the world.
The East End
A quick walk from the Tower takes the town of Aldgate and the beginning of what is known as the East End. This area has historically had vast numbers of immigrants due to its close proximity to the river. It’s been Huguenot, Jewish, and, more recently, Bangladeshi and Pakistani. Walk down Whitechapel Road from Aldgate, and you’ll pass one of Britain’s largest mosques and the excellent Whitechapel Gallery, which shows off a cutting-edge mix of contemporary art. Brick Lane is a shady stretch that runs on the left (take Osborn St), lined with curry houses, chic street markets, vintage boutiques, and shops.
At the opposite end on the opposite side of Brick Lane are the funky and creative zones in Shoreditch, Hoxton, and Old Street. This is a fantastic area to enjoy a night out at night and is brimming with shops, restaurants, cafes, design shops, and cafés. A two to three-mile walk to the east of Whitechapel Road brings you to the once-dark industrial area that was changed into the Olympic Park for the 2012 Games. The Park was reopened as Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in July 2013 (Wnoordinary park.co.uk) and features major venues for events and sporting events set in parkland. It also houses Anish Kapoor’s 115-meter-high Orbit, the most significant work of British art of public art. Its high platforms provide spectacular views of London.
Regent’s Park and Camden
Regent’s Park is significant in the Camden region of London. It is renowned for its stunning gardens and vast open spaces. It is also a favorite spot for tourists and locals, home to the London Zoo and numerous playgrounds and sports facilities. It’s also the location for the Open Air Theatre, which is home to a variety of shows during summer. It is accessible via public transport and is an ideal spot to relax and enjoy the outdoor space in London.
In common with the majority of the parks in London, the City’s residents can count on Henry VIII to thank Regent’s Park, which he removed from the Church to create other hunting grounds. It is surrounded by the most beautiful homes and residential buildings; the Park is where you can find London Zoo. It is among the world’s longest-running and most extensive collections of animals. Use the train to Baker Street, Regent’s Park, or Great Portland Street to enter the Park’s southern border and walk north towards the zoo. Or take on the train to Camden Town, with its famous market and music scene, and walk west on Regent’s Canal, which runs through the middle of the zoo.
Hampstead Heath and Highgate Cemetery
Hampstead Heath and Highgate Cemetery are both situated in London, England. Hampstead Heath is a large public park that covers more than 790 acres. Highgate Cemetery is a Victorian cemetery that was founded in 1839. Hampstead Heath is known for its stunning open areas, wooded areas, and swimming ponds. Famous people’s burial grounds in the Highgate Cemetery include Karl Marx, George Eliot, and Douglas Adams.
Camden opens up to the wealthy neighborhood of Hampstead and the open Hampstead Heath, which offers an ideal solution to London’s manicured parks. To the east, Hampstead can be found in the Highgate Cemetery, ranged on both sides of Swains Lane (UHighgate/Archway). Karl Marx lies in the East Cemetery. More atmospheric are an Overgrown West Cemetery (guided tours only between March and November from 2pm to 6pm, Sat & Sun hourly 11am-4pm and Dec-Feb Sat & Sun hourly 11am-3pm and PS12 includes entry into East Cemetery), with its haunted Egyptian Avenue and terraced catacombs.
One of London’s most stunning locations, offering peace from the bustling City, Greenwich is worth the short drive. The transport links are excellent. Traditional riverboats run regularly, trains departing starting from London Bridge, or the DLR shuttles passing from Bank through the newly developed Docklands south and on to The Cutty Sark. The famous tea clipper recently underwent a stunning restoration following an incredibly destructive fire. It is now possible to walk under the 143-year-old hull, through the decks, and wander around the hold. To form the East is Sir Christopher Wren’s stunningly balanced Baroque collection of Old Royal Naval College (daily 10am-5pm, free; Wornc.org). The next block is the National Maritime Museum, which has model ships, globes, charts, and a variety of sea-themed exhibits. From here, Greenwich Park stretches up the hill, with a Wren-inspired Royal Observatory where you can traverse your way across the Greenwich Mean Time meridian.