Most Popular Tourist Attractions in London
If you're going to be visiting London, it's a good idea to know what the most popular tourist attractions are. That way, you can visit or avoid them to your liking, and when you get home, you won't be saying "Oh no, I didn't know that was there!" when your friends ask you if you visited, say, The Globe Theatre.
Here's a crash course for beginners on the most popular tourist attractions in London, one of the most exciting and historically fascinating cities in the world!
Most Popular Tourist Attractions in London: Buckingham Palace
Built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703, today Buckingham Palace is the main London Royal residence. The palace is both headquarters for the Royal Household and the weekday home to the Queen and Prince Philip. The palace's Royal Collection, which includes paintings, artifacts and furnishings, is owned by the nation and open for viewing to the general public. For a real thrill, visit the front gates whenever there's a royal announcement -- the adoration of the crowds is a sight to behold!
Most Popular Tourist Attractions in London: The Tower of London
Historically, the Tower of London has served as a royal palace, a fortress and a prison. The Tower of London has endless claims to fame; since 1303, the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom have been housed there, and furthermore, it's said to be England's most haunted building. Queen Anne Boleyn's ghost is reported to have been seen carrying around her head as she walks around the tower. Boleyn was beheaded at the Tower in 1536, after being found guilty of treason.
Most Popular Tourist Attractions in London: The British Museum
One of the top London tourist attractions and most famous museums in the world, the British Museum was established in 1753 and opened to the public in 1759. Home to many famous artifacts collected from around the world, the museum is perhaps most famous for housing the earliest image of Christ, the Easter Island Statue and the Rosetta Stone. The museum is open daily to the public.
Most Popular Tourist Attractions in London: Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square, located in central London, was built to commemorate the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, a Napoleonic War battle won under the leadership of Admiral Horatio Nelson. The most notable feature in the square is the 18-foot tall statue of Nelson, posed on top of a 151-foot tall granite column. Today, the square is a popular London tourist attraction, as well as a site for political demonstrations.
Most Popular Tourist Attractions in London: The Clock Tower
Often mistakenly referred to as Big Ben, the Clock Tower is one of London's most recognizable features, something you're sure to see while on a London vacation. Completed in 1858, the Clock Tower is the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world. This London attraction is located at the northeastern side of Westminster's House of Parliament Building and houses "Big Ben," the main bell of the tower.
Most Popular Tourist Attractions in London: Madame Tussaud's and the London Planetarium
Not just a museum with life-size replicas of wax celebrities, Madame Tussaud's owns and operates the adjacent London Planetarium and Spacedome as well. With enough activities (both celestial and waxy) to entertain the whole family for an entire day, this complex is a popular London tourist attraction for visitors from all over the world. Opening hours vary throughout the year, so check online for current times and schedules.
Most Popular Tourist Attractions in London: The Royal Observatory
It's a rare treat to stand with your feet astride the prime meridian (above), and at The Royal Observatory in Greenwich, you can do just that. Make a fun trip of it by taking a riverboat down the Thames to reach the destination, then geek out over the nautical and timekeeping artifacts, as well as the history of the prime meridian itself, in the museum. It will only take you around two hours to take it all in, and you can visit the Tate Modern and The Globe Theatre along the Thames on your way back into Central London.
Most Popular Tourist Attractions in London: The London Eye
The London Eye, also called the Millennium Wheel, is a 450-foot tall Ferris wheel that offers stunning views of the city from its 32 air-conditioned passenger pods. The often-imitated London Eye, which is now one of the most popular paid tourist attractions in London, is the fourth tallest structure in the city. The Eye is open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. during the summer, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. during the winter, and may close soon -- so take a rid while you can!