London Attractions

Leicester Square

Leicester Square

Leicester Square is a pedestrianised square in the West End of London, England. The Square lies within an area bound by Lisle Street, to the north; Charing Cross Road, to the east; Orange Street, to the south; and Whitcomb Street, to the west. The park at the centre of the Square is bound by Cranbourn Street, to the north; Leicester Street, to the east; Irving Street, to the south; and a section of road designated simply as Leicester Square, to the west. It is within the City of Westminster, and about equal distances (about 400 yards / 370 metres) north of Trafalgar Square, east of Piccadilly Circus, west of Covent Garden, and south of Cambridge Circus.

Covent Garden

Covent GardenCovent Garden is a district in London, England, located on the eastern fringes of the West End, between St. Martin’s Lane and Drury Lane. It is mainly associated with the former fruit and vegetable market located in the central square which is now a popular shopping and tourist site, and the Royal Opera House, which is also known as “Covent Garden”. The district is divided by the main thoroughfare of Long Acre; north of which is mainly given over to independent shops centred on Neal’s Yard and Seven Dials, while the south contains the central square with its street performers, and most of the elegant buildings, theatres and entertainment facilities, including the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and the London Transport Museum.

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a rallying point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and crisis. Originally known as Buckingham House, the building which forms the core of today’s palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 on a site which had been in private ownership for at least 150 years. It was subsequently acquired by George III in 1761[2] as a private residence for Queen Charlotte, and known as “The Queen’s House”. During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, forming three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.

The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East front which contains the well-known balcony on which the Royal Family traditionally congregate to greet crowds outside. However, the palace chapel was destroyed by a German bomb in World War II; the Queen’s Gallery was built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the Royal Collection.

Big Ben

Big BenBig Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, and is often extended to refer to the clock or the clock tower as well. It is the largest four-faced chiming clock and the third-tallest free-standing clock tower in the world. It celebrated its 150th anniversary in May 2009 (the clock itself first ticking on 31 May 1859), during which celebratory events took place.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster AbbeyThe Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, which is almost always referred to popularly and informally as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in Westminster, London, England (UK), located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English, later British and later still (and currently) monarchs of the Commonwealth Realms. It briefly held the status of a cathedral from 1546–1556, and is a Royal Peculiar.

Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar SquareTrafalgar Square is a square in central London, England. With its position in the heart of London, it is a tourist attraction, and one of the most famous squares in the United Kingdom and the world. At its centre is Nelson’s Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. Statues and sculptures are on display in the square, including a fourth plinth displaying changing pieces of contemporary art. The square is also used as a location for political demonstrations and community gatherings, such as the celebration of New Year’s Eve in London.

London Eye

London EyeCommonly known as the London Eye, or Millennium Wheel, formerly the British Airways London Eye) is a giant 135-metre (443 ft) tall Ferris wheel situated on the banks of the River Thames in the British capital.

It is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, and the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, visited by over 3.5 million people annually. When erected in 1999, it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, until surpassed first by the 160 m (520 ft) Star of Nanchang in 2006, and then the 165 m (541 ft) Singapore Flyer in 2008. It is still described by its operators as “the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel” (as the wheel is supported by an A-frame on one side only, unlike the Nanchang and Singapore wheels).

London Bridge

London BridgeLondon Bridge is a bridge over the River Thames, connecting the City of London and Southwark, in central London. Situated between Cannon Street Railway Bridge and Tower Bridge, it forms the western end of the Pool of London. On the south side of the bridge are Southwark Cathedral and London Bridge station; on the north side are the Monument to the Great Fire of London and Monument tube station. It was the only bridge over the Thames downstream from Kingston until Putney Bridge opened in 1729. The current bridge opened on 17 March 1973 and is the latest in a succession of bridges to occupy the spot and claim the name.

The bridge carries part of the A3 road, which is maintained by the Greater London Authority; the bridge itself is owned and maintained by Bridge House Estates (see City Bridge Trust), an independent charity overseen by the City of London Corporation. The area between London Bridge and Tower Bridge on the south side of the Thames is a business improvement district (BID) and is managed by Team London Bridge.

London Zoo

London ZooLondon Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo. It was opened in London on 27 April 1828, and was originally intended to be used as a collection for scientific study. It was eventually opened to the public in 1847. Today it houses a collection of 755 species of animals, with 15,104 individuals, making it one of the largest collections in the United Kingdom.

It is managed under the aegis of the Zoological Society of London (established in 1826), and is situated at the northern edge of Regent’s Park , on the boundary line between City of Westminster and Camden (the Regent’s Canal runs through it). The Society also has a more spacious site at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire to which the larger animals such as elephants and rhinos have been moved. As well as being the first scientific zoo, ZSL London Zoo also opened the first Reptile house (1849), first public Aquarium (1853), first insect house (1881) and the first children’s zoo (1938).

Canary Wharf

Canary WharfCanary Wharf is a large business and shopping development in East London. Canary Wharf contains the UKs three tallest buildings: One Canada Square,followed by 8 Canada Square and Citigroup Centre. Canary Wharf tenants include major banks, such as Barclays, Credit Suisse, HSBC and Citigroup, law firms such as Clifford Chance, as well as news media and service firms, including Thomson Reuters, and the Daily Mirror.

Harrods

HarrodsHarrods is a department store located on Brompton Road in Knightsbridge, London, England. The Harrods brand also applies to other enterprises undertaken by the Harrods group of companies including Harrods Bank, Harrods Estates, Harrods Aviation and Air Harrods. The store occupies a 4.5-acre (18,000 m2) site and has over one million square feet (90,000 m2) of selling space in over 330 departments. This makes Harrods one of the largest department stores in the world together with Macys New York (the UKs second-biggest shop, Oxford Streets Selfridges is a little over half the size with 540,000-square-foot (50,000 m2) of selling space).

Piccadily Circus

Piccadily CircusPiccadilly Circus is a famous road junction and public space of Londons West End in the City of Westminster, built in 1819 to connect Regent Street with the major shopping street of Piccadilly. In this context a circus, from the Latin word meaning a circle, is a circular open space at a street junction. Coordinates: 51°30’36?N 0°8’4?W? / ?51.51°N 0.13444°W? / 51.51; -0.13444

British Museum

The British Museum collection includes artefacts from across the world. They represent the people and places of the past two million years. Below are introductions to a growing list of just some of the world cultures that can be explored in the Museum collection.

Shaftesbury Avenue

Shaftesbury AvenueShaftesbury Avenue is one of the major streets in London. This street is named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, this street runs in a north-east direction from Piccadilly Circus to New Oxford Street, crossing Charing Cross Road at Cambridge Circus. Shaftesbury Avenue was built in the late 19th century (1877–86) by the architect, George Vulliamy, and the engineer, Sir Joseph Bazalgette to provide a north-south traffic artery through the crowded districts of St. Giles and Soho. It is generally considered the heart of London’s West End theatre district, with the Lyric, Apollo, Gielgud and Queen’s theatres clustered together on the north side of the road between Piccadilly Circus and Charing Cross Road. At the intersection of Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road there is also the large Palace Theatre. Finally, the north-eastern end of the road has another large theatre, called the Shaftesbury Theatre.

Horse Guards Parade

Horse Guards Parade It is a large parade ground off Whitehall in central London. This parade ground is used for the annual ceremonies of Trooping the Colour, which commemorates the monarch’s official birthday and Beating Retreat. It was also the scene of annual celebrations of the birthday of Queen Elizabeth I. This are has been used for a variety of reviews, parades and other ceremonies since the 17th century. It was once the Headquarters of the British Army. The Duke of Wellington was based in Horse Guards when he was Commander-in-Chief of the British Army. The current General Officer Commanding London District still occupies the same office and uses the same desk. Wellington also had living quarters within the building, which today are used as offices.

Downing Street

Downing Street It is located in the Whitehall, central London which is a few minutes walk from the Houe of Parliament. This street for over two hundred years has contained the official residences of two of the most senior British cabinet ministers: the First Lord of the Treasury, an office held by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and the Second Lord of the Treasury, an office held by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The most famous address in Downing Street is 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the First Lord of the Treasury—and thus, in modern times, the residence of the Prime Minister. It was built in the 1680s by Sir George Downing, 1st Baronet (1632–1689) on the site of a mansion called Hampden House. The Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Chief Whip all have official residences in buildings along one side of the street.

Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral This church is located in Victoria, SW1 in the city of Westminister. the mother church of the Catholic community in England and Wales and the Metropolitan Church and Cathedral of the Archbishop of Westminster. It is dedicated to the “Most Precious Blood of Jesus Christ” (the Eucharist). The cathedral is located in Victoria, SW1, in the City of Westminster. It is the largest Catholic church in England and Wales, and should not be confused with Westminster Abbey of the Church of England. Westminster Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Westminster, currently Archbishop Vincent Nichols. As a matter of custom, each newly appointed Archbishop of Westminster has eventually been created a cardinal in consistory.

Parliament Square

Parliament Square Parliament Square is a square outside the northwest end of the Palace of Westminster in London. It features a large open green area in the middle, with a group of trees to its west.

The Strand

The Strand The Strand is a street in the City of Westminster, London, England. It is just over 3/4 of a mile long. It currently starts at Trafalgar Square and runs east to join Fleet Street at Temple Bar, which marks the boundary of the City of London at this point, though its historical length has been longer than this. At the east end of the street are two old churches, St Mary-le-Strand and St Clement Danes which are now, owing to road-widening, situated on islands in the middle of the road. The length of road from St Mary’s church eastwards up to St Clement’s was widened in 1900 and subsumes the former Holywell Street which forked from the Strand and ran parallel with it to the north.Two tube stations were once named Strand: the former Piccadilly line Strand tube station, now called Aldwych but no longer in use, and the former “Strand tube station” on the Northern Line now part of Charing Cross tube station. “Strand Bridge” was also the name given to Waterloo Bridge during construction, it was renamed for its official opening on the second anniversary of the victory.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in central London, England and one of the Royal Parks of London, famous for its Speakers’ Corner. The park is divided in two by the Serpentine. The park is contiguous with Kensington Gardens; although often still assumed to be part of Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens has been technically separate since 1728, when Queen Caroline made a division between the two. Hyde Park covers 142 hectares (350 acres)[1] and Kensington Gardens covers 111 hectares (275 acres),[2] giving an overall area of 253 hectares (625 acres), making the combined area larger than the Principality of Monaco (196 ha/484 acres), though smaller than New York City’s Central Park (341 ha/843 acres). To the southeast, outside of the park, is Hyde Park Corner. Although, during daylight, the two parks merge seamlessly into each other, Kensington Gardens closes at dusk but Hyde Park remains open throughout the year from 5 am until midnight.

Park Lane

Park Lane Park Lane is a major road designated as A4202 in the City of Westminster, in Central London. Originally a country lane running north-south along what is now the eastern boundary of Hyde Park, it became a fashionable residential address from the eighteenth century onwards, offering both views across Hyde Park and a position at the most fashionable western edge of London. It became lined with some of the largest privately owned mansions in London, including the Duke of Westminster’s Grosvenor House and the Holford family’s Dorchester House (demolished in 1931 and replaced by The Dorchester), which are now both hotels, and the Marquess of Londonderry’s Londonderry House, which has been demolished.

Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground

Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground is a memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales in Kensington Gardens, in The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea , London. It was erected after her death on the site of the existing Peter Pan children’s playground which had been founded in the time of JM Barrie’s (author of Peter Pan) but it is larger and more elaborate than the original. The design, by Land Use Consultants, was inspired by Peter Pan. Its most prominent feature is a full scale wooden pirate ship which serves as a climbing area for children, and is surrounded by sand in which they can play. Other features include slides, swings, and an area designed for those with disabilities, including fragrant plants and sound features (for those with visual disabilities). The playground is an example of a “natural play” concept, designed to stimuate children’s imagination, sense of adventure, and to encourage them to challenge their physical and mental prowess.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century. Today it is the official residence of The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. Kensington Palace is also used on an unofficial basis by Prince Harry, as well as his cousin Zara Phillips. It was the official residence of Diana, Princess of Wales (until her death in 1997), of Princess Margaret (until her death in 2002) and of Princess Alice (until her death in 2004). Today, the State Rooms are open to the public and managed by the independent charity Historic Royal Palaces; a nonprofit organisation that does not receive public funds.

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral St Paul’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral on Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, and is the seat of the Bishop of London. The present building dates from the 17th century and was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. It is generally reckoned to be London’s fifth St Paul’s Cathedral, all having been built on the same site since AD 604. The cathedral is one of London’s most famous and most recognisable sights. At 365 feet (111m) high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1962, and its dome is also among the highest in the world. The Royal Family holds most of its important marriages, christenings and funerals at Westminster Abbey, but St Paul’s was used for the marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. St Paul’s Cathedral is still a busy working church, with hourly prayer and daily services.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, England, over the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, which gives it its name. It has become an iconic symbol of London. The bridge consists of two towers which are tied together at the upper level by means of two horizontal walkways which are designed to withstand the horizontal forces exerted by the suspended sections of the bridge on the landward sides of the towers. The vertical component of the forces in the suspended sections and the vertical reactions of the two walkways are carried by the two robust towers. The bascule pivots and operating machinery are housed in the base of each tower. The bridge’s present colour dates from 1977 when it was painted red, white and blue for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Originally it was painted a chocolate brown colour.

Tower of London

Tower of London Tower of London Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison since at least 1100, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.

Lambeth Palace

Lambeth Palace Lambeth Palace is the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is located in Lambeth, on the south bank of the River Thames a short distance upstream of the Palace of Westminster on the opposite shore.[1] It was acquired by the archbishopric around 1200. Lambeth Palace Road is to the west, Lambeth Road is to the south and Lambeth Bridge is to the south-west.

Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds Madame Tussauds is a wax museum in London with branches in a number of major cities. It was founded by wax sculptor Marie Tussaud and was formerly known as “Madame Tussaud’s”, but the apostrophe is no longer used[1][2] (though it still appears in some signage at the New York location)[3]. Madame Tussauds is a major tourist attraction in London, displaying waxworks of historical and royal figures, film stars, sports stars and famous murderers.

The London Dungeon

The London Dungeon The London Dungeon is a popular London tourist attraction[1], featuring exhibits about various tortures from the Medieval Age. It recreates various gory and macabre historical events in a grimly comedic ‘gallows humour’ style, which attempts to make them appealing to younger audiences. It uses a mixture of live actors, special effects and rides.It opened in 1974, initially designed as more of a museum of “horrible history”, but the Dungeon has evolved to become an actor-led, interactive experience. The Dungeon is operated by Merlin Entertainments, which also operates Madame Tussauds, London Eye, Legoland, Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Heide Park, Chessington World of Adventures, Warwick Castle and Gardaland.

Sherlock Holmes Pub

Sherlock Holmes Pub Sherlock Holmes Pub -221B Baker Street is the London residence of the famous literary detective Sherlock Holmes, created by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In UK postal addresses a number followed by a letter indicates a separate address within a larger, often residential building. In the Baker Street of the Sherlock Holmes Stories this would have been part of a Georgian terrace.