Situated on the banks of the River Thames in the south-east of England, London is the capital and largest city of England and United Kingdom. The city of London was founded by the Romans and has a history of almost 2000 years. London has many facets: it is one of the world’s most prominent cities, a major business destination and a financial center, a home to many and a tourist destination for people all over the world. It is similar to many large cities in the world, yet different in many ways. One experiences not only an unstated order and discipline, but also the diversity, free spirit and expression. In London at one end you see a number of bridges on the River Thames, tall buildings made of concrete, steel and glass and on the other green open spaces with flowers in full bloom and water fountains. London is breathtakingly beautiful, inspirational, trendy and artistic. London is rooted in its history, but at the same time it is futuristic. London is so many things at the same time.
Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.Samuel Johnson
A good thing one notices about London is its efficient and easy public transport system. Several attractions are close to each other and can be visited through short distance walks. Some of the very good memories of my travels are associated with London.
Tower of London
Tower of London, officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and the Fortress of the Tower of London, is a prominent symbol of London, famous all over the world. It is located in Central London, just outside the city of London and by the side of the River Thames. This palace and fortress is full of history and tales. At the time of my visit in November 2018, it was the centenary of the First World War. A week long sound and light installation “Beyond the Deepening Shadow” was organized from 4 to 11 November 2018 – as a public act of remembrance for the lives of the fallen and honoring their sacrifice. Lots of old artifacts take you way back in time. An interesting walk down the history lane.
The Thames flowing through southern England and London and the longest river in England, is a part of London’s identity. It is always a great experience to walk by the side of the Thames. The place is iconic, with lots of city hustle and bustle. The Thames is a witness to the ancient and modern history of London. Many of London’s best known attractions are either located on the river’s bank or not far away. Whilst enjoying my walk, I could see the London Eye, The Tower Bridge, H.M.S. Belfast and the Houses of Parliament building. Another interesting, relaxing and enchanting experience of the Thames can be taken with a mini guided cruise. The commentary is humorous and includes many anecdotes about London. The cruise can be taken from the Westminster Pier, Tower Pier or the London Eye Pier.
The Tower Bridge
The Tower Bridge is the world famous symbol of London. Built between 1886 and 1894, this bridge is a movable (bascule) suspension bridge. It is a beautiful bridge, an important part of British history and definitely a must see in London. The views of the Thames and surrounding areas are amazing. Just taking a leisurely stroll on the bridge and the nearby areas is a refreshing experience.
The London Eye
The London Eye is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London. It is Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel, located on the south bank of the River Thames. The experience that the London Eye offers is similar to the Eiffel Tower in Paris. You look at the city from far above and get amazing 360 degree views. The capsule moves at a very slow speed, which offers opportunities to take in beautiful views of London and shoot photos and videos from many angles. You see the Houses of Parliament Building, the River Thames and trains moving on the bridges. A perfect venue for a couple’s date on any occasion. An amazing experience that you get in London.
Palace of Westminster and Big Ben
Palace of Westminster is located in the city of Westminster in Central London. It is another famous landmark located on the River Thames. It is also known as the Houses of Parliament building and is meeting place for both the houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Big Ben is the famous clock tower which stands at the Houses of Parliament. The name is used to describe the clock, the tower and the bell.
Buckingham Palace & St. James Park
Buckingham Palace is located in the city of Westminster. It serves as the London residence of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The architecture of the palace is beautiful. A Changing of the Guards ceremony happens at the palace and is an event worth watching for its pomp and pageantry. Fascinating to see the guards in uniforms in their sentry boxes.
St. James Park is a 57 acre park in the city of Westminster, Central London. A walk through the park is a refreshing experience. Very close to the St. James Park, over the road from the Horse Guards Parade ground and facing the Wellington Barracks, is the Guard’s Memorial – a cenotaph with five life-size bronze figures sculpted by Gilbert Ledward representing the Foot Guards Regiments.
Located in city of Westminster, Parliament Square features a large open green area with a number of statues of statesmen and other notable individuals. Notable amongst them are Winston Churchill, Millicent Fawcett, Nelson Mandela and Abraham Lincoln.
Trafalgar Square and National Gallery
A place where one finds local residents of London, artists performing live and tourists. Most of the tourists, come to this square at some point during their visit. There aren’t many things to do – but just walking around and enjoying the evening time. Located in the city of Westminster, in Central London – the square’s name commemorates the British naval victory in the Battle of Trafalgar, off the coast of Cape Trafalgar in 1805. A ~150 foot high monument, bearing the statue of Lord Horatio Nelson, takes the center stage at Trafalgar Square. The National Gallery is on the edge of the square – those interested in arts can consider a visit.
Close to major shopping and entertainment areas, Piccadilly Circus (Latin: circle) is a busy road junction and a public space in the city of Westminster. This place has evolved as a tourist attraction due to its status as a major traffic junction. Most tourists visiting London, at some point come to this place. Most of the times Piccadilly Circus is crowded with people sitting on the steps of the fountain. With a giant billboard at this place, it is often described as “the Times Square of London”. If you visit at night the neon signs glowing in their intensity make this place vista of constantly changing colors.
Madam Tussauds is a museum chain for life-sized wax replicas of famous celebrities and historic icons in themed galleries. It is located on the Marylebone Road, London. A chance to step into the spotlight.
London Open-top Bus Tours
An easy way to explore London, at your own pace.
This blog post will not be complete without a mention of the transport system in London and local area and market. Public transport services in London are dominated by the Transport for London (TfL). It controls the Underground, Buses, London River Services and London Overground. There are several airports serving London, including the Heathrow, one of the busiest airports in Europe.
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*** My travel experiences before the COVID-19 Pandemic.