The city of London, England, is in select company. If you think about it, there really are not many destinations in the world with more than three star attractions. Many of the places we visit have one major known landmark that alone, draws tourists in. From this one landmark, we gradually get to know the rest of the city.
Not London though. London is special in that regard. Most people would consider it a prodigious challenge to whittle Great Britain’s capital’s attractions down to one, must-see list. There are just so many famous points of interest in the city to consider. To banish one place in favor of another can cause quite the outcry and controversy in the realm of world travel. You might consider Harrods must-see for example, or Piccadilly Circus. Perhaps Wembley Stadium, The London Eye or Trafalgar Square. None of those five however, made the cut below. Not that they do not merit a place on your London itinerary. Rather the opposite. But in the game of what constitutes a “must-see” attraction, what separates one from another, is quite a matter of opinion and fine details
With that in mind, here are ten attractions in London that are without question, must-see.
The official residence of the Queen is a veritable museum. Exclusive tours of the State Rooms, fine art collection and Garden, with a special palace guide, are available by reservation well in advance. The famous Guard Change takes place every day at 11:30 between May and July and every other day for the rest of the year.
Tower of London
The official name of the UNESCO World Heritage Tower of London is Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress. The original White Tower was built in 1078 by King William I and the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom have been kept on site since 1303.
Since 1753, the British Museum has been the foremost institution in the world to document human culture. The breadth of the facility’s collection is too vast to comprehend, though more than 6 million visitors a year try.
Popular lore has it that the site of the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster has been holy ground since the middle of the 7th century. Whatever the case, the familiar Gothic form of the UNESCO World Heritage Site originates with Henry III in 1245.
Palace of Westminster
The official name of Parliament in the United Kingdom, the Palace of Westminster is home to the House of Lords and the House of Commons, though Big Ben is the most famous landmark on site. Tours of the interior are available for international visitors in summer only, when Parliament is not in session.
With a fabulous collection of well over 2,000 works of art from the 13th century to about 1900, the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square is a popular and worthwhile attraction in London.
Royal Albert Hall
One of the premier concert halls in the world, Royal Albert Hall has been a national treasure since Queen Victoria’s dedication in 1871. From The Proms orchestral music festival, held every summer since 1941, to Bob Dylan, the fabulous interior has seen a wide range of acts that span almost every musical genre.
The crown jewel in the gallery collection known simply as the Tate, one could well avow that the Modern is the best museum of international modern art in the world. Since May 2000, the museum has been one of the most popular attractions in London and sits conveniently across Millenium Bridge from St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Natural History Museum
Why is the Natural History Museum must-see? For over 70 million items that span the disciplines of botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology, that’s why. If you’re at all curious about the planet you inhabit, the museum is a boundless source of awe.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
The present St. Paul’s Cathedral dates back to the 17th century, although all told, there have been at least four others in London since the year 604. Open to the public and recently restored, a superb view of the city is available to those who climb the 530 steps to St. Paul’s Golden Gallery.