Iconic London sites calling! There are so many iconic London places and activities to see and do. The city is where the business world meets the history. From iconic London palaces, ancient buildings, museums, and all the iconic London skyscrapers to world-renowned restaurants, and fashion boutiques, there’s so much to see when you visit London. There are so many things to do and see in this town. It might be impossible for you to pick one. Hey, don’t worry. We prepared you the list for the 10 best iconic London sites and activities to hit up when you visit the capital. Since we know how hard it can be to decide what to visit in London, here they are!
Iconic London #1: BUCKINGHAM PALACE
Who wouldn’t want to visit a royal resident and when it’s the residency of Queen Elizabeth when in London? Buckingham Palace has been the main royal residence since 1837. Queen Victoria was the first sovereign to live in the palace. Yet it has been a private residence before to former queens and lords too. Throughout the year, the place is open to the public during the summer for ten weeks. In addition to those, there are limited tours in December, January and also during the Easter. You can visit the Crown Room, the selection of the Royal Collection and some other staterooms. If you are not lucky enough to visit the iconic London palace in these seasons, you can always take a picture in front of the outside gate! Also if you look carefully enough you can see witness the guard changing sessions too.
Iconic London #2: TOWER BRIDGE
The iconic Tower Bridge is one of the reasons why the Thames landscapes is so beautiful. Another good thing about it is that you can actually go into those two towers on the bridge. The raising of the bridge is watched like a football match here, you can see people gathering by the canal to see it. If you want to see a great panorama of London, Tower Bridge is the most beautiful and practical place to do it. The last admission is at 5 PM, sadly you cannot watch the sunset but enjoy a nice view in the afternoon!
Iconic London #3: HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT
Houses of Parliament is also referred as Palace of Westminister. In the political realm, this is the most iconic London site in town, lying just beside the canal along with the famous clock tower Big Ben. The building is astonishingly working to be a part of government offices. The two houses of the parliament still exist since the 17th century: House of Lords and House of Commons. Most of the parts of the vast structure are rebuilt and renovated after the notorious fire in 1834. The whole place is a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site since 1937 along with the oldest governmental rooms from the 11th century. You can always stop by during the day to check and watch the debates of the houses but know that there would be a line for that!
Iconic London #4: GLOBE THEATRE
Shakespeare visited our literature classes at least once during our education. You might know Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet or Macbeth. Shakespeare was also one of the four actors who founded the iconic London Globe Theatre in 1599. During those times, plays were presented in the backyards of the wealthy people, public squares, simply in areas big enough to create the acts. Until the Puritan administration in 1642, the theater serves for its purposes but then destroyed. Today’s version of Globe is simply a recreation of the old building for the memory of Globe performers and William Shakespeare. You can book tickets to watch the famous plays of Shakespeare during the season or can join a tour of the place all year.
Iconic London #5: NATIONAL GALLERY
National Gallery is not only the best art museum in London, but probably one of the best in the world too. The collection here is amazingly large, has a huge variety in time, history, style, country, civilization, and type. The arts come from everywhere around the world. You can see Botticelli, Rembrandt, Renoir, and even da Vinci. According to their yearly schedule, you might be able to see extra exhibitions at the iconic London gallery too. All of these great pieces are open to the public for free – yes, you’ve read it right. National Gallery is free for all, every day except when it is closed on holidays. Go there, cherish the art and enjoy strolling around the masterpieces of great artists.
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There’s now a million of you following us on Instagram! Thank you to everyone who has chosen to enjoy scroll-stopping, thumb-tapping, story-watching paintings in your feed. Here’s to many more masterpieces. We thought we’d share some of our most-liked paintings on Instagram including Van Eyck’s ‘Arnolfini Portrait’. This mysterious painting is a portrait of Giovanni di Nicolao Arnolfini and his wife. Many people think that this is a marriage portrait but this isn’t the case. Arnolfini’s wife is not pregnant either. In the 15th century it was quite normal for women to hold their bulky gowns up in this way. The ornate Latin signature translates as ‘Jan van Eyck was here 1434’. The similarity to modern graffiti is not accidental. Van Eyck often inscribed his pictures in a witty way. Look closely in the mirror and you might be able to see two people reflected in the doorway. One may be Van Eyck himself but we aren’t sure who either are. Come and see this intriguing painting in Room 63. Detail from Jan van Eyck, ‘The Arnolfini Portrait’, 1434 © The National Gallery, London #1million #nationalgallery #vaneyck #janvaneyck #arnolfiniportrait #arnolfini #painting #arthistory
#6: CHURCHILL WAR ROOMS
As you may know, Churchill was the person who was in charge during the Second World War. Luckily, the Imperial War Museum dedicated a whole another section for this purpose. Especially if you are interested in the late history of England during the Second World War, this is where you can do it. You can see where all the decisions were made and maybe the room where most critic times of the war happened. The tickets are around 20€ and come with a free audio guide. You can also visit the interactive Churchill Museum in the same building.
#7: VICTORIA AND ALBERT MUSEUM
Another iconic London art and design museum is the Victoria and Albert Museum. The place also has various themes of collections including fashion, paintings, ceramics, jewellery, sculptures and even furniture. There are also temporary exhibitions available. As the National Gallery, V&A Museum has a free admission policy. The collection is so many items and showrooms that you may need a visit more than one here. If you feel like giving a break, there is a very nice restaurant in the museum, which can take you to the past as well! A side note: Unlike what generally people think, the museum is not about Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
There is a broad range of iconic London markets selling a variety of wares; from flowers to fresh produces and vintage to street food. The markets are everywhere around the city. Depending on where you are staying, you might be able to catch a glimpse of some of them. However, you should at least see one market. In order to open the door to a local life in the city, visiting a local market is the first step. You may go to Borough Market which is the most popular one for food – but also the oldest one in London. If you are a flower enthusiast you can see Colombia Road Flower Market, it is the most vibrant market in the city. In case you are a shopper, Camden Market has a variety of antiques, second-hand, accessories, design stalls and even arts and crafts items.
#9: SKY GARDEN
In case you want to enjoy the iconic London skyline while sipping a drink, you should come to Sky Garden. The rooftop bar in London is free to the public as long as you book a ticket. Along with a great view and cool vibe, the bar is also known to have the highest garden in London, that’s why the place is called Sky Garden. Nonetheless to say, Sky Garden is an awarded establishment for its landscape architecture. It is a definite feast for the eye – especially if you are planning a romantic night! You can also enjoy a meal in the restaurant or can visit just for the view – totally up to you.
#10: HYDE PARK
Hyde Park is the largest of the eight iconic London Royal Parks, and probably the most popular. One of the reasons is that the park itself is next to Kensington Palace, a private royal residence. If you want to take a walk, maybe jog or even try out horse riding; the perfect place for sports. Also, a silent park to read a book, take a walk and give a break from all the chaos of the city at the same time. Hyde Park is also a house to Princess Diana’s Memorial Fountain, which you may be able to see while wandering around. On the Sundays, ambiance gets pretty lively by Speakers’ Corner where anybody can share an idea, a political argument or simply talk about the current issues.