London is of the most visited and cosmopolitan cities in the world with something for everyone, from entertainment and art to architecture and shopping and everything in between.
The capital of England is steeped in history. A visit to London sends you traveling back in time - from a far-north village in the Roman Empire it was in the beginning to the cultural and financial powerhouse it is today. Learn firsthand about the British monarchy through the ages as well as the historic developments in fascinating places like palaces, abbeys, museums and theatres.
It is a mecca for art galleries, museums and a world of imagination. Historic buildings in a variety of styles line the streets and are interspersed with more modern architecture for a unique blend of old and new worlds. All around the city you'll find art galleries displaying works from different mediums and theatres featuring performances of both historical pieces through modern day full-scale musicals. London has been home to writers, artists and creative types for centuries and this eclectic sense can be felt as you wander the streets of the city.
London is also an international hub with more than 300 languages spoken. This mix of backgrounds creates an exciting blend of delicious ethnic cuisine, fascinating styles in fashion and a thrilling place for you to explore.
Things to Do in London
- Buckingham Palace: To see firsthand how the royals live, you'll want to visit Buckingham Palace. This has been the official royal residence for the British monarch since 1837 with Queen Victoria. Buckingham Palace can be found in Westminster and is used for many official events and receptions held by Queen Elizabeth II. The palace has 775 rooms including 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. The state rooms are used for official and state entertaining and are open to the public each year for the majority of August and September.
- The Globe Theatre: Shakespeare said that "all the world's a stage," and you can step back in time and experience the place where the genius produced his great works. The original was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men. It was destroyed in a fire and second was erected, but it was also destroyed. A modern reconstruction of The Globe was built in 1997 and opened with a production of "Henry V." Experience one of Shakespeare's comedies or tragedies as it would have been seen during his time, in the round with the audience circling the stage.
- Tate Modern: Art lovers do not want to miss the stunning displays at the Tate Modern. As you wander through the Tate Modern, you'll see collections from 1500 through present day from artists all over the world. The collections display mediums in all forms including painting, sculpture, drawing, prints, photography, video and film, installation and performance. The best part? The Tate Modern is free to visitors.
- Big Ben: Big Ben’s official name is Elizabeth Tower, renamed in 2012 from Clock Tower, to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and Queen Elizabeth II. It has the largest four-faced chiming clock in the world and is the third-tallest free-standing clock tower. Book a tour and travel up 334 stone spiral steps to the top where you can take in amazing views of London.
- London Eye: Take a ride on the London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames. It's the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe and was built in 1999. It offers you the highest public viewing point in London, and you can enjoy unbeatable bird's eye views from the top.
- Madame Tussauds: For a bit of silliness, head over to Madame Tussauds to see was figurines of your favorite celebrities. A variety of singers, actors and performers can be seen in wax form through the museum as well as statues of the royal family and famous figures throughout history. The brave of heart can venture through the Chamber of Horrors located onsite.
Shopping in London
- Harrod's: London is a great place for some retail therapy and Harrod's should be at the top of your list. It's an upscale department store on Brompton Road near Hyde Park. It occupies 5 acres and more than 330 different departments. You can peruse everything from clothing to jewelry, food and wine, home? goods and everything in between.
- King's Road: For more shopping excitement, head over to King's Road, a street running through Chelsea and Fulham. It's associated with a 1960s style and known for major labels, including Mary Quant and Vivienne Westwood. Enjoy wandering through the area perusing the various shops and delighting in the beautiful goods to be found.