Monday, June 29, 2015

Top 15 London Attractions

1. British Museum:

  • Established: 1753.
  • Location: Great Russell Street, London, United Kingdom.
  • Collection Size: Approximately 8 million objects.
  • Ranked: 1st Nationally, 4th Globally.
  • Comprises: Art, Culture, Human history.
British Museum

Founded in 1753, the British Museum is considered as one of the oldest museums in England and contains almost all the available collections of human history. The museum houses a large number of artefacts and relics which are related to the history of the civilisation since the beginning. The collections include objects of world’s culture, history, treasures, art and many other events. The museum entertains around six million visitors annually. The number of collections here is around eight million. Located in Bloomsbury area in London, the museum has covered almost all the continents of the world. The museum was started with the private initiative of Sir Hans Sloane, a physician and a scientist. The museum was inaugurated on January 15 in 1759 for public visit. The most prominent enrichment for the museum took place during the British colonial expansion in different countries of the world. The museum requires no entry fee for the visitors and has occupied the position of a cultural icon for London. The museum started its journey with 70,000 different objects collected by Sir Hans Sloane which were gathered from Greece, Rome, Sudan and Egypt. Besides, the British Museum exhibits objects collected from different parts of the world including Asia, Africa, and Oceania. This is a nice place for the tourists.

2. Tower of London:

  • Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress.
  • Location: London Borough of Tower Hamlets, London, England.
  • Castle: 12 acres.
  • Tower Liberties: 6 acres.
  • Built: 1078.
  • Rebuild in: 1285.
Tower of London

The Tower of London is considered as one the world heritage sites and was founded in late 1066. The Tower of London was made marking the capture of London by the Normans. Officially the tower is known as Her Majesty’s Royal Palace. The tower is also renowned as the Fortress of the Tower of London. Though the name suggests about a tower, this is, in fact, a large castle situated on the bank of the River Thames with several building-complex. The tower has served different purposes after its foundation and even it has been used as a prison as well. Besides, the tower has been used as an armoury and public record office. The Tower of London is a significant part of English History, the medieval period, and was used to rule over the entire country. Many of the historical characters had passed their days behind the bars of the tower. Some executions also took place here which made it more renowned to the surrounding people, and people said that the ghosts of the executed people are seen walking around the tower. But now the scenario has been entirely changed and the tower has turned into one of the greatest tourist attractions of England.

3. Hyde Park:

  • Type: Public park.
  • Location: Westminster in London, England.
  • Area: 625 acres (2.53 km²).
  • Established in: 1637.
  • Operated by The Royal Parks.
Hyde Park

Hyde Park is considered as one of the largest parks in London for its length and expansion. This is also known as one of the Royals Parks of London as well as this is one the four parks that create a chain centering the Kensington Palace. The park has been divided into two parts naming – the Serpentine and the Long Water. The park is located adjacent to the Kensington Gardens which is also considered as the part of the Hyde Park. The park stands on an area covering around 350 acres of lands. The park is opened for all and remains opened from 5.00 am to 12.00 pm round the year. The park, which was a manor in the beginning, was established in 1536 by Henry VIII solely for hunting deer and which had limited access for the commoners but later the Hyde Park has been used for different purposes and mass demonstration over any issues. The park has been used for protests demanding liberty and livelihood for the common citizens of England. Now, the grand entrance to the park is used by all the visitors. The park contains some historical sites inside its boundary which are remarkable visiting place for all.

4. Tower Bridge:

  • Crosses: River Thames.
  • Heritage status: Grade I listed structure.
  • Characteristics:
  • Design: Bascule bridge.
  • Total length: 801 feet (244 m).
  • Height: 213 feet (65 m).
  • Opened: 30 June 1894.
Tower Bridge

The Tower Bridge is one of the famous icons of London. The bridge was built in the late of the 18th century on the Thames River. The bridge is adjacent to the Tower of London. This is a suspension bridge and one of the five bridges that are owned and maintained by the Bridge House Estate. This is the only bridge that is not connecting the London city directly. There are two large towers of the bridge and the towers are designed to combat the external tension forces. Moreover, there are two walkways in the bridge which are carried by the towers. The machinery for operating the tower are located at the base of the towers. The towers are coloured in red, blue and white. Vehicles and pedestrians are able to access the bridge but people are to pay charges for accessing the bridge facilities. The bridge is easily accessible from different parts of the city of London. The design of this bascule bridge was selected from 50 designs. Construction of the bridge began in 1887 and over 400 workers worked for eight years to make the bridge. The total cost of constructing the bridge was over 120 million pounds.

5. Westminster Abbey:

  • Location: City of Westminster, London, England.
  • Built: 10th century.
  • Height: 69 metres.
  • Architectural style: Gothic.
  • Official name: Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and Saint Margaret's Church.
  • Type: Cultural.
Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is one of the most prominent religious buildings in the United Kingdom and located adjacent to the Westminster Palace. This is mostly a church at the Westminster city in London. The place has been used for burial and coronation for the British emperors. In the mid of 15th century, it was considered as a cathedral and after the century, it has become a church which is responsible to the sovereign only. The construction of the church began in 1245 with the directives of King Henry III and he selected this site for his burial. The church has also served as the venue for the royal wedding and even the coronation of the Norman kings. The church underwent some difficult times in the 15th century for some reasons and also got damaged by the attacks of Puritan iconoclasts. The museum at the church is also considered as one of the oldest ones which exhibit a good number of royal objects.

6. National Gallery:

  • The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in Central London.
  • Established: 1824
  • Location: Trafalgar Square, Central London, United Kingdom.
National Gallery

Located at the Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, the National Gallery is an art museum in England which was founded in 1824 and one of the most visited museums in the world. The museum accommodates over 2000 paintings of different period ranging between the mid of 13th century to the 19th century. The museum is free of charge for its visitors and taken care by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The initiation of the museum began with the collection of 38 paintings which were bought from an insurance broker and then private donations of paintings were made to enrich the museum and its galleries. The museum has several wings and galleries with different designs. The National Gallery was made public on May in 1824 on a small scale before it was established in the current location which is significant for the museum. Some of its wings and galleries have been built in the modern days to meet the growing demands

7. Buckingham Palace:

  • Location: Westminster. Buckingham. 
  • Built: In 1703 as the Buckingham House, for the Duke of Buckingham.
Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the monarch of the UK and is located in the City of Westminster. The palace is used for different purposes and mostly it is used for entertaining the royal guests in any royal event. The house was formerly known as the Buckingham House and was built to accommodate the Duke of Buckingham. The house was built on a private land in 1703 and the major expansion for the house happened in the 19th and 20th century. Queen Victoria started using the house for her living in London in 1837. The Palace consists 775 rooms of different shape and size and there is a large private garden inside the complex. Trespassing in the Palace is considered as a criminal offence. The Palace is not considered as the private property of the monarch rather it is owned by the Crown Estate. The Palace holds different events and to hold the events, there are different rooms and halls are used.

8. The London Eye:

  • Type: Ferris Wheel. 
  • Location: South Bank of the River Thames. 
  • Completed: In March 2000. 
  • Construction Cost: £70 million. 
  • Height: 135 metres / 443 ft. 
  • Diameter: 120 metres / 394 ft.
The London Eye

London Eye is located on the bank of the River Thames in London and this Ferris wheel is also known as the Millennium Wheel. But now the name has been changed as Coca-Cola London Eye after an agreement with the company for advertisement. The wheel is about 135 meter in length and is considered as the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel. The wheel was also the tallest one in the entire Europe and allowed the visitors to have a complete view of London until it was surpassed by the observation deck of The Shard. The people who want to ride here need to pay a standard amount of pounds to have tickets. The design for the wheel was made in a combination of several architects and during the construction, the parts were assembled on water. The wheel was opened on the last day of December in 1999 and it was opened for public in March of 2000. Over 30 million people have ridden on the London Eye since after its inception.

9. Tate Modern:

  • Type: A modern art gallery. 
  • Location: Bankside, London SE1, England, United Kingdom. 
  • Established: 2000.
Tate Modern

In Britain there are different art galleries are available and the Tate Modern is one of them. This is a modern art gallery in London and contains almost all the modern arts. The gallery is located in the Bankside area of London and all the collection belongs to the national level. The gallery contains a collection of British arts from the 19th century to the current days. Besides, the gallery also houses contemporary and modern international arts. Tate Modern is considered as on the largest museums for contemporary and modern arts of the world. The galleries of the museum are built in two stages though the building looks like the older one of the 20th century. There are seven floors inside of the gallery buildings and the main collections are displayed on the four wings. The wings are named after the subject themes they contain. The collections were in disorder after it was opened in 2000. The most visible part of the museum is the brick-made chimney.

10. Victoria and Albert Museum:

  • Established: 1852.
  • Location: Cromwell Gardens, South Kensington, London, United Kingdom.
  • Collection size: 4.6 million objects.
  • Visitors: 3,290,500 ( in 2013).
Victoria and Albert Museum

Located in Brompton district, Victoria and Albert Museum is better known as V&A and is considered as the biggest museum for decorative arts and design. The museum proudly owns nearly 5 million objects on decorative arts, house decoration and other issues. The museum was founded in 1852 and the naming of it is interesting. The museum was named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The locality of the museum has become known as the Albertopolis. The museum is a non-departmental public body and it is taken cared by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The museum requires no entry fees for visiting. There are about 145 galleries inside the museum and the collections are old enough to surprise the visitors. The objects are collected from different parts of the world including Europe, Africa, America and Asia. The most notable objects include ceramics objects, textiles, glass, drawing, sculptures, silver, photographs and many more. Post-classical sculptures are highly attractive for the visitors. The museum was renovated in 2001.

11. Windsor Castle:

  • Type: A royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. 
  • Shape: Three bailey wards with a central round keep. 
  • Owner: The Occupied Royal Palaces Estate. 
  • In use: From late 11th century to present. 
  • Materials: Bagshot Heath stone.
Windsor Castle

The Windsor Castle is mostly famous for its long connection with the royal family of England and has been used as a royal residence at Windsor in Berkshire. The castle was built in the 11th century with an outstanding architecture following the Norman invasion in England. The castle has been used by almost all the monarchs in England. The castle’s inside architecture has been modified in the 19th century following the Georgian taste. The castle was built to prevent the Normans and check a special part of the River Thames. Stones were added on the castle later to fortify the castle. The castle underwent several modifications during different monarchies and got improved gradually. After all the modifications in ages, the castle’s use was changed to a great extent and often it served the role of the court and diplomatic entertainment. Currently, the castle is one of the greatest tourist attractions in England. About 500 people are inside the castle to take care of its three wards – Lower, Middle and Upper.

12. Somerset House:

  • Location: Strand, City of Westminster, London.
  • Architectural style: Neoclassical.
  • Construction Started: 1776.
  • Total Cost: £462,32.
  • Architect: Sir William Chambers.
  • Designations: Grade I listed building.
Somerset House

Somerset House is the example of a large neoclassical building. This is one of the large public buildings in England and is located in central London, just overlooking the River Thames. The house is on the east side of the Waterloo Bridge. Sir William Chambers designed the building in 1776. The building got expansion in the 18th century and got two wings on the east and west side. The history of Somerset House begins from the 16th century and few other structures were built in the place before construction of the house in the current location. The process of building the house was slow and as the materials were of improved quality, the cost of the building increased. The house has served as the residence for some of the royal family members while the residing members contributed greatly to improve the house. The house also served as army headquarters and held other offices for the government. Rumours also went centering the house that Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey was killed inside the house. The South Wing of the house was damaged in the Second World War and was repaired in the 50s.

13. St Paul's Cathedral:

  • Location: City of London, UK. 
  • Denomination: Church of England. 
  • Architect(s): Sir Christopher Wren. 
  • Style: English Baroque. 
  • Years built: 1675–1720. 
  • Length: 518ft (158m). 
  • Height: 365ft (111m). 
  • Nave width: 121ft (37m). 
  • Width across transepts: 246ft (75m). 
  • Number of towers: 2. 
  • Tower height: 221ft (67m).
 St Paul's Cathedral

The St Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most famous sites in London and the second largest church in the UK. The Cathedral has several functions to play together – the role of an Anglican Cathedral, the mother church for Diocese of London and the seat of the Bishop of London. The cathedral is on the highest point of the City of London. The original church was built on this place around in 604 AD while the existing church was built in the 17th century. The church was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and the church was affected by the great fire of London which required rebuilding for the church. The church was considered as the tallest structure in England till 1962 beginning from the 17th century. The church has played important roles in the national history of England and now it provides different services as well. It has held the funerals of some renowned English, while it was used to celebrate different royal issues and even it held the wedding ceremonies for the royal people as well. Now it is serving hourly prayers and other necessary daily services.

14. Alexandra Palace:

  • Type: A historic entertainment venue in Alexandra Park. 
  • Location: London, United Kingdom. 
  • Owner:Haringey London Borough Council. 
  • Operator: Alexandra Park and Palace Charitable Trust.
Alexandra Palace

Alexandra Palace, opened in 1873, is considered as one of the historic entertainment venues in London. The palace is located in Alexandra Park, in the north part of the city. The palace was designed to serve as a public centre for entertainment and got damaged by a destructive fire in the same year of opening and was rebuilt in 1875. The palace has been used by BBC for long days and the television and radio poles are still in the place where they were in the beginning. The place still contains the remains of the original Victorian theatre like the stage, machinery etc. The palace has been listed as a historical building in 1996. The High Court has placed a bar on the further development of the building in 2007 like building a commercial complex containing a hotel, exhibition centre etc. But now the Great Hall and the West Hall are used for concerts, some typical exhibitions etc.

15. The Shard:

  • Type: A 95-storey skyscraper in Southwark, London.
  • Architectural style: Neo-Futurism
  • Location: 32 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9SG. UK.
  • Construction Completed: July 2012
  • Opened: 1 February 2013.
  • Owner: State of Qatar (95%) & Sellar Property Group (5%).
  • Observatory: 244.3 m (802 ft).
  • Floor count: 95.
  • Floor area: 110,000 m2 (1,200,000 sq ft).
The Shard

The shard is the 95-storied skyscraper in London is also known in different names like Shard of Glass, London Bridge Tower and Shard London Bridge. The building is the 87th tallest building in the world and the tallest one for London. Moreover, the Shard is the fourth tallest building in the entire Europe. Construction for the building began in March in 2009 and was inaugurated in July in 2012 by the Prime Minister of Qatar. The building has an observation deck which is privately operated and that has been opened since the first date of February in 2013. There are 72 floors in the glass tower the observation deck is located on the 72nd floor. The tower is jointly owned by the State of Qatar and Seller Property. A consortium from Qatar has invested around £150 millions. The tower has been used in a short film and on a video game as well. Some other structures tried to surpass the height of this building but the initiatives were barred by the Civil Aviation Authority as those may hamper airplane movement.

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