Trafalgar Tours to Europe.com Travel Blog
Escorted Tours to Europe: Top Attractions to See in London, England
London is one of the most popular cities to visit in Europe. London is the capital of England and the United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its founding by the Romans, who called it Londinium. London's ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its square-mile mediaeval boundaries. Since at least the 17th century, the name London has also referred to the metropolis developed around this core. The bulk of this conurbation forms the London region and the Greater London administrative area, governed by the elected Mayor of London and the London Assembly.[
London is a leading global city, with strengths in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion,
finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transport all contributing to its prominence. It is the world's largest financial centre alongside New York, has the largest city GDPin Europeand is home to the headquarters of more than 100 of Europe's 500 largest companies. It has the most international visitors of any city in the world. London Heathrowis the world's busiest airport by number of international passengers. London's 43 universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutionsin Europe. In 2012 London will become the first city to host the Summer Olympicsthree times.
London has a diverse range of historic sites to visit, all with their own unique character and clues to the history surrounding this great city.
Churchill War Rooms
The underground headquarters of the British High Command served as the nerve center of Britain's war effort during World War II.
Imperial War Museum
Aside from the obvious historical importance of some of the documents (like Hitler's signed order authorizing the march on Poland) the museum has a couple of interactive sections that bring the reality of war to life in a way that exhibits in glass cases cannot do. The WWI section wants the visitor to experience what trench warfare was actually like (and you do) and the WWII interactive exhibit attempts to replicate (with great success) what life was like during an air raid for Londoners during the Blitz. One hesitates to say more because of spoiling the experience. Take the Elephant & Castle Line on the Tube and you will be there in a short walk.
The National Gallery, London houses one of the greatest collections of European painting in the world. These pictures belong to the public and entrance to see them is free. The National Gallery's permanent collection spans the period from about 1250 to 1900 and consists of Western European paintings.
Houses of Parliament
The Palace of Westminster is the seat of both chambers of Parliament of the United Kingdom and is located on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, close to other government buildings.
Since 1859, this is the most famous and most accurate clock in the world. "Big Ben" is the nickname of the great bell above the tower officially called the "Great Bell".
Tower of London
One of London's most famous landmarks, the historic Tower houses the Crown Jewels, the prison cell of Sir Walter Raleigh, known as the Bloody Tower, and the Chapel of St. John and the Royal Armories.
The Abbey has been the coronation church since 1066 and is the final resting place of seventeen monarchs. The present church, begun by Henry III in 1245, is one of the most important Gothic buildings in the country, with the medieval shrine of an Anglo-Saxon saint still at its
heart. A treasure house of paintings, stained glass, pavements, textiles and other artefacts, Westminster Abbey is also the place where some of the most significant people in the nation's history are buried or commemorated. Taken as a whole the tombs and memorials comprise the most significant single collection of monumental sculpture anywhere in the United Kingdom. The Library and Muniment Room houses the important (and growing) collections of archives, printed books and manuscripts belonging to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, providing a centre for their study and for research into all aspects of the Abbey's long and varied history.
Surrounded by vast parklands and gardens, this grand palace has been the Royal London residence since Queen Victoria's time, and contains priceless works of art, fine furniture and decorations that form part of the Royal Collection.
Trafalgar offers a number of tours to London including Royal Britain, Britain and Ireland Experience, and London to Rome Highlights.