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Big Ben

Big Ben is a hallmark not only for London, but for the entire United Kingdom! It is the world’s biggest four-faceted clock, reaching up to 96 meters in height. It has been standing in the heart of the city for decades, giving thousands of people the opportunity to admire it daily. The Parliament buildings frame up the Big Ben Tower and make it look even more glorious and impressive, while the golden touches at the top of it add to its overall prestige! It’s the equivalent of what the Eiffel Tower is to France and the Colosseum to Italy. Unfortunately, you will not be able to admire it from the inside*, but you can wonder at its beauty and take pictures of it from any possible angle, any time of day!

Suggested visit time: 1-1.5 hours
Open: Always *Tours in Big Ben’s interior for locals only
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: When Big Ben strikes, it can be heard from even 9 miles away!

Tower Bridge

Thames’ jewel, the prominent Tower Bridge, is probably the most beautiful bridge in the world (next on the list are the Chain Bridge, the Charles Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge)! It has a magnificent, royal, commanding style and a monumental feel to it. What make it really special are its two towers, each one standing 65 meters tall, and the perfect combination of the stone and blue colored features. What is equally impressive is that it opens up so that ships can get through, on specific times every day. Who could set their mind on when it looks more beautiful? During the day or at night, when it gets lit up? It is always breath-taking! It may be true that the best photos are taken from afar, but in order to really get to know it, you should cross it, but also walk over it. The amazing view from 40m high and the glass floor will make you feel like you’re walking in the air (safely, of course)! You can also get inside and learn all about its history!

Suggested visit time: 1.5-2 hours
Open: April-September 10:00-17:30 & October-March 09:30-17:00
Cost: £8 for adults & £3.5 for children. (There are family packages available.)

 The know it all says: There’s a Tower Bridge replica in the Chinese city of Suzhou!

Βuckingham Palace

There is no chance you visit London and pass on the opportunity to have a look at the Queen’s humble abode! Buckingham Palace is magnificent, imposing and classy, while its rich nature is reflected in the golden details in its interior, exterior and surrounding spaces. There might be palaces of greater beauty, but the overall royal atmosphere, the luxury, the spacious parks, the polite mounted officers and of course the change of guard, are all features that make the Buckingham Palace incomparable. The famous Change of Guard starts at 11:00-11:30, while hundreds of people gather to see it! It lasts for about an hour, and you should get there 1-2 hours in advance so you can really enjoy it. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that some of the Palace’s halls are open* to the public only for 2 months, from early August to late September. If you are lucky, you could also say hi to the Queen!

*Only via online booking.

Important note: The Change of Guard takes place every day during spring-summer and every other day during autumn-winter.

Suggested visit time: 1-1.5 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free (£20-40 per person for the halls)

 The know it all says: When the flag of the building’s central poll is at full mast, it means that the Queen is inside the palace!

British Museum

The British Museum is a universal cradle of culture and one of the most important museums in the world! It exhibits artworks of great civilizations, like the Egyptian, Roman, Chinese and, of course, the Greek. The flawlessly structured museum is divided in dozens of halls that host* numerous showpieces. The biggest showstoppers are the Ancient Greek civilization, represented by the Elgin Marbles that have existed for more than 2,500 years and the Egyptian civilization, with the mummies, sarcophagi and other finds of rare beauty! Awe is the only word that can adequately describe the feeling you get while witnessing our planet’s history! Attendance is pretty high throughout the whole day, so you should get there early in the morning, before the opening. The fact that entrance is free for everyone is yet another reason we reserved a spot for the British Museum at the top of our DoDo list.

*The exhibits belong to various significant ancient civilizations and are being hosted by this museum.

Suggested visit time: 4-5 hours
Open: Everyday 10:00-17:30, on Fridays open until 20:30
Closed: December 24th- 26th & January 1st
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: Τhe museum’s collection displays more than 2,000 years of human history!

Piccadilly Circus & Trafalgar Square

a. Piccadilly and Trafalgar may be London’s most famous squares, but they are nothing alike! The first one looks like a miniature of the Times Square, because all the neon lights and large screens give off a New York essence. It could also be called London’s Point Zero, as it is the best spot for you to start exploring London. In the surrounding area, there are a lot of souvenir shops, pubs, restaurants, as well as the famous China Town. The Statue of Eros, with its bright…black color stands in the square’s center and thousands of people meet there every day, any time of day or night, so it’s always full of life! The most impressive moment, though, is when all the lights turn on and the night turns into day!

b. On the other hand, Trafalgar is a large square, located in front of the National Gallery, at the crossroad of many important streets that in a way bring together the Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Charing Cross Rd, the road of all the great theaters. It gives off a strong sense of London’s culture and reminds less of the modern European London that Piccadilly Circus is all about. It’s mainly a tourist attraction and its large fountains attract thousands of people that gather to take pictures. Contrarily, at night, it is much less crowded, while the low lighting makes it really romantic. We think that Trafalgar is one of Europe’s most splendid squares, because apart from all its other traits, it also offers a view of Big Ben!

Suggested visit time: 1-1.5 for each square
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: Piccadilly’s lights have been turned off in only two occasions; for Winston Churchill’s funeral in 1965 and for Princess Diana in 1997!

London eye

The world’s largest eye is the one of London’s! It was built to celebrate the turn of the new millennium and ended up staying by Thames’ banks for good, as the Brits turned it into a tourist attraction that proved to be a real goldmine! It is a 135-meter tall wheel, which has capsules/rooms that rotate and give you the chance to see London from a lot of different angles (depending on the capsule’s position per minute). Each capsule’s capacity is 20-25 people and that makes taking pictures quite challenging! It takes about 30 minutes for the wheel to make a full rotation, but you have only 15 minutes of constructive time*. On a clear day visibility reaches up to 40km and you can see all the famous landmarks, like Big Ben, the Tower Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral. In order to get in, you might have to wait in line for 20 minutes (on weekdays) to 2 hours (on weekends). The best time to take this ride is when the sun is setting or at night when the city lights are shimmering; a combination of the two would be even better!

*The time when the capsule reaches the highest point, so you can have a decent view.

Suggested visit time: 1-1.5 hours
Open: Everyday 10:00-21:00
Closed: December 25th
Cost: £26 for ages 16+, £21 for ages 16- & £36 for Skip Line tickets. All via online booking.

 The know it all says: The Eye’s 32 capsules represent London’s 32 districts and each one has the weight of (exactly!) 1,052,631 pound coins!

Natural History Museum

It is the most interesting Museum of Natural History worldwide! The museum’s exterior is an example of magnificent architecture, grand, imposing and huge! And as far its interior is concerned…we don’t know where to start! The red sector that reveals the Earth’s past and present; the wonderful interactive exhibits and activities suitable for the young and the old; the rare gems and minerals; the halls about earthquakes and volcanoes; the Paleolithic animals; the escalators that take you to the Earth’s core; the blue zone with the humongous whale; or the enthralling world of dinosaurs and so many more? The museum is divided in four zones (orange, blue, green and red) and the exhibits are orderly organized and placed in a way that allows you to see all of them, if you can afford to spend a few hours. Both you and your children are going to love it! Also, there is a snack bar-café-restaurant in each zone!

Suggested visit time: 3-5 hours
Open: Every day 10:00-17:45
Closed: December 24th-26th.
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: The museum’s collection includes 55 million animal species, 9 million heirlooms, 6 million plant samples and 500 thousands minerals/metals!

Ηyde Parκ

It’s not simply a park; it is a piece of paradise, where you have lots of activities to choose from in order to spend a few constructive and pleasant hours. You can cross it on foot, by bike, by horse or combine it with some exercise by jogging through it! You can also read your book, have a picnic and relax, while looking at the small waterfalls, the fountains and the innumerous flowers. Rent a lounger, near the lake, watch the magnificent swans and the ducks, or take a romantic boat ride. Each season has its own charm, giving you the chance to collect new experiences and images. If you would like to be more at ease, you should visit the park on a weekday, as it gets pretty crowded on weekends. Being surrounded by so much greenery and water, you will feel like you are in some National park and not in the heart of London!

Important note: It would be best to visit the park on a sunny day (although an unlikely scenario for London, admittedly), so you can make the most of it!

Suggested visit time: 3-4 hours
Open: Every day 05:00-00:00
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: It covers 142 hectares (350 acres) and has more than 4,000 trees!

St. Paul’s Cathedral

This one is an architectural masterpiece, with an impressive history and exquisite architecture, located in the city center! As we stepped inside, what steal the show in the temple’s interior, are the absolute silence and the remarkable dome, which is the second tallest in Europe. In order to reach its top at 85 meters, you have to climb 528 steps! Up there, the indisputable star is the view, as you have London on a plate! You can make some in-between stops to catch your breath, at the famous Whispering Gallery* (257 steps), as well as at the dome’s first level (376 steps at 52 meters). Before leaving the Cathedral, go down to the crypt with the tombs of some great historical figures, like Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington.

* Its name refers to the gallery’s incredible acoustics. If you try to whisper anything, even if you are facing the wall, it will be heard in the entire room!

Suggested visit time: 1.5-2 hours
Open: Monday-Saturday/ Temple: 08:30-16:30 & Gallery: 09:30-16:00. Sundays: open only for service, free entrance
Cost: £18.00 for adults, £8.00 for children (-£2 on online booking). Sundays: Service (free)

 The know it all says: Τhe Cathedral’s dome is 111 meters tall and weighs 68,000 tons!

PortoBello

Portobello is a street in Notting Hill and it is the world’s most famous street for antique stores. It is a combination of Athens’ Monastiraki area and a large flea market, as inside the shops, but also on the various street stands, you can find some rare collections, furniture and home products. In the market you will also find vegetables, fruit, falafels, paellas, second-hand clothes, record players, vinyl records and more. This combination of the new and the old, the people, the street musicians’ tunes, as well as the smells that come from every corner compose a scene that is one of a kind and everyone should get the chance to experience! Saturday is the most popular day for visiting the market, but if large crowds are too much for you, you should consider going on a weekday*. Bear in mind that the market is closed on Sundays and only a few stores and cafés remain open.

*On weekdays, the street stands and your options are limited.

Suggested visit time: 1-2 hours
Open: Monday-Wednesday 09:00-18:00, Thursday 09:00-13:00 & Friday-Saturday 09:00-19:00.
Closed: Sunday
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: Records of the market’s existence date back to 1014 making it one of the oldest markets in London!

Regent Str. & Oxford Str.

Regent Str. and Oxford Str. are two of London’s most commercial streets. In Regent Street you will find the most expensive stores in London, as it hosts the most famous clothing and footwear brands. Taking a walk along it you see store after store and cafés and restaurants that are always packed, keeping the street’s spark alive through day and night! Now, Oxford is London’s most well-known commercial street, with all kinds of shops. It’s really striking how clean and taken care of it is and we guarantee that you will visit this street again and again, as it is bound to charm you with its luxury and the options that it provides! Bakeries, clothing stores, electronics and toy stores for every budget have their doors open for you! During the Christmas holidays, the glistening lights and special decorations make it even brighter and prettier, “urging” you to visit it daily! These two streets are the embodiment of shoppers’ (=women’s) joy and men’s hassle (just kidding)! Don’t miss it!

Suggested visit time: 3-4 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: Regent Street employs more than 10,000 people and is the world’s most commercial street!

Madame Tussauds + 4D Experience

A visit to the museum of wax figures has to be one of your priorities when visiting London! This fascinating museum is divided in three floors and hosts artists, athletes, politicians, actors/actresses, singers, celebrities and important British figures. The resemblance in most cases is uncanny, so much so you couldn’t tell the difference if the actual people were standing next to the models! What is really impressive is the room in which they present how the wax figures are made step-by-step and the train ride through which you learn about London’s history. The most exciting part, though, comes at the end with the 4D experience. Don’t hesitate to pay a visit to the museum, even if you have been there before, as many of the themes and wax models change frequently. There are other Madame Tussauds museums in Europe, but the one in London is by far the best, both in design and in quality of exhibits.

Important note: The most preferable time to visit it would be half an hour before the opening, Monday-Thursday.

Suggested visit time: 3-4 hours
Open: Every day 09:00-18:00. During high season, every day 08:30-18:00
Cost: £33 for ages 16+ (£23 online booking), £29 for ages 16- (£20 online booking)

 The know it all says: It takes about 4 months for a wax statue to be completed and each one costs around $125,000!

Harrods

Either you are a fan of shopping or not, you should definitely pay a visit to the famous Harrods mall! It was built in 1834(!) and its seven floors span over an entire city block, raising the luxury quotient of the entire surrounding area through the roof! Inside the mall you will find more than 320 stores selling clothes, underwear, perfumes, jewelry, shoes, home products, beauty products, food and dozens of other goods, all in really high prices! ! You can also have a cup of coffee or tea, have a snack, some dessert, lunch or dinner in one of the 28(!) shops, cafés and restaurants. The spaces are spotless, the salespeople are all suited up and security guards watch discretely while there are more cameras (visible or not) than inside the Bellagio! The mall also hosts Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed’s memorial.

Suggested visit time: 3-5 hours
Open: Monday-Saturday 10:00-21:00 & Sunday 11:30-18:00
Closed: December 25th
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: It serves more than 15,000,000 customers yearly!

Notting Hill

Notting Hill is an area in London that stands out for its style and unique character. Although it stands inside the city center, it is a quiet, cute neighborhood with a distinct ambience. In a frame of colorful, side-by-side houses, this area became widely well-known through the movie titled after it. The images give visitors the sense of some older times, more romantic and pure, so much that you’d think that Hugh Grant himself might just turn around the corner and talk to you! In this area there are plenty of restaurants, bakeries, cafés and places you can do some shopping, take a walk, but also relax, while having a nice meal.

Suggested visit time: 1-2 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: Hugh Grant’s house with the famous blue door from the movie “Notting Hill” is located in 280 Westbourne Park Road, Notting Hill, London W11! Pop culture landmark alert!

St. James Park

After you are done touring the Palace, take a walk through the wonderful and neat St. James Park, which is not very big, but it is definitely charming and clean and stretches all the way to Trafalgar Square. There is a large lake inside the park with lots of ducks and swans and around it you can find plenty of benches where you can sit, relax and maybe feed some peanuts to the squirrels that are always running around!

Suggested visit time: 1-1.5 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: King James kept a collection of animals in the park which included camels, crocodiles, an elephant and exotic birds!


Travelen.eu is regularly updated on ticket costs and operating hours, but you should always visit your choice of destination’s official site for confirmation.