Please find below some useful links;www.visitlondon.com
Buildings of historical interest
- Buckingham Palace: This is the official residence of the British monarch in London. Buckingham Palace, originally known as Buckingham House, was built initially as a large townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham. It was subsequently acquired by George III in 1761 and became known as, The Queen's House. The original house then underwent a series of expansion projects spanning approximately 75 years and executed mainly under the direction of the architects John Nash and Edware Blore. In 1837 when Queen Victoria ascended to the throne, Buckingham Palace became the official royal residence. It has, since that time become a focal point for the British people in times of national celebration as well as occasions of deep grief.
The Palace of Westminster (The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben):
This is where the two UK houses of parliament (the House of Lords and the House of commons) assemble. Situated on the north bank of the River Thames in the London Borough of the City of Westminster this is the home of Britain's parliamentary democracy. After a fire in 1834 the current Palace of Westminster was rebuilt over the following 30 years by the architect Sir Charles Barry and his assistant Augustus Welby Pugin. The 320 foot high Clock Tower, Big Ben, is named after the largest bell within it weighing over 13 tons. It was cast in 1858 at the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in East London. To this very day it remains one of the largest bells they have ever cast. Each of the four clock faces is over 7m in diameter.
The Tower of London:
This building is one of the capital's richest historical landmarks. Built nearly a thousand years ago, it is an unrivalled repository of the nation's past, both glorious and infamous. Besides housing the Crown Jewels, its walls have hosted some of the most infamous traitors and most obvious innocents. For many of the accused, the Tower was the very last sight to meet their eyes before the awful spectre of a gruesome public execution. The Tower of London is by all accounts an intriguing place to visit with it flightless ravens, eerie chambers and countless ghost stories. A must see for any serious student of English history.
The Old Bailey:
The Central Criminal Court in England is commonly referred to as the Old Bailey. This name came about due to the fact that the court is located on the site of the medieval Newgate Gaol on Old Bailey Road. The road follows the route of the city's ancient fortified wall (also known as a bailey) hence the popular reference. The court is the site for trials of a serious criminal nature committed in the Greater London area and occasionally for such cases from other parts of the UK. The Old Bailey is part of a cluster of other buildings housing the Crown Court and situated between Holborn Circus and St Paul's Cathedral.
Royal Courts of Justice:
The Royal Courts of Justice is situated on the Strand in the City of Westminster and houses the Court of Appeal of England and Wales and the High Court of Justice of England and Wales. It is also commonly referred to as the Law Courts. The building is surrounding by four Inns of Court and the London School of Economics. The building in which the court is resident was designed by Edmund Street, a lawyer who later became an architect. It was built in the 1870s according to the Victorian Gothic tradition.
The London Dungeon: Prepare to be petrified. This popular tourist attraction, based in Tooley Street, London, near London Bridge station showcases various forms of medieval torture (definitely not everyone's cup of tea but well worth it if you have the stomach!). The London Dungeon recreates macabre historical events with all the necessary blood and gore in an attempt to make them appealing to the younger generation. Exhibits use a combination of live actors, special effects and rides.
- Trafalgar Square: Another famous tourist attraction. This popular square in central London enjoys a favoured position in the heart of London. Well known for its trademark statues of Nelson's Column and the statues of the Four Lions that guard it. In recent times the Square has been at the heart of controversy due to the former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone's efforts to revolutionise it with his Fourth plinth concept. The plinth is intended to display a series of contemporary exhibits, one of the first was the statue of a disabled pregnant woman. Trafalgar is often the site of new year revelry and a political rallying point for demonstrations of all description.
- The Planetarium: This world class exhibit is located at the pinnacle of the Madame Tussauds building in Baker Street and was introduced by the waxwork creators to present an amazing showcase chronicling the known history of the universe. N/B The Planetarium can only be visited on a combined price ticket with Madame Tussauds.
- Madame Tussauds: London's most famous visitor attraction, Madame Tussauds, with other locations in New York, Amsterdam, Las Vegas, Shanghai and Hong Kong. Find a waxwork of virtually anyone of consequence from the living to the deceased. This is a highly enjoyable day out for kids and adults alike.
- London Eye: Great views and sweeping vistas of London from the World's largest Ferris wheel. Highly recommended to take along a camera.
Visitor Attractions (SE Region/UK)
- Alton Towers Resort: One of the UK's favourite theme parks with lots of recreational activities, excitement, fun, games and rides. It has a wild and wonderful water park; a relaxing, soothing spa. There are quality hotels, restaurants and bars not to mention an amazing conference centre. Set in the heart of Staffordshire, Alton Towers is the most amazing place to visit. For more information.
- LEGOLAND® Windsor: This intriguing adventure park (or collection of parks) is built almost exclusively on a lego theme throughout. All parks reflect this central theme although every ride and attraction is different. Whilst there are roller coasters and other rides for the courageous, there is a strong emphasis on providing rides that are age appropriate facilitating a fun experience for every single member of the family. Legoland is based in Windsor, a relatively short traveling distance from London situated in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire. Another major tourist attraction in the area is Windsor Castle.
- Windsor Castle: This is the largest occupied castle in the world. Along with Buckingham Palace in London and Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, it is one of the British monarch's main residences. The Castle spans approximately 45,000 square metres and is also reputed to be the oldest in continuous occupation. Well worth a visit!
- THORPE PARK: Built in 1979, Thorpe Park is a very popular theme park situated in Surrey a reasonable distance from London. Opened originally to showcase more educationally based exhibits, the park has undergone an amazing transformation over the years as ownership has changed hands from Tussauds to Merlin Entertainment. Fun for the family is guaranteed, well worth a visit
- Chessington World of Adventures & Zoo: This unique theme park is home not only to an endless array of entertaining rides, it also houses an incredible zoo. A great day out for the family with fun and learning all rolled into one.
- Warwick Castle: This historic castle overlooks the River Avon and is situated in Warwick the county town of Warwickshire right in the heart of Shakespeare country. The castle is a Grade I listed building and a Scheduled Ancient Monument meaning that it is protected against any unauthorized changes and recognised as an important national asset. Warwick Castle is associated with the Earldom of Warwickshire and receives tens of thousands of visitors each year.