London is the capital of England and the United Kingdom and with over two thousand years of history and a population of nearly 9 million there is never a shortage of things to do! We live in fairly close proximity of the great city so decided to share some of the highlights.
As this is a December post we’re starting with a Christmas theme! Each year the people of Oslo donate a huge Christmas tree to London as a thank you to the support given to Norway during the Second World War.
The Christmas tree is placed in Trafalgar Square in the heart of Central London. Throughout the year Trafalgar Square has themes and events including at the moment a small German Christmas market.
Trafalgar Square was named after the Battle of Trafalgar and has a huge statue of Admiral Horatio Nelson who died in the battle in 1805.
Several museums and galleries can be found at Trafalgar Square including the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery both of which have free entry.
Leicester Square is a short 5 minute walk from Trafalgar Square and is London’s entertainment hub! Here you can buy tickets to see one of the many West End shows and plays or dine out in one of the nearby restaurants.
Nearby Covent Garden is delightful at Christmastime with its market stalls selling mulled wine and gingerbread biscuits! Covent Garden has a fascinating history which dates back before the Roman times. It was previously part of the gardens of Westminster Abbey before Henry VIII decided to build some luxury houses to attract the wealthy.
Westminster Abbey is a huge church which is close to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Westminster Abbey has been the site of many royal weddings and details of its long history can be found at history.com. It’s open most days and the ticket price is a rather pricey £21 per adult.
Next to Leicester Square you can find London’s China Town with its many authentic Chinese restaurants. The above picture was taken in February 2019 during the Chinese New Year where the streets are decorated with lanterns.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Moving away from Central London, located in Richmond, Kew Gardens is a great day out. It is also a short distance from Heathrow Airport so could be a handy little trip for anyone on a layover.
Palms and tropical plants can be found in Kew Gardens Palm House.
For many people, autumn is a favourite time to visit Kew Gardens as you will see the many colours.
Back across to the East End of London and Tower Bridge above. Built between 1886 and 1894 this is the most famous of London’s bridges. You can buy tickets and go inside the towers to see exhibitions. You can also visit the nearby Tower of London, a historic castle where you can see the Crown Jewels.
Brick Lane is not far from Tower Bridge and offers a different cultural perspective of London. Walking tours are available to show you around the colourful street art. Or you could download a street art map and follow one for yourself, as Laura did with a group of friends in June 2019.
Brick Lane is also famous for its abundance of Indian Restaurants. Try Tayyabs, a Punjabi restaurant in Whitechapel which serves delicious food and you can also bring your own drinks.
The City is the financial district of London where you can find the Bank of England and the Stock Exchange. New modern structures mix with historical buildings.
London Wall was built in Roman times and sections of it can be seen around White Chapel. The above picture was taken near Tower Hill tube station.
Jack the Ripper tour
Jack the Ripper was one of London’s most notorious murderers having killed at least 5 prostitutes around the Whitechapel area of East London in 1888. Laura participated in a ‘Jack the Ripper tour’ where we were shown around these gruesome sites!
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in Central London and offers a lovely green oasis if you want to escape the city for a while. There are many events throughout the year and in December you can visit Winter Wonderland and its German markets.
Another area of green space is Greenwich Park which is also home to the Greenwich Royal Observatory and the historic Greenwich Mean Time.
The Royal Observatory is fascinating and well worth a visit to see its historical space and time exhibitions.
London as many roof terrace bars, a lovely way of relaxing at the end of a busy day in the summer whilst taking in the views.
This is just a short snippet of hundreds of London sights and attractions and this post focuses mostly on things we’ve done during 2019. You may also want to consider a trip to the top of The Shard or a ride on the London Eye for extensive views.
There are museums such as the British Museum, the Natural History Museum or the Victoria and Albert Museum.
There are famous districts such as Camden, Notting Hill, Piccadilly, Knightsbridge.
Maybe we’ll cover more of London in a future post!
Please leave a comment if you have any questions?