10 Sightseeing Tips: London
Here are 10 sightseeing tips for London travelers whether it’s your first visit or your hundredth to the lively city on the Thames. This list includes all must-see places—even the places visitors tend to overlook on their first visit to London. Nothing stays the same in London for very long. If you visited London years ago, chances are something has changed. It's always worthwhile going in for a second glance.
- Buckingham Palace The Queen’s abode is still the number one sightseeing tip you can see in the English capital. It was built in 1703 and has the distinction of being the most famous palace in the world. Watch the "Changing of the Guards" ceremony and tour the palace interior to see how royalty live. Buckingham Palace: Buckingham Palace Rd/The Mall. London SW1A 1AA, United Kingdom. 011 (+44) 7766 7300
- London Eye This is the third largest observation wheel in the world and provides stunning views over the city on the Thames. While it was originally only meant to keep turning for five years, the London Eye proved so popular that the city decided to keep it up for another twenty. A full ride on the London Eye takes 30 minutes. London Eye: Minster Ct. Westminster Bridge Rd. London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom. 011 (+44) 870 500 0600
- Tate Modern. London’s museum devoted to modern art contains a number of fine Expressionist paintings by the likes of Cy Twombly and Joan Mitchell. It also hosts temporary exhibitions dedicated to artists like Gorky and Rothko throughout the year. The cafe on the second floor is highly recommended. Entrance to the permanent collection is free. Tate Modern: Bankside. London SE1 9TG, United Kingdom. 011 (+44) 7401 5120
Tate Britain. Whether classical art or more modern masterpieces, you’ll find them all at London’s Tate Britain. It contains a fine collection of British art from the sixteenth century up to the present day. Best of all, entrance is free. Tate Britain: Millbank. London SW1P 4RG, United Kingdom. 011 (+44) 7887 8000
- Tower of London. London’s original royal fortress dates back to more than 900 years. It is one of the premiere sightseeing destinations in the United Kingdom. Visitors are treated to a close-up glance at Queen Victoria's crown and King Henry VIII's battle armor, among other fascinating sights. Tower of London: Tower Hill, London EC3N 4AB, United Kingdom. 011 (+44) 870 950 4466
- Hyde Park. Visit Speakers’ Corner where, by law, anyone is allowed to say whatever they want. The park houses lots of lunatics and interesting shouters, but there are also idyllic green parts, making it a good stop for a picnic, weather permitting.
- The Serpentine Gallery. Nestled in the middle of Hyde Park not far from the lake, this free art gallery presents exhibitions by big name contemporary artists throughout the year. Gerhard Richter and Cindy Sherman are just two of the recent exhibited artists. Entrance is free. The Serpentine Gallery: Kensington Gardens. London W2 3XA, United Kingdom. 011 (+44) 7402 6075
- Natural History Museum. This museum is home to around 70 million specimens from the life sciences. It also has a fascinating exhibit dedicated to dinosaurs. Entrance is free. Natural History Museum: Cromwell Rd. London SW7 5BD, United Kingdom. 011 (+44) 7942 5725
- Shakespeare’s Globe. Catch a play at this theater devoted to the work of the English master. While the original theater burned to the ground in 1613, Shakespeare's Globe has been re-built near the original location using construction materials and methods close to the original Globe. You can also tour the theater grounds if you happen to not be in town for the performance season from May to September. Shakespeare's Globe: 21 New Globe Walk. London SE1 9DT, United Kingdom. 011 (+44) 7902 1400
- Sea Life London Aquarium. Everything that swims, from sharks to sting rays, can be found at this fascinating aquarium. It is one of the largest of its kind in all of Europe. The London Aquarium is open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sea Life London Aquarium: County Hall/Westminster Bridge Rd. London SE1 7PB, United Kingdom. 011 (+44) 7967 8000