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London Sightseeing Tours Home » London Sightseeing Tours

1. Buckingham Palace 2. The Natural History Museum 3. Harrods 4. Marble Arch 5. Madame Tussauds 6. London Zoo 7. The British Museum 8. Piccadilly 9. Downing Street 10. Big Ben 11. The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace 12. The London Eye 13. The Sea Life London Aquarium 14. St Paul's Cathedral 15. The London Dungeon 16. Tower Bridge 17. Tower of London - Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress 18. Tate Modern

1. Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837 and today is the administrative headquarters of the Monarch. Although in use for the many official events and receptions held by The Queen, the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open to visitors every year. Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms. These include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. In measurements, the building is 108 metres long across the front, 120 metres deep (including the central quadrangle) and 24 metres high. The Palace is very much a working building and the centrepiece of Britain's constitutional monarchy. It houses the offices of those who support the day-to-day activities and duties of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh and their immediate family.


The Palace is also the venue for great Royal ceremonies, State Visits and Investitures, all of which are organised by the Royal Household. The state rooms, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public each year for most of August and September, as part of the Palace's Summer Opening.

2. The Natural History Museum is one of three large museums on Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, England (the others are the Science Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum). Its main frontage is on Cromwell Road. The museum is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The museum is home to life and earth science specimens comprising some 70 million items within five main collections: Botany, Entomology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology and Zoology. The museum is a world-renowned centre of research, specialising in taxonomy, identification and conservation. Given the age of the institution, many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Darwin. The Natural History Museum Library contains extensive books, journals, manuscripts, and artwork collections linked to the work and research of the scientific departments. Access to the library is by appointment only. The museum is particularly famous for its exhibition of dinosaur skeletons, and ornate architecture sometimes dubbed a cathedral of nature - both exemplified by the large Diplodocus cast which dominates the vaulted central hall. Originating from collections within the British Museum, the landmark Alfred Waterhouse building was built and opened by 1881, and later incorporated the Geological Museum. The Darwin Centre is a more recent addition, partly designed as a modern facility for storing the valuable collections. Like other publicly funded national museums in the United Kingdom, the Natural History Museum does not levy an admission charge. Top

3. Harrods is an upmarket department store located in Brompton Road in Brompton, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London. The Harrods brand also applies to other enterprises undertaken by the Harrods group of companies including Harrods Bank, Harrods Estates, Harrods Aviation and Air Harrods, and to Harrods Buenos Aires, sold by Harrods in 1922 and closed as of 2011, with plans announced to reopen in 2013. The store occupies a 5-acre (20,000 m2) site and has over one million square feet (90,000 m2) of selling space in over 330 departments. The UK's second-biggest shop, Oxford Street's Selfridges, is a little over half the size with 540,000 square feet (50,000 m2) of selling space. The Harrods motto is Omnia Omnibus Ubique-All Things for All People, Everywhere. Several of its departments, including the seasonal Christmas department and the Food Hall, are world famous. Throughout its history, the store has had a total of five owners. On 8 May 2010, Mohamed Al-Fayed sold the store to Qatar Holdings for ÂŁ1.5 billion.


4. Marble Arch is a white Carrara marble monument that now stands on a large traffic island at the junction of Oxford Street, Park Lane, and Edgware Road, almost directly opposite Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park in London, England. Until 1851 it stood in front of Buckingham Palace. Historically, only members of the royal family and the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, have been allowed to pass through the arch in ceremonial procession. The name "Marble Arch" also refers to the locality in west London where the arch is situated, particularly, the southern portion of Edgware Road. There also is an underground station named after it. Top

5. Madame Tussauds Tussauds is a wax museum in London with branches in a number of major cities. It was founded by wax sculptor Marie Tussaud and was formerly known as "Madame Tussaud's", but the apostrophe is no longer used (though it still appears in some signage at the New York location). Madame Tussauds is a major tourist attraction in London, displaying waxworks of historical and royal figures, film stars, sports stars and famous murderers.

6. London Zoo is the world's oldest scientific zoo. It was opened in London on 27 April 1828, and was originally intended to be used as a collection for scientific study. It was eventually opened to the public in 1847. Today it houses a collection of 755 species of animals, with 16,802 individuals, making it one of the largest collections in the United Kingdom. It is managed under the aegis of the Zoological Society of London (established in 1826), and is situated at the northern edge of Regent's Park, on the boundary line between City of Westminster and Camden (the Regent's Canal runs through it). The Society also has a more spacious site at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire to which the larger animals such as elephants and rhinos have been moved. As well as being the first scientific zoo, ZSL London Zoo also opened the first Reptile house (1849), first public Aquarium (1853), first insect house (1881) and the first children's zoo (1938). ZSL receives no state funding and relies on 'Fellows', 'Friends', 'Members', entrance fees and sponsorship to generate income. Top

7. The British Museum, in London, is widely considered to be one of the world's greatest museums of human history and culture. Its permanent collection, numbering some eight million works, is amongst the finest, most comprehensive, and largest in existence and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present. The British Museum was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. The museum first opened to the public on 15 January 1759 in Montagu House in Bloomsbury, on the site of the current museum building. Its expansion over the following two and a half centuries was largely a result of an expanding British colonial footprint and has


resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the British Museum (Natural History) in South Kensington in 1887. Some objects in the collection, most notably the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, are the objects of intense controversy and of calls for restitution to their countries of origin. Until 1997, when the British Library (previously centred on the Round Reading Room) moved to a new site, the British Museum was unique in that it housed both a national museum of antiquities and a national library in the same building. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and as with all other national museums in the United Kingdom it charges no admission fee. Since 2002 the director of the museum has been Neil MacGregor.

8. Piccadilly is a major street in Central London, running from Hyde Park Corner in the west to Piccadilly Circus in the east. It is completely within the city of Westminster. The street is part of the A4 road, London's second most important western artery. St. James's lies to the south of the eastern section of the street, while the western section is built up only on the northern side and overlooks Green Park. The area to the north is Mayfair. It is the location of Fortnum & Mason, the Royal Academy, The Ritz Hotel, the RAF Club and Hatchards book shop. Simpsons, once amongst the United Kingdom's leading clothing stores, opened on Piccadilly in the 1930s. The store closed in 1999 and the site is now the flagship shop of the booksellersWaterstone's. Top

9. Downing Street in London, England has for over two hundred years housed the official residences of two of the most senior British cabinet ministers: the First Lord of the Treasury, an office now synonymous with that of Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and the Second Lord of the Treasury, an office held by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Prime Minister's official residence is 10 Downing Street; the Chancellor's official residence is next door at Number 11. The Government's Chief Whip has an official residence at Number 9. Downing Street is located in Whitehall in Central London, a few minutes' walk from the Houses of Parliament and a little farther from Buckingham Palace. The street was built in the 1680s by Sir George Downing (1632–1689) on the site of a mansion called Hampden House. The houses on the west side of the street were demolished in the nineteenth century to make way for government offices, now occupied by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

10. Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, and is generally extended to refer to the clock or the clock tower as well. It is the largest four-faced chiming clock and the third-tallest free-standing clock tower in the world. It celebrated its 150th anniversary on 31 May 2009, during which celebratory events took place. The erecting of the tower was completed on 10 April 1858. The clock tower has become one of the most prominent symbols of both London and England, often in the establishing shot of films set in the city. Top


11. The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament-the House of Lords and the House of Commons. It lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the heart of the London borough of the City of Westminster, close to the historic Westminster Abbey and the government buildings of Whitehall and Downing Street. The name may refer to either of two structures: the Old Palace, a medieval building complex, most of which was destroyed in 1834, and its replacement New Palace that stands today. The palace retains its original style and status as a royal residence for ceremonial purposes. The first royal palace was built on the site in the eleventh century, and Westminster was the primary London residence of the Kings of England until a fire destroyed much of the complex in 1512. After that, it served as the home of Parliament, which had been meeting there since the thirteenth century, and the seat of the Royal Courts of Justice, based in and around Westminster Hall. In 1834, an even greater fire ravaged the heavily rebuilt Houses of Parliament, and the only structures of significance to survive were Westminster Hall, the Cloisters of St Stephen's, the Chapel of St Mary Undercroft and the Jewel Tower. The subsequent competition for the reconstruction of the Palace was won by architect Charles Barry and his design for a building in the Perpendicular style. The remains of the Old Palace (with the exception of the detached Jewel Tower) were incorporated in its much larger replacement, which contains over 1,100 rooms organised symmetrically around two series of courtyards. Part of the New Palace's area of 3.24 hectares (8 acres) was reclaimed from the Thames, which is the setting of its principal faรงade, the 266-metre (873 ft) river front. Barry was assisted by Augustus W. N. Pugin, a leading authority on Gothic architecture and style, who provided designs for the decoration and furnishings of the Palace. Construction started in 1840 and lasted for thirty years, suffering great delays and cost overruns, as well as the death of both leading architects; works for the interior decoration continued intermittently well into the twentieth century. Major conservation work has been carried out since, due to the effects of London's air pollution, and extensive repairs took place after the Second World War, including the reconstruction of the Commons Chamber following its bombing in 1941. The Palace is one of the centres of political life in the United Kingdom; "Westminster" has become a metonym for the UK Parliament, and the Westminster system of government has taken its name after it. Its Clock Tower, in particular, which has become known as "Big Ben" after its main bell, is an iconic landmark of London and the United Kingdom in general, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and an emblem of parliamentary democracy. The Palace of Westminster has been a Grade I listed building since 1970 and part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

12. The London Eye is a 135-metre (443 ft) tall giant Ferris wheel situated on the banks of the River Thames, in London, England. It is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, and the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, visited by over 3.5 million people annually. When erected in 1999, it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, until surpassed first by the 160 m (520 ft) Star of Nanchang in 2006, and then the 165 m (541 ft) Singapore Flyer in 2008. It is still described by its operators as "the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel" (as the wheel is supported by an A-frame on one side only, unlike the Nanchang and Singapore wheels). Commonly known as the London Eye, or Millennium Wheel, formerly the Merlin Entertainments London Eye and before that, the British Airways London Eye. Since 20 January 2011, it has been officially known as the EDF Energy London Eye following a three-year sponsorship deal. The London Eye is located at the western end of Jubilee Gardens, on the South Bank of the River Thames in the London Borough of Lambeth, between Westminster and Hungerford Bridge. The site is adjacent to that


of the former Dome of Discovery, which was built for the Festival of Britain in 1951. Top

13. The Sea Life London Aquarium is located on the ground floor of County Hall on the South Bank of the River Thames in Central London, near the EDF Energy London Eye. It first opened in March 1997 as the London Aquarium and remains the capital's largest collection of aquatic species and hosts about one million visitors each year.

14. St Paul's Cathedral, London, is a Church of England cathedral and seat of the Bishop of London. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604. St Paul's sits at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London, and is the mother church of the Diocese of London. The present church dating from the late 17th century was built to an English Baroque design of Sir Christopher Wren, as part of a major rebuilding program which took place in the city after the Great Fire of London, and was completed within his lifetime. The cathedral is one of the most famous and most recognisable sights of London, with its dome, framed by the spires of Wren's City churches, dominating the skyline for 300 years. At 365 feet (111 m) high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1962, and its dome is also among the highest in the world. In terms of area, St Paul's is the second largest church building in the United Kingdom after Liverpool Cathedral. St Paul's Cathedral occupies a significant place in the national identity of the English population. It is the central subject of much promotional material, as well as postcard images of the dome standing tall, surrounded by the smoke and fire of the Blitz. Important services held at St Paul's include the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill; Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars; the marriage of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer, the launch of the Festival of Britain and the thanksgiving services for both the Golden Jubilee and 80th Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. St Paul's Cathedral is a busy working church, with hourly prayer and daily services. Top

15. The London Dungeon is a popular London tourist attraction, which recreates various gory and macabre historical events in a grimly comedic 'gallows humour' style, attempting to make them appealing to younger audiences. It uses a mixture of live actors, special effects and rides. Opening in 1974, it was initially designed as more a museum of "horrible history", but the Dungeon has evolved to become an actor-led, interactive experience. The Dungeon is operated by Merlin Entertainments.

16. Tower Bridge (built 1886-1894) is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, England, over the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name. It has become an iconic


symbol of London. The bridge consists of two towers tied together at the upper level by means of two horizontal walkways, designed to withstand the horizontal forces exerted by the suspended sections of the bridge on the landward sides of the towers. The vertical component of the forces in the suspended sections and the vertical reactions of the two walkways are carried by the two robust towers. The bascule pivots and operating machinery are housed in the base of each tower. The bridge's present colour scheme dates from 1977, when it was painted red, white and blue for the Queen's Silver Jubilee. Originally it was painted a chocolate brown colour. Tower Bridge is sometimes mistakenly referred to as London Bridge, which is the next bridge upstream. The nearest London Underground station is Tower Hill on the Circle and District Lines, and the nearest Docklands Light Railway station is Tower Gateway. Top

17. Tower of London - Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River in Central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite. The castle was used as a prison since at least 1100, although that was not its primary purpose. A grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site. The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle. This was a powerful and trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century the castle was the prison of the Princes. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, and despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle its defences lagged behind developments to deal with artillery. The peak period of the castle's use as a prison was the 16th and 17th centuries, when many figures who had fallen into disgrace, such as Elizabeth I before she became queen, were held within its walls. This use has led to the phrase "sent to the Tower". Despite its enduring reputation as a place of torture and death, popularised by 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century writers, only seven people were executed within the Tower before the World Wars of the 20th century. Executions were more commonly held on the notorious Tower Hill to the north of the castle, with 112 occurring there over a 400-year period. In the latter half of the 19th century, institutions such as the Royal Mint moved out of the castle to other locations, leaving many buildings empty. Anthony Salvin and John Taylor took the opportunity to restore the Tower to what was felt to be its medieval appearance, clearing out many of the vacant post-medieval structures. In the First and Second World Wars, the Tower was again used as a prison, and witnessed the executions of 12 men for espionage. After the Second World War, damage caused during the Blitz was repaired and the castle reopened to the public. Today the Tower of London is one of the country's most popular tourist attractions. It


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is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site.

18. Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in London, England. It is Britain's national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group (together with Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives and Tate Online). It is the most-visited modern art gallery in the world, with around 4.7 million visitors per year. It is based in the former Bankside Power Station, in the Bankside area of Central London.

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