Tourist AttractionsHere are some of London's main tourist attractions.
St. Paul's Cathedral
Christopher Wren's magnificent classical church. Duke of Wellington, victor of Waterloo, is buried in the Crypt beside the magnificent funeral carriage which carried him to his final resting place in the cathedral. Nearby in the Crypt is the tomb of Admiral Nelson, hero of Trafalgar. For the fit or ambitious, you can climb 530 steps to the Golden Gallery, an observation platform atop the dome of the Cathedral. From there you can look out over the modern skyline of the City of London. On the way, the climb leads through the Whispering Gallery, a circular walkway halfway up the inside of the dome. Due to the acoustics of the curved surface, a phrase whispered against one wall can be heard against the far wall 112 feet away.
Tube: St Paul's, Mansion House, Blackfriars. Open: Monday-Saturday 0830-1600. Organ concerts take place most Sundays at 1700, and evensong is at 1700 weekdays and 1515 Sundays. Admission to the cathedral is £3.50 adults (£6.50 including the dome galleries). Guided tours are extra, at £2.50.
Westminster Abbey Parliament Square, SW1
An architectural masterpiece of the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries, Westminster Abbey also presents a unique pageant of British history - the Confessors Shrine, the tombs of Kings and Queens, and countless memorials to the famous and the great. It has been the setting for every Coronation since 1066 and for numerous other Royal occasions. Today it is still a church dedicated to regular worship and to the celebration of great events in the life of the nation. Over three thousand people are either buried or memorialised in Westminster Abbey. Notable among these is the Unknown Warrior, whose grave, close to the west door, has become a place of pilgrimage.
Open: Monday - Friday 0900 - 1645, Saturdays 0900 - 1445, Sundays Worship only no tourist visiting. Telephone: +44 (0)20 7222 7110
The Tower of London
The Tower of London has many important buildings and collections to explore and educational and entertaining events to take part in. It has been home to the world-famous Crown Jewels since the beginning of the 14th century. Still used by the Queen and the Royal Family, the Crown Jewels are an essential part of your visit to the Tower of London. Newly displayed in 1994, it is now possible to view the Crown Jewels at close quarters. The Martin Tower houses a special exhibition, Crowns & Diamonds: the making of the Crown Jewels. The exhibition explains the evolution of British crowns. Yeoman Warders (often called 'Beefeaters') have been at the Tower of London since the 14th century. Today they combine their traditional ceremonial role with that of tourist guide.
Tube: Tower Hill, Docklands Light Railway: Tower Gateway, By river boat From Charing Cross, Westminster or Greenwich to Tower Pier. Open: 1 March - 31 October Mon - Sat 09.00-17.00 Sun 10.00-17.00. 1 November - 28 February Tues - Sat 09.00-16.00 Sun - Mon 10.00-16.00. Information line: 020 7709 0765
London Dungeon Tooley Street, SE1
The London Dungeon bills itself as the World's First Medieval Horror Museum. Like a good scare? Then you've come to the right place. Death in living colour, from the Theatre of the Guillotine to a special Great Fire of London display. Don't come right after eating lunch!
Tube: London Bridge. Open: April-September 1000-1730, October-March 1000-1630, Tel, 020 7403 7221
Dickens House 48 Doughty Street, WC1
Charles Dickens lived here for two years, and it was in this house that he wrote parts of Oliver Twist, Pickwick Papers, Barnaby Rudge, and Nicholas Nickleby. The house contains a collection of the author's letters, furniture, portraits, and personal effects.
Tube: Russell Square
Houses of Parliament Palace of Westminster, SW1
Victorian Gothic masterpiece designed by Sir Charles Barry and A.W. Pugin replacing the medieval parliament which burnt to the ground in 1834. Only Westminster Hall remains from that earlier parliament, but the Hall can only be visited by special arrangement made through a member of Parliament. The House of Lords and House of Commons are open only when Parliament is in session (queue at St. Stephen's Entrance). The Clock Tower at the north end is popularly known as Big Ben, though the name properly refers to the bell within the tower.
Cutty Sark & Gypsy Moth Greenwich, SE10
Two for the price of one, these famous boats (ships?) are appropriately enshrined as permanent exhibits just yards from the River Thames. The Cutty Sark was the last and most famous tea-clipper built for the lucrative China tea trade. In the miniscule (by comparison) Gypsy Moth Sir Francis Chichester sailed single-handedly around the world in 1966-67.
Rail: Maze Hill, Docklands Light Railway: Cutty Sark, or Riverbus to Greenwich Pier Tel. 020 8858 3445
Kenwood House Hampstead Lane, NW3
A wonderful art collection graces this National Trust stately home set in gardens at the northern edge of Hampstead Heath. The interior is by Robert Adam, and there are paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer among others. In summer the house hosts open air concerts.
Tube: Archway, Golders Green, then bus #210
Destination guides by kind permission of Britain Express