Looking for scenic spots in this hectic multicultural metropolis? We stayed five amazing days in the capital of the United Kingdom and to be perfectly honest when it comes to London five days is a bit short.
There are two places in the world where men can most effectively disappear: the city of London and the South Seas. “Herman Melville”
London covers 607 square miles and it is home to over eight million people. The contrast between its spectacular historic sights and the lively cultural scene make this city an interesting and exciting adventure. London indeed offers something to do for every kind of traveller of any age and once you’ve gotten a sense of the metro map, you’ll have no problem zipping from one part of town to the next.
London has an excellent public transportation system that makes getting around convenient and easy. Thanks to this, we saw as much as possible during our five days in London. Here are the 5 most scenic places we saw in London.
Tower Bridge is a drawbridge in London, built between 1886 and 1894. Tower Bridge still opens to let tall boats pass through;it happens only around 1000 times a year. It takes around 30 minutes to lift and close again. We were lucky enough to catch that moment while sailing along the River Thames. But I wouldn’t want to be in the place of those waiting up there to cross the bridge. You can check the lift times by clicking here. Try to combine your River Thames boat trip according to the bridge lifts, because the view from there is really nice. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London and has now become an iconic symbol of London and because of this Tower Bridge is often confused with London Bridge.
Tower Bridge is opening to let the tall boats pass-through
There is more to seeing the Tower Bridge just than walking across and taking photos (this is what we did). You can also go inside and see London from a higher glass walkway between the towers and visit the museum where you see the engine room and learn about the construction. Sadly we didn’t have enough time to experience this but, I have seen amazing videos of people spying the bridge from 42 meters above the River Thames while pedestrians and vehicles moving over the bridge, boats sail under it or the bascules rising beneath the feet. Check out the admission fees and visiting hours of the Tower Bridge here. I hope I can explore this Victorian Gothic design bridge better on my next trip to London. This is certainly one of the thing to do in London.
London is a great city to just walk around in and Camden neighbourhood, with its alternative vibe, is certainly one of the most popular tourist attractions in London offering plenty of great things to do. This neighbourhood comes packed with plenty of events, curiosity shops, creative sellers, markets, live music, and thriving nightlife, food courts from all around the world, pubs and street performers all week long. It is a heaven for punks and alternative people. It goes beyond any boundary or convention. Moreover, when staying in London for many days, you will be glad to eat something besides the pub food that they normally offer everywhere in the touristy areas. Click here to see the most beautiful photo from Camden Town.
The Millennium Bridge, officially known as the London Millennium Footbridge and nicknamed by Londoners as Wobbly Bridge, is a steel suspension bridge for pedestrians crossing the River Thames in London. Construction of the Millenium Bridge began in 1998 and it was opened permanently in 2002.It runs from the Tate Modern Museum to St. Paul’s cathedral.
Chewing gum art on Millennium Bridge
One curiosity that most people probably still don’t know about the Millennium Bridge is the chewing gum art on it. People have a habit of spit out the gum everywhere and unfortunately, also the Millenium Bridge is a big wad of it. Ben Wilson has turned hundreds of chewing gum blobs on London’s Millennium Bridge into tiny works of art and if you look down while walking on it, you will inevitably notice it.
Alas, in all hurry, we haven’t been on it!!! But, I would have loved a ride on the London Eye, London’s famous wheel on the Thames, 135m tall, offering amazing panoramic views of the city. The huge queue outside put me off immediately. For anyone here interested, standard ticket prices at the London Eye are £30.00 for adults and you can save 15% by buying your tickets online in advance. Fast track tickets, group tickets, school discount and family tickets are also available. If I had I known the fast track option, I would have purchased it since it allows you to skip the queue outside. Anyways, we saw it going around and around. The London Eye moves really slowly and from start to finish, the entire ride lasts thirty minutes. One thing to keep in mind is that the wheel never stops moving so when people are loaded on, they have to get in quickly. Moreover, some items cannot be taken on board so you’d better visit their website before queueing.
Royal Observatory Greenwich
Royal Observatory Entrance
The observatory is situated on a hill in Greenwich Park, overlooking the River Thames. Besides its important history, it is best known for the fact that the prime meridian passes through it, and thereby gave its name to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). A standard ticket costs £16.00 and it comes with an audio guide. To be honest, if not for the excitement of stepping on both sides of the line to be in the two hemispheres at once, I don’t know if it’s worth the price. Also, the Prime meridian line is nothing more than a simple yellow line that depicts zero longitude.
Standing on the zero Meridian with one foot in the west and one foot in the east
It isn’t cheap at £16 each and I did expect more for that amount of money. Obviously I’m not going to debate with the people who are interested in astronomy and of course, I was happy to get my photo taken standing on the 0 Meridian with one foot in the west and one foot in the east.! Among other things, we got there late, 30 minutes before the closing time so we had to rush. If you enter the museum, don’t leave out the camera obscura; it is housed in the courtyard of the Royal Observatory and it shows Greenwich and River Thames in a real-time. There is a slightly steep walk up a hill to get to the Observatory but the view at the top of the hill is really worth it. So even if you don’t visit the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, don’t forget to try the hike to the top, especially if you are around in the area.
Big Ben under refurbishment until 2021
As Alessandro said to me, London is a big city, there’s always something going on and you can come back again and again and see a completely different city every time. From its high-end shopping places, charming diversity of neighbourhoods, international food courts, the traditional afternoon tea, modern art and 2000 years of history to its pub culture, there is always something to see and do. In short, it never gets boring here.
By the way, know that one of the most famous landmarks in Europe, Big Ben, is undergoing a refurbishment. Big Ben will not sound until 2021 with the only exceptions on New Year and Remembrance day (eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month). Obviously we were a bit disappointed that we couldn’t see it and take some good photos.
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