London is a great city to visit. This post only touches on all the adventures that can be had, but there is a fair amount of major attractions within a short distance of one another that a visitor can see over a weekend away.
London has evidence of early settlements in both the Iron and Bronze Ages along the Thames River. Pre-Roman colonisation, it was a Celtic tribe called the Trinovantes who had settled in the area in the Iron Age, approximately 1000BC.
It was in 43AD that the Romans colonised the London area, calling it Londinium. The present day location for Londinium is the City of London – also known as the Square Mile or The City. (Scroll down for more info – but today this is a separate city within London). After the Roman Empire fell in the 5th Century, it was the Anglo-Saxons from across the North Sea who arrived. They were primarly from Denmark, Northern Holland and North Germany, Comprised of Angles, Saxons and Jutes.
During the 10th and 11th Centuries, London was raided by Vikings. There is a theory that famous Nursery Rhyme “London Bridge is falling down” is about the destruction of London Bridge by King Olaf II of Norway.
Things to do:
The Palace was built in 1703 and is home to the Monarch of the United Kingdom. Each day visitors can see the Changing the Guard, view the State Rooms, the Queen’s Gallery, visit the Guards Museum, Cavalry Museum and the Royal Mews where you can see the carriages and coaches used by the family.
So far, I’ve only briefly walked past the entrance and strolled around the St James’s Park Gardens. I was lucky enough on my last visit to see the Colonel’s Review – the rehearsal the week before the Trooping the Colour event (the Queen’s Birthday Parade).
Walk along the Thames River
There is a lot to do just as you walk along the Thames River. In these photos I have views of the London Eye. I go up myself but visitors are awarded amazing views of London with the highest point being 135m from the top of the Ferris wheel. https://www.londoneye.com/tickets-and-prices/
If you are content watching it from the water’s edge, I can recommend the Pub on The Thames. It goes no-where but it’s great for admiring the view and having a pint!
Take a Thames Clipper boat
The Thames River is 346KM long, the longest river in England with the deepest part 20m. Besides walking, here’s another option for taking in the sights along the Thames River. The Clippers run frequently along the Thames and you can hop on and off at your chosen stops. https://www.thamesclippers.com/
Traditional English meals
Where ever I go, my goal is to try the local cuisine! I couldn’t think of a better food I’d like to try in London than traditional fish and chips! I’m a real sucker and a fan of fish and chips. I tried out the Duke of York. It was great. http://www.thedukeofyork.com/
The Tower Bridge is one of London’s famous bridges and often confused with London Bridge, which is more of a utilitarian bridge. Tower Bridge was officially opened in 1894, reaches 65m high and 244m long. I was quite happy just walking from one end to the other on the bridge but visitors are able to go to the Sky Bridge and exhibit https://freetoursbyfoot.com/visiting-london-tower-bridge/#experience
You want to see what it looks like there today? https://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/sightseeing/london-attraction/bridge/tower-bridge-webcam
Tower of London
The Tower of London (Officially Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London) has parts built as early as 1078. Visitors are able to take a tour and even see the Crown Jewels. https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/visit/#gs.uVBtB40
I didn’t go inside myself, but I did take a good look from the outside!
City of London
As briefly mentioned above, the City of London is a separate city in London.
It has it’s own Lord Mayor and police authority. It still stands that if the current Monarch of the United Kingdom wishes to enter the city bounds, permission needs to be requested.
The city is marked by skyscrapers, Medieval alleyways, smart eatery’s and corporate workers. While in the area, why not try eating at one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants? https://www.gordonramsayrestaurants.com/bread-street-kitchen/ (I tried the crispy duck salad and it was one of the tastiest salad’s I’ve had! Pictured below in the slideshow.)
Today’s London Bridge (yes, the famous one) was opened to traffic was recent at 1973. This one came as a surprise for me considering how famous London Bridge is. Turns out there have been MANY London Bridges in this location. Before the bridge we had today was a 19th century stone-arched bridge. Before that a 600 year-old Medieval structure. Before that? Timber ones. Basically it’s not the historic structure you are expecting!
St Paul’s Cathedral
Although the original church site dates back to 604AD, the current Cathedral you can see today was built as recently as 1710 which was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London destroyed the previous building.
It’s an impressive building, one of the world’s biggest churches and can cater for up to 2500 people. Guests are able to climb stair cases all the way up to the dome (highest point 111m) for a great view of the surrounding city. There is a vast crypt that can be explored as well as a feature called the Whispering Gallery, which is known for it’s acoustics. https://www.stpauls.co.uk/tickets
Greenwich is an area of south east London worth a visit. You might know Greenwich by the famous Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time (mean solar time).
If markets are your thing, check out the Greenwich Market. https://www.greenwichmarket.london/ They have food stalls with street food from several countries; home crafted jewelry; clothing; soaps; vintage trinkets; ornaments… the list continues.
Worthy of a visit is the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, which is London’s only planetarium. It’s an 18th century astronomical observatory on the Prime Meridian where visitors can visit the museum and watch a show.
The walk up to the Observatory offers visitors great views of the city from the top of the hill. Visitors are also able to walk through the rose garden and see the deer in the park.