As soon as you set foot in London, you feel that you are in the capital of a giant empire. England has accumulated a great magnificence, culture, wealth and brain for centuries. A beautiful synthesis of the new and the old, the past and the future has emerged. While people live in squeaky historical houses, they also set up a system to make food and grocery shopping in those houses with drones… They have established a great balance between tradition and the future.
London is one of the few most important summits in the world, but it is not as modern as New York, never artificial like New York. It is as rooted and noble as Paris , but never as hairless as Paris. It is as orderly as Singapore but never sterile like it, normative but never authoritarian like a Frankfurt. Compared to other world capitals, in our opinion, its biggest flaw is its gray atmosphere and the prices that erode the bank account. Do not immediately lower your face; We thought about that too, we had our super tips on how to travel London cheaply in our Economic London article, but we recommend that you finish this article first.
In this article of Places to Visit in London you are reading, Big Ben, we have told the most famous icons of London that will make the Westminster Instagram people believe that you are in London. We have divided them into sections so that you can see them easily:
- London Trip Planning – Before You Go
- London Attractions Map
- Historic Sites of London
- London Museums
- Extremely Touristic But Very Popular Destinations (We think you can skip it)
- Public Spaces
- Getaways from London by Train
- What to Eat in London
- London Pubs
- London Nightlife
- Have You Received Your UK Visa?
London Attractions Map
Let’s come to London’s Sultanahmet. Although most of them have never been to London, thanks to the popular culture, the places you are familiar with are the most clichéd places to visit in London; such as West Minster Abbey, where Kate Middleton and Prince William got married, and Big Ben, which is indispensable for London magnets. As you can easily see from the map, the most important London icons are clustered nearby. You can take the yellow or green tube line and get off at Westminster stop.
- Palace of Westminster
- Big Ben
- Westminster Abbey
- St Paul’s Cathedral
- Buckingham Palace
- Kensington Palace
- Tower Bridge
- Tate Modern
- British Museum
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- National Gallery
- Sherlock Holmes Museum
- London Eye
- Sea Life London Aquarium
- The London Dungeon
- Hyde Park
- Trafalgar Square
- Borough Market
1. Palace of Westminster (Parliament House)
This is the place where the heart of politics beats in the United Kingdom and once home to the royal family. The palace, which was built in the 11th century, has had its share of fires from time to time. The palace, which was the main residence of the kings of England until the great fire in 1512, was mostly damaged after the fire and then started to host the British Parliament and the Court of Justice. It is in this building that the House of Commons and the House of Lords, which we will all remember from history lessons, used to meet. In 1834, a much larger fire broke out than the first, and the last medieval parts of the building were destroyed. Only Westminster Hall, St. Mary’s Chapel, the cloister of St Stephen’s Church and the Jewel Tower have all survived.
Of course, the current renovated version of the palace is much more comprehensive and larger, including the remaining parts of the old palace. The gigantic building with a 300-meter-long façade and an area of 32,375 square meters with 1,000-odd rooms was rebuilt in the 19th century in Gothic style with the design of architect Charles Barry. Another symbol of London, the famous Big Ben, the Elizabeth Tower is one of Barry’s additions. The process that started in 1840 was delays, budget overruns, it took 30 years after the death of the architect. On top of that, when the damage caused by the bombings in the Second World War and the air pollution of London, which has become a metropolis, are added, the preservation costs of the building have increased many times. In 1987, UNESCO took over the event and included the entire complex in the World Cultural Heritage List and took it under protection.
There is also a funny prohibition in the Parliament Building: Dying in the building! Because, by law, it is necessary to organize a state funeral for the person who died inside the building.
When you want to visit this place today, you can get guide and audio tour services in different languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Chinese. During the tour, you can visit parts of the palace such as the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the Queen’s dressing room, the main royal hall and the 900-year-old Westminster Hall.
⌚ Palace of Westminster Visiting Hours
The entrance to the palace is between 09:00 and 17:00. Audio and guided tours take place on Saturdays throughout the year and every weekday even during Christmas, Easter and summer holidays. The first round starts at 9.00 and the last round starts at 4.15. The tour takes approximately 75 minutes.
🎫 Palace of Westminster Entrance Fee
You can only visit the Palace of Westminster by purchasing guided or audio guided tours.
Audio guided tours: 22.50 full ticket, discounted ticket for students and over 60 years old 19.50, child 9.50 Pounds (free if single child)
Guided tours: Full ticket 29, student and over 60 discounted ticket 24.50, child 13 Pounds.
There is a discount for groups over 10 people. You are taken inside every 15-20 minutes according to your ticket time. You can buy tickets either from the ticket office 300 meters ahead of the palace or online in advance from the parliament’s website .
Economic tours combining the Palace of Westminster with Westminster Abbey: With the tour that combines Westminster Abbey + Parliament building, you can visit the Palace of Wesminster, that is the Parliament building, with an audio guided tour, and you can make a more economical, combo program by visiting Westminster Abbey in the third item with a live guide.
📍 Where is the Palace of Westminster?
Address: Westminster, London SW1A 0AA Tel: +44 20 7219 3000 Click for location . on the maponenumber.
2. Big Ben (Elizabeth Tower)
Another iconic structure of London is undoubtedly the Elizabeth Tower, most commonly known as Big Ben. In fact, Big Ben is the name of the 13-ton giant bell of the clock in the tower, but over time it has become the name of the entire tower. When the Palace of Westminster was damaged by the fire in 1834, architect Charles Barry, who rebuilt the palace complex, added this famous 96-meter clock tower to his design in 1844. When it was first built, there was another bell instead of Big Ben, but it was cracked beyond repair. Later, the metal of the cracked bell was melted and Big Ben was made in its place. Big Ben sounded for the first time on May 31, 1859. In fact, Big Ben also cracked shortly after it was hung, but the solution was provided when a lighter mallet was inserted and the damaged place was rotated. Since that day, the sound comes out of the same Big Ben.
So why Big Ben? There are 2 theories about this. The first theory is that Sir Benjamin Hall, one of the names behind the post-fire rebuilding process, is “Big Ben” after his large stature, and the second theory is that it was named after Benjamin Caunt, the heavyweight boxing champion of his time. Because Benjamin Caunt’s nickname was “Big Ben”, and this nickname began to be used as an idiom in the sense of “heaviest” among the people over time.
⌚ Big Ben Visiting Hours
Unfortunately, Big Ben has been closed to tourists for a long time due to restoration work and although it is part of the Westminster Palace complex, it is not included in guided tours. Only UK citizens have the opportunity to issue a special permit when they make a written request to the palace.
📍Where’s Big Ben?
Address: Westminster, London SW1A 0AA Tel: +44 20 7219 4272 Website: www.parliament.uk Click for location . on the map2number.
3. Westminster Abbey (Westminster Abbey)
Everyone will remember this place as the wedding venue of Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge . We all watched the wedding live on April 29, 2011, on the screen. In fact, the wedding broadcast on the internet broke records with 400 million clicks. Here is the 700-year-old historical monastery, where important events such as royal weddings, funerals and coronations are held.
In fact, before the current structure, this place was founded as a monastery belonging to the Benedictine sect of Christianity. In other words, the known history of the monastery actually goes back to the 10th century, more than 1000 years ago. The coronation ceremonies of the English Royal family have been held here since William I’s coronation in 1066, and the tombs of 17 dynasties are located here. Although not royal members, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, one of the world’s most important scientists, are among the famous names buried here. The monastery has also hosted 16 royal weddings so far, including Kate and William’s. The architecture of the building seen today, which was built in 1245 by the order of King Henry III, is in the Anglo-Saxon style Gothic style. It’s like a living museum inside. The place is full of oil paintings, stained glass and other precious objects.
⌚ Westminster Abbey Visiting Hours
It is open to visitors Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 09.30 – 15.30, Wednesday 09.30 – 18.00, Saturday between September and April 09.30 – 13.30, and between May and August 09.30 – 15.30. It is closed to tourist visits on Sundays and prayer hours. It is also used for royal events or for some national celebrations and commemorations, so it can be closed to visitors on exceptional days like these. Be sure to check before you go.
🎫 Westminster Abbey Entrance Fee
Full: 25 Pounds if you buy it from the site, but you can get discount opportunities with tours. Click here to find discounted Westminster Abbey admission tickets . Discount student and over 60: £22 Child: £11, under 5 free. 2 Parents and 1 child family package £25.
Westminster Abbey Tours
Audio Guide: You can get free audio tour services in different languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Hungarian, Japanese, Russian and Chinese, with narration by the famous actor Jeremy Irons. All you have to do is download the mulitmedia guide to your mobile phone.
Tours with the bell ringer: There are also guided tours by the monastery sextons. Tours take place from Monday to Saturday at 10:30, 11:00, 11:30 and 14:00. The fee is entrance fee + 10 Pounds and the tour takes about 1.5 hours.
Combining affordable tours of Westminster Abbey and Houses of Parliament: For those who want to kill two birds with one stone, you can find both guided tours of Wesminster Abbey and tours with an audio guide to the Houses of Parliament. Click to view the tour combining Westminster Abbey + Parliament building .
📍 Where is Westminster Abbey?
Address: 20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA Tel: 020 7222 5152 Click for location . on the map3number.
4. St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral, which belongs to the Anglican denomination, is both the largest religious structure in London, the Episcopal center and one of the most touristic points. Although it dates from the 17th century, it had to be rebuilt many times due to the damage it suffered in the wars it had seen. At the time it was built, it was the tallest building in London at 111 meters. Now it is the UK’s second largest religious building after Liverpool Cathedral. It is said that its dome is also the largest church dome in the world.
Some of the important events that take place here are the funerals of Sir Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, the anniversary celebration of Queen Victoria, the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, the 80th and 90th birthdays of Queen Elizabeth… But the biggest event here is Having church music that has been traditional for 500 years. There are different concerts, church choir events, church organ concerts almost every week. You can find the entire music program on the church ‘s website .
⌚ St. Paul’s Cathedral Visiting Hours
It is open to visitors outside of worship between 08.30 and 16.30 on Monday – Saturday. Last admission is at 16:00. If there is a special event inside, it may be closed on certain days during the year. You can check it on the website before you come.
🎫 St. Paul’s Cathedral Entrance Fee
Full: £18 if you buy your ticket online, £21 if you buy it at the door. Students and over 65: £16 discount online but 18.50 at the door. Children: Children under 17 and over 6 £ 7.70 when purchased online £ 9 when purchased at the door. Children under 5 are free. There are also discounts for groups of more than 10 people. Since the prices increase when you buy at the door, it is beneficial to buy your ticket online as a more economical choice. Click here to buy tickets for St. Paul’s Cathedral online .
📍 Where is St. Paul’s Cathedral?
Address: St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD Tel: 44 20 7246 8350 Click for location . on the map4number.
5. Buckingham Palace (British Royal Palace)
The White House of the United Kingdom, the palace has been the official address of the British Crown since 1837, following Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne. In fact, in 1702, the Duke of Buckingham had it built as his London mansion, but over time it changed hands and expanded to become a royal residence.
When Queen Victoria’s wife, Albert, passed away in 1861, the queen began to mourn and retire from worldly pleasures and move to Windsor Castle. The palace remained empty for a while, but in 1901, the palace was revived with King Edward. The famous balcony, where the royal family greets the public, was added in 1914 during the reign of King George V. During the First World War, the residents of the palace at that time, King George 5 and Queen Mary, had to flee in haste. During the Second World War, the palace was bombarded 9 times. The biggest loss in these bombardments is in the chapel of the palace. In fact, Queen Elizabeth was in the palace at that time during a bombardment.
The palace is only open to visitors during the summer season, and in the section called the Queen’s Gallery, you can see the royal items and visit the rooms. Of course, since this is the official residence of the Queen, most parts of the palace are closed to visitors. For those who come outside this period, looking at the palace from the outside and watching the famous exchange of soldiers are among the sine qua non of London. We explained it in the next article.
⌚ Buckingham Palace Visiting Hours
Between 22 July – 31 August 09.30 – 19.30 (last admission 17.15) Between 1 September – 1 October 09.30 – 18.30 (last admission 16.15)
🎫 Buckingham Palace Entrance Fee
Full: 30 Pounds. Discount for students and over 60: £19.50. Children: 16.50 Pounds. Free for under 5 years old. Tickets include audio tour. An average visit takes 2 – 2.30 hours. This tour includes government offices and the interior of the palace only.
Buying your ticket online is very important at this point because this palace is, you guessed it, the most popular attraction in all of London. Click here to buy your Buckingham Palace ticket online before you arrive.
If you want a more comprehensive tour , under the name of the Royal Day Tour, you can visit the government offices, the interior of the palace, the Queen’s Gallery and the royal stables in one tour. Full: £55 Student and over 60 discounted: £36 Under 17 and disabled: £30.
📍 Where is Buckingham Palace?
Address: London SW1A 1AA Tel: +44 303 123 7300 Click for location . on the map5number.
6. Changing The Guard Ceremony at the British Royal Palace Buckingham
The change of soldiers takes place in front of the palace every day at 11.30 from April to July, and on designated days between August and March. The changeover time may change periodically from time to time. You can check the current change times from the address here , day by day, month by month. It is recommended to be in the area a little before the change time because it gets incredibly crowded.
It is normally free to watch the soldiers’ exchange ceremony, but the area in front of the palace is overcrowded, so you cannot see the soldier’s parade properly. Therefore, you can choose 2-hour guided tours to watch from a much better place. So you can learn much more deeply about the surprising origin of this dazzling ceremony, where every color, button, emblem, symbol and movement matters. Click here to view the guided tour of the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace .
7. Kensington Palace
Located in Kensington Gardens, this humble palace has been the home of England’s Kings, Queens, Dukes and Duchesses since the 17th century. Because King William had asthma, King William and Queen Mary bought this garden in 1689, away from the fog and humidity of the River Thames, and lived here for the rest of their lives. Later, the palace becomes the home of Queen Anne. The most beautiful part he brought to the palace is the Orangery, which was built in 1704. Over time, this Orangery ceases to be an ordinary greenhouse and becomes a socializing place where royals enjoy their time.
The palace, which was also a royal residence during the reigns of King I and George II, hosted princes and dukes in later periods. When Queen Victoria of Great Britain took the throne in 1837, she moved to Buckingham Palace, but settled her family and relatives here. Queen Mary was born here in 1867. Many rooms of the palace are opened to the use of soldiers who served on the front in the First World War. During the Second World War, when the city was bombed by the Germans, the palace was partially damaged, but necessary repairs were made. Even after the war, then Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth, and Prince Philip married in 1947 and lived here for a while.
Newlyweds Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana lived here until Lady Diana’s tragic death, where their children, Prince Harry and William, grew up. After Princess Diana’s death in 1997, the palace remained empty for a while, and was later functionalized as the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the offices of charities. Now, this is the home of the world’s most favorite couple, Prince William, Duchess of Cambridge Kate, and their children since 2013. Also, brother Prince Harry lives in an apartment here.
Today, parts of the palace open to tourism are managed by the non-profit organization Historic Royal Palaces. With the tours here, you can see the living quarters of kings and queens in 18th century architecture, the royal gardens, the clothes in the wardrobes of Queen Victoria or Princess Diana. While you’re here, we say don’t miss out on drinking royal family-style tea in the Orangery, which is used as the palace’s cafe.
⌚ Kensington Palace Visiting Hours
1 November – 28 February 10:00 – 16:00 (last purchase 15.00) March 1 – 31 October 10:00 – 18:00 (last purchase 17:00)
🎫 Kensington Palace Entrance Fee
Exact: £20, but £22 if you buy it at the door. Child: £10, but £11 if you get it at the door. Free for under 5 years old. Student discount and over 60: £16, but £17.60 if you pick up at the door. As you can see, it is a more economical choice to buy your ticket online before you arrive, rather than at the door. Click here to buy Kensington Palace tickets online .
📍Where is Kensington Palace?
Address: Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX Tel: +44 20 3166 6000 Click for location . on the map6number.
8. Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge is London’s iconic retractable scale bridge. Connecting the two sides of the city, the twin tower bridge was built in 1894 using 11,000 tons of steel, and it took 8 years for 432 workers to work every day. The bridge used to run on steam power, but now it runs on electricity. However, every detail of the old system has been preserved as it is and has been turned into an exhibition. You can visit the Victorian style old engine room on the River Thames, be here according to the opening and closing hours of the bridge and watch the view from the glass walkway built later. Click for the opening and bleeding times of the bridge .
Your visit at Tower Bridge begins with a climb to the North Tower. Next, you drive along the East Walkway and West Walkway, past the iconic Glass Floor. You go down to road level from the South Tower, cross the bridge on foot, tour the engine rooms and finish at the gift shop.
⌚ Tower Bridge Visiting Hours
Summer: 10.00 – 18.00 (Last admission 17.30) Winter: 09.30 – 17.30 (Last admission 17.00)
🎫 Tower Bridge Entry Fee
Full: £11.40 Child: £5.70 Discounted: £8.60. The guided trip is exactly 25 pounds. Discounted £22. Child 20 Pounds. You can buy your ticket from the ticket office at the main entrance of the North Tower when you go to the area, however, since the entrances are divided into time zones, it is very likely that you will not be able to find a ticket. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you book your ticket in advance without taking any risks. Click to buy tickets .
📍 Where is Tower Bridge?
Address: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP Tel: +44 20 7403 3761 Click for location . on the map7number.
9. Tate Modern
Tate Modern is one of the most prestigious modern art museums in the world, where works by modern masters such as Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Rothko, Dalí, Pollock and Warhol are exhibited. Last year it moved to a new building called Switch House, which used to be a power station, with a wonderful view on the banks of the Thames. Thus, the museum has increased its capacity by 60%.
⌚ Tate Modern Visiting Hours
Sunday – Thursday 10.00-18.00 the last ticket is sold at 17.15. Friday – Saturday 10.00–22.00 The last ticket is sold at 21.15. The museum is closed during the Christmas holidays. But it is open on all other national holidays, holidays and new year.
🎫 Tate Modern Entry Fee
Entry is free for the permanent collection of the museum. Only some short-term special exhibitions are charged.
📍 Where is Tate Modern?
Address: Bankside, London SE1 9TG Website Tel: +44 20 7887 8888 Click for location . on the map8number.
10. British Museum
The British Museum is one of the most prestigious museums in the world, with a collection that has witnessed more than 2 million years of human history. In fact, it is more like a conservation center where concrete cultural items from all periods and civilizations are gathered under one roof, rather than a museum. Founded in 1753 and attracting 6 million visitors a year, the museum features sculptures from the Parthenon, the temple of Athena, mummies from Egypt, relics from Rome, objects from North American Indian cultures, a permanent collection of art from the modern era, and temporary exhibitions. there is. Also, if you want to have afternoon tea, the cafe of the museum is very convenient.
This Lycian mausoleum was brought from Turkey during the Ottoman Empire. In the statement, it says that it was removed from the ground with the permission of the state and then brought to England.
The same is true for the Parthenon, Greece’s most important historical monument, symbol and national pride. At the time when Greece was Ottoman territory, the most popular statues of the temple were taken to England. Greece has been trying to take it back for a long time. It will get harder when Brexit happens and the UK leaves the EU. Meanwhile, research has revealed that 69% of Britons think they should be given back.
This is the reading room of the British Museum.
It was in this room that Karl Marx wrote his world-shaking book Das Kapital (Kapital) while he was exiled to London. However, he died before he could see it published. After his death, a friend compiled what he had written and enabled the book to be published.
Note: There is a “don’t miss” list for each floor in the museum map. You can easily find the most important works to see in this list. In the youtube video below, you can watch the stories of the artifacts in the museum that were brought here from all over the world in a timely manner.
⌚ British Museum Visiting Hours
It is open every day of the year from 10:00 to 17:30. Closed only from December 24-26 and January 1. Open until 20.30 on Fridays. Every day from 11:00 to 16:00, there are free tours where you can pick up some objects and examine them. In addition, there are free tours of 30-40 minutes every day, which include the most basic points to be seen in the museum. You can find out the tour times on their website . Of course, you can guess that these tours are organized on a voluntary basis and are not very comprehensive. If you want to visit the museum on a 2-hour tour with an expert guide, click here to view the British Museum guided tour .
🎫 British Museum Entrance Fee
Entry is free for all galleries of the museum. However, you are expected to make an online reservation for a certain day and time in advance. Click to make a reservation .
📍 Where is the British Museum?
Address: Great Russell St, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 3DG Tel: 44 20 7323 8299 Click for location . on the map9number.