London. The Capital and heart of Britain. A place with an unremitting history and an unabating diversity. This is the focal point of what a modern city should aim for. As we head into the future of the UK, London stands above all the other British cities as the most futuristic that is for sure.
Which means it should be high on everyone’s list to visit. A city with enough power to keep Britain standing triumphant for generations, a city which feels ever so elegant with its long-lasting relationship with the monarchy.
When people who have never visited Britain get asked what a British stereotype is, they say “Tea, biscuits, double decker buses, red telephone boxes, crumpets, clock tower, ferris wheel.” All of these things are what makes London so special. It is literally the stereotype of the United Kingdom and more.
I visited London for a long weekend at the start of September and loved it!
Beforehand, I only travelled to London once, back in 2013, for a couple of days on a school trip. I never really got to see much apart from the famous landmarks such as Big Ben, London Eye and Buckingham Palace. This left an urge in 13 year old me to return one day.
I did not expect that to be during a global pandemic but London proved why it is ahead of its time as they dealt with the restrictions rationally and successfully.
I loved my little visit there, seeing loads on my wander alongside the river Thames. What blows me away about this city is how different it is to my home-city of Edinburgh. Two very distinct and popular UK cities feeling nothing alike. That is phenomenal.
I will definitely return to this spectacular capital eventually, but for anyone interested in going for their first time, here is a list on ‘Six Things You Must Do In London’:
1. Take In The Views On The London Eye
One of the most notable ‘things to do’ in London is the London Eye but for good reason.
The Millenium Wheel opened in 1999 and 2000 for the paying public. Expected to be a temporary attraction, the London Eye not only had the eye but the heart of the nation as it got the permission to be a permenant display on the pier of the river Thames. In 2008, it was announced over 30 million people seen the scenery from one of the capsules since its introduction.
Now it is engraved as one of the city’s biggest landmarks with everyone taking a spin when they visit for the first time. Therefore, you should take in the views yourself.
The whole experience lasts about half an hour which is plenty time to walk around the space and see London from every corner. With the wheel spinning close to the Houses of Parliament, you get a great bird’s eye perspective of this encapsulating building.
It is a pricey endeavour, ranging from £25 per person but if you are a lover of views and landscapes, this is a must do opportunity.
2. Watch Tower Bridge Suspend
This isn’t a regular experience, so if the timetable displays Tower Bridge to open while you are visiting, then get yourself down to the pier and watch the Bridge grant permission to the boats wanting to cross.
It is a very rare occasion, that when I posted this photo on my Instagram, I had Londoners commenting that they haven’t even seen the Bridge suspend to greater heights!
The bridge is a unique piece of architecture and cemented as one of London’s most breathtaking features. I couldn’t stop myself taking photos from every angle. For bridge-passionates around the World, this is defintiely one you should add to your list!
You can access the Tower Bridge lift times here.
3. Dive Into A Wordly Understanding Via The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is one of the most famous and extravagant buildings filled with history in the whole world. People travel from all over to dive into a worldly understanding via this very Exhibition.
Opened in 1881 by Richard Owen & Charles Darwin, the museum has been one of the long-lasting places to educate and entertain visitors.
The many exhibits on display include dinosaurs, early human history and natural disasters. Ond of the most impressive rooms in this glorious building is the main hall. This one leads to plenty other displays, outdoors and a cafe but that is if you can built the strength to leave this wonderful room. The walls have a standard, old-fashioned pleat of beauty and grace to them as the blue whale skeleton stands prideful above all.
You must wait patiently to stand atop of the stairs facing the mouth of this elegant creature to get this famous shot. It is popular for a reason.
If you don’t find yourself reading detail after detail (you could easily spend a whole day in there if you do!) then you may be glaring at the stunning architecture of the building, luring people in with its complex appeal.
Therefore, if you are in London and want to find somewhere warm when not wandering around the busy streets, this is the best place to be. Best of all, it is completely free!
4. Relax In The Sky Garden
Another free destination is the tall, unique and impressive building of the Sky Garden.
The “Walkie-Talkie” got its name because of the object it reminds people of, opened in January 2015 and offers 360 views of the capital surrounded by greenery.
It is the highest public garden in the city and therefore, a place that should be on everyone’s ‘must-see’ list. Standing at 525ft, the views are spectacular.
You can also just chill out and relax, eating in their restaurant. I was too busy taking lots of photos from the basking height, so I never stopped to have a bite to eat but surely it would be nice, similarly to the rest of its glass-glazed building.
5. Stroll Through The Royal St. James’ Park
London may be a vast and moving city with skyscrapers towering over everything, revealing what the future may be like for urbanisation but it is a green-friendly location.
I saw myself walking through many public gardens, strolling and chilling out amongst the hustle and bustle of London’s never-sleep attitude.
One of the best was St. James’ Park. This park held royal heritage being purchased by Henry VIII in 1532, originally titled “whitehall” being a location ‘fit for a King’.
The exquisite gardens were used to keep exotic animals such as crocodiles, camels and elephants when King James I came to the throne in 1603.
Now it is a public gardens but it still holds onto its royalty, preciously. It neighbours Buckingham Palace, the official residence for Queen Elizabeth II herself – a stunning building, certainly holding the glamour fit for a Queen.
The garden also keeps its exotic nature having many swans – even black ones – swimming gleefully in the ponds and birds such as parakeets swooping above your heads.
6. Be Amazed At The Architecture of St. Paul’s Cathedral
Finally, I can mention my favourite building in the whole London city – the remarkable St. Paul’s Cathedral.
For cathedral-lovers, this building would surely be high on the visiting list but it is more impressive when you see it with your own eyes!
It is a lot bigger than imaginable and stands with pride as it has survived many London disasters such as the Great Fire of 1666.
Even if you aren’t religious – I’m not – this building will remain one of the most breath-taking in your entire UK visit.
If you are, then your prayers will be answered as soon as you step inside and stare at this wonderful cathedral.
I have not adventured around the interior as of yet but this gives me another reason to set my eyes on this phenomenal piece of architecture!
Overall, London is a fantastic city with life seeping from every corner!
You will feel entangled in the nature of the city when experiencing its fast-paced momentum. To visit all the things on this list make sure to speed your way around the city on the London Underground!
Also, if you’d like to gain more London insights and inspiration then check out my Instagram for more London photography in the near future. 🙂