Top 5 sights in London
1. The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
Westminster Palace, well known as The Houses of Parliament are the place where British laws are being enacted and debated. The building was made in 1840 after the big London fire destroyed the old building. There are few rooms from the old building inside in the ground floor. The wonderful Gothic building is designed by Sir Charles Barry. The tradition of Parliament is all about ceremony, pomp and splendor. In the second week of November the Queen takes a ride in her State coach to Westminster Palace so she could open sessions of Parliament. One of the towers of Westminster Palace is 13 tons big clock well known as Big Ben. It strikes every 15 minutes and gives big bang every hour on the hour and when the lights are on that means that Parliament is in session. This clock is well known sight of London and part of most postcards. Tours around Houses of Parliament and Big Ben are available in summer or when Parliament is not in session and members work away from the Palace but also in summer this place can be quite crowded with tourists.
2. Tower of London and Tower Bridge
On a bank of river Themes, just on the boundaries of old city walls you will find the famous Tower of London. This famous place of London is well known trough history as prison and execution place but right now it is place where Crown jewels are kept and that is the thing that attracts tourists the most. The Tower of London has been used on many occasions as a royal residence, a mint, an armory, a menagerie and an observatory. The most famous piece of Crown jewels is the `Imperial State Crown`, with Kohinoor, a 317-carat Indian diamond sparkling endlessly. When you finish admiring the pearls, diamonds, rubies get down to the dungeons. Exactly at 21:30 the Tower of London is being locked and that is a special ceremony that you need invitation to go to. A little bit over 100 years old, Tower Bridge is one of the most famous sights in London. His twin draw bridges are around 1000 tons and they are being lifted more than half million times since the bridge was made. It takes 90 seconds to lift the bridge with electric motors which replaced original steam engines. From the bridge you can have excellent view of HMS Belfast, a cruiser which has 11.500 tones of steel, a hero of D-Day.
3. Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is the greatest church in UK and probably in English speaking world. This church has been used for crown ceremonies since 1066 and also for great events in British nation. One of the most famous events in last century was a wedding of Prince Charles to late Princess Diana. It is also a burial place for 29 British queens and kings and many more famous people. The mausoleum of Westminster Abbey has more than 3000 people buried in it. This excellent gothic structure stands here more than 1000 years and has amazing history. It is located close to the House of Parliament. It is fabulously huge and it will probably take you quite some time to go around and admire it. You will never get bored because amount of history here is never-ending. It is a perfect place when outside is bad weather and London is famous for its bad weather. You shouldn’t miss evensong service; it is absolutely amazing when the church is nearly empty. On Sunday evenings there is organ recital which lasts 30 minutes and it is also one of the things you shouldn’t miss. The Abbey is completely spiritual place.
4. Buckingham Palace
Since the time of Queen Victoria Buckingham Palace is used as London residence of the Royal family. It was built in 1702 as a residence for Duke of Buckingham and it was built on a site of notorious brothel. It was sold to George III by duke’s son in 1762 and has been a royal palace ever since. “Buck House” has 775 rooms divided in 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 19 State rooms, 92 offices, 188 staff bedrooms and 78 bathrooms. The State rooms are opened to the public and when the Royal family is not in the Palace few other rooms are opened to the public. The most interesting event in Palace is daily changing of the guard. It is an interesting ceremony and you shouldn’t miss it. The guards are excellently synchronized and they never move when put on their place. The balcony of the Palace is the most famous balcony in the world. The first appearance was by Queen Victoria on the opening of the Great Exhibition. The Palace got its famous white stone façade when the soft French stone got completely black from the pollution. It was quite a change for the people back in 1913, palace suddenly became white.
5. The British Museum
This glorious museum attracts millions of people every year. You will find it on the Great Russel Street. Everything you want to see is under the one roof. The collections from Greek, Egypt and Roman art are just stunning and huge. The collection of Egyptian mummies is the world most famous and biggest. The special gallery in this part of the museum includes a special tomb room which was dedicated to the Negamun, a rich Egyptian who died somewhere around 1350 BC. The collection from China and old Mesopotamia are packed up with coins, medals, antiques, drawings and prints. Over 7 million different objects are settled in this huge building and much more is in the basement of the museum since there is not enough space to get them all out. Objects that you have to grab a look include the Rosetta stone, the Parthenon Sculptures, the Sutton Hoo, Mildenhall treasures and the Portland Vase. Classical sculptures and hieroglyphics are also world famous. There is also a part of museum dedicated to Medieval Europe, Clocks and Watches and the Percival David Collection of Chinese Art. To see it all it would take you months, maybe years, so just chose things that you are most interested in and start exploring.