For several centuries London has been the capital of one of the most powerful world states – the Great Britain Empire. This imparted a peculiar appearance to the center of London where literally at every turn you can be faced with monuments of famous Britons, as well as magnificent structures demonstrating the power of empire.
When you see the huge buildings of Foreign Office or Ministry of the Navy, you understand that there have been taken many important decisions, which influenced the events of world history.
It takes at least 2-3 days to see the sights of London. You should start your acquaintance with London from Westminster. It is the most important sight of Britain capital. Westminster Abbey and Westminster Palace with its famous Big Ben tower are close to each other. For several centuries Westminster Palace has been the seat of British Parliament. You may go on free ex-cursion to the palace where you can not only see the interiors of the royal palace but also watch parliamentary debates from the special gallery. Alas, you can`t climb the tower of Big Ben. Access is strictly restricted there.
At the Westminster Abbey you can see all the history of British monarchy. All English kings were crowned at the cathedral. All of them were also buried there. If you are interested in the history of Great Britain, it makes sense to join some excursion where you will be told in detail about all important events that took place within the walls of this cathedral.
The Tower of London and Tower Bridge are south-west of London. Tower Bridge over the River Thames is considered to be one of the most beautiful bridges in the world. Also, you should visit the Tower of London (royal palace and fortress) despite the price of tickets. Since the time of its construction in 11th century the fortress for a long time has been the residence of English kings. It was one of the cruelest prisons in London as well. Today the fortress properly houses most interesting museum, and at nearby building of the Treasure crown jewels of British monarchs and some other valuable things are exhibited.
You should see the Buckingham Palace that is the residence of British queen Victoria. You need to know the hours of Guard Mounting to see this curious ceremony. Buckingham Palace is open for visiting only in summer when the royal family is at the Holyrood Palace in Edinburg. St. James` Park, one of the most beautiful parks in London, is not far from the Buckingham Palace.
Hyde Park is also near the Buckingham Palace. The park is huge but you must admit that it isn’t as scenic as St. James` Park. You may go there with your family to have a rest on the lawn or go in for some sport. If you are a tourist, you shouldn’t spend your time on roaming about the huge and rather monotonous spaces of Hyde Park. Although, it would be interesting to visit the so-called Hyde Park Corner (near the tube station of the same name) in the evening. A cozy café is on the shore of a big pond. The tables directly approach the water edge allowing you to watch sunset. There is another royal palace, Hampton Court, in Hyde Park.
Out of other interesting places in London, you should see the Trafalgar Square with Admiral Nelson Column in the center, go along the Whitehall, visit St. Paul Cathedral, and have a tour of surrounding streets (the ones of London City). To see the bird`s view of the historical part of London, you will have to rise above the city on the London`s Eye, the world`s tallest observation wheel. If you are interested in shopping, you should go to Regent or Oxford Streets, and by all means should you drop in at the huge Herrods.
When you plan a trip to London, you should spare some time for museums or galleries, even if you aren’t great lover of art. Taking into account the strength of empire, as wells as huge co-lonial territories, the English were able to collect the most interesting pieces of art from all over the world. British Museum and National Gallery are the main places where you should go. If you are interested in modern arts, you should go to the Tate Gallery of Modern Arts.