It’s difficult to imagine a tour of London without wanting to explore the history of a city that has helped to shape so much of the modern world. When embarking on your cruise to London, be sure to plan a visit to some of the most famous attraction.
Founded as a settlement of the Roman Empire over two millennia ago, London is rich with history, and features some remains of its interior walls that are still standing from 200 A.D., before the city was eventually abandoned by the declining Empire. London experienced a rebirth when Alfred the Great conquered the city and rebuilt the old Roman fortress, marking the beginning of the “English” kingdom.
Known as one of the premier financial capitals of the world since the late 16th century, London has been a focal point for money, power, and therefore history; a tour of London’s attractions is sure to whet any history enthusiast’s appetite.
Museums in London
The British Museum is dedicated to human history and culture from all over the world, and is sure to be at the top of anyone’s list of London attractions, to be appreciated by just about any history lover. With over eight million works, it is one of the largest and most important museums in the world.
The National Gallery houses paintings from the 13th century to 1900, and is the fifth most-visited museum in the world. Located on Trafalgar Square in London, it is unique among the great European museums.
No London tour is complete without seeing Buckingham Palace, the official home of the British Monarch. Who can count the many world-altering decisions made behind its walls? It is the traditional congregation place of the English in times of national celebration and tragedy.
The Changing of the Guard is a London attraction that is practically compulsory for anyone embarking on a London Tour.
City of World Heritage
Just about any kind of London tour should include the city’s four designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
The Tower of London
The Tower of London was founded in the year of the Norman Invasion of 1066, and is located on the north side of the river Thames, in central London. Built by William the Conqueror, it was originally viewed as a symbol of oppression. Damaged during the Blitz of WWII, the castle has since been restored, and continues to be one of the most popular London attractions among tourists.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, were opened in 1759. Today, they hold the world’s largest collection of living plants. These botanical gardens employ a staff of over 650 scientists and botanists, tasked with caring for over 30,000 different types of plants and herbs within the property. The grounds include a palace and historical houses, as well as fine examples of landscape architecture.
Westminster Palace and Westminster Abbey
The Palace of Westminster (which takes its name from the adjacent Westminster Abbey), keeps the Houses of Parliament, and is one of the most famous examples of Perpendicular Gothic architecture. Dating back to the 11th century, it previously served as a royal residence before being altered to serve as the two houses of parliament. Its Elizabeth Tower is commonly known for its largest bell, Big Ben, and is itself a major London tour destination.
Known for its storied maritime history, Greenwich, in southeast London, is the namesake for both Greenwich Mean Time, and the Greenwich Meridian. The Royal Observatory and its time ball has come to represent a London attraction that no history buff should miss. Beginning in the 17th century, the town became known as a London tour and resort destination, and was also the birthplace for many members of the royal House of Tudor.
Whether you are interested in the history, or just want to see what fun London has to offer, visit VikingCruises.com to book your vacation today.