Whether you’re visiting for business or pleasure, London is packed full of interesting attractions. From historical palaces to shopping arcades, there’s something different to do every single day. But to really enjoy the City and Country sights, why not go armed with a few insider facts?
No list of London attractions is complete without the Palace, but did you know that Buckingham Palace started life as Buckingham House? The Duke of Buckingham built it in 1703, and King George III bought it in 1761.
Almost everyone knows that it’s the bell that is called Big Ben and not the tower, but do you know the name of the tower? Your cabbie might tell you it’s called the Clock Tower, but it was renamed in 2012 as the Elizabeth Tower to celebrate the Queen’s jubilee.
It’s big. If you want to know how big, in 2005 Banksy added his own unauthorized installation – a caveman pushing a shopping trolley – in one of the galleries, and no one noticed for three days.
The Eye was originally known throughout the City and Country as the Millennium Wheel, but as it wasn’t completed on time, the name didn’t seem appropriate. And in case you need to know, Jessica Alba is currently the most frequent celebrity rider. She’s been on 31 times to date.
Although it’s mostly known as a centre of sub-culture fashion, Camden Lock Market is consistently ranked as London’s fourth-largest tourist attraction. Less well known is that George Orwell, Mary Shelley and Charles Dickens all lived here at some point.
21st-century history buffs flock here in their thousands to see the site where Ann Boleyn lost her head, but this is nothing new. Tourists have been visiting the Tower since Elizabethan times.
Located just off Piccadilly, the Burlington Arcade is recognised as the precursor of the modern glazed shopping mall. However, when it was first built, the arcade was simply seen as a miniature of the much grander glass atriums of Italy.
Buried beneath the British Treasury, the Cabinet War Rooms ensured the government operated as usual during the Blitz, but as soon as the war was over, rumour has it, they were the location of some wild parties.
London’s newest attraction offers the best views of the city. So good in fact that a wild fox – nicknamed Romeo – decided to move on to the 72nd floor while it was still under construction.
Ships always have right of way at this famous hydraulic bridge. Clinton’s presidential motorcade learned this when it was split crossing Tower Bridge to allow the Gladys the barge to pass.
So these are just a smattering of our favourites. We hope you’ll have time to enjoy them too.