London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Visitors to the UK capital are really spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do. Those on weekend breaks are advised to plan carefully to cram in the essential sights, with those staying for longer in holiday apartments in London benefiting from more time to soak up the bustling atmosphere and sense of history.
When it comes to city breaks, London really does tick all of the boxes - an almost overwhelming array of historical and cultural sites; world-famous museums; a global dining scene; top-drawer theatre and musical performances; and an underground rail network that makes getting around the capital a breeze. More than 14 million international visitors arrive in London each year, sharing the city's streets with over eight million residents. One of the major draws is undoubtedly the British Royal Family, who live and work at Buckingham Palace in the City of Westminster for part of the year.
Even a shortlist of London's top tourist attractions won't fit in these few lines, but here are a handful of the absolute essentials for visitors to the capital:
Buckingham Palace - As previously mentioned, the Royal Family spend much of their time at this famous royal palace. Built in 1705 for the Duke of Buckingham, the house was extended in the 19th century and became the official royal palace of the monarch when Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837. Visitors in August and September can enter the state rooms during the palace's annual summer opening.
Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament - Officially named the Elizabeth Tower to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee, this is the world-famous clock tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster (known as the Houses of Parliament). The tower stands 96m high and features the world's largest four-faced chiming clock. The Palace of Westminster was built in the 19th century, after the original dating back to the Middle Ages was destroyed by fire.
London Eye - This giant ferris wheel on the south bank of the River Thames was constructed in 1999 to mark the millennium. It is visited by more than 3.5 million people each year, making it the most popular paid tourist attraction in the UK. Until the observation deck of the Shard opened in February 2013, the London Eye provided the city's highest public viewing point at 135m.
Westminster Abbey - This large church in the City of Westminster is built predominantly in the Gothic style and is one of the most important religious buildings in the UK. Originally constructed in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 13th century, it is the traditional location for coronations and the burial of monarchs.
London is served by the busiest international airport in the world, Heathrow, but there are plenty more options for visitors. The next most important airport is Gatwick, which is located to the south of London, while business travellers often arrive at London City Airport due to its more central location. Those seeking low-cost flights are more likely to travel to London via Stansted Airport to the north-east of London or Luton Airport to the north.
There really isn't a bad time to visit London, as the city is popular at all times of the year. Fair-weather tourists will undoubtedly prefer the summer months, while those who enjoy festive charm and the chill of winter will relish the Christmas lights in December.
If you're planning a trip to the UK, why not take a look at our holiday apartments in London? We offer high quality accommodation in key central locations that is often much more affordable than staying in a hotel.
All London apartments are available for online booking for the convenience of the travelers and direct reservation.
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