Following is a small sampling of some of London's most popular tourist sites:
- Buckingham Palace — London home of Britain's sovereigns; it was originally built by the duke of Buckingham in 1703. Adjacent to St. James Park, this is a favorite spot to see the Changing of the Guard.
- British Museum — The museum was created by an act of Parliament. Its most popular exhibits include the Rosetta Stone, the Elgin (or Parthenon) Marbles and antiquities from India, Greece, China, Egypt, Rome, etc. The British Library is a part of the museum.
- Westminster Abbey — originally the abbey church of a Benedictine monastery; almost every English queen or king since William the Conqueror (except Edward V and Edward VIII) has been crowned here. Eighteen of the monarchs, plus statesmen, poets, writers, scientists and other distinguished personages have been buried in Westminster Abbey. Check out the Poets' Corner and the tombs of Chaucer, Browning and Tennyson.
- Tower of London — a fortress on the north bank of the River Thames. In the middle ages it was a royal residence and later it became a prison and the site of many executions. It now houses a museum with a collection of medieval armor, plus the crown jewels.
- London Eye — At 135 m/443 ft tall, this is the world's largest observation wheel. It is located on the South Bank of the Thames, between Westminster and Hungerford Bridges; the wheel takes 30 minutes to make a full revolution and affords a breathtaking view of the city.
- Madame Tussauds Wax Museum — Hobnob with Britney, Atatürk, George, Diana, Oprah and the pope — or at least with their amazing wax likenesses.
- Big Ben and Houses of Parliament — also called Westminster Palace. This is where the House of Lords and the House of Commons meet. It is situated on the north bank of the Thames, in Whitehall. The Jewel Tower is right across the street.
- The National Gallery — Located on Trafalgar Square, the gallery houses an enormous collection of European paintings from about 1250-1900, including works by Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Turner and Van Gogh. Around the corner is the National Portrait Gallery, including a collection of portraits of famous and infamous British subjects from the Tudors to present day.
- Shakespeare's Globe Theatre — Catch a performance of one of Shakespeare's plays in this beautifully reproduced replica of the original theater in which his plays were produced.
- Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms — Opposite St. James's Park in central London, in the basement of the treasury building, are the preserved War Rooms, where maps and documents still hang on the wall, and the rooms remain as they were furnished during World War II. The Churchill Museum allows you to walk chronologically through Winston Churchill's life, with pictures, documents and artifacts on display.
- Imperial War Museum — a collection of military weapons, vehicles and memorabilia from Britain's wars.
- Museum of London — 2000 years of London's history, from prehistoric to modern times. Feel what it was like to be in London during WWII, see London during the Great Fire,...
- Sherlock Holmes Museum — The famous address of 221B Baker St. is actually located at 239 Baker St. Holmes' living quarters, filled with his artifacts, books, pipes and all the other items that are so familiar from the books of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
- Kew Gardens — There are over 30,000 types of plants from all over the world on the grounds and in the six glasshouses strewn over the 121 hectares (nearly 300 acres) on the Thames River, between Kew and Richmond, in southwest London.
- Covent Garden — It's where Eliza Doolittle hung out; the square holds a beautiful fruit, vegetable and garden market, as well as boutique shops of all kinds. The Royal Opera House, St. Paul's Church and London Transport Museum are located here. The award-winning street performances may feature a juggler one day, a string quartet the next; an acrobat in the afternoon, an opera singer in the evening.
- West End and Piccadilly Circus — New York has Broadway and Times Square; London has the West End and Piccadilly Circus. The key theater and entertainment district for the city, the West End is also a retail center. It includes the theaters, cinemas and restaurants of Leicester Square, Soho and Covent Garden, and the shops of Oxford, Regent and Bond Streets.
Though London is known as a foggy, rainy town, it is actually one of Europe's driest capitals. Though it rains often, the rainfall is generally light. Temperatures are moderate, with the hottest month being July (average temperature: 13-23° C/56-73° F) and the coldest being January (average temperature 2-8° C/35-46° F)
Summer months are usually the most crowded in London; if you want to avoid long lines in the tourist centers, it is best to visit January-April.Getting Around
There are 12 lines that serve greater London (Bakerloo, Central, Circle, District, East London, Hammersmith and City, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria, Waterloo and City), plus an interconnected rail network and the Docklands Light Railway. The Tube trains begin to run from around 5 a.m. Monday-Saturday, 7:30 a.m. on Sunday. Depending on the station and the line, the last train leaves sometime between 11:30 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. Most stations are not handicapped-accessible, though most new stations between Westminster and Stafford on the Jubilee Line have elevators (lifts) for wheelchair passengers.
The Tube route around London is divided into six concentric zones. You must have a valid ticket for crossing into different zones; anyone without a valid ticket is subject to a fine. Travelers may consider purchasing a multiple-ride ticket to avoid queues.
Many buses run 24 hours/day; Trafalgar Square is the hub for night buses. Night service may be infrequent. Since buses don't stop at every stop, be sure to signal clearly when you want to disembark.
Bus fares are £2 if you are paying cash or £1 if you pre-pay with an Oyster card or Bus Saver Ticket. Travelcards are also valid on buses. Bus passes are valid for the entire bus and tram system. Some buses require pre-payment; ticket machines requiring exact change are available at these stops.
Prices are subject to change.Related Sites
The Exploring 20th century London Project
Jointly funded by the MLA Designation Challenge Fund and the London Museums Hub, Phase I of the Exploring 20th century London project is a partnership project between four museums in London:
The project’s aim is to make the collections held by these museums more accessible, but to do so in a way that links the objects in the collections with the broader history of London. All objects and images featured on the site speak of the real events and experiences of twentieth-century London.
The content covers different types of objects: from Routemaster buses to architectural designs; from 1970s platform shoes to oral history recordings; from paintings and artworks to family photographs. It also includes a mass of supporting information. Overall, the site is intended to be a ‘learning resource’, providing a large quantity of material which people can use to pursue their own interests and projects.
The first phase of the project has two outputs:
- an integrated website combining collections from all four museums
- a separate website for the Museum of London, tailored to the Museum's needs, with additional material.
In Phase II seven additional London institutions have joined the partnership:
- Bishopsgate Institute
- Brent Museum
- Bromley Museum
- Hampstead Museum
- Horniman Museum
- Museum of Domestic design and Architecture (MoDA)
- World Rugby Museum
As part of Phase II of the project, a version of the site for children has been created:
In Phase III of the project the following partners have joined:
The London Museums Hub has pledged financial support for the project until March 31st 2011, when phase IV will be completed. It is hoped that the site will provide a model for similar projects in other regions of Britain.
The technical delivery of the project has also involved partnership working. IT and Documentation staff from all four museums have worked together to create standardised data. The data is then sent to the Peoples Network Discover Service (PNDS) where the different sets are combined into one database and made available to the project’s own content management system (CMS), ‘Amaxus’ from BoxUK. The CMS joins the data with its associated image and media files, before publishing them all in a readable form on the website. Although the PNDS has been live since October 2005, this is the first project to use this national infrastructure as a way of aggregating and then publishing data to another content management system.
Choose a London borough from the list below to discover what objects and images we have from your area...
Choose a Theme from the list below to browse through our collections.....
London in the 1920s changed its mood. The lifting of war time restrictions in the early 1920s created new sorts of night-life in the West End. Entrepreneurs opened clubs, restaurants and dance halls to cater for the new crazes: jazz and dancing. The capital began to feel less traditional and more modern. 'Wireless' radio was the technological marvel of the decade.
As London lightened up at its centre, so it began to spread at its edges. Electric railways opened up new suburbs for commuting. Local councils and private house builders both redoubled their efforts to build new estates on green-field sites in outer London. Those Londoners who could afford it moved out of the unhealthy inner city.
London's population, 1921
Greater London: 7,386,755 people
Inner London: 4,484,523 people
London's economy and jobs
London's docks resumed their role as the engine of London's wealth. The volume of imports and exports rose with the opening of the King George V docks complex in 1921. In central London new office jobs were created by a new generation of British corporations and banks: ICI and British Petroleum both built large head offices in central London .
Firms continued to move out of inner city, particularly to West London. More factories were built at Park Royal and along the new arterial roads. The Firestone Tyre factory on the Great West Road, the Wrigley factory at Wembley and Lyons food processing works at Hammersmith were typical of the new generation of London’s light industry They had smart modern buildings and used modern, electrically-powered automated machinery.
- 1922 first radio broadcast of the British Broadcasting Company (later, the British Broadcasting Corporation) from premises in the Strand
- 1924-5 British Empire Exhibition at Wembley
- 1926 The General Strike lasts for 10 days in May
- 1928 The Thames floods central London
- 1928 London's first automatic telephone exchange opens at Holborn
- 1922 Waterloo Station
- 1922 County Hall
- 1929 Battersea Power Station
- 1926 London's first traffic lights at Piccadilly
- 1926 southern extension of the Northern Line to Morden
London in the 1930s tried to be cleaner, more modern and efficient. It was increasingly a city of electric lighting and motor vechicles, rather than gas lighting and horse-drawn vehicles.The Capital's old problems were being tackled by new public bodies. The London Passenger Transport Board was created in 1933 as a way of bringing all the capital's transport providers together. The General Post Office completed the automation of London's telephone exchanges.
The decade was dominated by the growing threat of fascism in Europe. Bitter clashes between English supporters of fascism and their opponents took place in central London and the East End. German Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution, began to arrive, many settling in Hampstead. War with Germany began to look inevitable and the decade ended with preparations to evacuate London's children.
London's population, 1931
Greater London: 8,110 358 people
Inner London: 4,397,003 people
London's economy and jobs
London escaped the depression that decimated industries elsewhere in Britain during the 1930s. Although unemployment rates rose, London had a high proportion of new 'sunrise' industries, making electrical equipment, food and consumer goods. By 1938 London had 36,911 factories employing 743,173 people. The capital's main industrial sectors were engineering (230,000 jobs), clothing and shoes (180,000 jobs), food and drink (90,000 jobs), furniture (70,000 jobs) and printing and paper (67,000 jobs).
Light industry continued to move west: Hoover, EMI and Coty all built smart new factories along the western arterial roads. On the east side of London the American car manufacturer Ford opened a mammoth factory at Dagenham in 1931. This factory was designed to make cars for the British market and for export, through London, to European and world markets.
- 1935 Silver Jubilee of George V
- 1936 The Jarrow March: unemployed shipbuilders march from the Tyne to the Thames to draw attention to their plight
- 1936 fierce clashes with British fascists in Cable Street, Stepney
- 1936-7 George V dies. Edward VII abdicates handing the throne to his brother who is crowned George VI in 1937
- 1939 Evacuation of children from London in preparation for war
- 1932 Daily Express building, Fleet Street
- 1933 Senate House, Bloomsbury
- 1932-3 northern extension of the Piccadilly line
- 1936 First London-Paris through train