September 20, 2021 by D.Fathia
Updated September 20, 2021
Most fascinating places to visit in London
Rising in pride on the shores of the River Thames, London has been a symbol of power, colossal history, and global influence for centuries. The capital of the empire where the sun never sets is now a center of ethnic and religious diversity, a multicultural spot, and an environment where differences coexist.
If you are a fan of traveling and discovering new places, then follow this article to find out more about some of the most fascinating places to visit in London. We capture history, culture, the essence of the city, and much more.
The history of London in a nutshell:
The city of London is built upon the old city of Londinium or Roman London. Though the etymology of the name is still debated, whether it is derived from old European, Celtic, or Latin language, there is consensus on favoring a Celtic origin.
Archeological remains suggest Brythonic settlements in the area centuries ago. Some remains were found on the South foreshore The Thames. The Bronze Age bridge dated back to the period between 1750 and 1285 BC.
Prehistoric settlement in the region might not be fully evident and lacks evidence, but the Roman settlement is crystal clear. The city prospered under Roman rule and became the capital of the province of Britannia.
Unfortunately with the decline of Roman rule, the city was abandoned and left to decay. Anglo Saxon and Viking settlements were believed to have grown for a period around the city. Yet, the old majestic Londinium was not restored to its former glory.
London grew to fame and glory once again with Alfred the Great. The Anglo Saxon Chronicle reveals that Alfred rebuilt the city in 886. It bloomed slowly until eventually became the capital of the newfound English nation by the 11th century.
Frank Stenton, a 29th-century historian, and president of the Royal Historical Society, declared that "It had the resources, and it was rapidly developing the dignity and the political self-consciousness appropriate to a national capital.”
London continued to develop under William the Conqueror, king of England, after him Norman Conquest and beyond him with William II. Some of the city’s most distinguished landmarks were such as the Tower and Westminster Hall were built during that time.
The city continued to grow through ups and downs during the modern era. Ravaged by the Great Fire in 1666, the city was rebuilt to its former glory and beyond. It has become the beating heart of the country and an international spot for financial, cultural, and political matters.
Perhaps Samuel Johnson was able to summarize the importance and vitality of the city when he said that “You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
Distinct weather and geography:
Greater London is composed of 33 boroughs including the old historical city of London. The status of the city as the capital of the The United Kingdom was never codified in written law, it was rather granted through constitutional convention, thus becoming the de facto capital although most state and commonwealth institutions are in the city of Westminster.
River Thames, dividing London, is the most distinguishing feature of the region. Thames Valley is a major touristic destination thanks to the beauty of its sceneries. The flood plain is surrounded by hills such as Primrose Hill, Parliament Hill, and Addington Hill. These are mesmerizing places to enjoy sightseeing.
The Thames river used t be larger and had extensive marshlands. Embankments during the Victorian era downsized the river and now many tributaries flow underground.
During the 20th century, a barrier was formed around the river to prevent the risks of floods. The Thames barrier is expected to function perfectly until 2070, however, with the rising sea levels and tides, new plans are being discussed.
The region is characterized by an oceanic climate. Rain falls for around 109 days annually. The highest temperature degrees recorded do not exceed 38 °C. Summers are warm and rarely hot, while spring and fall are pleasant seasons. Snow falls at least once each winter. It has an arguable general atmosphere.
Top places to visit in London:
If you are heading to the UK soon, then you should make plans beforehand because once you are there you will be overwhelmed with the beauty of the place and monuments and you will get confused about where to go and what to neglect.
“Where Royalty lives” is a city of various outstanding monuments ranging from castles to churches to museums. Here is a list of the top places to visit in London:
The British Museum: located at Bloomsbury, the museum harbors roughly eight million pieces of work of art. It has one of the largest collections worldwide, most of which were collected during the Empire and as a result of British expansionism. The Greek Revival façade constructed by Sir Robert Smirke stands colossal with 44 columns.
The National Gallery:located in Trafalgar Square, hosts a significant collection of paintings dating back to the 13th century onward. The collection is encyclopedic, representing most artistic movements and artists from Giotto to Cézanne.
The Natural History Museum: exhibits a plethora of specimens from different periods of natural history. The museum’s collections include items classified into botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology, and zoology. There are about 80 million items in general. It is known for displaying dinosaurs’ skeletons.
Tate Modern:is another art gallery located in the Bankside area. It hosts art collections from around the world, both modern and contemporary.
Southbank Center:is an amalgamation of artistic venues scattered on the South Bank of the Thames. The venues include the Royal Festival Hall, the Saison Poetry Library, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room, and the Hayward Gallery. Art exhibitions, poetry performances, theater, dance, and music performances happen year-round.
Somerset House: is a neoclassical complex overlooking the Thames, east of Waterloo Bridge. It is home to galleries, exhibitions, film shooting locations, and permanent residence of several societies and academies mainly in the field of art.
Tower of London: or Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower is a landmark of the UK. It is a historical castle standing on the north bank of the Thames.
Buckingham Palace: is the residence of the monarchs, located at Westminster. The palace is a national symbol of the UK along with the queen. It is a public destination during times of euphoria and melancholy alike.
Trafalgar Square: is a significant landmark commemorating British victory in the Napoleonic wars. The square is home to several sculptures and statues. Nelson’s column stands at the center surrounded by four lion statues. Multiple famous buildings face the square adding to the beauty of the place.
The above are just a few buildings to check if you are visiting the UK soon, especially now that travel restrictions are being eased. Nevertheless, other sites are worth visiting as well, especially national parks and green spaces. Of course, the London Eye or the Millennium Wheel is needless of definition; they are the first monuments the eye of a visitor will catch once in the UK.