Have you ever fly to London before? The capital of the United Kingdom, a true international metropolis, a place where you see traces of history often cracks the top 10 in everyone’s travel list. Though a very historic place, London surprises everyone with how they mix modern and historic together, making it one of the perfect travel destinations. Here I created an all rounded list of attractions to see in London, where you get to experience the culture and history as well as the fun and attractive side of London.
The grand Buckingham Palace comes to mind when talking about the historic side of London. Where Queen Elizabeth II resides, this royal palace has been the official home to many royals since 1837. Throughout the years, the palace has grown into a lavish place with 775 rooms, of which 188 are staff bedrooms, 92 offices, 78 bedrooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms and 19 state rooms, spreading over 77,000 square metres. The palace is beautiful any time of the day. But if you wish to experience the traditional changing guards ceremony, be sure to arrive before 11:00am to get a good spot. Wanting to get a stroll inside this regal palace? Buckingham Palace is usually open to the public for guided tours in around August to September, make sure to check the official timetable and get your tickets in advance! Next to the palace are two of London’s royal parks, Green Park and St. James’s Park, feel free to take a walk after your visit and take in the refreshing scenery. A little fun fact for you to watch out during your visit, if the flag is flown in the palace, that means the queen is present in the palace carrying her royal duties or perhaps giving you a little wink.
One cannot travel to London and not visit the Big Ben; it is the most recognised landmark of London. The Big Ben is actually London’s House of Parliaments, where bills and legislations are passed. The building was finally completed in 1859 after years of attempts. In fact the bell in the clock tower today is the exact same one from 1859. Located in the centre of London, Big Ben chimes every hour. Make sure to get to Big Ben around 15 to 20 minutes before the hour, appreciate the delicate yet breath taking building, take the perfect pictures then listen to the powerful chime. You will be blown away, I assure you! Big Ben has two very different sides of beauty during the day and night. If you have enough time, it’s worth visiting it twice during different hours. But if time were an issue, I would recommend visiting at night, when the entire building and the tower are lit up and reflected on River Thames. While the street is roaming with people and vehicles when everyone is trying to get home after a long day, an illuminated Big Ben strikes a chord of silence with its charm and elegance.
A perfect example of London being a professional in mixing modern and history today is the famous high-end department store – Harrods. Harrods was first built as a grocery store in 1849. After years of development and expansion, in 1901 to 1905, Harrods’ iconic dome like structure was built and kept till this day. Though one of the world’s best high-end department store, Harrods offers something to everyone; ranging from luxury fashion, to the most advanced technology and to an international food market. Even if you are not planning to do a shopping spree and break the bank a little in Harrods, this seven-floor department store is definitely worth a visit. Each floor has different themes and is designed by different artists, the magnificent interior design as well as its well known structure will put you in awe. Or perhaps step inside and imagine what life was like in the 20th century. If you are looking for an authentic British experience, I’ve got you covered! Harrods offers one of the best afternoon teas in London. Honestly nothing beats unwinding in an elegant tearoom while being inside a piece of history.
Still on the hunt for another perfect place to shop in? Don’t worry! Oxford Circus might just be the place for you. Unlike Harrods, Oxford Circus is not a department store but a traffic crossing as well as a shopping paradise. Oxford Circus has a vast variety of stores, from budget to high street to high end. You will definitely find something that fits your budget in Oxford Circus! It’s also a great place to shop for souvenirs. Visit during the winter, and you will be blown away by one of the most romantic Christmas decorations. All stores in Oxford Circus will be dripping in fairy lights. You can also see the famous Christmas angels there. It’s truly breath taking and a great place to get that perfect Instagram travel picture. Christmas Lights in Oxford Circus are usually switched on in mid November till early January. So make sure to plan your travel ahead and do not miss this magical scene.
Piccadilly Circus is the Time Square of London with its giant digital screen and all kinds of shops, restaurants and attraction sides. Piccadilly Circus is a road junction that joins a number of major streets in London together; it’s easy to walk to Piccadilly Circus from Oxford Circus. So the best plan is to do some shopping in Oxford Circus during the day then head to Piccadilly Circus at night for dinner and appreciate the lights. One of the busiest streets in London, you can see all kinds of things in Piccadilly Circus, sometimes you can even see street performers putting on their best show ever. If you are looking for local independent stores to shop from, you can head to Piccadilly Arcade. Stores in Piccadilly Arcade are often full of historical stories and are of the best qualities. Theatre is extremely famous in London. One of London’s famous theatres, the Piccadilly Theatre, is just right around the corner. Feel free to check what shows will be on that night and have a musical experience.
Another busy spot for food during the day has got to be Borough Market. Be sure to visit with an empty stomach because trust me you would want to stuff your face with everything you see in the market. You can find all kinds of food in Borough Market, from fresh fruits, to traditional English cheese, seafood, dessert, truffles and all kinds of special drinks. Borough Market is like an indoor farmers’ market, you can get the freshest produce there. Borough Market in fact is actually another perfect example of mixing modern and history together. One of London’s oldest food market, Borough Market dates back to the 12th century. The market opens 10:00 am to 5:00 pm from Monday to Thursday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Friday and 8:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday. Visit during lunch hours, get your lunch fixed and buy some special and tasty snacks for your friends and families back home!
Tired of the historic tourists site? Up in Northwest London is Camden Town, a vibrant town next to the river with a street food market, all kinds of interesting shops and the perfect place for a fun night out. Most shops in Camden Town has their own unique exterior design, each shops makes an eye-catching picture! You can also buy special designs of fashion items in Camden Town. If you are hungry, the best thing to do is to grab a bite in the street food market, sit down near the river and enjoy your meal. Camden Town is a place that never sleeps, stay a bit later and have a fun night out with your mates!
Another fun part of London is Brick Lane. Like its name, buildings in Brick Lane are mostly built of age-old bricks from back in the days; the streets are also covered with cobblestones. As traditional as it sounds, Brick Lane is far from being traditional and boring. It is in fact a vibrant and exciting area in London when you can find some of the best vintage treasures in a bargain! Brick Lane is young and energetic, you can see amazing street art everywhere. And if that doesn’t make the ideal Instagram picture, I don’t know what does! The best time to visit Brick Lane is during the weekends at daytime when everyone is out and about, hunting for fun things! In Brick Lane Beigel Bake, you can get yourself one of the best beagles in town! So if you do visit Brick Lane, don’t forget to make a stop at the bakery.
If you are captivated by the beauty of London from this guide, then what are you waiting for? Plan your trip now! Book a trip with Cathay Pacific online and enjoy your stay. Cathay Pacific aims to provide every traveller the best air travel experience.