The Shard is the latest attraction in London, a new tall office building located near London Bridge station with a viewing deck on 68-72 floors. This link gives you an idea of what the views are like – on a clear day – £24.95 for adults and £18.95 for children makes it pricey. You can prebook your slot, and stay as long as you like.
The London Eye, which opened in 2001, is cheaper than The Shard, at £19.95 for an on-the-day ticket but 10% cheaper if you buy in advance. There are a whole range of ticket options and experiences, which you can book from their tickets pages. The Eye is located just across from the Houses of Parliament on the South side of the River Thames.
I didn’t mention Tate Modern in my review of Museums yesterday which was an omission. Located in a converted Electricity Power Station, Tate Modern is mostly free. Located on the banks of the Thames, it can be reached by a walk along the south of the riverbank or over the millenium Bridge. The restaurant is super here and if you like Modern Art, it is well worth a visit.
One of venues that almost every visitor seems to end up is the Tower of London. Whilst it is an iconic image of London, I am not a great lover of the visitor experience here. There are too many rooms and whilst the Crown Jewels exhibit is interesting, I am not totally in love with this experience.
Close to the Tower is Tower Bridge, another iconic image of London. You can walk the high level walkways and so secure views up and down the river. At £8 for adults this can be a good value way to see more of the city.
Many visitors also spend time at Madame Tussauds – the famous wax work museum. Having not been there since I was a child of about 11 or 12, I cannot comment on the worth of the experience. Their web site does offer discounts when tickets are purchased in conjunction with a visit to the London Eye and other attractions in the city.
Another Museum I didn’t mention yesterday is the Imperial War Museum, as it is closed until July 2014. The museum looks at Britain from the perspective of wars it has waged and those it has fought in. Once re-opened the images give the impression of a truly interesting place to visit. Come back in 2014 for my update.
If you are considering a venture out to East London, it might be worth trying to include the Emirates Air Line in your visit. Although there is a supplement to the normal ticket price of a journey on your Oyster it is worth the visit. A cable car across the Thames, it links North Greenwich on the south side of the Thames, to the Royal Docks on the north side. The views are not especially spectacular as the surrounding area is fairly dull, but it’s a novelty.
The Emirates Aviation Experience is on the south side of the river. Tickets are cheap at £3 for adults and can be purchased via their web site. There are Airbus A380 and Boeing B777 simulators here.
Another free attraction is the ceremony of ‘Changing The Guard’ at Buckingham Palace. More details here. Please be aware that this does not happen every day or in very bad weather. It does provide a spectacle of the Guards who protect the Queen marching to/from their posts accompanied by a military band. The Army website with timings etc. is here. (The Queen does not attend).
Westminster Abbey is close to the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. Worth a visit whether you are religious or not in my view, although at £18 for adults you might think it a little steep. There is an audio guide which is rated highly by many and is available in several languages. Unless you know the history of Britain well you will not appreciate the significance of much of what you will see. The audio tour is also available for iPhone and Android as an app – link to downloads is here.
Whilst thinking about places of worship to visit in London it is probably worth mentioning St. Paul’s Cathedral. Located across the river from Tate Modern, you can easily combine a visit to both places. You can book your tickets in advance and enjoy a saving.
You can climb to the dome where unique acoustics bounce sound around the gallery, and a further 271 steps take you outside at the top. Not for those with a fear of heights.
Lastly on this review of Attractions, I am going to talk about visiting the Houses of Parliament. This can be a little complex as it’s an active government building, but their web site is helpful in explaining what you can see and when. Link is here. Tours occur when Parliament is not sitting and on Saturdays and you are accompanied by an approved guide. You can also visit Big Ben, daily, at set times. More information is here. (This visit involves climbing 334 small spiral steps, so think first!)
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