Of all the capital cities in the world, London is one of the most iconic. It has a rich history that far exceeds others, with battles, royalty, uprisings, jubilees, and disasters all shaping the modern city scape. There’s so much to do and see, from impressive Tudor palaces to gothic Victorian buildings, in London, you’ll never be short of things to keep you entertained.
That being said, with so much on offer, it can be difficult to know what to prioritize, especially if you’re only in the city for a short time. To help you make the most of your trip and see all the iconic sights, here are five shining examples of historical British architecture you need to put on your holiday itinerary.
1. The Shard
The Shard is the tallest building in London, meaning you’ll find it hard to miss! Located close to Tower Bridge, it’s easily accessible and has a lot to offer inside. It spans 72 floors and is a mixture of offices, residential space, and public amenities. If you’re in the area, head to the Shard for dinner and drinks, but be mindful it won’t be the cheapest!
2. The Tower of London
England is built on the foundation of the monarchy, and the Tower of London is one of the greatest yet most gruesome legacies of the royal family. Built in 1078, many people, including queens, have lost their lives here. There’s even the tale of the two princes who vanished from the tower.
There’s a deep history that pertains to the tower and that explains a lot of major historical events in Britain’s history. With this in mind, make sure you book in for a tour of the tower during your stay.
3. St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral is located atop Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London. It’s the head of the Diocese in London and was designed by Christopher Wren, a prominent architect behind many of the most iconic buildings in London. You can admire the impressive dome and trace back through more than 1,400 years of history in one of London’s most important and prominent churches.
If you’re visiting the city with a romantic partner, consider going to the Whispering Gallery at St Paul’s Cathedral. It’s said that if you whisper sweet nothings close to the curved wall, they’ll hear them – even if they’re not near you. How romantic!
4. Buckingham Palace
A trip to London wouldn’t be complete without visiting Buckingham Palace. Walk up The Mall and peer through the iron gates at the imposing front façade. You’ll see the balcony where the royals can be found waving at crowds on special occasions, like weddings and jubilees. If you’re lucky, you’ll even see the age-old tradition of the Changing of the Guard!
5. The Houses of Parliament
The London city skyline is dominated by the Houses of Parliament, also known as the Palace of Westminster. This is where the government makes laws and debates important topics with MPs. The building itself is among the most impressive of all government buildings in the world, with Big Ben being the crowning glory.
If you’re in the center of London, you’ll find it hard to miss this iconic landmark, but why not go one step further and head inside on a guided tour? Learn about the history of British politics and democracy, and see where the magic happens in real life!
There are countless other iconic buildings in London, including Westminster Abbey and Hampton Court Palace, but make sure you prioritize these five on your visit first.