London is one of the most exciting cities in the world and has lots of tourist attractions. While it is a big challenge to explore all the tourist attractions of London in person, it is quite possible to do it from the comfort of your desk, and all within an hour.
Greater London is a metropolis consisting of 32 districts called borough. Of these 32, we shall look at the tourist attractions of London within the three most important boroughs, namely the City of London, the City of Westminster, and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, all located on the North Bank of the River Thames. These three boroughs are located one next to the other, with the City of London – also called the Square Mile – at the east, the City of Westminster in the middle, and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to the west.
The City of London is the core of Greater London. It is also the oldest part of London, and has been around since Roman times. While the other parts of what is today London was rural countryside and villages, the City of London was already established. Within this part of London are tourist attractions such as the Tower of London and St Paul's Cathedral.
The Tower of London is a medieval fortress. It is a famous tourist attraction, and visitors come to watch the Beefeaters, as the guards are called. Many famous people have been imprisoned and executed here, including kings and queens that have lost favour. Crossing the Thames in front of the Tower of London is one of the most famous bridges in the capital, Tower Bridge. This iconic bridge is often mistaken for London Bridge, which is just a short distance away.
In recent times, the borough of the City of London has reinvented itself as a major global financial centre. Although many major corporations have their offices in Canary Wharf to the east, the City of London nonetheless is the core area for commerce. It is also one of the few places in London with a high concentration of skyscrapers. One of the most distinctive is the Swiss Re Building, also known as 30 St Mary Axe.
St Paul's Cathedral, seat of the Bishop of London, is also located in the City of London. The present building, designed by famous 17th century architect Christopher Wren, was completed in 1708. The Millennium Bridge, a modern pedestrian bridge, spans the Thames in direct view of St Paul's Cathedral. Other landmarks within the City of London include Old Bailey, the criminal courthouse, and St Mary-le-Bow Church, famous because people born within earshot of its bells can consider themselves a true Cockney.
Leaving the City of London, we enter the City of Westminster. In medieval times, the City of Westminster was just a village. Today however, it contains the seat of government, with the Palace of Westminster, which is the British Parliament Building, as well as other government offices located here. Also within the City of Westminster is Buckingham Palace, residence of the Queen, and 10 Downing Street, residence of the Prime Minister.
There are plenty of tourist attractions here. The most important public place in London is Trafalgar Square. A short distance away is Charing Cross, regarded as the very centre of London. From Trafalgar Square, we can admire Nelson's Column, and then visit the National Gallery. Close by is St Martin-in-the-Fields, an Anglican church and landmark. On the otherside of Trafalgar Square is the Admiralty Arch, through which leads the processional promenade, called the Mall, heading towards Buckingham Palace.
Within the vicinity of Buckingham Palace are more tourist attractions. Right in front of it is Victorial Memorial, erected in memory of Queen Victoria. Other royal residences nearby include St James's Palace and Clarence House.
There are many royal parks in London. Along the Mall, we see St James's Park. Beyond it is the Horse Guards Parade Building, with London Eye, one of the biggest Ferris Wheels in the world, partially visible from across the River Thames. From St James's Park, the parkland continues unbroken westwards, through Green Park and Queen's Garden in front of Buckingham Palace, through Buckingham Palace Garden into Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.
There are many tourist attractions in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Exploring them alone will take a few hours, or even the whole day. On the northeastern corner of Hyde Park is the Marble Arch and Speakers' Corner. Closer to the southwestern edge of Hyde Park is the Princess of Wales Memorial, dedicated to Princess Diana. It is located south of the Serpentine Lake and opened in 2004.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is an affluent residential community, and home to several noted museums and shopping districts. Among the museums include the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the Science Museum. Royal Albert Hall and Albert Memorial, both constructed in memory of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's beloved consort, are also located here. They are on either sides of Knightbridge. At the junction of Knightsbridge and Brompton Road is one of the most famous department stores in the world, Harrods.
What we have covered is just a small selection of tourist attractions of London. Visit EarthDocumentary to view many more sights in London.