London is an ancient but still highly modern city that offers something to tourists of all kinds. It's impossible to see everything that the city has to offer in one trip. Nonetheless, there are a few things that you should never leave London without visiting.
The Tower of London
The Tower of London is one of the oldest structures in the city. This castle was formerly the home of the royal family and served as a protective fortress. Later, it became a well-known prison. You can join a walking tour of the castle and learn about its history, or you can just wander through the well-preserved rooms and soak up the atmosphere.
The British Museum
The British Museum exhibits many of the most important man-made artifacts from around the world. You can see the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies, the facade of the Parthenon, Assyrian lion statues, and more. Thousands of years of human history and world cultures are on display here, and entry to the main exhibits is completely free.
The London Eye
This giant observation wheel provides the best panoramic view of London that you will ever have. The lines can be a little long, so be prepared to wait, but the view from inside the glassed-in pod is breathtaking. Be sure your camera batteries are charged!
Westminster Abbey contains the graves of hundreds of notable historical figures, from Sir Isaac Newton to Queen Elizabeth I. You can get a guided tour that will point out many of the more prominent names and explain their history and significance. The abbey is also close to Big Ben and Parliament, so you can visit all of these historic sites at once.
Harrod's is one of the biggest department stores in the world, and you can browse the multiple departments across five floors of luxury shopping. You can also grab a bite to eat in its food court or take advantage of rare sales; some of the best deals are offered in early July.
The Globe Theatre's Royal Shakespeare Company produces Shakespearean plays the way they were performed during Shakespeare's own time. You can stand next to the stage for an authentic experience, or you can pay a little extra for seats. Either way, you're sure to be treated to an excellent show, and the location on the Thames is next to dozens of street vendors for an evening snack after the play lets out.
Be sure to plan your trip in advance so that you can see as many sights as possible. Traveling in London is fairly convenient thanks to the extensive subway system, but try to pick several attractions on one side of the city to visit in the same day to cut down on travel times. For maximum convenience, find a centrally-located hotel near Gatwick airport; this will make it easier to travel anywhere in the city without wasting too much time on transportation.
Corey Mathis works as a freelance blogger in London, where she writes about fun and exciting places to visit around the world. If you are coming to London for a vacation, Corey recommends booking a room in one of the Gatwick Airport hotels for convenience.
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