London attractions draw millions of domestic and international tourists to this global center for culture, the arts, entertainment, and finance every year. London is the capital of England and the UK and has an official population that exceeds 7.5 million. In a city that has the largest urban area in the entire European Union, you can probably imagine that the main attractions in London are impressive to say the least. The top tourist attractions in London that make your personal list will depend on your own interests, but many of the top attractions are great to see no matter why you come to the city.
Buckingham Palace is always near the top of the list of the main attractions in London. The Palace has been the permanent residence of England’s Monarch since the time of the accession of Queen Victoria. The first permutation of Buckingham Palace opened its doors in 1702 and was the residence of the Duke of Buckingham. It has been refurbished and expanded several times over the past centuries to make it what it is today, namely, the largest private home in all of London, featuring 660 rooms. It is nearby many of the other top tourist attractions in London including the London Eye, Hyde Park, and the Houses of Parliament.
An interesting note that not everyone knows is that the view of the Palace from the Mall is actually the back of the house, not the front. Flocks of people venture to the high-reaching gates of Buckingham Palace year round just to take pictures and be in the presence of such an awe-inspiring and historically significant construct. This is also one of the free London attractions, which is nice because it frees up more of your budget to explore the rest of the city.
The London Eye is not only one of the top London attractions, but it is also the most popular paid tourist attraction in the whole United Kingdom. This amazing feat of architecture (standing at over 440 feet) was the largest Ferris wheel in Europe when it was constructed in 1999. The 30-minute voyage around the London Eye provides 25-mile panoramic views on clear days. It is located on the south bank of the Thames River. For anyone making the trip to London this is an absolute must-see, even if you don't actually pay the fee to take the ride to the top.
The Houses of Parliament in Westminster include Big Ben, its iconic bell and tower, make for another of the top tourist attractions in London. It is difficult to mistake this formidable, Gothic building where the laws of the UK are enacted. People flock from all over the world to tour the Houses of Parliament. The paid, guided tours are fascinating and packed with information. They take around an hour and fifteen minutes. You can also simply walk the grounds and cross through Parliament Square. The ceremoniousness and longstanding traditions of the English Parliament emanate the halls of the great Houses. Any tourist lucky enough to visit this fabled attraction in Westminster will not soon forget it.
These are just a few of the London attractions that should top your list of things to see and do when you take your trip. The Tower Bridge, the British Museum, Trafalgar Square, and the Tate Modern are all other places equally deserving of your attention. London in and of itself is an amazing experience. Simply strolling along Victoria Embankment and looking down into the Thames with the vibrant, pulsing energy of the city around is gratifying all by itself. The shopping, music, literature, and nightlife scene also represent some of the main attractions in London. Big performers, world-class museum exhibits, and the Summer Olympics in 2012 are all a part of the complexion of the city of London.