A hop-on hop-off bus tour offers a great overview of all the major places to visit in London. Head back to the river for a tour of Westminster Abbey, where monarchs have been crowned since 1066. Opposite are the famous Houses of Parliament. Take a tour inside this mouldering legend to learn about the House of Commons, the House of Lords and their arcane rituals, or simply admire it and the Big Ben tower from nearby Westminster Bridge.
From the heart of Westminster, close to 10 Downing Street and Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace (nicknamed Buck House) is just a walk down The Mall away, a stroll past St James Park. One of the top things to do in London is watch the traditional Changing of the Guard, a ritual that takes place at Buckingham Palace at 11.30am every other day, and also at Horseguards Parade on Whitehall at 11am weekdays, 10am on Sundays.
Another way to see lots of London attractions in one go is a ride on the London Eye – a giant ferris wheel 135 metres tall on the south side of the River Thames. From the top you’ll see Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Afterwards, a walk along the South Bank promenade gives you great river views all the way to the Globe Theatre and the Tate Modern, where you can walk across the Millennium Bridge to St Paul’s Cathedral. Trips to London that don’t include stopping for a pint in a pub are really missing out. So feel free to drop in at one of the old pubs along the way, like The Anchor, serving food and libations since 1615.
The modern metropolis
One of the great things to see in London is the skyline itself, constantly changing with new developments. Head to top of the Fenchurch building and check out the view from the Sky Garden. It’s a striking space with massive windows where visitors can enjoy a tipple and gaze on the city from their table or the observation deck. It’s free to walk through the gardens, but make reservations ahead of time for the restaurants. Then there’s the Shard, a new icon on the London skyline, a shimmering tower where visitors can soar to the 72nd floor for panoramic views.