I think we can agree when I say London is a pretty city. An estimated 20 million tourists visited the British capital last year, making it the world’s second most popular tourist destination. It’s not hard to see why. I, myself, visited the capital twice last year and fell head over heels for it. It is a year-round destination with various attractions fitting to different interests; from culture to art, to an alternative music scene, it really has it all. It is not impossible to explore while remaining budget conscious, despite its reputation for being quite expensive.
This post is designed as a visual diary, capturing the beauty of the city along the River Thames and beyond.
Mornings spent walking along the river is a great way to get to know the city and take in all the sights. And what a beautiful sight it is. A common misconception made by tourists
(maybe just me) is that Big Ben is the name of the bell tower. Big Ben is actually the name of the 13-ton bell inside the clock. St Stephens Tower is the official name for the clock tower. Little trivia.
The London Eye
Perched on the south bank of River Thames, it is the world’s largest observation wheel, standing at 135m. This world famous tourist attraction will take you to the skies with a bird’s eye view of the London Skyline, daily. Its alternate name is Millennium Wheel.
Ticket prices start at £23, book here.
If I were to list all the British Pop-Culture Icons, we would be here for ages. London has countless photo opportunities to incorporate its icons. With the quintessential red double decker buses driving the streets, Union Jacks waving in the air and not forgetting those Red Telephone Boxes, you are spoilt for choices. I admit… I have one too many typical tourist shots of myself with the telephone booths. But how can you not?
Did you know this is one of the oldest buildings in the city? This 700 yr old Gothic style church is the burial ground to some of the world’s most brilliant minds; Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Charles Dickens just to name a few. If you’re a church goer or fancy sitting in for a service, there are Sunday services or weekday services.
Located in the West End of London, it is a major shopping street famous for its fashion and lifestyle stores. Over the Christmas season and various other celebrations, it undergoes a makeover with lights and decorations covering the length of the street. If shopping isn’t your cup of tea, the buildings along this street are impressive with a classic style, making for an enjoyable stroll between Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus Station.
The Square signifies the victory in the Battle of Trafalgar against French and Spanish combined forces in 1805 led by Admiral Nelson, who died during the battle. Considered to be the heart of the city, it is the largest square in London. Surrounded by museums, cafes and a cultural space, there is a lot to see and do around the area. In front of The National Gallery, there are a lot of buskers and street artists showcasing their talents.
London is full of cosy neighbourhoods, worth a visit. Hop on the tube and check out Chelsea and Notting Hills as previously mentioned in the Budget Guide: London,. If you wanted to get your ‘gram on, there are endless opportunities in the neighbourhoods, with pastel houses as a background, it’ll be hard to go wrong.
Built in 1894, it is one of the world’s most recognisable bridges. In spite of this, the famous landmark gets mistaken for London Bridge. I regret to inform that London Bridge is a little… underwhelming. To find London Bridge, walk along the river towards Millenium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral. You’ll pass under a couple of bridges and it’ll be one of them. It may be possible to miss the bridge even though its name is etched on the supporting columns. Keep a look out.
Fun fact: It is a combined drawbridge and suspension bridge. It’s the only bridge on the Thames that can be raised, allowing river traffic to flow through.
St Paul’s Cathedral from the Millenium Bridge
First built in 604 AD and destroyed thrice, the Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Paul. First destroyed by fire in 675 AD followed by the Vikings in 962 AD and lastly by the Great Fire of London (1666). Millenium Bridge (otherwise known as London Millenium Footbridge) is a suspension bridge for pedestrians. On one end, St Paul’s Cathedral and the other is Tate Modern.
London is a bustling tourism and business hub with rich history and amazing architecture. It’s quite easy to get lost among the buildings and watch as life passes by. I used to think London was just another big city but after visiting it a couple of times, I’ve realised there’s more to it. All the quirky stores, colourful streets and historical buildings at every turn. It is safe to say that I may have fallen in love with the city.
Peace, love and good vibes.