London is a city with a huge history, here’s some ideas of historic places of interest to visit when you make your trip.
Tower of London
The Tower of London is a fortress and castle dating back to the Norman conquest of England in 1066. The White Tower, which give the castle its name was built by William the Conquerer in 1078 and represented a new symbol of oppression by the new ruling elite. Though not its primary purpose, the tower was used as a prison from 1100 AD to 1952 AD. The Tower has played an important part in English history and has symbolically been important to to has been ruling the country. Since it was built it has been used as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the royal mint, a public records office and home of the crown jewels of England, which it still houses to this day. Today the tower is still one of London’s most popular tourist attractions. It is a Unesco World Heritage site and is visited by around 2.5 million people every year.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
The world famous cathedral has has a church on the site since 604 AD, but the current version was opened officially on 1711. Old St Paul’s as it was known was destroyed in the Great Fire of London 1666. Designed by London’s architect, Christopher Wren, who designed 50 other churches in London the church stands on the highest point of the City of London on Ludgate hill. It was the tallest building in London until 1962 and the dome is the second largest in the world. The Cathedral survived being hit by bombs in WW2 and one bomb was removed before it exploded, which would have destroyed the entire building. The church was used for the state funeral of Winston Churchill and Lord Nelson and also witnessed the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was held there.
Palace of Westminster
Possibly the most iconic building in all of London, the Palace of Westminster is famous for parliament and hosting Big Ben, the largest of five bells house in the Elizabeth Tower. The palace originally dates back to Canute the Great’s reign from 1016 to 1035 AD. The palace underwent multiple changes until it reached its current form in the 1840s, after a fire and was designed by Charles Barry. The House of Lords chamber was finished in 1847 and the House of Commons was finished in 1852. The iconic Clock tower was completed in 1858, with the 23 feet clock faces hiding the clock mechanism and bells, including Big Ben inside. The medieval Hall of Westminster is the oldest part of the building and has the largest medieval roof still in existence. This dates back to the time when the Monarch used to stay in the palace. The sprawling building has over 100 staircases and 3 miles of corridor. Though the palace is technically not open to the public, during sessions of parliament the public may queue to gain access to the public gallery, though capacity is limited and there is no guarantee of getting access.