Kirsten McCroskrie

Historic Buildings and Monuments in London

Learn about London’s heritage at the best historic buildings in London

The City of London dates back to Roman times so there’s no shortage of historic attractions to visit. One of the most impressive and iconic attractions, and one of the most important London landmarks, is the Tower of London. Dating back to 1066 and the Norman Conquest, this historic fortress is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city as it documents over eight centuries' worth of London history from the royal family, to notorious prisoners and politicians. Visit the oldest exhibition in the world, the Line of Kings, to see the armor of the old rulers, as well as the priceless Crown Jewels and Traitor’s Gate. See the legendary ravens hopping around the courtyard, pop into the Jewel Tower and follow a Beefeater Tour to learn of the tales of those who used to live in this historic building.

Just in front of the Tower of London is the Tower Bridge (often mistaken for London Bridge). Tower Bridge is one of London’s most iconic landmarks and has sat astride the River Thames since 1894. This Victorian bascule steam-powered bridge was a feat of industrial engineering in its time. Now, it’s been opened up to the public to take a look into the bowels of the bridge, and also to walk across the top walkways featuring the new Glass Walkways to look down at the river and see the pedestrians walking below. Offering great views up and downstream, it’s a great historic building in London to learn about the city both past and present.

Another famous historic site in London is Westminster Abbey, the stunning Gothic UNESCO World Heritage Site and coronation church since the 11th century. Westminster Abbey is one of the most beautiful and impressive historic buildings in London and is the burial ground of some of England’s legendary authors, scientists and great thinkers, from Charles Darwin to Geoffrey Chaucer. It’s been in the spotlight more recently as it was the site of Kate & Wills’ wedding in 2011 and it’s also open daily for sermons and worship.

If you are a fan of the Royal Family and the history of the monarchy, make sure you visit one of the many royal residences in London. The picturesque Kensington Palace in West London was the childhood home of Queen Victoria; then it was the home of the late Princess Diana and now her eldest son, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, who lives there with Kate and his two children. Kensington Palace also has a series of fascinating exhibits on show, opening up its State Rooms to the public, and has an Orangery on the grounds serving traditional Afternoon Tea!

Windsor Castle on the outskirts of London is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world – and is the Queen’s preferred weekend residence. Set in the small borough of Windsor, this rural town is a great place for a day trip. With the Changing of the Guard, 39 State Rooms and a famous Dolls House, it’s one of England’s most popular royal palaces for both locals and visitors alike. Hampton Court Palace is another historic building outside London where you can learn about King Henry VIII and his life as a Tudor King. Visit the historic hedgerow maze, tennis courts, manicured gardens and Tudor Kitchens. Join in on a tour and learn about the secrets and scandals of life at court and just what went on under King Henry VIIIs rule! 

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