It’s the site of so many memorable movie scenes, so much literature and a healthy slice of the world’s most significant art, culture and music. London is iconic because of the status it’s long held in the world as a cultural powerhouse, and during your visit, that’s exactly the side of the capital you’ll want to get to grips with. From the most famous sights to the most dazzling performances, this guide will lead you through where to go, what to see and how to see it – making your trip to London unforgettable.
First and foremost, let’s take a look at London’s most iconic sights. Thankfully, nearly all of them are so large, commanding a large chunk of the skyline, that you’ll be able to see them from fairly far away. The two most-iconic sights are the Houses of Parliament (with Big Ben towering off to the side) and Buckingham Palace, the London home of the British monarchy. They’re both grandiose and mesmeric and within walking distance of one another. Stick to the river to take in the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the diminutive but much-cherished OXO Tower, too.
Nestled inside some of the most iconic museums and galleries on the planet resides London’s wealth of art and archaeological finds, many of them world-famous and much-admired by critics, scholars and the casual visitor alike. Whatever your taste in the creative industries, you’ll find it in London – you’ll just have to do the research. Most Londoners would insist that you stop by the British Museum and Tate Modern – both of them free – to see the world’s best collection of archaeological treasures and modern art, respectively, during your visit to the city.
What can be a more iconic form of entertainment in London than attending one of the many West End plays that delight visitors and locals alike all through the year? There are classic theatrical pieces, all your favourite musicals, innovative new plays and travelling groups all performing in some of the most iconic theatrical establishments in the world. As with galleries and museums, you’ll find a performance to suit every need, whether you’re travelling with children or a literary scholar keen to see the latest incarnation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Don’t leave London without at least one evening spent at the theatre – it’s a bucket list rite of passage.
As well as the big buildings, the wonderful art and the mind-blowing performances, London also possesses its fair share of everyday icons. Who can argue that, with its beautiful designs and recognisable urges to ‘Mind the Gap’ that the London Underground (call it ‘the tube’) isn’t as iconic as the Queen’s home? The same can be said for red letterboxes, phone booths and double-decker buses, black cabs and grey pigeons, and crowds gathering in the pubs and Leicester Square and Soho for evenings spent in merriment and fine English banter – ensure you get your taste of all these London delights.
London’s terrifically iconic and world-renowned, and this guide should point you to the places you’ll find those things you’ve always dreamed of seeing in England’s capital city.