Referring both to the famous tower that forms the north end of the Palace of Westminster, as well as the iconic clock built into its face, the Elizabeth Tower or Big Ben as it is popularly referred to, is deemed as one of the most prolific timekeeping devices of the 19th Century. This hugely exalted monument was constructed when the old Palace of Westminster was ravaged by a fire in 1834, sparking the need for a newer structure. It was then that English architect Augustus Pugin's spectacular design for the tower found fruition, an imposing Gothic Revival structure that would go on to become one of the most striking icons of the British empire. Towering over 315 feet (96 meters), the Big Ben is a brilliant blend of sand-colored Anston limestone that dominates its lower half and a cast-iron spire that pierces the city's ashen skies. Its impressive timekeeping mechanism weighs in at over 5 tons, and the pendulum, which beats once every two seconds, weighs 203 kilograms (447.53 pounds). While this imposing structure can be admired from a distance by overseas visitors, only residents are privy to the internal depths of the tower.
A brilliant spectacle of Norman Architecture, Eynsford Castle is a major attraction in the region. Built in the 11th Century, this stone-walled structure is one of the most comprehensive substantiation of the Norman pattern. Managed by English Heritage, the site is open to visitors on all days.
The Globe Theatre is universally known as the place where the great plays of Shakespeare came alive. Today, Shakespeare’s Globe, located on the banks of the River Thames is a reproduction of the original Globe, which burned down in 1613 after a cannon shot set fire to its roof. The theater was built near the site of the original using nearly identical methods and materials, and is believed by historians and architects alike to be very realistic. Since it opened in 1997, The New Globe has been a popular and iconic addition to London theater, and has turned from hosting only open-air summer productions into a vibrant center of Shakespearean drama, education, exhibitions, and tours. The ‘groundling’ tradition is still alive at the Globe, whereby visitors can watch world-class theater from the yard for a low price.
For many years, Piccadilly Circus, at the junction of five busy streets, has been a major London landmark, seen by many as the capital's center. In the heart of Piccadilly is a fountain topped with the aluminum statue of an archer. Although affectionately known as Eros by Londoners, it's actually the Angel of Christian Charity by Sir Alfred Gilbert, and it was so unpopular when first unveiled that he opted for self-imposed exile. Today, the statue is one of London's most famous sites and a popular spot for tourists and romantic couples alike. In the daytime Piccadilly Circus is a bustling area filled with shoppers, business people and visitors. But in the evening the area really comes alive, with its illuminated signs and heady mix of clubbers and couples heading for a big evening out. This is truly the gateway to the West End.
This museum is housed within the Bank of England, in the heart of London. It traces the history of the Bank, also known as the "Old Lady," from its foundations set by the Royal Charter in 1694 to its role to date as the nation's central bank. Exhibits include early writing equipment, weapons once used to defend the bank against robbers, coins, photographs and archaeological finds uncovered when the Bank was rebuilt between 1925 and 1939, which include four extremely rare Roman gold bars. The Bank also hosts regular exhibitions and activities for children.
Nestled between the River Thames and Ministry of Defence's main building in Victoria Embankment is the Fleet Air Arm memorial of the Royal Navy. The beautiful bronze idol of Daedalus, a Greek mythological legend who lost his son in the sea was sculpted by renown sculptor James Butler in an ode to more than 6,000 naval officials who had sacrificed their lives since World War I. The winged Daedalus stands tall at 2.5 metres (8.20 feet) with a plinth that lists all the wars and campaigns where the Royal Navy lost its members. It is a beautiful memorial for all the lives lost at the cost of war and a reminder of their sacrifice for the homeland.
Housed inside the Uganda House, Embassy of Brundi is a inter-governmental organization located in London. The High Commission of Uganda and Ecuador Consulate are also located in the building. There is a flag flying atop the building to mark the presence of the embassy.
High Commission of Uganda is an inter-governmental organization housed in the Uganda House in London. The Embassy of Burundi and Ecuador Consulate are also located in the building.
Built in the early 1700s and retaining most of its original characteristics, this beautifully restored Georgian building is the only surviving residence of Benjamin Franklin. Serving as his home during the 16 years he spent in London as a mediator, it is essentially the first U.S. embassy. Designed to be a historical experience, the Benjamin Franklin house is now a museum and educational institution. State of the art lighting and projection technology recreate the fascinating life and discoveries of this politician, inventor, scientist, and philosopher, while the Student Science Centre offers a hands on look at Franklin's London based discoveries. Opened on Ben's 300th birthday in 2006 and just steps from Trafalgar Square, this is a wonderful variation from traditional museums and well worth the stop.
Whitehall's namesake comes from the Whitehall Palace, which burned down in 1698. Today, Whitehall is the main road in the heart of the city leading from Parliament Square to Trafalgar Square. It's worth a look if you're in the neighborhood, just to admire the superb architecture. Lining the road are government ministries, commonly referred to on as Whitehall.
Formerly the headquarters of the British Army, the historic Horse Guards Parade is now a popular site for ceremonies and parades. Being the political hub of the United Kingdom, Horse Guards Parade lies across the way from Buckingham Palace. A number of monuments can be seen along the edges of the grounds paying homage to the military. The London Polo Championships were held here in 2009, and it was chosen as the site for the Beach Volleyball championships of the London 2012 Olympic Games. This historic area is not to be missed on your trip to London!
The Garrick Theatre is a quiet break from the hustle and bustle of Central London. The plays shown here tend to lean towards the satirical and they're best described as comedy with an edge, a mix that's popular with tourists and local theater-goers alike. Established in 1889, the theater has a striking facade which makes it impossible to miss on the popular Charing Cross Road. The stage at Garrick Theatre has been graced by several, eminent actors and renowned productions.