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As one of the largest cities in the world, London has the capacity to overwhelm a first time visitor. Boasting more landmarks, sites, and places of interest than minutes in a day, it can be very difficult to manage your time in a way that maximizes your experience. Although it is impossible to visit everything this sprawling metropolis has to offer, there are a few areas that are requisite destinations for any tourist.
The following are 5 places in London that every first time visitor needs to see:
1. Tower of London
It may not be particularly fashionable to visit tried and true landmarks such as the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and the clock tower that houses Big Ben, but this doesn't make them any less significant. As with all historical sites, take the opportunity to brush up on the history before you visit them. Knowing the stories behind the artifacts provides an additional layer of depth and a much richer experience. Touring the Tower of London allows you to stand on the execution site of three queens, each with their own tales of opulence and tragedy. Visit Buckingham palace during a changing of the guard, or take an afternoon walk over Westminster Bridge to see the House of Parliament standing proud over its rippling reflection.
London features a variety of famous museums offering both old and contemporary work. The Romanesque interior of the Natural History Museum is an architectural marvel, and the British Museum is home to the Rosetta Stone and an Easter Island statue. On the South Bank of the Thames, the Tate Modern houses modern works from cubism to pop art. The building itself is an interesting sight, a converted power station which stands as an example of how art and beauty can hide itself beneath the veil of context. In South Kensington are a trio of museums including the famed Victoria and Albert Museum, home to artifacts from cultures across the globe. The V&A, as it is called by the locals, features a central garden with activities and light shows for children.
3. Trafalgar Square
The centerpiece for London's iconic areas of tourism, Trafalgar Square is close to a number of famous destinations like the National Portrait Gallery. Designed by John Nash in the early 19th century, the most notable aspect of the square is Nelson's Column, a monument commemorating the heroic death of Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar. Although festooned with decorative fountains and plinths, the square features enough open space to play host to a variety of events and demonstrations, including New Year's fireworks displays.
4. Afternoon Tea Restaurants
One of the staples of old British culture is drinking afternoon tea, ever since Catherine of Braganza made tea the official court beverage in the 17th century. The UK Tea Council annually hands out awards of excellence to the best restaurants, with the usual winners being The Dorchester, Brown's Hotel, The Ritz, Lanesborough, The Savoy, and The Park Lane Hotel.
5. London Eye
At nearly 443 feet high, the London Eye is one of the tallest observation wheels in the world. The capsules are designed to give you a full panoramic view at its peak, granting you a stunning view of London's sprawling landscape. Currently, tourist attractions are including a 4D film experience with the purchase of a standard London Eye ticket. Although the 4th dimension is classified as time, in marketing terms 4D is used to describe 3D films that provide stimulation for all your senses. The film centers around the creation of the London Eye and uses smells and tactile objects to help simulate the experience you see on screen.
Article by Joanne Harris of CarHire.org - Car Hire UK
. Joanne writes on a wide range of travel topics including car hire lanzarote.