London is a city full of history. You would be surprised by how rich in history and culture the city is. All the way from the Bronze and Iron Ages to the Roman conquest, from the Victorian era to current times, historical places in London are not hard to find! Having become England’s capital in the 12th century, London offers a vast selection of historical sites.
So let’s go through the top historical sites to visit in London.
Built after the Great Fire between 1675 and 1710, St. Paul’s Cathedral was the first cathedral built after the English Reformation. Inside this building, you can visit the crypt where the nation’s heroes are buried, explore the Whispering Gallery and enjoy the best views over London. Its crypt is the largest in Western Europe, and its dome is the second biggest in the world. The cathedral was designed by Sir Christopher Wren, one of the most renowned English architects.
This building was built in the early 11th century by William the Conqueror after his invasion of England, it’s one of the most famous buildings in the world. It was first built as a fortress but has been used as a royal palace, a zoo and a prison. Some famous prisoners held at the Tower of London were Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh. Currently, the Beefeaters, or Yeoman Warders, guard the Crown Jewels at the Jewel House in the Tower. As well as seeing the Crown Jewels, you can also see the six ravens that guard the fortress. It’s said that if the ravens ever leave, the kingdom and the Tower will fall. But there’s nothing to worry about it, nowadays there are seven ravens (an extra one just in case) that are well fed by the ravenmaster, who also takes good care of them.
This is one of the most important gothic buildings in the UK and it’s considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It has been the coronation church since 1066 and it has also hosted 16 royal weddings. Some of the most important historical figures are buried in the Abbey, like Aphra Behn (writer and poet) and Thomas Brown (writer). The Abbey’s origins can be traced back to the late 10th century.
Located at Hyde Park, this site was built around 1825 as an alternative entrance to Buckingham Palace but its original design was never completed. It’s one of the triumphal arches built in London to commemorate Wellington’s victory over Napoleon. Nowadays, visitors can go up the Arch and see the views over London. There is a small exhibition area on the first floor where you can learn all about the Arch’s history.
One of the most iconic landmarks of London, Tower Bridge was built around 1886 and 1894, taking eight years and 432 construction workers to finish it. At the time of its construction, Tower Bridge was the most sophisticated bascule bridge in the world. The bascules were operated by steam-powered hydraulics. Today, the bascules are still motorised by hydraulic power, but they use oil and electricity rather than steam. Any history enthusiast will be pleased to know that you can see the original engines that have been preserved at the Victorian Engine Rooms.
Formerly known as Nottingham House, Kensington Palace was built in 1605 for Sir George Coppin. It was the birthplace of Queen Mary and Queen Victoria as well as a childhood home of Queen Victoria. It was first opened to the pubñic in 1899 and continues to be a working royal residence.
Do you know any curious facts about these historical sites? Let us know in the comments below!