There’s a definite feel-good factor in and around London in 2012 as the countdown continues to this summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games, prompting many tourists to head to England’s capital city for a spot of sightseeing and to soak up the culture.
Did you know that the most popular paid-for attraction in the UK is the London Eye? Why? Well, the views from being inside one of the 32 all-glass pods are spectacular all year round and no matter what time of day or night you take a trip on it. It takes around half an hour to complete a full revolution of the giant Ferris wheel so there’s plenty of opportunities to take some special pictures of the London skyline. Book online in advance to get discounted tickets because it will cost slightly more if you just turn up on the day. With the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben Clock Tower on the opposite side of the River Thames to the London Eye, it’s perfect for seeing three of London’s most iconic landmarks all in one go, while Buckingham Palace is also a short walk away.
The borough of Greenwich, which is handily placed if you stay in a Canary Wharf apartment, is a great place to explore, especially in the summer months when the weather improves and you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of central London. Greenwich Park offers an oasis of calm well away from the usual assortment of popular tourist attractions, while nearby you’ll find a cluster of museums, like the National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory, on the banks of the River Thames well worth putting time aside to venture to.
As with any major city, the best way to explore London is on foot because so many of the big places of interest – like Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square – are in very close proximity to each other. While it may be very tempting to head for the nearest Tube station as you make your way from one attraction to the next, arm yourself with a map and instead pound the pavements. Do this and you’re bound to end up in London’s famous West End at some point, which is the theatre district. No trip to London is complete without taking in a show and discovering more about areas such as Covent Garden.
And don’t forget…
Situated in the heart of the trendy superb of Notting Hill, Portobello Market is manna from heaven for the bargain hunters among you and is one of the most well-known street markets in the world.
A ‘hidden’ gem of London’s many attractions, the Monument is tucked away roughly halfway between Tower Bridge and the London Eye and offers an alternative view of the city’s skyline from a different angle.
London is a timeless city packed with a lifetime of sights and has the focus of the world as the 2012 Olympics approach.