London’s architecture has often been featured in film and on the glossy covers of the world’s most popular magazines. Visitors to the city will definitely want to see the most iconic buildings and landmarks during their stay.
Probably on the top of the list of well-known London landmarks is Big Ben. The giant clocktower is actually part of another famous building – the Palace of Westminster – where the Houses of Parliament meet. The best views of both Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster are from across the river Thames. Big Ben’s massive 13-ton bell strikes each quarter of an hour and a light in the clocktower informs the public when the House of Commons is meeting.
Not far away, Buckingham Palace is the official home of Britain’s Royal Family and the head of state. A popular gathering spot for tourists who especially like to congregate during the Changing of the Guard, the palace also is frequently featured in news coverage. The royal residence has 600 rooms, a colorful garden, and is adorned with the Royal Standard. Lucky visitors may even catch a glimpse of the monarch or other members of the Royal Family.
The historic Tower of London is located on the river Thames downstream to the east of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. Built originally as a fortress, the ancient building has served as a palace, prison, royal mint, jewel house, library, bank, arsenal and astronomical observatory.
Very near the Palace of Westminster – right beside it in fact to the west – is Westminster Abbey, one of the country’s most important churches. A beautiful examples of London’s old architecture, Westminster Abbey also has served as the location of the coronation of every Britsh monarch since the time of William the Conqueror.
An example of a more modern iconic building in London is the O2 Millennium Dome. Built to commemorate the turning of the millennium, this site is located precisely on the Greenwich Meridian, or at 0 degrees longitude. A massive structure, 02 has both its fans and critics and is one of London’s major venues.
Visitors can find many London hotels located quite near to the city’s most iconic examples of architecture. There are, of course, many famous buildings and landmarks that have not been mentioned – St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower Bridge, the Canary Wharf Tower – to name a few. Indeed, London has much to offer both in terms of old and modern architecture. From some of the taller hotels in London, one may even be able to glimpse at some of the more famous sites. Google Earth offers an easy way for users to familiarise themselves with the city’s many landmarks.