London is famously one of the most historic cities in the world, with a wide variety of great locations ideal for true history buffs!
No matter what time of year you’re visiting or what era of history you’re interested in, the capital has something to offer. Here’s our quick guide to some of the key locations you should head for on your next trip to London…
As the official London residence of the Queen, Buckingham Palace has plenty of history to explore. The venue unfortunately is usually only open to the public during the summer months, but throughout the rest of the year, you can still witness the Changing of the Guard at the palace gates – and take a stroll past the exterior for a quick look at London’s foremost royal palace.
The palace first opened in 1703, and has continued to accumulate history and heritage ever since. Today it is not only the home of the British monarch, but also the primary administrative centre for the royal family.
Tower of London
From a palace to a prison, and even a brief stint as a zoo – the Tower of London has been integral to London’s history for almost 1000 years. It housed some of the country’s most famous criminals, and remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
You can explore yourself, or take a guided tour with the wardens who patrol the space in their iconic ‘Beefeater’ uniforms. This is a wonderful way to discover more about the tower while staying at your 5 star hotel in London.
As the birthplace of Queen Victoria and the current Royal residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kensington Palace is packed full of history as well as contemporary appeal.
The grounds of the palace are open for you to explore, and it’s also possible to tour key interiors during your stay in London. This will enable history-loving travellers to find out much more about the stories which helped form this stunning part of the city, and the role it plays in the modern monarchy today.
Built during the Victorian era, Tower Bridge is arguably the most famous bridge in London, as well as one of its key historic sites. You can walk across the bridge to experience city views at a unique vantage point, or travel along the Thames by boat to experience the bridge on the water.
Whatever method of seeing the bridge you prefer, we recommend getting closer to this key London sight, to catch a glimpse of one of the most iconic structures in the entire city. Be sure to bring your camera when you stay at your 5 star hotel in London – there’s lots of photo-ready spots, and this is one of the very best.
Hampton Court Palace
Building Hampton Court Palace began in 1515, and the building was originally developed for Cardinal Wolsey, a contemporary and favourite of King Henry VIII. The palace was subsequently redeveloped by Henry himself and became one of his foremost homes, as well as a venue which hosted many prominent events of the era.
Today it is primarily a heritage space and popular London tourist attraction, with stunning grounds and remarkable Tudor interiors. This is certainly an area which history fans in the city will not want to miss!
As well as being a major site for history lovers and ceremonial events, Westminster Abbey is a working London church which offers daily services. It is however distinctive even amongst the many historic sites in the city, with more than 1000 years of history connecting it to the capital.
It was this spot which was selected as the coronation venue for William the Conqueror in 1066, and since then, every King and Queen has been crowned at the abbey. Today it is primarily noted for its connections to the royal family, and as the place where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were married in 2011.
For fans of historic interiors, a trip to Leighton House Museum is an absolute must. It was once the home of a Victorian-era artist, Frederic Lord Leighton. After his death in 1896, the venue was transformed into a museum which houses not only historic interiors, but a wealth of stunning artworks and antiquities.
This is a place where you can easily spend a few hours exploring, discovering treasures from around the world and items specific to the time and place when the house was first built and inhabited. It is also a space synonymous with short-term exhibitions and an active programme of public events.
Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament, sometimes known as the Palace of Westminster, provide the central hub for the UK government. The buildings which occupy this iconic space beside the Thames also include Big Ben, London’s most famous clock.
The palace served as a home for the Royal Family before it became the seat of parliament, and includes both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. It’s possible to visit and view sessions of parliament, or you can simply pick up a few mementos and souvenirs in the main lobby of the building.
For those who are simply passing by, its well-worth walking along the riverfront past these stunning structures, and you’ll get a real sense of their scope and scale during your stay at accommodation near Brewery Road.
St Paul’s Cathedral
One of the most famous of all the buildings in London, St Paul’s Cathedral has been the site of many events over the years, including the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in the early 1980s.
Built by noted architect Christopher Wren and opened in 1708, you can visit and take a look around outside, or simply pass by and spot the large dome which makes an ongoing impression on the city skyline.