Next to the River Thames on the south east side of Great Britain lies the wondrous city of London. As the capital of Great Britain, London has the highest population in the whole of England, and United Kingdom. The city's history reaches back to the 2nd century and today it is home to a wide diversity of people that belong to a range of cultures and speak many different languages (currently there are over 300 languages spoken in the area). London city lies just 344 kilometers away from Paris and was found to have the second largest urban population in the European Union after Paris. The city is known worldwide to be a leader in education, fashion, healthcare, finance, commerce, arts and transportation. It is also considered to be the world's most visited city with a record breaking 31.5 million international tourists visiting just in 2016.
1. Buckingham Palace
The magnificent Buckingham palace is the residential and administrative building of the English monarchy. It is situated in the Westminster area of London and was built in 1703 where it has been home to many generations of the royal family. Traditionally it has always been a place where the english congregate during any national matter. Today the Buckingham Palace is home to Queen Elizabeth the 2nd and the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as other members of the royal family. The Palace is divided into apartments that are used for different purposes. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh reside in the northern part of the palace where as the other members of the royal family occupy the upper levels of the east and north sides of the palace. Whilst there are parts of the palace that remain private, there are areas that are open to the public that are definitely worth a visit.
The State rooms
The state rooms are beautifully designed rooms and are used to receive and entertain fellow dignitaries. There are nineteen rooms in total. The rooms are furnished ever so elegantly with crystal chandeliers, candelabra and vintage furniture, and also feature glorious pieces from the Queen's royal collection. The rooms are open for tours from 9:30 am until 19:30 pm during July - August and then from 9:30 am until 18:30 pm in September-October and cost of admission for an adult is £23 and £13 for a child. The tour takes around 2-2.5 hours and it is recommended that you were comfortable footwear.
The Queen's Gallery
The Queen's gallery is a part of the Buckingham palace that is host to many different exhibits from the royal collection. The Queen's gallery is a wonderful part of the visit to the palace as it displays pieces of art that tell a story of the Queen's life, as well as the lives of her predecessors. The exhibits are constantly changing so there is always something new and unique to see. The gallery was only recently opened in 2002 as a part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations. The gallery is open to the public every day of the year but at differing times, such from July to October it is open from 9:30 until 17:30 whilst from October to November it is open from 10:00 until 17:30. Cost of admission is £10,30 for an adult and £5,30 for a child. A normal visit of the gallery takes around 1-1.5 hours.
The Royal Mews
The Royal mews is another part of the Buckingham palace that is open for public viewing. It is the housing part of the palace for all royal transportation. Thus including the royal carriages, stabling and training of the royal horses and of course the more modern motor cars. It is here that you can see the most beautiful carriages, transporting you back in time. Literally.
The royal mews is open from 10am until 4pm in February-March, 10am until 5pm between April and October and then again from 10 am until 4 pm in November. The cost of admission is £10 per adult and £5,80 per child.
One of the most popular things to do whilst at the Buckingham palace is to get a photo with one of the royal guards that are stationed around the fence of the palace. It is almost considered mandatory as a tourist. They are notoriously famous for not moving or reacting at all to anything unnecessary, thus many people try and make them flinch or react in someway.
2. The Coca-Cola London Eye
The London Eye is a giant ferris wheel that sits on the southern bank of the River Thames. The wheel is extremely well-known as a tourist attraction in London as it provides a magical view of London. It has 32 capsules that are attached on the outer circumference of the wheel. They are air-conditioned and sealed and have the capacity to hold 25 people comfortably. You are able to walk around the capsule and view the city or you can stay seated. The London Eye rotates ever so slowly that it takes a total of 30 minutes to complete a full rotation. Providing you with ample time to enjoy the view. Every year it has over 3,75 million people visiting from all around the world and thus is considered one of the most popular paid tourist attractions in the United Kingdom. There are a range of options with regards to buying a ticket to ride the wheel. There are luxury options such as adding chocolates or champagne to your capsule, or paying for a capsule to keep all to yourself.
A standard ticket costs around £23,45 if you ride at a specific time and £28,45 if you wish to ride anytime during the day. The London Eye's opening times depend on what time of year you go, as the times differ all year round.
3. The Big Ben
Officially known as the Elizabeth Tower, the clock tower of the Westminster Palace is a famous landmark of London city. Its modern day nickname is the Big Ben, and it is believed that the tower got its nickname after the man who oversaw the installation of the clock; Sir Benjamin Hall. It was originally built in 1859, and displays the largest clock face in the world! It recently celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2009. It is notorious for keeping its time throughout history, chiming at the top of every hour. The tower itself is not directly open for viewing to the public but it is a wondrous view and is definitely a must see whilst in London.
4. Madam Tussauds
Madame Tussauds is a famous museum that exhibits life-like wax models of famous people from around the world. A visit to the museum is extremely mind-boggling as the sculptors manage to create models that have a keen likeness to the real person. The museum was founded by a wax sculptor by the name of Marie Tussaud in the early 1800s. Today the museum is a very popular tourist attraction in London. The museum is open throughout the year, with the times differing according to the time of year. A standard ticket is around £29 but it is possible to purchase a combo ticket (allowing you to view other attractions as well as the museum) from the tourist bureau of London, for a discount price.
How Do I Get Here From Paris?
There are three methods of getting from Paris to London that make traveling pretty straight forward. There is the option to fly, however it is not the most advisable option as it creates a bit of hassle. Costing around £40 for a one way trip, if bought in advance, the flight takes around an hour and a half. Then you would have to catch more transport from the airport, causing the cost to rise. The cheapest method of traveling to London from Paris would be perfect for you if you enjoy long bus rides. Taking the bus can cost you as little as £10-20 depending on the bus liner you choose. However the trip takes around 9 hours to complete. So if you're in a rush this is definitely not the travel method for you. If you are willingly to pay for efficiency and comfort the most highly recommended way of traveling between the two cities is to take a trip on the Eurostar. Costing around £60 for a round trip and only taking just over two hours to complete.