London has a wide range of majestic heritage sites, preserved in tip-top condition for tourists to admire and snap photos of. The great thing about this compact city is that many of these heritage attractions are located within a short distance and will only take you less than 30 minutes to get from one train stop to the other!
I managed to most of the locations within the same day. So if I can do it, you can too!
Without further ado, I have rounded up some of my favorite sites that I have visited and some of the things you can do there!
Image Credit: Anna Tan
Westminster Abbey is an Anglican church that has been used for many royal events including King Charles' coronation ceremony and Prince William and Kate's wedding. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that has served over 40 monarchs, and a burial site only for those commemorated by Westminster Abbey.
Inside the building is a large collection of well-preserved artwork that includes stained glass windows, as well as oil and wall paintings related to the life of Jesus. You can also find royal portraits of Elizabeth I, II, and Henry IV.
If you have a chance to go on their guided tour, you get to enter the Chapter House and Pyx Chamber, an English heritage site that was initially used by Benedictine monks for daily meetings. Tours are only conducted when the church is not in session so please take of their schedule!
Image Credit: Anna Tan
The Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom isn't located in a castle but in the Tower of London, where all precious objects are stored. From the outside, it may seem like a plain fortress but pay a visit and you will be in awe of the magnificent Crown Jewels, guarded in the Jewel House, that is used in every coronation.
The Tower of London is a 900-year-old castle that was once used as a prison for death row inmates and is now home to 37 guards known as Beefeaters to protect the sacred jewels. These "Yeomen warders" were formed during the reign of King Henry VII and have been responsible for safeguarding precious royal items and watching over prisoners.
If you are a fan of London's dark history, go for a tour around the Tower of London. Be warned, you will get the chills (and it's not because it's close to River Thames!)
River Thames is slightly less eerie although it has its fair share of stories. Ironically, the origin of the word Thames comes from a Proto-Celtic word that means "dark". However, you will have nothing to worry about on the river cruise as the view of the majestic London skyline will chase the blues away!
This river system has played a humungous role in the founding of London, becoming an international maritime route with a wealth of history. Settlers of that time will build fortresses to protect their territory along the river which is why many London attractions are located by the river banks.
It's hard to miss Nelson's Column standing tall and proud on London's most popular square, Trafalgar Square. Built to commemorate 1st Viscount Nelson's victory over the French and Spanish navies in the 18th century, it is now an iconic focal point in central London that has become a tourist attraction and brings a poignant memory of Nelson's sacrifice.
On top of the column is a statue of Nelson with a sword in hand. The monument was constructed in the mid-1800s with granite and stands 51.59 meters tall.
Yes, that ship floating in the middle of the River Thames is accessible! Formerly a Royal Navy light cruiser, it has now been converted into a museum ship for all to explore. The HMS Belfast has been through many significant wars including the Korean War and the Second World War.
Don't underestimate the size of the ship, it will take you at least three hours to walk through all nine decks as you inspect the nooks and crannies of the ship. There's something for everyone whether you are coming solo, with your partner, or your family.
Image Credit: Anna Tan
Last but not least, Buckingham Palace is one place you should check off your list where hundreds of royal ceremonies have occurred. Buckingham Palace was once former Queen Elizabeth II's main residence (before she moved to Windsor Castle in her last years). In front of the building is a monument for Queen Victoria, who was well-loved by the public during her reign.
The palace is often crowded especially during the Change of Guards, and honestly, there isn't much to see from the gates. The best way to explore the palace is going through a guided tour inside where you can visit The State Rooms which includes the ballroom, throne room, and music room.
This is only a short summary of some of the unique heritage attractions that London has to offer. If you are planning to be in London for less than three days, this itinerary is perfect for you to explore the top heritage sites and learn more about the city as you go.
While going on a tour or visiting these heritage attractions, Muslims will not need to worry as you will easily find Halal restaurants or establishments that serve Halal food, mosques, and Halal amenities in the bustling city of London. So it's all about strategically constructing your itinerary to get the best out of your short visit!
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