A city steeped in history, London is iconic for its culture, its architecture, and its monarchy. If you’re planning a weekend break in the capital, sightseeing may well be at the top of your agenda. The city was first established by the Romans, though most of what we see today was erected during the Victorian period.
With so much to see and do across the city, choosing which area to stay in can seem daunting. The Sofitel London St James combines classic British design with modern elegance, and benefits from an excellent central location in the heart of the West End, perfect for your luxury break in London. For a truly memorable trip, book your stay at The Savoy, London’s most iconic and sophisticated hotel.
1. Tower Bridge
Where: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP
Entry price: £9.80
Opening times: April-September 10:00-18:00, October-March 9:30-17:30
Tower Bridge is one of London’s most recognised landmarks. During the nineteenth century, the city began to expand, and several bridges were built to connect the two sides of the Thames. The also iconic London Bridge was the first, closely followed by many others.
When the city began to develop rapidly to the east of London Bridge, a new construction became necessary. It was decided that a drawbridge, allowing boats to travel along the river, would be most appropriate, and so Tower Bridge was built.
Today, visitors can go inside Tower Bridge and find information about its history and how it was constructed. Don’t worry if you’re in a hurry – viewing the landmark from the outside is a mesmerising experience, as well as a fantastic photo opportunity!
2. Westminster Abbey
Where: 20 Deans Yd, Westminster, London SW1P 3PA
Entry price: £20
Opening times: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9:30-15:30, Wednesday 9:30-3:30 and 4:30-18:00, Saturday 9:30-15:00
Westminster Abbey was first constructed in 1065, before being re-built in Gothic style between 1245 and 1517. During the reign of King Henry VIII, many monasteries were destroyed, though Westminster Abbey was granted cathedral status and spared, leaving the city the proud home of the impressive landmark.
Since the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066, all British monarchs have been crowned in the abbey, making it one of the most important historic buildings in London.
Westminster Abbey boasts some of the most excellent examples of medieval architecture in London, and is an absolute must-see for first-time visitors to the city. Inside, guests can explore several chapels, artefact rooms, cloisters and even the stunning College Garden, which is over 900 years old.
3. Kensington Palace
Where: 2 De Vere Mews, Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PW
Entry price: £19.50
Opening times: March-October 10:00-18:00, November-February 10:00-16:00
Kensington Palace, which is set amongst Kensington Gardens, has been a residence of the British Royal Family for more than 300 years. Designed by Christopher Wren, the architect also responsible for St Paul’s Cathedral, this red-brick Jacobean mansion is open to the public throughout the year.
For the price of a ticket, visitors can explore the Royal Family’s old private rooms, which are perfectly preserved and exhibit jewels, dresses, tapestries, letters and other artefacts. There are special exhibitions including a small section dedicated to Princess Diana of Wales, which contains some of her most iconic outfits.
Don’t miss the Palace’s gardens, which are beautifully maintained and peaceful, and be sure to stop in the Orangery for a cup of English tea and a slice of cake.
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