London is the capital city of the UK which is not part of the EU or Schenzen community. London offers the following points of interest for tourists and photographers;
- Buckingham Palace and The Mall
- Trafalgar Square
- Tower Bridge and Tower of London (Crown Jewels)
- Piccadilly Circus
- Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey
- London Eye (and view of the city)
- St Pauls Cathedral
- Abbey Road (The Beatles famous album cover)
- 10 Downing Street
- Hyde Park
- The Shard (and view of the city)
- Day trips to Stonehenge (UNESCO world heritage site)
- Day trips to Windsor Castle
There are over 5000 hotels bookable online in London which means there are lots of good deals out there!
For shopping in London I would recommend a triangular walk on Oxford St, Shaftsbury Ave and Regent Street. You ‘ll find thousands of shops including the famous Hamleys Toy Store and Nike Town London.
Top of most peoples lists of things to see in London are the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. You can take a tour of the Houses of Parliament, it’s recommended to book in advance and check available times. I was more interested in photographing the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben than going inside, there are so many different viewpoints to shoot from, if it’s been raining you can use a puddle to make some reflection photography of the buildings.
A short walk from the Houses of Parliament is 10 Downing Street, the residence of the Prime Minister of the UK.
Westminster Abbey is a Gothic church and UNESCO world heritage site famous for many important events in British history. It is the final resting place of 17 British monarchs. There have been many royal coronations, weddings and funerals at Westminster Abbey. For those interested in the British Royal family a visit to Westminster Abbey is a must.
It is free to go inside the abbey and an interesting tomb you’ll come across inside is the tomb of the unknown warrior. This is the tomb of an unknown soldier killed in Europe during World War 1 but represents all unknown British soldiers killed during this war. There is a similar tomb in Arc de Triomphe, Paris which also represents the unknown dead from World War 1.
Opposite the Houses of Parliament is the London Eye which is perfect for a birds eye view of the city. The London Eye is very popular and quite expensive, I would recommend booking in advance if you have a strong desire to use this attraction.
Another option for a birds eye view of the city is the Shard. The Shard is the tallest building in the UK. You can book online your trip to the top of The Shard. There is a Shangri La hotel in the Shard if you want bragging rights to having stayed in the tallest building in the UK.
An iconic site of London is the Tower Bridge (above). There’s a tour of Tower Bridge on which you can ascend the famous towers and walk on a glass floor over the road below. There are so many angles from which you can photograph the bridge, if you photograph it from the other side you can get The Shard in the background.
A short walk from Tower Bridge is the Tower of London where you can see the Crown Jewels. Other things to do in the Tower of London are take photos of the Beefeaters, the guards and the fortress. The Crown Jewels are a wanted item and have been attempted to be stolen by many famous characters from the Muppets to the Minions.
Trafalgar Square is one of the most popular sites in London. Most people take a photo with one of the famous lions of Trafalgar Square and you’ll probably have to get in line if you want your photo with a lion. You are free to jump up and sit on the lion for your photo.
Scotland Yard is located close to Trafalgar Square. You’ve probably seen Scotland Yard in a James Bond movie, it’s the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service.
The Queen of England lives in London, her residence is Buckingham Palace. You may have seen on TV lot’s of people waving British flags whilst the Queen travels past. Usually she is driving down the Mall (above) towards Buckingham Palace. As you walk down the mall you’ll probably pass some of the Queens guards with the tall black hats and red coats. The guards do not smile, just like in the famous Mr Bean sketch but feel free to have your photo taken with one.
You can check out the changing of the guard schedule and plan your visit to Buckingham Palace at the best time. Personally I preferred Buckingham Palace at sunset when it was quieter (above).
The most famous music group in the world, The Beatles are from Liverpool, England. They made an album in 1969 called Abbey Road and on the front cover of the album they are crossing the street on this zebra crossing over Abbey Road. To this day, fans from all over the world visit Abbey Road to recreate the album cover made almost 50 years ago. I’m not sure what’s more entertaining, watching the tourists recreate the album cover or watching the car drivers getting frustrated at the road being blocked.
Stonehenge is a 2 hour drive from London. You can easily visit Stonehenge on a half day tour from London, you could even combine it with a Windsor Castle tour. I chose to visit in the afternoon so I could catch the sunset (above) which was definitely worth it. The tours leave from the Victoria coach station in central London.
Stonehenge is one of the seven wonders of the medieval world and a UNESCO world heritage site for this reason alone you should try make this trip.
From London I took a Eurolines bus from Victoria bus station. The bus went all the way to Berlin but stopped in a few cities on the way in France, Belgium and Germany. The bus passed through the famous channel tunnel between England and France. It was around 14 hours to Hanover and although the bus was not very comfortable it was significantly cheaper than taking the train.