London is the Capital city of England, and also one of the oldest cities – the Romans called it Londinium. Although London is the largest metropolitan area in the UK and the largest urban zone in the European Union, the City itself is only one square mile in area. The rest is made up by the surrounding areas – the London region and the Greater London Administrative area.
London is a leading global city, with strengths in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, and many more. It is the world’s largest financial centre alongside New York, and is home to more than 100 of Europe’s 500 largest companies. It has the most international visitors of any city in the world.
London has a great diversity of architectural styles, and many easily recognisable landmarks.
This showcase features just eight of London’s great landmarks.
The Tower of London and Tower Bridge
The correct name for the Tower of London is Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress. It is an historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It was founded in 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The castle has been subject to several phases of expansion, mainly in the 12th and 13th centuries. It has served as a royal residence and a prison.
Tower Bridge is a suspension bridge and is an iconic symbol of London. Construction started in 1886 and took eight years and five major contractors. The total cost of construction was £1,184,000 (equivalent to £100 million as of 2011)
London’s Tower Bridge rainbow by 3191
London City Hall
City Hall is the headquarters of the Greater London Authority, which comprises the Mayor of London and London Assembly. It is in the area of Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames. It was opened in July 2002.
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral, dedicated to Paul the Apostle. It is located at the top of Ludgate Hill, the highest point in the City of London. It dates from the 17th century and was designed by Sir Christopher Wren.
The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
Also known as The Palace of Westminster, the Houses of Parliament is situated on the north bank of the River Thames in the heart of London. It was originally a royal residence – but the old palace was destroyed by fire. The new palace (as it is today) was reconstructed around 1834.
Big Ben is actually the nickname for the great bell in the clock tower at the north end of the Palace of Westminster. It is the largest four-faced chiming clock and the third-tallest free-standing clock tower in the world.
The London Eye
Or Millennium Wheel is a giant 135-metre tall iron wheel situated on the banks of the River Thames. It is the tallest Ferris when in Europe, and attracts over 3.5 million visitors annually. When built it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, until overtaken in 2006 by the 160m Star of Nanchang, which was then overshadowed in 2008 by the 165m Singapore Flyer.
The Bank of England
The Bank of England is the central bank of the whole of the United Kingdom. It was established in 1694 and was nationalized in 1946.
The Bank’s headquarters has been located in Threadneedle Street, in London’s main financial district since 1734. It carries the nickname ‘The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street’.
Canary Wharf is one of London’s two main financial centres and contains many of the UK’s tallest buildings. Canary Wharf contains around 1,300,000 square metres of office and retail space, and around 90,000 people work there.
30 St Mary Axe, the Swiss Re Building or The Gherkin was built in 2003 on the former site of the Baltic Exchange which was severely damaged in 1992 by an IRA bomb. It is situated in London’s main financial district, the City of London.
Buckingham Palace is the London home and primary residence of Queen Elizabeth II, and is situated in the City of Westminster. It was built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1705. Every year more than 50,000 invited guests are entertained at garden parties, receptions, audiences and banquets. The forecourt is used of the Changing of the Guard – a major ceremony and tourist attraction.
I hope you enjoyed this very minor tour of London and a few of it’s landmarks. They are part of the reason so many people visit London each year.
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