A. London has long retained its reputation as an ideal short break destination for a wide range of visitors. The city offers a plethora of activities and attractions, is steeped in history and is renowned for its world class contribution to theatre and the arts. Despite the unpredictability of the British climate, the visitor to London is never short on entertainment whatever the weather. While most cities can boast one or two landmarks which have achieved international recognition, few can boast of so many in such a compact area. Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Tower of London and the many famous parks are well known throughout the world.
B. One reason why tourists favour London is the British Royal family, which draws countless tourists to visit Buckingham Palace , the official residence of the Queen. It was originally built in the early 18th century for John Sheffield, the then Duke of Buckingham. Since then, the Palace has undergone a number of changes. Having been partially destroyed by fire in 1809, it was rebuilt, then extended by George VI after he became sovereign in 1937. Visitors are able to view the Palace from the gates and experience the famous ritual of the Changing of The Guards. Since the 1990s, restricted access to parts of the Palace has also been available to the general public.
C. While it is unlikely to catch a glimpse of the Royals themselves whilst on a visit to the Palace, tourists are assured of viewing them in wax form at Madame Tussauds’ waxwork museum. From the Royal family to Hollywood stars and prominent politicians, many of the worlds rich and famous have been immortalised in wax. It is estimated that a tour of the museum takes about two hours, and it is possible to buy a combination ticket also allowing entry to the London Planetarium.
D. For visitors with an inclination for the arts, the West End is an essential part of the itinerary. With productions to suit all tastes, it is always possible to find a mystery, thriller, comedy or musical at a time to suit. There are many websites or booking agents that can arrange tickets to almost any kind of performance. Some shows in the West End have been running for decades and still attract audiences for every showing.
E. A more recent addition to the portfolio of attractions London has to offer is the London Eye. Open daily, it offers visitors the theme park style opportunity to take a thirty minute ride and view the city from 450 feet up. Visitors are treated to an unparalleled panoramic view of the city, and might even spot a good restaurant for their evening meal!
F. Apart from all of the constructed attractions, London also offers something for those more budget conscious travellers. Hyde Park and St James’ Park are just two of the many areas that make a pleasant stroll, and there is also the option of a walk along parts of the Thames , allowing the imaginative to picture the history of what was once one of the most famous rivers in the developed world.