With a history that dates back over 2,000 years, the streets of London are filled with heritage, culture and beauty. The city boasts some of the world’s most famous landmarks including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.
However, while the city is known for its several UNESCO world heritage sites, London is also a modern metropolis with a diverse population, renowned public transportation system and a stunning mix of old and new architecture.
Here’s a look at eight of our favorite London landmarks photographed by local Instagrammers!
Opened in 1863, London’s underground network now consists of 270 stations, 250 miles (402 kilometres) of track, and serves over 1.3 billion passengers annually. Although Waterloo is the system’s busiest station serving a total of 89.4 million passengers a year, its most interesting has got to be Aldgate on the eastern edge of the city which was built atop a massive plague pit with over 1,000 bodies.
Real estate developer Irvine Sellar’s ambitious vision of an architecturally striking “vertical city” became reality in 2012 when the 95-storey Shard tower opened in the London Bridge Quarter community. Standing 1,016 feet (309.6 metres), the slender glass tower was designed by Italian architect and Pritzker Prize winner Renzo Piano and features a sleek pyramidal shape meant to resemble a shard of glass. Inside the mixed-use development comprises of an office complex, restaurants, bars, viewing gallery, a Shangri-La Hotel and 13 floors of luxury residential units.
As the backdrop of high profile weddings, funerals, and coronations, Westminster Abbey is often seen on television screens around the world. The gothic church (it’s not a cathedral) has accumulated many interesting artifacts throughout the years including a wax collection of many previous monarchs fully dressed in traditional royal attire.
It’s official name may be 30 St Mary Axe, but the futuristic tower in London’s Financial dDstrict is affectionately known as the “Gherkin” for its unique shape and form. During construction the remains of a teenage Roman girl dating back to 350AD was found on site and was re-buried once the construction was complete.
The iconic Savoy Hotel is a luxury five star hotel located in the Strand neighbourhood of central London. Since opening in the late 1800s, the property has hosted a slew of world famous guests including Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill, Laurence Olivier, Claude Money, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra and Audrey Hepburn. In the front courtyard, the hotel’s turning circle is the only place in London where you can legally drive on the right side of the road. This allows guests to board and exit from the driver’s side of a car.
One of London’s most famous attractions, the London Eye is a 443 feet (135 m) observation wheel which gives visitors an expansive view of the city and skyline. The wheel has a total of 32 capsules representing each of the city’s 32 boroughs but are numbered from 1 to 33 in order to avoid unlucky number 13.
Completed in 1894, London’s Tower Bridge is a 800 feet (244 metre) combined bascule and suspension bridge that crosses the River Thames. Through its 122 year history, the bridge has had its fair share of noteworthy incidents including the time in 1952 when a number 78 bus jumped from one bascule to the other as it inadvertently began to lift. Operator error was later determined to be the cause.
Natural History Museum
Located in South Kensington on London’s famous Exhibition Road, the Natural History Museum is home to 80 million specimens spanning billions of years. Exhibits include everything from insects and plants to prehistoric animals and dinosaurs. However the museum’s stunning Romanesque architecture by English architect Alfred Waterhouse is alone worth a visit. And the best part is admission is completely free!