A little more information about some of the big London tourist attractions.
Buckingham Palace is located in the City of Westminster and known the world over as home to the Queen. The original structure was built in the early 1700\'s. The palace has been expanded numerous times and is used on royal occasions for state entertaining and is one of the best known tourist attractions in the world. Members of the Royal family and staff live here and the Queen and her family acknowledge the pubic on the famous balcony which faces onto the Mall at the east front of the palace. The palace is open to the public and many of the state rooms can now be visited.
Big Ben took 13 years to complete and stands at one end of the houses of Parliament. Big Ben is not the name of the tower, but the bell that chimes. It is thought to be named after Benjamin Hall, who supervised the installation of the clock. Big ben has one big bell and four smaller ones at the side. Big Ben overlooks Westminster and tours of the clock are available.
The Houses of Parliament
The palace of Westminster is commonly known as the houses of Parliament. It was a royal palace and the former residence of kings. It stands on the banks of the river Thames. During the summer recess when Parliament is not sitting and the members work away from Westminster, tours can be arranged. The palace has 2 miles of passages, 100 staircases and 1200 rooms. The business of Parliament takes place in the house of commons and the house of Lords. This Parliamentary building holds many historical stories, but the most famous is of Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot.
St.Paul\'s cathedral with its world famous dome is an iconic feature of London. The first building was made out of wood and burnt to the ground in the great fire of London. The main dome is open to the public and guided tours are available. There are 3 galleries to climb to the dome. The Whispering gallery is reached by climbing 257 steps. The sound of a your voice travels around the curved wall to reach the opposite side. The other two galleries are The Stone, and The Golden. The views from the top of the galleries across London are breathtaking. It is 365 feet t the top of the cross on the dome, the same number as days in the year. There are many important and famous names to be found in the crypt and the huge tombs of Nelson and Wellington.
The Tower of London
The tower of London is one of the most popular tourist attractions in London. It was built by William the Conqueror in 1080 and has been used as a prison, palace and a fortress. the crown jewels are kept here and the collection includes the world\'s most famous diamonds. The tower exhibition looks at some of the prison\'s inmates who were executed here. The tower was used as a prison during both world wars. There is much to see here including the Yeoman of the guard, the ravens and Henry V111\'s armour.
Tower Bridge exhibition
Tower bridge is one of London\'s famous sites and visitors to the exhibition will learn all about the bridge, how it works and its history. It was constructed in 1894. Visitors can see inside the engine rooms where the original engines were housed to power the bridge. The exhibition has displays and films of the history of the bridge. Visitors are able to go onto the walkways at the top of the bridge, which give fantastic views over London.
Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is one of London\'s most famous venues and a famous landmark due to its distinctive oval shape. It is open to the public and tours are available. Each year the venue hosts many performances from rock concerts and opera and is home for the Proms concerts.
Harrods in Knightsbridge is one of the largest stores in the world with over 300 departments. The world famous food hall is an attraction to visitors with its huge choice of gourmet food on offer. There are two memorials in the store in memory of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed.
The Globe Theatre
The Globe is a reconstruction of the open air playhouse which was originally designed in 1599. Shakespeare acted on stage here and wrote most of his plays for this theatre. There is an exhibition and tour describing what life was like in London in Elizabethan times. There are costumes on display and the theatre shows some of the music and instruments which were used. In the summer the theatre company performs a variety of Shakespeare plays.
The London Eye
The London Eye became an iconic landmark and the UK\'s most popular visitor attraction. The wheel was designed as a symbol of the end of the 20th century and time turning into the new millennium. The height of the Eye is equivalent to 64 red telephone boxes on top of each other and is the 4th tallest structure in London. On a clear day Windsor Castle 25 miles away, can be seen. The Eye carries 800 passengers per revolution and it is 20 times heavier than Big Ben.