Admiring London at least once should be on the to do list of any traveler’s. The UK offers a wonderful range of travel options and environments, from the urban chic of London, to the quiet countryside of the Lakes District, the gritty music and sports hubs of Manchester and Liverpool, not to mention the breathtaking coastlines that ring the island nation. Because the entirety of the UK is English speaking, it’s a great place to get your feet wet with international travel. My friend Jason took his first trip abroad, to London, last year, at 42 years old, and now he’s got a thirst for more. Add to the cultural appeal, the excellent exchange rate against the American dollar (thank you Brexit) and the UK is a very appealing destination indeed.
Among the most fascinating and evocative of London’s historic sites is the perfectly preserved nerve-center from which Prime Minister Winston Churchill directed the British military campaigns and the defense of his homeland throughout World War II. Their Spartan simplicity and cramped conditions underline the desperate position of England as the Nazi grip tightened across Europe. You’ll see the tiny cubicle where Churchill slept and the improvised radio studio where he broadcast his famous wartime speeches. Simple details, such as Clementine Churchill’s knitting wool marking the front lines on a map of Europe, bring the era to life as no museum could possibly do.
A trip to London isn’t complete without a visit to the iconic London Eye. Originally constructed to celebrate the millennium, the Eye is a giant ferris wheel offering gorgeous views across the city. At night, the wheel is lit up in seasonal colors and is the centerpiece of London’s annual New Year’s fireworks display. You can share one of the spacious pods with other keen visitors, or splurge on a private pod for you and someone special. Team your visit to the Eye with a trip to the adjacent London Aquarium to see aquatic creatures from around the world, including jellyfish, seahorses and crocodiles.
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The London Eye is a gigantic Ferris wheel located on the south bank of the River Thames. It was completed at the beginning of the 2000s, which is why it bears the nickname The Millennium Wheel. The wheel stands tall at 443 feet and has a diameter of 120 meters. A complete wheel turn takes about 30 minutes and the capsules provide visitors with a stunning 360? view of London. It’s recorded as the world’s tallest Ferris wheel and is a true beauty at night when it comes alive with bright neon colours. Tourists are entertained with a glass of royal champagne as they enjoy a sweet ride. Opening times for the London Eye vary throughout the year and booking in advance is strongly recommended.
The lovely 41-storey steel and glass skyscraper known as “The Gherkin” was built in 2004 and is one of the most impressive modern structures in the London metropolis. This building is famous for its cigar shape design and is located in the heart of the London finance centre. The topmost floor of The Gherkin is an open hall with a conical dome. A view from its peak would be incredible, but unfortunately, this building is not open to the public. However, although it’s not open to the public, the exterior view is spectacular.
Tate Modern is the national gallery of international modern and contemporary art from 1900 onwards. The gallery opened in 2000 in a converted power station on the south bank of the Thames in an imposing position opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral. You can visit again and again as it’s free and the modern art displays change quite frequently. You’ll often find enormous installations in the Turbine Hall on the ground floor. Right outside is the Millennium Bridge (the one that was ‘wobbly’ when it first opened).