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Tour of London, England

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The city of London evolved after the Roman invasion of England in 43AD. The Romans first conquered Southern England then began moving north until they reached the River Thames. This vast river that split the east of England in two, greatly restricted travel in the area. The Romans solved the problem by building a wooden bridge, just east of where London Bridge stands today. With that bridge providing a link from the South of England to Central England, the area attracted a lot of trade with the City of Londinium beginning to grow around the bridge.

London is now one of the worlds most interesting cities, crammed full of historic buildings, museums and parks. There are also many historic locations such as Windsor Castle situated only a few miles outside the city.

The currency in England is the British Pound. Beer prices . Currency Converter.

Flights take about 1 hour 10 minutes between UK & Ireland Airports and London Airports.

Ryanair provide regular flights between London Stanstead and other UK Airports such as: Cork . Derry . Dublin . Edinburgh . Glasgow /Internalional . Knock . Shannon .

Most UK based Airlines or International Airlines also provide flights to London Airports.

There are five major Airports around London, World Taximeter.

Heathrow Airport is situated 17 miles west of London Centre. Buses run regular to and from this airport and London. Bus Information. Google Map.

Gatwick Airport is situated 28 miles south of London, 30 minutes from central London via the non-stop Gatwick Express rail service, standard single ticket costs about £17 and a standard return is about £25. Tickets can be bought on board at no extra cost. Regular coach services offer less expensive travel to London. Bus/Train/Taxi Information. Google Map.

Stanstead Airport is situated 38 miles north of London. The Stansted Express train runs every 15 minutes reaching London Liverpool Street in 45 minutes. Fast, frequent coaches run from Stansted to London destinations including Liverpool Street, Victoria, Stratford, Baker Street and Kings Cross. With fares starting at just a few pounds, this can be a really cost-effective way to travel. All services call at the airport coach station, directly opposite the terminal. Bus/Train/Taxi Information. Google Map.

Luton Airport is situated 34 miles northwest of London. Regular rail services to central London take as little as 21 minutes with East Midlands Trains and 25 minutes with First Capital Connect. Green Line 757 provides an express coach link between London Luton Airport and Central London from Bays 10 & 11. Bus/Train/Taxi Information. Google Map.

London City Airport is situated 9 miles east of London. The website gives good information on Taxi prices, buses, trains and DLR services to London. Bus/Train/Taxi Information. Google Map.

CarHire at London Airports can be booked through CarTrawler who will scan the best available deals from CarHire companies based at London Airports.

The Palace of Westminster, or better known as the Houses of Parliament, was first built on this site during the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042-1066). The present building that is seen today, dates from the 1840s.

A tour of the Houses of Parliament and a climb to the top of Big Ben can be taken. Tickets normally have to be booked weeks in advance from a local MP, or your countries Embassy. Tours Information.

The Palace of Westminster is situated in London Centre close to the London Eye ferris wheel. The area is regarded as the centre of the city, where the hop on hop off tour buses can be booked.

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Westminster Abbey is situated only a few hundred yards north of the Houses of Parliament, on the tour bus route.

Work on the original Westminster Abbey began during the reign of Edward the Confessor (1042-1066). That building was built on the site that originally contained a modest Benedictine Abbey Church named St Peters. Edward the Confessor died within ten days of Westminster Abbey’s consecration. He became the first of over 3,000 people to be buried within its floors, walls, and many tombs. King Henry III (1216-1272) had the Abbey completely redesigned by the architect Henry de Reynes into the gothic style that can be seen today. All that remains of the original Abbey are the foundations.

King Henry VII (1485-1509) and King Henry VIII (1509-1547) commissioned further work to be carried out that saw the Abbey extended. All but two English Monarchs have been crowned there beginning with William the Conqueror on 25th December 1066. The two kings that broke with tradition were Edward V and Edward VIII. There are many famous people buried throughout the Abbey including Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, the poets Charles Dickens and Robert Browning, musician George Frederick Handle, actor Lawrence Olivier, missionary Dr David Livingston, scientist Isaac Newton, biologist Charles Darwin and Thomas Parr believed to have been 152 years and 9 months old.

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The only person buried standing up is the poet Ben Jonson who begged 18 inches of ground from King Charles I.

The abbey is open Monday-Sunday 08.00-18.00 with an entrance fee of around £18.00 per adult, £8.00 for under 18s and free admission for under 11s. For more information, visit the website www.westminster-abbey.org/.

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Buckingham Palace is situated about 1 mile west of the Houses of Parliament, on the tour bus route.

Britain’s monarchs have changed their official residences throughout the centuries from the Tower of London – Palace of Westminster – Whitehall Palace – Kensington Palace – St James’s Palace and now Buckingham Palace. This palace was originally constructed in 1703 as a red brick building named Buckingham House. During the reign of King George IV (1820-1830) Buckingham Palace was redesigned to its present form. Although King George IV is responsible for the design of the palace, he never managed to stay there as he died before its completion.

Queen Victoria (1837-1901) became the first Sovereign to take up residence in Buckingham Palace in July 1837, it has remained the official residence of the Royal Family ever since.

For more information on Buckingham Palace, events and opening times, view the website www.royal.gov.uk.

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St James's Palace is situated about 1.2 miles northwest of of the Houses of Parliament, only a few hundred yards north of Buckingham Palace, on the tour bus route.

The building of St James’s Palace was commissioned during the reign of King Henry VIII (1509-1547). This building is built on a site that previously contained the hospital of St James for leper women. St James’s present look is attributed to Sir Christopher Wren as he was commissioned to redesign the palace in the late 1600s. Queen Anne (1702-1714) became the first Royal to take up residence in St James’s after the 1698 fire that destroyed Whitehall Palace. St James’s then became the official home of British Monarchs until Queen Victoria took the throne in 1837, and set up residence in Buckingham Palace.

St James’s Palace is now the official residence of Prince Charles. It can only be viewed from the outside, as it is rarely open to the public.

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St Paul's Cathedral is situated 2 miles northeast of the Houses of Parliament, on the tour bus route.

Construction of the original Old St Paul’s Cathedral began in 1087 under the reign of King William II (1087-1100). That cathedral built in Gothic style, became the largest ever built in England with the highest spire of any English cathedrals. Old St Paul’s was so large; work on its completion took until the 14th Century. After being hit by lightning, and years of being run down, the Great Fire of London in 1666 finally damaged that cathedral beyond repair.

The reign of King Charles II (1660-1685) saw Sir Christopher Wren commissioned to design the new St Paul’s that is seen today. Work began on the new building in 1675 with the last stone laid in 1710. The present St Paul’s is regarded as being the second largest cathedral in Europe, with the largest being St Peters in Rome. St Paul’s crypt is probably the largest of its kind in Europe, holding many famous people including Lord Nelson, who died at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. That funeral, one of the largest ever in London, ended with Nelson being interred in the crypt directly below the cathedrals great dome.

Other exceptionally large events at St Paul’s were: Winston Churchill’s funeral 30th January 1965, and the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana 29th July 1981.

St Paul’s Cathedral is open to the public Monday-Saturday 08.30-16.00 with an entrance fee of around £16 per adult and £7 for children under 16. For more information, view the website www.stpauls.co.uk.

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The Tower of London is situated about 3 miles northeast of the Houses of Parliament, on the tour bus route.

The building of the Tower of London began shortly after William Duke of Normandy (Conqueror) came to power in 1066. This stronghold originally began, as the White Tower that is at the centre of what is now a large sprawling castle covering 84 acres. Most of the outer walls were added during the reign of King Henry III (1216-1272). Henry III is also credited with building ‘Traitors Gait’ an entrance that leads to the River Thames, that can only be accessed by boat.

This entrance became famous, as all the prisoners held and executed in the castle, would enter through that passage. Executions were carried out within the castle walls, either by hanging at Tower Hill, or by beheading at Tower Green. People beheaded in these grounds included Anne Boleyn (1536) the second wife of Henry VIII and mother of Elizabeth I, Katherine Howard (1542) Henry VIII fifth wife, lady Jane Grey, and the Earl of Essex.

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The Crown Jewels have been kept here for the past 600 years containing some of the largest diamonds in the world, and along with the castles macabre history, the Tower of London has become London’s most popular site.

Visiting times are from Monday-Saturday 09.00-17.00 and Sundays 10.00-17.00 with an entrance fee of around £20 per adult and £10 per child, under 5 free. For more information, visit the website www.hrp.org.uk/toweroflondon.

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Tower Bridge is situated about 2.8 miles northeast of the Houses of Parliament, on the tour bus route, close to the Tower of London.

Construction of Tower Bridge took place between 1886 and 1894. This fully operational drawbridge still has to be used to this day to allow large ships to pass up the river.

Tours of the bridges towers and mechanics are conducted daily at a cost of around £8 per adult and £3.00 per child, under 5 free. For more information, visit the website: www.towerbridge.org.uk/TBE/EN/.

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HMS Belfast is situated 2.6 miles northest of the Houses of Parliament, close to Tower Bridge.

HMS Belfast is the only surviving large European warship that served during World War II. This 9,320-ton cruiser entered service in 1939, seeing action in European waters before being deployed to the Pacific War against Japan, and later Korea.

Belfast has been moored near Tower Bridge since 1971. It was opened to the public 21st October of that year. The ship is now open to the public daily from 10.00-17.00 with an entrance fee of around £14 per adult with no charge for children. For more information, visit the website www.iwm.org.uk/visits/hms-belfast.

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The British Museum is situated about 1.4 miles north of the Houses of Parliament, on some tour bus routes.

The architect Robert Smirke was commissioned to design the British Museum during the reign of King George IV (1820-1830). The building of this museum came about through the need for a suitable building to house the Kings Library and the ever-increasing ancient museum artifacts being collected from around the world. Work on the museum began in 1822 with the final stages of the main building being completed in 1856. Work began on the round reading room situated in the courtyard the following year. The installation of the glass roof that now covers the courtyard, and the refurbishment of the library, began in 1998.

This museum is also crammed with ancient artifacts from around the world from countries such as Egypt, Greece and Rome.

You can visit the British Museum free of charge Saturday-Wednesday 10.00-17.30 and Thursday- Friday 10.00-20.30. For more information and how to find the museum, view the website www.britishmuseum.org.

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The Natural History Museum is situated about 2.8 miles west of the Houses of Parliament, on some tour bus routes.

Professor Richard Owen successfully petitioned the Gladstone Government for funds to build the Natural History Museum during the reign of Queen Victoria. Britain’s vast amount of natural history artifacts had been stored in various damp and cramp places before this building was completed. The young architect Alfred Waterhouse was chosen to design the new building with work beginning in 1860. This building became one of the first of the Victorian age to use iron and steel in its superstructure. Although the Gothic style looks like stone, the exterior is actually clad in terracotta.

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The Natural History (Science) Museum opened to the public in 1881. It is crammed full of dinosaurs, whales, insects, fossils and stuffed animals from all over the world.

The museum is open to the public Monday-Saturday 10.00-17.50, Sunday 11.00-17.50 free of charge although they do accept donations for the upkeep of the building. For more information, visit the website www.nhm.ac.uk/.

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Windsor Castle is situated about 22 miles west of London centre.

Windsor Castle originated as a mote and bailey fortification built by William the Conqueror after his victory in 1066. Work to convert the building to stone began during the reign of King Henry II (1154-1189). King Henry III (1216-1272) is also credited with having the castle extensively expanded. Successive monarchs continued to extended the castle into what is now the largest continually inhabited castle in the world. This castle contains apartments that are still used by the Royal Family to this day, normally at weekends. Windsor Castle is about a 50-minute train ride from London’s Waterloo station, about £10 return. The train station at Windsor sits directly below the Castle, providing a impressive view on arrival. Windsor Castle is open to the public from 10.00-17.30 in summer and 10.00-16.00 in winter, there is an entrance fee of about £18 per adult, £10 for under 17s and no charge for under 5s.

St Georges Chapel is situated inside the walls of Windsor Castle. As with Westminster Abbey, there are many famous people buried throughout the building, including Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, Charles I, Queen Elizabeth II father King George VI and his wife Elizabeth. Princess Margaret became the first Royal to be cremated, as it was the only way she could be buried next to her father (King George VI) in a small room within St Georges Chapel.

For more information, visit the website www.royalcollection.org. Green Line coaches also operate daily to Windsor Castle from Victoria Coach Station in London. Many Hotels in London can arrange coach trips from the hotel.

For coach tours to Windsor Castle , visit the website www.goldentours.com/windsor-castle-tours.

For more day trips about London or to Windsor, Stonehenge, Bath, Oxford and more, visit the website: www.viator.com/London.

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London's four main train stations, Euston, Kings Cross, Paddington & Waterloo, are all close to the city centre, Train Station Map. England Map.

From these stations, other historic cities and towns can be visited by Train at relatively low cost, the earlier you book the tickets, the less expensive they are. Fares cost from £14 day return and should not cost any more than £40 day return if booked in advance.

Cambridge: 60 miles north of London. Kings Cross Station, fare check.

Bath: 115 miles west of London. Paddington Station, 1 hour 30 mins, fare check.

Oxford: 59 miles west of London. Paddington Station, 1 hour, fare check.

Windsor: 25 miles west London. Waterloo Station, 1 hour, fare check.

York: 210 miles north of London. Kings Cross Station, 2 hours, fare check trains to London. Large Image.

Edinburgh/Scotland: 404 miles north of London. Kings Cross Station, 4 hours 30 mins, fare check.

Other top attractions in London with website's such as the London Eye, Madam Tussaud's, London Zoo, London Dungeon and Kensington Palace can be found at www.londonforfun.com/London-sights.htm.

For Tours in London and from London, visit: www.sightseeingtourslondon.co.uk . Also: Viator Tours London .

For theatre tickets and information on London's West End Theatres, visit the website www.lastminutetheatretickets.com

For a more history of London, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London.

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