London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is a 21st-century city with history stretching back to Roman times. At its centre stand the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames River, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city.
The name Big Ben is often used to describe the tower, the clock and the bell but the name was first given to the Great Bell located inside the Elizabeth Tower at the north end of the Houses of Parliament.
In 1834, architects were invited to submit their designs for the new Palace after a terrible fire destroyed most of the Palace of Westminster and a commission was set up to select the best. Out of 97 designs submitted, the architect Sir Charles Barry's was successful.
The Elizabeth Tower was completed in 1859 and the Great Clock started on 31 May, with the Great Bell's strikes heard for the first time on 11 July and the quarter bells first chimed on 7 September.
Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of the UK’s sovereigns since 1837 Located in the City of Westminster and today is the administrative headquarters of the Monarch. Although in use for the many official events and receptions held by The Queen, the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are open to visitors every summer.
Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms. These include 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. In measurements, the building is 108 metres long across the front, 120 metres deep (including the central quadrangle) and 24 metres high.
Tower Bridge was built over 120 years ago to ease road traffic while maintaining river access to the busy Pool of London docks. Built with giant moveable roadways that lift up for passing ships, it is to this day considered an engineering marvel and beyond being one of London’s favourite icons, it is arguably one of the most famous and instantly recognisable structures in the entire world.
Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London built between 1886 and 1894. Under the Corporation of London (Tower Bridge) Act 1885, the City of London Corporation is required to raise the Bridge to provide access to and egress from the Upper Pool of London for registered vessels with a mast or superstructure of 30 feet or more. The bridge crosses the River Thames close to the Tower of London.
Tower of London
The Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England.
The castle was used as a prison from 1100 (Ranulf Flambard) until 1952, although that was not its primary purpose. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of several buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, and Edward I in the 12th and 13th centuries. The general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite later activity on the site.
St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral, London, is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. It sits on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London and is a Grade 1 listed building. Its dedication to Paul the Apostle dates back to the original church on this site, founded in AD 604.
The cathedral is one of the most famous and most recognisable sights of London. Its dome, framed by the spires of Wren's City churches, has dominated the skyline for over 300 years. At 365 feet (111 m) high, it was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1967. The dome is among the highest in the world. St Paul's is the second-largest church building in area in the United Kingdom after Liverpool Cathedral.
The name Chinatown has been used at different times to describe different places in London. The present Chinatown is part of the City of Westminster, occupying the area in and around Gerrard Street. It contains a number of Chinese restaurants, bakeries, supermarkets, souvenir shops, and other Chinese-run businesses.
The first area in London known as Chinatown was located in the Limehouse area of the East End of London. At the start of the 20th century, the Chinese population of London was concentrated in that area, setting up businesses which catered to the Chinese sailors who frequented in Docklands. The area began to become known through exaggerated reports and tales of (the then-legal) opium dens and slum housing, rather than the Chinese restaurants and supermarkets in the current Chinatown.