What are the ten most popular tourist attractions in London?

History, shopping, theatre – they’re all available in London. A visitor could stay the year round and always find something interesting to do but there are ten fundamental attractions that almost all first time tourists to London enjoy.

1. Buckingham Palace
Official residence of the sovereign since 1837, Buckingham Palace includes among other buildings the State Rooms of the sovereign, Clarence Hall and Windsor Castle. During peak months more than 6,000 visitors a day will tour at least a portion of the Palace so online tickets are almost a necessity.

2. Westminster Abbey
Every coronation since 1066 has taken place at Westminster Abbey, no visit to London is complete without a trip there. Although it is relatively low cost viewing hours are very restricted so prior planning is a must.

3. Big Ben
Most people thing of Big Ben as the giant clock which is emblematic of London, however, it is really the name of the massive thirteen ton hour bell inside the clock which was first rung in1859. Limited group tours are available on request.

4. Houses of Parliament
Also known as The Palace of Westminster, the Houses of Parliament are comprised of the House of Commons, the House of Lords and Westminster Hall. Tours of The Palace are open to the public. The public may also view the splendidly combative debates of the two Houses although the members are prone to long recesses and absences so be sure to check ahead.

5. British Airways London Eye
Designed as part of a competition for the London millennium the London Eye is the largest observation wheel in the world. Located on the South Bank of the River Thames across from Big Ben this astounding wheel of thirty-two glass enclosed passenger capsules is not for the faint of heart.

6. Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.
More than just a kitschy display of wax celebrities, Madame Tussauds now includes a Spirit of London ride, a Chamber Live horror exhibit and Journey to Infinity, a digital experience of the sights and sounds of the Hubble Telescope.

7. Covent Garden
Madame Tussauds, the National Gallery and the Royal Theatre all make their homes in Covent Garden but strolling the Garden itself is a must do tourist event. Originally the pasture and gardens of the Convent of St. Peter, the area was taken over by King Henry VIII in 1548 and later saved from mass retail development in 1773 by an act of the Secretary of State.

8. Harrods
Harrods was opened by Charles Henry Harrod in 1834, burned to the ground in 1883 and reopened in the 1890s. Recognized throughout the world as the one of the premier shopping experiences, it may be best known by modern shoppers for its association with the tragic death of Princess Diana.

9. Hyde Park
Along with Covent Garden, King Henry VIII appropriated Hyde Park from the monks of Westminster in 1548. Its 350 acres now constitute one of the finest parks in world. It is open to the public from 5 a.m. to midnight 365 days a year.

10. The London Underground
Locally known as the Tube, the London Underground transit system is to London as the subway is to New York City. With 275 stations covering the city, the Tube is a generally safe, convenient and inexpensive mode of transport as well as a bit of London history.