London Eye

         The Coca-Cola London Eye is centrally located in the heart of the capital, gracefully rotating over the River Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

At 135 metres, the Coca-Cola London Eye is the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel; a feat of design and engineering, it has become the modern symbol representing the capital and a global icon. The experience showcases breathtaking 360-degree views of the capital and its famous landmarks and has been the number one visitor experience in the city for the past decade.

The gradual rotation in one of the 32 high-tech glass capsules takes approximately 30 minutes and gives you an ever-changing perspective of London. Within each capsule, interactive guides allow you to explore the capital’s iconic landmarks in several languages.

An experience on the Coca-Cola London Eye will lift you high enough to see up to 40 kilometres on a clear day and keep you close enough to see the spectacular details of the city unfolding beneath you.

Make the most of your time with us by visiting our London Eye 4D Experience, free with every ticket. See London come to life through unique perspectives and multi-sensory special effects, including wind, bubbles and scent. The four-minute show is perfect to watch at the start of your visit.

Open Bus

Explore imperious London in all its grandeur. This incredible value London Hop on Hop off bus tour grants you the freedom and convenience to explore the city in depth. This tour encompasses world renowned attractions such as the Tower of London, Shakespeare’s Globe and spectacular Westminster Abbey, as well as, of course, the inimitable Buckingham Palace. You will also see the most eminent regions of London, such as distinguished Regent Street, world celebrated Oxford Street and vibrant Piccadilly.

The Essential Tour (Blue route): Covering all the main Central London sights, this route includes a live English speaking guide! See Buckingham Palace The Classic Tour (Red route): Covers all the main Central London sights and visits London’s Museum Quarter. The Grand Tour (Orange route): This route passes Madame Tussauds and Kings Cross, as well as many other Central London sights. The Pick Up/Drop Off Route (Yellow route): Operating in the morning, this route travels from the popular hotel districts to Central London.

Tower of London

Although its exterior might be grim and even unimpressive (especially when compared to stately Buckingham Palace), the Tower of London’s interior is always bustling with activity. The Tower, which actually comprises multiple towers (12 of which can be explored by the public), offers something for everyone. If you’re enchanted with the history of the monarch, don’t miss the famous Crown Jewels exhibition. Among the items you’ll see is the Imperial State Crown – which is still worn by the queen for each State Opening of Parliament – and the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross. If you have more than an hour to spend here, take an entertaining tour led by the Yeoman Warders (tower guards). During the hourlong excursion (already included in your admission ticket), the guards will regale you with tales of the tower’s bloody past. Lastly, don’t forget to visit the White Tower, an iconic symbol of London’s heritage and one of the world’s most famous castle keeps.

The majority of travellers say the Tower of London’s high admission price and long lines are worth every pence. And some recent visitors strongly recommend attending the free tour put on by the Yeoman Warders. The Tower of London is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday and Monday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., though it closes an hour earlier November through February. Tickets for adults cost 24.50 pounds (about $35.50) and admission for youths younger than 16 cost 11 pounds (about $16). Children younger than 5 get in for free.

If you want to save some cash on admission, buy your tickets on the Tower of London’s website. You’ll find the Tower of London off the Tower Hill Tube stop.

Buckingham Palace

         Buckingham Palace, the London home of Queen Elizabeth II, is open for tour (except for the queen’s private quarters, of course) in the summers. On the tour, you’ll have access to the 19 State Rooms where the queen and members of the royal family host guests for state, ceremonial, and official affairs. Opulently accented with chandeliers, candelabra, paintings by Rembrandt and Rubens, and exquisite English and French furniture, these rooms display some of the most magnificent pieces from the Royal Collection. Along with the grand interiors, the State Rooms are also a witness to history. Those of you who followed the royal wedding closely will recognise the Throne Room, which served as the backdrop for the official wedding photographs of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

For tours in the summer, recent travellers suggest taking advantage of the audio guide (included with admission), so that you hear a detailed history of each room at your own pace. The Palace advises you set aside at least two hours to see the State Rooms (and that you wear comfortable shoes), while recent travellers advise that you use the facilities prior to the start of the tour; there are no public restrooms available until you reach the garden. Tour tickets start at 21.50 pounds (about $31) for adults; 19.60 pounds (about $28.40) for seniors (older than 60) and students; 12.30 pounds (about $17.80) for kids younger than 17; children younger than 5 enter for free. Visitors can also spring for the Royal Day Out Ticket, which also includes entrance to the Queen’s Gallery and Royal Mews, but it will cost you.

If you’d rather skip the admission fees altogether, you can still experience Buckingham Palace by witnessing the storied Changing of the Guard (also referred to as Guard Mounting), which occurs daily at 11:30 a.m., from April until late July, and on alternate days the rest of the year (except during inclement weather). Make sure to get there early, as many previous visitors say the area gets crowded very quickly, making it hard to see anything if you arrive shortly before the ceremony starts. You’ll find Buckingham Palace off Green Park, Hyde Park Corner or St. James Park Tube stops.

Tower Bridge

        Along with Parliament and Big Ben, Tower Bridge is London’s next must-see architectural marvel, not to mention the most famous bridge that crosses the Thames. Built a mere 120 years ago, the bridge not only stands out for its stunning detail but moveable roadways that lift up when large ships need to pass through. The views from the bridge are an added bonus. From the elevated sidewalks visitors get a prime view of the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral’s iconic dome and one of the newest additions to London’s skyline, The Shard.

If you’re interested in viewing the city from a higher vantage point (about 137 feet), consider a tour of the Tower Bridge Exhibition. For a fee, this exhibit will take you to the top of the bridge, equipped with a glass floor, as well as to the bottom to the bridge’s engine rooms. Adults pay 9 pounds (about $13), youths ages 5 to 15 pay 3.90 pounds (about $5.60), while children younger than 5 get in for free. Check the website for opening times. Keep in mind, most recent travelers recommend only doing this if you have time to kill or are extremely interested; a walk across the bridge is free and nearly as impressive. Hop off the Tube at Tower Hill to stroll across the Tower Bridge.

House of Parliament

        The Houses of Parliament, composed of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, fill the massive Palace of Westminster. Guided and self-guided tours come highly recommended by recent travellers, taking visitors through multiple areas of the building, including Westminster Hall (the oldest building on the Parliamentary estate), the House of Commons Chamber and the Royal Gallery, to name a few. If you’re not interested in perusing the halls that make up the UK’s governing body, many travellers say that simply admiring the iconic structure’s impressive exterior is enough, and an absolute must-do for anyone visiting London.

If you’re one of many looking to snap your own photo of one of the most photographed buildings in the world, the best vantage point is from Westminster Bridge. But if you want a truly smashing shot, head on over to Lambeth Bridge or the Golden Jubilee Bridges on the South Bank for a view of Parliament and the London Eye together. Keep in mind that Westminster Bridge connects the city’s two biggest attractions (London Eye to Parliament) together, and as a result is almost always very crowded. It’s also important to know that merchants and (rather shady) gamblers set up along the bridge, so keep your personal belongings close and walk along the left side, as a higher number tend to concentrate on the right.

Guided, self-guided and tours that include afternoon tea are all available Saturdays year-round as well as most weekdays during Parliamentary recess. Self-guided tours take about 60 to 75 minutes and are 18 pounds (about $26) for adults and free for one child ages 5 to 15 years with a paying adult, then 7.20 pounds (about $10.50) for each additional child. Guided tours cost 25 pounds for adults and 10 pounds for children ages 5 to 15 years. All children under 5 are free. Be sure to check out Parliament’s website for up-to- date information on tour dates and hours, as they are subject to change. To get to Houses of Parliament, hop off at the Westminster Tube station.

Stonehenge

        Ancient Stonehenge has had an ultramodern, £27-million makeover. It’s brought an impressive new visitor centre and the closure of an intrusive nearby road – now restored to grassland. The result: a far stronger sense of historical context; dignity and mystery returned to an archaeological gem.

A pathway frames the ring of massive stones, and although you can’t walk in the circle, unless on a recommended Stone Circle Access Visit , you can get close-up views. Admission is only through pre-booked tickets, secure a place well in advance.

Stonehenge is one of Britain’s great archaeological mysteries: despite countless theories about the site’s purpose, ranging from a sacrificial centre to a celestial timepiece, in truth, no one knows for sure what drove prehistoric Britons to expend so much time and effort on its construction.

The first phase of building started around 3000 BC, when the outer circular bank and ditch were erected. A thousand years later, an inner circle of granite stones, known as bluestones, was added. It’s thought that these mammoth 4-tonne blocks were hauled from the Preseli Mountains in South Wales, some 250 miles away – an almost inexplicable feat for Stone Age builders equipped with only the simplest of tools. Although no one is entirely sure how the builders transported the stones so far, it’s thought they probably used a system of ropes, sledges and rollers fashioned from tree trunks – Salisbury Plain was still covered by forest during Stonehenge’s construction.

Around 1500 BC, Stonehenge’s main stones were dragged to the site, erected in a circle and crowned by massive lintels to make the trilithons (two vertical stones topped by a horizontal one). The sarsen (sandstone) stones were cut from an extremely hard rock found on the Marlborough Downs, 20 miles from the site. It’s estimated dragging one of these 50-tonne stones across the countryside would require about 600 people.

Also around this time, the bluestones from 500 years earlier were rearranged as an inner bluestone horseshoe with an altar stone at the centre. Outside this the trilithon horseshoe of five massive sets of stones was erected. Three of these are intact; the other two have just a single upright. Then came the major sarsen circle of 30 massive vertical stones, of which 17 uprights and six lintels remain.

Much further out, another circle was delineated by the 58 Aubrey Holes, named after John Aubrey, who discovered them in the 1600s. Just inside this circle are the South and North Barrows , each originally topped by a stone. Like many stone circles in Britain (including Avebury, 22 miles away) the inner horseshoes are aligned to coincide with sunrise at the midsummer solstice, which some claim supports the theory that the site was some kind of astronomical calendar.

Prehistoric pilgrims would have entered the site via the Avenue , whose entrance to the circle is marked by the Slaughter Stone and the Heel Stone , located slightly further out on one side Admission includes an audioguide and is free for EH and NT members.