Tag: london buildings

London’s Famous Buildings

If you’ve never been to London, or have even been there several times, there are points of interest throughout the city that are worth checking out. London is not only rich in history, but offers wonderfully famous buildings. Visiting them during your trip is definitely a must. Perhaps one of the most famous buildings in London is Buckingham Palace. The home of Queen Elizabeth II, it has housed Britain’s sovereigns since 1837. Since then it has evolved from a mere town house that was once owned by the Dukes of Buckingham in the 18th century. Other famous buildings that house London’s royalty are St. James Place, Clarence House, and also Kensington Palace. Kensington Palace was started in 1689 when William and Mary purchased the mansion shortly after their ascension. It was then converted to a royal palace by Sir Christopher Wren. Today half of the building is used for royal apartments while the other half is open to the public. Sir Christopher Wren also designed and built St. Paul’s Cathedral following the Great Fire of 1666. It was left in ruins after the fire and Wren was commissioned to rebuild it by London’s authorities. This building is considered to be Wren’s greatest creation. The Tower of London had originally been built for use as a fortress to keep out hostile Londoners and to survey enemies who approached on the Thames river. Since then is has been used as a palace, library, mint, treasury, bank, arsenal, observatory, and, most famously, a prison. Westminster Abbey isn’t just one of the more beautiful of London’s famous buildings, but it is also the final resting place for some of Britain’s most famous monarchs, the setting for coronations, and also other wonderful pageants. Within its walls visitors can see great examples of London’s medical architecture, as well as an impressive collection of toms and monuments. Westminster Abby is perhaps most well-known for being the site of Princess Diana’s funeral. Completed in 1871, Royal Albert Hall is a beautiful structure that was modelled after Roman amphitheatres. Today the hall is used for both classical concerts and other large gatherings. In 1514, the Archbishop of York, Cardinal Wolsey, started Hampton Court Palace with the intentions of it being a riverside country residence. But in 1535, with the hopes of gaining royal favour, Wolsey offered it to King Henry VIII. As with other famous buildings in London, Sir Christopher Wren once again had a hand in it when he was hired by William and Mary in the 1690′s to create its beautiful baroque landscapes. The No. 10 Downing Street houses Britain’s Prime Minister, who currently is Tony Blair. It began its service to Britain’s Prime Ministers when George II gave it to Sir Robert Walpole in 1732. Lastly is Harrod’s Department Store, and one of London’s most famous buildings. It began in 1849 when Henry Charles Harrod opened a small grocery store. Throughout the years the store’s quality and service has allowed it to expand and become what we know it as today. Of course there are many ....read more

Guide To The Tower Of London

Guide To The Tower Of London
The Tower of London is one of Britain’s most visited tourist attractions and it’s crammed with so many sites of historical interest that it can take all day to get around it and make the most of it. Here’s a guide to the most popular parts of the Tower. White Tower This is the original part of the fortress, built at the behest of William the Conqueror in 1078 to protect the Norman rulers from the inhabitants of the city. It’s a magnificent white stone keep, which would have looked incredible when first built as the Norman style was completely unknown in London at the time. It’s right at the heart of the complex, surrounded by towers, walls and a moat. From the mid 16th century it was the main arsenal in the fortress and today it houses a fascinating museum of arms and weapons – the Royal Armouries. Crown Jewels Royal treasures have been kept at the Tower since the 1300s, and have been opened to the public as the ‘Crown Jewels’ collection since the 18th century. The 17th century crown and regalia used for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953 are on display, as are other sceptres, orbs, crowns, swords, jewels and robes. Bloody Tower This building certainly lives up to its gruesome name. It’s where most of the Tower’s prisoners were held. The two boy princes were thought to have been kept here until their mysterious disappearance when it’s popularly believed their uncle, King Richard III, had them killed. Other famous prisoners include Sir Walter Raleigh, who was incarcerated here for 13 years on suspicion of plotting against King James I. Today one of the rooms in the Bloody Tower has been turned into a recreation of Raleigh’s study. Scaffold Site and Tower Green If Bloody Tower is infamous for the incarceration of prisoners, Tower Green is even more notorious as the site of their execution. It’s a large open space in the middle of the complex, with the Chapel Royal of St Peter Ad Vincula at its north end. Most prisoners met their end on a scaffold erected on Tower Hill on the Green, although some were given private executions in the Tower itself. Many of the executed were important or illustrious figures, and were subsequently laid to rest in the Chapel. Three queens are among the incumbents here, all of whom lost their heads on the Green – Lady Jane Grey and two of Henry VIII’s wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. Traitor’s Gate This water gate at the foot of St Thomas’ Tower gave access to the River Thames. It’s so called because of the number of prisoners accused of treason who are thought to have been brought into the Tower via this entrance. Medieval Palace This ancient part of the Tower was built by two medieval Kings, Henry III and his son Edward I, who resided and held court here. The Palace has been reconstructed as a 13th century royal residence, complete with sounds, smells and light. The vaulted halls and elaborate bedchambers are beautifully ....read more