London is a metropolitan and multicultural city. It is also home to some of the most striking landmarks in the world. Famous London landmarks stretches from historical monuments to modern day impressive structures, each having its unique piece of story.
You are sure to come across many of these landmarks in London when you visit. That said, they can also be your guide to uncover the history and culture of this international city.
Here are some of the key landmarks of London to know about when planning your trip!
Most famous London landmark
There are many famous landmarks in London and it is fair, yet also debatable, to say that the most famous is the Big Ben. This is often the London landmark that is “replicated” overseas when exhibiting famous structure from all around the world.
Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell at the Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament. The bell was first cast in 1858 and has been ringing ever since. The Big Ben bell is one of London’s most famous symbols.
But where did the Big Ben bell come from? And how did it become such an iconic symbol of London
The history of the Big Ben bell dates all the way back to the early 1800s. In 1834, a fire broke out at the Houses of Parliament, and the bell was damaged. In order to replace the bell, a public competition was held to find a new design.
A London blacksmith named Benjamin Hall won the competition with his design for the new bell. The new bell was cast in 1858 and given the name “Big Ben”.
Big Ben quickly became a symbol of London and British pride. The bell has been ringing continuously since 1859, making it one of the most famous bells in the world.
Top 10 Landmarks in London
The Barbican Centre is London’s largest cultural center. It was originally constructed in the 1970s as a residential complex, but was later converted into a cultural center.
The center is home to a theatre, art galleries, and two concert halls. It also features a library, a cinema, and several restaurants.
The Barbican Centre continues to play an important role in London’s culture since its inception. It hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including theatre performances, art exhibitions, and concerts.
Tower of London
The Tower of London is one of the most famous landmarks in London. It was originally built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century.
The Tower of London is a historic castle that was first built in 1080. It served as a royal palace and fortress for centuries. Today, the Tower of London is a popular tourist attraction, and home to the precious Crown Jewels of England.
Buckingham Palace is the London residence of the British monarch. It is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II. It’s also one of London’s most popular tourist attractions. Buckingham Palace has been used as a royal residence since 1837.
The palace was originally built by the Duke of Buckingham in 1705. In 1761, it was acquired by King George III and became the London residence of the royal family.
The palace underwent a major renovation in the 1850s, under the direction of architect Edward Blore. Blore added many new features to the palace, including the iconic Victoria Tower and Grand Entrance.
Catching the changing of guards at Buckingham Palace is one of the top things to do in London.
The Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament in London are a historic landmark. The Gothic-style building was constructed in the mid-19th century. It is the meeting place of the British House of Commons and House of Lords. The Houses of Parliament are one of London’s most popular tourist attractions.
The London Eye
The London Eye is another one of London’s most popular and modern landmarks. It is a large Ferris wheel that was built in 1999 on the banks of the River Thames.
At 443 feet, it’s one of the tallest structures in London. The London Eye offers stunning views of the city and its famous landmarks.
The Tower Bridge is another iconic structure for the postcard. It is a historical landmark in London that was built in the late 19th century. The bridge was initially designed as a way to improve transportation in London. It has since become a popular tourist attraction, and it is now open to pedestrians and cyclists.
Due to its striking architecture and location, the Tower Bridge is sometimes confused with another London landmark – The London Bridge. It is important to know that they are not the same.
The London Bridge
The London Bridge is a historic bridge that crosses the River Thames. The current bridge was built in 1973, but it’s based on an earlier design from the 12th century.
To be fair, the current design doesn’t look super imposing visually, which is why many people mistaken the more attractive looking Tower Bridge as the “London” bridge. However, London bridge is London’s oldest bridge with history tracing it back to the roman times.
The London Bridge has been rebuilt and renovated many times over the years due to damages and natural disasters.
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral in London is a grand, Baroque-style Anglican cathedral that is one of the most famous landmarks in London. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1711.
The cathedral has been the site of many important events, including the funerals of Winston Churchill and Princess Diana. St Paul’s Cathedral is also home to the tombs of Admiral Nelson and Sir Christopher Wren.
Westminster Abbey is a Gothic-style church located in Westminster, London. It’s the traditional place of coronation and burial for English monarchs. Westminster Abbey is also one of London’s most popular tourist attractions.
The history of Westminster Abbey can be traced back to the 7th century. The first church on the site was built by Saint Mellitus in the 6th century. The current Gothic-style church was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and completed in 1711.
Many important events have taken place at Westminster Abbey, including the coronation of every British monarch since William the Conqueror in 1066.
The abbey is also home to the tombs of many famous English historical figures and royalties.
River Thames is London’s main river and a popular tourist destination.
The Thames has been a vital part of London’s history for centuries. It was first mentioned in the 8th century and has been an important part of London’s economy and transportation network ever since.
The Thames is also home to many famous landmarks and attractions, including the London Eye, Tower Bridge, and Westminster Abbey.
Modern, Famous Landmarks of London
The Shard is a glass skyscraper that dominates the London skyline. At 310 meters, it’s the tallest building in the UK. The Shard offers amazing views of London and its famous landmarks.
The Shard was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano. Construction began in 2009 and was completed in 2013. The Shard is home to offices, restaurants, and a hotel. It’s also home to the London Aquarium and the View from The Shard, a tourist attraction that offers stunning views of London.
The Shard has been controversial since its inception. Some Londoners have criticized the skyscraper for its impact on the city’s skyline. Others have criticized its high cost of construction. But despite its critics, The Shard is now an iconic landmark in London.
The London Millennium Bridge is a steel suspension bridge that spans the River Thames. It links London’s South Bank with the Tate Modern art gallery and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The bridge was designed by Sir Norman Foster and opened in 2000. The London Millennium Bridge was the first pedestrian bridge to be built in London since the Tower Bridge in 1894.
The London Millennium Bridge was originally closed shortly after it opened due to safety concerns. However, the bridge was reopened in 2002 after modifications were made to the design. The London Millennium Bridge is now a popular tourist attraction and is regularly featured in movies and TV shows.
Lloyd’s Building is an iconic glass skyscraper in the London skyline. It was designed by Richard Rogers and completed in 1986. The Lloyd’s Building has been described as one of the most beautiful buildings in London.
The Gherkin is a skyscraper in London that was completed in 2004. At 180 meters, it’s the sixth-tallest building in London. The Gherkin is one of the most distinctive buildings in the city and has become a symbolic landmark of London.
The Gherkin was designed by Danish architect, Norman Foster, and construction began in 2001. The building was originally supposed to be called the London Tower, but was later renamed the Gherkin due to its unusual shape.
The Gherkin is made of glass and steel and has a spiraling shape that has become one of London’s most iconic landmarks.
Museum Landmarks in London
One of the fun facts of London is that the capital city is home to over 170 museums. Here are some of the popular museums that are also prominent landmarks in London.
Tate Modern is a modern art gallery in London that was opened in 2000. It’s the most visited art museum in the UK, with over five million visitors per year. The Tate Modern is a popular tourist destination for art lovers.
The Tate Modern is one of the best things to do when visiting London.
London’s Natural History Museum
The London’s Natural History Museum is located in the city of London and was founded in 1881. The museum contains a collection of natural history specimens from all over the world.
Some of these specimens include items such as dinosaur bones, birds, insects, and plants. The museum is open to the public almost every day except for certain holidays.
The British Museum
The British Museum is a museum in London that contains one of the largest collections of art and artifacts in the world. It was founded in 1753 by a group of British artists, scientists, and scholars.
The museum’s original purpose was to house the collection of antiquities that Sir Hans Sloane had donated to the nation. The museum’s collection has since grown to include items from all over the world. The British Museum is now one of the most popular tourist destinations in for those interested in history and art.
Benjamin Franklin House
The Benjamin Franklin House is a historic London townhouse that was the home of Benjamin Franklin from 1757 to 1762. It’s the only surviving house in London that Franklin lived in. The Benjamin Franklin House is now a museum and open to the public.
Franklin was living in London at the time of the American Revolution and he played an important role in helping to secure British support for the colonies. He also served as the ambassador to France from 1776 to 1785. The Benjamin Franklin House is a great place to learn more about the history of America’s founding father.
The Royal Observatory
The Royal Observatory is a historic observatory in Greenwich that’s home to the Prime Meridian of the World. The observatory was founded back in 1675 by King Charles II, and it’s now a popular tourist destination for those interested in history and astronomy.
The Royal Observatory was once used to track the movement of ships and planets, but it’s now home to many different exhibits and attractions.
Sports and Events Landmarks in London
Wembley Stadium is a football stadium in Wembley, London. It’s the home of the England national football team and was originally built in 1923. Wembley Stadium is the largest stadium in the UK, with a capacity of 90,000.
Centre Court at Wimbledon
Centre Court at Wimbledon is the most famous tennis court in the world. It’s home to the Wimbledon Championships, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. Centre Court is a popular tourist destination for tennis fans looking to catch the tennis legends!
Emirates Stadium is the home of Arsenal Football Club. It’s a modern, 60,000-seat stadium that was completed in 2006. The Emirates Stadium is a popular tourist destination for football fans as many hope for a chance to a London Derby match.
You can also get a stadium tour that includes access to the changing room and backstage areas.
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a London park that was built for the 2012 Summer Olympics. It’s now home to the London Stadium (the home of West Ham United Football Club) and the London Aquatics Centre.
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a popular among sports enthusiasts as it houses various venues for sporting events like football and hockey.
The O2 Arena
The O2 Arena was originally built in Greenwich, London in 2000 as the Millennium Dome. The dome was built to commemorate the turn of the millennium. In 2007, the Millennium Dome was renamed the O2 Arena.
The O2 Arena is a music and entertainment venue that’s located in London. It’s the largest indoor arena in Europe, with a capacity of 20,000. The O2 Arena is a popular venue for concerts and other events.
Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall in London that was built in 1871. It’s named after Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. The Royal Albert Hall is one of the most famous landmarks in London with its beautiful shape and colors.
The Royal Albert Hall has hosted many famous performances over the years, including concerts by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin. The hall also plays host to the annual BBC Proms music festival.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre in London is an iconic English landmark that was reconstructed in the late 1990s. It is a replica of the original theatre that was built by William Shakespeare and his company back in 1599. The new Globe Theatre opened its doors to the public on 12th June 1997.
The theatre is located close to London Bridge on the south bank of the River Thames. It is a popular tourist attraction in London and receives over one million visitors every year.
Other historical and famous London Landmarks
Trafalgar Square is a public square in the City of Westminster, London. It’s named after the Battle of Trafalgar, a naval battle fought by the British Royal Navy in 1805. The square is home to Nelson’s Column, which commemorates Admiral Horatio Nelson.
Near the square you find the museum district of London which includes the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Piccadilly Circus is a busy intersection in the heart of London. It’s famous for its neon signs and huge video screens.
But what many people don’t know is that Piccadilly Circus has a long and fascinating history. The area was first developed in the 17th century, and it became a popular spot for Londoners to gather and socialize.
In 1819, the first electric lightbulbs were installed in Piccadilly Circus, making it one of the first places in London to be lit up by electricity.
In 1887, the London Zoo moved to its present location in Regent’s Park, and a year later, the first London’s electric billboards were erected in Piccadilly Circus.
Piccadilly Circus is a popular shopping destination and a great place to people watch!
Covent Garden is located in London and is a historical district. The area was once an abandoned fruit and vegetable market, but it has been redeveloped into a shopping and tourism destination.
There are now many restaurants, bars, and shops located in Covent Garden. Some of the popular attractions include the Royal Opera House, London Transport Museum, and London Coliseum.
Old Royal Naval College
The Old Royal Naval College in London is a historic building that was originally built as a hospital for injured sailors in the 17th century. The Old Royal Naval College is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of London’s most popular tourist attractions.
The Royal Exchange
The Royal Exchange is a historic building in London that was once the center of London’s financial district. It’s now home to the Royal Exchange Theatre.
The Royal Exchange was built in 1565 by Thomas Gresham, and it was originally a marketplace for merchants. In the 17th century, it became London’s first stock exchange.
The Royal Exchange was badly damaged during the London Blitz in 1940, but it was rebuilt and reopened in 1962. Today, the Royal Exchange remain an important part of London’s history and a popular London landmark for some photos.
Kensington Palace is a royal residence in London, England. It has been the home of the British Royal Family since the 17th century, and is now the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The palace is open to the public for tours and contains a number of museums and exhibitions.
Kensington Palace was originally a two-storey Jacobean mansion built in 1605 for Sir George Coppin, a wealthy London silk merchant. The house was sold to Henry VIII in 1536 for £1,000.
In the early 1600s, it was purchased by James I’s wife, Anne of Denmark, who enlarged it and renamed it Kensington Palace in honour of her birthplace, Kensington Court in Copenhagen.
St. Pancras Train Station
St. Pancras Train Station is a historic railway station in London that’s now home to the Eurostar train service.
The original St. Pancras Station was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott and built in 1868 by the Midland Railway. It was a grand, eight-track terminus that was meant to serve London’s booming traffic. However, the station soon became outdated and was replaced in 1967 by the current structure, which was designed by Philip Johnson.
The new station was much smaller, and its demolition led to the loss of many historic buildings. If you are traveling to London by train, this is one London landmark you want to know.
Fenchurch Street Station
Fenchurch Street Station is the oldest railway station in London. The station is also the London terminus of the East Coast Main Line.
Some of the popular landmarks located near Fenchurch Street Station include Tower Bridge, London Bridge, and The Shard.
To be fair, even the underground transport system is an iconic landmark of London and one that you will use regularly. The tube is the metro system that serves London and its surrounding areas. It’s the world’s oldest underground railway, and one of the most extensive metro systems in the world.
Many countries actually designed their metro system by referencing the Tube in the early days. The iconic red, blue circular logo of the London underground station is also a symbol you find regularly in souvenir shops and sometimes even restaurants overseas selling UK food.
The Kew Gardens is a large botanical garden located in London, England. It contains thousands of different types of plants and trees from all over the world.
The gardens were founded back in 1759 by King George III. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and is open to the public.
While the summer brings in the vibrant greenery and colors, it is equally amazing to visit during the winter season. This is one of the best places to check out the Christmas light trails in London. Be sure to bring your little ones along!
The London Zoo
The London Zoo is the world’s oldest scientific zoo. It has come a long way since its inception in 1828. Today, it houses over 20,000 animals from all over the world. The London Zoo is an interesting place to visit for animal lovers of all ages!
The London Zoo was first founded by Sir Stamford Raffles. At the time, it was the world’s first scientific zoo. The initial intention of the London Zoo was to promote the study of animals and their habitats.
Today, this educational and fun destination remains one of the best attractions to visit in London with kids!
Borough Market is a food market in London that’s been around since the 12th century. It’s now home to over 100 stalls selling fresh produce, meat, cheese, and other foods. Here you can some of the famous food to eat in London. Borough Market is a popular tourist destination for food lovers!
Red Telephone Booths
These glaring and iconic phone booths are a popular tourist landmarks in London.
They were first introduced in the 1920s and were used to make phone calls within London. The booths are now mostly serve as advertising spots or photo opportunities. You can find them in different parts of the city, or even mini versions in souvenir shops.
Visiting London Landmarks
These are just some of the amazing London landmarks you can find in the capital city. If you’re traveling to this vibrant city, be sure to check out these incredible places! And don’t forget to enjoy all that London has to offer its visitors – from great food to historical sites, there’s something for everyone in London!