There's 101 things to do in London but here's five of the most loved!
The Tower of London
Located in central London near the River Thames is one of the city’s most visited attractions the wonderfully preserved Tower of London. Constructed during the reign of William the Conqueror as a simple timber and earth compound and later added to in stone the Tower of London has stood firm for nearly one thousand years serving as royal palace, place of execution, prison and a symbol of the monarchy in England for centuries. This historical complex is a series of many towers and structures added too over the centuries giving many opportunities to tour different parts and see some of the fabulous displays within its walls and towers. The tower contains the remains of some of the most well-known characters in English history entombed in the Chapel Royal, Anne Boleyn, Katherine Parr, Sir Thomas More of Henry VIII fame and Lady Jane Grey, queen for only 9 days executed by Henry’s daughter Mary Tudor. The highlight of any visit is a viewing of the Crown Jewels, this priceless collection of gold, diamonds, emeralds, platinum, rubies, sapphires, pearls and ancient artefacts worn and used by the Kings and queens of England contained within impenetrable vaults deep within the Tower.
The British Museum
The British Museum is one of the finest attractions in London and its vast collection of artefacts numbering over 8 million is totally free to view and is a great way to spend a day in London observing this unique collection gathered together since its founding in 1753. It is one of the largest and finest collections documenting the story of mankind’s various cultures from around all the continents from its early beginnings to the present time. Approaching six million visitors a year pass through its doors into the magnificent Great Court with its awesome glass and steel roof and reading room with its beautiful blue and gold domed ceiling. From this central focus point visitors disperse in all directions to view the wonders contained within. The various departments cover some of the largest collections of Egyptian, Roman, Greek, Middle Eastern, Etruscan and European to name but a few with some of world’s most famous objects on display such as the Parthenon sculptures and the Rosetta Stone. The permanent collection is enhanced with a number of additional paid exhibitions of specialist items which are obtained from other leading museums from around the world. The museum is committed to improving and enlarging its fast collection for the benefit of future generations and to this end the next phase of its development costing £135million will make it the largest museum in the world.
The London Eye
Located on the South Bank between Westminster Bridge and Waterloo Bridge it is easily found directly opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben and offers incredible views of central London and Canary Wharf, the Thames and Windsor Castle with breath taking panoramic vistas for 25 miles in all directions. Since its opening in 2000 this award winning attraction has been the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe weighing in at 330 tonnes, 135 metres tall with a diameter of 120 metres. The glass capsules weighing 10 tonnes each represents one of each of the London Boroughs and is capable of holding 25 people in comfort, equipped with the latest Samsung Tablets technology which enhances the guest experience featuring touch screen guides and 3D views of each sight. The wheel rotates at a rate slow enough to allow visitors to embark and disembark without the need for the wheel to stop; one full rotation takes 30 minutes. It is the UK’s most popular paid attraction with over 3. 5 million visitors a year and is forever evolving to improve the visitor experience with popular night- time viewing, combination ticket purchases with other London attractions and the latest 4D experience in the purpose built cinema with a unique and outstanding 3D film and impressive in-cinema effects including mist, bubbles and wind adding the fourth dimension to your experience.
Situated in Kensington Gardens to the west of Hyde Park and tucked away from the busy high street is the beautiful Kensington Palace, home to the British Monarchy since the 17th century. Parts of the palace still remain a private residence for today’s members of the Royal household including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. It was also the official residence and home for the late Princess Diana 1981 to 1997 and contains a number of her spectacular evening gowns, part of the fabulous “Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection” on permanent display in the palace since 1982.
The Palace was the birthplace and childhood residence of Queen Victoria and after the recent £12 million renovation a permanent exhibition “Victoria Revealed” can be viewed on tour which explores the long reign of one of England’s best known monarchs with extracts from her journals, personal objects, furnishings and works of art in the Queens Apartments where she once resided. Other important parts of the palace include the magnificent State Apartments full of works of art and paintings from the Royal Collection and the 18th century “Orangery and Sunken Garden” superbly designed to enable Queen Anne to host extravagant court entertainments during her reign.
This 95 storey high skyscraper was the vision of the brilliant Italian architect Renzo Piano who designed a unique building with an irregular pyramidal shape clad entirely in glass. The Shard at London Bridge Quarter has redefined London’s skyline more so than any other recent construction, it is a symbol that is recognisable around the world. The Shard is the tallest completed building in Western Europe at 310 metres with its unmistakable crystalline façade changing the Capitals skyline forever. For the visitor to London it is easily accessible on the superb transport infrastructure with a plethora of amenities and facilities.
Located on the South bank of the Thames this area has always played an important role in the rise of London as a true global city drawing people from around the world to work and live in this vibrant area. London Bridge Quarter and The Shard stand at the very heart of this community. The shard with its World-renowned restaurants and spectacular panoramic vistas over the London skyline combine to create one of the most enjoyable dining experiences anywhere in the world. The masterpiece of the three floors dedicated to the restaurants is a breath taking glass atrium. High speed lifts will whisk visitors up to the 68-72 floors to the viewing areas of the shard. The views are truly amazing on a clear day you can see uninterrupted views across the city for 40 miles in all directions.
Take a look at our London overview and also you will love this luxury hotel in London.
OK, so you've decided when you're off to Dublin here is a list of the top 5 things to do in Dublin the Castle, Botanic Gardens, Cathedral, Guinness Storehouse and the Old Jameson Distillery
One of the most popular attractions is Dublin Castle located on the highest ground at the meeting point of the River Liffey and its small tributary the Poddle. The castle was originally constructed on a former Vikings settlement during 1204 on the orders of King John of England. The castle is of a characteristic Norman courtyard design with a central square protected by strong defensive walls and circular towers at each corner. The “Record Tower” located in the south-east quadrant is the only remaining medieval tower in left in Dublin, it was used as a high security prison in Tudor times to imprison priests and native Irish detainees. The castle underwent a number of renovations in the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries and during its long history has been used as a treasury, courts of law, prison, military fortress and the seat of English Administration in Ireland. Today this impressive castle is used to host a number of conferences and dining functions, the prestigious State Apartments, Undercroft, Chapel Royal, are open to guided tours, and the Heritage Centre, Craft shop and restaurant are open to visitors.
Dublin Botanic Gardens
Founded in 1795 after receiving funds from the Irish Parliament these public botanic gardens are a very popular tourist attraction. The original purpose was to encourage a scientific approach towards the study of agriculture with the gardens growing plants that were useful for medicine and human and animal food production. It is now famous for its sensitively restored and planted glasshouses containing over 15,000 plant varieties from a diverse range of habitats. These award winning glasshouses have achieved notable recognition for its tireless work for plant conservation housing in excess of 300 endangered plant species from all around the world as well as 6 species unfortunately already lost to the wild.
Recent investment has resulted in a purpose built library/herbarium containing a collection of approaching 750,000 pressed plants, new glasshouses, additional lecture rooms, new compost storage bays and an improved visitor and educational centre, the 18th century Directors and Curators Houses have also been recently refurbished. Visitors can stroll around the beautiful Herbaceous borders, alpine garden, rose garden, rock garden, pond area and the arboretum. The gardens also contain important and historical collections of rare and beautiful orchids.
Christ Church Cathedral
One of the top visitor attractions in Dublin, Christ Church Cathedral is the religious centre of the city and one of the city’s grandest historical buildings. Located in the oldest part of Dublin it can trace its history back almost one thousand years from the Vikings and the turbulent Anglo-Norman times to the present day. It has a rich and diverse history with beautiful interiors and an enthralling medieval crypt, one of the oldest remaining structures in the city, the crypt is one of the finest and largest examples of its kind in Ireland and Britain. Once a major pilgrimage site during the medieval period with an important collection of religious relics, today it’s still possible to view the heart of the patron saint of Dublin, Laurence O’Toole.
During Victorian times major renovations were carried out to prevent the badly decaying structure from collapsing and these works make it difficult to distinguish some of the genuine medieval interiors from the repaired sections. The exterior was extensively refaced with new stone during this restoration period but the Cathedral still retains the original Norman and early English features, to the south of the transept you will find the remains of the 13th century constructed chapter house.
For all lovers of Guinness you must visit one of Dublin’s premier attractions the “Guinness Storehouse” located in a historical building it is the beating heart of this world famous and unforgettable brand. There are an amazing seven floors to explore narrating the amazing story from its humble beginnings when Arthur Guinness the founder signed a 9,000 year lease on the brewery for an annual rent of £45. Your journey begins when entering the Huge glass Atrium which represent the worlds larges pint glass which rises to the top of this wonderful seven storey building. The tour includes the craft of brewing this amazing drink from a combination of just four simple ingredients, hops, yeast, barley and water. Master brewer Fergal Murray explains the step by step brewing process culminating with a sample tasting .From the top of the building you get some fantastic panoramic views over Dublin from the “Gravity Bar” look out. At the end of the tour you arrive back on the ground floor, here you see the Guinness Store where you can purchase all sorts of Guinness memorabilia, much of it exclusive to the Guinness Storehouse. A fantastic and very rewarding experience for all lovers of Guinness.
Old Jameson Distillery
Dublin is home to not one but two of the world’s most famous drinks, Guinness and of course Jameson Irish Whiskey this three times distilled brew gives the taster exceptional smoothness . If you enjoyed the Guinness tour you will love the experience of the Old Jameson Whisky Distillery tour.
Located on the site of the original distillery in Dublin the whisky tour tells the fantastic story of John Jameson and his exceptional smooth Irish whiskey. The tour takes you back in time as the expert guides explain how John Jameson first made one of the world’s finest Irish whiskey. All visitors receive a little tipple of this famous brew and a lucky few are selected to take part in whisky tasting with the much sought after “Irish Whiskey Taster Certificate”.
There are no less than 3 Bars within the distillery, Jameson Dublin Bar, the Reserve Bar and JJ’s Bar the social nucleus with its stone walls, wooden beams and decorative glass chandeliers. There is a top class restaurant “The 3rd Still Jameson Restaurant” located on the mezzanine floor with fantastic views over the Old Jameson Distillery. So there’s plenty to do and see and plenty of places to relax and enjoy a drink or meal with friends and family, a great Dublin institution.
Take a look at our Dublin overview and also this luxury hotel in Dublin.
There are lots of things to do in Barcelona but it depends on your main interests and type of vacation you are seeking. It is a city steeped in history and culture and if sight-seeing is what you like doing then you won’t be disappointed. Barcelona is famous for the extraordinary architecture of Antonio Gaudi; many of his buildings can be seen around the city. The most well-known and inspiring can be located along “Passieg De Gracia” where you will find:
Known locally as “The Quarry” ( La Pedera), its nickname originates from the fortress-like stony exterior of the building, derided at the time but today it is seen for what it is a brilliant piece of architecture. In 1996 the entire building underwent a restoration program with the attic being used to display drawings and maps of the building. One of the studios was refurbished to how it was at the time of the beginning of the 20th century. La Pedrera is lodged in a corner block and its outlandish façade is in stark contrast to the more traditional neighbouring properties. It is a totally unique piece of architecture and it seems to have been sculptured rather than built using traditional methods of construction. The rooftop is amazing to see with its group of chimney stacks carefully restored and dwelling on a rolling surface mimicking the arches of the attic beneath. The rooftop offers tremendous vistas of the local neighbourhood and port.
This colourful remodelled 19th century construction is one of the countless masterpieces by Guaudi to be viewed in Barcelona. Built between 1904 and 1906 this modernist building with its distinctive interiors and extraordinary exteriors is a key characteristic in the style of architecture in Barcelona. The façade looks like it has been constructed from “skulls and bones” but in fact the skulls are balconies and the supporting pillars are the bones. Guidi loved to use colours in his designs and gained inspiration the colours found in the marine environment. The building was conceived for a wealthy aristocrat Josep Batlló and his family who resided in the lower floors while the upper levels were rented out. This building is a spectacular and unique piece of work and well worth visiting to see the brilliance of the man.
La Sagrada Familia Basilica
In the centre of Barcelona you will find “La Sagrada Familia Basilica” visited by millions of people every year who flock to see what is considered to be Gaudi’s most celebrated work. This truly is a stupendous piece of architecture and this huge Basilica has been under construction since 1882 with still many years left before completion. Today the Basilica is surrounded with much controversy with the modern use of materials being used which many feel is out of keeping with Gaudi’s original intents. When you visit the Basilica it’s easy to see the differences in the colour of the stone used between the back and front of the buildings. There is a notable difference in the style of construction used between the old and newer parts. The present design is a combination of various versions of the misplaced plans and recent adaptations.
The building is still under construction so you will see a lot of construction work be carried out when you visit. Despite all the disagreement encompassing the Sagrada Familia it is a truly magnificent building and a highlight of any trip to Barcelona.
The Barcelona Cathedral
One of Barcelona’s main attractions is without doubt the Cathedral, due partly to the accessibility but more so for its outstanding striking architecture. Constructed in Gothic style between the 13th and 15th century’s it was actually built on top of the cathedrals forerunners dating back to Roman times. It can be easily reached down the busiest shopping street in Barcelona “Portal de la Angel”. Like the majority of Gothic style cathedrals it is adorned with some beautiful stained glass windows in intricate fine detail. Undoubtedly the chapel located along its edge and in the hidden cloister is one of the main tourist attractions. The cloister is on the right hand side of the cathedral and entry can be gained from the outside or the inside of the cathedral. The cloister has a wonderful peaceful garden fall of delightful variety of plants and marvelousness Gothic sculptures.
The Spanish Village
The “Spainish Village” showing building styles from all over Spain is one of the most popular tourist’s attractions. Its 117 traditional Spanish buildings are firstly an outdoor open-air museum that was constructed for the 1929 world exhibition and should have been demolished after the exhibition. But so popular was the village that the population of Barcelona prevented this from happening. The displays show the typical various regional differences in building styles such as “Andalusion”, “Castile”, “Aragon” “Basque Country”, “Extremadura” and “Catalonia”. As is typical of Spainish towns and villages the varying groups of buildings are assembled around the main square near the large entrance gate. You have the opportunity to purchase fine examples of local products such as ceramics, textiles, leather goods, enamel and works of art. Recently revamped the village has 5 schools, 20 shops and 17 bars and cafes so there’s always plenty to see and do.
Barcelona FC Tour
The highlight for any football fan must be a tour of the famous Barcelona Football Club and its museum. It is one of Barcelona’s top ten tourist destinations with over one million visitors every year. The FC Barcelona museum was opened on 24 September 1984 with recent restructuring taking place in 2010 to better explain the history, success and values of the club. To learn about the history of the club there is a huge touch screen that allows each visitor to learn at their own leisure about the Club and its many titles and trophies won. On display are the six cups won in an incredible season of achievement, there are also display cabinets showing the statues and pictures of some of the Clubs great players. There are 2 options available for the visitor, one ticket allows you entrance to the stadium and museum or a dual ticket that allows entry behind the scenes including the changing rooms, press areas and the VIP lounge.
The Picasso Museum
For anyone interested in art then the Picasso Museum is a must see, occupying five large residences or palaces on the “Carrer de Montcada”. The original palaces were constructed during the 13th to 15th centuries and underwent a number of refurbishments, the most important taking place during the 18th century. The palaces are fine examples of Catalan Gothic style and are a fitting place to hold the collection of the great man’s work. More than 3,800 works of art spanning many years form the backbone of the collection on display and show the brilliance of the young artist. As per the artists wishes the majority of his work is housed in Barcelona which know boasts the finest collection of one of the 20th century’s most noteworthy artists.
L' Aquarium de Barcelona
The most influential marine leisure and education focal point devoted to Mediterranean undersea life can be found at the impressive “L’Aquàrium de Barcelona” in the city’s old harbour district of Port Vell. It is a great attraction for young and old alike with more than 14 million visitors walking through the doors since it first opened. There is a huge amount to view with 35 tanks exhibiting over 450 species and11, 000 animals in six million litres of water with a gigantic Oceanarium and a 80 metre long underwater tunnel for closer viewing of the creatures of the sea. There are 3 large water tanks each depicting a different marine environment with stunning fish, sharks and gorgeous corals. The highlight of any visit is the giant Oceanarium designed and maintained to create a self- sustaining Mediterranean eco system. View the array of differing life forms from the inside of a tunnel which runs along its entire length.
You maybe interested in finding Luxury accommodation in Barcelona?