The many historical places in London show the rich historical significance of the place. Most of this places and important monuments that date back to the past are scattered around the heart of London, an area now known as the City of London. This historical heart of London based near the north bank of the Thames River was in the past a major trading center of the Roman Empire, in which it was a crucial part. The city is planned in accordance with the roads and walls that were built during the times of the Romans.
Today, this historically rich area in London is a modern city and major financial center filled with high rises, commercial buildings, and skyscrapers. The many historical attractions are mostly centered on the west of the city. Visiting these historical parts of the old city provides the visitors a glimpse into the past of London when it was a crucial part of the once flourishing Roman Empire. They contain some of the most notable attractions known all around the world that gives a peek into the distant past. Below is a list of attractions to see in London’s historic old city.
The Tower of London
The Tower of London is one of the most historically significant and popular attractions in the city. Rated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Tower of London is rich in history and takes the visitor to a period of the medieval ages. Located on the north bank of the River Thames, the Tower of London was built in 1078 by William the Conqueror.
The Tower served as a royal palace, a prison, an execution place, a royal mint, a treasure vault, an observatory, and a private zoo. Inside, there are numerous attractions like the Line of Kings, Crowns Jewels exhibition, the various towers, dungeons, prisons, and off-course the famous Beefeaters, the ceremonial guards of the Tower.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
St. Paul’s Cathedral stands out as the most majestic and famed churches in London. The cathedral is center of the Bishop of London and the parish church of the British Commonwealth. The cathedral is built on the site of a Roman temple that was built after its previous original church was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. St. Paul’s Cathedral is a fine example of both English Baroque and Renaissance architecture. The spectacular 365 feet dome is a must-visit site including the Whispering Gallery and the Crypt.
The Tower Bridge
Besides the Big Ben, another noteworthy landmark of London is the Tower Bridge. It was opened in 1894 and is considered an architectural and engineering marvel at the time and even today. Located on the River Thames, the design of the tower consists of two tall towers standing at a height of 200 feet. The two drawbridges are powered using a hydraulic system that can lift them in 90 seconds. The Tower still contains the old steam-powered hydraulic system that acts as a backup. The glass-covered walkway across the top offers an incredible view across the river.
The Bank of England and Museum
The Bank of England and the Bank of England Museum are other notable attractions to visit. Located on the Threadneedle Street, the Bank of England is a notable financial center. The Bank of England Museum consists of numerous exhibits such as the story of the “Old Lady of Threadneedle Street”, a reconstruction of the former Stock Office, paintings, prints, books, coins, photos, and banknotes. The Museum also contains an excellent collection of gold that dates back to the times of the Romans. The old weaponry used to defend the bank during the medieval ages is also exhibited inside the Bank of England Museum.
Another top attraction to visit is the Guildhall, which serves as the administrative headquarters of the Corporation of London. It was built in 1430 and contains the Great Hall where the Court of Common Council meets and discusses the various administrative issues. Visitors interested in knowing more about the rich history of London should definitely visit the Guildhall. Its library has a fine and rare collection of prints as well as more than 140,000 volumes. Another notable attraction located here is the Guildhall’s Art Gallery, Clockmakers Museum, and Library.
The London Monument
The London Monument is a 202 feet high column with a flaming urn on top that was built to commemorate the Great Fire of London of 1666. It was constructed in 1671 and stands as a memorial to the devastating fire that destroyed more than 70,000 houses and caused large-scale loss of life. The monument is located in Pudding Lane where the fire first started at the bakery of Thomas Farriner. Designed by Christopher Wren, the London monument offers a good view of the city after ascending through its 311 spiral steps.