I have family in London and I find it amazing how there’s something new in the city whenever Whether it be a new skyscraper, a trendy restaurant, or a brand new attraction, there’s always something to explore. Regardless of how many must see places in London there are, the one area that I always visit is the South Bank. Sure the area is full of tourists, but make no mistake, when visiting London, a trip to the South Bank is a must.
Thanks to my friends at Expedia.ca, I recently visited London and decided to stay at the Park Plaza Westminster which is the perfect location when visiting the city. Located right on the South Bank, the Park Plaza is also conveniently located by Waterloo Station which will give you direct access to Gatwick airport.
Step out of the lobby and right in front you is Westminster Bridge – it may tempting to cross and admire Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament but instead, swing right and you’ll see another one of the must see places in London, the London Eye. The £21.20 admission price (when purchased online in advance) may seem high but when you’re visiting England, you’re going to need to get used to paying for everything in British Pounds. Don’t worry though, the ride on the London Eye is well worth it for the sweeping views of the city.
The great thing about the South Bank is how kid friendly the area is. Right beside the London Eye is the SEA LIFE London Aquarium which is home to more than 500 marines species – including ones on the endangered list. The underwater tunnel and Shark Walk shouldn’t be missed but the penguin exhibit has become a favourite since it opened in 2011. Another attraction that may have caught the kids eye by now is Shrek’s Adventure tour which is located right by the Aquarium. Join Shrek and Donkey on a live action and 3D adventure where you can be one of the heroes – expect other DreamWorks characters to show up.
Art fans will also be spoiled by choice here. The Southbank Centre is one of the most popular cultural destinations in the world where artists come from all over the globe to perform. Next door you’ll find the BFI Southbank, a venue that celebrates all things film with over 2,000 classic and contemporary film showings ever year. Note that from Friday – Sunday there’s a food market behind here that’s worth checking out.
By now you could have easily have filled two days but there are even more must see places in London that you’ll soon come across. Right after you pass the Millennium Bridge, you’ll come across the Tate Modern. As the name implies, it’s a modern international gallery which is housed in the former Bankside Power Station – admission is free but there is a fee for special exhibits.
Next to the Tate Modern is the Shakespeare’s Globe, a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre which was originally built in 1599. Visitors can watch plays in the open air just like in the Victorian days – yes that means you might be exposed to the elements. If timing doesn’t work out or if tickets are sold out, you can take a tour of the Shakespeare’s Globe any day of the week.
Keep walking east and you won’t be able to miss the HMS Belfast. Take a tour of this historic warship and find out what it was like for crews who lived on this during World War II and beyond. You can explore the ship’s nine decks from the engine room to the deck; there’s also exhibits on display where you can learn about the battles that it took part in.
There’s no way you would have missed the infamous Tower Bridge since it’s the backdrop for the HMS Belfast, but as you make your way over, look to your right, the giant glass egg looking structure is actually the London City Hall; access inside is limited but definitely worth a picture from the outside. Once you make it to Tower Bridge, head up the north-west tower where you can access the glass floor and get a view from 42 metres above the River Thames.
If time permits (do you still have energy?) you could keep going and tour the Tower of London but the odds are you’ll be ready to call it quits by now. There are plenty of must see places in London and Expedia.ca has you covered. Be sure to check out their list of things to in London where you can get tours, Activities & sightseeing ideas.