London is home to numerous famous landmarks, ranging from high clocktowers to massive castles, located in various neighborhoods throughout the sprawling English capital.
With so many to see, how do you know where to start? We have narrowed down the historical monuments of London into our top 10 – this way, you can know where to start on day #1 of your next holiday.
Great Fire of London
Built between 1671 and 1677, the Monument to the Great Fire of London was built to commemorate those who lost their lives during the tragic fire, and to also celebrate the renovation and rebuilding of the parts of the city that were destroyed. A symbol of both tragedy and of new life, this monument features 311 steps that you can climb, letting you gain a great view of the Tower Bridge and the flowing Thames. Located on the ever-fitting Monument Street, you can easily reach this monument by taking the District or Circle Line to the Monument tube stop.
This white marble monument stands tall at the intersection of Oxford Street, Park Lane, and Edgware Road. Once the entrance to the famous Buckingham Palace, the house of royalty, this arch is just a short distance from Hyde Park, one of the busiest and most beautiful green space s in the entire city. With the bustling lane full of stores on Oxford Street intersecting here, this monument is easy to stumble across during a day full of shopping.
Arguably the most famous monument and landmark in London, Big Ben towers above the city’s skyline, striking every hour on the hour and letting out the infamous chime that can be heard all throughout Westminster. Standing nearly 100 meters tall, the clock tower actually contains 4 clocks inside of the beautiful architecture. Although a bomb destroyed the Commons chamber during World War II, the clock tower somehow survived, and is a testament to the resilience of the British and the importance of this historical monument.
Bomber Command Memorial
This monument is a memorial that pays homage to the pilots of the RAF – the Royal Air Force Bomber Command. This heroic group died while serving their country during World War II, and this monument does a fair job of honoring their lives, featuring a bronze statue of the seven men in the aircrew, with each sculpture representing an individual member of the crew who perished.
Although a bit bigger than you may normally think of when picturing a monument, Kensington Palace was originally the home of Lady Diana. This picturesque and opulent house is located on the western edge of the colorful Kensington Gardens, featuring the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.
Within the palace itself, you can see the Royal Ceremonial Dress collection, the Queen and King’s State Apartments, and the King’s Grand Staircase, all giving a feel of the lavish lifestyles led by those lucky enough to live in the palace.
Often busy and filled with street performers, singers, those enjoying a quick take-out lunch from the nearby Pret a Manger, or featuring tourists with their digital cameras snapping some photos of the beautiful foundation, Trafalgar Square is often regarded as the center of London. Hosting many activities and celebrations, this square features rallies, marches, holiday parties, and is the home of numerous photos and videos of the capital city.
At the center of this beautiful square is the towering Nelson’s Column, guarded by four lions at the base, keeping the monument standing tall since 1843.
I mean, you can’t visit London without taking a trip to Buckingham Palace, can you? As you visit the Queen’s home, you might be tempted to gaze up at one of the hundreds of windows to see if you can catch a glimpse of royalty.
If you happen to be visiting London during the summer months, to avoid the infamous rain and catch the sunny days, you can take a tour of the State Rooms, 19 rooms decorated with some of the most lavish treasures gathered directly from the Royal Collection. With the famous monument towering in front of Buckingham Palace, both of these beautiful pieces of architecture are worth at least a quick visit on your next holiday. Not to mention, you can view the famous Changing of the Guard ceremony here, which is sort of a rite of passage in English culture.
Guards Crimean War Memorial
This war memorial is a monument in St. James’s, a central district within the City of Westminster, forming a section of the buzzing West End. This beautiful monument commemorates the Allied victory during the Crimean War, a military conflict from 1853-1856 in which Russia lost to the alliance of the Ottoman Empire, the United Kingdom, Sardina, and France.
Located on Waterloo Place, this memorial is quite close to the Piccadilly Circus tube station.
Peter Pan Statue
Our last choice rounding out the top 10 monuments in London is an eccentric one. This 1912 sculpture of the infamous title character Peter Pan was made by Sir George Frampton, a notable British sculptor of the time period. The statue is located in Kensington Gardens, close to J.M. Barrie’s former home on Bayswater Road.
Standing 14 feet high, this statue depicts a young boy playing a thin musical instrument, with the sides of the base decorated with small woodland creatures, like squirrels, rabbits, and fairies. If you are planning on taking a serene walk through Kensington Gardens, this is a must-see.
There you have it – the top 10 monuments in London. Although there are many more to choose from during a full day out on the town, these ten are some of the best known, the most beautiful, and the most significant.