This 900-year-old castle was built to protect the monarchs in times of trouble. You'll see the Crown Jewels, worn by the monarch for state occasions. These include the Koh-I-Noor diamond, the crown worn for the coronation, the orb and sceptre and thousands and thousands of jewels!
There is a dark side, however, with murder, imprisonment and execution being a major part of the Tower’s history. Hear about the murder of the two young boys, the Princes in the Tower; the execution of several queens of England and the daring escapes made by some of the luckier prisoners.
Known as the "royal Abbey of London", this is the huge medieval church where kings and queens have been crowned, married and buried since the first Abbey was built here almost 1,000 years ago.
You will hear stories about the coronations, the personalities and the famous people who are buried and commemorated here, including the 19th-century writer Charles Dickens; Sir Isaac Newton, the scientist who discovered gravity; Elizabeth I, one of our most famous monarchs; the ill-fated Mary Queen of Scots; and many more.
With its statues of ancient gods, goddesses, rulers and ruins, this is a must for anyone interested in ancient times. Civilisations represented in the museum include Ancient Egypt, with the Rosetta Stone and the mummies; Ancient Greece, with sculptures from the Parthenon Temple in Athens; Ancient Rome, with busts of Emperors; and Ancient Assyria, with carvings and the “winged bulls” from the royal palaces.
Let me know if you’d like me to translate any of the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs for you, so you can do the same to your family and friends later. For the very brave, there is a fiendish Rosetta Stone jigsaw you can purchase from the gift shop (pictured above). Be warned: you'll probably need several months to complete this!
London’s “heroes’ cathedral”: this is the church where military heroes are buried and commemorated, including the Duke of Wellington and Lord Nelson, who both fought against Napoleon Bonaparte 200 years ago. It was here that Prince Charles and Lady Diana got married in 1981.
The highlight here is the giant dome, 365ft high. Climb up 250 steps inside the dome, and you reach the Whispering Gallery, where the acoustics are so effective, whispers can be heard from one side of the gallery to the other. Continue further up the dome and you’ll see amazing views of the whole of central London from there.
The Churchill War Rooms are the underground bunkers where Winston Churchill and his war cabinet took refuge in the air raids of World War Two. You’ll see the Map Room, the typists’ room and Churchill’s bedroom amongst others; and hear the stories of the men and women who worked for Britain's most famous Prime Minister. Not always an easy job!
There is also a museum about Churchill’s life attached to the bunkers, with an interactive timeline table covering every year of his life and all the events that took place on different dates. Some of these dates even have special effects which affect the whole table. A must-see if you have an interest in World War Two. Pictured is Churchill's statue in nearby Parliament Square.
Other sites include the National Gallery (pictured): this contains European works of art from 1250-1900. Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens, Rembrandt, Monet and Van Gogh are just a very few of the names represented here. Next door is the National Portrait Gallery, with portraits of monarchs, writers, politicians, aristocracy and explorers from 1500 to today, all telling the history of this country. Inside the British Library is the treasure room which houses original documents from 2,000 years ago up to today. These include Magna Carta, the “first democratic document of the world” and Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions, amongst many others. The Victoria and Albert Museum houses fashionable fine art and furniture used in Europe from the 1200s to today. Greek and Roman statues, French cabinets, British beds, Italian art and much more all make this museum a huge treasure trove.
All these sites and many more make London the fantastic city it is. Contact me if you don't see the place you'd like to visit on this page and I'll organise it.