Backpacking Through England: Historical London
London is one of the most important cities in the world.
That sounds like a big claim, but it’s absolutely true. For one thing, the sheer size of London makes it a dominant city. Add into this its reputation as a financial hub, and it’s pretty tough to argue with the fact that London is as important as claimed. It’s often referred to as the capital of Europe, which is hard to disagree with in a sheer recognition sense.
Alongside all this importance in general, London is especially vibrant in a historical sense. If you like to touch on the past with your travels, then the city should be calling you. Hop on one of the many cheap flights to London and you too could be exploring the delights of times gone by…
- The Tower Of London
The Tower of London is a royal palace, but most people know it by its more gruesome history: as a prison. Perhaps the prevailing myth surrounding the Tower is one of the oldest “whodunnits” in the world: who killed the Princes in the Tower?
While you might not discover the answer to that old question on your visit, there’s plenty to delight you at the modern-day Tower. From a visit to the Ravenmaster and his flock to the stunning jewel house, the Tower can keep you occupied for hours on end.
- Hampton Court Palace
Situated on the banks of the River Thames, Hampton Court has been a pleasure palace for royalty since the reign of Henry VIII. Though Henry didn’t build it, the Palace is synonymous with the Tudor rule. To this day, the enormous — and still functional! — Tudor kitchens are enjoyed by millions of visitors over the years.
Hampton Court is also said to be the home of many ghosts, though whether you will be treated to a ghoulish encounter on your visit is a matter for the fates. Nevertheless, you can delight in the history inside the palace, then while away hours in the enormous maze that dominates the grounds.
- Downing Street
If you prefer your history a little more modern, then look no further than Downing Street. This London address is better known as the home of the British Prime Minister, who resides at number 10, but it’s not just the PM who lives there. Next door at number 11 is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, while the Chief Whip for the ruling party lives on the street also.
The street is accessible to visitors, though it’s unlikely you’ll be allowed to directly approach the famous black door. You also might have to battle the usual scrum of reporters who linger outside the residence; if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the Downing Street cats, Larry and Palmerston. Nevertheless, it’s the home of modern British power, and thus worth the visit for any politics fan.
When it comes to history and London, this is very much just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much to see and enjoy, your first trip will probably end up just being the first of many.