History is fascinating and is something that we should explore and learn from. British history has seen its fair share of wars, assassinations, geniuses, movements and music, just to mention a few, and even today, there are a wealth of sites still situated in Britain’s capital city that will allow you to delve that bit deeper into its history. For anyone who loves history, immerse yourself in these historical places around the city and step back in time.
The Tower of London
This site has a huge historical significance as, not only has it stood the test of time, it has also held an array of titles such as a fortress, a menagerie, the Royal Mint, Protector of the Crown Jewels and, possibly the most famous of them all, a prison. The White Tower was the first part to be built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror who commissioned it as a warning to those who wanted to invade Britain. From then, every monarch until Edward I had a hand in the Tower’s construction, creating one of the most famous sites in the world. Every year, the Tower greets over 2 million people through its gates, thankfully through the main gates not Traitors Gate that struck fear into the hearts of many, and are guided around the Tower by the long-standing keepers the Yeomen or Beefeaters as they’re more commonly known. You can visit the jewel house, see where two queens of England were beheaded and see the ravens of the Tower where legend has it, if all the ravens left the Tower of London, the Tower would crumble and fall to rubble. Interesting.
London’s museums are known all over the world, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the British Museum are amongst the most famous; they are in close proximity to 5 star hotels in London and are a must-see for all history buffs. The Natural History Museum contains dinosaur bones, fossils, meteorites that are millions of years old, a life-size blue whale and a beautiful array of gemstones, so if you are fascinated with the workings of nature and animals, this should definitely earn a place on your itinerary. The Science Museum is fascinating as it takes a trip through time in the forms of inventions and medicine. Each floor is jammed packed full hands on experiments, early models of trains, planes and cars as well as an IMAX cinema that showcases a series of documentaries suitable for the whole family. Finally, the British Museum showcases a wide range of artifacts from civilizations that span from the beginning of time up to the present day. It holds the Rosetta Stone, parts of the Parthenon from Athens, a Maoi statue from Easter Island, Egyptian mummies and the Sutton Hoo helmet from the early Anglo-Saxon period. It is a huge museum that is stocked with an array of ancient pieces, just be sure to put at least 3 hours aside as there is a lot it see.These are just the three major museum in the city, there are of course hundreds more scattered across the city, including the Old Operating Theatre Museum where a restored Victorian operating theatre is brought to life every weekend with a staged operation; the Horniman Museum that holds a wide selection of stuffed animals, musical instruments and an aquarium that is all guarded by a stuffed walrus who is over 150 years old and the Hunterian Museum which is not for the faint-hearted. It is filled with specimen jars of human and animal parts, skeletal structures and its upstairs contains a full historical journey through surgical procedures. These museums are great if you want a little twist in your historical exploration.
History can come in many forms and the National Portrait Gallery, The Tate, The Tate Modern and the National Gallery span the ages through their art. The National Gallery is located in Trafalgar Square and holds an impressive collection of over 2,300 pieces, ranging from the 1200’s up to the early 20th century. It is completely free to enter and it displays works of art by Jan van Eyck, Giovanni Bellini, Sandro Botticelli, Rembrandt, William Hogarth and John Constable, just to name a few. The National Portrait Gallery can be found just around the corner from the National Gallery and holds a vast collection of 195,000 influential and historically important British figures including William Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It was established in the mid 1800’s and its collection of paintings, photographs, sculptures and busts have grown exponentially during that time, attracting over 2 million visitors each year.
The Tate is situated in Millbank in London and holds art pieces from the 1500’s up to the present day. It proudly displays the work of fine artists such as J.M.W Turner, Sir John Everett Millais, John Constable and William Blake and, being one of the largest museums in the country, it continues to attract over 1 million visitors to its doors each year. The Tate Modern is located on Bankside in London inside an old power station and contains a selection of modern pieces dating from the beginning of the 20th century up to the present day. Works from Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Salvador Dali and Vanessa Bell are constantly on display here while other artists like Damien Hurst, are given temporary exhibitions to showcase their works. So whether you enjoy old-style art or whether you’re a modern enthusiast, there is something to satisfy your artistic appetite.