London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is a 21st-century city with history stretching back to Roman times. At its centre stand the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations.
Across the Thames River, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city.
Sir Christopher Wren’s 17th-century St. Paul’s Cathedral towers above ‘The City’, where London’s global Stock Exchange conducts its business. Royal sites include Buckingham Palace, housing the monarch’s main residence and offices, and the Tower of London, a former prison that’s home to the Crown Jewels.
The British Museum, National Gallery, Tate Britain and Tate Modern explore local and international history and art. West End theatres present classic and cutting-edge drama. Covent Garden, Soho and Spitalfields Market are popular dining and shopping areas. Major public spaces include Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park and Hampstead Heath.