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London is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in the world. Due to the UK capital’s vast size, it will take you a while to see absolutely every landmark in the city, but here’s a list of five that are within easy reach of the Montcalm Royal London House in Finsbury Square.
1. Trafalgar Square (3.3 km from the hotel)
From one beautiful London square to another; take the Northern Line Tube from Moorgate station by Finsbury Square to Elephant and Castle, then change to the Bakerloo Line, disembarking at Charing Cross. From there, the instantly-recognisable Trafalgar Square is just a few moments’ walk away.
Trafalgar Square is named after the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar, in which Lord Nelson led British troops to victory. Surrounded by four regal bronze lions and dominating the immediate skyline, Nelson’s column, a statue dedicated to the military leader presides over the square.
There are four other plinths for statues around the square; three of these feature important figures from British history, while the fourth features changing works of art or performance.
Art is a key part of Trafalgar Square, as the National Gallery is situated along one side. Notable works on display here include pieces by Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci.
2. Big Ben (3.6 km from the hotel)
Big Ben, arguably the most famous clock in the world, can be reached via the Circle Line, which you can take directly from Moorgate station by the Montcalm Royal London House to Westminster.
The name Big Ben actually refers to the bell that chimes every quarter of an hour from inside the clock tower, which itself is officially known as Elizabeth Tower. Prior to 2012 when the tower was renamed as part of HRH Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, it was simply known as Clock Tower.
Big Ben was erected in 1859 and has been an iconic symbol of the London skyline ever since. Elizabeth Tower is currently undergoing a significant restoration, so will be closed to the public until 2020, but arguably the best views of the landmark can be seen from Westminster Bridge. From here, you can take in sights of the River Thames, the Coca-Cola London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament.
3. Houses of Parliament (3.6 km from the hotel)
Attached to Big Ben are the Houses of Parliament – officially known as the Palace of Westminster – which have been the main headquarters of the UK government since the Victorian era, although a royal palace has been on this site on the banks of the Thames since the 11th century.
Guided tours of the Houses of Parliament take place on a regular basis. Visitors can see inside Westminster Hall, which dates from 1097, as well as viewing where the Queen changes into her state robes before she opens parliament every year. You can also stand inside both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, which are steeped in history, important government business and quaint traditions.
4. Buckingham Palace (4.5 km from the hotel)
The official residence of the British royal family, Buckingham Palace, is just a short Tube ride away from the Montcalm Royal London House via the Circle Line. Hop on at Moorgate close to the hotel and disembark at St James’s Park.
Originally built as a townhouse for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703, King George III moved into the property later that century and it has remained the home of the reigning British monarch ever since.
Regular guided tours of the palace’s state rooms are available, with changing exhibitions showcasing different items from the royal collection on display each summer, when the royal family traditionally holidays in Scotland at the Balmoral estate.
The Mall leading up to Buckingham Palace and the Victoria Memorial just outside the palace gates are also popular tourist spots and if you arrive at 10.15am on alternate days of the week, you may be lucky enough to see the pomp and ceremony of the Changing of the Guard.
5. O2 Arena (6.5 km from the hotel)
World-class entertainment venue the O2 Arena is just a short Tube ride from the Montcalm Royal London House if you take the Northern Line from Moorgate to London Bridge, then switch to the Jubilee Line, ending your journey at North Greenwich. The O2 is unmissable from here, thanks to its unique dome-like structure.
Originally built as the Millennium Dome ahead of the year 2000, the distinctive building was later turned into a concert venue, which has since won the accolade of world’s busiest entertainment venue on several occasions.
The O2 was known as the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, switching back to the O2 following the culmination of the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games.
Artists ranging from Fleetwood Mac to the Monty Python comedians have sold out the venue in the past, with upcoming spring 2017 shows including performances by Craig David (March 25th and 26th), Olly Murs (from March 30th to April 1st) and the legendary Frankie Valli (April 23rd).