Let’s face it, if there’s one thing you can say about London, it’s that there’s no lack of landmarks to see. That said, if you’re visiting the UK capital and just can’t fit in everything you’d like to, you might want to focus on just one area – for instance, the area of Central London beside the Thames.
Yes, if you’ve booked a stay at the The Montcalm luxury hotels, there really is so much to see and do on the banks of one of the world’s most famous rivers in one of the world’s most famous cities…
The London Eye
For many first-time visitors, this instantly recognisable landmark on the Thames’ South Bank is an unmissable attraction to experience. Nowadays, a permanent fixture of London’s skyline, this 135-metre-tall Ferris wheel offers millions the opportunity, year on year, to experience the sights of the UK capital from a totally different vantage point across each 30-minute-long ride in one of its capsules.
Just across the river from The Eye stands, of course, the Palace of Westminster, better known to all and sundry as the Houses of Parliament. This magnificent building, a Victorian-era neogothic masterpiece, is where sits the British government, as it discusses and sets the majority of the laws of the land. One of the world’s most iconic landmarks, in part thanks to its globally-renowned Elizabeth clock tower and clock face (behind which sits the huge ‘Big Ben’ bell), it’s a sight that’s hard to resist on any London walking or bus-based tour.
A magnificent modern art museum that’s to be found inside the extraordinary-looking decommissioned Bankside Power Station, the Tate Modern is consistently one of the city’s absolutely most visited attractions – and for very good reason.
Home to and/ or hosting contemporary art pieces drawn from all over the world and from throughout the history of both 20th and 21st Century art, it offers visitors works by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol and many, many more. A must-visit if you’re staying at the nearby Montcalm hotel Chiswell Street, you might conclude.
Just across the river from the Tate Modern, many first-time visitors also like to check out the equally as iconic St Paul’s Cathedral. Blessed with an instantly recognisable white dome atop its roof, this major place of worship also serves as a venue of many music concerts and features a crypt full of tombs of British history’s great and good.
The View from The Shard
Both figuratively and literally, you really can’t miss The Shard. That’s because it’s fast established itself as one of London’s chief landmarks and the viewing-options from its top are unbeatable; while, being the tallest building in the city, it can be spied from innumerable spots all over London Town.
For sure, the aforementioned 360-degree ‘View from The Shard’ experience – enjoyed from the highest viewing gallery in the entire city and next to, yes, a Champagne bar – is something for your memory-bank and many an Instagrammable moment and selfie, needless to say!
Also moored on the South Bank, very near The Shard, is the British Royal Navy ship, HMS Belfast. Once a military vessel that enjoyed service during the Second World War, today it’s a museum ship that enables visitors to discover all about British naval history and its traditions as they explore all of nine of the warship’s decks. An attraction that makes for a day out that’s quite the contrast to a day spent at The Montcalm Spa, but equally as rewarding!
The bridges of Central London
It’s true; many people aren’t aware that London Bridge and Tower Bridge aren’t the same. After you’ve visited Westminster and the South Bank, you certainly won’t be one of them. Indeed, dare we say it, but it’s well worth your time to take in, during your London stay, many – if not all – of the Central London bridges that cross the Thames.
Not just, then, the historic London Bridge and the terrific Tower Bridge (which, yes, opens up and features a fascinating museum), but also the Millennium Bridge, Waterloo Bridge, Westminster Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge. That said, if you can’t squeeze them all into your London city-break, be sure to check out and cross Tower Bridge – it’s quite the sight.
The Cutty Sark
A Victorian-era British clipper ship that’s always a popular tourist attraction for visitors young and old, the Cutty Sark is located in the glorious Greenwich district, located itself to the east of the South Bank.
Built in the late 19th Century on Scotland’s Riven Leven, the Cutty Sark is a celebrated, historic sailing ship that was could claim to be the fastest-sailing ship of its era. Today it no longer moves but enjoys a second lease of life as a glorious destination for a day out, not least thanks to its Cutty Sark Rig Climb Experience. Indeed, kids whom get to crawl all over its deck and below-decks love nothing more than to take the helm, too, having a go at ‘steering’ the thing, as well as download an audio guide and getting a great idea of what sailing the seven seas really was once like.
Near the Cutty Sark, you’ll also find the marvellous Greenwich Park, with its wonderfully relaxing flower, herb and rose gardens, the awesome Old Royal Naval College and the 18th century-era Painted Hall, with its sumptuous, Sistine Chapel-like painted ceiling! Finally, on the Greenwich Peninsula, you can visit The O2 – a terrific destination for retail therapy, cinema-going, gig-attending, dining and general carousing.
Finally, this hub of cultural activity is an impressive building to cast your eyes over from the outside, being (effectively) a reconstruction of the original Tudor-era theatre playhouse that stood very near its site on the South Bank and at which the real William Shakespeare and his team of actors performed his legendary plays more than four centuries ago.
More impressive still is the interior of this mostly wooden constructed playhouse. It’s best experienced not via a tour (which nonetheless is a great way to spend an afternoon) but via actually experiencing a performance of a play in the venue. The perfect accompaniment to an afternoon spent savouring a Montcalm afternoon tea?
Well, always a fun, frothy and interactive experience, seeing something at the Globe really gives you a very good impression of how Shakespeare’s works were once-upon-a-time performed – and how they were always intended to be performed. Capturing the souls of the audience and pulling them into the action as much as possible. Featuring an awesome, candle-lit indoor performance space, a restaurant and a bar, the Globe is a unique and fantastic riverside attraction, and no mistake!