London has carved world legends from the creators of the enchanting world of Harry Potter and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to global leaders like Winston Churchill and the Queen of England. Visit the destinations and landmarks, where prominent British figures grew up, worked, entertained, and changed the world.1. Buckingham Palace Notable British figures: Queen Victoria, King George VI, home of the Queen If a fan of the Royals and history of the British monarchy, a visit to the Buckingham Palace is a must. Buckingham Palace is currently home to the Queen and is the location of most ceremonies and royal affairs. Take a tour of the palace, built in the 1700s, and step into the opulence, power, and rich history of the British Empire and the lifestyle of the Royal Family. Tours take you around palace grounds and rooms, showcasing the extravagant art, gathering rooms, and a peek at the royal treatment. Be sure to arrive early in the summer to see the famous change of the guards before being blown away by the palace grounds. 1. Buckingham Palace Notable British figures: Queen Victoria, King George VI, home of the Queen If a fan of the Royals and history of the British monarchy, a visit to the Buckingham Palace is a must. Buckingham Palace is currently home to the Queen and is the location of most ceremonies and royal affairs. Take a tour of the palace, built in the 1700s, and step into the opulence, power, and rich history of the British Empire and the lifestyle of the Royal Family. Tours take you around palace grounds and rooms, showcasing the extravagant art, gathering rooms, and a peek at the royal treatment. Be sure to arrive early in the summer to see the famous change of the guards before being blown away by the palace grounds.
Notable British figure: James Bond
James Bond’s agility, smarts, and charm have made him the world’s favorite British hero and the longest running franchise in cinema history. The M16 Headquarters is the building of British Secret Intelligence and is the building used in the latest film, Skyfall. After admiring the looming, ziggurat like building, take a 15-minute drive to the London Film Museum and see the Bond in Motion exhibit, which holds the largest collection of vehicles used in the James Bond films. Peruse the exhibitions, gawk at the refurbished vehicles, watch video clips of the vehicles in action in the past Bond films, and relax in the Covent Garden.
Notable British figure: J. K. Rowling
When in London, if one has a keen eye, the traces of the magical world of Harry Potter can be revealed. J. K. Rowling’s world-famous book series was inspired and filmed in many spots in London. Leadenhall Market is the beautiful and charming covered market that was used as Diagon Alley in the film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The market is a wondrous place to spend an afternoon shopping, grabbing a bite to eat, and spotting stores used in the film like the bright blue paint of an optician office which was used as the Leaky Cauldron. If seeking more magical adventures one can hop over to Kings Cross Station and visit Platform 9¾ and see a trolley disappearing through the wall.
Notable British figure: Winston Churchill
One of the most respected, notable, and influential men in British history is undoubtedly Winston Churchill, Britain’s former prime minister who led the country during World War II. During his time as prime minister, a secret complex of underground rooms was built in England, just below the Treasury building in London, as a clandestine command center. Named the Churchill War Rooms, the rooms were preserved and converted into a museum showing the life of Winston Churchill and the hidden, high-tension life of tracking Nazi movements and planning British advances. The underground complex is truly a time capsule, where visitors can see the modest beds, cramped meeting rooms, and switchboard rooms where commanders and political figures lived, breathed, and slept.
Notable British figures: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Lewis Carroll, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Locke, Margaret Thatcher
The world esteemed university, which actually has no known date of foundation but has classes recorded back in 1096, is the cultivator of the world’s greatest leaders, writers, artists, and Nobel Prize winners. Tour the university and simply be awed by the magnificence and great impact of the world’s second oldest university. The campus is stunning with turrets, spires, and grand domes that truly make you feel like you are stepping back in time. Visit the spots like the library and churches that inspired writers and scientists. Stop by the Ashmolean museum, the oldest museum in the United Kingdom, or the other four museums which hold relics of history, science, and music. Just 45 minutes by train from central London, Oxford is a must stop to experience old England and the world's most impressive and influential university.
Notable British figures: The Beatles
London is a hub of music stars and talent, with the most influential and legendary being The Beatles. The four band members have roots in Liverpool and London, where they wrote music and performed in now-famous pubs and clubs before they skyrocketed to global fame. When in London and seeking an authentic Beatles experience, pop by the Beatles Coffee Café and enjoy some coffee sips while admiring the band memorabilia and souvenirs for purchase. Afterwards, trek down the road and have a glimpse of the Beatles' glory at the Abbey Road Studios and the famous historic landmark Abbey Road, perfect for reenacting the Abbey Road album cover.
Notable British figure: William Shakespeare
A poet, actor, and dramatist, William Shakespeare is arguably the most influential writer of English literature. Enter the world of this impactful literary figure at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre, a round amphitheater built as a replica to the original location of Shakespeare play performances. The theater is dedicated to educating on Shakespeare’s life and literary works, while providing the stage for his art to take life. Peruse the exhibits and experience the old world of plays and performances, watch a play in the fashion that they would have been performed centuries ago, and be entranced by the mystery of Shakespeare and his art. You will never experience Shakespeare in the same way.
Notable British figure: Queen Elizabeth
The Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower, AKA Big Ben, is one of London’s most iconic landmarks sitting in Central London along the river Thames. Big Ben is an all-encompassing name, but is technically the name given to the colossal bell inside the clock tower, which weighs more than 13 tons. The Elizabeth Tower (named in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee) stands at the north end of the Houses of Parliament and dates back to 1859. Those with special permission can climb the 399 steps to the Ayrton Light at the very top, while the rest of us can stay ground-level and stick around after the sun sets to see the four clock faces beautifully illuminated.