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London attractions: 4 must-see places for historians

Hall way of British Museum

London is one of the most amazing cities in the world, and has been for centuries. The heart of the British monarchy and some of modern day’s greatest events and inventions, it is a one of the heartlands of European history. Naturally, there are plenty of cool places to visit if you’re interested in culture.

I’ve been lucky enough to live both in London and very close to Paris (might do a similar post on the French capital sometime, actually..). Anyway, as a history graduate myself, I regularly enjoy trips to museums and other places of the past. Here are 4 I think you should definitely check out if you’re in town..

British Museum

Rosetta Stone at the British Museum

Definitely one of my favourite Museums, along with the Louvres. The British Museum opened to the general public in 1753, and has an extraordinary and diverse collection. The Ancient Greece, Roman and Middle Eastern departments are amazing, as is the library. In total, there are over 13 million artifacts, enough to keep you coming back a few times.

The Museum is famous for its incredible Egyptian collection – and rightly so! This includes the Rosetta Stone and lots of super creepy mummies. Like many museums in London (and like none in France), the BM is free on entry, which makes it a good option if you’re looking for a cheap day out.

Interestingly, the BM has the largest online database of any museum in the world, with over 2 million entries, many of which are illustrated. You can consult the online journals, all free of charge too.

Tower of London

I went there at the end of last year, when my mum came to visit. Luckily enough, it also happened to be Remembrance Sunday and we got an amazing view, with all the poppies still standing as an emotional reminder of the human cost of WWI.

Outside the Tower of London on Remembrance Sunday
The view I had going into the Tower of London

Visiting the Tower of London isn’t one of 3 or 4 things you’ll do in a day. It’s massive and takes several hours. But it’s a great place to learn about London and its history, and the view from the castle is brilliant (it’s right next to Tower Bridge). Seeing the crown jewels was quite cool too, although the queue can get VERY long, so try and go when it’s not too busy.

Houses of Parliament

Always a good one to visit as well. The Houses of Parliament guided tour allows you to see for yourself all the stuff you usually watch on tv, and more importantly where all major decisions and laws are actually made. The tour also includes a visit of Westminster Palace.

Houses of Parliament and Big Ben on a sunny dayYou can visit both Houses of Lords and Commons, although you can’t take the seat. Think you have to make a specific amount of false promises before you do (satirical). Worth noting the tour tickets are £25, not cheap.

Churchill War Cabinet

The Churchill War Cabinet perhaps isn’t the most renown place on this list, but it’s pretty awesome too. For those of you who may not know, it’s essentially a reconstruction of Churchill’s bunker during WWII, where the British government hid during the Blitz.

It’s fully equipped and furnished as it would’ve been at the time, which is cool. I went a few years ago now and am planning to go again some time soon. If you’re interested in modern history and the war, you’ll be a fan! The bunker is located near St James’ Park, so pop in if you’re out for a walk.

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