Creativecommons.org/vic15London has an amazing public transit system. Whether travellers want to take the Tube or ride on one London's iconic double-decker buses, the public transport system takes visitors to all the wonderful sights that London has to offer.
Instead of paying for each individual ride, invest in an Oyster card, which allows you to have access to every aspect of public transit. The best bonus of the Oyster card is that it also nets hefty discounts to many of the attractions within London.
Tower of London
If the walls of this historic site could talk they would tell tales of death, intrigue and betrayal. The Tower of London was built in the 11th century by William the Conqueror to secure his stronghold within London. Over the years it was fortified further by various English rulers. Today, the beautiful white fortress stands as a marvelous representation of medieval architecture. This building has been used as a palace, a fortress, a prison and a place of execution.
The Tower of London has been somewhat of a central point for much of the conflict that has happened in the country over the past 900 years. Travellers are welcomed inside to see where both the guilty and the wrongly accused waited out there time. While there is an admission fee to the Tower, those with Oyster Cards will earn themselves free admission. The Tower Hill tube station drops visitors off literally right in front of the Tower of London, making getting there by public transit impossibly easy.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
The original Globe Theatre was built down by the Thames River, but after a fire in 1613, it was destroyed. It was rebuilt but it was destroyed again in1644 due to opposition from the Puritans. The Globe Theatre that stands today is a replica that was built in 1997 just a few blocks from the original location.
This legendary theatre was rebuilt completely from English oak and constructed using similar construction methods from the time period. As the theatre is open to the outside elements, with only the stage and seating area having covering, plays are only held there from May until the beginning of October.
Plays are performed without the use of electronic sound amplification, utilizing the unique acoustics of the structure that made it so revolutionary. While plays are only held at certain times of the year, visitors can enter and tour the theatre anytime. Admission to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre is free with an Oyster card. The closest tube station is the Southwark.
Westminster Abbey dates back to 960 A.D., when 12 Benedictine monks settled on the banks of the Thames. The imposing Gothic style building that sits there today was built between 1245 and 1517 A.D.
The exterior of the building has remained the same as modern London grew around it. Inside, the ancient decor remains complete with beautiful stained glass accented by the fine art and textiles lining the walls.
This building serves as the central point for the important aspects of an English monarch's life. Monarchs were coronated, married and buried at Westminster Abbey. Today, the abbey serves as the final resting place for 17 monarchs to date.
After the recent marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, tourism of Westminster Abbey has skyrocketed. Foreign tourists have flooded the city to see the beautiful venue where this Cinderella story culminated.
While there is a fee to visit the interior of the abbey, those with Oyster cards are admitted for free. The nearest station to Westminster Abbey is the Westminster, which lets you out right by Big Ben.
Windsor is the largest castle in the world that is still occupied. This beautiful medieval castle has been the official residence of the Queen of England for the past 900 years.
Windsor Castle was built by the Normans after their invasion to maintain Norman dominance along the outskirts of London. It also served as a strategic place to overlook the River Thames. The castle was originally built from wood, but it was gradually upgraded to stone over the years to improve fortifications.
In the 13th century it was Henry III who built and elaborate royal palace inside the walls of what was otherwise a mere fort. Later Edward III would rebuild much of the palace. During World War II, this great stone behemoth provided protection to the royal family during Germany's vicious bombing campaigns.
Although the castle is the Queen's own home, it is open to visitors to tour most days. It costs an admission fee to enter, except for those with Oyster cards.
Saint Paul's Cathedral
There have been four cathedrals built in honour of St Paul on the spot where the current St Paul's Cathedral stands. Starting in 604 A.D., each of these various churches has been built with greater extravagance than the previous one.
The current cathedral was built in 1697 and has stood proud over the city of London ever since. The building was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. With its dome roof towering above the rest of the city, St Paul's Cathedral is both inspiring and imposing at the same time.
Visitors enjoy free admission, and they can ascend into the dome and enjoy panoramic views of the city, or descend down into the underground crypts where some of the most notable figures from English history lay buried. The closest public transit stop is the St Paul stop that sits smack dab in front of this medieval marvel.
The beautiful Kensington Gardens were once the private manicured gardens of Kensington Palace, but today they are open to the public.
While adults enjoy the ornamental water gardens, fountains, statues and ponds, children will get a thrill from the Peter Pan-themed Diana Playground, which is home to a pirate ship and a beach. This playground was created in 2000 in memory of the late Princess of Wales. At the west end of the garden stands the magnificent Kensington Palace, Queen Victoria's birthplace and home to royalty since 1861.
While entrance to the garden is free, there is an admission fee to the palace – unless you have an Oyster cards. There are three Tube stops at Kensington Gardens: Queensway, Lancaster Gate and Marble Arch. There are several bus stops along Bayswater Road, which runs parallel to the park as well.
Churchill War Rooms
The Winston Churchill War Rooms is a museum located on the very site of the original Cabinet War Rooms – where the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Airforce had their base of operations in London during World War II. This is where gathered intelligence was presented and displayed around the clock so that British leaders could brief the chiefs of staff, the Prime Minister and the King about the war. The museum showcases many of these maps as well as the transatlantic telephone, which was encrypted so that Churchill could make secure calls overseas to President Roosevelt.
Though the rooms had been remodeled after the war, in 1984 they were restored to their original state and opened to the public. These historic rooms give a unique glance into the history of World War II and England's involvement. The closet public transit stop to this museum is the bus stop on Victoria Street, which is located between the St James Park and Westminster Tube stops.