By Elisabeth Amanya – Editor ETM
London is a diverse and exciting city with some of the world’s best sights, attractions and activities. With so much to do, it’s hard to narrow down which places to visit considering the llimited time we had to spend in the city. So we picked out a city tour package that covers the biggest attractions of London.
Itinerary- London full-day tour
7:30 am – Hotel pick up with other group members
7:45 am – Tour the UNESCO-listed Tower of London with a Beefeater, before the doors open to the public
9:00 am – Tour St Paul’s Cathedral
10:30 am – Stop for a snack at Trafalgar square
11 am – 1:30 pm – Buckingham Palace tour with the Changing of the Guard ceremony with afternoon tea at St Ermin’s Hotel in central London
2:30 pm – 3:30pm Visit the streets around Westminster to see Westminster Abbey and House of Parliament.
4:00 pm – Fast track access on the London Eye – (skip the line).
5:30 – 8:00pm Dinner River cruise on Thames River
8:30pm – Hotel drop off
Why we chose This Tour
This is a great tour to take if you’ve just arrived in London: it’s a full day of seeing exciting places in one
day. My personal favourite was the changing of the guard and a ride on the London eye that I’ll talk about further below :
Buckingham Palace Tour
We met our guide at Waterloo Place, central London, and strolled the short distance through beautiful St
James’ Park to Buckingham Palace, a monument that has served as the official London residence of Britain’s sovereigns since the 19th century. We stopped directly in front of the palace to watch the Changing of the Guards ceremony from a prime viewing spot. The world-famous ceremony basically involves a new guard exchanging duty with the old guard by the Queen’s Foot Guards; with their cherry-red tunics and bearskin hats, marching to drumbeats from a military band. We soaked up the glorious pomp and pageantry, and listened to our guide to learn about the history behind the event.
After watching the ceremony, we followed our guide to the entrance of Buckingham Palace, a site only open to the public for two months each year. Guides are not permitted to speak inside the palace, so we had to listen to our guide’s insightful commentary outside so that we’re armed with all the background information. Then, headed inside with our pre-booked tickets, plugged in our audio guide, and explored the public rooms of the palace that Queen Elizabeth II still calls home today. I gazed in wonder at
sparkling chandeliers, decadent furnishings and treasures from the Royal Collection such as exquisite Sèvres porcelain, and listened to the audio commentary for more information on the palace’s royal residents, history and traditions.
The perfect Energy London Eye experience!
With fast track entry for our standard flight in a shared capsule, we got to skip the majority of the queue. The London Eye offers spectacular views of the capital of England from high above the River Thames. The famous landmarks we saw from the include Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, included on the visit was new interactive guides powered by Samsung Galaxy Tab and an entry to the London Eye 4D Experience, a 4 minute cinema show that uses multi-sensory special effects with dry ice, bubbles and ‘real rain’ to stimulate an aerial journey over London. Since opening at the turn of the century, it has been used as a backdrop in countless films and is loved by Britons and visitors alike. More than 3.5 million people a year have ridden the London Eye (an average of 10,000 a day).
Interesting facts about the London Eye
- A Team Effort – It took seven years and the skills of hundreds of people from five countries to make the London Eye a reality.
- A View Fit For A Queen – You can see around 40KM (25 miles) from the top as far as Windsor Castle on a clear day.
- Ding! Ding! – The London Eye can carry 800 passengers per revolution – equivalent to 11 London red doubled-decker buses.
- Heavyweight Champion – Each of the 32 capsules weighs 10 tonnes. To put that figure into perspective, it’s the same weight as 1,052,631 medium size coins!
- Slowly But Surely – Each rotation takes about 30 minutes, meaning a capsule travels at a stately 26cm per second, or 0.9km (0.6 miles) per hour – twice as fast as a tortoise sprinting; allowing passengers to step on and off without the wheel having to stop.
- The Only Way Is Up – The circumference of the wheel is 424m (1.392ft) – meaning that if it were unravelled, it would be 1.75 times longer than a 50 story building.
- Tonnes Of Fun – The total weight of the wheel and capsules is 2,100,000 KG or as much as 1,565 Ferrari F430 cars!
- Up, Up And Away – The height of the London Eye is 135m (equivalent to 64 red telephone boxes piled on top of each other) making it the fifth tallest structure in London after the BT Tower, Tower 42 , One Canada Square in Canary Wharf and the Shard.
- Blast Off – The spindle holds the wheel structure and the hub rotates it around the spindle. At 23 metres tall, the spindle is around the size of a church spire and, together with the hub, weighs in at 330 tonnes: over 20 times heavier than House of Par-liament.
After the success of the London Eye in 2000, over 20 other giant Ferris wheel Projects have been initiated around the world. Here are some of the best wheels.
- Singapore flyer 541 ft
- Melbourne Star, Australia 394 ft
- Suzhou Ferris Wheel, China 394 ft
- Star of Nachang, China 525 ft
- High Roller Las Vegas, USA 550 ft
- The Orlando Eye, U.S.A 400 ft