First published on 3 Apr 2012. Updated on 7 Feb 2013.
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London is a city teeming with world-famous landmarks, from awe-inspiring edifices such as St Paul's Cathedral to royal residences including Buckingham Palace.
As the home of the Queen, Buckingham Palace is usually closed to visitors, but you can view the interior for a brief period each summer while the Windsors are away on their holidays; you'll be able to see the State Rooms, still used to entertain dignitaries, and part of the garden. Taking place on alternate days, the Changing of the Guard ceremony sees soldiers, accompanied by their regimental band, march between Buckingham Palace and Birdcage Walk.
Built as a memorial to Queen Victoria's husband in 1871, the Royal Albert Hall's vast rotunda was once described by the monarch as looking like 'the British constitution'. It has been the venue for the (now BBC) Proms since 1941. You can take in the Royal Albert Hall's splendid exterior and regal interior on regular tours.
The world's most celebrated clock is also a pedant's dream. Big Ben is just the main bell, not the tower – we all know that. But then the über-pedants insist that the edifice isn't even called St Stephen's Tower, as the regular pedants hold, but is officially The Clock Tower. The Clock Tower was completed in 1859.
The cultural significance of Westminster Abbey is hard to overstate. Its popularity can only have increased since the wedding in April 2011 of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. Poets' Corner is the final resting place of Geoffrey Chaucer and Robert Browning.
On a clear day the London Eye, the world's largest observation wheel, offers views as far as 25 miles away. Booking is advised but a number of tickets are held back for same-day sale on site, although weekends and school holidays tend to sell out in advance.
Opened in 1894, Tower Bridge was originally powered by steam. The drawbridge is now opened by electric rams when big ships need to venture this far upstream. The Tower Bridge Exhibition is an entertaining display on the history of the bridge, which provides a crow's-nest's view along the Thames.
A Grade II-listed Art Deco masterpiece, and Europe's largest brick building, Battersea Power Station is a London icon that has appeared in films such as Alfred Hitchcock's Sabotage and Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, episodes of Doctor Who and, perhaps most famously, on the cover of Pink Floyd's 1977 album Animals.
Kew Gardens is a magnificent World Heritage Site covering 300 acres with over 30,000 species of plants. There's also an aquarium on site, play areas for kids and the Xstrata Treetop Walkway – 18m up in the air, it provides a fresh perspective on the spectacular woodland below.
The passing of three centuries has done nothing to diminish the magnificence of St Paul's Cathedral, Christopher Wren's masterpiece and London's most famous cathedral. A £40 million restoration project has revived the extravagant main façade.
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