Houses of Parliament#16 in Best Things To Do in London
The Houses of Parliament, composed of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, fill the massive Palace of Westminster. Guided and self-guided tours (which come highly recommended by recent travelers) take visitors through multiple areas of the building, including Westminster Hall (the oldest building on the Parliamentary estate), the House of Commons Chamber and the Royal Gallery, to name a few. If you're not interested in perusing the halls that make up the U.K.'s governing body, many travelers say that simply admiring the iconic structure's impressive exterior is enough, and an absolute must-do for anyone visiting London.
If you're one of many looking to snap your own photo of one of the most photographed buildings in the world, the best vantage point is from Westminster Bridge. But if you want a truly smashing shot, head on over to Lambeth Bridge or the Golden Jubilee Bridges on the South Bank for a view of Parliament and the London Eye together. Keep in mind that Westminster Bridge connects the city's two biggest attractions (London Eye to Parliament) together, and as a result is almost always very crowded. It's also important to know that merchants and (rather shady) gamblers set up along the bridge, so keep your personal belongings close and walk along the left side, as a higher number tend to concentrate on the right.
Guided, self-guided and tours that include afternoon tea are all available Saturdays year-round as well as most weekdays during Parliamentary recess. Self-guided tours, which include an audio guide, take about 60 to 75 minutes and are 20.50 pounds (about $29) for adults and free for one child ages 5 to 15 years with a paying adult, then 8.50 pounds (about $12) for each additional child. Guided tours cost 28 pounds (around $39) for adults and 12 pounds (about $17) for children ages 5 to 15 years. All children younger than 5 enter for free. You can save a few pounds by purchasing your tickets in advance. Consult Parliament's website for up-to-date information on tour dates and hours, as they are subject to change. To get to the Houses of Parliament, hop off at the Westminster Tube station.
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#1 British Museum
The British Museum is both an architectural beauty and a trove of some of the world's most noted antiquities. In fact, many travelers it's the best museum in all of London. What's more, it's free to visit. From the Rosetta Stone to the Elgin Marbles to the Lindow Man, the British Museum is a history buff's dream containing artifacts in the millions. The immense collection can make an initial museum visit seem overwhelming: Pick the exhibits that most interest you, and plan return trips if you feel so inclined.
If you want a little help navigating the museum's 8 million objects, consider tagging along on a guided tour. Several, including the daily eye-opener tours and weekly lunchtime gallery talks and Friday evening spotlight tours are free. You can also book a highlights and special early morning tour for 14 pounds (around $20) and 30 pounds (less than $45), respectively. Audio guides, which cost 7 pounds (less than $10), are also available to rent daily.
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