London has a plethora of exciting and educational places to visit. With a range of museums, galleries, libraries and local monuments it’s no wonder folks flock from all over the world to visit the Big Smoke. Whatever degree you are studying, you’re sure to find an attraction that will help you with your studies. This is especially true for history students. London is a historic city, dating back to the Romans, filled with many historic sites, from monuments, museums and royal palaces. You can find out about kings and queens, World Wars I and II, medieval times, the history of the city, human history and more. Whether you are a history student, or just love history, here are our favourite historic sites in London.
Related: 20 Quirky History Facts About London
The Tower of London
This historic castle is a must-see for any history boffins. It was founded in 1066 as part of the Norman conquest. Since then it has served as a royal palace and even a prison, with some famous executions carried out in the north of the castle a long time ago (Anne Boleyn, for example). There are also mysteries in the tower, did Richard III imprison and murder his nephews here? You’ll notice ravens around the tower too. Legend has it that if they leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall.
This castle is one to visit if you’re interested in the Norman conquest, any of the royal family, the Tudors and even the first and second world wars as the tower held prisoners of espionage. Not to mention, it currently holds the crown jewels.
Visit the tower here.
The British Museum
One of London’s most historic sites to visit is of course The British Museum. This exhibits two million years of human history and culture, from the prehistoric era to modern day. Exhibits include the Parthenon Frieze and the Rosetta Stone. If you’re particularly interested in Ancient Egypt this is one you’ll definitely enjoy.
No matter what history course you are taking, you are sure to find something in the British Museum that links to your course. Greek, Egyptian, Mexican, ancient Iran are just some of the galleries. Even better, the museum is free to enter, you only have to pay for special exhibits.
Find out a little more about what’s on here.
The Churchill War Rooms
Also known as the Imperial War Rooms, this location served as a command centre for the British government during the Second World War. The museum takes you through life in the bunker and allows you to learn about the life of Churchill. The corridors of the museum wind under the streets of Westminster and you can discover the actual rooms that were used during the war. In the War Rooms there is the Map Room, the Cabinet Room and even Churchill’s bedroom.
For students studying modern history and the Great Wars, this London historic site is a must. The museum is not only informational, but is actually where it all happened, giving you a true feel for what life was like.
Find out more about visiting the Churchill War Rooms here.
Royal Museums, Greenwich
Maritime Greenwich has boatloads of history and spending time here is a must for history students and history lovers alike, as they cover a wide arch of history. The Royal Museums include the Royal Observatory, home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), where you can learn the “history of time”.
Another museum here is the Cutty Sark, which is the world’s sole surviving tea clipper. Here you can step onboard the historic ship and learn about the life of the crew and how important this ship was for trade.
Lastly, the only free museum in this group is the National Maritime Museum. Here you can find Nelsons Trafalgar Coat and learn about this famous battle.
Find out more about these museums here.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Westminster Abbey is not just a pretty building (so one for the architect fans), but has also had an important role in the history of London. The abbey is the traditional place for royal coronations and the burial site for British monarchs. You can see the Coronation Chair and learn about the Stone of Scone. There’s also the Pyx Chamber, which was made into a treasury in the 13th century and may have been used as a sacristy when Henry III was rebuilding the abbey. Britain’s oldest door is even found in the abbey.
Discover how to visit West Minster Abbey here.
Hampton Court Royal Palace
Finally, on our list of historic sites in London, is the Hampton Court Royal Palace. This is especially useful if you’re studying the Tudors as it was Henry VIII’s favourite residence. In fact, it is one of two surviving palaces owned by the king, the other being St James’s Palace. Nowadays you can tour the rooms, the 60 acres of gardens and the famous maze, discovering the lives of those that lived there, such as Henry VIII, his wives and children.
Find out more here.
What are your favourite historic sites to visit in London? Let us know in the comments! You can also view student accommodation in London.