One of London’s most recognizable and revered sites is the Palace of Westminster. This grand structure along the Thames River is home to the U.K.’s Parliament, but its history dates back one thousand years. Once the site of the royal throne and many royal offices, much of the structure was destroyed by an 1834 fire. Westminster Hall is the only remnant of the original royal architecture, and you can experience the ancient hall as part of palace's audio or guided tours. Of course, there are other ways to enjoy a visit to Westminster Palace. You can view a debate in the House of Lords and House of Commons. You can also take a tour and then relish afternoon tea in the palace’s riverfront cafe. If you don’t have time for a tour, drop by to experience the building’s grand exterior architecture. Queen Elizabeth Tower and its sonorous Big Ben clock are always enticing, and the adjacent Victoria Tower Garden Park is a delight. The park gives you a beautiful view of the palace and offers interesting memorials and Rodin’s “Burghers of Calais” sculpture.
Make the best use of your time after your business class flight lands by covering more ground in the Westminster area. After a visit to Westminster Palace, head a block west to see one of the most storied sites in London: Westminster Abbey. Its soaring arches and stately spires house England’s national church, and it’s been a site of daily worship since the 10th century. It was designated the coronation church as early as 1066, celebrating royal ascension for 38 monarchs. The abbey is an equally popular royal wedding site, hosting the many nuptials, from King Henry I to Prince William. The histories of the church and England are beautifully displayed throughout the church, and you won't want to miss seeing the Coronation Chair and Royal Tombs. The abbey also contains a fascinating homage to British poets, artists, musicians and playwrights in the Poet’s Corner. There, Chaucer, Tennyson, Browning, Dickens, Handel, Kipling and many more are interred. There are also dozens of memorials to the country’s artists, philosophers and scientists.
Last minute deals to London give you the perfect excuse to explore some of the sites that other visitors often miss. Greenwich is a prime example of a London site that many overlook even though it offers many compelling adventures. In Greenwich, you'll find the Royal Observatory where you can explore timekeeping and the Prime Meridian. The world’s largest maritime museum is also here, full of captivating seafaring memorabilia and historic navigational charts; it's a quick walk from the Maritime Museum to the original Cutty Sark. While you’re here, be sure to check out the art collection at the Queen’s House and relax in Royal Greenwich Park. Travel Tip: If you’re looking to continue the peacefulness of your first class seats, consider booking a Greenwich hotel for the duration of your stay.
One of the first things you’ll probably notice in Trafalgar Square is the Nelson Column and its remarkably large lion statues. The square has been the favorite spot for political demonstrations, rallies, victory celebrations and more for longer than a century. Sandwiched between the iconic Charles Statue and the National Gallery, the square is an excellent starting point for touring the Charing Cross neighborhood. Also nearby are the National Portrait Gallery, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and dozens of historic theaters.