London claims to be the capital of 21st-century Europe, and most will agree at times it feels like anything of any importance in art, music, and fashion starts, finishes, or is taking place here.But today’s London is not just a mecca for modernity: It remains very much a city of pomp and pageantry, where history and tradition are not only prized, they are integrated
into daily life.
T o p A t t r a c t i o n s
British Museum—Unless you have a week to walk the 2 miles of corridors leading to many of the 7 million objects on display, head for the Elgin Marbles (which once decorated the Parthenon in Athens, the Rosetta Stone, the Egyptian mummies, the Samurai armor, and
the Portland Vase. Or join one of the free eyeOpener tours, which focus on different
areas of the museum’s collection: They last about 30 minutes and depart throughout the day.
Buckingham Palace—When the queen is away from her London residence and workplace from late July to September, parts of the 775-room landmark—including the Throne Room, the 155-foot-long Picture Gallery, and the magnificent Grand Staircase designed by architect
John Nash for George IV—are open to the public. The Changing of the Guard takes place at 11:30 a.m. daily or on alternate days depending on the
Hampton Court Palace—A royal palace for more than two centuries, Hampton Court
was home to Henry VIII and five of his six wives. Christopher Wren added extensions
in the late 17th century, and the result is a delightful blend of Tudor and English Baroque
architecture. The palace is surrounded by some 60 landscaped acres of gardens and
a centuries-old maze of tall hedges—it takes 20 minutes on average to reach the center.