London has 4 World Heritage Sites just waiting for you to explore! Steeped in history, each site boasts architectural marvels and cultural significance to our city. Let’s delve into London’s World Heritage Sites and discover the awe-inspiring sights that make the city a living testament to its glorious past.
Table of Contents:
- London’s 4 World Heritage Sites
- What is a World Heritage Site?
- The Tower of London
- Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey, & St Margaret’s Church
- Maritime Greenwich
- Kew Gardens
How Many World Heritage Sites Does London Have?
London is home to 4 of the 1,092 UNESCO World Heritage sites. Located conveniently within our wonderful city these are the sites you can visit right here in London:
- The Tower of London
- The Palace of Westminster & Westminster Abbey, including St Margaret’s Church
- Maritime Greenwich
- Kew Gardens
What is a World Heritage Site?
A World Heritage Site is a landmark, area, or structure of significant cultural, historical, scientific, or natural importance that is recognized and protected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Each of these sites is believed to hold extreme value for the collective heritage of the world.
The program to assign World Heritage Sites was first established in 1972 to identify and preserve irreplaceable sites across the globe.
Tower of London: A City’s Fortress
The Tower of London is our first stop of our tour of London’s World Heritage Sites. For years it has been a symbol of power and grandeur. The Tower is located on London’s north bank, right by Tower Bridge (which is named after the Tower). Over its history the Tower has been the home to royals, as well as one of their favourite places to keep prisoners.
Today you can see the historic White Tower, a moat filled with Super Bloom flowers in the summer, and the Crown Jewels. This impenetrable fortress is one of London’s landmarks that you should not miss on your visit.
Getting to The Tower of London
You can reach this London World Heritage site using various modes of transport:
- Underground: Take the London Underground (Tube) to Tower Hill station, which is served by the District and Circle lines. From there, it’s a short walk to the Tower of London.
- Bus: Several bus routes, including 15, 42, 78, 100, and RV1, stop near the Tower of London.
- Riverboat: Consider taking a Thames Riverboat service to Tower Pier, which is situated adjacent to the Tower of London.
Westminster Abbey, Westminster Palace, and St. Margaret’s Church: Where Royalty Meets Government
Westminster Abbey, Westminster Palace, and St. Margaret’s Church, collectively a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Westminster Abbey, the coronation and burial site of British monarchs, is steeped in rich Royal history. Recently being the location for King Charles III’s coronation. Next to it, you’ll find Westminster Palace, also known as the Houses of Parliament, which is home to Britain’s parliament.
Meanwhile next to the Abbey is St. Margaret’s Church, which with its stunning architecture, offers solace and spirituality amidst the bustling city. Immerse yourself in the legacy of royalty and spot UK politicians whilst you’re at this site.
Getting to Westminster
Located in the heart of London, near the River Thames these London World Heritage Sites are easy to get to. Recommended transportation options include:
- Underground: The closest underground stations are Westminster (served by the Jubilee, District, and Circle lines) and St. James’s Park (served by the District and Circle lines). Both stations are within walking distance of the sites.
- Bus: Numerous bus routes pass through Westminster and nearby Victoria Street, providing easy access to the area.
- Walking: Given the central location, walking from nearby attractions or landmarks is a convenient option.
Maritime Greenwich: Where Time and Exploration Converge
Maritime Greenwich is a captivating London World Heritage Site situated on the banks of the River Thames. It’s home to the Royal Observatory, where the Prime Meridian (Greenwich Meridian) and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) were established. The luscious Greenwich Park, a tranquil haven, sets the stage for exploration and leisure.
This London World Heritage site is full of elegant architecture of the Old Royal Naval College where you can immerse yourself in the nautical heritage that made Greenwich a centre of maritime prowess. The area has many museums to visit including The National Maritime Museum, The Queen’s House, and more.
Getting to Greenwich
Maritime Greenwich is situated in southeast London, along the River Thames. The following transportation methods are suggested:
- Docklands Light Railway (DLR): Take the DLR to Cutty Sark station, which is located close to the main attractions in Greenwich, including the Royal Observatory and Greenwich Park.
- Train: Southeastern Railway operates services to Greenwich station, which is a short walk from the attractions.
- Riverboat: Consider taking a Thames Riverboat service to Greenwich Pier, which is located near the sites.
Kew Gardens: A Piece of Nature in the City
The final of London’s World Heritage Sites is the enchanting Royal Botanic Gardens, known as Kew Gardens. This verdant oasis in southwest London is not only a botanical marvel but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Treat yourself to a day spent in the serene beauty of meticulously curated gardens, where a plethora of plant species from around the world thrive. Admire the Victorian glasshouses, such as the Palm House and the Temperate House, perfect for a London photoshoot! Don’t miss taking a walk on the Treetop walk to get a unique view of the site!
Getting to Kew Gardens
Kew Gardens is located in southwest London. To reach the site, consider the following transportation options:
- Underground/Overground: Take the London Underground or Overground to Kew Gardens station. It is served by the District line (Tube) and the Overground network. The gardens are a short walk from the station.
- Bus: Various bus routes connect to Kew Gardens, including routes 65, 237, 267, and 391.
- Walking: If you’re in the nearby area or visiting other attractions, a pleasant walk through Kew or Richmond can lead you to the gardens.
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