London Architecture Vacations

London Architecture Vacations
The cosmopolitan city of London, England, offers exciting vacation opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts who wish to view famous architectural landmarks. You can see historic sites while pursuing your favorite outdoor activities. Two words are the magical key to unlock your London architectural vacation--Thames River (or, as the locals called it, River Thames). The 184 miles of walking trails along the river offer everything you need for a memorable vacation.

Walking to Westminster Abbey

The Gothic architecture of Westminster Abbey (Broad Sanctuary) is a fascinating sight within easy walking distance of the Thames River. Most English monarchs held their coronations in this cathedral. The abbey is the final resting place of many kings and queens, along with such notable people as Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, Rudyard Kipling, Isaac Newton and Laurence Olivier. If you're walking on the other side of the river from the church, cross the Westminster Bridge and turn left on Parliament Street. The Broad Sanctuary will be on your left; it's open every day for tourists except Sunday.
Westminster Abbey
Broad Sanctuary
London SW1P 3PA, England
011 (+44) 20 7222 5152 (remember to dial "00" instead of "011" when dialing outside the United States)
westminster-abbey.org

Bicycling to the Tower of London

Rent a bike and ride along the river to visit the infamous Tower of London, one of England's historic royal palaces. William the Conqueror started building the tower in the early 1080s. Visit the Medieval Palace, the Prisoners' exhibition and Tower Green, the execution place of many prisoners. Other special attractions include Henry VIII's armor and the 23,578 gems in the Crown Jewels. The complex features a restaurant, a café and kiosk, and a pastry and snack shop. The Tower of London is open every day except December 24 to 26 and January 1.
Tower of London
Tower Hill
London EC3N 4AB, England
011 (+44) 0871 602 1100
hrp.org.uk/toweroflondon

Boating

Choose between renting your own canoe, kayak or boat and taking a river cruise on the Thames. Many cruises are available; some stop at various places for you to do architectural sightseeing or shop. Try punting, which is using a pole to drive a flat-bottomed boat. Another type of boat is the pedalo, which turns a paddle wheel by pedaling. Whatever type boat you choose, you'll cruise past historic sites such as Somerset House, County Hall and the old City of London school for boys.

Lodging

Many lodging facilities are available along the Thames River. Camping is available at several sites on the walking trails. Bed and breakfasts, hotels and cottages flank the river if you prefer a room. For an all-inclusive vacation, try one of the luxury barge hotels. These floating hotels offer one-week cruises that have plenty of time for sightseeing. Amenities include all meals, wines and an open bar. Cabins feature private baths, central and floor heating, and TVs with DVD players (see Resources).

Article Written By Ellen Kendall

Ellen Kendall has 15 years of writing and editing experience. Her travel and insurance articles have appeared in national magazines. Her book contributions include biographies and multi-cultural and Holocaust lesson plans. She has previously served as a real estate broker and interior designer and taught ESL in Korea and at Duke.

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