Architectural Landmarks in London
Culture

Exploring The Iconic Architectural Landmarks in London: A Guide to Landmarks:

9 Mins read

London is covered with various iconic architectural landmarks that range from centuries-old buildings to monuments, and more. These destinations make this capital a world-class city and a fantastic tourist attraction point.  Whether you are a local or a first-time visitor, these architectural landmarks of London have something enthralling to visit. These London landmarks tell about London’s past but also serve as beacons of London’s present and future. 

So, if you want to explore some of the best architecture in London then this article is for you. Here, in this guide, we are going to put together  London’s best iconic landmarks including their significance, charm, and the experiences they offer to visitors. 

So, get ready to explore some of London’s renowned landmarks.

A. Historical Landmarks: 

1. Tower of London:

Tower of London
Image- Me Cambridge

The Tower of London is one of the most iconic landmarks that has not just been in the background but at the forefront of some of London’s historic events. It was built in 1078 by William Conqueror, it has served as a Royal residence, a treasury, a strategic defensive fortress, and the most infamous prison in London. It is also the place where Queen Elizabeth witnessed her darkest days, imprisoned by her arch-rival prior to aiming to become history’s most famous monarch. 

Architecture Style: The Tower of London is a late 11th-century innovation of Norman military architecture. 

Features:  

  • a distinct lack of torture and imprisonment that is good news for the tourists.
  •  some age-old traditions still survive.
  • The Tower’s famous ravens travel freely across the ground as well as the skies,
  • The ravens only respond to the man having the greatest job title in the world, the Ravenmaster. 
  • The Yeoman Warders are still a famous sight,  the main attraction is the Crown Jewels.
  • Crown Jewels is one of the most powerful symbols of the British Monarchy.

Address: London EC3N 4AB

2. Buckingham Palace:

Buckingham Palace
Image- Pavel

Buckingham Palace is a true London gem and one of the most famous buildings in the world. It has a relationship with the Royal family, it is been officially a London-based residence of the British Monarch since 1837. Millions of visitors hop to the palace’s gate to get a glimpse of the Royal life. The knighthood ceremonies have taken place in Buckingham Palace’s ballroom for almost two centuries. 

The most impressive visual icon that provides Buckingham palace its identity as one of the famous London landmarks is the Victoria Memorial. Victoria Memorial is located outside of Buckingham Palace’s gate. 

Notable architectural elements:

The giant marble and bronze sculpture is designed to remember the first royal who took Buckingham Palace as her official residence. It is one of the most charming London buildings in all of the city.

Changing the Guard Ceremony: 

Visitors can have a glimpse of the famous of Guard ceremony, In the colorful spectacles the Red and Black Queen’s Guards change their positions. Watching these legendary guards in action is a famous tourist attraction

  • Address: London SW1A 1AA

B. Gothic Marvels:

1. Westminster Abbey:

Westminster Abbey
Image- Gizzy

The Westminster Abbey is one of the great architecture in London, and it bears the history of long back that is 960-970 AD. It is well-known for its spectacular Gothic architecture, and it is as similar as the Westminster Palace. This architectural building is the resting place for some of the high-profile figures of the last ten centuries. Most of England’s monarchs such as Elizabeth 1 were entombed here. 

Religious and historical significance: It is not just Monarchs though, various literal figures such as Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, and Alfred Tennyson, all were either buried or commemorated at this place. On the top of the Abbey, there is stunning architecture that makes this building one of the top landmarks in London. So, if you are interested in gathering more knowledge about fascinating historical figures or want to experience watching this beautiful architecture then it is a must-visit place for you.

Gothic Architectural highlights:

Various visitors come to Westminster Abbey to pay their homage to their favorite writer, poet, and artist, while others just come and watch this stunning Gothic architectural building. Visitors flock to marvel at Westminster Abbey’s gothic architectural design including the magnificent pipe organ, and its fan-valued ceilings. 
So, if you want to experience a fantastic historical architectural landmark in London during your visit, then Westminster Abbey is a must-visit place for you.

  • Address: Dean’s yard, London SW1P 3PA

2. St. Paul’s Cathedral:

St. Paul's Cathedral
Image- Lorna

St. Paul’s Cathedral is another of London’s recognizable landmarks, it is located in a location dating back to around 604AD. This iconic cathedral has been a significant part of the London skyline for over 300 years. It was the tallest building in London since it was completed in 1710 until 1967. To date, it remains such an important architectural landmark in London that views of it are protected from many areas of the city.

Dome and other unique features:

  • You can walk around the perimeter of this spectacular church
  • It allows you to marvel at its impressive interior as well as its grandeur.
  • You can also visit its inside to explore the depths of St. Paul’s.
  • While inside this huge building, you can climb up 528 steps to reach the top of the Dome and can click panoramic views of it. 

Sir Christopher Wren’s masterpiece:

You can also discover the crypt where various notable people including Christopher Wren, The Duke of Wellington, and Admiral Nelson are taking rest.

  • Address: St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8AD

C. Modern and Contemporary Icons:

1. The Shard:

The Shard
Image- Gary Homer

With an impressive 95 stories, The Shard is one of the best architecture in London and a prominent landmark on the city’s skylines. This building is 310m high and it is the tallest architecture in Western Europe and offers breathtaking views of London. It was opened in 2013 and since that time its distinct shape and its spectacular architectural design made it one of the most recognizable buildings in London. This building offers 360-degree panoramic views of the city’s landscape.

Towering symbol and modern London: 

The Shard is the second tallest free-standing structure in the UK, Shard is not simply a towering symbol of modern London but also represents a new approach to expanding the modern London landscape.

Architectural design and distinctive features:

  • The Shard was designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano
  • It imitates a flake of glass that represents London’s world-class status.
  • Shard is a spectacular building that is used in multiple ways including where people can live, work, and rest.
  • It comprises world-class offices, exclusive residences, award-winning restaurants, and more. 


So, plan to visit this amazing architecture in London to have a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view of the capital.

  • Address: 32 London Bridge St, London SE1 9SG

2. Gherkin (30 St. Mary Axe):

Gherkin (30 St. Mary Axe)
Image- Elena Myshevych

The Gherkin, formally 30 St Mary Axe, and it was previously known as Swiss Re Building is a commercial skyscraper in the city of London. This London building was completed in 2003 and opened its doors for visitors in 2004. This building has 41 floors, and it is 180 meters tall. It stands on the former sites of Baltic Exchange and Chamber of Shipping and these were damaged in 1992 by a bomb explosion in St Mary Axe. From the name of the street, this building has taken its name.

Unique Shape and Impact on London’s skyline:

This London architecture is uniquely shaped and dotting the London skyline with its shape. The Gherkin is the most interesting building in the city of London. So, you can take a top-sight tour of this snack-shaped building to explore some fun facts about this London landmark.

Sustainable Architecture and Design:

The Gherkin architecture is constructed with more than 35km of steel. The Gherkin is curved and elongated, and the shaft with a round end that is similar to a stretched egg. The outside of this building is covered uniquely with glass panels and it is rounded off at the corners. 

  • Address: 30 St Mary Axe, London EC3A 8BF

D. Riverside Gems:

1. Tower Bridge:

Tower Bridge
Image- Sven Hansen

 The Tower Bridge is one of the fantastic architectural landmarks in London. Although it is one of the most famous bridges in England, still it is often referred to as London Bridge. It was constructed between 1886 and 1894. Since then it has become one of the prominent landmarks in the city. Today this bridge is essential to cross over the River Thames and more than 40,000 people cross Tower Bridge every day. 

Architectural Design and Engineering Marvel:

The Tower Bridge was built in the Neo-Gothic style, and Queen The London Bridge boasts of Victorian style of architecture and engineering. This walkway allows people to cross the Thames. It is an excellent example of Victorian engineering.

Historical significance and notable features:

By the 1870s around a million people lived east of Tower Bridge, so getting across it could take hours. To initiate the Thames River crossing easier, the need to build this bridge came out.  And it was completed in 1894.

  • The bridge is about 240 meters in length and offers an opening of 76 meters wide.
  • Tower Bridge’s twin towers rise 61 meters above the River Thames. 

So, while visiting London, just experience this iconic London architecture and surrounding panoramic view of it as well. 

  • Address: Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP

2. The Tate Modern:

The Tate Modern
Image- Wikipedia

The Tate Modern is an iconic art gallery situated in London. Here you can see the United Kingdom’s national collection of International modern and contemporary art, paintings, and any hand-made world-class designs.  The Tate Modern is one of the largest museums of contemporary and modern art in the globe. There is no admission charges are applied to access the collection displayed. But, if you want to experience major temporary exhibitions then tickets are essential.

Transformation of a power station into an art museum:

The Tate Modern museum was constructed in 1947 as Bankside Electric Station. Bankside Electric Station was located on the South bank of the River Thames. Sir Giles Gilbert Scott was the power plant architect and he used art Deco details on the facade. However, the power plant stopped its production in 1981. This power station was closed until 1995 and then Herzog & de Meuron won the structure to re-functioning it.

Unique Architectural Elements and Contemporary Exhibits:

As designed by Giles Gilbert Scott, the power station was organized in three parallel spaces, and each of them functioned for a specific job. The building was built in the inspiring contemporary architectural style of the 21st Century. Architect Sidney R.J. Smith designed this London architecture in a Neo-Classical style. 

  • Address: Bankside, London SE1 9TG

E. Lesser-known Landmarks:

1. Leadenhall Market:

Leadenhall Market
Image- leadenhallmarket. co. uk

Leadenhall Market is an airy, buzzy, and beautiful market located at the heart of the city. It boasts a unique collection of shops, boutiques, restaurants, bars, and more. It is a true hidden gem of London that is covered with rich heritage and fantastic architecture dating back to the 14th century. So, if you are planning to visit London, just grab this ideal spot for shopping, drinking, and dining at the heart of the city of London.

Historical origins and architectural style:

The actual Leadenhall market was designed by John Croxton in 1449. At that time, it was one of the best markets in London to buy meat, eggs, fish, poultry, game, grain, and more. But later it became the hub of wool, leather, cheese, and more. The double-height entrance is flanked by tall, and the Portland stone blocks and narrow gabled red bricks were used to make this 17th-century Dutch style. 

Iconic filming Location and Vibrant atmosphere:

Leadenhall market is one of the great choices as a filming location and various cinematic marvels have been seen including Spy, Tinker, Tailor, Lara Croft, Soldier, Hereafter Love Aaj Kal, and more. 

  • Address: Gracechurch St, London EC3V 1LT

2. The Royal Observatory Greenwich:

The Royal Observatory Greenwich
Image- Alexander Sochos

Since the 19th century, The Royal Observatory Greenwich has been considered as the historic source of the Prime Meridian of the world. Its longitude is 0degree 0 Minute 0 Second. It divides the eastern and western hemispheres of the earth. Before that, every city in the world worked according to their local time. There were no national or international conventions to set to measure the international time. However, The Royal Observatory Greenwich was chosen to be the Prime Meridian in 1884. 

History of Scientific Discover and Timekeeping

As Europeans began to explore the world and trade with different countries, accuracy to aid navigation, and timekeeping was needed. Also, the steps to measure the Longitude took place at that point.  It was the conundrum that led to the foundation of The Royal Observatory Greenwich. 

Architectural Treasures and the Prime Meridian:

The Royal Observatory Greenwich is one of the most famous architecture in London as it is the home of the Prime Meridian. The Royal Observatory was constructed by King Charles II in 1675 and the architecture was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. This architecture plays a huge role in the history of astronomy and navigation. From this iconic London landmark, the stars were precisely mapped by the great scientists. 

So, get ready to experience this stunning London building about what you might have learned in school or college. 

  • Address: Blackheath Ave, London SE10 8XJ

Conclusion:

London is truly a treasure trove when it comes to stunning architectural landmarks. There is no doubt that the city is surrounded by so many beautiful buildings with interesting histories to discover. From modern glass-made buildings to ancient architectural marvels, there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a frequent traveler, there is always something for you to discover in your trip.  Hope, you have just enjoyed reading our guide to exploring the iconic architectural landmarks in London. so, just book your London tickets today and experience the city from a new perspective.

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Niki Goraai's dedication to her craft, coupled with her passion for all things fashion, beauty, and lifestyle, continues to captivate and inspire her audience, making her a leading authority in the UK's vibrant fashion and lifestyle scene.
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