When a man Is tired of London he is tired of life, for there is in London all that Life can afford
Today, more than 250 years later, Johnsons words still ring true. There are few places that offer such a variety of sights, entertainments, world-famous museums and superb shopping.
There is much in London which fascinates visitors and inspires the affection of Londoners: the splendor of Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament, the dignity of St.Pauls Cathedral and Westminster Abbey.
So, ladies and gentleman! Welcome to our London sightseeing tour. London is situated in the south-east of England on the River Thames, where the Romans landed nearly 2000 years ago.It is 46 kilometres from the north to the south, and 58 kilometres from the east to the west. London is one of the most famous capital cities of the world and every year it attracts crowds of visitors from home and abroad. This city has got a population of about 8 million people. That is 13% of all Britains population. London really consists of 3 cities: the City of London, The City of Westminster, and the City of Southwark.
Today I invite you to see the city of Westminster, its commercial and business district. The area of the City is about a square mile. The “City” does not refer to the whole of central London but rather to a small area east of the centre, including the site of the original Roman town. The city of London is one of the major banking centres of the world and one can find the banks of many nations. Here can also be found : the Bank of England, the Stock Exchange, and Lloyds, the most famous insurance company of the world. Only 5000 people live in the city but more than a million come here to work.
We are in Trafalgar Square. It was named so in commemoration of the victorious naval battle of Trafalgar in 1805, in which Admiral Lord Nelson was fatally wounded. The Nelson Colomn was erected in the 1840s. As you see, on the top of the imposing colomn, a replica of one Corinthian colomns in the Temple of Mars at Rome, is a 17 feet-tall statue of Lord Nelson. The total hight of the monument is 184 feet. On the pedestal you can see bronze reliefs cast from a captured French cannon, representing Nelsons famous victories. The four bronze lions are the work of the English architect of Landseer.
On the north side of Trafalgar Square is the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. The National Gallery was built in 1824. It contains one of the finest collections of pictures in the world. There are more than 850 masterpieces of all European school of paintings.
During the rush hours, when people go to and from their work, it is hardly possible to cross the streets. At that time the quickest transport is Underground railway. All other traffic is slowed down by the crowds of people and all kinds of vehicles. Trafalgar Square is site of demonstrations and mass relies for piece, disarmament and for working peoples rights.
Now we are going to Buckingham Palace. The Palace was built by the Duke of Buckingham in 1705, hence, the name of the building. Originally it was not intended to become the Royal residence. For centuries Monarch lived first in Westminster Palace and then in St.James Palace. In 1762, George III bought the Palace from the Duke and presented it to his wife. And only in the 19th century, when Queen Victoria was on the throne, Buckingham Palace was turned into the residence of the Monarch. As a matter of fact, it serves two functions. It is a family home and the place where presidents, kings and politicians come to meet the Queen. Buckingham Palace is like a small town with its own police station, two post offices, a bar, two sports clubs, a disco, a cinema and a swimming pool. There are 600 rooms and 3 miles of red carpet. Every day at Buckingham Palace there is a famous ceremony the Changing of the Guard, at 11 p.m. Every day a new Guard of 30 guardsmen marches to the Palace and takes the place of the old guard. A large crowd of people gather to see this famous and traditional ceremony.
Today Buckingham Palace is a very busy place. Several hundreds of people help the Monarch to run the country. Lots of important meetings, ceremonies and receptions take place here. In front of the palace you see a monument this is The Victoria Memorial, the statue of Queen Victoria.
But lets speak about the building. First we see State rooms: they are furnished with the greatest treasure of the Royal collection paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer; sculpture by Canova and Chantrey; exquisite examples of porcelain; the finest English and French furniture in the world. Although Buckingham Palace is furnished and decorated with priceless works of art in the world today, it is not an art gallery. The state rooms are used regularly by the Monarch and members of the Royal Family for various official ceremonies.
And this is the Throne room. In it the Monarch receives all important visitors such as Heads of the foreign states. Actually this room is not used very often.
Now we are in the Ballroom that is 36m long, 18m wide and 13m high .It is the largest room in Buckingham Palace which was opened in 1856 with a ball to celebrate the end of the Crimean War. From the Ballroom we can go to the west Gallery decorated with amazing frescoes and paintings. The Gallery overlooks the gardens that surround the Palace. london sightseeing tour
We also must see the State Dining Room. Many distinguished people have dined in this room, including lots of presidents and prime ministers. A lot of banquets are held here throughout the year.
Our tour is not over yet. Now lets visit Westminster Abbey. The great glory of Westminster is, of course, the Abbey. Ancient tradition claims that St. Peter founded the first church here, but the Abbey's more than 900 years of existence since the dedication go back to Edward the Confessor. Henry III rebuilt the earlier church and the present building dates from his reign.
Westminster Abbey is the ancient church where a lot of kings and queens have been crowned and buried for nearly 1,000 years. The oldest part of the building dates back to the 18th century. The Chapel of King Henry VII was built in the 16th century.
There are 3,000 graves of statesmen, scientists, artists inside the Abbey. Some of the tombs are decorated with gold and precious stones.
Princess Diana, so much loved by almost of the peoples the world over, was buried in Westminster Abbey in 1997.
As the visitors of the Abbey, you are attracted to Poets' Corner, with its memorials to great men of letters. Many outstanding statesmen, painters, writers and poets are buried there. Among them are Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling and others. Chaucer, who is buried in the Abbey, is remembered here. So are Spenser, Dryden, Ben Jonson, and Milton. There are also memorials to Shakespeare, Burns, Byron, Walter Scott, Thackeray and to the American poet Longfellow. A full length statue of Shakespeare by Scheemakers was erected in 1741, and just opposite is a monument to the actor David Garrick. He is aptly1 shown parting the curtains. Dr Johnson is represented with a magnificent bust by Nollekens, and there is a remarkable rendering of Blake's life-mask by Epstein.
Nearly all English kings and queens have been crowned in Westminster Abbey.
If you have never visited the Abbey before, try to go it through slowly and look about carefully. For the immediate effect, as you follow the wonderfully vaulted roof along the length of the nave, is a startling and breathtaking beauty. There is an element of greatness here that is not just concerned with size and height.
Now we are driving down Whitehall. So lets stop at 10, Downing Street. It is the home of the Prime Minister. This building is 200 years old. But its interior has been brought up-to-date. It has got electric lights, central heating, and several bathrooms. But at the same time it is where the Cabinet meets. As you know nowadays the Prime Minister is Gordon Brown. From here you can see the Houses of Parliament.
The Palace of Westminster is nearly 1000 years old though it was reconstructed, enlarged and redesigned many times and today's palace dates mostly from the 19th century. For long period of time the Palace of Westminster was the home of Monarch. It was in 1512 that a great fire seriously damaged Palace and the king Henry VIII decided to leave it and move another palace. To St. James's Palace and then to Buckingham, but now we are talking about Westminster. Since the 16th centurу -the palace has served as the home of the British Parliament
So, this is where the House of Commons and the I house of Lords work. the British Parliament are here, all laws are passed and all important political and social questions are discussed in this building. This is where the Monarch of the UK reads her special speech to the Government and the nation once a year.
The Palace of Westminster, together with Victoria Tower and the Clock Tower - which houses the most famous clock in the world, Big Ben - form an unmistakable architectural complex. But the Towers and the Houses of Parliament are not only associated architecturally, but also in the democratic spirit that rules the political life developed in the House of Commons, for, if Parliament is sitting - British parliamentary debates constitute an exemplary political spectacle - the flag flies on top of Victoria Tower during the whole day. If the debates go on during the night - which quite often happens in the dynamic parliamentary life of Great Britain, especially if matters highly important for the nation are being discussed - a light burns above Big Ben