Discover the History of London and Its Most Historic Attractions
London is a city that has witnessed over 2,000 years of history, from its humble beginnings as a Roman settlement to its rise as a global metropolis. London is a city that offers a wealth of historic attractions, from ancient ruins and medieval castles to royal palaces and grand museums. Whether you are a history buff or a curious traveller, you will find something to fascinate and inspire you in London.
In this article, we will take you on a journey through the history of London and its most historic attractions. We will also give you some tips on how to get there from Hotel Indigo London Paddington, a boutique hotel near Paddington Station that offers a comfortable and convenient stay in the heart of the city.
Roman London (43 AD - 410 AD)
London was founded by the Romans in 43 AD, under the name of Londinium. It was a strategic location on the River Thames, which provided access to trade and transport. Londinium soon became a prosperous and populous city, with a port, a forum, a basilica, an amphitheatre, and a temple. However, it also faced several threats and disasters, such as the revolt of Boudica in 60 AD, which destroyed the city, and the invasions of the Saxons and the Vikings, which led to its decline and abandonment.
You can still see some of the remains of Roman London today, such as:
- The London Wall, which was built in the late 2nd century to protect the city from invaders. You can see sections of the wall at Tower Hill, Barbican, and the Museum of London.
- The London Mithraeum, which was a temple dedicated to the god Mithras, a popular cult among Roman soldiers and merchants. The temple was discovered in 1954 and has been restored and relocated to its original site at Bloomberg Space. You can see the temple and its artefacts, as well as an immersive light and sound installation that recreates the atmosphere of the ancient cult.
- The Roman Amphitheatre, which was a venue for gladiator fights, animal hunts, and public executions. The amphitheatre was discovered in 1988 and is now located beneath the Guildhall Art Gallery. You can see the remains of the arena and the entrance, as well as a projection that shows how it would have looked in its heyday.
Medieval London (1066 - 1485)
London was revived and rebuilt by the Normans after the conquest of 1066, which established William the Conqueror as the king of England. London became the political and economic centre of the kingdom, as well as the seat of the royal court and the church. London also witnessed some of the most dramatic events and developments of the medieval period, such as the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, the outbreak of the Black Death in 1348, the Peasants' Revolt in 1381, and the Wars of the Roses in the 15th century.
You can still see some of the landmarks and monuments of medieval London today, such as:
- The Tower of London, which was built by William the Conqueror as a fortress and a palace, and later served as a prison, a treasury, a mint, and a zoo. The Tower is one of the most iconic and historic sites in London, and is home to the Crown Jewels, the Yeoman Warders, and the ravens. You can explore the Tower and its history, as well as see the exhibitions and events that take place throughout the year.
- Westminster Abbey, which was founded by Edward the Confessor in 1065 as a Benedictine monastery and a royal church. Westminster Abbey is the coronation and burial site of many kings and queens, as well as the resting place of many famous figures from history, literature, science, and art. You can admire the Gothic architecture and the stained glass windows, as well as see the tombs and memorials of the Abbey.
- The Old Palace of Westminster, which was the main residence and parliament of the kings and queens of England until a fire destroyed it in 1834. The only surviving parts of the Old Palace are Westminster Hall, which dates back to 1097 and is the oldest building in Parliament, and the Jewel Tower, which was built in 1365 to store the royal treasures. You can visit both of these historic buildings and learn about their history and significance.
Tudor and Stuart London (1485 - 1714)
London flourished and expanded under the Tudor and Stuart dynasties, which ruled England from 1485 to 1714. London became a cultural and intellectual hub, as well as a centre of trade and exploration. London also experienced some of the most turbulent and transformative times in its history, such as the Reformation, the English Civil War, the Great Plague, and the Great Fire.
You can still see some of the traces and influences of Tudor and Stuart London today, such as:
- Hampton Court Palace, which was the favourite residence of Henry VIII and his six wives, as well as Elizabeth I and James I. Hampton Court Palace is a magnificent example of Tudor and Baroque architecture, and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and a maze. You can tour the palace and its rooms, as well as see the exhibitions and events that take place throughout the year.
- Shakespeare's Globe, which is a reconstruction of the original theatre where William Shakespeare and his company performed many of his plays. Shakespeare's Globe is a faithful replica of the 16th-century theatre, and is located on the south bank of the Thames, near the site of the original. You can watch a performance of Shakespeare's plays, as well as see the exhibitions and tours that take place at the Globe.
- St Paul's Cathedral, which was built by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of 1666 destroyed the previous cathedral. St Paul's Cathedral is one of the most iconic and impressive buildings in London, and is famous for its dome, which is the second largest in the world. You can climb to the top of the dome and enjoy the views of the city, as well as see the tombs and memorials of the cathedral.
Georgian and Victorian London (1714 - 1901)
London grew and changed dramatically under the Georgian and Victorian eras, which spanned from 1714 to 1901. London became the largest and most powerful city in the world, as well as the capital of the British Empire. London also witnessed the Industrial Revolution, which brought social and economic changes, as well as new inventions and innovations. London also faced some of the challenges and problems of urbanisation, such as poverty, crime, pollution, and overcrowding.
You can still see some of the aspects and achievements of Georgian and Victorian London today, such as:
- Buckingham Palace, which was originally a townhouse built by John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, in 1703, and was acquired by George III in 1761 as a private residence for his wife, Queen Charlotte. Buckingham Palace became the official royal residence in 1837, when Queen Victoria moved in. Buckingham Palace is still the home and office of the monarch, and is one of the most famous and visited attractions in London. You can see the Changing of the Guard ceremony, as well as tour the State Rooms and the gardens of the palace.
- The British Museum, which was founded in 1753 by Sir Hans Sloane, a physician and collector, who donated his collection of books, manuscripts, and natural specimens to the nation. The British Museum is one of the world's largest and most comprehensive museums of history and culture, with over 8 million objects from all continents and periods. You can see some of the most famous and important items in the collection, such as the Rosetta Stone, the Parthenon Sculptures, and the Sutton Hoo Helmet.
- The London Underground, which was the world's first underground railway, and opened in 1863. The London Underground, or the Tube, is still one of the most efficient and convenient ways to get around the city, and has 11 lines and 270 stations. You can travel on the Tube and see some of the historic and modern stations, as well as visit the London Transport Museum, which tells the story of the city's public transport system.
Modern London (1901 - present)
London entered the 20th century as the capital of the world, but also faced some of the most difficult and devastating times in its history, such as the two World Wars, the Blitz, and the terrorist attacks. London also witnessed some of the most significant and positive events and developments of the modern era, such as the Suffragette movement, the Swinging Sixties, the multiculturalism, and the Olympics. London is still one of the most influential and diverse cities in the world, and is constantly evolving and adapting to the challenges and opportunities of the present and the future.
You can still see some of the landmarks and symbols of modern London today, such as:
- The Houses of Parliament, which are the seat of the UK Parliament and the symbol of British democracy. The Houses of Parliament, or the Palace of Westminster, are a Gothic Revival masterpiece, designed by Charles Barry and Augustus Pugin, and completed in 1870. The Houses of Parliament are famous for their clock tower, known as Big Ben, which is one of the most recognisable and iconic landmarks in London. You can visit the Houses of Parliament and see the chambers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, as well as the Westminster Hall and the Central Lobby.
- The London Eye, which is a giant Ferris wheel that offers panoramic views of the city.
You can stay at Hotel Indigo London Paddington, a boutique hotel near Paddington Station that offers a comfortable and convenient stay in the heart of the city. The hotel reflects the local history and culture of Paddington with its design, artwork, and murals. The hotel has 64 designer bedrooms, a fitness centre, a meeting room, and a Bella Italia restaurant. Book your stay today and enjoy the best of London.Book Now