5 Things that Make London Perfect for History Buffs
When you think of historically rich cities, London is probably already near the top of your list. In that case, this article probably won't teach you anything new, but the fact that London was so richly steeped in history and at the center of so many important events is one of the reasons it's my favorite city.
Just about every building and street corner in London has some sort of historical significance. You've got the Tower of London, the Globe Theater, Westminster Abbey, and the beautiful palaces all over the area.
So if London isn't already on your list of historical places to visit, here are 6 more reasons it should be.
It's a gateway to the rest of the world
I love to refer to London as a gateway to the rest of the world because if its rich culture, history, and ability to instill the travel bug in everyone who visits. A lot of people choose to visit England as one of their first adventures because it doesn't seem to foreign -- plus everyone speaks English, right?
That's kind of what London is: A thriving city that is just different enough from what someone is used to. For just about as long as it's existed, London has been a gateway to the rest of Europe; a center for major cultural and political events throughout history.
If you love history around the world, London is an excellent place to start. The English mastered colonization, and as a result there's a little bit of the whole world in London. You can learn something about every continent through the variety of museums and amount of information available in this ancient city. A visit to London will peak your interest in the rest of the world, and that's how the travel bug begins.
Look back on London's history and you'll realize that this city is a beast. Think about all the wars, plagues, fires and conflicts that have attacked London. And yet, the city still stands as strong as ever.
There's a reason that apocalyptic movies show London as one of the great cities to fall - because literally nothing has been able to take it down so far, so it's a big deal if London goes down. Even today with the recent terrorist attacks, the city is as tough and resilient as ever.
Walking around London is walking through a place that's seen it all. And now you're seeing it all, too. Call me a nerd, but I think that's pretty cool.
It's a center of culture resulting from a colorful history
As mentioned, London and England have reached into many parts of the world, but they also have maintained and cultivated a very particular culture of their own. They are strong, resilient people with a deep love of country due to their colorful and lengthy history of fighting off foreign invaders who also took a liking to London.
Even though the country has seen rulers from various different countries throughout the centuries, they've always remained resolutely English, and there's nowhere that's really more evident that London. When visiting the city you learn fairly quickly that there's room for everyone from any background, but there's also a certain way that things work. That's just how it is, and it's the result of hundreds of years of fighting to maintain their cultural identity.
History isn't just about buildings and monuments - it's really about people and what has happened in order to shape them into who they are today.
London loves its history, too
London is a city that is proud of its history and goes to great lengths to show you. The number of official historical sites in just this one city is staggering, and there are exhibits, monuments, plaques and signs galore to tell you about most of it.
Every place you visit will be more than happy to tell you about its significant history, and you can't help but but a little impressed by it all. The government has made a large effort to preserve every site in order to let others remember its significance, and it's impossible to avoid.
When you've seen as much and survived as much as this city has, you'd be pretty proud, too.
There's something to interest everyone
Whether it's the ancient Roman ruins, the glitz and glam of the palaces, or the wax figures at Madame Tussauds, there's bound to be something to interest everyone who comes to London. Each of these places has their own unique charm and a history to match.
It doesn't matter if you're interested in books and literature (me), war history, fashion, or jewelry - London has a history of it all and can teach you something about everything.
3 Unique Historical Things To See
Whether you're going for the sites or the sights, London has some little known places that are definitely worth finding if you're into the cool, quirky and historical side of things.
1. The Stone Nose of Admiralty Arch
The northernmost arch on Admiralty Arch - on the left if you look toward Trafalgar Square - has a life sized nose about halfway up the wall. There are a few others around the city, and the legend is that they were put there in the late 90s by an artist who wanted to protest the growth of the "nosy" CCTV cameras around London.
2. Apothecaries' Hall
This is London's oldest livery hall - it was built after the Great Fire and managed to survive the Blitz. There are only occasional tours and an open house in September, but if you get the chance to go in, there are some really...interesting things to see!
3. Ferryman's Seat
Not far from the Globe Theater on the south side of the Thames is a stone chair carved into the wall. It's the last ferryman's seat - the medieval version of a taxi driver - left. Nobody is sure how old this one is, exactly, but there's a cool plaque marking it and its significance as the last remnant of this ancient way of water travel.