London (Southampton) is one of the most popular ports for cruise passengers in the U.K. London and Southampton are rich in history, culture, and entertainment, making them the perfect places to spend some time before or after your cruise.
Are you looking at upcoming cruise vacations in London? If so, read on to learn more about some of our top picks for things to do and places to visit in London before or after your Norwegian cruise vacation.
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Take a Tour of Scenic London
With such a rich history spanning hundreds of years, it's hard to see everything on a single-day visit. If your time in London is limited to a short stop before your flight home, consider the Scenic London (Ending at Heathrow Airport) excursion that will take you from your Norwegian cruise ship into Central London to see some of the most famous sights in the city. This includes the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Palace, Trafalgar Square, and St. Paul's Cathedral.
After a few hours of exploring the city, the driver will drop you at Heathrow Airport for your flight home.
Visit the Tower of London
The Tower of London is one of the must-see attractions for any first-time visitor. The Tower has served as a royal palace, a prison, and a fortress at various points in its existence. Today, it houses the Crown Jewels, a collection of priceless treasures of the royal family. These treasures include the Imperial State Crown, the Sovereign's Sceptre, and the Cullinan diamond, the largest cut diamond in the world.
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See the Changing of the Guards Ceremony
One of the most iconic things to do on a visit to London is to visit Buckingham Palace and see the Changing of the Guard ceremony. The Changing of the Guards, or the Guard Mounting, takes place every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday at 10:45 a.m. and lasts around 45 minutes. You'll want to arrive well in advance, though - especially if you want a good spot with a view through the palace fence.
Get a View of London From The London Eye
For some of the best views in London, take a 30-minute ride on the London Eye. The London Eye, or the Millennium Wheel, is a giant Ferris wheel that's unmissable. It's located on the South Bank of the River Thames, near the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The views from the London Eye are absolutely spectacular. Pick out some of London's most famous landmarks, such as Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul's Cathedral, and the Shard.
Relax in Hyde Park
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in London. The 350-acre park features large lawns, gardens, fountains, and several monuments and memorials, including the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. You can also rent a bike to ride through the park or take a boat ride on the Serpentine Lake in the park's center. On the western end of the park is Kensington Palace, where many of the younger royal families of the British monarchy live.
In addition to Hyde Park, there are many other parks in London where you can escape a bit from the big city of London. These include Regent's Park, Kew Gardens, and Greenwich Park, which houses the Royal Observatory, where the Prime Meridian is measured from.
Learn About Southampton's Rich Maritime History
If you're interested in maritime history, the Titanic Museum in Southampton is a must-see destination. Southampton was the departure port for the ill-fated ship, and many of the ship's passengers embarked from the town. The museum tells the story of the Titanic and its 2,240 passengers and crew. It also dives into the rich maritime history of Southampton.
Another museum dedicated to the maritime history of Southampton is the SeaCity Museum. The museum features interactive exhibits and displays, including a replica of the Titanic's first-class cabin and a virtual reality experience of the ship's sinking.
Visit Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey is one of the most important landmarks in the United Kingdom. The Abbey has been around for over a thousand years. It has been the site of the British monarch's coronation since the Norman Conquest in 1066. Sixteen royal weddings have taken place in the Abbey, and thousands of famous Britons are laid to rest here, including 30 kings and queens.
Marvel at Stonehenge
Stonehenge, located near both London and Southampton, is one of the most famous sights in the United Kingdom. The prehistoric monument, which has baffled historians for centuries, consists of a ring of massive stones that date back over 4,000 years. No one knows who built Stonehenge or why. Over the years, this has led to speculation and intrigue regarding its original purpose. On your Norwegian cruise, you can even visit Stonehenge as part of the Salisbury & Stonehenge (Ending in Central London) excursion.
Whether you're a history buff, a culture vulture, or are just looking to relax and have fun, London offers something for everyone. From iconic landmarks to beautiful parks and museums, endless exploration and adventure opportunities exist.
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