London is a one-of-a-kind place; its buildings are iconic, famous landmarks known worldwide by millions; London truly is a unique location for buildings and architecture. When most people think of London, they think of its iconic buildings. From Big Ben to Buckingham Palace, these buildings have become synonymous with the city.
This blog post will look at some of London’s most famous landmarks and how they became iconic. We’ll also explore lesser-known attractions worth checking out if you’re ever in town. London is a vast space, and there are so many different buildings for you to gaze at and take in around the city, some of which are famous for their structural appearance, others for the purpose they have been built.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
Words used to describe this iconic building are usually momentous, awe-inspiring and dramatic, taking no prisoners across the London landscape; you cannot visit the city without taking in this breathtaking building. The spire of the building climbs to a height of 1016 feet, and it has been built to integrate its very own internal city! It truly is one of the most iconic buildings London has seen in its time.
Completed back in 2012, The Shard is very new to the London city skyline. Still, in a short time, it has made its way to being one of the most famous buildings in the city, with the architect Renzo Piano saying it is down to how accessible the building is and its transparency.
One of the best features of this stunning building is that from the top, you can see a massive 40 miles in the 360-degree viewing platform. This is based on it being a clear day.
The oldest building in London, St Paul’s Cathedral, held the highest point on the skyline for three decades! With one of the most famous domes on any building in London, you can spot St. Paul’s Cathedral as soon as it reaches your eye line. The cathedral was finished on Christmas day in 1711; since then, it has been a national treasure of the country; many people love it for many different reasons.
One of the most impressive features of this stunning building is the Whispering Gallery, which sits halfway up the stairs to the dome, with only a short 528 steps to climb before you can reach the gallery; this room is a feat of architectural genius. You can stand and hear the hushed tones of people speaking from the other side of the room; this all comes from how the building has been designed.
Once you have climbed the never-ending flights of stairs to the top, you can also descent down into the crypt, which holds the title of being the largest crypt in Western Europe, down there you can visit the tombs of Lord Nelson along with the Duke of Wellington, some of the most famous people in British history.
It truly is a building of architectural genius.
This building has some of the city’s darkest history attached to it; it is also the oldest building fully intact. The building had its prominent white aspects built by order of William the Conqueror; he wanted this building to be one of the most formidable fortresses in the city, and the architecture that had to go into this project would have been complicated.
Over the years, this stunning feat of architecture has served many purposes; royal household, prison, zoo and now is the home to the crown jewels; when it was a zoo in the 13th century, it housed animals such as polar bears, elephants and lions! These were gifts from the monarchy. It then transformed into the prison and dungeon home to the infamous Guy Fawkes and Anne Boleyn.
Today you will find some traditions still going strong; one of the main ones is the Ceremony of The Keys, which is the ritual of locking up the tower every evening. At the time of this publication, there currently need to be available dates for tourists to visit and enjoy this spectacle; they are released at the beginning of each month for the following year.
Everyone who has been to the British Museum loves it; it was the world’s first public museum that became free, allowing people from all walks of life to visit its halls and take in the breathtaking history it houses. The British Museum opened its doors in 1753; it is an impressive Greek revivalist building with colonnades that allude to the impressive 8 million objects spread throughout its walls.
The museum is famous for its Great Courtyard, the most significant covered public space in Europe; the sheer architectural genius that went into making this possible is second to none. The glass roof encompasses the entire courtyard and has its famous reading room right in the middle.
If you want to visit the museum, we recommend you go; it truly is one of the best buildings in London due to its architectural prowess.
Believe it or not, but our own Houses of Parliament is one of the finest portrayals of Gothic Revivalist architecture not only in our country but across the world, built in the 19th Century by architect Sir Charles Barry, but the brains behind the entire project was a man called Augustus Pugin.
At the young age of 23, Barry decided to employ the mind of Pugin to help design and create the most impressive Gothic building, with ornate detailing on the gilt-work, carvings and designs that are simply second to none litter the building; everywhere you look you will get a different design element thrown at you.
Another incredible fact about this building is that it has been bombed 12 times, all within the space of one night back in World War 2; the Chamber of the House of Commons was destroyed at this time. A complete redesign was carried out in 1941 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, famous for building Battersea Power Station, meaning the Houses of Parliament has several architectural stamps.
Whilst we have been looking at Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, let’s visit some of his other works, with the Bankside B Power Station being a complete beacon of modernity; it was constructed in the 1940s and was the first oil-fired power station in Britain. The chimney dominated the London skyline for several years and still does to this day; the only notable thing about this building is that the chimney had a restricted height of 99m; this was so it did not overshadow its neighbour, St Paul’s Cathedral.
The power station was shut down in the early 1980s, from here a couple of unknown architects rescued the abandoned power station called Herzog & De Meuron; they won a competition to transform the building from a crumbling mess and bring it back to life, and this was when the Tate Modern was born.
Now one of the most visited art galleries in the world, this building has given an entire lease of life to the South Bank area; the architecture of the building has been kept along the lines of the original focus; it is quite the building to visit in London.
If you have visited London, you will have seen The Gherkin; without a doubt, this formly highly ridiculed building is now a staple on the skyline in London; designed by Norman Foster, the famous bullet-shaped building is one of the great contemporary skyscrapers in the city.
It stands at a whopping 180m; it is three times the height of Niagra Falls, and the glass glitters in the midday sun; it is awed by tourists and City livers alike, but it is worth keeping in mind, it is a scaled-down version of what Foster wanted with his original designs, which were turned down multiple times before he was granted the current design you see today.
Officially the building is called 30 St Marys Axe. However, it is rarely referred to by this name; nearly everyone calls it The Gherkin; it is a building that you should, without a doubt, visit, especially if you are interested in Architecture.
London is home to some of the most iconic buildings in the world. From Big Ben and Buckingham Palace to St. Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge, these landmarks are a must-see for any visitor to the city.
If you’re planning a trip to London – or just want to admire these architectural masterpieces from afar – we recommend checking out our complete list of iconic London buildings right here! Our team are North London architects who love the London skyline, and we want you to fall in love with it too.
Contact Detailed Planning today for more information on how we can help make your property dreams come true; we have worked with clients across North London for several years. Whether you are looking for a commercial domestic property design or loft conversion in North London, South London, East London, or West London, our team are the one to call. Simply speak to our team today to find out more!