How many London landmarks and tourist attractions can you name that start with the Letter T? Blue Badge Tourist Guide Karen Dawson continues our Guide London A-Z video series and provides insights on the historical events, famous and not-so-famous landmarks in London starting with the Letter T.
London landmarks and tourist attractions that begin with the Letter T
Hello and welcome to the Guide London A-Z. My name is Karen Dawson. I’m a London Blue Badge Tourist Guide and I’ll be looking at some of London’s landmarks and tourist attractions beginning with the letter T.
Tower of London
First is the Tower of London. The most perfect Medieval castle in Britain and a Unesco World Heritage site. During its thousand-year history, it’s been a fortress, prison, and royal palace. Today it’s home to the Yeoman Warders – or Beefeaters – as well as the ravens. Superstition has it that if the ravens leave, the Tower will crumble and the kingdom will fall. One major reason to visit the Tower of London is to see the Crown jewels, including St Edward’s crown, used at the coronation, and the Star of Africa, the largest cut white diamond in the world.
Right next to the Tower is Tower Bridge. Designed by Horace Jones, it opened in 1894. Because river traffic needed to pass underneath, it’s a bascule bridge that allows the bridge to lift in the middle to let boats through. These days, the bridge lifts around 800 times a year. The high-level walkways were for people to walk across even when the bridge was raised. An experience you can have today if you’re happy to be 42 metres above the river.
Thames (including River Thames, Thames Tunnel & Thames Barrier)
Our next T is the Thames; the River Thames which has shaped London ever since the Romans arrived 2000 years ago. The river flows west to east, from its source in the Cotswold Hills to the North Sea. Over 200 bridges cross the Thames River and 17 tunnels go underneath, including the Thames Tunnel – the world’s first tunnel under a navigable river. It was designed by Marc Isambard Brunel and opened in 1843. You can find out more about this momentous achievement by visiting the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe. East of the Thames Tunnel is the Thames Barrier; a science-fiction-looking construction of silver pods which forms a major part of London’s flood defence system.
North of the river is Trafalgar Square, named after Admiral Lord Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. It is the largest of London’s central squares, home to some of its most recognisable landmarks including the National Gallery, the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, and Nelson’s Column. The square has been a destination for marches, rallies, and large events ever since it opened in 1844. The fountains were meant to make it difficult for crowds to gather but New Year’s Eve revellers will tell you this hasn’t worked. A notable feature is the fourth plinth. Since 1999, this has housed a series of contemporary art installations.
Tate Britain and Tate Modern
West of Trafalgar Square is Tate Britain, showing British art from the 1500s to the present day. The gallery opened in 1897 and is named after Sir Henry Tate who donated his private art collection to it. Notable items to see here are paintings by JMW Turner, works by the Pre-Raphaelites, and sculptures by Henry Moore. A short boat ride east is Tate Modern. This gallery opened in 2020 and is now one of the top three tourist attractions in the United Kingdom. Housed in a mid-20th century power station, with its awe-inspiring turbine hall, is international modern and contemporary art which you can see for free. Though be warned – some exhibits are specifically designed to provoke reaction, such as Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain.
Under T we also have Temple comprised of Inner Temple and Middle Temple; two of the Four Inns of Court where barristers – who represent people in court – both train and work. It’s a serene labyrinth of courtyards and gardens surrounded by historic buildings. Among them are Middle Temple Hall, where the first recorded performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night took place in 1602, and Temple Church, which featured in the film of The Da Vinci Code. Other movies have been filmed in Temple including Pirates of the Caribbean and Shakespeare in Love.
Our final T is the red telephone kiosk, which has been a familiar feature of London’s streets for nearly a hundred years. Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, who also designed Tate Modern’s power station building, it won a competition to become London’s public telephone box. The prototype can still be seen under the arch at the entrance to the Royal Academy on Piccadilly. It’s so fondly regarded by the British public, they regularly vote it one of the top 10 British design icons.
These are just some of the tourist attractions you can find in London which begins with the letter T. My name is Karen Dawson. Check out my profile at our website guidelondon.org.uk. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel and join us as we explore the A-Z of Guide London.