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There are 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in London which are

  1. Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey including Saint Margaret’s Church
  2. The Tower of London
  3. Maritime Greenwich
  4. Kew Gardens

It is possible to see all of these in a weekend though it would be quite rushed. We managed to visit 3 and returned at a later date in summer to visit Kew Gardens.

This is our weekend itinerary in London which started at The Tower of London followed by an overnight stay in Greenwich before a visit to the Palace of Westminster the following day.


The Tower of London


The Tower of London A weekend visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites in London

Notorious as the site of the beheading of Anne Boleyn amongst many others this is a must visit for anyone visiting London. The Tower was built by William the Conqueror to protect his base in London. The White Tower at its heart was built from 1078.

Prisoners were kept at the Tower and brought in through the Water Gate (known as Traitor’s Gate) and include Thomas More, Anne Boleyn and Elizabeth 1.

The Tower of London oozes history in every brick – it is a magnificent structure overseen by Beefeaters and its famous ravens. Tradition states that if the ravens were ever to leave the White Tower would crumble and England would head for disaster. And that was even before Brexit.

The Crown Jewels are also kept at the Tower and are definitely worth a visit – the size of the diamonds are astonishing.

We spent hours wandering around – we did follow a Beefeater’s tour which was very informative, interesting and funny so I would recommend you attach yourself to a (free) tour.

TIP – You can take some fabulous shots of Tower Bridge from the Tower of London!


NEED TO KNOW


I bought tickets on-line before the day which makes things quicker (think queues!). Tickets cost £25 per adult at the gate but are slightly cheaper if you buy on-line (£23.10). These prices are correct as of summer 2018. Official website is The Tower of London.

There is a café within the grounds which we stopped at for a cuppa – we did think that it was quite pricey though! Take your own sandwiches if you are on a budget!

Tip! Head for Tower Hill by tube as this is the nearest tube station. Do not get confused by London Bridge – this is a very different bridge to Tower Bridge which is next to the Tower of London!

 


TRAVELLING TO MARITIME GREENWICH FROM THE TOWER OF LONDON


After a lovely day at the Tower and having acquired sore feet we had to get to Greenwich where we had booked overnight accommodation. Luckily you can catch the MBNA Thames clipper from just outside the Tower of London directly to Greenwich (and for the next day there was a service from Greenwich to the London Eye – conveniently located near our final destination of the weekend!)

Clipper going by

The clipper service is fantastic and a great way to get around if your destinations are along the banks of the Thames. The costs are calculated in zones and if you have an Oyster Card are slightly reduced. The best way to plan is to use their website Thames Clippers and work out if the clippers are the best way to get around. For us they were perfect and we thoroughly enjoyed both trips!


WHAT IS THERE TO SEE AT MARITIME GREENWICH


I always loved Greenwich when I lived in London. It has a great history and is a lovely part of London to visit. My aim was to stand on the Prime Meridian with a foot in the eastern and western hemispheres! Greenwich is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Queen’s House designed by Inigo Jones is the first true Renaissance building in Britain. Today it houses the National Maritime Museum.

the Queen's house

There is other architecture of note in Greenwich namely what was the Royal Naval College. These buildings in the Baroque style were designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

The Royal Observatory was designed by Wren and a scientist named Robert Hooke. And is on top of a hill! Great views when you get to the top though! Note the red ball on the building. This is the famous time-ball which indicates GMT every day at 1pm when it drops!

Old Royal Observatory Visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites in London

We stayed in Greenwich in a rather quirky B&B called St Alfeges which we thoroughly enjoyed and had a lovely meal at Bill’s restaurant that evening. Greenwich itself is lovely for a stroll as there are so many beautiful buildings! And the sunset was rather pretty over London too!

If you want to stay in Greenwich overnight and want something quirky and very English (which I would highly recommend) you can book to stay at the lovely B&B St Alfeges here.

There are lots of museums in Greenwich and also the Cutty Sark to visit! The Cutty Sark can’t be missed as it dominates the skyline when you sail into Greenwich. It is the world’s sole surviving tea clipper and is an impressive sight.

We had a lovely stroll up the hill to the Old Royal Observatory and a walk around the museum. It costs £9.50 for adults  to enter the museum. You can buy combined tickets with other sites in the area included (Cutty Sark/Planetarium as well as discounted travel on the clippers – see here for more info!

 

READ MORE
15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK to visit

 


WESTMINSTER ABBEY


Our last port of call was a visit to Westminster Abbey. I have visited many times before – the Houses of parliament and Big Ben are always great to see and nearby so you can see some of the great tourist attractions of London too.

The London Eye is also over Westminster Bridge on the other side of the Thames.

Read more about the Palace of Westminster  and Westminster Abbey including St Margarets Church. 

If you are planning a few days in London where would you have to go? What would be your top 3 must-sees/do’s in London? This photo essay of London may provide you with lots of inspiration too!

READ MORE
Visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew London

 


UNESCO

If you are interested in finding out more about UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the ones in this post – A weekend in London – these are the links!

The Tower of London

Westminster Abbey

Greenwich


PIN – A weekend visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites in London


a weekend in London

READ MORE
UNESCO World Heritage Sites Around the World
READ MORE
4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Northern England to visit
READ MORE
15 amazing UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Europe to visit


 

Author: Tracy

Over the last 50 years I have lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to many more. I enjoy exploring and learning about new places and meeting people on my travels. History, reading, photography, nature and wildlife are my interests and I am ALWAYS researching and planning my next trip (preferably by train)

With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, I share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help YOU travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Come and join me as I travel the world one country (and train journey) at a time!

This post may contain compensated links. Please read our disclaimer for additional information. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

35 thoughts on “A weekend visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites in London

    • Tracy Collins says:

      We love London and will often just go for the day but is was a real treat to stay for the weekend – especially in Greenwich which is so lovely. We are planning what to do on our next visit though it will probably just be a day trip next time.

    • Tracy Collins says:

      I am taking part in a UNESCO challenge to see as many of the UK sites this year – really enjoyed the weekend in London. Have to get to Kew Gardens soon as it was one we did’t fit in that weekend!

  1. Cindy says:

    What a fun weekend! I love visiting Greenwich, so much to see there. I’m looking forward to going to the Orchids Festival soon at Kew Gardens – really enjoyed it last year. #CityTripping

  2. Jonny (daisythebus) says:

    It’s a great idea to use UNESCO sites as the basis for a trip or long weekend. I like the look of Greenwich best of all; with four kids in tow, battling the tourist crowds at the Tower and Westminster may be too stressful to enjoy them properly. #CityTripping

  3. Hilary says:

    The Tower of London is my favorite spot in all of London! I’ve been 5 times! Always something new to discover and so much history! I’m hoping to find my way to Greenwich on our next trip… #citytripping

  4. Elizabeth (Wander Mum) says:

    Great idea to focus on the UNESCO sights! I haven’t been to the Tower of London since I was a child so need to go again with my daughter. Need to revisit Greenwich too, didn’t realise it was UNESCO heritage site! Thanks for the inspiration. Looks like a great weekend. Thanks for linking #citytripping

  5. ItalianBelly says:

    This is the second post I am reading about London and I am seriously considering a visit. I’ve been living in Italy for 8 years and STILL have not been to London. It’s unbelievable. I also watched a Netflix documentary on the Great Castles of England and it included the Tower of London, so , I would absolutely love to have a guided tour. #citytripping

  6. Cathy (Mummytravels) says:

    I think you’ve picked three of my favourite places to go in London – I am overdue a visit to the Tower again and Westminster Abbey. The boat is definitely the most fun way to get to Greenwich too – it’s easy to spend a day alone there! Hope you enjoy Kew, they always seem to have great exhibition and there’s always something to explore there. #citytripping

  7. Clare Hodson-Walker says:

    Fab article! I’ve never been to Greenwich, and always wanted to explore, somam going to use this as a guide for my next visit to the capital.

  8. Janine Good says:

    London is one of my favourite cities on earth! I lived in England for 2 years and went down to London frequently to enjoy the sites both popular and unusual 🙂 I love the Tower Bridge. It is so iconic and looks amazing in your photos 🙂 #flyawayfriday

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