Things to Do in Central London
The London Eye
The London Eye is said to be the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe standing at 135 metres (443 ft) tall and with a diameter of 120 metres (394 ft). It has been known under a few titles in its time, including the Millennium Wheel, London Eye, British Airways London Eye and now its official name is the EDF Energy London Eye after a 3 year sponsorship deal. The wheel is sited on the western end of the Jubilee Gardens on the South Bank of the River Thames, and was first opened on 31st December 1999 by Tony Blair, the prime minister at the time, although was not open to the public until 9th March 2000 due to a series of technical problems. The London Eye now attracts over 3.5 million people a year and is now a focal point of the New Year Celebrations in London, with fireworks being lit on the wheel itself.
Central London Parks
Central London has many beautiful parks and gardens and it is hard to pick out just one to mention so I am going to mention a few. Hampstead Heath is the largest open space in Central and Greater London and was once home to highwaymen! Today though it has amazing panoramic views of the city and is a safe multi-purpose green space. Hyde Park was once a hunting ground for Henry VIII and its key feature is the Serpentine Lake, home to water birds as well as used for recreational activity. It has a dedicated horse riding area and a Speakers Corner too. Kensington Gardens merges into Hyde Park but it has its own identity, with a formal sunken garden and a rectangular pond near Kensington Palace. Primrose Hill was once part of Regent’s Park its 62 acres on the top of the hill has panoramic views of Central London which are certainly not to be missed. Don’t forget your camera!
Tate Britain Art Gallery
Housed in the old Millbank Prison building, the Tate Britain Art Gallery opened in July 1897 under the name of the National Gallery of British Art, but became famously known as the Tate Gallery after its founder Sir Henry Tate. The gallery was renamed Tate Britain in March 2000 shortly before the Tate Modern was opened and has since been dedicated to the display of historical and contemporary British art only. There is a permanent display of historic British art and contemporary art and also individual rooms that are dedicated to works by an individual artist which are subject to rotation. The Turner prize exhibition is hosted at the Tate Britain annually and features four artists under the age of fifty which are selected by a jury. There are regular free tours through the gallery and also various talks on the paintings, artists and styles.