Rich in myth, legend, lore and history the United Kingdom captures and draws in hundreds upon thousands of tourists every year weather it be to see the renowned British Museum which is dedicated to Art, Culture and History or The Tower of London which has seen the deaths of not one but two of England's monarchs this tiny island nation draws us in. In this article we will look at some of the top and most visited of England's tourist attractions and see why each hold the captivating power that they do.
The Allures of the Queen's Country
The British Museum
The British Museum, located in the heart of London, saw some 68,20,686 people in 2015 and boasts of 8 million works that originates from every continent and brilliantly displays the history of our race on its walls. Built in 1753 it originally consisted of the collections of physician and scientist, Sir Hans Sloane and opened to the public in on January 15th, 1795. It was been expanded over the years due to British colonization and has resulted in several branch institutions. King George II doubled the collections that were shown and in addition to the Sloane library added in particular the Cottonian Library, named for Robert Cotton, which dates back to Elizabethan times and the Harleain library, which was the collections of the Earls of Oxford and the only surviving copy of Beowulf. In the 19th Century sculptures of Greek and Roman origins as well as Egyptian artifacts dominated the antiquities displays, and after the Battle of the Nile in 1801 the British Museum acquired even more Egyptian artifacts it was King George III who presented the museum with the Rosetta Stone in 1802. The museum is a beacon of history, culture, and art drawing the curiosity and love from millions around the world.
The National Gallery
The National Gallery is renowned around the world as one of the great houses of Art and is located at Trafalgar square as well in the heart of London. The National Gallery is the second most visited places in all of England. It was founded in 1824 and houses over 2,300 pieces of work that date from the mid-13th Century through 1900. Unlike Galleries or Museums the National Gallery did not come into being due to any princely art collection but rather when the British Parliament bought 38 paintings from the heirs of John Julius Angerstein, an insurance broker and patron of the arts. As well the collection belongs to the British people. The allure of the talent and the works of the great masters is what draws people to the Gallery as the walls are covered in artistic representation of history, including both that of England and of the world as a whole.
The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum Like the British Museum the Natural History Museum, sometimes called the Cathedral of Nature, charges nothing for admission and the collections that are housed inside its great walls belong to the people. The Museum is the home of life and science exhibits that total some 80 million items with five main collections: botany, entomology, mineralogy, paleontology and zoology. As well as being a renowned center of taxonomy, identification and conservation. Due to the age of the institution the collections not only have scientific value but historic as well, such as collections from Charles Darwin and is particularly famous for its display of dinosaur skeletons. The Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine, is a patron of the museum as well. With so much history and scientific discovery under one roof it draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.
Tate Modern is a Modern Art Gallery located in London and was established in 2000 and is based out of the former Bankside Power Station and houses the British national collection of art from 1900 to present day. It is a draw for those who love or have an interest in modern art. Tate is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art. Like the other galleries there is no admission charge to access the collection displays, though tickets may be sold for any major display the gallery has, so it also draws those who may be on a budget for their vacation.
The Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert Museum located in Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which is the smallest district of London, and is south of the center. The Museum was created in 1852 and named in honor of Britain's Queen Victoria and her consort, Albert. It houses a permanent collection of 4.5 Million objects and spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to present day. From the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. The displays of ceramics, glass, textiles, costumes, silver, ironwork, jewelry, furniture and medieval objects, sculpture, prints, printmaking, drawings and photographs are among the largest in the world and draws in 3,432,325 people a year.
The Science Museum
The Science Museum was founded by Bennet Woodcroft in 1857 and had the distinction of having Queen Victoria lay the foundation block. The Queen asked the museum to be named for her and her late husband and initially it was though when the new building was built ten years after it took on the title of the Art Collection and the Science Collection. It included a collection of machinery which became the Museum of Patents in 1858 and the Patent Office Museum in 1863. This Collection contained many of the famous exhibits that are now apart of the Science Museum. The museum attracted 3,356,212 people in 2015 and like the others galleries and museums around Britain the general admission is free.
Somerset House is a neoclassical manor house that was originally the site of a Tudor Palace was designed by Sir William Chambers in 1776. It has been further expanded with the addition of Victorian Wings in 1831 and 1836. It sits just east of Waterloo Bridge and south of the Strand on the banks of the River Thames. The East wing is also an adjacent campus for the King's College London. Elizabeth Tudor, the future Elizabeth I, stayed at Somerset House during the reign of her sister, Mary I.
Tower of London
Tower of London is a historic royal castle that is nestled on the north bank of the river Thames and was founded towards the end of 1066 as a part of the Norman Conquest. A grand palace in its early construction it served as a royal residence. The castle was used as a prison from 1100-1952 although it was not its primary purpose. As a whole the Tower is a complex of several buildings with two centric rings of defensive walls and a moat. Though not a prison, initially it had imprisoned some of History's most infamous royals including the Princes in the Tower. Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII, was beheaded on Tower Green in 1536 as well was her cousin, Kathryn Howard some years later. The tower brought in 2,785,249 visitors in 2015.
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is an art Gallery in London that houses portraits of historically import and famous British people. It was the first of its kind when it opened in 1856. The gallery moved in 1896 to its current location at St Martin's Place which is just off Trafalgar Square. The gallery houses a collection of 195,000 portraits that stretch throughout the span of British history, and sees 2.06 million people yearly. Like the other museums and galleries in Britain the National Portrait Gallery is free to the public.
The Top Places to Visit in England Never Disappoint
Due to her rich history and just how steeped in myth, legend, and lore, England will always hold a place in the hearts of people from all around the world.