Wimbledon 2012: 10 Sites to See in London When Not Watching Tennis

Abstract: Fans that are traveling to London to watch the Wimbledon tennis matches may also want to visit some of the city’s other famous attractions. Here are 10 of them.

Tennis fans have to be excited by the fact that Wimbledon begins in less than one week. Per its official website, the tournament starts on Monday, June 25 and runs through Sunday, July 8. The tennis matches will be held at the All England Club in London.

Fans that are traveling to London to watch the Wimbledon tennis matches may also want to visit some of the city's other famous locations.

Here are 10 of them. All the times are based on London time.

British Museum: Per its official website, the museum is over 250 years old, having first opened its doors to the public in January 1759. It houses a vast array of artifacts from the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Africa. I can state from experience that one can spend a whole day (and more) perusing the British Museum's collections. It is located on Great Russell Street and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (and until 8:30 p.m. on Friday). Admission is free.

The Tower of London: Per its official website, work began on the building in the eleventh century under the auspices of William the Conqueror. The Tower of London has been used for a variety of purposes, including as a fortress, as the royal residences, as a prison, and as an execution chamber. It is now a museum housing several exhibits, including the Crown Jewels, which are still used by the royal family during coronation ceremonies and at other, official events. The Tower of London is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., and Sunday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There is a charge for admission, though ticket prices vary.

Big Ben in 2004 (1)
The Cartoon Museum: As its website notes, the museum is relatively new. It only opened to the public in 2006. Visitors can delight in the museum's displays of cartoons, caricatures, and comics dating from the 1700s. It is located on Little Russell Street, only a short distance from the British Museum. The Cartoon Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., and on Sunday from 12 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Adults will have to pay a small admission fee (approximately $8.64).

Big Ben: The building that houses the United Kingdom's parliament is certainly majestic; however, its clock tower, Big Ben, is the chief attraction for most tourists. Per Parliament's official website, Big Ben was completed in 1859. It is over 96 meters (315 feet) tall and 12 meters (around 39.4 feet) square.

The National Gallery: Per its website, the museum contains over 2,300 paintings (mostly from European artists). Its youngest pieces of art are from the 1800s, and its oldest paintings are from the 1200s. Located on Trafalgar Square, the facility is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.., except on Fridays, when it stays open until 9 p.m. Admission is free.

London Eye: Per the information on its website, the London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel with enclosed boxes. It is the largest of its kind in the world. The London Eye hoists visitors around 135 meters (approximately 443 feet) into the air, thereby affording them an excellent view of London. A total of 39 million visitors have lined up to take a ride on the London Eye since it opened in 2000.

Tate Modern: As its name suggests, Tate Modern specializes in contemporary and modern art. The front entrance to the museum is located along Queen's Walk with the back portion of the facility facing Summer Street. Tate Modern is open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Admission is free, though visitors may have to pay a charge to see the special exhibits.

Thames River: London was able to develop into a powerful commercial and trade center because the city is located along the Thames River. Visitors to Wimbledon will want to catch a glimpse of this historic watercourse before they leave London.

The Royal Museums Greenwich: Per its website, The Royal Museums consists of several different attractions, including the National Maritime Museum, a tea clipper (ship) built in 1869, the Royal Observatory (containing a museum, a telescope, and a planetarium), and the Queen's House. The latter building is so named because it served as the home of King Charles I's queen, Henrietta Maria, in the 1600s. All of the attractions are located in the historic Greenwich portion of London. Admission prices vary.

The Seven Stars: England is known for its pubs, which are usually small, friendly establishments that serve alcohol as well as food. Visitors to London, who want to stop by a pub after watching the Wimbledon tennis matches, might think about going to The Seven Stars. Per The Sydney Morning Herald, the pub, which dates back to the 1600s, has the distinction of being one of the oldest in London. It is located on Carey Street.

1. Arancibia, Juan Pablo. (2004, November). The Clock Tower, from Westminster Bridge. Retrieved
       from Wikimedia Commons. The author has released this photo into the public domain without
       any restrictions.

The author is a freelance writer.  He has a B.A. in history and took numerous British history courses while an undergraduate in college.  He studied in England for six weeks during the summer between his sophomore and junior years in college.  He is also an avid sports fan.  He has visited many of the sites on this list.

-- Anthony Hopper

#sports #tennis #Wimbledon #England #London #UK #travel #tourism #museums

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