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Shrine of Remembrance

Opened in 1934, the Shrine of Remembrance is a memorial built for those from Victoria who served in WWI, and now to all Australians who served in war. It is one of the largest memorials in Australia and a main location for ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day.

You can climb stairs to the top and look around at the surrounding parks and gardens, and there is a war museum underground. Guided tours run at 11:00 and 14:00.

Kings Domain on St. Kilda Road
Open daily 10:00 ~ 17:00 (closed Good Friday & Christmas Day)

Puffing Billy Train

The Puffing Billy Train is an old Steam Train that runs through the Dandenong Ranges from Belgrave to Gembrook, including a stop at Emerald Lake. It takes about an hour to reach Lakeside, and you can sit on the window sill and hang your legs over the edge as the train chugs along

Its quite expensive at $52 for an Adult return to Lakeside, and you won’t find much at Belgrave or Emerald if you don’t make it to the lake (some trains stop at Emerald, one stop before the Lakeside Station). But it is mostly about the ride, and the novelty factor of riding a steam train, so unless you have interest in the train itself, your $50 might be better spent elsewhere.

It takes about an hour to get from Central Melbourne to Belgrave, and the Puffing Billy runs roughly 10:30 ~ 15:30, with times and stops varying each day, so check the timetable in advance and head out early to make sure you have enough time.

Hosier Lane

Just off Flinders Street is Hosier Lane, a cobbled street with walls covered in graffiti and urban art. A few other connecting lane-ways have also been given decorated. I even saw a couple taking wedding photos with the walls as a backdrop. Its not lit well at night so go during the day to get a good view.

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The Tower of London

The Tower of London is actually a castle. Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress to be exact, and it’s right next to Tower Bridge.

The structure itself is impressive, and its history makes it all the more so, being formerly the royal residence, armoury, menagerie, royal mint, prison & of course home to the Crown Jewels. It also is known for the several executions carried out in the tower. You can take a free guided tour by one of the Tower’s Beefeaters (aka Yeoman Warders, the guards dressed in the iconic red uniform and black hat).

Tickets are £20.90 (including a voluntary donation of £1.90), Audio Guides £4. Note, tickets are valid for up to seven days from selected date, so know your dates if booking ahead.

Walk from Tower Hill Station.

Tues – Sat – 09:00 ~ 17:30
Sun – Mon – 10:00 ~ 17:30

(Last admission 17:00)

Tate Modern

The Tate Modern Gallery is one of the world’s busiest modern art galleries, displaying the national collection as well as international works. It’s housed in an old power station, offering huge space and a view of the Thames and St Paul’s Cathedral from the restaurant, bar, and balcony. There are often large displays in the Turbine hall, making use of the huge open space not normally possible in galleries. These works are specially commissioned roughly from October to May each year. (Unfortunately the sponsor is Unilever, a terrible company).

There are free guided tours (daily, 11.00, 12.00, 14.00, 15.00 approx 45min), multimedia guides, and play areas for children. Temporary exhibitions are usually ticketed, at around £10. Current exhibitions here.

On the South Side of the Thames, opposite St. Paul’s Cathedral, over the Millennium Bridge.

Sun – Thurs – 10:00 ~ 18:00
Fri – Saturday – 10:00 ~ 22:00

Trafalgar Square

A landmark in London, Trafalgar Square is a large, open plaza with Nelson’s Column at its center, guarded by the Four Lion Statues and flanked by 2 fountains. There are also four plinths with statues, with the fourth having seen rotating artwork atop it since 2005, as the original statue was never completed.

The Square is used for many festivals, celebrations, protests and events throughout the year, and daily for people having lunch, relaxing, playing, etc. There is basically always a crowd here. It’s worth seeing just for the people watching, but aim to visit during good weather and/or an event.

While previously famous for the number of pigeons in the area (I visited in the 90’s when they were in the tens of thousands!), after laws banning the feeding of pigeons and the use of trained birds of prey, the numbers have dropped to the same as the rest of London.

Walk from Charring Cross or Leicester Square Station, or from Leicester Square, Chinatown, Soho etc.

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery in London has thousands of works, ranging from early paintings of English Royalty to photographs of modern day celebrities. There is something for everyone here, and best of all, its FREE! Most of the collection is permanent, with additional works on temporary display throughout the year. Find out what’s on here.

Free. Walk from Leicester Square, Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus or Tottenham Court Road Stations.
Entrance is around the corner from the National Gallery.

Sat – Wed – 10:00 ~ 18:00
Thurs – Fri – 10:00 ~ 21:00

London Bridge (You mean Tower Bridge)

London Bridge is not what you think it is. Many people believe the beautiful blue-and-white bridge with the two towers is London bridge. It’s not. That is actually Tower Bridge.

Located next to the Tower of London, with two towers connected by walkways, Tower Bridge officially opened on 30 June 1894, and the lower road section can be raised to allow large ships through. The walkways were closed off to the public in 1910 and re-opened in 1982 as part of the Tower Bridge Exhibition, offering great views in London. The walkways are fully sealed, with a roof and windows so it is not open to the elements at all. In this case they should really open it later, it would be great to get some night shots over London City. Currently the walkways are under refurbishment, but you can still visit, use one of the walkways, and see the engine room that controls the bridge.

FYI, London Bridge is the next bridge West of Tower Bridge. While very plain in comparison, it does have an interesting history. Known previously as Rennie’s Bridge, in 1968 it was falling apart, and sold to Missourian entrepreneur Robert P. McCulloch for US$2,460,000. He denies he thought he was actually buying Tower Bridge, dismantled it, re-constructed it back in Arizona, and it became the area’s second biggest tourist attraction!

Tower Hill Tube Station is the closest or simply walk along the Thames River banks from other nearby sights and stations. You can walk across the road section of the bridge any time, but the upper walkways are only open during the day. Entry discounted to £6.00 while only one of the walkways is accessible.

Summer Opening Hours
April – September 10:00 ~ 18:30 (last admission 17:30)
Winter Opening Hours
October – March 09:30 ~ 18:00 (last admission 17:00)