Happy Tourist: Exploring the Modern Side of London

The City of London is known for its array of ancient historical landmarks, it’s contrasting modern skyscrapers, old markets with their roots lost in time, and their very famous bridges. Despite its long history, the city today is the world’s financial capital and home to the government, royal family, and Greater London is home to seven million people.

While a lot of tourists visit Central London to marvel at the rich history of the area, many will come to London to enjoy some of the more cutting-edge modern architectural engineerings that have taken over the old streets of London.

The Happy Tourist team are also big fans of the feats of modern architecture that are found in London and we wanted to tell you about three of our favourite iconic modern landmarks that are well worth a visit while you are here.

The Shard: The Tallest Building in London

Who could possibly miss The Shard, the iconic skyscraper built on the site of Southwark Towers in London. The Shard is not only the tallest building in London, but it is also actually the tallest building in Western Europe!

Designed in 2000 by the architect, Renzo Piano, the skyscraper has 95 storeys and the construction was delayed due to opposition from local authorities. However, planning consent was finally approved in 2003 and construction began.

Designed to be a multi-use centre, The Shard contains a mixture of office space, retail shops, restaurants, a hotel, as well as exclusive residential units. Over 10,000 panes of glass were used to glaze the building. The building was also designed to be eco-friendly and sustainable with most of the building materials used in construction is sourced from recycled materials.

The Gherkin

Sited at 30 St Mary Axe, the Gherkin is another hard to miss a piece of modern architecture that attracts thousands of visitors each year. Another of the famous London skyline skyscrapers, the Gherkin is a popular name given to the building because of its unusual shape that resembles the shape of a gherkin.

Sitting in the financial district of the City of London, the Gherkin has won several architectural awards and stands at 180 metres tall and contains 41 floors. The building was constructed on the site of the former Baltic Exchange, a building that was badly damaged in 1992 by a bomb.

Construction began in 2001 and the building was opened in 2003 and because of its double glazed windows, the Gherkin uses half the amount of power a similar-sized standard-built building would use. There is a bar that sits on the top floor of the Gherkin that offers spectacular views across London.

The London Eye

The London Eye is the iconic gigantic Ferris wheel that was built on the banks of River Thames in 1999, and it took 7 years to build. The construction has quickly become a familiar sight within the London skyline.

It is a tourist attraction that is well worth a visit with more than 3 and a half million people taking a turn on the wheel every year. From the top of the London Eye on a clear day, you can see things up to about 25 miles away. The only other viewing platform that is higher than the London Eye is the one on The Shard tower.

Taking a ride on the London Eye takes around 30 minutes for one whole revolution. The wheel is often in perpetual motion and doesn’t have to stop to let passengers step on and off.

Do not hesitate to contact our friendly team at Happy Tourist to help arrange your itinerary for your next visit to London.