London is home to a whole array of exquisite buildings, all spectacularly designed by gifted architects.

There are thousands of unique and historical buildings in the city; however, we have composed a list of the ten we think are the most interesting. So, if you are visiting the capital and have a spare minute, why not grab your camera and snap some of these incredible structures.

Picture of The Gherkin by Morgaine@flickr

1. The Gherkin

Officially known as 30 St Mary Axe, you’ll know it as The Gherkin thanks to its unique, pickle-like shape. Completed in December 2003, this skyscraper in London’s financial district is 180 metres tall and can be seen for miles around, dominating the city’s skyline. The Gherkin has 40 floors and there is even a bar on the top level with an impressive 360-degree panoramic view of London. When the light shines through the multitude of windows at night, you would be forgiven for thinking there was an incredibly impressive rocket about to take off.

2. London City Hall

London City Hall is the headquarters of the Greater London Authority and is a spectacular bulbous-shaped building. A fascinating structure, London City Hall was designed by Norman Foster and opened in July 2002. It is also known as The Onion and has been compared to Darth Vader’s helmet. Located in Southwark, along the bank of the River Thames, the building is a wonderful example of modern architecture. It tilts at a 31-degree angle and is carefully designed to reduce surface area and improve energy efficiency.

3. Lloyds Building

The Lloyds Building, which is sometimes known as the The Inside-Out Building, looks like something you would expect to see in a movie set in the future. Designed and built between 1978 and 1986, it’s a great example of innovative construction; the stairs, glass elevators, power cables, air ducts and water pipes are all on the exterior of this building, which creates a larger working space inside. Although somewhat unsightly with its largely metal facade, the Lloyds Building is certainly an awe-inspiring and intriguing structure, built in London’s financial hub.

4. Shakespeare’s Globe

Shakespeare’s Globe is a reconstruction of the original Globe Theatre associated with famous playwright William Shakespeare. The exquisite building is about 230 metres from the site of the original theatre in the London Borough of Southwark and is an authentic 16th-century replica with a timber-frame. Officially opened in 1997, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre has simple benches as seats and the only thatched roof in London since the Great Fire of 1666. It’s not just a museum though, and is a legitimate working theatre, meaning visitors can enjoy a fabulous play and soak up the unique atmosphere.

5. The London Eye

The London Eye is a spectacular Ferris wheel and a prominent London landmark. Erected in 1999, it’s an innovative London attraction and the wheel is the tallest of its kind in Europe and is one of the best ways to enjoy the sights of the city. Each of the 32 egg-shaped capsules represent one of London’s Boroughs and offer guests incredible 360 degree views over London — a great way to see if you can spot any of the buildings mentioned in this list.

6. St Clement Danes

St Clement Danes is a church in the City of Westminster, and was completed in 1682 by Sir Christopher Wren. A famous site with a turbulent history, the church was almost completely destroyed by the London Blitz 10 May 1941, however, the outer walls, tower and steeple survived the bombing. St Clement Danes is rumoured to be the church sung about in the well-known rhyme Oranges and Lemons and interestingly the bells do play the famous tune.

7. The Old Royal Naval College

The Old Royal Naval College is a World Heritage Site in Greenwich and is home to magnificent buildings and beautiful grounds. A fabulous display of architecture, the buildings were originally built to serve as Greenwich Hospital and were designed by Sir Christopher Wren between 1696 and 1712. Greenwich Hospital was also built on the site of the Palace of Placentia also known as Greenwich Palace, the birthplace of Elizabeth I.

The Old Royal Naval College

The Old Royal Naval College. Click for full size.

8. OXO Tower Wharf

A historic construction, the OXO Tower Wharf was originally a power station in the late 1800s, and was then acquired by the Liebig Extract of Meat Company — the manufacturers of OXO. Liebig wanted to advertise OXO on the tower, however, when permission was denied windows were cleverly built in the shape of a circle, a cross and another circle, spelling OXO. Although the building is now a mixed-used development — including a selection of shops, bars and restaurants — OXO can still be seen in luminous colours on the side of the building.

9. The O2

The O2 looks like a giant UFO has landed on the Greenwich peninsula. A fascinating dome-shaped building with yellow spikes protruding into the air, it certainly stands out from all surrounding buildings. A modern and awe-inspiring construction, The O2 is an entertainment district built within the former Millennium Dome, which was home to the Millennium Experience throughout 2000. The O2 includes an indoor arena, a music club, a cinema, an exhibition space, piazzas, bars and restaurants.

10. Marble Arch

Marble Arch is at the junction of Oxford Street, Park Lane and Edgware Road and is one of the most well-known buildings in London. An impressive sight, the arch was based on the triumphal arch of Constantine in Rome. It was originally erected in 1828 on The Mall as a gateway to Buckingham Palace and in 1851 was moved to its present location. While most people know of it as an impressive monument alone, it actually has three rooms inside that were used as a police station until 1950.

Be Sociable, Share!