Starting in East London and winding its way under Hornchurch, West Ham and Bow, the District Line then goes on to cover many of London’s most famous places along the north bank of the Thames, before heading into Kensington and branching off in four different directions. We’ve created the map below to help you get the most out of your visit.
Tower of London (Tower Hill)
Arguably one of London’s most historic locations, the Tower of London is famous for two things. Firstly, the Crown Jewels are stored here, and visitors can go and see the 23,578 gems in all their glory, including the majestic Imperial State Crown that is worn for royal coronations. Secondly, the Tower has a rather grisly history as a prison and place of execution, with famous former inmates including Sir Walter Raleigh, Anne Boleyn and Guy Fawkes.
Bank of England Museum (Mansion House)
A little further along, the District Line enters the City, home of course to the infamous financial district. The Bank of England itself is not far away, but the entertaining museum offers a reminder of the country’s previous financial trials. Particularly interesting revelations include how the Bank managed the debts built up during WWI, and the start of the Bank’s independence in 1997.
The tube station takes its name from Mansion House itself, an old Georgian palace that was originally built for the Lord Mayor to serve as a grand symbol of the City. Tours are every Tuesday at 2pm and cost £6, although these are subject to changes and cancellations so it is best to check the Mansion House website beforehand.
If the weather is fine, we recommend getting off the tube at Embankment and taking a stroll along the Thames into Westminster. This walk offers fine views of some of London’s most famous attractions, including the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.
Probably one of the most popular getting-off points in London, Westminster is certainly one of the most popular tourist areas in London. The Houses of Parliament and the iconic Big Ben are the centre of attention, with Westminster Bridge an excellent vantage point for a decent view. Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral can also be found here, while you can also see over the river to the London Eye.
St James’s Park
One of London’s best known Royal Parks, St James’s Park offers an excellent walk for those wishing to access Buckingham Palace. Visitors can wander through the attractive greenery and enjoy the wildlife, including squirrels and the famous pelicans that like of the lake at the centre of the park.
Cross over the bridges to get fantastic views of the city in both directions. The royal history of the park has been covered in more detail elsewhere on the Hotels-London blog, while Horse Guards Parade at one end of the park will host the beach volleyball event at the Olympics this summer.
Natural History Museum, Science Museum, V&A (South Kensington)
After passing through the transport hub of Victoria and the upmarket boutique shopping district of Sloane Street, the District Line arrives at South Kensington. This area is highly regarded for its trio of excellent museums. The Natural History Museum and Science Museum are endlessly fascinating, while the more artistic items at the Victoria & Albert Museum are equally worthy of a visit. Once again, these museums have been discussed in detail on our blog.
Upon reaching Earls Court, the District Line goes one of four ways. Passengers can go north to Earls Court Exhibition Centre, or south to Wimbledon. Alternatively, the can continue along until the line forks again, heading to Ealing to the north and Kew Gardens to the south.
Whilst Wimbledon is probably the most famous location here, it is only really the centre of attention for two weeks a year, and its sporting purpose is fairly widely known. The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, however, are open all year round, and offer an excellent day out for all the family. Visitors can enjoy a tropical rainforest atmosphere in the many glasshouses that care for the exotic plant life, while the exciting Tree Top walkway is just one of many further attractions in the gardens’ 300 acres.
Richmond Park is another excellent green space to explore, with its vast expanse providing the ideal location for the road cycling event at this summer’s Olympics.