The basics
THE UK: Destination Guides

A different view of London's iconic buildings

A guide to alternative tourism in London, written by our resident Thai editor


As an international student either visiting or studying in this bustling city, you will see many foreigners staring up in awe at the historical and cultural landmarks.

However, have you ever thought beyond just visiting those places from the outside? Have you ever considered getting inside and climbing up the stair to see Big Ben and the amazing Victorian machinery, visiting the chamber of the House of Commons, attending debates and seeing London from a different perspective? Our in-house Thai editor, Nuannat Simmons, gives you some tips... 

Tourists from all over the world flock to the UK and to London in particular. Among the top attractions are Buckingham Palace, The London Eye, The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. There are also numerous free museums, including the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum as well as art galleries such as the National Gallery and the Tate.

To visit St Stephen's Tower - more commonly known as Big Ben - you will have to make your request through your local MP. It is free of charge and open to UK residents. Overseas visitors are currently not permitted inside Big Ben, but as a student in the UK, you will be classed as a resident and will be able to enjoy benefits that the tourists can only dream of – how brilliant is that? However, space is extremely limited. When making a request via your local MP you may have to wait for 3-6 months.

Apart from climbing up St Stephen's Tower and seeing Big Ben from the inside, you may want to visit the adjoining Houses of Parliament. International students can join free weekday tours throughout the year - you can also visit Parliament at the weekends or during the summer months by paying for a tour. The ticket is £14; you can book in advance or get the ticket on the day at the ticket office. The tours take about 1 hour and 15 minutes and include the Commons and Lords Chambers, the Queen's Robing Room, the Royal Gallery and Westminster Hall. For more details, click here

London contains many hidden gems and finding them doesn't have to cost the earth. Once you are in the capital, make time to burrow beneath the surface and you'll find a wealth of history and beauty.


Read about international food in London and how to get to know the city by walking in the articles our team has prepared for you.

Find out more about London as a study destination and UK culture.

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