London, a world capital, offers tourists a fulfilling visit with its historical buildings and vast parks, while the royal family is never far from the spotlight. Home to people from almost every country, London is often called the ‘City of the world’, and presents the seriousness of the monarchy together with the speed and energy of the metropolis.
We take a closer look at London, the setting for many a lm and home to the Royal Family, whose members’ lives resemble the topic of a lm and who are never out of the public eye, and one of the most popular world capitals for holidays or language programme.
London has a history that stretches back 2000 years to Roman times; in 43 BC, following the invasion of Britain, the Roman Empire founded the city, which it called ‘Londinium’. The etymology of the city’s name is uncertain but is thought to mean ‘ owing river’. The city is certainly worthy of such a name, both in terms of its vibrant urban life and for the famous Thames River. The capital of the United Kingdom is popular with tourists year round thanks to its vast parts and historical monuments, and 300 different languages are spoken here, earning London the title ‘city of the world’. With its historical and cultural diversity, London manages to possess its own unique energy as well as the seriousness of the monarchic tradition.
Like A Photogenic Woman
If you are planning to visit London to experience this energy for yourself, let us reassure you by underlining how easy it is
to get around the city. The London Underground metro system, commonly called the ‘Tube’, wraps around the city like an underground spider web, and can appear rather confusing for first-time users. This problem can be solved by getting yourself a Tube map…This giant underground metro network has 11 lines with 270 stops and can take you from one side of London to the other with just a few changes.
If you plan to use the Tube, make sure you get yourself a map, then buy an ‘Oyster Card’ from
the ticket offices in Tube stations, which you can also use on the overground public transport network in the city. If you happen
to pass through Baker Street on your trip, we recommend that you make a quick break at this station. The station was opened in 1863, and the intermittent nostalgic images that remains are like a photogenic woman…
Of course, you are not going to spend your entire trip below ground as there are many places to see in London. The famous Big Ben, Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace, in front of which there are always crowds of tourists, are the must-see stops on your trip.
We also highly recommend that you take a spin on the London Eye, a giant Ferris wheel that gives you a 30-minute panoramic view over the city through glass capsules. But that isn’t all that London has to offer. If you really want to experience the city you should have a drink in a local pub, and spend a day in Hyde Park or an evening in Soho. Only then will you discover the mysterious charm of London, a city that, in the not-uncommon mist and rain, can at first appear rather sombre.
Make An Itinerary
There are so many things to see and do that it is essential to make an itinerary for your trip. Here is one possible version of such an itinerary that you can chop and change as you please: Start your visit at Buckingham Palace, where every day at 11.30 you can watch the changing of the guard. After paying a visit to the Queen you can head towards Great George Street, crossing through St. James’s Park, which is famous for its squirrels… Don’t be startled if you and one of these cute little creatures climbing up your leg. They are all very tame and completely used to eating out of people’s hands.
At the end of Great George Street you will arrive at Westminster Bridge, next to which you will see Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament on the side of the Thames and, on the opposite shore, London’s youngest tourist attraction, the London Eye. From here you can cross the bridge to visit the London Aquarium or, without crossing the river, go to Westminster Pier and board a boat that will take you on a cruise along the Thames.
The Crazy Fashion Nobility
We cannot talk about London without mentioning that it is one of the world’s most important capitals of fashion. The city has produced renowned fashion designers including Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney and John Galliano. And is also home to brands that are at the forefront of classic style, such as Burberry, Aquascutum and Paul Smith. You can see the clothes of John Galliano, a designer who has created the most striking fashion shows of recent times with his fantastic designs. And colourful settings, in Selfridges, one of the top stores to visit on Oxford Street, or in Harrods, a multi-storey shop that it would take more than a day to visit in its entirety, located in the city’s popular Mayfair district. The fashion house of Alexander McQueen, who passed away in 2010 leaving many distraught fans, continues to produce clothes in his name and the fashion house has its flagship store on Bond Street. London is also home to many multi-storey department stores that bring together luxury brands in one place.
Among the city’s top department stores are Selfridges, Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Liberty. On another note, the Victoria & Albert Museum, with the world’s biggest clothing collection and interesting fashion exhibitions, is one of the many places to visit.
If you are a fan of vintage, you will be in heaven. Even if you don’t seek them out, you are bound to come across vintage shops as you wander the streets of London. You may well and very elegant and expensive period bags or an evening gown that you fall in love with in one of the many shops selling designer vintage pieces. Because London really takes the subject of vintage seriously. For those who want to add vintage boutiques to their itinerary we would recommend, to name but a few, Cloud Cuckoo Land, Mela Mela Vintage and Blitz London, where you can find period clothing…
London’s variety of food is as rich as the cultures it is home to. You can find restaurants that provide a feast fit for a king all over the city. The high-ceilinged, bright atmosphere of Bread Street Kitchen, run by famous chef Gordon Ramsay, who is also known in Turkey for his programme Hell’s Kitchen, is open for all meals from breakfast to dinner. And as the chef is Gordon Ramsay, there is no chance that you won’t be happy with what comes out of the kitchen.
Right next to Hyde Park, Le Gavroche serves experimental seafood dishes such as mango and lobster salad, grilled scallops with mustard sauce and John Dory soup with mussels. The restaurant, which opened in 1967, features Scottish rather than English décor and is hailed by many critics as the best in London.
If you are close to Piccadilly Circus you might want to try the Restaurant at the Royal Academy of Arts. The Academy’s restaurant was built in 1885 by Scottish architect Norman Shaw. Restored in 1994, the restaurant has impressive wall paintings and vaulted ceilings.
If you want a stylish meal overlooking the Thames, we recommend that you try the Massimo Restaurant and Oyster Bar in the Corinthia Hotel. Here you will be greeted by a wonderful seafood menu and we are sure that you will have an unforgettable meal.
If you find yourself, as you most certainly will, on the unmissable Oxford Street, you will undoubtedly come across many cafes and restaurants. Although not on Oxford Street itself, the Pollen Street Social is located on a parallel street not far from the main drag. As well as meat and sh menus the Pollen Street Social also has some good vegetarian choices; reservations are necessary, particularly in the evenings.
London Nightlife: What Every Tourist Must See
Soho is the beating heart of London’s nightlife. Offering a wide choice of night clubs, Soho should feature on the ‘to-see’ list of every tourist. The area, which has a very vibrant nightlife, has undergone a remarkable development since the 1980s. Each of the buildings in Soho is worth seeing and the area should be visited not just in the evenings but also during the day. As there are so many nightclubs here, giving a particular recommendation isn’t easy but we have to mention Mahiki and Koko, two of the most popular clubs of the moment. At Mahiki, famous for its cocktails, no reservation is necessary and there is no dress code. Koko is a live performance venue located just opposite the Mornington Crescent Tube station. You will need to buy a ticket if you want to watch the venue’s concerts by world-famous or up and coming groups of the British music scene.
As you get to know London you will be captivated by the spirit of the city. A city under constant change, you will be presented with surprises as well as classic beauties, which is why we come away with a different impression on every visit. London is a city that everyone who likes to travel should visit; if we have managed to engrave the dream of London in your mind, we hope that your dreams soon come true with a real trip.
Don’t Go Home Without…
- Visiting the toy store Hamleys, even if you don’t have children of your own…
- Seeing Downing Street, lined with 300-year-old buildings including ‘Number 10’, the residence of the Prime Minister…
- Eating a sandwich while sitting on the grass in Hyde Park…
- Buying tea from the food hall at the entrance to Harrods…
- Having a photo taken in front of a Tube station sign…
- Getting in an iconic London taxi, whose drivers are said to have an opinion on absolutely everything…
- Walking across Tower Bridge…
- Watching a musical…
Don’t forget to pick up the free local paper at station entrances. This way you can keep informed of current events.