London is the capital of England, and has something to offer everyone – majestic stately houses, tranquil green parks and a zoo, engrossing museums and art galleries and bustling shopping centers with all the major stores, specialist shops and markets.
The Royal Family have their main residence in London, at Buckingham Palace , but there are many other interesting houses to visit within London with Royal connections – Hampton Court Palace , The Tower of London , and Regents Park, an ancient Royal hunting park.
London has a strong maritime tradition, and the docklands on the Thames are undergoing a transformation from empty warehouses to smart city offices and homes. You can learn all about London’s Naval history at The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, and aboard the Cutty Sark and HMS Belfast . Greenwich is also home to the Old Royal Observatory, which lies on the meridian line that divides the world into East and West, and where Greenwich Mean Time originates.
The city is divided by the river Thames, which meanders through central London, splitting it into northern and southern halves. The central area and the most important sights, theaters and restaurants are within the Underground’s Circle Line on the north bank of the river.
The trendy and tourist-ridden West End lies within the western portion of the loop and includes Soho, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Regent St. The East End, so beloved of Ealing comedies, lies east of the Circle Line; it used to be the exclusive preserve of the Cockney but is now a cultural melting pot.
There are interesting inner-city suburbs in North London, including Islington and Camden Town. South London includes a mess of poor, dirty, graffiti-ridden suburbs, such as Brixton, which have vibrant subcultures of their own and are in many ways where the real vitality of London lies. Accommodation for holidays here is generally very expensive but it still attracts tourists of all nationalities and status
The Tower of London has a whole day’s worth of things to see just in itself – there are the White, Bloody and Martin Towers, where prisoners were held and often tortured, there are the Crown Jewels, displayed in a specially built jewel house, and don’t forget the Ravens, without whom the White Tower would supposedly fall, and a great disaster befall the Kingdom.
The dome of St Paul’s Cathedral is an excellent place from which to view the rooftops of London. The climb to the top is well worth the effort – on your way, you pass through the whispering gallery, where your whisper on one side can be heard at the other of the dome.
London boasts a large selection of museums and art galleries. The British Museum , The Science Museum and The Natural History Museum are all close to each other in South Kensington, but you will need to allow more than a day to see them all! The National Gallery and the Tate Gallery have splendid art collections, and there are many more of all size and type all over London.
There are no shortage of things to entertain in the evening in London – with the West End for popular shows and musicals, a wide selection of restaurants of all types, classical music at the Barbican or The London Coliseum, ballet at Sadler’s Wells or the cinemas in Leicester Square to choose from.
There is a plethora of restaurants to suit every taste. With its massive multinational community every taste is catered for from Chinese to Indian. Food and drink can be very expensive.