Updated: May 26
Of all the major cities, many people claim that London is the exemplary example of a world-class city. Having gone to exchange in England, I can attest to the convenience of going to London for a quick trip on the train for few euros from the train station at the University of Birmingham. In this city, you’ll never grow tried of the age-old traditions that gave London it’s name and its popularity today. Every city has a downtown district and shops, however London’s advantage can be the mix of British history and culture that influences the particular design of the buildings. Every city has its own story, and for London, it begins with the colonization of the Romans and the growth of urban expansion during the 20th century.
In the 21st century,with new and exciting rooftops patios and gardens popping up over the city, London always seeks to reinvent itself. I loved walking down the streets of Piccadilly Circus and looking upon the double decker buses, that are a signature of the streets of England as well. If you looking for a modern sense of England, be sure check the Shard, and the district of Canary Wharf, and new up and coming urban hub.
London was conquered by the Romans in AD43, and has been a thriving city ever since. The Victorian era in London particularly drew millions of people to the city, and the newcomers essentially built the city from the 1750s onward, which led to the expansion of the metropolitan boroughs which divided London into several boroughs that we know today, including Kensington, Chelsea, Westminster and others. The 20th century has seen the greatest urban expansion in London’s history, with several key events and developments in architecture that led to its rise including the construction of the Thames Bridge and signature museums that we see today. Today, London is a bustling multicultural city with over 250 different languages spoken and dozens of ethnic cuisines including Chinese, Indian, Italian and so on.
Top Attractions & Recommendations in London:
1.Thames Bridge and Tower Bridge
The famous Tower Bridge was constructed and completed in 1894 to cater to the growing population of East London, and today this famous suspension on the Thames river is commonly confused with London Bridge. The famous Thames river is the longest river in England at 215 miles, and flows through Southern England. One can choose to walk through the famous walkaways that are laid out.
The official residence of the queen, Buckingham Palace needs no introduction, as it has been the key administrative region of the palace since 1837 and contains traces of neoclassical architecture. Many British traditions are also observed at Buckingham Palace, such as national holidays. With over 775 rooms, some state rooms are open to the public in the summer, with the dressed up guards watching the gates at all times. Many events such as state banquets and receptions are also held at the Palace. Buckingham Palace is also a great walking destination towards Hyde Park to the west, and Trafalgar Square to the west.
3. Hyde Park & Trafalgar Square
Hyde Park is one of Central’s London’s notable parks and can easily be reached by the tube, getting off at Paddington Station. You will pass by sculptures and neatly aligned streets that stretch to Buckingham Palace. This is a nice stroll through London on a nice day. Hyde Park also offers many events and concerts, as well as foundations, swimming and cafes for relaxation. Trafalgar Square was originally designed as a cultural square, but has hosted protests, rallies, along with cultural activities since its inception.
4. Piccadilly Circus
Piccadilly Circus is one of the stops on London’s busy subway line, and is located in the west end of London. Constructed in 1819, it is located in the district of Westminster, and is a easy walk to the shops on Regent Street. It is also a popular meeting place because of the easily recognizable billboards and signs. Close to popular attractions such as Trafalgar Square and Chinatown, it is a easily accessible convenient meeting places, known as one of London’s most famous squares. During Christmas time, there are exciting Christmas decorations that illuminate the night sky.
5. London Eye
One of the most popular ferris wheels in London and in Europe, a record number of tourist visit the London Eye every year, which is located on the south bank of the river Thames. It is the highest Ferris Wheel in Europe and carries 800 people each rotation, having 32 capsules to do so. Located in the district of Lambeth, there are many bars and restaurants nearby that make a trip to the popular attraction all the more worthwhile.
6. Popular Museums
London is home to over 170 museums, so if you are museum lover or curator, then this is definitely a city to explore, with the National Gallery, Madame Tussauds, the British Museum and many other museums to explore. At Madame Tussauds, get acquainted with your favourite stars through lively wax figures. If you are interested in military history and the role that England played, be sure to check out the Churchill War rooms, and if you can interested into art, check out the National Gallery.Even if you are not interested in museums, getting yourself acquainted with one of London’s highlights is definitely recommended.
7. Harry Potter Station Platform 3/4
The Harry Station Platform at King’s Cross Station is definitely a highlight for Harry Potter fans alike, with a storefront that also caters to this niche. Don’t miss out taking that iconic photo at the train station before leaving for Hogwarts, as the novel defines.
Trends always start in if not first, then second in London, then spreading to North America and other regions.Stop first at Selfridges, one of the largest department chains in England, similar to Nordstrom in North America, and explore the latest trends in fashion. Take the Tube to Oxford Cirus or Piccadilly Cirus, and walk down Regent street to explore brands such as Mango and other European brands alike; you are bound to find something you enjoy.
9. London’s Chinatown
This Chinatown sits at the heart of London’s west end, bordering Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus. Originally located at London’s east end, it moved to its new location in the 1970s and is known for the best dumplings and Chinese cuisine.
Tip - St Pancreas Station
If you are heading to France from London, be sure to book the Eurostar at St Pancreas station. St Pancreas Station is London’s stop for national and international rail service. As one of the wonder of Victorian engineering, it is one of the most elegant stations in the world.
London is definitely a fascinating city that entices millions of people from all over the world to visit its top-notch museums, history and British culture that keeps people coming back. From the iconic telephone posts to ancient customs and the home of the Royals, many people come to London because of iconic sights and historic culture. Although not at its rapid period of modernization during the Industrial Revolution, it is still a world class city with lot of new places to discover and rediscover.