Paint a picture, Clear cut and pale on a cold winters day, Shapes and cool light wander the streets like an army of strays, On a cold winters Day. Will you let me romanticize, The beauty in our London Skies, You know the sunlight always shines, Behind the clouds of London Skies.
Your London experience begins the moment the airplane begins its final descent into London. A bird’s eye view of Big Ben and London Eye gives a glimpse of what this amazing city has in store for you. Most people associate London with its traditional tourist attractions like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and the Tower of London. Rightly so. These famous London landmarks are symbols of England’s rich heritage and history and stand for the might and affluence of the British Empire. But there is a lot more to London than just these attractions.
London is one of the most expensive cities in the world and whether you like it or not, you will most certainly need to part with your cash from time to time. There are also a number of public spaces to hangout, which of course are free; lovely parks and quiet, leafy squares that can provide havens of tranquility in the midst of this busy city.
After spending considerable amount of time in London, I can say with certainty that the best way to explore the city is by walking around. Start from the famous Trafalgar Square area and while you are there, visit the National Gallery too. Work your way towards Westminster Bridge, covering the Horse Guards Parade on the way. If time permits, stop and say hello to Mr. Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street! As you walk ahead, several mighty structures like the Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Houses of Parliament await you. Now that’s a lot of walking and you might want to sit and relax somewhere, maybe have a nice cup of coffee at the nearest Starbucks or Café Nero.
When visiting London, apart from walking, it’s a good idea to use the public transport to get around. The London Underground, the giant red buses, over ground and rail are all very convenient and easy to grasp.
Here’s a list of my favourite things to see/do in London:
- Walk down the South Bank, starting from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge. You might also like to stop for waffles or fish and chips on the way.
- Hop on to the London Eye for the best view of the city.
- Visit the Tower Bridge area and be awed by the magnificence of Tower Bridge standing majestically over river Thames.
- Take a boat trip from Tower Bridge to Greenwich.
- Join a themed walk. You can choose from a variety of options, my favourite was Jack the Ripper.
- Visit Covent Garden for its shops and for the largest Apple store in the world and the Jubilee Market for arts, antiques, gifts and other trinkets.
- Go to My Old Dutch, an amazing little place for mouth-watering pancakes in the Holborn area.
- Borough Market, one of the largest food markets in London with a large variety of foods from all over the world.
- Canary Wharf, a major business district of London and home to some of the tallest buildings in United Kingdom
London is one of the most diverse and happening cities in the world. Multiculturalism at its best, there’s never a dull moment in London and there’s something in store for everyone. There’s so much more to share about London but there’s just not enough space!
My London Diaries will continue another day when we explore the back streets of the city like a true Londoner. You will discover that it is these quiet parts, still almost village-like, which have the greatest charm, stuff most guidebooks of London don’t tell you. Until then, watch this space!
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