Explore London - An Exclusive Guide
A perfect day in... London, England
In London, history is everywhere. From instantly-recognizable icons like Big Ben and Tower Bridge, to architectural masterpieces such as St Paul’s Cathedral via royal landmarks including the Tower of London and Buckingham Palace, the capital is a history-lover’s dream. But London is also innovative, multicultural and ever-changing, a vibrant hub of art, design and music that makes sure it never rests on its laurels.
What to see in London
Despite its huge metropolitan sprawl, London is really a city of villages, each with its own distinct character. Given its size, exploring the city can be an overwhelming prospect, so it’s best to choose one or two neighborhoods per day and take your time.
The most obvious place to start is Westminster, home to some of London’s most iconic sites. Start at the world’s most famous clock – the Elizabeth Tower of the Houses of Parliament, better known as Big Ben, before strolling around the corner to Westminster Abbey, the site of 40 coronations since 1066. From here, it’s a lovely walk through flower-filled St James’s Park (you may spot its resident pelicans) to Buckingham Palace, where you can catch the Changing of the King’s Guard at 10:45 every morning.
Just across the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament is another London landmark, the London Eye, Europe’s largest observation wheel, well worth booking in advance for its excellent views over the city, on a clear day. To the north, meanwhile, is Trafalgar Square, the gateway to London’s West End, home to Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Soho and Marylebone, where you’ll find many of the city’s theaters, museums and much of its nightlife. Do pause in Trafalgar Square to take in the famous lions and soaring Nelson’s Column, or pop in to peruse the artistic masterpieces in the National Gallery.
London’s wealthiest neighborhoods – Mayfair, Belgravia and Knightsbridge – lie to the west, while the City of London, in the east, is where you’ll find the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral. Cross the infamous Millennium Bridge, locally nicknamed the “Wobbly Bridge”, to the magnificent TATE Modern, a former power station and now one of the largest modern art museums in the world.
What to do in London
You could spend your entire time in London shopping and visitors really are spoilt for choice. For big-name brands, head to the main shopping arteries of Regent Street and Oxford Street, or stroll along famous Bond Street and nearby Mount Street for designer must-haves. And of course, there’s Harrods in Knightsbridge, arguably the city’s best known department store. For boutiques, head to the buzzy Covent Garden, fashionable Notting Hill, intellectual Hampstead or well-heeled Chelsea, while the markets of Camden, Portobello Road and Brick Lane are well worth a few hours’ browsing.
Though London is known for its star tourist sites, some of the most pleasurable experiences are in simply wandering around a neighborhood. The redevelopment of King’s Cross, for example, has transformed a once-decayed district into a modern masterpiece of architecture, filled with cool shops, restaurants and bars. London’s multiculturalism – over a third of the population is from overseas – can be felt everywhere, but is especially vibrant in the trendy areas of Brick Lane and Spitalfields market.
Finally, London is one of Europe’s greenest cities, its Royal Parks offering beautifully-manicured retreats during any time of year. For spectacular views of the city, head to Primrose Hill, then walk down to nearby Regent’s Park for a spot of boating in the lake.
What to eat in London
As a world capital, you’ll find every type of cuisine in London, from expensive fine dining to slap-up pub lunches. The latter has moved on considerably in the last few decades, serving much more than pints of ale and packets of pork crackling (deep-fried pork skin). London’s pubs have undergone something of a revolution, with “gastropubs” on every street corner offering modern European cuisine alongside pub favorites such as fish ‘n’ chips, sausages and mash and a Ploughman’s Lunch (a hunk of cheddar cheeses or slices of roast ham served with salad, crusty bread and pickle).
Fine dining is, of course, a given, with over 60 Michelin-starred restaurants dotted around the capital. The restaurant at The Ritz offers a real occasion, while Rules in Covent Garden, dating back to 1798, is a perfect example of elegant, old-school British dining. For a taste of London’s eclectic population, there’s Chinatown in the West End, Brixton’s exciting Caribbean scene in the south, and Brick Lane in the East End, offering the unofficial national dish: curry.
London’s street food scene is also worth checking out. Visit Borough Market, south of the Thames, for delicious farm-to-table food as well as stall upon stall selling organic fruit, vegetables, artisan breads, cheeses and cakes.
For more information, go to visitlondon.com
This article has been written for review purposes only and does not suggest sponsorship or endorsement of AARDY by the trademark owner.
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