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Our guide to London: About London

London has been a major settlement for 2,000 years going back to the Romans.  The heart, the City of London, still retains many of its mediaeval boundaries.

London is a leading global city where arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, tourism, finance and the media all contribute to its prominence.  In 2012 it will become the first city to host the Summer Olympics three times.

London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the Palace of Westminster and the historic settlement of Greenwich.  Other famous landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, the Gherkin, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and Trafalgar Square.  Home to numerous museums, galleries, libraries and theatres there will never be a shortage of things to see and do.

Its extensive underground network, the oldest underground railway network in the world and the most extensive after the Shanghai Metro, will ensure that these places are easy to get to and if you don’t fancy the tube you can go by bus, taxi or, if you’re feeling energetic why not go by Boris Bike?  Launched in July 2010, Boris bikes are London’s cycle hire scheme.

The West End is London’s main entertainment and shopping district, attracting millions of tourists every year.  the East end is the area closest to the original Port of London, known for its high immigrant population as well as for being one of the poorest areas in London.  Parts of it are presently being redeveloped for the 2012 Olympics.

London has over 3,000 green spaces and parks making it one of the greenest cities in the world: Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent’s Park, Green Park and St. James’s Park are all a short walk from the West End while the more expansive parklands of Hampstead Heath and Richmond Park are easy to get to by tube or bus.

With a population of nearly 8 million and covering an area of more than 620 square miles, London dominates the national horizon despite Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish devolution: this is where the country’s news and money are made and why the capital has a unique aura of excitement and success.

Check out some of the things you can do in London below…

 

Camden Market

Started as a tiny crafts market, it has expanded greatly attracting more than 100,000 shoppers each weekend – cheap leather goods, furniture, street fashion and jewellery.  To avoid the crowds arrive by 10.00 am.

Christies

Saleroom specialising in fine and decorative art, antiques, jewellery and more, founded in 1766.

Portobello Road

West London’s liveliest street starts off selling quality antiques, and continues through to bric-a-brac indoor galleries, plus food stalls, crafts, clothes and music.

Hyde Park

Central London’s largest green area features cafes, fountains, flower gardens and Speakers’ Corner.

The Comedy Store

Widely seen as the birth place of alternative comedy, the Comedy Store has catapulted many stand-ups onto TV.  Improvisation on Wednesdays and Sundays.  Thursday nights offer try-out spots for those brave enough to handle the hecklers while Friday and Saturday provide two shows  at 8.00 pm and midnight.

Watford Football Club

Football club Watford Football Club is a professional football club based in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, that plays in the Premier League, the highest level in the English football league system.

Capacity: 21,577

Hayward Gallery

The Hayward Gallery was opened by the Queen in 1968 and is an outstanding example of sixties brutalist architecture and…

Serpentine Gallery

Located in Kensington Gardens, this gallery shows dynamic work by new and established modern artists as well as hosting interesting Sunday afternoon lectures and a performance-art festival in the summer.