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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…

 

Halcyon Gallery

Contemporary art gallery in London features Shanghai exhibiting painting, sculpture, prints and multiples by internationally renowned artists.

Miu Miu

Fashion accessories store in London, England Retailer of the designer brand’s apparel, footwear & accessories, including handbags & jewellery.

Liberty

Most famous for its fabrics and accessories but also building a reputation for both mainstream and new fashion.  Liberty has good perfume, cosmetics and household departments making it a favourite since 1875.

Royal Opera House

Opera house in London, England The Royal Opera House is an opera house and major performing arts venue in Covent Garden, central London.

Capacity: 2,256

British Museum

Britain’s largest and oldest museum, it is the most visited tourist attraction in London, with over 6 million annual visitors.  The British Museum owns a vast collection of drawings and prints, a small sample of which is always on show in Room 90; it also stages one-off exhibitions – sometimes with free entry.

Prince Edward Theatre

The Prince Edward Theatre is a West End theatre situated on Old Compton Street, just north of Leicester Square, in the City of Westminster, London.

Capacity: 1,716

Hayward Gallery

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

John Lewis

Famous for being “never knowingly undersold” this reliable institution can’t be beaten for basics from buttons in their haberdashery department to well-made clothes, furniture and household goods.  The staff are knowledgeable and friendly too.

Hyde Park

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

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.

Borderline

Small basement gig with a diverse musical policy.  Catch new bands and occasionally big names.

New London Theatre

The New London Theatre is a West End theatre located on the corner of Drury Lane and Parker Street in Covent Garden, in the London Borough of Camden. The Winter Garden Theatre formerly occupied the site until 1965.

Capacity: 1,024