London is a paradise for any history enthusiast. The origin of the capital city of England dates back to AD 43 when the Romans founded it and established it as Londinium. Indeed, the city has been through a lot in its more than 2,000 years of existence. It survived countless wars, the infamous Black Death of the mid-14th century, and the Great Fire of London in 1666.
Even in modern times, the city remains a target of misfortune. The year 2017 saw four separate terrorist attacks take place in the English capital. Yet, London and its growing population of 8.63 million (as of 2016) remain strong in the face of any adversity. Indeed, its resilience, bravery, and solidarity make it one of the greatest cities in the world.
Numerous architectural landmarks dot London’s cityscape like Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the British Museum, and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Each attraction marks a notable event in British history. However, London’s greatness goes beyond its historical significance.
The city is a force to reckon with in the fields of fashion and entertainment. Of course, the British Monarchy is another reason to visit the city. Hence, the English capital is a place with something to offer every tourist who comes to its shores.
Did you know London is one of the best shopping cities in the world? In fact, many renowned fashion designers call London home like Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, and Alexander McQueen who represent the élite of British couture. CNN travel describes shopping in the capital as daring and diverse. Moreover, shopping in the city earned a rating of 10 for variety. So, let this serve as a warning, you might end up buying something you cannot say no to.
London entertainment is another reason why people flock to the city. You can catch a Broadway play at the West End theatres. For those on a budget, the Globe theatre offers an authentic experience. Imagine watching a performance the way they did during the Elizabethan period, standing throughout the show.
A night on the town in London requires a visit to one of the many pubs in this city. The capital has a collection of over 3,500 boozer establishments. You can take your pick among them, from the oldest like Cheshire Cheese dating back to 1538 and rebuilt in 1667 after the Great Fire. On the other hand, several films have featured a London pub or two. For instance, the 2015 film Kingsman: The Secret Service featured The Black Prince. While the chances of catching Colin Firth’s character there is slim, you can enjoy a pint of Guinness like Galahad, the gentleman super-spy did. Of course, minus all the raucous.
While in London, be sure to check out the British royal residence – Buckingham Palace, which is the official home of the Queen. Who knows your visit to the English capital might coincide with a royal event. So, you might get to see one or two royals. Then again, you could still take a picture with your favourite royal or celebrity at the famed Madame Tussauds in London.
Discover the beauty of London beyond its history. Make it a part of your travel bucket list today.
People & Culture
Travel all around the regal city of London like a pro by learning about its culture and its people. Here’s a quick guide on how to know London like a Londoner.
If you’re in London for the first time, save yourself from major disappointment by understanding that being warm to random strangers isn’t exactly a London thing. In fact, most Londoners try hard to avoid eye contact with anyone… except if you’re someone holding a map, and looking lost, then they will help you in a heartbeat.
Queues are not only for tubes -- Londoners seem to have a line for everything. Waiting for a bus? There’s a queue for that. Checking out a sale? There’s a queue for that. Line jumping is definitely a no no here.
Three of the world’s most prestigious museums are found in London. The city also boasts of 857 art galleries and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Although Londoners are proud of these locations -- most Londoners believe that the city’s cultural heritage contributes to better life quality-- they know better than to spend a lot of time in these attractions. These world-famous attractions are mainly for tourists. Take time to talk to locals though, this may be the best way to be introduced to the 300 languages spoken in the city.
When it comes to food, avoid the big restaurants -- visit pubs. London is known for its live comedy performances and most of them are presented inside pubs. Aside from great local food, you’ll also get the chance to witness classic London humor.
Thanks to its prestigious landscape and regal appeal, London has become a favorite setting of various movies ranging from A Clockwork Orange to Harry Potter.
The people of London are known for their tendency to apologize to almost everything -- a trait that speaks about Londoners’ regard for etiquette. As a tourist, save yourself from getting angry looks by remembering proper etiquette. Don’t talk too much inside a tube. Fall in line. Follow the rules especially when you’re visiting important sites such as the Westminster Palace and the British Museum.
London locals already roll their eyes when groups of tourists are stalling time. The train stations can become unbelievably crowded during the rush hour. Avoid the stations as much as you can. Give Londoners a favor and walk instead.
You don’t have to follow some major rules to enjoy your London trip. Just understand London’s culture and people and you can blend in easily.
Each destination you choose to visit has a tips section on all attractions, places and more. Check out the tips section to save money, learn about free deals, find useful links, find out the best times to visit and much much more.