London’s mix of grandeur, history, style and culture gets more enticing by the year. There’s charm in the Royal parks, world-class art galleries and wood-clad pubs. There’s intrigue in its ancient streets and majestic architecture. And there’s the excitement of its neon-lit West End, around which revolves an innovative dining scene and designer shopping outlets.
Aside from its icons – from black cabs and red double-decker buses to the soaring spires of Westminster – the English capital’s museums are one of its most memorable features. Whether it’s the earthly wonders housed inside the ornate, terracotta façade of the Natural History Museum or the cutting-edge artists pushing boundaries inside the Tate Modern, London’s cultural attractions are stunning and often free.
This city of more than 8 million people is still basking in the glow of the 2012 London Olympics, which saw the Horse Guards Parade host beach volleyball, as a sprawling Greenwich Park became the setting for equestrian events. Now the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is home to shows and exhibitions, while surrounding areas and venues have been transformed into park and leisure facilities.
Another new attraction stealing the limelight is The Shard. Piercing the heavens at 310m (1,016ft), the tallest building in Western Europe has redefined London’s skyline, and visitors can gawp at stunning city views from the 244m (800ft) viewpoint.
Near this architectural wonder is the historic Tower of London, while crossing London Bridge brings you to the glossy skyscrapers of the financial district. Beyond this is the creative hub of Shoreditch and trend-setting Dalston with its edgy nightlife. To the west of the city, vast Hyde Park is worth exploring, as are the affluent neighbourhoods of Kensington and Chelsea.
This variety is what makes London so special. It’s a truly global city, with more than 300 languages spoken by inhabitants originating from across the globe. Such a melting pot means that you can find cuisine and culture from just about anywhere. Ultimately, London doesn’t just feel like the centre of the world, but like the world in one city.