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Reasons to Visit London

London is one of the greatest cities in the world! It’s also one of the most visited cities attracting visitors from other parts of the UK and around the world. London is multicultural, vibrant, dynamic and cosmopolitan but retains its distinct British character. If there’s one trip that you must make in you lifetime, then it must be London.

There are plenty of reasons to visit London whether for the first time or have been here before. There’s always something new to see and do in London. There’s no doubt that London is an expensive city but even if you are on a shoestring budget, there are plenty of free attractions. With so much to offer, the hardest part of experiencing London is deciding what to include and what to exclude during your visit.

Tower of London by Laika ac

London is a fantastic travel destination and the following are reasons why you should not miss an opportunity to visit this city.

Home of the British Royal Family

London is the home of the British Royal Family that include UK’s reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II and her family. The Royal Family are often in the news not only in the UK but also around the world. They are a cultural icon and most often associated with the UK by people across the four corners of the globe. Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the British monarchs since 1837 and visitors can tour the palace in summer when the Queen is not residing. Don’t miss the Changing of the Guards, a major ceremony and military tradition at Buckingham Palace.

Guards of Buckingham Palace by Adrian Pingstone

Historic Icons

London’s history spans two millennia and home to several historic icons. The 11th century Tower of London is a medieval fortress and not only famous for its imposing architecture but has played a prominent role in England’s history. The 18th century St Paul’s Cathedral is a prominent Anglican cathedral in London where Prince Charles married Princess Diana. The medieval Westminster Abbey is a huge abbey and the coronation site of every English and British monarch since the 11th century as well as many royal burials. The Palace of Westminster is another imposing building with its Victorian neo Gothic architecture and has been the seat of British democracy since 1840.

Palace of Westminster by DaniKauf

Museums

London has plenty of free attractions and among them are some of the best museums in the world. The British Museum is a five-star museum housed in a grand building devoted to the history of human civilisation, arts and culture. The Natural History Museum is in a large Gothic building and aims to explain the history of our natural world. The Science Museum is home to world-class exhibits explaining how science and technology has shaped our lives. The Victoria and Albert Museum is the largest museum in world devoted to the world of decorative arts and design.

Inside the Victoria and Albert Museum by Rept0n1x

Art Galleries

Many of London’s major and most popular art galleries are also free. The world-renowned National Gallery is home to priceless works of art by famous European artists. Nearby is the National Portrait Gallery, which houses portraits of important and famous people in British history. Another free art gallery is Tate Modern with its international works of modern and contemporary art from 1900 to the present. Tate Britain is a prestigious art gallery and home to British works of art from the 15th century to the present day.

Parks

You may not think about lush greenery in London but parks occupy nearly half of the city. The most famous of the parks is Hyde Park, one of the city’s larger parks and equivalent to Central Park in New York City. Kensington Gardens is located adjacent to Hyde Park and has the appearance of a formal garden with its green lawns, flowerbeds, tree planted avenues and Italian gardens. Richmond Park is a nature reserve featuring open grasslands, woodlands, streams, ponds, walking trails and a diversity of wildlife. Hampstead Heath is a large slice of the countryside offering plenty of green space and supports a diversity of habitats.

A pond in Hampstead Heath by Stephen McKay

Shopping

London is one of the best places in the world for shopping offering from cheap bargains to the cream of the brands. Major shopping streets include the prestigious Bond Street with its exclusive stores, Oxford Street with more retail space than any other parts of London and Regent Street with its high street retailers. Another popular shopping destination is Knightsbridge, a fashionable retail district and the location of the famous Harrods and Harvey Nichols department stores. Carnaby Street is home to a large number of independent fashion boutiques and emerging British labels offering affordably priced clothes.

Carnaby Street by Heikki Immonen

Markets

There are over 300 markets in London and are popular destinations with bargain hunters as well as foodies. Popular markets include Borough Market, a wholesale and retail food market and one of the largest of its kind in London. Another popular market is Camden Market, comprising of several adjacent markets featuring small independent shops and stalls. Old Spitalfields Market is a huge covered market packed with stalls inside an expansive hall surrounded by trendy boutiques and restaurants. Portobello Market is popular with bargain hunters searching for vintage items though you can find an assortment of other items.

Portobello Market by Adrian Pingstone

Neighbourhoods

London comprises of numerous neighbourhoods but some are better known then others. Brixton is home to a diversity of ethnicities from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean that creates a potpourri of cultures. Chelsea is an affluent neighbourhood and along with it are the trendy cafes, classy restaurants and upmarket retailers. Soho was once a sleazy part of London but now an upmarket neighbourhood with its cafes, restaurants, late night coffee shops, shops, nightclubs and theatres. Chinatown is unmistakeably Asian in character and occupied by Asian-owned businesses including restaurants and shops.

Entertainment

London offers plenty of entertainment ranging from the small to large venues. Many leading musicians and bands on international tours make it a point to perform in London. The heart of the city’s entertainment is Leicester Square packed with theatres, cinemas, clubs and casinos. It’s a thriving entertainment district with a hive of activities that last late into the evening especially on Friday and Saturday nights. The theatres here are famous for their West End productions that offer some of best live theatre performances in the UK including musicals, plays and comedies.

Leicester Square by InSapphoWeTrust

Foods

Londoners have a passion for food and eating outing is popular with the locals. The city literally has thousands of food stalls, sandwich shops, takeaways, fast food joints, cafes, delis, pubs and casual to fine dining restaurants. London is a multicultural city and besides the British fare, you can spoil yourself with unimaginable choices of cuisines from around the world! Here you can find Italian, French, Spanish, Latin American, Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, Malaysian and Thai foods to name a few. London is truly a culinary delight!

Restaurant in Chinatown by Ewan Munro

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