What strikes visitors more than anything about London is the sheer size of the place. The population – currently around seven million – may be declining, but it is still by far Europe’s largest city. It is also far more diffuse than the great cities of the Continent, such as Rome or Paris. Londoners tend to cope with this by compartmentalizing the city, identifying with the neighborhoods in which they work or live, and making occasional forays into the “centre of town” – the West End, London’s shopping and entertainment heartland.
The majority of London’s sights are situated north of the River Thames, which loops through the centre of the city from west to east, but there is no single predominant focus of interest, for London has grown not through centralized planning but by a process of agglomeration. Thus London’s highlights are widely spread, and visitors should make mastering the public transport system, particularly the Tube, a top priority.
The good news is that London’s museums and galleries – the British Museum, the Tate, and scores of smaller specialists – are among the finest in the world, while monuments from the capital’s more glorious past are everywhere to be seen, from medieval banqueting halls and the great churches of Sir Christopher Wren to the eclectic Victorian architecture of the triumph list British Empire. The major sights – Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London – draw in millions of tourists every year, and in most cases rightly so. Yet there is as much to be had from the city’s quiet Georgian squares, the narrow alleyways of the City of London, the riverside walks and the large expanses of inner-city greenery.
|Westminster Abbey – Church
Parliament Square, SW1 (0207/222 5152). This single building embodies much of the history of England: it’s the coronation venue, contains numerous tombs, royal and otherwise and is a piece of remarkably beautiful architecture.
|Big Ben: This316ft clock-tower was completed between 1858-59.Big Ben is named, probably,
after Sir Benjamin Hall, the First Commissioner of Works. Big Ben was first
broadcast on New Year’s Eve in 1923. The light above the clock is lit while the
Commons is sitting. Big Ben weighs over 13 tons. The clock mechanism, alone,
weights about 5 tons. The figures on the clock face are about 2 feet long, the
minute spaces are 1 ft. square; and the copper minute hands are14 ft. Long.
|China Town:Just behind Leicester Square, you’ll find a little China waiting for you to be explored . The delicatable restaurants and shops selling genuine chinese products. Look out for the natural Chinese remedies.
Epecially vibrant during the Chinese new year towards end January.
|British Museum –
Great Russell Street, WC2 (0171/636 1555). One of the great museums of the world, and, after Blackpool Beach, Britain’s most popular tourist attraction. Four million exhibits range from the Elgin Marbles to prehistoric corpses. Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 10.00-5.00, Sunday 2.30-6.00 Closed during the Christmas period, New Year’s Day, Good Friday and the first Monday in May.Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 2.30pm-6pm.
|Leicester Square is the entertainment center of London. It is in the heart of London close to Piccadilly Circus, Chinatown and the famous Shaftsbury Avenue. One of the busiest areas of the City with wall to wall crowds, complete with many street entertainers day and night. Nice to visit during the Day, lots to do and places to sit and people watch, While sipping a cappuccino at the many trendy cafes in and around the Square .|