There are big cities, world cities and alpha world cities. Together with New York, Tokyo and Paris, London is part of the latter category. It is the political cradle, the economic centre and the cultural heart of the United Kingdom. A visit to London is no more than logical.
In the centre of London you will come across a number of large squares. Trafalgar Square is named after the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, when the British navy defeated the French fleet. The British were led by Horatio Nelson, whose memory is honoured by a high pillar and statue (Nelson’s Column). Piccadilly Circus is also a crowd-puller. The square is a meeting place and can be recognised by its striking neon signs. Leicester Square, finally, is located in a pedestrian zone in the West End district. British heroes such as Isaac Newton, Joshua Reynolds and William Shakespeare are honoured here. Due to the presence of four large cinemas, film premieres often take place here.
History and tradition
Various London highlights are listed on the famous UNESCO World Heritage List: the Royal Botanic Kew Gardens, the Tower of London, Maritime Greenwich, Westminster Abbey, the Palace of Westminster (including Big Ben) and Saint Margaret’s Church. This is but a small selection of all the beauty that the city has to offer. The Tower of London is built as a fortress but was also used for some time as a royal palace and prison before it became a museum. Nowadays Buckingham Palace is the main residence of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. It is a place full of history and tradition, which can still be seen at the Changing of the Guard. It entails much ceremony and is therefore an attractive spectacle.
Food & drinks in London
London is a melting-pot of cultures and this has resulted in a great diversity of restaurants, particularly in the districts of Soho and Chinatown. For gourmets, there are no less than 42 restaurants with at least one Michelin star, including Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (three stars!) With a smaller budget you can go to the pub, for example for fish & chips. That includes, of course, a good glass of ale. For those who are no particular fans of ale, there is no need to worry: the British are true beer lovers and that means an extensive assortment. There is always a good pint available. Cheers!