Visit the best places in the city of London and delve into the local ambience to feast on British culture.
Black cabs scuttle over polished grey roads striking a contrast with the red telephone booths on the sidewalk. As you walk down the pavement gawking at sweets, first edition books, classy fashion and numerous theatre halls, curiosity develops for this destination crammed with ‘must see’ labels, swamped by tourists under the summer sun, cascading autumn leaves, with umbrellas in the rain and stomping through snow.
An archaic sense of aesthetics flows along river Thames with the city of London rearing dreams, obsessions and journeys. At the beginning, from the view of a traveller, the place may seem to be too commercially inclined for innate elation. But a few days crawling through the heart of London, we can discover otherwise.
Around the city
The Tube is London’s lifeline, shrinking distances for office goers, residents of the city and you, with the possession of an Oyster card, which allows travel at the cheapest possible rate. The card also functions on the bus, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail, River Bus and most of the National Rail services.
Board the bus or take the Tube to reach Westminster and go aboard the London eye, a 135 m tall Ferris wheel, to see the sunset over the panorama of central London with the Big Ben, a great bell clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster. While you’re there, greet sharks, sting-rays, jellyfishes among other marine creatures, at the Sea Life aquarium adjacent to the wheel.
Historical landmarks around London are photographed ceaselessly each day, admired by tourists sitting on the deck of a sightseeing ferry across the river with an anchor explaining the history of the London Bridge, the Tower Bridge, the Westminster Bridge, the Waterloo Bridge and the Black Friars Bridge, which pass over your head.
In the heart of the city, tourists mob the Leicester square which is a rather lively locale with frequent singing, dancing and mimicry gigs by amateurs looking for positive criticism and earning. A number of food options are available with rows of restaurants and take-away counters along the road topped with stalls selling traditional English ice-cream. The area also houses cinemas where you can catch the latest movie and booking counters where you can reserve tickets to watch an exalting drama performed at one of the many theatres in London.
Towards the exit to the square, portrait artists sit with their canvases, famous for their comic style and utter accuracy in quick brush strokes.
Charcoal tinted lamps line streets, constructed in authentic British design, blanketing the city in a golden hue after the sun goes down. Conserving the tradition of hand-lighting lamps, 1500 gas lamps still exist in London.
The Regent Street, famous for its high fashion with popular brand outlets housed in antique à la mode houses, glows royalty in the evening with store-fronts proving to be a visual delight.
Royal Observatory, Greenwich
Not far away from central London is an idiosyncratic getaway for the lovers of stars and the universe. The Royal Observatory, Greenwich is a two and a half hour tube journey from Leicester Square via the famous Cutty Sark station, named so after a historic sailing ship.
Walk past a green turf spotted with herculean trees and wrought iron benches; the Greenwich Park is a perfect spot for a cozy picnic to spend time with family and friends.
The Royal Observatory was founded in 1675 by King Charles II of England, and it has served greatly in the field of astronomy and navigation. A brass strip in the observatory marks the prime meridian, the international standard for mapping and timekeeping.
Drown yourself in the stars and gain knowledge about the wonders of the universe by attending shows in the planetarium of the observatory and the experience will leave you pondering about your own existence.
Other than on Wednesdays and Mondays, you can shop at the stalls in the Greenwich Vintage market for up cycled jewelry, secondhand books and antiquities, among other collectibles.
If royalty excites you, visit the Buckingham palace which is the administrative headquarters of the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, to see the intricacies of British architecture, uniformed soldiers and the Victoria Memorial.
Located at 2.1 miles from the Buckingham Palace is the Windsor castle which was built in the 11th century, and it has long been admired for its architecture. It also has a famous flea market surrounding its exterior.
You may feel homesick for London where you alighted as a tourist. The memories of London induce nostalgia for the feeling of belongingness to a city which fuses modernity with age-old culture so neatly, that it appears to be a different era altogether.
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