London has great museums, royal pageantry, best city gardens, narrow streets and houses steeped in history. It's an ancient city whose history greets you at every turn. London largely reflects its medieval layout, a willfully difficult tangle of streets. The great globe of St. Paul's Cathedral glows golden in the fading sunlight as it has since the 17th century. The neo-gothic Westminster is home to the parliament, which has met here since the 1250s, and it still looks majestic amid the modern towers of glass and steel that surround it. Past them flows the swift, dark Thames, following the same course as when it flowed past the Roman settlement of Londinium nearly 2,000 years ago. But the city offers much more than its famous landmarks: Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace. There's no other place like it in its architectural composition with sudden intervention of almost rural sights, in its medley of styles, in its mixture of the green loveliness of parks and the modern gleam of neon.
London is a walker's city and it repays every moment spent exploring on foot. Today, the sense of modernity in London is stronger than ever, as swinging-again London holds its own as one of the coolest cities in the world. Millennium fever left its trophies on the capital, with the opening of "The London Eye", buildings, bridges and impressively revamped museums. The city's art, style, fashion, and dining scenes make headlines around the world. London's chefs have become superstars, its fashion designers have conquered Paris, avant-garde artists have caused waves at the Royal Academy of Arts, the raging after-hours scene is packed with music mavens ready to catch the Next Big Thing, and the theater continues its tradition of radical, shocking productions. On the other hand, although the outward shapes may alter and the inner spirit may be warmer, the base-rocks of London's character and tradition remain the same. Even in the modern metropolis, some things rarely change. Teatime is still a hallowed part of the day, with toasted crumpets honeycombed with sweet butter. The greatest living link with the past is the Royal Family. The London you might discover may include some enthusiastic recommendations, but be prepared to be taken by surprise. The best that a great city has to offer often comes to you in unexpected ways. London has a magical atmosphere, mixing old world charm and contemporary hip style.
The setting for every coronation since 1066 and the burial ground for kings, statesmen, scientists, musicians and poets, the Westminster Abbey is a true Medieval masterpiece. Stunning gothic architecture, the fascinating literary history represented by poets corner, the artistic talent that went into the statues, murals, paintings and tombs, and the fantastic stained glass, combine to make Westminster Abbey the most enduringly stunning of London's churches. The most exciting church in the land is the final resting place for the men and women who built Britain. Its great Gothic hall continues to play a part in the formation of the kingdom, having hosted nearly every coronation since 1308.
For a thousand years the Tower of London has protected, threatened, imprisoned and occasionally executed the people of London. Originally the fortress of the hated Norman conquerors, built with imported white stone from France, it has been through many different incarnations in its life; the bloody tower where Richard III allegedly murdered his nephews, a patriotic symbol, home to British monarchs and armies, a prison and in modern times a treasury museum and UNESCO World Heritage site. The medieval palace, traitors gate, the beefeaters, and the ravens make visits wonderfully atmospheric. the best-preserved medieval castle in Europe. The Tower is London at its majestic, idiosyncratic best. This is the heart of the kingdom - with foundations dating back nine centuries, every brick tells a story, and the axe-blows and fortunes that have risen and fallen within this turreted mini-city provide an inexhaustible supply of intrigue.
Buckingham Palace is not prettiest royal palace, but it offers a glimpse of modern royal life. The Changing of the Guard, at Buckingham Palace and at Whitehall, are some of the greatest free shows in the world. No matter how many times you have seen it before, the scale and elegance of Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece St. Paul's Cathedral never fail to take the breath away. The enormous dome, third largest in the world, allows to experience the freaky acoustics of the Whispering Gallery, and fantastic views across London.
A visit to the British Museum allows for hours of eye-catching artifacts from the world's greatest civilizations, including the Elgin Marbles, the Rosetta Stone, and the Sutton Hoo treasure. Hampton Court Palace, a collection of buildings and gardens won over Henry VIII to become his favorite royal residence. Its Tudor charm, augmented by touches from Wren, and a picturesque upstream Thames location make it a great day out - not even dour Oliver Cromwell, who moved here in 1653, could resist its charms. London is a city of great green spaces. The four central parks are all within walking distance: St. James's Park for fairytale views; Green Park for hillocks and wide boulevards; Regent's Park for its open-air theater and the London Zoo; and Hyde Park for rowing on the Serpentine Lido.