London was once the centre of the world, being the heat of the British Empire. In its heyday, its riches were unmatched and this can be seen in the architecture of the city. Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral represent its religious grandeur, and the Tower of London and the Houses of Parliament its governing power. Its cultural prowess can be seen in Tate Britain, the museums of Trafalgar Square and Shakespeare’s Globe on the Southbank, amongst many others.
Hackney Carriages (black cabs) and jellied eels, London’s traditions go back many years. Visit Portobello Rd in west London for its weekly market, where you can buy anything from fresh fruit to antique candlesticks. Experience a taste of old London at a pie and mash shop, or get a bag of chips from Sea Shell in Lissom Square, one of the city’s oldest fish and chip shops. Don’t miss out on a trip to the traditional pub, where a pint of London Pride and a pickled egg is all you need.
London is full of well-known secrets (MI6 building on Vauxhall Bridge) including some great bars, museums and shopping opportunities. A cool museum to visit is the Magic Circle, where you can learn the truth behind many secret tricks. There are many ‘speakeasy’ bars for those in the know, and some of the best shopping can be found in charity shops in more affluent areas. Visit the amazing St. Dunstan-in-the-East’s secret garden for an otherworldly time.
Considered one of the greenest cities in the world, London has many beautiful parks and grassland areas. Hyde Park is the largest in the centre and stretches from Oxford Street to Kensington Palace, followed by the wonderful Regent’s Park. Green Park and St. James’s Park boast great views of the Mall and Buckingham Palace. Further afield you can find Hampstead Heath, and the beautiful Richmond Park, where Charles I escaped the city. And that’s just the big parks.
Best of British
London is a multicultural place, and being British can mean many things to different people. You could in the same day admire the lavish palaces of the Royal family, go for a roast dinner or make your way to a football game. But then you could equally swap this for a delicious curry, a day at the horse races and a good moan about the weather. Don’t forget to visit the seaside – it’s easy to get to Brighton, Eastbourne or Southend-on-Sea, home to the world’s longest pier.
Stuck for ideas on how to entertain the kids in the school holidays? No need to fret.