London Travel Guide - with Wired Destinations
Discount Hotels in London : City of London, Heathrow Airport, Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Kensington, Bayswater, Marble Arch, Gatwick, Oxford, Wembley, Westminster, West End, Slough, Windsor
London, New York, Paris - the world's premier cities from which class, prestige and distinction are synonymous with the international address. The legendary burg of London town, once a cloistered Roman settlement on the River Thames, has indeed grown some over the past 2000 years. Time has not been a kind mistress, however, for London had been brought to its knees a number of times over the centuries. There was the dark period of the deadly plague, which quite nearly wiped out the population in 1664 and 1665, and which was followed by the Great Fire of London that burned for days destroying most of the city.
In recent decades, World War II bombs wreaked havoc. Through it all, in stoic British fashion, London has picked itself back up and marched on as the capital of the United Kingdom. In the past, it was the wealth of the Empire funding many of the historical landmarks that remain today drawing admiring visitors the world over. Today, however, it is the flourishing contemporary metropolis of London proper, healing itself and breathing new life into rundown neighbourhoods and crumbling waterfronts. London has history. London has royalty. London has theatre, museums and monuments and more to see and do than...well, just about anywhere. London has charm to be sure, loads of it, but where to start?
How about at the official centre of London, Trafalgar Square? Here you can leisurely stroll about feeding pigeons while viewing some of England's most treasured historic monuments. The statue of Lord Nelson, who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, is a dominant feature and hard to miss. The National Gallery, situated on the northern side of the square, invites you to take pleasure in one of the finest art collections in the world. Work from every major western artist from the 15th through the 19th centuries is on display here. Head to the Houses of Parliament and watch Big Ben toll the hour. Pick a silly trinket for a souvenir of Piccadilly Circus. Perhaps the famous Harrod's department store harbours the wares to tickle your fancy. Shop the trendy Kensington and Chelsea District but do stop and see what's playing at the old Royal Court Theatre. Always a crowd pleaser, the Changing of the Guards ceremony at Buckingham Palace, makes for a colourful show. For a floral display of unequalled colour and refinement, you will have to go to the Royal Botanical Gardens (also known as Kew Gardens). If nature and greenery are more to your liking, visit the hunting grounds of King Henry the VIII, which is none other than the present-day Hyde Park.
Within the 255 hectares (about 630 acres), is the Serpentine Lake and the restored Kensington Palace. When you are ready for a spiritual experience, Saint Paul's Cathedral (built in 1666 following the Great Fire), represents a superb architectural marvel with a gallery of monuments and tombs contained in the crypt. Before you leave, test the strange acoustic phenomena of the Whispering Gallery. For more of 'that old time religion' pay tribute to the oldest and most famous of London's great churches, Westminster Abbey. Since 1066, many British monarchs have been crowned in the Abbey. The church shelters the tombs of many kings and queens. Now if the aspect of worship is wearing thin and a certain thirst beckons, bohemian Soho may hold pub or two with an acceptable address. Should you loose your way, fear not, London town is rife with establishments featuring good cheer.
For an overview of all UK destinations with valuable recommendations on UK hotels and London hotels, have a go in our UK Travel Guide and UK Travel tips.