London is unquestionably one of the world’s must-see cities, but if you’re not convinced, here are ten reasons why you’ll fall in love with the UK capital.
London covers a whopping 607 square miles, divided into 32 individual and characterful boroughs, from cool Camden to affluent Kensington. The city is so vast that many visitors to the UK don’t bother to venture outside of central London, and you can’t blame them. There is so much to see and do that you could spend a fortnight here and barely scratch the surface.
From watching a West End show and sailing down the River Thames to hammering the credit card on Oxford Street and visiting the many palaces and royal parks, there are never enough hours in the day to do everything you’d like in London.
It’s all is here
As suggested in that previous sentence, there isn’t much you won’t find in London; it has everything – heritage, theatre, retail, leisure, innovative arts. London is so eclectic and diverse that you’d be hard-pressed to pinpoint any culture or country that isn’t represented here.
Royalty lives here
Just 22 minutes away from Park Grand London Kensington is Buckingham Palace, which is often considered to be the home of the Queen. While it may be the most recognisable building of the monarch, the Queen doesn’t actually live here. Instead, her official residence is located down the Mall from Buckingham Palace at the relatively low-key St James’s Palace.
That aside, many royal palaces are dotted around central London, namely Lambeth Palace, Winchester Palace and Kensington Palace – the official London residence of Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
It’s cheaper than you think
Europe’s major capital cities have a reputation for being expensive and while you could easily decimate your bank balance in London, there are numerous amazing attractions and things to do that won’t cost you a penny.
Most of its world-class museums, such as the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Britain, are free to enter, while the buzzing Borough and Camden markets are so rich with atmosphere that you can have a memorable time simply browsing the stalls and unique wares on offer.
It has glorious green spaces
London’s busy skyline may give the impression that it is a blanket of hustle and bustle, but there are many peaceful spots in the capital, including eight royal parks. Even those averse to fresh air and walking can’t resist the charm of the 350-acre Hyde Park.
Located just four miles from Trafalgar Square is Hampstead Heath, which offers great panoramic views of London. We’d also recommend St James’s Park (especially at 2.30pm when the pelicans are fed) and Regent’s Park which has its very own zoo.
It celebrates creativity
London has always been a hive of creative activity, providing a base for countless bands and actors over the decades.
In the music world, it was home to David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Joe Strummer, Amy Winehouse, Dusty Springfield and Nick Drake, and remains the stomping ground of Adele, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, James Blake, Cliff Richard, Eric Clapton and Coldplay’s Chris Martin.
So many screen actors hail from London too: Tom Hardy, Emily Blunt, Eddie Redmayne, Rosamund Pike, Idris Elba, Peter Cushing, Tilda Swinton, Riz Ahmed, Alan Rickman, Daniel Day Lewis, Helen Mirren, Andy Serkis and that’s without even mentioning the city’s great directors (Alfred Hitchcock, Christopher Nolan, Duncan Jones).
Music is everywhere
Aside from all the great bands to emerge from London, music is a major part of London in that it contains many iconic venues such as the 100 Club, which, since 1942, has hosted gigs by the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Mark Ronson.
There’s also Wembley Stadium, Royal Albert Hall – renowned for thrilling classical performances – Ronnie Scott’s (huge in the jazz world), and Camden’s Koko, which provided the stage for the-then up-and-coming Madonna, Grace Jones and Coldplay.
London’s reputation for great music can be witnessed with the many amazing buskers playing on the city’s streets and walkways. There are so many phenomenal busking musicians now that there has been an annual citywide competition to find the best since 2009. 2016’s contest was won by 13-year old singer Clarissa Mae.
London loves sports
Sport is just as ingrained in London’s culture as its music. The city is home to no fewer than 13 football teams playing in professional leagues and five of them are in the top-tier Premier League (Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace, West Ham United).
There are also many legendary sporting venues here too, such as Twickenham, Wimbledon, Lord’s, the Oval and the 90,000-seater Wembley Stadium, which was the setting for 2011 and 2013’s Champions League Final.
That’s before you take into account the legacy left behind after the Olympics in 2012…