Travel London: The Living Past And The Ever-present

London Bridge may have fallen, but this tenacious society has a knack for bouncing back from just about anything. Although much of the city's visible history has been wiped out by centuries of fires, rebuilding and modernization, London is inescapably a prevailing icon of the global past, present and future. Museums, monuments and the presence of the Royal Family all maintain an air of London's ancient and imperial history about the city.

The London Reality: From Lackluster to Illustrious
During the Industrial Revolution, London was by far the most polluted city in the world. The infamous London Fog killed thousands of people while Parliament had to move away from the River Thames due to the unbearable stench. London cleaned up its act since then but the streets are still a composite of poverty and wealth, doldrums and brilliance. The proximity of these realities is what makes London so fascinating and unique to the city's visitors.

The Tate Modern Museum is a leading example of how London likes to reinvent itself. The exclusively contemporary museum is housed in the old Bankside Power Station, contributing an industrial, factory-like feel with sharp lines and a smokestack exterior. From the Tate, the sleek Millennium Footbridge stretches across the Thames with the elegant St. Paul's Cathedral jutting paradoxically into the sky beyond. Just down the bank, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre also stands in a dilemma of time periods. The shiny plated sphere shatters the mental image of Old English literature and seems to be a modern nod to a coveted and precious part of London's cultural identity. In the center of London's progressive bustle, Buckingham Palace sits as regally as it ever has while visitors press up against the iron gates daily to view the ceremonious changing of the guard.
London stands apart from other major cities due to its unusually expansive range of parklands. Hyde Park once served as Henry VIII's hunting ground and covers 350 acres of land, divided by Serpentine Lake. The Park is used for many public events and is contiguous with the prestigious Kensington Gardens. An interesting twist to greenery can be found in the Highgate Cemetery, known for its eerie Victorian-Gothic tombs and overgrown catacombs.

Eat, Drink, Shop, and be Merry
Busy Londoners love to consume and indulge. Even in this rather fast-paced commercial capital, the nightlife is even more tireless. Pubs are packed in the early evenings and some of the world's most famous nightclubs rage until dawn. The world's top restaurants are booked until midnight and offer some of the finest dining experiences anywhere, with a focus on international cuisine. During your stay in London you will indulge, buy, see and schmooze, but any attempt to schedule sleep into your itinerary may be foiled.

By Frank Johnson

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  • Hope says
    It's 21 years since I was in London, I must go back. I'm dying to see a Shakespearean play performed at the Globe theatre, go for a ride on the London Eye, visit Madame Tussauds, the Victoria & Albert Museum,Harrods, take a tour through the Houses of Parliament & Buckinham Palace, view the Gherkin. London has so much to see & do you can't possibly fit it all in one visit! I loved, actually, being in all those places we bought & sold on the Monopoly Board had to pinch myself. London is so Cosmopolitan. It's so easy to get around, the Tube system is brilliant! The West End wonderful...even got to see The Phantom of the Opera on the same day as I bought a ticket!!! Oh yes London I'm hearing your call!!!
  • Ladidi says
    Wow London, definitely on my bucket list. I wish I had done my OE many years ago, but life happens and the OE never did. But I still hope to get there one day. I can but dream!
  • Corelliz says
    I lived in London many years ago and absolutely loved it.

    By the way, note to the editor: you've posted a photo of Tower Bridge, but referred to London Bridge. It's a common mistake to make, most Londoners get it wrong too!
  • Corelliz says
    London Bridge
  • KH says
    I can't wait to get to hope I make it there.
  • Lauren says
    Can't wait to visit London!
  • Anna says
    im soo going to visit one day!!
  • Foreverme says
    I am going next year as my cousin is getting married in St Paul's Cathedral...Counting down the days..
  • Louise says
    London is just like New York the city that never sleeps. But there is a dark side to London too nobody cares, that person you were sitting next too on the tube could be a rapist/murderer - so many people. I saw so much violence and so many unbelieable things in London. An experience that will never be forgotten/dream that were followed which led to a new life in New Zealand - boy one extreme to the other!
  • James says
    As per my experience London Bridge is one of the most popular areas in London for its wealth of historic sites, It is very impressive modern landmarks on the famous south bank of the River Thames, If you are new & planning to visit London than you have to hire a car for your road trip because here public transportation also reachable but you may left lot of attraction if you have short time tour, I can suggest you one the best company who provides service in London.They arrange your tour and help to make affordable as well as entertaining and full of enjoy. "Tripindicator" is well reputed company in Tour & Travel sector since long time, Suppose you are on your London trip and you are looking for car rental services from Heathrow airport just need to go through ... How to find cheapest car rentals at Heathrow Airport?

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