CITY GUIDES Around London. Cultural information. London must-see places! You’ve got two days. Where do you go?
London was founded as a communication centre by the Romans shortly after they invaded Britain in 43 AD. Londinium, as it was called then, was a little village on the Thames, on the route to the provincial capital in eastern England, nowadays it is a fantastic great metropolis with a population of 7,465,100 people and 11,229,200 in the metropolitan area.
London is a big, splendid City. To visit London is an exciting adventure: so many places to go, so many things to do, so many sights to see. Why not visit it with me? I know London pretty well and I love it. And I can’ be your guide. No charge! So everybody is coming with me. Very good. Our expedition starts from Trafalgar Square, the geographical centre of London. Everybody there, quick!
As we have said before over seven million people live in London, and around 25 million people visit it a year. From the London Eye, in the heart of London, you can see a lot! A trip on the wheel takes thirty minutes. On a clear day, you can see up to 40 kilometres.
See the Crown Jewels in the 900-year-old Tower of London and the famous Beefeaters, too. Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the Queen. You can’t visit the 600 rooms, but you can see the Changing of the Guard. The Houses of Parliament opposite Parliament Square are the home of the British Government.
The Globe Theatre is a modern reconstruction of Shakespeare’s original theatre. The actors perform the plays in the open air!
The River Thames runs through the city. ‘lower Bridge has two levels, one for traffic and one for pedestrians. The Millennium Bridge is London’s newest bridge and is only for people.
The British Museum contains a world famous collection of 7.5 million objects. You can only see a small part in one day. St Paul’s Cathedral is a huge church that dominates London’s skyline. Its 350 steps take you to the top of a dome with wonderful views.
London is the capital of shopping! Harrods is a world famous department store with 330 different departments. Don’t forget Oxford Street for shopping. It’s over two kilometres long and has 300 shops. Or visit Camden Market for its cool fashion and second-hand clothes. Where can you relax in beautiful green spaces? In London’s parks, of course. In Hyde Park you can go horse riding or rowing, In Regents Park you can visit London Zoo.
Portobello is a large building in Shaftesbury Avenue (Piccadilly Circus) for entertainment, leisure and shopping. Built on the site of the original Trocadero restaurant (1896), it was open throughout World War II, it closed in 1965 and was redeveloped the 1980s. Since 2005 it is under new ownership and is expected to undergo a comprehensive regeneration.
Madame Tussaud’s is a museum with a large collection of waxwork of famous figures from around the world. Popular exhibits are the Chamber of Horrors, which gives a scary view of the criminal world of the past 200 years; the Grand Hall with waxwork of the royals including the current Queen: the Spirit of London which offers the sights, sounds and smells of 400 years of London life. Madame Tussaud (1761-1850) was a maker of wax death masks, a technique for recording the features of people before the invention of photography. During the French Revolution she took death masks of guillotine victims, including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
Tate Modem, opened in May 2000, is Britain’s new National museum of modern art. It is located on the south bank of the River Thames at Bankside, near Blackfriars Bridge, opposite St Paul’s Cathedral and next to the Globe Theatre. Housed in the former Bankside Power Station. Tate Modern displays a collection of international modern art from 1900 to the present day, including major works by Bacon, Dali, Picasso, Matisse, Rothko and Warhol as well as recent works by artists such as Steve McQueen, Rebecca Horn and Gillian Wearing. It holds special exhibitions and events throughout the year.
London is a great metropolis. The major airports in London are Heathrow and Gatwick. Heathrow is a very busy, international airport. It is very important for the traffic not only with the main British cities, but also with foreign countries throughout the world. Gatwick is the second airport in London and is now almost equally busy. International flights are direct to European countries, Asia, Australia, Africa and America. There are three and a half hour transatlantic flights from London to New York. These Concord flights are supersonic.
London great and fundamental numbers
14,753,000 visitors per year in 981,000 Italians (Data 2008)
Population: 7,465,100 (11,229,200 in the metropolitan area)
Area: 1.580 sq km
Country: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Currency: Pound (1 £ ~ 1.42 €)
Time Zone: GMT (-1 with Italy)
Area Code: (+0044) 20
9 Royal Parks (ancient hunting) Green Park, St James’s Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent’s Park, Greenwich Park, Bushy Park, Richmond Park and Brampton Cemetery
11 sq km Richmond Park the largest in London
12 metro lines with 275 stations of which 63 in the center
300 prestigious museums and art galleries
135 meters high, the London Eye ferris wheel, the world’s largest
84 years of Queen Elizabeth
Over 6,000 restaurants
Over 40,000 shops
Hamleys is one of the world’s largest toy shops. Its flagship store is in Regent Street, London. Hamleys is one of London’s more popular destinations with a reported 5 to 6 million visitors per year, so you’ll have a lot of company on any visit to the store.
13 professional football teams (more than any other city in the world)
Teens in the UK and the US often hang out in shopping malls because there are lots of cafés and it doesn’t rain. They also meet up in parks, skate parks or leisure centres. In big cities they get together in fast food restaurants or in cafés in fashion shops. There are special teen areas in some libraries – with headphones so they can listen to music and large computer screens for films. Wherever teens hang out, they like to meet up with their friends. And if that’s not possible they can always hang out online!