One of the exemplary cities where traditionalism meets modernity, London is a place where culture goes along with innovation and where music, drama, art and architecture are the aspects captivating the attention of the entire world. The city is certainly phenomenal in preserving its varied culture not only through art, music, drama and architecture but also through the esteem which the Royal Family still holds in the eyes of the British. In addition to this, it is also one of favourite destinations for students from other countries as it is home to some of the best universities with high standards of education.
The most convenient way to reach London is by air. Flights run almost every day to London and often people arrange their trips with tours and travel companies so as to see various places in a short time. However, considering the diversity and the large number of attractions, it is advisable to keep at least a week aside for London. Exploring the city without any pre-planned schedules and time bindings would be a more pleasurable experience. Summer (June- August) would be the most suitable time to plan a trip to London as the weather would be favourable to roam around especially when accompanied with the short spells of rains.
The places worth visiting can be categorised into buildings, museums and entertainment in the form of theatres. A number of walks are also arranged for tourists, taking you into the interiors of the city and showing noteworthy places. Besides, there are double-decker buses exclusively travelling to the main buildings and tourist spots, specially organised for tourists. One must also check out the Underground Tube which the fastest means of commuting in London. The novelty lies in the efficiency with which the Tube system is managed.
Some of the fascinating and significant places are:
1. The House of Parliament with the Big Ben: Like every other Parliament, this is the place where bills are introduced and laws of the country are enforced. The Queen inaugurates every new session of the parliament. The structure is unique and enormous as it has been built in Gothic style. Attending a parliamentary session at The House of Commons is an experience which is one of its kinds. There is no fee for sitting in the public gallery of the House of Commons.
2. Buckingham Palace: The palace has been the residence of the Monarch ever since the rule of Queen Victoria. The Change of Guards, a ceremony taking place almost every day around 11am, gives us a glimpse of the long- lasting royalty of the Monarch’s family. The ceremony lasts for about an hour and hundreds of people gather here daily to enjoy it.
3. London Eye: Based on the banks of River Thames, it is the biggest observational wheel in the world. One gets a magnificent sight of different buildings and bridges through the capsules that move slowly for about half an hour, thus giving a panoramic view of the entire city.
4. Trafalgar Square: The statue of Admiral Lord Nelson was built here in order to commemorate his naval victory. This is one of the most happening places in London as it is situated near one of the biggest museums, the National Gallery. Apart from this, thousands of pigeons come here everyday making it unique.
5. The Tower of London: The Tower has been the place of execution of prisoners. In addition to this, it is the place where the Crown Jewels are preserved. While going to the section of the Jewels, an elaborate video of the Queen’s coronation ceremony is shown which gives an idea of the British history. The place can be a memorable for Indians in particular as it is here where the Kohinoor is preserved.
6. National Gallery: A number of paintings of different styles are exhibited in this gallery. Paintings of famous artists like Titian, Monet Leonardo Da Vinci are displayed here. This place can be of utmost interest to people inclined towards art and painting. The paintings here are taken care so well that the intricacies underlying each and every painting are clearly seen even after so many years!
7. Leicester Square: It is the place where world film premieres are held and the nearby Piccadilly Circus which is famous for its huge electronic advertisements.
8. Oxford Street and Regent Street: It is one of the most happening and crowded places in London. The two streets have all leading franchise outlets and a number of souvenir shops too. The extravagance of London life-style is manifested explicitly and even if tourists are not keen on shopping, they land up buying something after visiting this place.
For gourmets and drinks connoisseurs, checking out one of the pubs on the river banks would be enticing. There is no authentic British cuisine particularly. However, trying out Fish and Chips would render delight to foodies. A traditional British drink called Pimm’s, which is a blend of gin and fruit extracts, would make the meal complete in real sense!
Apart from these, there are a number of places in the outskirts of the city too which catch tourists’ interest. However the tour would remain imperfect without going to one of the city’s theatres and coming across the culture the city has treasured for so many years. Whether you stay for a week or for a month, time will always be the biggest constrain. There is so much to devour into and relish in this amazing city that your heart will sadden while bidding adieu to this land of wonders!
Prerita Vijay Chauthaiwale
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/flappingwings/40186252/]