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London is one of the World's most exciting, cultural destinations where visitors can walk with history whilst enjoying all that is best of modern day facilities, shops, theatres and restaurants.
This is a city of contrasts where you can witness Pomp and Circumstance as the Queen glides through the gates of Buckingham Palace in the splendid Irish state coach to follow the grand processional route of the Mall, Horse-guards Arch, and on into Whitehall for the state opening of Parliament. Or you can wander amongst the green lung's of London's Royal Park's, which centuries ago were the former hunting ground of Monarchs. These themselves attract over 30 million tourists each year, they start with St.James's Park and lead past the palace to join with Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. The deer and horses have long since gone, giving way to lush flower and water-filled expanses of tranquillity where weary office workers and travellers can rest.
London is a sprawling conurbation combining two cities, each with distinctly different beginnings, and separate roles, characters and styles. The City of London is the crowded centre of Britain's trade and finance; Westminster is the home of Court, government, high society, churches, and houses full of treasure. Linking both is the River Thames, England's greatest water thoroughfare, which has played a continuous role in the building of the city, borne silent witness to so much history and is the reason why the capital is where it is.
By day visitors can shop in a metropolis offering a huge mix of retail outlets ranging from Harrods to Asprey's, Designer Boutiques to Marks and Spencer, fruit shops, multi-cultural delicatessens, tobacconists and chocolate shops. Visitors can take in any one of a number of lively markets, many of which began in medieval times. London is justifiably proud of its markets, each is unique, with its own character, flavour and specialisation - such as Columbia Road Flower Market open every Sunday morning. This is somewhat off the beaten track but is worth the effort it takes to get there - for late risers there are plenty of places to have brunch! Others include the world renowned Covent Garden, Camden, Greenwich, Portobello Road, Petticoat Lane and Bermondsey Antique Market-certainly the place to go to grab a bargain. Travelling around is easy, you simply hail any one of the thousands of famous Black Cabs, or board a bright red double-decker bus. The under-ground offers a network of tubes, ideal for getting quickly from one area to another.
If it is the cultural experience you want, then after seeing London's great architectural gems, you can take you choice of over 200 museums and art galleries, or visit Madame Tussaud's, Kew Gardens, and the Royal Courts of Justice. London has some of the finest theatrical venues in the world, with a theatre-land unsurpassed by any other country. Theatre's range from the Drury Lane Theatre dating from 1812 to the Barbican which opened its doors in 1982, included too is Nash's famous Haymarket Theatre of 1821. In all London offers 40 theatres showing plays, musicals, ballet and opera, leaving visitors completely spoilt for choice.
After-noon tea is a quintessential English tradition that no visitor to London should miss. One of life's "must do's" is to drop in to either Brown's Hotel or the Ritz to enjoy after-noon tea served in the most elegant of English surroundings. Another unforgettable experience is to view London from the dizzy heights of the London Eye, on a clear day the vista can stretch as far as Heathrow Airport and Windsor Castle. Sporting enthusiasts have Wimbledon, Wembley, and even a golf course or two can be found within easy reach of the city centre.
London by night is an amazing experience, pubs on every corner, great buildings and bridges lit up against the night-time sky, add this to numerous clubs and restaurants serving cuisines of more than 70 countries, and this will leave you in no doubt that London has a cafe society second to none, beating that to be found in any other European capital.
In London the romance of the past is everywhere but it blends very well with the present. It is a cherished place where you are overwhelmed by its sheer scale, and yet pleasantly surprised by the warmth of its welcome. A century ago London was the largest and gayest capital city in the world, today it remains a vibrant multi-cultural city of romance that is the most historic and remarkable capital in all of Europe.
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