Visiting London England
"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford." Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
Whilst Samuel Johnson would hardly recognize the London of today his famous quote is still true.
If you are planning to visit London be prepared for an unforgettable experience.
London through new eyes
I moved from the UK to Canada in 1996. Over the past sixteen years I have re-visited London five times. During the most recent visit, in August 2012, London was awash with patriotism as Londoners and the British celebrated and supported Team GB at the Olympic games and the Paralympic games. The atmosphere was vibrant, electric and very positive.
Visiting London as a "tourist" along with my two teen daughters who first fell in love with London five years ago I see familiar streets and places with new eyes. This visit, thanks to the Olympic Development in East London, we were also rewared with some new additions to the familiar landscape.
The newest addition to the skyline and great way to view the evolving horizon is by taking The Bubble - sponsored by United Arab Emirates Airways. The Bubble crosses the River Thames from Royal Victoria (Docklands Light Railway) to North Greenwich.
Once in North Greenwich take a bus or train to Greenwich and spend a day at Greenwich Market (closed on Mondays) and visiting the Cutty Sark. This dry docked ship was built in Scotland in 1869. Cutty Sark was one of the last tea clippers to transport tea between Great Britain and China. Recently refurbished Cutty Sark is a fun and interesting way to learn about the history of shipping.
In addition to Cutty Sark, local shops and restaurants and the market The National Maritime Museum, The Queen's House and Royal Observatory are interesting places to visit whilst in Greenwich. http://www.rmg.co.uk/
Other locations worth a visit in the newly developed East London:
- Stratford and the New Westfield shopping centre. Stratford is also the home of the famous Theatre Royal Stratford East, home of the theatre workshop company and artistic director Joan Littlewood.
- Green Street - centre for Asian design and cuisine with unique shopping and fantastic food
- Broadway Market (Saturdays) One of the oldest farmers/artisan markets in London
- Wonderful views can be had at The Thames Barrier and West India Quay
Traditional London Sights
Depending on your length of stay the traditional sights of London can be glimpsed by the various open topped tour buses or by taking regular city buses whcih go from the city to the West End.
Travel Cards offer good value for money and it may be worth purchasing an Oyster card if you are staying for a prolonged period of time.
Taxis are reasonable and if you take a longer journey sometimes a cabbie will negotiate an off the meter deal. We travelled from Liverpool Street Station out to Heathrow for 60 British Pounds becuase the cabbie took pity on the amount of luggage and he wanted to avoid the prossession taking place that day. It is always worth asking.
My "Must Do" list for first time visitors to London are:
St. Paul's Cathedral (at least from the outside)
The South Bank/London Eye
Trafalgar Square/Nelsons Column
Tower of London
Theatre evening or matinee performance