London skyline

City Guide: London

London is a thriving and vibrant city, and is both the largest city in England as well as the nation’s capital. As the future host of the 2012 Olympics, the city is gearing up to improve upon an already wonderful transportation system, fantastic museums, and beautiful open parks.

cruise boat in London
cruise boat in London

As one of the world’s most important cities, it is easily one of the best tourism destinations around. Instead of traveling abroad and needing to translate signs and conversation, London offers the added benefit of being an English speaking city, making car hire in London, along with shopping and asking for directions, simple and easy. With friendly locals and a fast-paced city, what is there not to love about London?

London itself is a huge city, divided into several districts, each distinct and significant. A typical journey to London might start in the City of London, the original square mile containing many of the older city buildings. Some of the surrounding city walls and gates can still be seen here. Some great museums exist in the city centre, including the famed Old Bailey Criminal Court, St.Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London and the London Tower. Those interested in the museums should be sure not to miss out on a visit to the Museum of London, which can help visitors better understand the long and rich history of the city.

Covent Garden is another wildly popular district for tourists, thanks to it’s abundance of bars, restaurants, and theatres. Although it can be quite enjoyable to walk around the shopping district, especially the Covent Garden Piazza and Central Market, much of the appeal of Covent Garden occurs in the evening hours. Pop into one of the great restaurants for a pre-show meal, before heading to one of the many spectacular theatres in the area. There is guaranteed to be a show of some kind, whether theatre, opera, or a musical, during your stay. Afterwards, visit any of the friendly pubs and bars for a nightcap, before you head to bed at one of the great hotels in London found nearby.

London skyline

Leicester Square, also known as the West End, is a famed area of London and one certainly worth a visit. Along with Covent Garden, it boasts a spectacular number of theatres and nightly performances. In addition, Leicester Square boasts several iconic landmarks, many of which are recognized as major sights in London. Don’t miss out on large squares and public areas like Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, and Leicester Square Garden. The area is also home to one of the best museums in London, the National Gallery. The collection includes primarily European paintings from the 13th to the 19th century, many by famed artists like Van Gogh and Hans Holbein. Enjoy meals in a range of restaurants, anything from traditional pub grub to fish and chips to world renowned Italian or French cuisine. Chinatown, found in Leicester Square, also offer authentic meals in the area.