They say that there is no smoke without fire - and the Big Smoke is most definitely on fire. Not exactly like it was back in 1666 - today it is the sheer heat of its art, culture, music scene and world-class shopping that has it firing on all cylinders. Wherever you turn in London the burn of history can be keenly felt and iconic sights spring up like old friends on every corner. London is one of the world’s top travel destinations - people flock here to experience the glow of its theatre productions, to feel the warmth of its many cultures and cuisines and to take in some of the hottest museums on the planet (many of which are free). Of course, things cool down a bit over some quintessential afternoon tea and a visit to Buckingham Palace, but then the temperature soon rises for a night at a club or as you get a bird’s eye view of the city from the London Eye. London is hot stuff.
London effortlessly takes you from the refined to the raucous and from the iconic to the bohemian. You can grab a nightcap after an evening at the opera just as easily as you can shop the stalls of artsy street markets. Whether your trip to London will be fancy or carefree, you can find a borough or neighbourhood here that suits your style.
Kensington - One of the trendiest boroughs in the city and one of its most expensive. Kensington is often referred to as the “royal” borough, and it’s easy to see why. Its streets are lined by expensive homes and manicured trees. Kensington High Street offers fine shopping and dining, and visitors are welcome to live the good life, if just for a bit, on a tour of Kensington Palace.
Covent Garden - This West End district is best known for its energetic public square, where you will often find street performers. The daily open market is, perhaps, the best of its kind in the city. Yet it’s not all market traders and buskers: live it up a little by taking in a show at the Lyceum Theatre or having dinner at London’s oldest restaurant, Rules.
Notting Hill - Don’t expect to spot Hugh Grant here but do keep your eyes and ears peeled because there is plenty to see and do. This charming part of London has cobblestone streets, pubs begging for you to enjoy a leisurely lunch and plenty of antiques vendors.
Leicester Square - The entertainment hub of the city offers cinemas, theatres and casinos galore - there’s always something happening whatever time of day or night it is.
Iconic monuments, historic buildings and squares that are redolent with stories from bygone times define London. Layers of history can be discovered on every street - avail yourself of a walking tour and discover more about the city. Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, Nelson’s Column and Big Ben are just some of the sights that will have you reaching for your camera. If all that sightseeing has tired you out why not book yourself a seat to enjoy a show, whether you fancy a matinee musical in Leicester Square or spot of dinner followed by a West End hit in Trafalgar Square.
A romantic meal on a night cruise down the Thames reveals London’s more tranquil side but, should you want something a little more active, London can happily oblige. Go for a jog in Hyde Park, buy a fashionable swimsuit and take a dip in a lido pool or rent a pedal boat in Battersea Park. London tours also help you burn some calories while you take in the city - whether you take a walking tour or book a kayak trip you can spot important sites while you work off those fish and chips. If you’re ready to see what the rest of England has to offer, day trips from London provide a wonderful opportunity to see the surrounding countryside or visit the universities at Oxford or Cambridge.