Updated: Sep 22, 2019
London. The gateway to Europe.
Last year alone Heathrow Airport exceeded the 76 million passenger mark, earning a place in the top ten busiest airports in the world. Every year London grows as a gateway, but more so as a holiday destination, attracting visitors to the busy streets, historical landmarks and incredibly unique weather. Whether you’re stopping just for a few hours, or calling London home for a few days, we’ve compiled some of the best things to see and experience while you’re there.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Cloudy from the likes of Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the London Eye, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre often gets a little forgotten about, despite once being the epicentre of the city circa 1599. What remains today is third generation, after being destroyed in 1613 by fire from a show opening cannonball, and again in 1644 by the Puritans, a movement that wanted the space for housing. Now, you can take tours through, and even watch a show in Shakespeare’s extraordinary amphitheatre.
Hidden from popularity by Oxford and Regent Streets, Carnaby Street is twice as fun and often half as busy. Many of the shops that line the streets are reminiscent of the streets livelier days throughout much of the 60’s. Once the sun sets, the atmosphere comes alive, abuzz with chatter and sizzling street food, a pleasant time to enjoy strolling, shopping or dining on this historic street.
Quite flat for a city it’s size, London has only one skyscraper that stands above the rest. The Shard is symbolic of a staggering architectural feat, with the 310m exterior made completely of glad, making it the tallest building in the UK. Floor 72 provides guests with a 360-degree, completely unencumbered view of the city below.
What is more English than enjoying an authentic brunch or afternoon tea of scones and delicate patisseries, in your Sunday best, at one of London’s oldest 5-star hotels. Opened in 1812, Claridge’s has welcomed many celebrities through its doors, establishing the hotel as one of the places to be seen. Even Crown Prince Alexander II of Yugoslavia was born in one of the 97 plush rooms here. The rich luxury, history and breathtaking gastronomical experiences make a trip to Claridge’s, even if you’re not staying, more than worth it.
Much like cities across the world, greenspace is hard to come by. Being a flat city, London is a little exception, but what lies beyond the gates of Barbican is something so unique, it might just beat some of London’s many natural parks and gardens. Composed of galleries, greenspace, restaurants, bars and more, Barbican Centre is open daily with free entry. As an Arts and Learning centre, it’s best to enjoy the scenery whilst observing the galleries or watching a showtime.
Taking a strange turn, last on the list is Highgate Cemetery. It makes the list for less morbid reasons than you might think. Cemetery walking may not be your cup of tea, but with almost 200 years of London’s rich history buried here, there is more to it. Highgate is home to over 170,000 histories buried in about 53,000 graves. One of the most famous inhabitants, Karl Marx, a 19thcentury historian and write, resides in the east side of the cemetery, where tours run daily. The west side is a little more elusive, with tours by appointment only.
These are just some of the hidden highlights of London. In a city so diverse, there’s hundreds more sights yet to be discovered.
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