United Kingdom

City description

London is a rich destination that’s full of contrasts: royal but also arty, distinguished but also trendy, cultural as well as historic, fashionable and a clubber’s paradise. From Buckingham Palace to Camden, the buzzing capital is always in a party mood, but also respectful of its institutions. An identity with many faces, where city boys rub shoulders with Shoreditch hipsters and traditional pubs live alongside the latest cosmopolitan concepts.

A bastion of tradition, the imposing Palace of Westminster towers on the banks of the Thames, rising out of the Victorian mists. Not far away, St Paul’s Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and the Tower of London add a serious note to the atmosphere punctuated by the rhythm of Big Ben. Along the river is the London Eye, the big wheel watching over London Bridge and competing with The Shard, the capital’s latest iconic building.

Whether you’re from Outer or Inner London or you’re a visiting tourist, the West End is the ultimate shopping destination. Here you’ll find the main attractions of Oxford Street, Leicester Square and Covent Garden with its market nestled in the shadow of Westminster Abbey, along with Piccadilly Circus and slightly further out, Notting Hill, which are well worth exploring on a famous red double-decker bus or an iconic London black cab. Shoreditch is also worth a visit, popular with trendy Londoners with its explosions of colour and buildings decorated by street artists. This area is a haven for night owls and bohemians. Trendy bars and restaurants, hip designers and quirky shops can all be found here.

Between Soho and Mayfair, the luxury brands of Bond Street and Regent Street compete with the chic labels of Oxford Street. So there's no need to wait until Fashion Week to give into the temptations of fashion. The legendary department stores of Harrods and Selfridges compete for grandeur, abundance and tempting offers.

History buffs will love the three London sites of the Imperial War Museum, as well as Trafalgar Square or the Victoria and Albert Museum. Anyone interested in Egyptology or Antiquity is in for a treat at the British Museum, an endless fountain of knowledge, and well worth setting aside a least a few hours for. Interested in contemporary art? The short but sweet London Art Fair or the industrial Tate Modern offer a programme combining unmissable masterpieces with the next big thing in the art world.

A million miles away from the clichés and reputation of English food, England is now one of the culinary capitals of the world. It is home to a young generation of more rock'n'roll chefs who aren’t afraid to give in to their wilder side. Daring chefs from around the world are constantly coming up with new concepts. Brett Graham from The Ledbury, Jason Atherton at Pollen Street Social and Mark Hix are just some of the names to watch out for. Fashionable addresses include contemporary Japanese restaurant Zuma and Hakkasan for Chinese cuisine, both boasting branches around the world, as well as specialist coffee shops serving classic cappuccinos and cortados.

You really shouldn’t leave London before you’ve experienced its nightlight and its internationally renowned cocktail bars. Choose from a wide range of atmospheres to suit all sorts of different musical preferences… from the friendly Cargo to the arty Corsica Studios, from the trendy Experimental Cocktail Club to the rather provocative The Box, via the exhilarating Electric Brixton, where everyone dances to the rhythm of the best DJs in town.
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