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Discover London: A Rich Cultural and Historic Heritage for the World’s Leading Financial Hub

Welcome to London, an astonishing fusion of historical splendor, modern allure, and unrivaled vibrancy. Known as the world financial powerhouse, London also boasts an immense history, iconic landmarks, and a food scene that would make any foodie salivate.

 


Houses of Parliament and Big Ben tower on the north bank of the Thames River in Westminster London UK
Houses of Parliament and Big Ben tower London UK

Nestled on the banks of the River Thames, London is a city that effortlessly bridges the gap between history and modernity. Stroll down the bustling streets and you'll find a blend of the old and the new, with ancient landmarks standing tall amidst towering skyscrapers.

 

For history enthusiasts, London offers countless treasures (Welcome to London - visitlondon.com). From the majestic Tower of London to the iconic Buckingham Palace, each site tells a unique story, transporting you back in time. And who can forget the British Museum (go to: British Museum), a treasure trove of world history with artifacts spanning over two million years!

 

Big Ben tower and Houses of Parliament Westminster London England
Big Ben tower and Houses of Parliament Westminster London England

Stepping foot into London is like entering a time machine. History comes alive through its architectural marvels, including the iconic Big Ben, the Tower of London, and Buckingham Palace. Yet, London is more than just its historical landmarks. It is a city that embraces change, seamlessly blending the old and the new.

 

One of London's most vibrant facets is its food scene (The Best Places to Eat in London: A Local’s Guide — London x London). Thousands of bars and restaurants are spread across the city, serving almost every cuisine imaginable. From traditional English pubs serving classic fish and chips to exotic Indian curries on Brick Lane to Thai and Vietnamese in the West End, there's a culinary adventure waiting around every corner.

 

But don't be fooled into thinking London is all about history. It's a city that's continuously evolving, and nowhere is this more evident than in its financial district. Home to major banks and financial institutions, the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf and the City of London symbolize the city's status as a global financial hub (London Docklands | Location, Map, History, & Facts | Britannica) and (London Docklands - Wikipedia).

 


Mews row houses in a brick paved Kensington alleyway London
Mews row houses in a brick paved Kensington alleyway London

From 1996 through 2009, I had the pleasure of living in London, off and on for about 4 years in total. Work brought me to London and that began my love of England, the British, and the wealth of history down every street and around every corner continues to bring me back. Since 2009, I have visited London and England a half dozen times, always finding something and somewhere new to discover and explore.

 

So, for about 30 years, I have been what some might call an Anglophile. Even with the borderline weather, the history, architecture, parks, and people make London, to me, unforgettable. My London experiences and encounters give me a unique perspective than most Americans. That perspective is what I share here.

 

By the way, for either a fall 2024 or spring 2025 trip, I am planning to visit London, again, and then go southwest to explore Cornwall (The best 3 days Cornwall itinerary (theworldinmypocket.co.uk)) and perhaps check out a bit of Ross Poldark’s stomping grounds, as described in the fictional historic novels by Winston Graham OBE. Look them up, the series of 12 books are each excellent reads. Although you might find some at your local library, I guarantee you will find all of them on Amazon, at Amazon.com : poldark books.

 

Warwick Castle Warwickshire England on summer day
Warwick Castle Warwickshire England on summer day

Although originally in London for work, I made sure to take every opportunity to explore the city and venture out further afield from exploring the World War II tunnels in the white cliffs of Dover (White Cliffs of Dover - Wikipedia) and (Facts about the White Cliffs of Dover (britishheritage.com)) to strolling along the pier and pebble beach of Brighton (Brighton Attractions & Places to Visit | VisitBritain), and from touring the Minster in the northern city of York (The BEST York Tours and Things to Do in 2024 - FREE Cancellation | GetYourGuide) to walking the greens and admiring the historic buildings of the university towns of Cambridge and Oxford (Home - Visit Cambridge) and (Oxford Attractions & Places to Visit | VisitBritain).



A quiet bench in Hyde Park along the Queens Walk on a fall day in London England
A quiet bench in Hyde Park along the Queens Walk on a fall day in London England

During my many weekends in London, I loved walking through London, one of the most pedestrian friendly cities which I have ever visited or lived. If you get tired or a bit lost, simply go to the nearest Underground Station (Tube - Transport for London (tfl.gov.uk)). Here you will find maps and most have personnel that will help point you in the right direction. If you don’t see an Underground (or "Tube") Station, search “London Underground map” on your phone and select the first Transport for London page (tfl.gov.uk). This page will help you find the nearest station to you. See Tube and Rail - Transport for London (tfl.gov.uk).

 

Since I typically stayed on the west side of London, in either Kensington, South Kensington, or Hammersmith, my walks began from there and usually went north, east, or south. I loved starting a Saturday or Sunday morning with a walk-through Hyde Park, usually with a coffee. On some weekends I would find a regatta at the Round Pond, a group of guys racing their model sailboats. Once I finished my coffee while watching the race, I would walk through Hyde Park, along the Flower Walk (I think this path use to be called the “Queen’s Walk”) to the Serpentine Lake. From there I cross the intersection of Knightsbridge, Grosvenor and Piccadilly to the small park of Wellington’s Arch and on to Green Park which lies between the Mayfair area and Piccadilly Road on the north and Buckingham Palace, the Victoria Memorial, St. James’s Park, and the Mall on the south. A lot to see in a very brief walk.

 

Saint Paul's Cathedral with flowering trees on beautiful spring day in London England
Saint Paul's Cathedral with flowering trees on beautiful spring day in London England

From there I would continue east to Piccadilly Circus and Liester Square and on to Covent Garden, or I would go to Trafalgar Square then south to Westminster, Big Ben, and across the River Thames to the Southbank. So much to see, so many pubs to stop and have a pint (The 28 best pubs in London | CN Traveller).

 

There are many opportunities for tours and museum visits on this walk, including the Duke of Wellington’s Museum (the Apsley House) (Apsley House | English Heritage (english-heritage.org.uk)), Buckingham Palace, the Churchill War Rooms (Visit Churchill War Rooms - Plan Your Visit | Imperial War Museums (iwm.org.uk)), The National Gallery, Westminster Abbey, and the London Transport Museum (south of Covent Garden). Too many places to mention them all. And more along the Southbank, from the London Eye to the Tate Modern Gallery (if you like modern art – I don’t) to the London Aquarium to the Cutty Sark (if you decide to visit Greenwich). Greenwich (Greenwich - Wikipedia) is a nice little town which you can get to by walking through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, under the Thames from the Canary Warf and Isle of Dogs area (part of the London Docklands development) on the north shore of the Thames. You can find the starting point by walking from the Docklands Railways (DLR - Transport for London (tfl.gov.uk)) stop (Island Gardens stop), or stay on the train to Greenwich, only 2 more stops.

 


Kensington Palace Gardens at Kensington Palace in Hyde Park London UK
Kensington Palace Gardens at Kensington Palace in Hyde Park London UK

I love visiting the various pubs during my walks through London. These beautiful, typically old buildings are usually very nicely painted and kept and often brightly decorated with flowers (mainly in the Spring and Summer months). See The 28 best pubs in London | CN Traveller.

 

If you are in London on Sundays during the summer, visit one or more of the various open air markets, like Covent Garden, Covent Garden | Shopping, Dining and Culture Destination, (a portion of this market is open all year long) and Portabella Road, north of Hyde Park (Our Story — Portobello Road Market (visitportobello.com)). The variety of handmade and other items is incredible. A great way to feed your inner shopper.

 

As mentioned earlier, in addition to being one of the world's most visited cities, London is also known as the financial hub of the world with about 250 major banks either headquartered or with a major office in the city. Many of these institutions have found a home in the Docklands area (London Docklands | Location, Map, History, & Facts | Britannica) of east London. This is a much more modern area of London built up after World War II out of the rubble of the bombing of London. The Bank of England, Lloyd's of London, and the London Stock Exchange are just a few of the major financial institutions that call London home. This city isn't just about numbers and shares though. Nestled amidst the modern skyscrapers, you'll discover a city teeming with history.

 


White Tower from behind portion of old Tower of London wall London UK
White Tower from behind portion of old Tower of London wall London UK

From the awe-inspiring Tower of London to the architectural masterpiece of St. Paul's Cathedral, London's array of historical landmarks is both breathtaking and endless. Museums like the British Museum, the V&A, and the Natural History Museum, offer fascinating insights into the city's rich past and global impact.

 

The city's architectural landscape is an intoxicating blend of the old and new. Find yourself marveling at the juxtaposition of the ultra-modern Shard (The Shard: Inspiring change (the-shard.com)) against the time-honored Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

 

For those of you wanting to satisfy your wanderlust by visiting a country which speaks English and provides you the comforts of home, England is a fantastic destination with countless adventure options to structure a trip that should satisfy all of your travel criteria.

 


Buckingham Palace on a sunny spring day in London UK
Buckingham Palace on a sunny spring day in London

If you've been bitten by the travel bug and London is on your bucket list, now is the time to start planning your visit. Subscribe to our blog's mailing list for more insider tips and travel guides, designed to make your London trip unforgettable.

 

Remember, London is not just a city. It's a world within itself, waiting for you to discover it.

 

Don't miss out on the opportunity to experience the magic of London. Click on the contact form at the bottom of this page and let me help you plan the perfect London journey, by giving you a few ideas for your trip. Because


Every trip to London is not just a vacation, it's a unique story waiting to be experienced.

 

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