London Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia
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London Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia

London is situated in the South-East of England
in the Thames Valley. Home to over 8 million people, the capital of the UK has been an important
financial, educational and cultural center for hundreds
of years. Of the many gifts England has given to the
world, none has been greater than her language and
literature. And if ever there’s a city that reads like
an epic saga, it’s London. The story of London began in the Bronze Age, but it didn’t really get going until the Romans
withdrew in the 5th century. Growing into one of the great medieval trading
cities, she truly came of age in the 11th century, when William the Conqueror built the Tower
of London, which was to become one of England’s grimmest
prisons. London is very easy to navigate around, and is compact enough to explore on foot. This world city is filled with iconic symbols, and one of the most easily recognizable is
Tower Bridge, an impressive reminder of London’s rapid expansion
during the industrial revolution. Just upriver, at the
Houses of Parliament, Big Ben’s reassuring chimes peal across the
city every hour, on the hour. Buckingham Palace, perhaps the most famous
palace in the world, is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth. It’s a popular London attraction, offering
tours of staterooms and gardens. Nearby, Kensington Palace is open to the public
year-round. The palace and gardens will be remembered as the home of Princess Di and Prince Charles, and have recently undergone a multimillion-pound
refurbishment. Another legacy of England’s monarchy are the
Royal Parks of London. They were once reserved as private hunting
grounds for the royal family, but nowadays they’re open for everyone to
enjoy. There are eight Royal Parks, and many of them
are in central London, and close to royal palaces and other historic
monuments. Green Park and St. James’s Park are right
next to Buckingham Palace, Admiralty Arch and The
Mall. Hyde Park is perhaps the most famous with
its man-made lake, The Serpentine, and on the other side, Kensington Gardens
is a beautiful open expanse that stretches east towards Kensington Palace. The Albert Memorial is at the southern end
of Kensington Gardens, and the striking bronze statue looks towards
the Royal Albert Hall just across the road. The hall is yet another reminder of Queen
Victoria’s great love for her husband, Prince Albert. Many of London’s greatest stories have begun
in her houses of worship, and none is so impressive and important as
Westminster Abbey. This is where kings and queens have been crowned,
married and even buried. London was rebuilt after The Great Fire in
1666, and St. Paul’s Cathedral is the most enduring
monument to the city’s transformation. It’s a great testament to British strength
and resilience. The West End in central London is a story
in itself. Here the streets are lined with ancient buildings, but the throngs of people are out to have
fun. By day, the charming boutiques and cafés
hum with shoppers, and by night the bars along Carnaby Street
are packed with patrons enjoying pre-show drinks. This is one of the largest theater districts
in the world. And at times it can feel like you’re on a
Monopoly board, with Coventry Street, Trafalgar Square and
Piccadilly Circus all close by. Moving away from the historic center, London’s trendy suburbs offer a different
kind of story. The Portobello Road Markets in Notting Hill
attract thousands of visitors, especially to the antiques markets that’s
held on Saturdays, while the edgier Camden Town features six
popular markets that are open every day of the week, and operate along her streets, the canal,
and in her historic stables. London is a city that honors not only her
own story, but also the story of humankind. The British Museum is one of the finest in
the world, and her treasures cover thousands of years
of history and number in the millions. The museum is open every day, and best of
all, it’s free. From the ancient to the modern, The London Eye offers a complete change of
pace and perspective. The massive wheel is over 400 feet high, and takes 30 minutes to complete one rotation. From here you can see the London of old, as well as some of the city’s newest additions,
all in air-conditioned comfort. London will always be a city that looks towards the past and the future in equal measure. From ‘Rule Britannia’ to ‘Cool Britannia’, the fabric and the skyline of this city is
forever turning over a new page. Which is, after all, what every great story
should do.


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