London
 

Travel guide - London

London is a thoroughly modern city whose multiculturalism opens it up to the world. The city’s identity is based on a mix of social origins, cultures, religions, styles, flavours and artistic genres. London is a city in constant motion, both timeless and audacious. It comes as no surprise here to see a punk rocker sitting on the tube next to a businessman heading to his job in the City, neither one in the slightest bit fazed. The English capital can be surprising at times, but it is easy to fall in step with the rhythm of the city, smile on your face, as the wartime philosophy goes, “Keep Calm and Carry On”. Whatever happens, keep a sharp eye out, because London is always one step ahead.

A city of palaces and modern villages along the banks of the Thames

Travelling to London is like opening up a very thick book that’s still being written, where tradition and folklore rub shoulders with modernity. The city covers a large area on both sides of the River Thames, and its various roads present a striking contrast, transporting you in the blink of an eye from the City, the modern business district, to the London Wall, built during the Roman Empire. Compared to the seriousness of the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, the extravagance of Oxford Circus and Piccadilly can come as a surprise, with their shop windows and streets teeming with life and excitement. Each neighbourhood is like its own village: you’ll get a true change of scene as you move from Brixton with its Caribbean roots to the trendy street art of Shoreditch, two different worlds with widely varied cultures.

From famous chefs to street food

Forget whatever you may have heard about England, London prides itself on its culinary scene. You’ll find plenty of bold, high-quality cooking in this city, where chefs are constantly innovating and striving to be the best in their field. This food culture, propelled forward by famous chefs like Jamie Oliver, draws its richness and complexity of flavours from England’s high-quality products and widely-varied influences. While restaurants St. John and Sketch offer a modern take on English cuisine with surprising flavours and a refined style, Borough Market is the perfect place to experience street food and different cuisines from around the world. The spicy dishes you can find here will transport you from Africa to Asia in the blink of an eye. More and more pubs are becoming gastropubs, where you can enjoy a traditional Sunday roast, a meal that differs from place to place but is always bountiful. These culinary delights are best accompanied by unique artisanal beer.

Art for all, from classical masterpieces to contemporary art

London wears its taste for art proudly. Its museums and inhabitants know how to best represent every form of artistic expression. Located on Trafalgar Square, the National Gallery showcases the wealth and expertise of a classical school, a style also illustrated by the Victoria & Albert Museum and the British Museum with its avant garde interior architecture. The Tate Modern’s stature and size showcase the city’s determination to establish itself in the contemporary art world. Private collections also play their part, and the Saatchi Gallery is a prime example of an independent establishment offering entertaining, original exhibitions. Whether they’re presenting a collection based on selfies, social networks, or intentionally-burned paintings, art is constantly being questioned here.

From nights out to live performances, culture and lifestyle

Londoners know how to make the most of their city at night. At the end of the day, neighbourhoods and bars come alive with mixology, the art of the cocktail, and bartenders showing off their moves will inspire you to get moving too, whether you’re at the bar or on the dance floor! Camden offers concerts that will give you a glimpse into the British rock ‘n’ roll scene, while the West End also has shows that go late into the night. This English Broadway has more than thirty theatres, offering exceptional performances ranging from plays to musicals. Masterful acting and magnificent sets will put you in the mood to continue your evening by venturing to Soho for a taste of the local night life.
Once you’ve had your fill of this side of London, walk along the Thames and cross a bridge to the other side. Between Tower Bridge and Millennium Bridge, you’re not short on options. While you’re crossing the river, take a deep breath before resuming your exploration of everything the city has to offer with even greater intensity than before.

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