The City of London

Have you ever been in London?

London is the capital of the United Kingdom, representing one of the biggest cities of the world.

It is also one of the most cosmopolitan cities of Europe: in fact, million of tourists come to London every year from all over the world. Tourism in London is a big and growing industry.
In this city more than 200 languages are spoken and one third of Londoners are Africans, Asians or Americans.
In addition, this city is full of neighbourhoods in which live various ethnical groups. Two examples?
Soho and Banglatown. The first one is full of Chinese people, while the second one is full of Asians but in particular it is populated by people from Bangladesh. In fact, most shops are Bangladeshi and the names of the streets and the shops are written in two languages.

However, why London is so famous?
There are many reasons that made London a beautiful city.
For instance, its cultural icons.

What are the cultural icons?
Are those symbols associated with a culture and thus making it popular.
In the case of London, among the various cultural icons there are:

– The Beatles;
– The Big Ben;

– Sherlock Holmes;

– The Double Decker Buses
– The Red Telephone Boxes
– The Queen, the symbol of the Crown and the Royal Family;
– The English tea

– Fish and chips;;
– The Royal Mail Post Box
– The Buckingham Palace;
– The black taxis;

– The London Eye
– The Underground
– The House of Parliament;

and so on…

What is the history of this city?
The original town was built by Romans, who named it Londinium.
In 1066, after the Norman Conquest, the city became the capital of the Norman Kingdom.
Afterwards, Londinium reached many areas becoming bigger and expanding west, including the City of Westminster (where still today there are the Parliament and The Royal Court).

Because of a huge fire, many buildings of this city swept away. It was a tragedy!
However, after this Great Fire, the town was rebuilt and it expanded in the course of the centuries.
After many historical events, this city changed the name from Londinium to London.

Today we can divide London in: The City, The West End and the East End.

1. The City. It is the oldest part of the Roman ancient roots. Today it is a modern area and it houses one of the world’s great financial centres. This includes the Bank of England, the London Stock Exchange and Lloyd’s, which is the world-famous insurance company. Today ,about 1 million people work in the financial sector of London.

2. The West End. This is the area full of shopping and entertainment. A large amount of cinemas, restaurants, shops and other attractions are all concentrated in this area.
Here there is Westminster (where you can also see for instance the Big Ben and the Official London Eye), but also there is the presence of many Royal Parks and scientific and historical attractions such as the British Museum. This Museum was opened in 1753 and houses arts and sculptures from all over the world, such as the greatest Egyptian collections.
In addition, in the West End you can visit the Royal Albert Hall, which was built in 1870, during the Victorian Age.

3. The East End. This area is important for the Docklands, which now represent one of the best touristic attractions. London’s docks date back to the 17th century and they played a relevant role in Britain’s economy until the 1970s. Many immigrants and working people used to live there but now this situation has changed and these buildings have become modern office blocks and homes.

It is important to say that London is divided into North and South by the river Thames. Thanks to its presence, London has been one of the busies ports of the world (from a commercial perspective).
Nowadays, the river has mainly a touristic function.

Shops and Markets of London:
One of the best features of this city is the possibility of doing shopping in various markets (around 100) and important shops.
For instance stores as Harrods, Hamleys Toy Store, Liberty, Marks & Spencer, Primark and Selfridges are famous all over the world.
Harrods is full of high quality products and according to many people it is very expensive: only the souvenirs area is cheaper.

About the markets, among the most important ones we have:

Covent Garden, which dates back to the 17th century and it was London’s main fruit and vegetable market. However, today it is full of stylish boutiques, shops and bars such as the Starbucks Coffee, one of the most popular American Coffee shops.

Portobello Road, which is located in one of the best fashionable areas of London, Notting Hill (a beautiful neighbourhood full of colorful houses). It is famous for its antique trades and its little shops.

Camden Town. This is a very-loved market. It offers clothes and items at low prices. Here you can also buy vintage products (such as Polaroids, or ancient technologies) thanks to the presence of the Camden Lock.
But what makes Camden Town so special is the culinary aspect. It is full of stands and shops in which you can buy typical food not only of Britain but also of other countries: China, Japan, Italy, France, Mexico, Spain and so on.

Brick Lane. It is one of the most popular street market of the East End, thanks to the presence of second-hand goods. So here you can easily make a deal!

Borough Market. It has been a fresh fruit and vegetable market since the 18th century. Today the situation is similar but on Fridays and Saturdays you can have the opportunity to buy a large variety of food such as fresh meat, cheese, bread, fruit, vegetables and herbs and the majority of these products are organically grown.

Means of Transport:
London has the largest public transport network of the world.
This is possible thanks to the presence of the London buses (Double Decker), the DLR service and the Underground trains, which carry about 7 million people every single day.

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