London is one of the most historic cities in the world.
It is the capital of England and of the United Kingdom, and was the capital, if that could be the right word, of the British Empire.
London is still one of the world’s largest cities, and has a history stretching back for two thousand years.
London was founded by the Romans, at the lowest possible crossing point of the River Thames, giving it much strategic and economic benefit.
It was one of the three important towns, along with Colchester and St. Albans, destroyed by Boudicca during her brief but understandably bloody rebellion. When it was rebuilt, however, it succeeded Colchester as the most important town in the land.
Today, London is also one of the most visited cities in the world. It consists of a number of neighbourhoods, the central part being the City of London.
The City is essentially the original town, and still retains fragments of its Roman wall. Today, the City is dominated by financial institutions, but has many historic buildings.
The Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror to overawe he English people – it was one of the first Norman castles to be built. It has been used as Royal dwelling, prison, treasure house and menagerie, as well as being the execution place for many prominent members of Royalty and the aristocracy.
St. Pauls Cathedral was originally built as the ecclesiastical centre for the East Saxons – London was at that time part of the Kingdom of Essex. However, along with many other churches and other prominent buildings in the City, St. Paul’s was rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666. The present St. Paul’s and most of the churches were the work of the great architect Christopher Wren. Here are buried many national heroes, including Nelson, Wellington and Wren himself.
Westminster is the other important tourist area. Westminster Abbey, where state weddings, funerals and coronations are held, was founded by Edward the Confessor. Nearby are the Houses of Parliament – the House of Commons and the House of Lords – from where Britain is governed, not forgetting the landmark clock tower, Big Ben.
Also in Westminster is Trafalgar Square, named after Nelson’s great victory. Nelson’s Column stands in the middle, and around the square are the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and St. Martin in the Fields church.
Whitehall, with Government offices and Edwin Lutyens’ War Memorial known as the Cenotaph, links Trafalgar Square with the Houses of Parliament.
Westminster also contains the West End, with its famous theatres and cinemas around Leicester Square and Shaftesbury Avenue, and famous shopping thoroughfares such as Oxford Street and Regent Street.
Linking the City and Westminster are Fleet Street, still synonymous with the newspaper industry (which however has moved to Docklands), and the Strand, with more theatres.
Across the Thames are Southwark, with its own cathedral and the starting point for Chaucer’s pilgrims in “The Canterbury Tales”, and Bankside, home of the Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe, while further up river is the London Eye, the fantastic big wheel.
London is the hub of the country’s rail network. Among its termini, some of which are much-loved buildings in their own right, are Fenchurch Street Station, Liverpool Street, Kings Cross, St. Pancras, Paddington, Victoria, Waterloo and Charing Cross.
Many songs have London or a part of London in their titles, such as “London Bridge is Falling Down”, “London Pride”, “Streets of London” and “Maybe it’s Because I’m a Londoner”, plus “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”, “Burlington Bertie From Bow”, ”Lambeth Walk” and “Let’s All Go Down the Strand”.
Blue Badge Guide Colin Crosby is available to lead Guided Walks around London for groups.
Events in London
Alleyways of London, Bow Bells, Charles Dickens` London, Churches of London, City Gardens, Crime and Punishment, Faith in London, Handel to Hendrix, Haunted London, Haunted Theatreland, Haunted Westminster, Haunts of Jack the Ripper, Heart of the City, Jack the Ripper, John Wesleys London, Lets All Go Down the Strand, London and Haunted London, London and Jack the Ripper, London and Westminster, London Tour, London`s Lost Riverside, Royal London, Shakespeare`s London, Smithfield and Clerkenwell, Southwark and Bankside, Spitalfields, Street Names of London, Sweeney Todds London, The Grim Reapers London, The Haunted Capital, The King in the Car Park, Tower Hill, Waterside London, Westminster
Places in London
1 and 2 Kensington Court, 19 Princelet Street, Albert Memorial, All Hallows by the Tower, All Saints Margaret Street, Apsley House, Banqueting House, Battersea Park, Benjamin Franklin House, Big Ben, Blackfriars Station, Blewcoat School, British Library, British Museum, Brixton Academy, Brockwell Park Gardens, Bromley by Bow Gardens, Bromley Hall, Brompton Oratory, Bruce Castle Museum, Bruce Castle Park, Brunel Engine House, Brunswick Square Gardens, Buckingham Palace, Bunhill Fields, Cabinet War Rooms, Cannon Street Station, Carlyle`s House, Cathedral Footbridge, Chapter House, Charing Cross Station, Christ Church Spitalfields, Church of the Hospital of St. John and St. Elizabe, City of London Cemetery, City Thameslink Station, Clapham Common, Cleopatras Needle, College of Arms, Coram`s Fields, Crossness Beam Engine House, Dartmouth House, Dennis Severs` House, Dickens House, Dissenters` Chapel, Dr. Johnson`s House, Dulwich Park, Eden at St. Paul`s Community Garden, Emery Walker`s House, Emslie Horniman`s Pleasance, Eros, Euston Station, Fenchurch Street Station, Finsbury Circus Garden, Finsbury Park, Fitzroy House, Foundling Museum, Fulham Palace, George Inn, Gladstone Park, Golden Hinde, Golders Hill Park, Gordon Square, Green Park, Hackney Empire, Hammersmith Community Gardens, Godolphin Road, Hammersmith Community Gardens, Loris Road, Handel House Museum, Highbury Fields, HMS Belfast, Holy Trinity, Chelsea, Holy Trinity, Kensington, Home House, Horniman Museum Gardens, Houses of Parliament, Hyde Park, Immaculate Conception Farm Street, Jewel Tower, Kennington Park, Kensington Gardens, Kensington Memorial Park, Kensington Palace, Kings Cross Station, Lambeth Palace, Leighton House, Lincoln`s Inn Fields, Linley Sambourne House, Liverpool Street Station, London Bridge, London Bridge Station, London Dungeon, London Eye, London Zoo, Lord Chancellor`s Residence, LSO St. Luke`s, Madame Tussauds, Manor House Gardens, Mansion House, Mappin Terrace Cafe, Marble Arch, Marylebone Station, Mile End Park, Millennium Bridge, Monument, Museum in Docklands, National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Paddington Station, Priory Park, Queen`s Chapel of the Savoy, Queen`s Park, Regents Park, Robert Nelson Monument, Round Chapel, Roundhouse, Roundwood Park, Royal Hospital, Russell Square Gardens, Science Museum, Sea Life London Aquarium, Sir John Soane`s Museum, Southwark Cathedral, Southwark Park, Spencer House, St. Anne Limehouse, St. Augustine Kensington, St. Augustine Kilburn, St. Barnabas, St. Bartholomew the Great, St. Botolph Aldgate, St. Bride Fleet Street, St. Cuthbert Kensington, St. Cyprian Clarence Gate, St. Ethelburga`s Church, St. Etheldredas Church, St. George`s Cathedral (Catholic), St. George`s German Lutheran Church, St. Helen Bishopsgate, St. James Piccadilly, St. James s Park, St. James Spanish Place, St. James the Less, Pimlico, St. James`s Palace, St. John`s Gate, St. Katharine Cree, St. Katharine`s Dock, St. Luke`s Gardens, St. Luke`s Memorial Gardens, St. Magnus the Martyr, St. Margaret`s Church, St. Martin within Ludgate, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, St. Mary Abchurch, St. Mary Aldermary, St. Mary at Hill, St. Mary le Bow, St. Mary le Strand, St. Mary Magdalene, Paddington, St. Mary Woolnoth, St. Matthias Old Church Community Centre, St. Pancras Station, St. Paul, Covent Garden, St. Paul, Harringay, St. Pauls Cathedral, St. Paul`s Steiner Project, St. Peters Italian Church, St. Stephen Walbrook, Streatham Common, Sutton House, Telegraph Hill Park, Temple Church, The Gherkin, The House Mill, Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge Exhibition, Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, Victoria Embankment, Victoria Embankment Gardens, Victoria Park, Victoria Station, Wapping Hydraulic Power Pumping Station, Waterloo Station, Wellington Arch, Wesley`s Chapel, Wesley`s House, West Ham Park, Westminster Abbey, Westminster Bridge, Westminster Cathedral (Catholic), Whitechapel Art Gallery, Whitechapel Station, Wilton`s Music Hall, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese