Big but cozy, noisy but full of silent places, old and modern at the same time: these are all things that can be said about London! Apart from its famous landmarks, there are other things in London that will either attract you, or scare you away; but they are what make the the city on the Thames what it is. But perhaps the best part about London is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time.
A careful combination of modern and old
In this city, modern skyscrapers don’t infringe on the peace of the older buildings. Everything looks as if it was planned to be this way in the first place, and the technical progress won’t disrupt London’s traditions. There is a legend called, The Ravens in the Tower that goes: If the ravens fly away, Great Britain as a country will cease to exist. At the time, there were six ravens and today you can see the different ribbons attached to their feet.
These smart birds are okay with being constantly photographed and are used to appearing in a selfie or two. But if you’re planning on touching them, it isn’t the best idea. Even though they look inviting, they do not enjoy other people touching them, and can peck you if you try to do so. There is a special person taking care of the ravens called, The Overseer. According to his Twitter account, he admires the birds and they trust him to protect them.
Just like many other landmarks, the Tower Bridge hasn’t changed its appearance all this time on purpose. But it does have one new feature: you can do yoga on it. As you might have guessed, yoga cannot be done on its lower part since there are cars going across it, along with the fact that it’s a drawbridge.
Convenient public transportation
By the way, it takes a long time for the drivers of black cabs to learn the roads before they get their license. They have to pass an exam which checks if the drivers know every single street of the entire city and are able to tell which route they will take if one of the streets is blocked. With GPSs present in most vehicles these days, such knowledge seems useless. But since GPSs can break down at anytime it’s good to have a back-up plan.
London pubs have very funny names like, “The Blind Pig”, “The World’s End”, “Couch and Horses”, “Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese” — and just about any other creative title that you can imagine. But these are not just places where you can grab a drink. People visit pubs to communicate with each other, watch soccer, play quiz games, pool, or just read the newspaper to relax on their way home.
In some pubs, you can also have lunch and enjoy dishes like the traditional London treat, “Fish and Chips”. This meal is quite affordable and incredibly tasty. Unlike other restaurants, it is not okay to leave tips and you should pay right after you order a drink. Here’s some useful advice: the further a pub is from downtown, the lower the price. And the atmosphere in cheaper places can sometimes be more pleasant than that of a more expensive pub.
Approximately one month before Christmas, the center of the British capital changes its appearance completely. Fantastic decorations appear on the streets and in store windows. Decorations of birds, flowers, glowing spheres, and anything fantastical fill the streets of London during the holiday. But the most beautiful places this time of the year are Carnaby Street (as seen in the photo below), Oxford Street, and Regent Street.
The illumination of lights make the inhabitants and the guests of the city happy before the beginning of January, but those who couldn’t see them on Christmas shouldn’t be sad. During winter in London, there is a tradition of holding a festival of fire which presents the installations and light shows from all over the world.
London is probably the only place in the world where you can see so many pieces of art without spending a single penny. Among the free museums in London, you’ll find: The British Museum, The National Gallery, The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum (in the photo below), The Tate and Tate Modern Gallery, The National Portrait Gallery, The London Museum, The Wallace Collection and some others. There’s also a smaller museum in Bruce Castle that is definitely worth a walk-through (we will learn more about that castle at the end of the article).
Taking photographs is allowed in all museums (except for some halls) but you may be requested to turn your flash off. You can also draw here, making this is great practice hall for artists. And, like we’ve already mentioned before, it’s best to visit these places on days and hours when there aren’t too many visitors as not to waste your time standing in lines.
Talented street performers
Just like any other big city, London is full of musicians, acrobats, comedians, celebrity lookalikes (like this above picture of Mr. Bean from China Town), people-statues, and other artists who use the streets as their stage. Some of the performers are so professional that they make you wonder why such talented people are forced to work in the street when they ought to be giving concerts to sold out venues.
Bonus: “I have never seen a ghost in a graveyard but I did see a funny fat goose.”
Of course, there is so much else that could be said about London! Perhaps you’d like to share your opinion about this amazing city and give some advice to future visitors. We are looking forward to your stories in the comment section below!