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London is a city that impresses its visitors. Whether you decide to take an English course in London for a couple of weeks or to extend your stay for a year, the capital of the British Empire won’t fail to impress you. The largest city in Britain has the largest metropolitan area in the entire European Union, as well as being a metropolis that vibrates throughout its history, which lives in every and each of its corners, in its architecture, festivals and traditions.
Since it was founded two thousand years ago by the Romans, with the name of Londinius, London has experienced many moments of glory. It was the heart of Elizabethan theatre during the sixteenth century, thanks to the masterpieces of William Shakespeare and other playwriters, such as John Ford and Christopher Marlowe. London's history is marked by its great capacity to recover.
Only few cities in the world have survived such massive epidemics as the plague in 1665, devastating fires like the one in 1666 and the systematic bombing during the Second World War and established itself as an economic and cultural center in Europe time after time.These events marked Londoners’ life as for the successive regulations regarding the city’s urban and industrial growth.
London was one of the first European cities to have a metro. Known as “The Tube”, the colossal network that goes through the city allowing to cross its centre in less than an hour is celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2013. Having become one of the financial, political and cultural centers in the world, London has seen the glory of famous and controversial personalities such as the Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, the contemporary artist Damian Hirst and the legendary DJ Fat Boy Slim.
London hosted the Olympic Games three times (1908, 1948 and 2012) and the impressive opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in 2012, directed by the famous British director Danny Boyle will be remembered down history. From Queen Elizabeth II to J. K. Rowling, Mr. Bean, James Bond, Underworld and Paul McCartney singing "Hey Jude", various important Brithish characters participated in the huge celebration, showing the world how British culture has contributed to history.
London is a city with a strong multicultural character. Currently, it has more than eight million inhabitants, of which 45% are of English origin. Many people who live in London have arrived there from all over the world, turning the city into a melting pot.
When walking through the streets of London, you’ll be amazed with listening to the elegant traditional English accent, blended with a mix of accents from the Middle East and Africa. This is perhaps one of the characteristics that makes the British capital a very attractive place where to experience human diversity.
During the festivities, traditional characters are reborn in London streets, identified by their colorful clothes: the ones wearing the full costume with beads and buttons, called Pearly Kings, the knights’ classic bowler hat and cane. These are retired British soldiers known as "Chelsea pensioners". Residents at The Royal Hospital Chelsea, every end of May the "Chelsea pensioners" wear their red coats and tricorn, while a member of the British Royal Family lists them during the Founder's Day.
Londoners carry a urban lifestyle and fashion in their blood and are able to stay active in the street for leisure and work, even in such a capricious weather. Throughout the same day, the sun and the rain appear on and off in London. During your stay in London it is advisable that you keep an umbrella at hand. In fact, London respects one of the most famous British sayings: "It's raining cats and dogs" (raining cats and dogs).
While you are taking an English course in London, you should be aware that there are some times of day which are sacred: tea time (usually between 5 and 6pm.) above the others, a ritual for many. You are recommended that you open your senses to the subtle English humor and you better make room in your stomach for hearty English breakfasts including eggs, peas, bacon, sausage, tomato, juice, coffee, etc.
The most visited tourist attractions in London, which deserve to be seen because of their social and historical value or just for the fun of discovering new places, are:
A view with perspectives from the London Eye.
An emblematic icon of modern Britain, located in Jubilee Gardens. From its glass shelves, you’ll benefit a privileged view of the city while moving slowly on a impressive metal wheel.
Relax walking in the 250 acres of Hyde Park.
London parks are perfect places to relax, pause and let the green fills up your pupils. Hyde Park is famous for its speaker’s corners (corners of the speaker), where you can take the chance to listen to passionate commentators talking about politics, sport, art and religion.
Visit Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross station and remind Harry Potter.
It is the starting point of the Hogwarts Express to the school of witchcraft and wizardry of Harry Potter, in the fictional world created by J. K. Rowling. There you find a car trunk embedded in the wall, next to a plaque that identifies it. By the way, do not push too hard; with magic...you never know!
A little royalty at Buckingham Palace?
Every summer, from August to September, the west wing opens to the public. You can visit the rooms, halls and bedazzled by the comfort and taste of British royalty.
You'll be dazzled at Piccadilly Circus.
It's a place you should visit and then get lost through the nearby entertainment options, shopping and tourist attractions. It is the largest traffic intersection in London and it brightens up with large video screens and neon signs. Cool!
AND MORE ...
The best spot to see the world run from.
Café Boheme. Located in Old Compton Street, it is perfect for relaxing with a cup of tea, while observing the lifestyle in the Soho.
London sites to pamper your palate.
Wagamama. British chain of Thai food. With over 100 locations around the world, enjoy the typical Wagamama noodles at a very affordable price.
Kai Mayfair Restaurant. The best Chinese restaurant in London. Not for its Michelin star, but because to try their dishes is an adventure to remember. Do not miss their Hot & Sour Soup....better than an orgasm!
Malabar. Typical neighborhood Indian restaurant in Uxbridge Street, famous ffor its Kaleja, a meal made of chicken liver and onions that will leave you breathless.
The Mother Mash. They have two locations, which are pure gems to rediscover the true flavour of the potato! Enjoy it as a delicacy, served with some delicious sauces.
Sites in London for shopping and hit.
Portobello Market. Walk down Portobello Road in the West End Sunday of the year. You’ll find nearly 40 streets with stalls selling antiques, art, accessories, food ... style houses besides the movie Notting Hill.
The Lacquer Chest. Antique shop accommodated in a house of five floors. You’ll fall in love with the site and the excellent service you’ll receive by the staff.
Harrods. Store on Brompton Road, Knightsbridge with very good quality clothing and smart prices. For sure you’ll find something of your taste. Art everywhere. London is the ideal city for art lovers as the entrance to all museums is free.
Tate Modern, National Gallery. London's City icons of art in the world are a must.
Riflemaker. An art gallery in Soho where you can often bump into a celebrity. It is the site of pilgrimage for fashion and art protagonists. Cool!
The London Dungeon. To live theatre fright and fear. Yes, it's the kind of art to have a laugh about, with family and friends. Great time is guaranteed!
Are we going to party?
The Fabric. Glorious London nightclub. With over 11 years mastering the party in the British capital, The Fabric is a place you cannot avoid, if you’re a night lover!
Kona Kai. At a short walk from Fulham Broadway station, this Hawaiian themed bar offers delicious drinks. On Thursday, if you're dressed with some detail that evokes the Hawaii, you receive a free drink.
Proud Camden. Located in the Stable Market, it is the perfect place in Northern London to go out drinking during the week. In the evenings there’s always some live music (house, techno, trance ...). From 19:30 h the most famous DJ's start their overnight show. It is important to get there early if you want to get in for free.
To beer or not to beer.
The French House Soho. The ideal place to go after dinner and enjoy a pint in a friendly atmosphere. It is usually attended by artists, writers and musicians that paint the place with a bohemian nuance.
The Mayflower. Two minutes from Rotherhithe station, right next to the River Thames, it is one of the oldest pubs in the area.
The afternoon gets boosted right there, with a beer by the river. In addition, if you want to follow your own beer route, the best place is Soho. You can visit almost 50 pubs in the area, from ancient breweries to very modern pubs and minimalist design.
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