London’s status as a tourist destination is somewhat legendary. Boasting a formidable nightlife scene, bustling and vibrant markets, extraordinary culture and world class cuisine, this is a metropolis that is used to entertaining everyone from celebrities to royalty. And it will be more than happy to entertain you in 2015, so be sure to put it on your wishlist.
Of course, you might not have made up your mind which cities you want to visit this year. Don’t worry though – our reasons below will convince you beyond doubt that you just can’t go another year without walking down Trafalgar Square or the West End. Read on and be ready to book transport and hotels!
Reason 1 – The museums aren’t just amazing, they’re also free
The British Museum. The Science Museum. The Natural History Museum. The V&A Museum. What do all of these incredible venues have in common? That’s right – they’re all based in lovely London. The capital’s cultural scene is second to none and, unlike some cities we could mention (we’re all looking at you, Vienna), the government doesn’t try to cash in on the museums. Well, not too much at least. Entry to the best known establishments is totally free, so that’s all of the above sorted as well as the Museum of London, National Gallery, National Maritime Museum, Tate Modern, Imperial War Museum… we could go on, but this article sadly has a word count.
Reason 2 – Transportation is the stuff of legend
Transportation in London has risen to become a minor religion in itself. Firstly, there is the Tube, an iconic subterranean train network that has been elevated way above the lowly label of ‘metro’. Named for its tube-like tunnels, it’s so much more than just a method of transportation. “Taking Circle to Victoria? Nah, go the other way, go to Holborn and get the Piccadilly – much quicker, mate.” Knowledge of the Tube map is something of a competitive sport among Londoners.
We haven’t even started with the iconic double decker red bus yet. Or the black cabs, driven by cabbies with such a knowledge of London’s streets and suburbs that they can probably take you straight to your favourite restaurant just from the name alone. Or the Boris Bikes, named after the London Mayor who introduced London’s communal cycling scheme that anyone can take advantage of. Getting around the city is as much of an adventure as anything else.
Reason 3 – For the popular culture
London’s awesomeness hasn’t gone unnoticed. Books, films and music down the ages reference the incredible city and you’re going to want to take advantage of it. Firstly, check out some of the most well-known places for pop culture – we’re talking Abbey Road Studios (do the Zebra Crossing, go on, you know you want to), Piccadilly Circus (seen in countless films) and the Millennium Bridge (the one destroyed at the start of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince). Then you might want to seek out other famed British landmarks that have made their way into TV, film and literature. The Tower of London, for example, home of the Crown Jewels and a great place to spend an afternoon. Or spend time in Trafalgar Square where there is always something going on. Embark on a tour that shows you the ins and outs of the city from the perspective of Doctor Who or the Beatles – there are lots of opportunities to witness London’s pop culture.
Reason 4 – Because the people who live in London are awesome
From the well-known (Daniel Day Lewis) to the people you see everyday (that woman who directs people to Buckingham Palace from Victoria Station), Londoners are a fantastic bunch with roots from all corners of the globe. Watch the street artists on the South Bank or in Trafalgar Square as they do their thing, carrying out tricks more bizarre and interesting. Or go and seek out the people who have previously called the metropolis home – famed historical characters including Oscar Wilde and Queen Victoria have stone statues in the city. Indeed, Queen Vicky has quite a few, so you’ll be in for a long and tricky mission if you want to track down all of them.
Reason 5 – The food is truly scrumptious
When it comes to food, no one does it better than London. The city’s diverse population is responsible for an extraordinary cuisine scene that ranges from enormous street markets catering to skinny-jean-clad hipsters to super-expensive restaurants with fabulous views above the city and a suit-only dress code. For those with eastern tastes, Chinatown is most definitely the place to be, as you’ll find dozens of authentic Chinese restaurants offering noodles, dumplings and duck. Indian fare can be found throughout the city too – everyone knows that London is the best place to get a curry outside of the country itself. Whether you’ve only got pennies to spend on food or what to blow hundreds of pounds on the tastiest delicacies under the sun, London can cater for you.
Reason 6 – Urban beauty
Even the most miserable soul could walk through London’s urban sprawl and fail to find something unique and wonderful to smile at. It might be the way the mirror-like surface of the Thames reflects the city lights after dark (Waterloo Bridge is best, but any will do, really). Or it could be the open sprawl of one of the Royal Parks, which resemble huge swathes of countryside complete with grazing deer (Richmond) or frolicking pelicans (St James’s). Perhaps it’s a poignant tribute, such as the Amy Winehouse statue in Camden that brings a tear to your eye. Or one of the many festivals and celebrations in full swing, with explosions of colour and music everywhere. We love London and we know you will too, if you choose to visit in 2015.