London Hotels Articles

July 21, 2010

London: A favorite tourist destination

If you haven’t heard, London is that the gray, crowded, rainy, metropolis in the south east of England with congestion charges to drive through the capital city and the second highest cost of living behind Moscow. It is also the world’s most popular tourist destination with some 27 million annual visitors who help make London’s Heathrow Airport the busiest in the world. I have a personal addiction to London; so much so that I packed up my life in New York and moved here about a year ago. So what’s all the fuss about?

Culture, for one. London is one of the most diverse cities in the world with 30% of us born outside England. This has its ups and downs, but it means a lot of variety in events, a celebration of every nation’s holidays, foods to try that you can’t even pronounce. More importantly, it means going out to the pub and meeting people from Australia, South Africa, Ghana, China, Brazil, Canada, etc. Think of all the interesting conversations and travel opportunities. If you’re visiting, there are loads of international youth hostels which are great places to make a few friends. Try Hostel 639 in Kensal Green, right across from the tube.

Like I just mentioned above, food. English cuisine doesn’t come across with the best reputation in the world what with jellied eels, mushy peas and Bubble & Squeak. Don’t want to know? Good, because I don’t want to think about it. But London offers some great options. In fact the most popular dish here is curry, due to the high Indian population and selection of restaurants. There are over 6,000 licensed restaurants in the capital city with over 50 countries represented in their menu choices. One of my personal favorite London restaurants is the Italian La Gaffe, which is also a hotel, in Hampstead. The family run business has a great staff that will have you in fits of giggles if you’re nice.

Once you’ve filled that rumbling stomach, you might be in the mood for some entertainment. No worries. London’s got you covered. Fancy a show? With approximately 150 theatres, 100 cinemas and 60 annual film festivals, you’ve got a lot to choose from. If you’d rather see a band, there are the big guns like Led Zeppelin rumored to be coming back this summer or up and coming bands (I have to recommend my boyfriend’s band, The Stayaways or I might get in trouble. But really, check them out if you’re in town. With 47 major rock and pop venues in London, you’ve got a lot of choice. Try Camden’s Koko or Barfly

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