London, this gigantic metropolis of over 9 million inhabitants, is a marvellous city full of history, grand buildings and monuments. The centre of the former British Empire has developed into a cosmopolitan, multicultural city, which covers all fields of interest. It is a fascinating world which undoubtedly will cast a spell over everyone who visits it.
This particularly applies to the royal residences, palaces and charming parks. The great traditional ceremonials and the royal splendour give London an exceptional charm, and it is thrilling to experience all this. The entire city is a pleasure to see, and no wonder! With 9 million visitors from abroad, and 14 million British tourists yearly, the British metropolis is one of the most popular travel destinations. Accordingly, the volume of traffic is enormous and even though there is a sophisticated traffic system, in special places, such as Piccadilly Circus and busy streets, the traffic is at a standstill at times. However, also in this respect London is deeply rooted in traditions and still one can see police on horseback and the well-known double decker buses.
Tower Bridge, London Guard in the London TowerThe history goes back to the first century, when the Romans erected a bridge over the river Thames and made the place a famous trading centre, giving it the name Londonium, the outlines of which still, even today, correspond with the historic centre of London. In the 11th century the City of Westminster developed in the west of London, while in the east, with the construction of the White Tower, London's Tower history began. The city of London remained the centre of trade and industry, whereas Westminster became the residence of the monarchy and the church.
Westminster Palace, Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London belong to the most famous buildings in the world and are inscribed properties on the World Heritage List.
The Westminster Palace and Westminster Abbey are architectonical masterpieces unique in their beauty and grandeur. Since 1066 Westminster Abbey has been the place for every Coronation and for numerous other Royal occasions. Westminster Palace is the home of the British Parliament. During the parliamentary sessions one can watch the debates in the House of Commons as well as in the House of Lords, and the visitors' galleries are free. We had the good fortune to get in, which gave us not only the opportunity of watching the parliamentary sessions, but also to have a look at the marvellous interior of the building. In the House of Lords we even saw the throne of the Queen. Walking through Westminster we enjoyed heraring and seeing the famous old Big Ben, which adjoins the palace in the east. It is 315 feet high and has been showing the exact time since 1859!
Royal Albert Hall London Apart from the famous sites, a special highlight for us was a performance of Verdi's opera 'Aida' in the Royal Albert Hall. The huge rotunda offers room for 5000 people and the magnificent concert hall, with its purple seats and curtains in the countless boxes, truly has a royal splendour. Also, the production was very good. The evening was an unforgettable experience and a great pleasure for us.
Piccadilly Circus LondonLondon is such an exciting and beautiful city, but oh so expensive! The admission fees for the tourist attractions are very high, just as all the other prices, whether it's food, clothing or public transport. For instance, for the Tower, including the bridge, we paid 16 pounds each. We wondered what sort of income people must have who live there. However, the good thing is that admission to the museums and galleries is free.