"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London
all that life can afford." – Samuel Johnson (1709-1784).
Today, more than 200 years later, Johnson's words still ring true. There are
few places that offer such a variety of sights, entertainments, educational and
business opportunities, world-famous museums and theatres, and superb
London draws people from all over the world. Some come on business, some come
to study, to work or on holiday. London is naturally a very English city, yet it
is the least typical of Britain as it is very cosmopolitan, containing goods,
food and entertainment, as well as people, from many countries of the world.
London spreads its influence over much of the southern
areas of England; it gives work to millions of people who live not only in
the inner-city areas but in surrounding districts. Some people even commute over
100 miles (over 150 km) every day to work in London.
There is much in London which fascinates visitors and inspires the affection
of Londoners: the splendour of the royal palaces and the Houses of Parliament,
the dignity of St. Paul's Cathedral and many monuments, the fine architecture of
numerous historic buildings, and the beautiful parks.
London shows examples of buildings that express all the different areas of
its history, it manages in a unique way to reflect its past and at the same time
to fulfil the functions of a modern city with its commercialism and bustle.
Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the Sovereign.
The daily ceremony of the Changing of the Guards takes place in its courtyard.
The palace was built in 1703 by the Duke of Buckingham.
Piccadilly Circus has become an important meeting point — for traffic
as well as sightseers. At its heart is a bronze fountain topped by a figure of a
winged archer, popularly known as Eros, the pagan god of love.
The majority of London's places of entertainment are concentrated around
Piccadilly Circus. This area is now famous for its theatres, clubs and
Whitehall is a street in central London running from Trafalgar Square
to the Houses of Parliament and containing many important buildings and
government offices: the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices, the Treasury,
Admiralty and Ministry of Defence. In the centre of the roadway stands the
Cenotaph, the memorial to the fallen of both world wars. The Prime
Minister's residence at No. 10
Downing Street is directly connected to Whitehall.
London is always full of life. The streets are crowded with traffic. High
'double-decker' buses rise above the smaller cars and vans.
The City of London today is the financial powerhouse of the country
and one of the chief commercial centres of the western world.
The City has its own Lord Mayor, its own government and its own police force.
Here the medieval buildings stand side by side with modern steel and glass
high-rise office blocks. The territory of the City of just over one square mile
contains several banks, including the Bank of England, the Stock Exchange and
offices of many financial companies.The parks of London provide a welcome
contrast to the great built-up areas. St. James's Park, Green Park, Hyde Park,
and Kensington Gardens are linked together. They form 313 hectares of open
parkland in the heart of London.