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London has a way of charming people from every walk of life. It is, by turns, sophisticated and laid back, traditional and diverse, classic and vibrant. Here are just a few reasons why London is still the coolest capital in 2016.
Enduring iconic locations
Whether you want to admire Tower Bridge, walk the zebra crossing at Abbey Road, catch a black cab or pose for a photo beside Platform 9¾, London is full of iconic buildings, scenery and traditions that have to be seen in person.
Entertainment and shopping
London arguably has the best theatre scene in the world, offering an enormous variety of shows. There are almost 40 venues in London’s West End alone, making it the perfect place to brighten up your evening with a musical.
The city is also heaven for fashion and shopping lovers. Head to Knightsbridge for top designers, browse high street flagships on Oxford Street or hit one of London’s varied markets to browse through vintage clothes, antiques and bric-a-brac. In city which is home of the British Royal Family, you can also shop where the Royals do by visiting companies with a Royal Warrant. Some London brands on the list include Fortnum and Mason’s for groceries and produce, Floris of London for perfume and Smythson for stationery.
From fine dining in Michelin-starred restaurants (try Gordon Ramsay’s offering in Chelsea for luxurious dining or Gymkhana in Mayfair for superb curry) to hearty Sunday roasts (try Blacklock in Soho or The Albion in Islington), just thinking about the diversity and quality of the food scene in London is enough to set your mouth watering. Don’t forget to indulge in an elegant afternoon tea – the most quintessentially English of meals – at one of London’s stylish and historic hotels (The Ritz, Claridge’s and The Dorchester are all excellent choices). You can even combine delicious food with spectacular city views at restaurants like The Shard’s TĪNG or Hutong, or the Sky Garden’s Darwin Brasserie or Fenchurch Terrace.
Rich in culture for all ages
With some of the world’s best museums and galleries, London has culture in abundance. Best of all, most offer free entry. Take advantage of this in order to marvel at the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum, as well as pieces of Ancient Greece’s Parthenon or masterpieces by Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Turner, Monet and Van Gogh (to name but a few). Or please the younger crowd with a trip to see colossal dinosaur skeleton casts at the Natural History Museum or the Apollo 10 command module at the Science Museum.
Beauty from the streets to the skyline
Wandering the streets and relishing the city’s sights is a joy in itself, whether taking in the view from the Southbank or strolling through pretty neighbourhoods like Notting Hill or Covent Garden. Vantage points like the Shard take this to another level, with stunning panoramic views of the metropolis, while the city’s many parks and gardens provide an idyllic counterpoint to city life.