AT THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD
Updated: Sep 4, 2020
Great Britain lies in the middle of the world, where the lines of longitude and latitude (Greenwich) meet at 0 degrees. London is ranked the second most famous city in the world; Bangkok, coming in at the top. As this section of my blog is based on more local places to visit and I am based in the UK, the Capital seemed like an obvious starting point!
You may be questioning why I would want to write about London. A city. When my travel style is based on more tropical climates and island-y destinations. Well, although I am not a city fanatic, there are a few things I do admire and find fascinating about the capital of Great Britain. Keep reading to find out about my love-hate relationship with the second greatest city in the world…
There are numerous ways to get around, into and out of the city centre. Trains, tubes, buses, ferry, planes… you name it, we got it! You can even find a tuk-tuk if you venture into Soho. With the addition of taxi firms like Uber, increased walking routes/maps and easy accessibility to hiring bikes around London, there is a way to get around to suit all. That being said, certain areas and means of transportation can become clustered, very quickly. The London lifestyle is one of high pace and is not everyone’s cup of tea. But for the most part, it makes a great place for day trips.
Full of history
London Bridge is falling down… We all know that famous nursery rhyme. Well, every Brit
does at least! In matter of fact, London went through years of crumbling and re-building
before it became the infamous Capital, we know it to be today. The evolution of which can
not only be seen through architecture, but even the layout of the city streets - from
cobbled stone pavements to narrow alleys and underground passages, as well as the statues
erected around Town. Most, if not all the major landmarks around the city boast a historical
background. Tower Bridge, not to be confused with London Bridge is among the top 3 of
London’s most iconic buildings – St. Paul’s Cathedral coming in second and The Shard at the
top (pun intended). My top 5 favourite areas to explore packed with history, in no
particular order are: London Bridge, Shoreditch, Greenwich, Westminster and
Bankside. Bear in mind that all of the places I have mentioned above are just a snapshot
of places to see during a visit into the city.
When you think about how extensively the British Empire spread across the globe, it’s no wonder that London quickly became a hub of diversity with a fusion of cultures from all over the world. More recently the headlines in the UK have had an emphasis on matters such as the Windrush movement, Black Lives Matter and the nail-biting Brexit.
Some food for thought: Without other ethnicities providing input into the UK’s economy, would Britain really be as ‘Great’ as it is today?
Although the city centre itself is a hive of multi-culture, moving slightly further out, a little more segregation may be encountered. For example, to the South, in Brixton you may encounter some Caribbean vibes. Head North, towards Wembley and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into little India. The streets of Soho have a heavy Hipster influence. Brick Lane is an area one may associate with Bangladeshi Muslims, yet the East-end is seen as the home of the ‘typical’ Londoner, the Cockney.
London is a great central point to meet friends and family; Brimming with activities, arts and culture, restaurants, bars, clubs, retail therapy and so much more! Zig zagging your way through Oxford Street, Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus (to name a few) there are countless quirky establishments worth visiting and for those who prefer home comforts, an array of familiar franchises too. It is without a doubt that Instagram has had an impact on the vibrance of London, with many places providing aesthetically pleasing interiors and exteriors to draw in the crowds. When you don’t live within quick access to the city, FOMO can hit hard, but asareas outside of London are being revamped, similar experiences can be had by many more with fewer crowds and lower travel costs.
City of opportunities
London ranks 1st place in having the largest number of universities within a city, as well as, having the largest number of students interested in studying there. With English being the most spoken language worldwide, paired with the vast diversity across London – it is no surprise that many dream of studying or building a life in London. There are endless opportunities across various levels of expertise.
There is an essence of freedom if you are based in London. Time has no limitations as transportation, shops and other services run practically 24 hours a day. However, like all places, London also has its downsides. Space is becoming limited, the cost of living is high, the fast-paced lifestyle is affecting people’s wellbeing and climate change in addition to Covid-19 is pushing for more practical ways of living. As London continues to evolve with the times, it is a wonder what may become of it in a quarter of a century.