As the Olympic Games nears, more people are wanting to take a closer look at London. The British capital is one of the great world cities, with almost seven million permanent residents and many millions more passing through each day. Diverse, vibrant and busy, it is an ideal destination for people looking for an exciting short break, whatever their interests.
Photo: Stuck in Customs
Due to the large number of diverse attractions, it is best to approach a weekend away in London with a measure of planning. There is a great variety of accommodation in the city and it pays to be based close to the things that you want to see. The better known attractions tend to be in the more western areas of the city, while some of the more fashionable and vibrant spots are now in the East End.
For those visitors who are keen on seeing what `traditional` London has to offer, it is best to head to Victoria and Westminster. This is where you will find landmarks like the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey and where many of the buildings associated with different parts of the British government are located. For people who want to explore the arts scene in the city, it is perhaps best to head east.
The South Bank of the Thames is famous as a location where there are plenty of art galleries, but Trafalgar Square, as well as being a famous landmark in its own right, is also the home of the National Gallery. With work from da Vinci and Van Gogh, the range and beauty of the collection the Gallery houses is amazing. The Tate Modern on the South Bank is another superb venue for art lovers to explore and is widely viewed as one of the world`s finest art collections.
Museums bring many visitors to the capital and it would take much longer than a single weekend to explore them all. However, the Natural History Museum is justifiably world famous for its amazing collection of specimens and children of all ages will relish the dinosaur exhibition. The Science Museum has a great collection of interactive displays.
Of course, some visitors to London may simply want to enjoy some of the city`s iconic parks, such as Regents Park, conveniently close to London Zoo, Kew Gardens and, of course, Hyde Park. St Paul`s Cathedral is one of the world`s great churches and anyone curious about royalty can spend an interesting few minutes watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.
One of the best ways to finish off a weekend in the city is to obtain some boxoffice theatre tickets and head to the West End. A night at the theatre in London is an incredible experience and is sure to top off your trip by providing vivid memories and the kind of excitement that only a glamorous city like London can provide.