• Среда, 13 апреля, 2011

Ancient buildings next to skyscrapers, historic sites and galleries, the spirit and traditions of royal monarchy combined with the bustling life of a modern megalopolis, the heart of the British Empire, one of the most important fashion and business capitals and a beautiful city that leaves every guest deeply impressed — this is London which, as it has been for ages, is a focus of the entire world.

London is one of the most surprising capitals in the world. It is a modern city, a giant megalopolis with ancient buildings and traditions. It is also a fashion trendsetter, with a huge business centre in the heart of the city. This district will certainly impress you. Ancient houses stand near shiny skyscrapers. The grand dome of St Paul’s Cathedral overlooks the area just as it did centuries ago. However, modernity is represented by new buildings like Mary Axe, a skyscraper that is commonly called the «Cucumber Building» due to its weird shape. The Barbican Centre is the largest performing arts centre in Europe. It also houses numerous galleries, theatres and cinemas. Within a short walking distance you’ll find the Museum of London, which documents the history of the UK’s capital.

London is the second motherland of globally renowned creative and talented fashion trendsetters, graduates of the world’s most prestigious fashion school, Saint Martins College of Art and Design. This is probably why the city has long been a shopper’s paradise. Numerous brand name boutiques, stores, show rooms and shopping malls create an overwhelming picture. London’s fashion is different from that of New York, Paris and Milan, although the four cities host the world’s most prestigious Fashion Weeks and are acknowledged trendsetters. The variety of styles and style combinations in London’s streets is literally endless.

The fashion industry brings in around 21 million pounds annually to the UK’s budget. This is more than income from tourism. This is a result of the growing popularity of fashion labels where famous designers create their collections, as well as the demand for designer accessories and the active support of young designers.

Let’s take a stroll down London’s streets and explore the best shopping spots. First of all, head to Marylebone, a popular shopping area situated within an elegant Victorian building. There, you can shop around for anything you might want, from souvenirs to designer clothing by some of the world’s most fashionable labels. For fragrances, visit Diptyque. For organic cosmetics, go to Remedies. Jezebell on Blandford Street offers clothes from Vivienne Westwood collections.

London is a good place to shop for both expensive and cheap clothes. Spitalfield has many small shops offering second-hand clothes, but its leading attraction is the Old Spitalfields Market. On Thursdays, it transforms into an antique and vintage market; on Fridays it is a fashion and art market; and on Sundays, it offers everything from food to clothes, jewellery, paintings and books.

The most demanding fashion hunters meet at Beyond The Valley, a fashion outlet on Newburgh Street. It started out as a pop-up shop and now offers designer clothes, accessories and household articles. It regularly houses art exhibitions, and most of the items on sale are exclusive. Another oasis for those interested in designer clothes, footwear and accessories is Bond Street. Famous street markets like Camden, Portobello Road and Brick Lane are a real paradise for shoppers who look for rare vintage objects and antiques.

Ask any citizen of London which district he or she visits most often, and they will probably say the West End, with its endless stores, and Oxford Street, Europe’s major shopping thoroughfare. You’ll find such fashion stores as Urban Outfitters, Selfriges, Deben-hams and HMV. Oxford Street offers simply anything you might want to buy.

No shopping addict can do without spending some time in cafes, bars or restaurants that offer various dishes and drinks. After shopping, find some time to enjoy a cup of coffee, lunch or dinner.

London is a gourmet’s paradise. Over 7,000 restaurants offer cuisines from all over the world. The most respected cuisines are French and Italian, while Japanese, Asian and Indian cuisines are the most popular. Most restaurants are located in the West End and Soho. Chinatown has many Chinese restaurants. Cheap and hearty food is offered in Indian and Caribbean restaurants. For quick and inexpensive eats, check out Pret a Manger, Starbucks, EAT, Gaffe Nero, Costa, Aroma and Coffee Republic. And please, visit Rules. This restaurant was opened almost 200 years ago, and it still offers traditional English dishes. Another «elder statesman» is Simpson-in-the-Strand, famous for its luxury royal-style interior and juicy roast beef, as well as its celebrity clientele.

Despite the many foreign cuisines, London preserves its unique traditions. As you have probably guessed, we are talking about English pubs and five o’clock. Hoxton, an area in the West End, has recently become a busy place with its popular bars, most of which are located in the so-called Hoxton Triangle formed by Old Street, Shore-ditch High Street and Gray Eastern Street. The bustling places located in the square welcome visitors and are open until early morning.

The capital’s restaurants, bars and nightclubs are extremely popular among locals and tourists alike. Celebrities like them, too. For example, Madonna prefers to celebrate her birthdays in London. Once she threw a party at Lounge Lover. The next time, she chose Shoreditch House.

To get a real understanding of how hospitable London is, visit Marcus Wareing (one of the city’s best hotels located at Berkeley Hotel), or Nuno Mendes’s Viajante. The Wolseley is the best option for business meetings, Anchor & Hope is the most authentic pub and La Poule au Pot features the most romantic ambiance. It is not surprising that London’s bars and restaurants often leave the best impressions from a trip to the UK.

Discover another London — not only the capital of the kingdom with its ancient historic sites, but also as a modern fashionable and hospitable megalopolis that is fascinating, unique and original.

Sports London

1. Olympic Park.

2. Wembley Stadium

3. Emirates Stadium

4. Crystal Palace

5. David Beckham Football Academy


1. Barbican Art Gallery

2. National Gallery

3. Queen’s Gallery

4. Tate Modern

5. National Portrait Gallery

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