- General facts
London is the capital city of England and the UK, is the world’s ninth-largest city. London is made up of two ancient cities which are now joined together. There are: the City of London, known simply as ‘the City’ which is the business and financial heart of the UK. Second is the City of Westminster, where Parliament and most of the government offices are located. Also Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of the Queen and the Royal family are located there too.
London is the capital of both England and the United Kingdom. It lies on the river Thames in the south-east England. About more than 8 million people live there. It includes the City of London and 32 boroughs. London is the seat of Monarch, the Parliament, the Government and the Prime Meridian which runs across Greenwich in the east of London.
The place was founded and was occupied by the Romans about 55 B.C., A. D. During the 12th century reign/rule Norman kings (William the Conqueror was the first monarch-1066). One of the famous things, which was happend is the great fire in 1666 destroyed almost all the city.
– airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Rotten
– bus: coaches (long distance buses), double-deckers
-taxi, underground-11 routes(trasa)
Central London is where most of the famous sights are. On the Underground map it is surrounded by the Circle Line. The City is the oldest part of London. Now it is the home to the financial district. The East End, to the East of the City, is where many new immigrant groups live and many working people live there too. The West End has everything from chic shops, theatres, beautiful residential areas, great parks and the famous Trafalgar Square which many Londoners think of a centre of their city. Near the West End, just to the South, is Westminster, where Buckingham Palace, Parliament and the Government of England are located. (Nearby are Kensington and Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Chelsea, the most stylish parts of London in which to live.)
The Tower of London is the capital’s top tourist attraction. William the Conqueror began to build the massive fortress – the White Tower – to impress and dominate the people of London in 1066. The Tower serve as a royal home, a prison, a royal mint and an observatory. Now it is museum where tourists go to see an arsenal of weapons, the Crown Jewels, the prison where many famous prisoners were kept. The Tower is guarded by Beefeater who still wear the uniform of Tudor times. Six ravens are kept in the Tower to protect the whole Kingdom. The legend says that the Kingdom will cease (stop) to exist when the ravens leave the Tower. Traitor’s gate is water entrance to the Tower.
30st Mary Axe (the Gherkin[gérkán]) – skyscraper in London’s financial district.
The Walkie-Talkie – skyscraper, which looks like an old-fashioned mobile phone
The Shard – a pyramid shaped skyscraper, currently the tallest building in Europe
The Monument – a column which commemorates the Great Fire of 1666
Next to the Tower stands Tower Bridge. It is one of the most famous symbols of London. It can open in the middle and let large ships go through. It takes 90 seconds to raise.
St. Paul’s Cathedral was built after the Great Fire of London in 1666. It stands in the heart of the City- the business centre of London. The architect was Sir Christopher Wren. It took him 35 years to finish it. St. Paul’s is built in the Baroque style. The cathedral is 110 m high. It is the largest church in the world after St. Peter’s in Rome. Inside the dome is the Whispering Gallery. If you whisper close to the wall on one side of the dome, you can be heard on the other side. St. Paul’s has seen many important occasions: the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana in 1981. Britain’s heroes are buried there – Admiral Nelson or Sir Christopher Wren himself.
Not far from the Houses of Parliament is Buckingham Palace, the London home of the kings and queens of GB. Built in 1703 by the Duke of Buckingham. Queen Victoria was the first monarch who live in the Palace. Outside Buckingham Palace we can see the Changing of the Guard. The guardsmen wear traditional uniform: a red coat and a black helmet. The Royal Standard is flown when the Queen is in residence. In front of Buckingham Palace is the Queen Victoria´s Monument.
Trafalgar Square is the largest square in London and it´s a place of political demonstrations and busy traffic. In the middle of the square is Nelson’s Column with a five-meter tall statue of Horatio Nelson at the top. Its name commemorates the sea victory of Admiral Lord Nelson. Nelson spent his life looking over the sea. And his statue also looks over a sea-a sea of pigeons. These pigeons are probably the fattest in the word.
The famous National Gallery is located on Trafalgar Square. There are one of the greatest collections of Western painting from the 13th to the 20th centuries. (Next to it is the National Portrait Gallery which houses portraits and photographs of famous people.)
A short way from Trafalgar Square along the Haymarket is Piccadilly Circus. It is the busiest and noisiest place in London. It is also known as the centre of entertainment in the West End with its night clubs, theatres, cinemas and restaurants. In the centre of the Circus at the top of the Fountain stands Eros (the Greek god of love).
The Houses of Parliament are the political centre of the UK. They lie on the river Thames in central London. They were rebuilt in the Neo-Gothic style in 19th century on the site of the Old Palace of Westminster which was destroyed by fire. Great Britain, with its House of Commons and House of Lords, is the oldest democracy in the world today. (The House of Lords is a gothic hall decorated in red. The House of Commons is more restrained in style.)
Next to the Houses is London´s famous clock tower- Big Ben. Its 4 white faces look north, south, east and west. But Big Ben isn´t really the name of the clock. It´s the name of the bell inside the clock.
Just across Parliament Square, is the most important church in the country – Westminster Abbey. The history of Westminster Abbey goes back to the 11th century. You can see Coronation Chair, containing the historic Stone of Scone, a symbol of Scottish Royalty and many British kings and queens are buried in the Abbey (Elizabeth I, Henry VII, Charles II).
Downing Street 10 is the official home of British Prime Ministers.
St. James’s Park is the oldest of them. In the 19th century he created a lake with small islands which are the home of many water-birds.
Hyde Park is very famous for its Speaking Corner where everybody can speak publicly without fear and they can express your opinion.
Regent Park is perhaps London’s most elegant park with its attractive gardens, lakes and a zoo.
6) Shops and markets
The West End is the place where you can find most of the busiest streets and shopping centres. Oxford Street is probably London’s most well-known shopping street.
(In Regent Street two particularly famous shops are Liberty’s and Hamley’s, one of the best-known toy shops in the world.
Fashionable shops continue in Kensington, Chelsea and Knightsbridge, the home of Harrods, London’s most famous department store.
Covent Garden is once the famous fruit and vegetable market.
In West End is Charing Cross Road, where book worms go.)
7) London’s environs
Greenwich is the centre of world´s time system.
You can visit Old Royal Observatory or Greenwich Prime Meridian.
The National Maritime Museum is the museum for ships.
In the South West are the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew with the largest collection of living plants in the world.
The British Museum is the largest museum in the world. There is the biggest collection of all kinds of animals and minerals and rocks. British Museum’s library is the largest in the world.
Madame Tussaud´s museum is the world´s famous wax museum full of wax figures of famous people.