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London: Number 1 in the world!

With over 18 million international travellers visiting the city every year, London has become THE city to visit. It has climbed up the charts to be the number one place to travel to this year, taking the prime spot for the 5th time. It may surprise many that London has taken the top spot over Paris and Bangkok in the top 3 but New York, shockingly falling short of the top 5, however, London has everything a prime city needs and this guide will show you why London deserves the top city crown.

History

This is possibly the most important reason that London is at the top of the list; its rich history is one of the main reasons that people visit the city. London first began in Roman times when it was christened Londinium; from there it became the capital of England and became home to William the Conqueror in 1066 when he was crowned in Westminster Abbey on Christmas day. William sort to it that a threat of invasion was kept to a minimum by building a fortress on the banks of the River Thames, the White Tower, which stands in the centre of the Tower of London today, was completed in the 12th century. From this point in time, London continued to grow and grow and became the hub for wealth and power, but also for poverty and disease, with the Black Plague wiping out most of the city’s population. The Great Fire of London in 1666 destroyed many buildings after it started in a small bakery in Pudding Lane; the Monument commemorates this tragic event.

London

The 18th and 19th saw the biggest economic growth in London thanks the the Industrial Revolution. In the mid 1800’s, the Great British Empire began to take form and, to allow Londoners to experience other cultures, museums such as the Natural History Museum, the British Museum and the V&A Museum were opened. The Crystal Palace Exhibition was world famous and attracts thousands of people from all over the world, many of the artifacts from this exhibition can be found today in the V&A Museum which can be found a stone’s throw away from the hotels close to Hyde Park London. The Victorian era was not without its scandal with a series of the most notorious murders taking place from 1888 – Jack the Ripper. This name became a hindrance to the Whitechapel police and a source of intrigue for the British public, however, the interest did not stop there. The news became transatlantic, especially when the killings abruptly stopped and similar one began in America, leading many to believe that Jack has crossed the Atlantic. Today, Whitechapel has become a popular haunt for those who want to walk in the footsteps of Jack the Ripper and his poor victims with tours taking place every evening all week.

Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world mainly due to its uniformity in its buildings, however London’s structures are incredibly mismatched and this is due to the Blitz in the 1940’s. The Germans tried, and subsequently failed, to destroy London and the morale of the British people; many buildings were bombed, including St Paul’s Cathedral, and the British people simply built the city back up. To experience World War II, head to Churchill’s War Rooms, where the great man himself spent his time deliberating schemes and making orders to ensure we won the war.

London’s history surpasses many cities around the world and, with many of its historical landmarks still standing today, it makes it an interesting place to visit.

Shopping

There cannot be a discussion about London without mentioning the topic of shopping. Millions of people travel to Oxford Street every year to sample the mile and a half street filled to the brim with every avid shoppers dream; a three floor Topshop, Forever 21, a multi-storey Primark, a huge House of Fraser and, of course, the world famous Selfridges. Hotels near Oxford Street provide the perfect spot for shoppers as it is walking distance to not only Oxford Street but Regents Street too. Regent Street is home to a fine selection of designer shops and leads gracefully on to Carnaby Street, the place made famous by the Swingin’ Sixties and its eclectic mix of boutiques. It is a firm favourite with children as it is where Hamleys can be found, the famous seven floor toy store that has been putting smiles on children’s faces for over 200 years. Whatever a child wants, it can be found here as it is crammed full of dolls, trains, dinosaurs, cars, gadgets, old fashioned teddy bears; board games, magic tricks, planes, arts and crafts and there is even a whole floor dedicated to lego! It is a place of children’s dreams and where every adult can let their inner child out to play.

Something a little different

London is a unique city as not only does it have its tourist side but it also has another unique part to it that only those who want to travel off the tourist path will ever see. It has the only Victorian operating theatre in the UK that holds all the lotions, potions and equipment of the day, including a bloody apron, and every weekend, actors will perform an operation to allow the audience to experience a time without anesthetic. The Horniman Museum is incredibly interesting but it isn’t your typical museum with jars of limbs, eyes, brains, skeletons and a giant stuffed walrus; it is fascinating if you’re interested in anatomy but it isn’t for the faint-hearted.

There is so much to see, do and experience in London, there is little wonder that it is number one.

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