Arguably one of the best cities in the world – London is certainly the most multicultural. With a population of close to 9 million people, there are over 300 languages spoken in the UK’s Capital, originating from every corner of our planet.
Home to The Queen and her family, countless theatres and art galleries, a social/nightlife scene that is unparalleled and a vast expanse of cuisines in over 45,000 restaurants and pubs. As British poet and author Samuel Johnson once said; ‘To be tired of London, is to be tired of Life!’
Life in London
London is full of famous landmarks and beautiful parks to explore. You can spend the weekend gazing at monuments such as the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben, or having a picnic in Hyde Park, Green Park or Richmond Park – where you can watch herds of wild deer roam around. You can stroll along the Thames and visit a free museum (Natural History Museum, British Museum, Science Museum and more). There are a range of art galleries (the Saatchi Gallery is one of my favourites, and is free!) and plenty of theatre or dance performances to watch. There is never “nothing to do” in London!
It is often considered an expensive city to visit and to live in, but it is actually reasonably priced compared to cities such as New York, Paris and Geneva. As mentioned in my previous post, “Cost of Living”, London is listed 68th most expensive city on the Cost of Living Index. In central London (known as Zone 1) the rent can be high, putting London as the 18th most expensive city on the Rent Index, but the outer Zones of the city have more affordable rent prices, so it can cater for any budget.
Business in London
One of the world’s leading business hubs, work experience here is invaluable from a career perspective. Nobody will doubt your capabilities if you have good London experience, in whatever your field of consulting.
Punctuality is important, it is polite to call or email in advance if you are running late. Meetings often start with a brief personal chat (typically/stereotypically about the weather) before getting down to business. It is important to remain polite/professional in meetings – and be aware of your posture – crossed arms or slouching in your chair could indicate lack of interest in the subject at hand.
Where to go, what to see
One of the most popular attractions is the Tower of London. The historic castle was founded in 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England and was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, although that was not its original purpose. The fortress consists of a complex of several buildings, including the White Tower (which gives the entire castle its name), surrounded by two concentric rings of defensive walls. During the 12th and 13th centuries, the tower underwent expansions ordered by King Richard the Lionheart, Henry III and then Edward I. There is a wealth of history to learn about, including daring prisoner escapes, Queen Anne Boleyn’s beheading and saving the Crown Jewels from a fire, so it is well worth a visit!
For Shakespeare fans, there is the Shakespeare’s Globe. It stands a few hundred yards from the original Globe Theatre, and was reconstructed by Sam Wanamaker after his first London visit in 1949. It opened to the public in 1997, with its first performance of Henry V. There are regular Shakespearian plays performed there, along with tours and an exhibition about Shakespeare’s life and work.
Britain is also the home of Harry Potter. London is currently the only place in the world with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in theatre, and there is also the immensely popular Harry Potter Studio Tour, where fans can walk amongst the sets, costumes and props used in the films. At the Studio Tour, you can wave a wand, ride a broomstick, stroll down Diagon Alley, explore the forbidden forest (a new addition) and even drink butterbeer! There are also other iconic places for Harry Potter fans to visit, there are walking tours to see all the filming locations based London including King’s Cross station, Alnwick Castle in Northumberland (the REAL Hogwarts of the first two movies!) or The Elephant House – where JK Rowling wrote some parts of the novels.
Speaking of walking tours, we also have them for Jack the Ripper, the notorious gangster twins The Krays, Historic Pubs, a Grim Reaper tour of spooky sites, Food and many other fascinating aspects of London life and history.
Yearly Events/ Festivals
April – London Marathon – A long distance running event held every year since 1981.
May – Chelsea Flower Show – The most famous flower show in the UK, and maybe the world, attracting visitors from all over the world.
June – Trooping the Colour – A tradition dating back to the 17th century to mark the official birthday of the British Sovereign. The parade involves 1400 officers, 200 horses and a matching band.
June – Pride London – The LGBT community celebrate the city’s diversity and acceptance.
June – Royal Ascot – Britain’s most popular horse race gathering, dating back 300 years. The Royal Family attends, including the Queen!
August – Notting Hill Carnival – One of the world’s largest street festivals, attracting approximately a million visitors each year. The festival involves costumed bands, stalls selling jerk chicken, loud music, fun and dancing.