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London, capital of England, is known as the ‘entertainment capital of Europe’ and is a sight-seeing feast for the urban traveller.
Served by numerous airports, it has an expansive transport network enabling students to navigate by train, underground, bus or taxi. But as with most metropolitan areas, it is great to explore on foot, even if it has the largest urban zone in the EU.
It would take several weeks to see all of London, but the main sights can be covered in a shorter time. The cosmopolitan hub of London, the West End, has a huge choice of eating, drinking and entertainment options for all budgets that reflect this community’s diversity and welcoming atmosphere of differing nationalities. For entertainment, it is worth visiting Sketch, with its eye-opening blend of traditional and Clockwork Orange futuristic decor and furnishings. Or step into Siberia at Belowzero’s Absolut Icebar, a bar made entirely of ice, to order an exuberant vodka cocktail.
London has a vibrant nightlife with many bars featuring DJ’s and dancefloors, and a vast nightclub circuit each offering different music styles most nights of the week, including Ministry of Sound and Fabric.
The heart of London is Trafalgar Square. From here you can take an open-top bus tour around the city, but there is plenty within walking distance too. To the north of Trafalgar Square is Leicester Square, home of London’s best cinemas, Chinatown with its Chinese cuisine and Karaoke bars and Shaftesbury Avenue, London’s “Theatreland”. The city is famous for its classical and musical theatre, with many stages shows running for decades due to their popularity.
Back towards the River Thames is Piccadilly Circus, where the statue of Eros is a popular meeting point. From here you can go south west towards Buckingham Palace, residence of the Queen of England, or down to the River Thames and London Eye. Here on the South Bank another world opens, with galleries including Tate Modern, stylish bars and top restaurants like the Oxo Tower. Across on the opposite bank lie the Houses of Parliament and further east, St Pauls Cathedral.
It began in the 1960s when Carnaby Street was an advert for ‘swinging London’. Today Carnaby Street still contains many stores, but new fashion districts have emerged, like the Kings Road and Camden Town, upmarket Bond Street, and the ever-popular Oxford Street.
Sports lovers are spoilt for choice in London, host to the world-famous lawn-tennis tournament in Wimbledon, five Premiership football teams, Lord’s, and the Oval cricket grounds and the 2012 Olympic Games.