Shakespeare lived in Blackfriars, Johnson wrote his English Dictionary in Gough Square and Keats composed Ode to a Nightingale in a Hampstead beer garden. So when you visit London, you're not just coming to one of the greatest cities in the world, but to the cradle of England's language and culture. As well as all its famous landmarks - like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Picadilly and St. Paul's - there are lots of other things which make London such an amazing city. Here are a few:
1. Free Museums and Galleries.
Q: What do the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum, the Tate Modern and literally hundreds of other London museums and galleries have in common?
A: They are all completely free to enter. One of the best things about London is just how many places are completely free of charge. You don't pay a penny to go in. Not one.
2. World Class Theatre.
No trip to London is complete without a night out at the Theatre. Stay in Richmond to see a play at the wonderful Orange Tree (always amazing performances and great value for money), but if you prefer then go into town and see Shakespeare performed at The Globe, a perfectly recreated Elizabethan Theatre (hint: do pay extra for cushion.) And if it's glamour and lights you need, the dazzling variety of the West End is just 25 minutes away.
3. Food, Glorious Food.
Yes, we've heard the jokes, but London's food scene has changed enormously. As well as 60 or so Michelin starred restaurants, the choice for 'foodies' on a budget is amazing. Whether you grab a bite in Soho, head down to Chinatown, go global at Seven Dials Food Hall or just stay local and enjoy an al fresco supper at Stein's Biergarten in Richmond, there is something for everyone.
4. Shop 'til you Drop.
If it's big brands you want, then go to Oxford Street. Regent Street is for the mid-range, but it’s Bond Street if you're feeling rich. Covent Garden is for fashion and The King's Road for chic. Portobello is for eclectic, Camden is for cool, and Hackney is for hip. Spitalfields does vintage, and Alfies sells Antiques. And when you've been to those, try Brick Lane for anything else.
5. Breathe out: Parks and the River
Did you know that in 2019 London was declared the world's first National Park City? Its 3,000 parks and green spaces combined with its canals, reservoirs and riversides form a huge network of urban outdoor spaces for you to explore. Some of the best known are the 8 London Royal Parks, including Hyde Park, Regent's Park and of course our very own Richmond Park.