London often gives the impression of being more comfortable with its past than its present. From the world-famous landmarks of St Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London to the traditional and well-loved double-decker buses, the theatres and the many grand hotels, England’s capital offers visitors a journey through centuries of history. This journey is even better now that many buildings and places have been rebuilt and renovated. Old warehouses along the river Thames have been transformed into galleries, shops and clubs.
The international symbol of London is Tower Bridge. It was built between 1886 and 1894 by Sir Horace Jones. Originally steam engines were used to raise the bridge, so that ships could pass underneath. Nowadays, electric motors are used instead. As you cross the bridge you’ll enjoy a wonderful view of the river Thames and London.
Across the river from London Bridge is ‘The City of London’, the financial district of the capital. The City has its own historic delights such as the Tower of London and St Paul’s Cathedral. The Tower of London was built during the 11th century by William the Conqueror. It was the Royal Residence until the 17th century. The Tower f London has 19 towers. There you can see the famous Crown Jewels in the Jewel House. St Paul’s Cathedral, the greatest Church of England, was built in the 17th century by Sir Christopher Wren. There are a lot of memorials in the cathedral including those to Wellington and Admiral Nelson.
The Houses of Parliament and the famous Big Ben are on the north bank of the Thames. The bell was installed in 1859 and the clock is the largest in Britain. The bell weighs an unbelievable 14 tons. The name ‘Big Ben’ refers to the bell, and not to the clock itself.
Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s official residence, is situated in Westminster. It was built in 1703 by Duke of Buckingham. Victoria was the first queen to live there. The Royal Standard if flying above the palace; this means that the queen is in residence. Every morning charging of the guard ceremony takes place.
The place of pilgrimage in the West End is Trafalgar Square. It was named so in memory of Admiral Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar in 1805. There are usually a lot of visitors walking about the square and looking at Nelson’s column and fountains.
But London is not a historical theme park. It is lively and exciting metropolis which is well-known for its popular culture, music, clubs, street fashion, and visual arts.