Greater London: Even Greater Than its Name Suggests
Greater London is an expansive region that comprises 33 districts in total; the City of London and 32 London Boroughs. Now while the city centre of London – with its endless amount of attractions, restaurants, bars and shops – is the main draw for many travellers, this doesn’t mean that other far reaching areas should be disregarded. In fact, with numerous popular boroughs such as Hackney and Haringey, and major venues like Twickenham Stadium and Wembley Stadium, there’s plenty to see and do beyond the city centre!
Central London Highlights
With an exciting mix of culture, tradition and the contemporary, central London is an exciting hub that is overflowing with attractions and things to do. In Westminster, there are world-famous landmarks such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, while you can also explore the iconic and visually stunning Houses of Parliament. Head west and, as you pass tasty dining options, trendy bars and tempting shops, you will reach Hyde Park. Offering tranquillity from the unrelenting pace of the city centre, this famed park is the ideal place to unwind with a refreshing drink and ice cream. Take a quick ride on the London Underground and visit Soho, an eccentric place where you can enjoy a West End show and some of the best boutique stores in the capital. London is also a treasure trove for museums, with the British Museum, National Gallery and Victoria & Albert Museum being standouts in that regard. Whatever your tastes or requirements when travelling, London city centre will undoubtedly contain what you need!
Exploring the Boroughs
Now while central London and the bordering boroughs contain most of the capital’s major attractions, discovering the further afield areas of Greater London is certainly recommended. Positioned to the north of the centre is the elegant and historic Islington, popular for its dining and shopping options. Another highly regarded borough is Camden. Along with the southern end forming part of London’s centre, Camden is well-known for its markets, live music and international cuisine. Thanks to boasting attractions in the form of the National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory and O2 Arena, Greenwich – situated on the Thames’ south bank – is also a famed area of Greater London. For another example, Hackney is a diverse district that features an abundance of bars, restaurants and transport links – something that makes it a favourite with locals and travellers alike. Also note; hotels are naturally more expensive when it comes to the city centre, so staying in a suitable borough in Greater London will help keep hotel costs down!
Venues & Events
As you would probably expect, Greater London is home to an envious amount of venues where you can watch a live show. Numerous major football stadiums populate the region, where you can watch world-renowned teams such as Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and even the national team play at their respective home grounds. Other sports are also well represented in London. Wimbledon, the most prestigious tournament in tennis, takes place annually at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, while Ascot Racecourse is one of the biggest venues for horseracing in the country. With the O2 Arena and Wembley Arena, the region also provides two of the biggest indoor arenas in the UK – which helps attract the biggest acts from around the world. For a more intimate setting, the legendary Royal Albert Hall also hosts a plethora of events throughout the year. And of course, no break in London is complete without enjoying a West End show! Here, you’ll find approximately 40 theatres that showcase the best in musicals, comedies and classic plays.
Quirky Things to Do
It’s no secret that Greater London is a hotbed when it comes to shopping, dining, drinking and revered attractions. Yet there are plenty of hidden secrets in the region that you might not know about. For example, you may recognise the ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture in the Olympic Park, but did you know you can slide down the 178-metre monument in just 40 seconds!? At the Camden markets, you can sample some scientifically inventive ice cream from Chin Chin Labs. Oh, and a Gothic revival style establishment that is both a working church and live entertainment venue? Yes, London even has that in the form of Islington’s Union Chapel! Other quirky activities to seriously consider in Greater London include staying overnight at London Zoo, visiting the eccentrically fascinating Novelty Automation museum in Holborn, and be brave as you traverse Tower Bridge’s glass floor overlooking the road and river below.