Changing London

London is one of the great tourist cities of the world, a thriving multicultural city with a storied history stretching back centuries. This city truly has it all, whether you want to see Buckingham Palace or street art South of the river, musicals in the West end or electronic music in East London.

As you set foot in the British capital, you’ll be greeted by all the iconic sights from Routemaster buses to Tower Bridge.

The City of London is the heart of the action, where the financial district is located, a hub of new building and skyscrapers – you can see the imposing height of The Shard, London’s newest and most spectacular skyscraper, looming in the other side of the river Thames, from here. Here you’ll also find The Barbican, which is Europe’s largest arts centre, with an unrivalled programme of visual art, film, music and performance all happening under one roof.

Traditionally one would head West for the glittering lights and finery of the West end – however, London is a dynamic city, one that is exploding both southwards and eastwards, where you will find equally fascinating sights.

You can head South on foot to see St Paul’s Cathedral, the stunning English Baroque building which is still a working church to this day. Nearby is one of the most recent London structures, the Millenium Bridge, parallel to London Bridge, which will take you to the Southbank, dominated by the postindustrial façade of Tate Modern, now home to one of the finest collections of 20th and 21st century art in the world – look out for a Bansky on the way. Nearby is Shakespeare’s Globe, a recreation of the original theatre where many of the greatest masterpieces of the English stage were originally performed.

You’ll also find Oxo Tower here, a great collection of restaurants, bars and galleries, with original art and design for sale. Walk along the Southbank to take in iconic Thames vistas amongst the second hand bookstalls, then visit The Southbank Centre. This classic sixties Brutalist building hosts the Hayward Gallery, and you’ll also find the National Theatre and the Purcell Room for music.

Returning back to the City of London, the Barbican is just round the corner from Old Street, the main thoroughfare linking Islington to Shoreditch. Shoreditch has become one of the hippest parts of London to live, a formerly working class district that has been transformed into a riot of street art, artisan cafes and lively bars and clubs. The party continues into Hoxton – no one’s sure where one begins and one ends. To indicate how cool this area’s become, one of London; leading gallerists Victoria Miro relocated from upscale Mayfair to here – no wonder, since the East end has now become the beating creative heart of the city.

One that’s so successful that the rents have increased, and a younger generation of artists and musicians are now looking South of the river, which is going to become the next big thing, perhaps by the time you next visit London.

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