London, the capital of the UK and England, is the world’s ninth-largest city. Enjoy some of the world’s finest museums, galleries, parks, concerts, theatres and restaurants all set within the rich historical setting that is London.
With a population of just under eight million, London is Europe’s largest city, spreading across an area of more than 620 square miles from its core on the River Thames.
Ethnically it’s also Europe’s most diverse metropolis: around two hundred languages are spoken within its confines, and more than thirty percent of the population is made up of first, second- and third-generation immigrants. Despite Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish devolution, London still dominates the national horizon, too.
This is where the country’s news and money are made; it’s where the central government resides and, as far as its inhabitants are concerned, provincial life begins beyond the circuit of the city’s orbital motorway. Londoners’ sense of superiority causes enormous resentment in the regions, yet it’s undeniable that the capital has a unique aura of excitement and success – in most walks of British life, if you want to get on you’ve got to do it in London.
For the visitor, too, London is a thrilling place – and since the beginning of the new millennium, the city has also been overtaken by an exceptionally buoyant mood. Thanks to the lottery and millennium-oriented funding frenzy of the last few years, virtually every one of London’s world-class museums, galleries and institutions has been reinvented, from the Royal Opera House to the British Museum.
With the completion of the Tate Modern and the London Eye, the city can now boast the world’s largest modern art gallery and Ferris wheel; there’s also a new tube extension and the first new bridge to cross the Thames for over a hundred years. And after sixteen years of being the only major city in the world not to have its own governing body, London finally have its own elected mayor and assembly.
London’s history spans nearly 2,000 years, beginning with the arrival of the Romans soon after their invasion of Britain in AD43. It made up of two ancient cities which are now joined together, known as the Greater London: The City of London, known as “the City” which is the business and financial heart of the UK and it was the original settlement of ancient Londinium and the City of Westminster.
The City of Westminster, where Parliament and most of the government offices are located as well as the Buckingham Palace, Whitehall, the Royal Courts of Justice, the official London residence of the Queen and the Royal family are located too. The City of Westminster is a borough of London that forms part of Inner London.