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50 reasons London's the planet's greatest city

50 Reasons London's The Planet's Greatest City

(CNN) —

50 Reasons London's The Planet's Greatest City

With apologies to Elvis Presley, 14 million London fans can’t be wrong. of which’s how many out of towners hit the British capital during the first nine months of 2016.

50 Reasons London's The Planet's Greatest City

London is usually a global leader in banking along with financial services, so the city of 8.7 million residents attracts a steady stream of business travelers. With 43 universities — the highest concentration of higher education in Europe — the idea’s common with international students along with scholars.

50 Reasons London's The Planet's Greatest City

More than half of the live births (58%) from the city in 2016 were to mothers born overseas. According to some dedicated foodies, London has the best Indian food from the planet outside of Birmingham. yet for all of which is usually changing, London has retained the classic elements of which set the idea apart by every additional city from the planet.

50 Reasons London's The Planet's Greatest City

by ancient icons like the Tower of London to more recent phenomena such as Adele, This particular sprawling wonder of humanity includes a near endless string of attractions.

50 Reasons London's The Planet's Greatest City

50 Reasons London's The Planet's Greatest City

50. the idea’s a living, breathing songbook

To cross Waterloo Bridge is usually to almost guarantee the Kinks in your head blasting “Waterloo Sunset.” Or walk up Primrose Hill along with the Beatles’ “The Fool on the Hill” will run through your mind.

Wandering the city at random, your inner soundtrack might include “Streets of London” (Ralph McTell), “West End Girls” (Pet Shop Boys), “Home Town Glory” (Adele) along with most anthemic of all, “London Calling” (don’t you dare ask who did the idea).

the idea’s a soundscape city filled with record shops along with music venues in which you can live/relive the music the idea’s inspired down the years.

49. Heart attack-food not necessarily frowned upon

the idea’s comforting to know of which there will always be at least one corner of the planet where “heart-healthy omelets” along with Mongolian wheatgrass shakes are rightly considered culinary atrocities. Inside London’s greasy spoon cafes, you can ask for calories having a side of saturated fat along with hold the guilt, please.

48. Sixth-largest French city from the planet

More French people live in London than in Bordeaux, Nantes or Strasbourg. of which’s approximately 400,000 “frogs,” as the Brits churlishly call their cross-channel neighbors. Save yourself the Eurostar fare along with allez vous to Le Relais de Venise l’Entrecote for the best steak frites outside of Paris — 0 Marylebone Lane, W1; +44 (0)20 7486 0878.

47. There’s still a lot of edgy fashion

Just don’t expect the idea in Carnaby Street or on the Kings Road. These days you have to go east, young person.

One of the best places to browse for street style or see the idea drifting by on the “yoot” is usually at Sunday (Up)Market from the old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. the idea’s packed with stalls toting fashion by hot young designers, vintage gear along with costume jewelry.

91 Brick Lane, E1; Sundays only.

46. Sweeney Todd shaved here

Established in 1875, Geo. F. Trumper (just “Trumpers” will do) has been shaving the British elite ever since, along with, although the idea is usually today a globally recognized brand for the wet-shave enthusiast, the experience is usually pretty much unchanged.

The smell of eau de cologne along with bay rum hang from the air. the idea is usually allegedly here of which Johnny Depp came to study shaving technique for his role in “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

9 Curzon St., W1; +44 (0)20 7499 1850

45. Best tourist cliche on earth

No matter how many millions of fawning bloggers “discover” them, no matter how many adoring travel articles they’re the subject of, no city’s cabbies (or cabs for of which matter) are as classy as London’s. You almost feel privileged shelling out about $19 (£15) for a lift down the street.

44. World’s greatest headline writers

You don’t have to buy one of the city’s muckraking tabloids to be entertained by sidewalk screamer headlines like, “How do you solve a problem like Korea?” (about North Korean nuke testing) along with the Scottish Sun’s immortal, “Super Caley Go Ballistic Celtic Are Atrocious,” which appeared above a report on an Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3-0 victory over Celtic in 2000.

43. The coffee has come a long, long, long way

from the bad old days, a London cup of joe was a nasty mug in which clumps of powder still floated. yet there’s been a flavor explosion along with coffee in London can today be Italian, French, Portuguese, Scandinavian, American or Antipodean in its orientation. One of the best in town is usually at The Espresso Room, where cups are prepared with lifesaving precision.

31-35 Great Ormond St., WC1; +44 07478 733 723

42. The pub is usually dead; long live the pub!

Like the bistros of Paris, the pubs of London are having a hard time of the idea. Their role as the working classes’ living room can no longer compete with cable TV along with cheap beer by the supermarket.

yet there are still plenty of beautiful old boozers. They’re best when stumbled upon, yet these will get you started off: The Mayflower (Rotherhithe St., SE1) on the river from the East End is usually older than the ship of the same name, which set off by here.
The Windsor Castle in Kensington includes a charming garden if the weather’s behaving. along with The Only Running Footman (5 Charles St., W1) looks like the idea should be in an English country village green rather than from the middle of a city.

41. Sweet relief by blowtorch curries

There’s a certain machismo attached to vindaloo, the hottest curry on offer, yet well-spiced doesn’t have to mean pulse-quickening, sweat-pouring heat.

Nowhere is usually of which clearer than at Veeraswarmy, where the exquisitely prepared Lucknowi dishes might give you a chili kick, yet the rice laced with lemon restores calm in short order.

40. Comically inept government logic

London has to be only place where the idea can rain all summer, yet local government still enforces a hosepipe ban, leaving those beautiful chamomile lawns to wither come the crispy dryness of fall. No one likes government officialdom, yet at least here you can laugh at the idea.

39. You can see dead people

Somebody with nothing better to do worked out of which for every soul living in London today, there are 15 ghosts.

In most cities you don’t notice them, yet in London you do. The dead along with the fictional ghosts of Shakespeare, Falstaff, Sherlock Holmes, Dickens, Oliver Twist, Dr. Johnson along with Samuel Pepys are all around.

To get close, try Poets’ Corner at Westminster Abbey (where the tombstones read like a Who’s Who of deceased Brit lit) or at the beautiful, Gothic Highgate Cemetery, wherein lie Karl Marx along with George Eliot.

38. You’re never more than 3 paces by a sausage

Londoners love a meaty banger. They have them sandwiched for breakfast, with mash for lunch along with all the trimmings for dinner.

The Wolseley (0 Piccadilly, W1), which bills itself, not dishonestly, “as a cafe restaurant from the grand European tradition” attracts celebrities along with includes a Cumberland (lightly spiced) sandwich.
For more down-home cockney-style sausages there’s the Rivington (28-30 Rivington St., EC2), where they come with mash along with the most flavorsome onion gravy imaginable. For an American contribution, superstar chef Daniel Boulud offers a “boudin blanc” along with mashed potato at his Bar Boulud (Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge, SW1).

37. Magical parks, magical thinking

All human life walks within London parks waiting to be spotted. If you can only do one go to Hyde Park. the idea has something for everyone — including the Diana Memorial Fountain, Serpentine Gallery, a funfair in winter along having a statue to Peter Pan near the Serpentine, which was paid for by J. M. Barrie who insisted the idea be erected in secret overnight to ensure of which the next day children would likely think the idea, like Tinkerbell, had arrived by magic.

36. Hilarious immature food photo op of which never gets old

Spotted dick.

35. Hangover remedies mere steps away

Eggs on toast, bacon roll or the full English — egg, bacon, sausage, tomatoes, chips, toast — taken with strong tea along with the planet becomes a kinder, gentler place.

One of the best caffs with This particular fare is usually The Regency. For 55 years, the idea’s has been dishing up fried comfort food along with putting the planet to rights.

The Regency, 17-19 Regency St., SW1; +44 (0)20 7821 6596

34. Unexpected Jimi/Will sightings

Blue plaques on houses commemorate the famous people who once lived within. You won’t have heard of most of them, yet the idea gives you a reason to look up on a gray day.

There are some amusing juxtapositions, such as the house on Brook Street of which accommodated Jimi Hendrix along with Handel. Not at the same time, yet still …

33. Hot chip brilliance

No, not the London band (though big love to them as well). We’re talking about the overlooked half of of which dynamic duo known as fish along with chips.

Done to British tastes, the chip is usually square cut along with plump, along with double fried in beef fat. One of the best versions is usually at The Golden Hind, where the chips are the thickest, the brownest, the bestest. You might quibble with the grammar, yet not the sentiment behind the idea.

32. Meat is usually not always murder

Bold British cooking continues to flourish along with in This particular world, meat is usually king. When only something big along with bloody will do, you’re spoiled for choice. The steak at Hawksmoor Seven Dials is usually top contender on days like of which: quality meat, well cooked along with simply presented. Not cheap, yet not too expensive either, just plain not bad.

11 Langley St., WC2H 9JJ; +44 (0)20 7420 9390

31. Vegetarians don’t starve either

London has fantastic vegetarian restaurants of every sort. Chutneys (124 Drummond St., NW1) is usually one of the best South Indian restaurants from the city along with just happens to be veg only.
Mildreds (45 Lexington St., W1) is usually London’s coolest vegetarian restaurant. Getting a peak-time table requires major skills or luck, yet we defy your tastes buds not to liven up to the quinoa, pea along with leek burger; the basil mayonnaise takes you along with the idea to a higher level.

30. A skyscraper of which invites sarcasm

The Shard: everyone hates the idea, of which big pointy monstrosity slicing up the skyline, yet finally we can stop banging on about Westminster Palace along with St. Paul’s for our architectural kicks.

If you fancy seeing what all the fuss is usually about, you can admire The View by the Shard for around $28.50 (£25.95) for advance tickets along with $34 (£30.95) on the day.

29. Tickets to ride can be cheap(ish)

If you’re in town more than all 5 days the idea’s worth buying an Oyster card so you can tap in (literally) to the cheapest way of getting around on the tube, bus or overland trains.

If you’re flying in with EasyJet you can even get one inflight before touchdown.

28. the idea’s the tower of friendly Babel

Within the boundaries of the capital, 300 different languages are regularly spoken.

See films in French at l’Institut Francais, share “ciao bellas” over coffee at Bar Italia in Soho, shout “Goooooo-ol” at Real Madrid in a pub in Notting Hill or tango with an Argentinian in Regents Park on a Sunday afternoon.

27. Then there’s the Queen’s English

Want to go to India? Head to Brick Lane. Fancy a trip to Jamaica? Brixton is usually your best bet.

yet for a truly foreign experience there’s no better place than Fulham. English they may be, yet if you can make out what Tarquin is usually communicating to Ralph (pronounced “Rafe”) when he says, “Yah, I don’t know what her chap is usually yet she’s not getting any of mine! Snort,” you’re doing better than us.

26. You can ‘borrow’ a bike by the mayor

The Santander Cycles are also known as “Boris bikes,” after Boris Johnson, the mayor-turned-foreign-secretrary who launched the scheme. They cost only a few quid along with London is usually a surprisingly not bad biking city.

25. Banh mi of which’s better in London than in Vietnam

Apparently the debate comes down to the bread, which is usually less roof-of-mouth scrapingly crisp from the London type.

One of the best examples of This particular genius Franco-Vietnamese combination of roast pork, paté, pickles along with chili comes by Caphe House (114 Bermondsey St., SE1), where the pho is usually pretty exceptional, too.

Although when talking Vietnamese in London the idea’s hard to ignore the Viet hotspot of Kingsland Road, where restaurant after restaurant offers steaming bowls of deliciousness for a few quid.

One of the best bowlfuls in all London is usually the beef pho at Song Que. (134 Kingsland Road, E2)

24. ‘along with chips’ isn’t the only way to have fish

Fish pie is usually a luxury on British shores along with one of the best can be found at Wright Brothers Soho Oyster House. They pair salmon along with smoked haddock in a light sauce with just the right amount of creamy mash along having a crispy topping.

13 Kingly St., W1; +44 (0)20 7324 7731

23. Another brick from the wall … in a not bad way

Yes, there’s often a wait for everything by tables at restaurants to public services. yet, unlike 0% of the rest of the planet, at least the locals know how to form orderly queues without cutting in front or milling about in ill-defined packs like wild dogs circling a kill.

An easy way to get Londoners to lose their biscuits is usually to stand to the left of an escalator, go to the front of a queue or try to get on a packed tube before everyone’s gotten off. Cue the aggressive tutting.

22. Views come with thrills

Back in 2012 London hosted the Olympics. Four years later, newspapers-worth of opinions have been written about the Games’ epic cultural legacy.

One aspect of This particular legacy is usually ArcelorMittal Orbit, the planet’s longest tunnel slide. Adrenaline-junkies can enjoy whizzing through the loops along with curves for roughly $19 (£15.00).

21. Eton Mess — the sweet kind

the idea’s also a delicious dessert. In British politics men of which attended the elite Eton public school are caricatured as blustering red-faced bullies along with buffoons.

The current coalition government has many old Etonians in its number. yet the words Eton Mess were coined long before This particular political era along with describe a melange of meringue, strawberries along with cream first made along with sold from the Eton tuck shop.

National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2; +44 (0)20 7747 5942

20. Drinks means drinks

If someone suggests going for a drink after work, they mean drink along with nothing else. Booze will be bought in quantity along with at no time will the issue of dinner raise its ugly head.

To avoid a woozy stagger home via a frightening fast food outlet, the sensible socialite takes dietary precautions.

the idea is usually acceptable to order pre-packaged bar snacks such as crisps (potato chips) or peanuts to soak up some of the alcohol. In some bars you may see something called “pork scratchings” for sale. These are not for you.

19. Anyone can become a local in two seconds

The secret to blending in with locals lies solely from the use of one word — “innit” — a colloquial abbreviation of “isn’t the idea?”

Confusingly, although “innit” implies a query, This particular uniquely London method of punctuating sentences is usually purely rhetorical. Thus, “time for drink, innit?” is usually wrong, yet “I’ve had four pints along with no dinner, innit” is usually grammatically perfect.

18. The Thames along with the times

Almost a millennia after London was founded, the Thames is usually still the soul of the city. You can have a beer on its banks, walk its length or stand on a bridge along with stare into its murky depths, feeling all the layers of history by the Romans to Ricky Gervais.

You can even see the mudlarks of Dickens’ day at work at low tide, only today they use metal detectors rather than rakes along with hands.

17. Cockle warmers

One of the best along with longest established speakeasies is usually brand new York import Milk along with Honey.

yet for the truly Anglicized secret boozer, go to the Worship Street Whistling Shop which, with its “cockle warmers” (whiskey cocktails) harks back to UK Victorian dram shops, rather than U.S. prohibition days.

63 Worship St., EC2; +44 (0)20 7247 0015

16. Royal servitude

A shop having a big crest outside, also known as a royal warrant, means of which the establishment has supplied goods for at least all 5 years to HM The Queen.

15. Even crowded moments can be intensely private

Despite massive crowds along with dense population, the idea’s easy to find privacy. The sardine-tin peak-hour tube ride is usually the best place for some personal time.

Despite a briefcase, knee, elbow or arse pressing into you, no Londoner will dare bother or even look at you, allowing you to focus on the morning’s paper (conveniently left on the train by a previous passenger) without distraction.

14. The best Sunday meal anywhere

Thinking of eating Sunday lunchtime in a place overlooking the river or bordering a park? This particular month? not bad luck, mate!

Sunday lunch is usually a main event, along with also something very specific — roast meat, roast potatoes along having a green all drowned in gravy along with followed by a sturdy pudding.

The best can be found at the The Bull along with Last (168 Highgate Road, NW5) along with The Albion (10 Thornhill Road, Islington, N1), which serves a mighty rib of Longhorn beef For two main.

13. Valuable concrete walls

Street art has turned the entire city into an exhibition space.

Best places to spot a Banksy, El Chivo or a Robbo, which taken indoors along with hung on a wall would likely sell for thousands, are along the banks of the Regents canal, around Old Street or from the Waterloo arches, which hosts the annual “war of the cans.”

12. Tapas are part of the tapestry

Spanish restaurateurs have taken over London in a way of which makes the conquistadores look like folk dancers.

by the most traditional at Tendido Cero (174 Old Brompton Road) to the most imaginative at Salt Yard (54 Goodge St.), the tapas trend has infiltrated every barrio. Hottest right today is usually the no-frills José (104 Bermondsey St., SE1), which has crazy-not bad croquetas.

11. Actually, ceviche is usually the brand new tapas

Peruvian restaurants are springing up over the West End, yet the eponymous one of which started off the trend for ceviche along with sours still rules.

Ceviche’s tiger milk (the chili-laced lime marinade in which the fish “cooks”) is usually not bad enough to drink, the fish is usually fresh along with firm, along with the red onion gives a slight crunch.

Ceviche, 17 Frith St., W1; +44 (0)20 7292 2040

10. The men are very well turned out

Savile Row is usually where the suit was invented. along with its tailors still make them better than anywhere else.

A bespoke suit requires four to six fittings, takes all 5 months to complete along with prices start by roughly $4,400 (£3,500) for a two-piece.

Shocking sticker, yet they do last forever along with you do look the dog’s bollocks (local vernacular for very not bad, sir).

9. The women will not be outdone

A few blocks by Savile Row is usually the chicest little clutch of shops where the best of British couture is usually closeted.

The brand new Brit Louboutin, Nicholas Kirkwood (5 Mount St.), is usually still a relatively unknown shoemaker who fashion insiders agree is usually going to be huge very soon.

8. Chocolate for grownups

Locals are still bemoaning the sale of their beloved Cadburys to nasty American Kraft, who is usually supposed to desecrate childhood dreams any moment. yet the real stuff is usually still around. Try an Orange along with Geranium or Christmas Pudding chocolate bar at Rococo along with you’ll get a deeper understanding of the deep British affection for “sweeties.”

321 Kings Road, SW3 +44 (0)20 7352 5857

7. You don’t have to starve for art

The cafes in London’s museums have some of the best food going along with some of the best views. The crispy fillet of mackerel or generous pork chop at Level 6 at The Tate Modern facing out over the river has to be one of the planet’s best flavor/visual combinations.

Sumner St., SE1; +44 (0)20 7887 8888

6. The national beverage

Tea isn’t just a drink, the idea’s an occasion: dainty sandwiches, crumbly scones with cream along with jam, delightful cakes. Historic hotel Brown’s (Albemarle Street W1) includes a grand Downton-style tea.

To see what happens when “tea” meets cutting edge molecular cuisine, there’s the spectacular Sketch (9 Conduit St, W1).

5. Daft photos of coppers

Europe’s largest annual street party, Notting Hill carnival carries on for three days of the August bank holiday in a riot of noise, shade along with 24-hour dub reggae.

Also, sometimes, actual riot.

This particular means heavy police presence, leading to inevitable front-page pictures of straight-laced London bobbies with Caribbean beauties — one spangle along with two feathers between them — booty rubbing against the crisp uniforms of London’s finest.

4. They named a gin after the idea

Many a blood feud has been sparked by disagreement about which gin goes best with which tonic — Hendricks along with Fevertree anyone?

The most classic G&T in town is usually at 69 Colebrooke Row, a little yet perfectly brilliant bar. Their G&T is usually made with Beefeater London Dry along with Schweppes tonic water, along with served with ice along having a slice.

69 Colebrooke Row, N1; +44 07540 528593

3. Built-in staycation excuses

Attempting to reunite with family or friends who live across town requires an advanced degree in public transport along with calendar planning. Sorting out a multileg, around-the-world holiday is usually simpler than working out when along with how to meet up with friends in Islington if you happen to live in, say, East Putney.

All This particular makes London the perfect staycation. Why spend all of which time along with bother going to France when you could use the idea instead to go to Cockfosters?

2. Chefs go whole hog

Nose-to-tail dining is usually having a moment in London’s eateries. Fergus Henderson started off the idea with his highly lauded restaurant, St. John.

Many imitators have launched — most are excellent destinations for ox heart, tripe or lark’s tongue — yet the roasted bone marrow on toast at St. John remains one of the city’s knockout dishes.

26 St. John St., EC1

1. the planet’s most seductive cocktail since the martini

The Zetter Hotel & Townhouse is usually frequently ranked as a top London cocktail bar in international competitions. Barman Tony Conigliaro must have had to build a brand new cabinet for his awards.

His flashiest creation, The Flintlock, which contains gin along with gunpowder tea tincture along with is usually presented in a bright flash of light, is usually setting the planet ablaze.

What better way to light up the planet’s greatest city?

St. John’s Square 86-88, Clerkenwell Road, EC1M; +44 (0)20 7324 4455

Editor’s note: This particular article was previously published in 2012. the idea was reformatted, updated along with republished in 2017.

50 reasons London's the planet's greatest city