Sunday, 27 October 2013

Where the old meets the new in London

London is easily one of the most alluring and enchanting places to visit in all of Britain. We have very few cities that carry that sense of metropolitan hustle and modern splendour. But it’s also a city with great history, history that can often go overlooked in exchange for the new attractions. Here, we’re going to look at a side of London that doesn’t get seen enough and how to best enjoy it.

Climb the Tower

The Tower of London isn’t one of the lesser-known landmarks of the city, but it does offer a lot more than many might expect. Beyond getting an up-close view of the Tower itself, it offers all kinds of attractions, exhibitions, and tours. In particular, it’s well worth seeing the historical re-enactments and dramatics often on offer, such as medieval fairs complete with traditional music, Middle Ages fashion, and even the opportunity to try your aim with a real working crossbow. Thankfully, a trip to the dungeons is much less likely to end with you being kept there for good, too.

Storytelling is key to the city’s history

There are a lot of different traditions and landmarks well associated with the city, but art-lovers will know that there are few places where the theatre has been quite so important. The Globe is still run much as it was back in the day with Shakespeare and will always have one of his plays on offer. If you prefer something a little more modern, you can just as easily enjoy the tradition of theatre with shows like Wicked, the musical, at the world-famous West End. A trip to London simply isn’t complete without a good story.

Walk the streets of Dickens

When thinking of storytellers, how many of them were truly as great as Charles Dickens? Few people caught the spirit of London, the trials of the downtrodden, and the triumphal nature of the human spirit better. Which is why the Dickens tours can honestly be an emotional experience. You can see the very same streets that he walked, some of them well-maintained and some of them long changed and learn how the environment shaped one of the nation’s best-loved writers.

Back to the beginning

London truly began with the Romans, which is a fact that a surprising amount of people don’t know. Yet, it’s ever there, sometimes under the surface. Seeing Roman London can be hard, as it’s mostly a few pockets of old architecture spread out rather widely over a clustered town center. However, the Square Mile still contains great chunks of the old Roman wall and there is even a still relatively complete Temple of Mithras that has been moved from its original spot but still kept in good condition. There’s even a whole town of underground Roman buildings within the Mile that you might be able to access by getting the right permissions.

If you want to truly enjoy the city, it’s worth scratching just a little bit beneath the surface to see the rich tapestry of stories that many ignore. It’s a fascinating history and one that keeps you enthralled, visit after visit.

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