I'm a postgraduate Media and Communications student at City University London from the United States. Check out my blog at: www.gerimasteringlondon.blogspot.com
Published November 19th 2012
The challenge is picking just five
In case you haven't realized it yet, London is awesome. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Public Transportation
Whether you ask a tourist or a lifelong Londoner, everyone loves the tube. It's clean, colorful, and incredibly easy to navigate. Trains come so regularly that a five minute wait is considered unusually inconvenient. Tube stations are around every corner of Central London, and who doesn't appreciate the polite "Please Mind the Gap" announcements? Buses, although slightly less simple than the tube, are a great way to see your surroundings as you get from place to place and are also reliable and clean. Even during rush hour, standing wedged in the midst of a diverse mob of tourists, commuters, students, and locals, every intake of body-odorous breath can be released with a sigh of relief that you are travelling in one of the world's best transportation systems.
Going anywhere in the world after a visit to London is both shocking and horrifying when you receive the grim reminder that people pay to go to museums. In London, almost all of the major museums and galleries are free, which opens up a vast array of possibilities if you want to experience some culture on the weekends. The gigantic Victoria & Albert Museum, the gorgeous Natural History Museum, and the often interactive Science Museum are not only free to explore, but are also all conveniently located close together by the South Kensington tube station. Whether you're looking for something educational or entertaining, modern or traditional, expansive or quaint... there is a place to go. For free.
London's theatre scene is one of the best, if not the very best, in the world. From big-budget, glitzy, star-studded West End musicals, to unique classical performances in Shakespeare's Globe, to creative and original fringe theatre, London is filled with brilliant opportunities to experience live theatre. There are tons of ways to see theatre for cheap, including day seats and frequent offers for students and young people, jobseekers, senior citizens, groups, and TKTS booth sales. It is hard to find anywhere else in the world with such a lively and eclectic theatre scene.
Sometimes you need a break from the hustle and bustle of being in one of the world's busiest and most heavily populated cities. But spend one afternoon picnicking in Hyde Park, going for a boat ride in Regent's Park, or even visiting a lesser known park in any local area and you'll forget the craziness that exists only steps away. There are parks all over the city that emphasize London's natural beauty and make for a great afternoon of rejuvenating peace and quiet.
London's extremely diverse population and culture makes it one of the most multicultural cities you could find. Spend one day in London and you are guaranteed to hear dozens of different accents and languages, and see people of all different ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds. London's multiculturalism is reflected all over the city, from huge cultural celebrations like the Chinese New Year events in Chinatown to the authentic restaurants celebrating any worldly cuisine imaginable. Visiting or living in London is not just getting a taste of being British-- it's a taste of the whole world.
The free museums are pretty much amazing, you're right. The tube is also wonderful, and so easy to navigate as a tourist. Mind the Gap is cute, but a malfunctioning lift that keeps saying next lift, next lift, next lift makes the probably no more than 30 seconds you spend inside seem an eternity lol