Archive for March 13th, 2018

March 13, 2018

And the English says London, I was here!

I like to bring you back to a wonderful cosmopolitan city I like. Fitting on a rainy  cloudy cool humid day in my Morbihan Breton at 10C or 50F. I have come here on business trips and one family trip that was very memorable as my American boys really like it and still do have their room decorated as London. Oh yeah, that is what I want to tell you a bit more, the city ,the metro area of London ,England, UK.

London is actually in the south east of Great Britain  (ok ok we are in smaller Britain ::) ; the city is the capital of  England and the United Kingdom  ; do I lose you ? It is the capital of the British empire and seat of the commonwealth of Nations. It was really founded about 2000 years ago by the Romans as Londinium.

Today, it is reference as Greater London one of the nine subdivision of England, and created under the authority of the Greater London Authority  and the city/town hall of London.  The whole territory is huge counting on about 1600 km2 . The Greater London is divided in two zones, the Inner London and the Outer London. However , the Greater London is not officially a city where the status is given by the British monarch. Before the creation of this region in 1965 the territory of Greater London was part of the counties of Kent, Middlesex, Surrey, Essex, and Hertfordshire.

The city of London or simply City or square mile in reference to its area is located in the center of the Greater London.  This is where the modern city was born and today it is the oldest district of the Capital city.  The city of London and the rest of the Greater London formed two regions called Lieutenancy areas).

The status of Capital of the United Kingdom was never officially given by decree or charter in writing. The current position was established by constitutional convention as the seat of British power.  The status of de facto Capital was an element of the non written constitution of the United Kingdom. The Capital was changed from Winchester to London after the Norman conquest in 1066.

Most scholars agreed that the Romans marked the center of Londinium with a stone of London that still can be seen at Cannon Street. The original and confusing (my opinion) addresses in London normally set at the Cross of Eleonor at Charing Cross near the intersection of Trafalgar Square and Whitehall  as London was initially founded on the north bank of the Thames river with only one bridge  for several centuries, this is the London Bridge, and the city was enclosed around it until the construction by the 18C of more bridges. After the battle of Hastings, Duke William the Conqueror of Normandy (France) was crowned king of England in the new abbey of Westminster on Christmas Day 1066. He built a castle for control over the city population. This castle was the Royal residence and later prison and it is today call the Tower of London.

To give an overview of the districts of London normally after the designation of parishes or city wards  are there by usage and tradition. The City of London is one of the biggest financial centers still in the world  or the Central Business District .  The city has its own governing body, frontiers, and autonomy on politics and administration. The new financial and commercial center of Docklands where Canary Wharf is located. Another business district is city of Westminster, while West End is commercial and has the biggest attractions such as Oxford Street, Leicester Square, Covent Garden, and Piccadilly Circus. West London has chic residential areas such as Notting Hill, Knighsbridge ,Kensington, and Chelsea. The other upper district is Hampstead in the borough of Camden. The areas to the east of London or the East End and the suburbs of Essex , and areas closer to the Port of London have greater new immigration areas.

Some of the things to do and they are too many to mentioned just a few on my list are the Museum of National History, British Library ,the great courtyard of the British museum and the millennium Dome  near the Thames river at Canary Wharfs, the transports hubs of Saint-Pancras and Paddington , the Monument commemorating the great fire of 1666 with a great view of the city. Marble Arch and Wellington Arch at the extremes of Park Lane; Albert memorial and Royal Albert Hall at Kensington . Nelson column at Trafalgar Square. At the West End you have the great department stores at Oxford Street, the theaters, and districts such as Soho, Covent Garden, Mayfair, Piccadilly Circus, and Leicester square. The memorable buildings such as the British Museum, Tate Gallery, Madame Tussauds, Westminster and Buckingham palaces, Imperial War Museum, Science Museum, National Gallery, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Tower of London, London Eye, and St Paul’s Cathedral. Special mention to Buckingham palace (see post) the official residence of the Queen of the UK since 1837, and counting 775 rooms, including 19 rooms of State. The palace measure about 108 meters long with 120 meters deep and 24 meters high. More on the palace here:

Oh the parks are lovely, Hyde Park, (see post) Kensington gardens James oh well so many nice ones, here is a site to tell you all about them, the Royal Parks.

Transport is very good, and even the road warrior in me did it by car once into Earl’s Court area to avoid the darn congestion charge! The metro/subway/tube is the oldest in the world done in 1863 and under today of the Greater London Authority (GLA) with 33 districts founded by 32 boroughs and the City of London.  the London inner ring road (beltway of London) with the local routes A406 and A205 (mine) and the motorways M25 getting around the city best to the city center of Inner London. The airports are many but the ones I have taken in out are Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stansted Luton.

All about transport:*

And a handy tool to trace your trip in the planner here:

Oh yes to find your way driving, this is a tool I use rather nicely, good driving skills are needed.

The addressing system in London has intricate numbers and letters meaning the two first letters are for the city, region, and letters and numbers for the residential area; it tells you the street but also on which side of the street is the building. The postal codes are divided into North, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, West, and East. Each code is added the directional symbol such as  N, NW, SE, SW, W or E , and the areas of the city center are  EC or WC. Each zone correspond to a postal code measuring  1-10 square km  depending on the density of the population ; therefore the first letter tells you where you live in London ; the city is also divided into neighborhood that are an subdivision of the city .

Other than having the cuisine of the world in the city ,and plenty of French, the real typical English dishes are the pints, oh yes the beers at the pub. Then the fish and chips, Haggis, pies, or the Sunday roast (roast beef) all very popular in London.

To help further in your planning you can’t leave home without it or rather stop by upon arrival, the London tourist office here:

Hope you have enjoy the revisit to Royal London town. Have a great week you all. Happy travels, good health to all. Cheers!!!

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