‘…when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.’ Samuel Johnson
Something for Everyone
London is the best city in the world because it has something for everyone—man, woman, child, as well as all ethnicities, orientations, and tastes. As a world city it stands out from the rest because of its cultural diversity. It has maintained centre stage of the cultural crossroads for two thousand years.
Most world cities have an incredible energy, and some impress more than others in one or two areas, and yet, no other world city is capable of matching London on all levels.
Strength and Development
London is a city that has been tested many times and has become stronger each time: the sackings from Boudicca, Saxons, and Danes, the black death in mid-14th century, the great plague in the middle of the 1600s, the great fire of London in 1666, and the Blitz of WWII. The Great Smog of 1952 descended when pollution levels became unsustainable and was the grand-daddy of the ‘pea souper’ fogs London had become known for. And yet for all these attacks and blights the city has returned again and again, better each time like a phoenix out of ashes to remain the most incredible city in the world.
What is a Londoner?
London is home to a different breed of Briton—it has always been a melting pot of expats from every nation in the world. The original Londoners were Britons (Celts), but through the ages the ‘new’ people included Romans, Danes, Saxons, Normans, Jews, then from the Tudor period onwards an even greater variety of immigrants began arriving from all over Europe and the world. Americans proudly announce that their country is a melting pot, but London pre-dates the United States as a melting pot by several centuries.
Today the expat communities still thrive and most ethnicities catered for. As of 2008, 40% of London’s total population was from an ethnic minority group and there are more than 300 languages spoken in London.
A Climate that Encourages the Best of Everything
While the people make the city, the climate and the architecture make the people. London has a temperate climate, rarely very hot, rarely very cold, enough rain to keep the plants fresh and green, enough sun to enjoy beautiful days throughout the year. The people therefore are temperate as well–stylish and successful, unassuming and yet confident. Creativity flourishes—the East End has the largest concentration of artists anywhere in Europe, and world-wide fashion trends often begin on London’s streets. West End theatre, world-class ballet and opera and all the major movie premiers are found in London. Some of the very best educational institutions in the world can be found here, including University College London, Imperial College London and the London School of Economics.
Many museums and galleries in London are of international importance. The Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum, the British Library, the National Gallery, the Tate Britain and the Tate Modern to name the giants.
Once a city with a terrible reputation for it’s food, London now has over 34 Michelin starred restaurants, and offers fantastic restaurants from many ethnicities.
The shopping is varied and plentiful—vast department stores, delightful boutiques, traditional suppliers of all things British, and flagships of many famous brands and labels. Beyond the shops are the famous London markets all across the metropolis, held both weekly and seasonally.
London has thirteen League football clubs and four rugby union teams. One of London’s best-known annual sports competitions is the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. Other well-known sporting events include the London Marathon, and the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race.
If you like celebrity, London is overrun with them, including the most famous celebrity of all, the Queen of England and her family. The Royal Family are one of the biggest tourist attractions in Britain and with their main residences in or near London the city has responsibility to maintain fabulous architecture and parks in order to remain at the standard expected of this royalty. The parks and gardens of London have such horticultural importance to civic planning that people have come from all over the world for many years to study their design.
An Important Role in World History
The history of London has had an influence on the rest of the world for many centuries, making London’s history one of the most important of the world cities to study. London also contains four world heritage sites—sites deemed by the world heritage centre to be of importance to the world. These include the Tower of London, Greenwich, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew (the most impressive botanic gardens anywhere in the world), and the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey and St Margaret’s Church.
London has such diverse architecture that no one single style defines the city—a concept reflected in its people. Notable buildings include everything from the Victorian Natural History Museum to the more recent Swiss Re building. There are plans for even more impressive buildings such as the 72-story Shard of Glass that will be one of the tallest buildings in Europe.
Transport in London is outstanding. The tube, the 24-hour busses and of course the reliable London black cabs are all exceptional. Cycling is becoming more popular each year, thanks to the support of a forward thinking mayor. Getting to London or visiting other cities from London as a base is easy with four international airports and two Eurostar terminals.
And lastly, but quite importantly, there are many jobs to be had in London. If you’re clean and presentable, you speak English, you have good people skills so you can work with customers and with your team (teamwork an important thing in Britain), you are happy to start lower on the ladder and work your way up and you are happy to commute in order to broaden your opportunities, then you’ll get a job.
No other city in the world can match the facts that make London the best world city.