London is known for...
1. The Queen & Royal Family:
Apart from being England’s capital city and the Queen’s back garden, London is home to the world’s now favourite power couple, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Wills and Kate). Summer 2012 promises to delight royal fans as London leads UK celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and 60 years as ruling monarch from 2-5 June. Young Royal spotters may head to Boujis – a club in sloaney South Kensington for a chance to spot Harry enjoying a right royal knees up. The changing of the guards is another royal must-see but you’re unlikely to ever witness one of the Queen’s Grenadier Guards crack a smile.
2. Houses of Paliament and Bonfire Night Conspiracy:
Remember, Remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot… In 1605, a now infamous plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament was thwarted, resulting in a much celebrated UK tradition where bonfires are lit and fireworks blast into wintery skies all across the Capital. One conspirator in particular, Guy Fawkes (the original Fall Guy) took most of the rap. Despite Guy and his friend’s best efforts the Houses of Parliament still stand proud on Embankment as Britain’s steadfast political seat while Big Ben continues to chime on the quarter hour.
3. Black Cabs:
All hail the London cabbie! Those who do won’t have to travel too far before they share a story or two. With only a ‘couple of quid’ on the meter you discover two things. Firstly they are not keen to drive ‘South of the river’ and secondly that unlike cabbies in most parts of the world, the iconic "black cab" driver knows the intricacies of the city’s A to Z of streets having studied the official ‘knowledge’ for four years.
4. Cockney Culture:
Born under the sounds of the Bow bells, East Londoners may now live in one of the cooler parts of town for the chic Hackney bars and street market culture. Mile End, Stratford, Plaistow and Bethnal Green are the tube stops to find the real East end famous for gangsters, jellied eels and pearly kings and queens. Even more famous is the local dialect cockney rhyming slang: apples and pears (stairs), cup of rosy lee (tea) and whistle and flute (suit).
5. 2012 Olympics:
The capital’s all abuzz over London 2012. Backed by the likes of David Beckham, Prince William and London’s eccentric yet affable Mayor, Boris Johnson, the main focal point of the event is a new Olympic Park in the East End. The site spans 357 football pitches, has an 80,000 seat capacity and a Stadium standing 53m tall: three metres taller than Nelson’s Column. Soon, it will play host to athletes, media and spectators from around the world, all hoping their team brings home precious metal. British hopes rest with two-time Olympic Gold-winning swimmer, Rebecca Adlington and the blur that is the most successful Olympic male cyclist of all time, Sir Chris Hoy. www.london2012.com