Introducing Central London
To comprehend the scope of London, a good place to start is at the city’s navel, anchoring it to its place in history and geography – the middle of Waterloo Bridge. Here, the full meaning of what makes this city so special spreads along the vista, outlining the two power bases; the financial City in the east, and the secular and religious might of Westminster in the west.
The City is and always was the financial heart of London, though it’s a strange paradox that the ancient birthplace of the capital lies deserted after 8pm on Fridays, with a few stalwart inhabitants keeping certain pubs and restaurants alive. Wandering around the quiet alleys and back passages on a weekend can be a magical experience, as layers of history are stripped back and wisps of bygone eras waft by.
What many visitors mean when they say they are going to London is the West End. From the neon lights in Soho, to the extravagant gentlemen’s clubs in Mayfair, this is the megapolis that has something for everyone – afternoon tea is taken at its place of inception, The Langham, illicit cocktails are sampled at the ECC in Chinatown and post-dancing espressos knocked back at the 24/7 Bar Italia on Frith Street.
Shopping reaches retail nirvana on Sloane Street, New Bond Street and the King’s Road, while intrepid swimmers head for the Serpentine and spoilt-for-choice art lovers dip in and out of the National Gallery and Royal Academy.
As to old Sam Johnson’s statement that being tired of London means you’re tired of life? The thought had never even occurred to us.