London England City Guide, photos and information for the traveler.

London! The sheer name brings several things to mind. The Queen, palaces, WW II, Cosmopolitan culture to name a few. London can also be used as a base to travel to Europe. Currently I have just listed main sites in London and have included suggested some itenaries below. Over a period of time I want to have individual pages for all the sites.

tower of london
Above photo – Tower Bridge

The beginnings of London can be dated with some exactitude to the invasion of the Romans in 43AD. Prior to the Roman invasion there was no permanent settlement of significance on the site of London. The commander of the Roman troops was one Aulus Plautius. He pushed his men up from their landing place in Kent towards Colchester, then the most important town in Britain. The Roman advance was halted by the Thames, and Plautius was forced to build a bridge to get his men across.

Photo above: The Trafalgar square. Its one of the most refreshing places in the world
The Roman settlement on the north side of the bridge, called Londinium, quickly became important as a trading centre for goods brought up the Thames River by boat and unloaded at wooden docks by the bridge. About the year 200 AD a defensive wall was built around the city. For well over a millennium the shape and size of London was defined by this Roman wall. The area within the wall is now “the City”, London’s famous financial district. Traces of the wall can still be seen in a few places in London.

Photo above: Big Ben. Icon of London.

The Victorian city of London was a city of startling contrasts. New building and affluent development went hand in hand with horribly overcrowded slums where people lived in the worst conditions imaginable. The population surged during the 19th century, from about 1 million in 1800 to over 6 million a century later. This growth far exceeded London’s ability to look after the basic needs of its citizens. In 1904 the first motor bus service in London began, followed by the first underground electric train in 1906, but perhaps more notable was the spate of new luxury hotels, department stores, and theatres which sprang up in the Edwardian years, particularly in the West End. The Ritz opened in 1906, Harrod’s new Knightsbridge store in 1905, and Selfridges in 1907. The outbreak of WWII precipitated the defining moment of the century for Londoners – the Blitz. During the dark days of 1940 over a third of the City was destroyed by German bombs, and the London Docks largely demolished.

My suggestion is to spend at least 5 days in London to decently explore this wonderful city.

Tower of London: The Tower acted as royal residence, and it was not until later that it became famous as a prison.