photographing the world's most exciting city
Where: London. United Kingdom, Europe.
What: Tower Bridge, Climbing the Millennium Dome, Greenwich Meridian Line, London Eye, The Shard, Thames Clipper, St Paul’s Cathedral, Houses of Parliament, The Gherkin, Lloyds of London, Camden Lock, The South Bank, Tate Modern, GLA Armadillo, Banksy Graffiti, Big Ben.
"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life;
for there is in London all that life can afford."
...goes Samuel Johnson's famous maxim and, indeed, he is not wrong. Having been to some of the key international cities now, including Cairo, New York, Moscow, Tokyo, Berlin, Istanbul, Toronto and Paris, it is only now that I can really appreciate London and its international significance. At time of writing, I have been to some forty five other, lesser-known, capital cities and, whilst many of them have something to offer, and whilst I have enjoyed all of them, there is, to lift the famous line from 'Alice in Wonderland', no place like London. I grew up on London's eastern fringes and so you could reasonably assert that I would say that, wouldn't I? However, even accounting for my biased perspective, there really is no place like London.
London has life and a diversity in culture; it has monarchy and poverty rubbing shoulders; it has a place for everyone and it has an almost unsurpassed depth of history. Every cobble and every stone has something or someone of import connected with it. It has a calibre of iconic buildings and world renowned attractions that other world capitals can only dream of. London is simultaneously both cutting edge modernity and historical touchstone. It is an international city in every sense of the word - and it is crammed full of people. Everywhere. Despite being from this neck of the woods the irony is that I could never live there. The pace is too fast, it's just too frantic. Living here day to day would be one long hassle. But it makes an incredible place to visit. This is just as well really, as I could never afford to live in London anyway. So, the place I grew up in is now the place I visit for a weekend - it's an international city break in my own country and one I repeat as often as possible. Here is a small selection of some of my favourite photographs of the UK capital.
The unrivalled glory of the River Thames at night with its Millennium Bridge, The London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. London is, without doubt, the most beautiful city in the world.
The Millennium Dome foregrounding a spectacular Canary Wharf as seen from the new Thames cable car.
The Gherkin building flanked by wintry trees.
The view of London out towards the east and Canary Wharf as seen from London's newest building - The Shard. Foregrounded is the GLA Armadillo building and Tower Bridge. I love the way the Thames meanders into the distance in this shot.
The Greater London Authority building, also known as the Armadillo, foregrounded by a rain-covered banister.
The most iconic of travel signs, imitated around the world but never bettered, set against London's wonderful yellow brick. The house I grew up in was built of this stuff and so I have a bit of a thing for the yellow brick buildings of London and the South East - something you never knew would speak so much of home - until you leave it.
Four iconic red phone boxes in a row along The Strand.
Sunset over the Palace of Westminster.
travel tips, links & resources
- The quickest way to get around London these days is to take the tube - and the quickest way to pay for the tube is by purchasing an Oyster card and loading it with funds. Both of these measures mean you won't be stuck in traffic and won't get held up fumbling for change to purchase single journey tickets.
- Try to head a little off the beaten track once you have seen the more obvious landmarks. East London, in particular, is well known as an up and coming artistic and boheme part of the city.
- Brick Lane, home to the city's Bangladeshi community, is an awesome place to go for a real taste of East End London.
- A walk along a section of the Grand Union Canal at Camden is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon - after a visit to the world famous market.
- East London is also home to the most impressive remnants of Banksy art work. If you're in the area, keep your eyes peeled and possibly check out a guide before setting off.
- A trip to London would not be authentic without tasting the traditional food of Cockneys: Pie and Mash. These shops are becoming increasingly rare so pop in and eat like a local while you still can. If you're extra adventurous you could add jellied eels to your order of pie, mash and liquor.
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