London has entered the millennium by giving its city center a makeover. Boosted by economic growth, it has undergone a spectacular architectural facelift, thus affirming its role as multicultural megalopolis. Cosmopolitanism and tolerance, entrepreneurship, high wages and (almost) full employment have attracted new waves of immigration and tourism steadily since Autumn 2008.
Although the economic downturn has changed the situation a bit, London still attracts nearly 300,000 young and old French, crossing the Channel to try their luck in this European Eldorado which has become the de facto economic and cultural capital of the Old Continent. It is also fast becoming a technological hub with a growing number of technology statups that are also attracting talent throughout Europe. Nowadays it is not surprising to find London-based IT companies like Prosyn, providing IT support in Shoreditch and the rest of London – and even across the Channel.
The GDP generated by the British capital alone approximates that of the entire country of Sweden! That really says it all. In fact, property prices in London exceed those of New York or Tokyo.
Home to the Crown jewels, Buckingham Palace, Camden market, and so much more, there is plenty for visitors to do and see in London. In London, the past meets the art, fashion and gastronomy, not to mention the good ale! There’s something for everyone: art and culture lovers will gather at the Tate Modern and the Royal Opera House, whilst fashion fans will line store fronts along Oxford Street. As for gourmets, they may get a glimpse of London’s specialties by going to Harrod’s to order a tea with delicious scones and cream or opt for a real “chippy” to enjoy a battered fish and crispy chips. And the music or literature buffs will be overjoyed at the Abbey Road studios and the Sherlock Holmes Museum (located at 221B Baker Street, of course!).
The London restaurant scene has given British food a new international reputation: finished is the stereotype of indigestible food and overcooked dishes, there are now award-winning chefs serving fresh British products that attract gourmets from all around the world. The city is home to 60 Michelin-starred restaurants, a number that is constantly growing, but it is the fantastic “street food” and the smaller, eclectic restaurants that can be found all over the city almost without warning that delight tourists and native Londoners alike.
You can not stay very long in London without seeing one of the iconic sights of the city. A 40-minute walk along the south bank will take you right in front of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament , the London Eye, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge. There are also eight Royal Parks to explore, and over 300 themed and art museums, many of which offer free admission to guests.
Whatever your taste is in art, you’ll find it satisfied somewhere in London. For conventional tastes, there is the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Britain. If you are more trendy and contemporary, you’ll love the Tate Modern, which features the likes of Damien Hirst, Hockney and Rothko. You prefer a more raw art? You will find some of the best works (and artists) of street art in Leake Street Tunnel in Waterloo and in the streets of Shoreditch in East London. And for the theater, look no further than the legendary West End with over 40 world-class theaters.