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London calling


There are few cities that capture the imagination like London. You name it, London has it. World class shopping and restaurants, beautiful architecture, internationally renowned concert halls, museums, sporting venues and historical landmarks that tourists the world over flock to see. London is a chameleon, depending on what your interests are. It has the ability to be anything to anyone.

Piccadilly Circus is a bustling hub of excitement. People from all walks of life congregate to shop, eat and socialise. Cars, buses and pedestrians go in every which direction but nobody seems to mind the crowds. People appear to be genuinely happy. The billboards demand attention with their brilliant flashes of light and colour. Celebrity spotting is not uncommon either as many of the stars prefer to shop around Regent street and Shaftsbury avenue. It is also the heart of the theatre district, with live performances to suit all tastes.

If you don't spot a celebrity in person, it is well worth a visit to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. The museum boasts life sized figures of iconic and influential people such as movie stars, musicians, athletes and politicians. The intricacy and attention to detail of the sculptures almost makes you forget that they aren't real. Photos are permitted in most areas, this includes posing with the wax figures.

For those who prefer a more relaxed pace, a sunset river cruise along the Thames is the ultimate experience. Beginning at Westminster Pier, the cruise travels passed the well known landmarks of Big Ben and the London Eye as it heads towards the Tower of London and under the Tower Bridge. Champagne and nibbles are served while those aboard blissfully sail along one of the most famous rivers in the world.

No visit to London is complete without a walk along The Mall. The combination of being surrounded by tree-lined beauty, along with the anticipation of reaching the end where the statue of Queen Victoria stands proudly outside the big iron gates of Buckingham Palace is something that conjures butterflies. There are walking tours available or the watching of the pomp and ceremony of the changing of the guards. However, it is just as easy to stand at the gates and stare in awe. The feeling of being near the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll will overpower almost anyone looking in. Meanwhile, the squirrels happily scurry from tree to tree inside the palace gardens, oblivious of what all the fuss is about.

At the opposite end of the scale the East End is well worth a look. There is a wonderful night time walking tour that begins at Tower Hill station. It tells the story of London's most infamous serial killer Jack The Ripper. The tour takes you through the narrow streets around the Whitechapel district where the poorer class resided. It stops at each location describing in detail how Jack met and killed his victims. Among the darkness of the backdrop it is a chilling feeling, almost as though one has stepped back in time to the late 1880's.

Another tour well worth doing is a rock music tour. The guides really know their stuff and are passionate about sharing their stories. Every stop has an unassuming building with a fascinating back story of when and how songs and partnerships were created by the likes of music legends such as Elton John, David Bowie, Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones. The tour also stops outside the Abbey Road Studio, and a photo at the crossing made famous by the Beatles album cover is a must.

Sports fans have their pick of iconic arenas to tour. From the excitement of Wembley Stadium, to the traditions of Lords and Wimbledon. There is also tours of London Stadium, originally built for the 2012 Olympic Games, but now also used for football and athletics.

Everywhere you look in London there is something to experience, adventures to be had and memories to be made. These few activities are just the tip of the iceberg. The only problem may be that the bucket list is too long for just one visit.