Monday, 5 March 2007

In praise of London

I apologise, but this is going to be an unashamed devotion. The sun is shining and I'm full of the joys of spring. And I love London. I've loved it ever since I first started coming here when I was young and my parents would bring me and my brother for the day. My dad would drive us down, either parking at Redbridge underground station and catching the Central Line to Oxford Circus or leaving the car in The Regent's Park and walking along Regent's Street. At the time it amazed me that a park could be big enough to park a car in. I lived in Cambridge and the biggest park I knew of was Midsummer Common, which was more suited to cows than cars. You can imagine my astonishment when I found out The Regent's Park was also big enough to house London Zoo.

When I first moved to London I lived near Richmond Park, and it didn't even faze me that here was a park even bigger than The Regent's. How worldly wise I'd become. But it did, and still does at times, amaze me that I now lived in this sprawling metropolis. I am still moved by the view coming out of Charing Cross, especially in the evening: The Oxo Tower and the Haywood Gallery all lit up, Tate Modern outlined against a purple and red sky and, further to the left, the dome of St Paul's Cathedral. It's really quite breathtaking.

London's West End is renowned across the world, attracting the biggest names of stage and screen, while fringe theatre is a hotbed of new writing and acting talent. The galleries and museums are both grand eclectic - from the wonderful British Museum to the tiny but always interesting photography exhibitions at Proud Galleries.

We have huge, beautiful Royal Parks. We have some of the world's most stunning architecture, from just about every period of history. From the 1,000-year-old White Tower to Norman Foster's strangely beautiful Gherkin.

Culture, history, art, beauty, green spaces - London has it all.

And so ends my eulogy.


The Duelist said...

You're totally right - and I think the Olympics will really help, too! Cost aside (we all knew it would skyrocket), I think it's a great thing for the city.

Love the blog! :-)

Groove said...

When I worked in London my trip from Charing Cross to the office gave me two options, get on the tube or walk though St. James Park. I always walked though the park even in the rain. The shocking amount of greenery there is in London is one of the few things I actually really like about the place :)