The atmosphere in London is contagious. In no other city can you experience such a unique balance between rich, ancient history, and a modern, contemporary metropolis. There is a feeling of refinement that only comes from a strong foundation in tradition, and a youthful energy easily found in the city’s art, music, and food scene, each side working in blissful harmony that you have to experience to fully understand.
Examples of this can be found all over the city. One example is The Shard, a magnificent 95-story skyscraper completed in 2012, where you can (for a small price) visit its viewing platform for breathtaking cityscapes, or enjoy the sights with a meal or cocktail at one of its six restaurants or bars. This feat-of-modern-engineering sits only a few blocks away from The George Inn, an original “coaching inns” that predates the 16th century, when it appeared on one of the first ever maps of what is now the Southwark borough (pronounced “Suth-urk” for those not in-the-know). This Inn also serves as a working pub, which has catered to notable patrons such as Charles Dickens and Bard himself, William Shakespeare.
Luckily there are countless ways to have truly London experiences, and maybe even a little positive social impact as well.
As a museum fanatic, on my last trip I wasted no time getting to my two favorites in London, the Tate Modern and the British Museum. Both offer an entirely different and unique look at British culture. The Tate Modern offers something for everyone, with exhibits such as art in society with artists like Picasso, art in media with Andy Warhol, or more abstract exhibits that dive into the topic of human perception. If you are a modern art skeptic like I once was, the Tate Modern is guaranteed to revolutionize your perspective.
The British Museum itself is a tribute to the old and the new, with an exterior resembling the Pantheon in Rome, and an interior resembling nothing you have ever seen before. A person could spend days admiring this homage to centuries of English imperialism and not take in everything it offers, but must-sees include the Rosetta stone and actual Egyptian mummies.
If museums are not your forte, do not fear, there are still plenty of ways to take in London’s history. I highly recommend going on one (or all) of the three city tours offered by Authenticitys. These tours not only give you a firsthand look at the city from a qualified local guide, but also allow you to give back to the city in the process. With the Discover Soho and Fitzrovia Tour, you dive into the deep, and often overlooked history of these boroughs that has contributed to many of today’s subcultures, all while to supporting the team of guides, their pink hand movement, and getting the unique experience of distributing food to the homeless along the way. Depending on your interests, you can also take part in the Remembering Roman London tour, which takes a look at who developed the first human settlement in the area over 2,000 years ago, or the Royal Park Experience, which visits London’s three major vast green spaces, Hyde Park, St. James Park, and Green Park, a great way to get out of the pub and away from the concrete, while gaining knowledge and bettering the city, all while hitting a few historically relevant sites along the way.
Many have tried and failed to see everything there is to see in one go, myself included. London is a city of endless possibilities and constant innovation. Even locals claim that they are constantly finding new never-before-seen gems. Your best chance is to give it your best effort, and maybe turn to the professionals at Authenticitys for some help reaching your full sightseeing potential. Just do not forget to have fun, and maybe grab some fish and chips along the way.