London is a city with ancient roots. It's been a settlement for two thousand years, and all of that history is soaked into its architecture, culture and the fabled River Thames.
London has a diverse range of people and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken in the region. That is part of what it makes it a desirable place to visit or call home. It's known for its distinguished colleges and universities, museums, galleries and of course the monarchy and palaces where they reside.
It is also known for being a leader in the world of fashion and many of the most famous designers have trained there, particularly at Central Saint Martins. A few of the most inspiring designers to have graduated from the school include: John Galliano, Stella McCartney, and Alexander McQueen. The school has been pivotal in making London focal in the fashion industry and a leader in design.
Anyone visiting London who is interested in decorative arts and design, must make a point of visiting the Victoria & Albert Museum. It
is the world's largest museum of applied arts and design, as well as sculpture, housing a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects. It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
The V&A covers 12.5 acres and houses 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5,000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa.
London is also known for its great shopping. Some of our favorites include: the heritage department store Liberty London, a luxury shopping destination just off Regent Street in the West End of London. Known around the world for its close connection to art and culture, it is most famous for its bold and floral print fabrics. Smythson of Bond Street is a British manufacturer of luxury stationery, leather goods, diaries, and fashion accessories. Smythson opened his first shop on 29 September 1887 at No. 133 New Bond Street. For a more edgy take on fashion, check out concept shop Dover Street Market, located on Haymarket St.
A historic area to enjoy lunch and some window shopping is Marylebone Lane. It is one of the original streets of the Marylebone district of the City of Westminster, London. The street is made up of boutiques, cafes, restaurants and pubs, with some elegant apartment blocks and chic hotels. Stop in at the Golden Eagle for a pint and traditional pub fare.
London is known for its wonderful green spaces, like Regent's Park or Kensington Gardens. One of our favorites is Holland Park, where you may see some peacocks. The Kyoto Garden is a beautiful zen garden where you can take a nice respite. Don't miss the stunning waterfall there too.
For a post theatre or late night dinner spot we like J Sheekey. In the heart of Covent Garden, it is a seafood restaurant offering the finest fish, oysters, shellfish and other fruits de mer. Discreetly tucked away on St Martin's Court between Charing Cross Road and St Martin's Lane,
J Sheekey is a stone's throw from many of the West End's theatres, the cinemas of Leicester Square and vibrant quarters of Covent Garden and Soho.
Our recommendations for places to stay while visiting London: 11 Cadogan Gardens off Sloane Square for traditional English or Chiltern Firehouse in Marylebone for luxury chic.
Our spotlight designer Carolina Wong epitomizes the diversity of London's art and design world. Hong Kong born and London based, Wong graduated in 2011 from the Chelsea College of Art and Design specializing in Woven Textile Design. Experimentation with materials has always been part of Wong’s world: enriched by a wealth of cultural heritage absorbed during her creative education and experiences in four continents, Wong values the art of uniting traditional crafts and creativity. Shop Carolina Wong's latest jewelry collection exclusively available with shopidPearl in the US.