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Iconic London

By Rachel Nash

Posted: 24th October 2012 09:37

When you visit London, it won’t surprise you if you see a tourist having their photo taken next to Big Ben, Tower Bridge or Buckingham Palace but it might surprise you to find others getting excited over being photographed next to a police officer.  London is home to some of the most iconic images and culture in the world so when walking through one of the cities busy streets take your time to appreciate and enjoy what London has to offer- there’s a reason they were chosen to host the 2012 Olympics after all. 

On the Street  

Turn a corner in London and blocking your view will no doubt be a big red double-decker bus.  Turn another corner and we guarantee you’ll see the same.  You’ll have to get several miles out of London before you stop seeing the big red buses so if you can’t beat them join them! If you fancy experiencing being a proper London tourist or if you purely want to get downtown then jump on.  And if you want the full shebang then head to the open top deck for views of London. 

British police officers patrol areas of London daily so spotting them is easy.  A traditional police officer will be dressed in all black with a ‘bobby’ (black helmet) attached to his or her head.  Nowadays most officers will wear hi-visibility jackets but the bobby is still a popular choice.  The British police are friendly and understand their iconic status so taking a picture with one won’t cause a problem but make sure you ask, or else you could get on the wrong side of the law. 

The red pillar-box (post-box) and red telephone box are probably two of the most iconic images of London.   Both are dotted around the city in different shapes and sizes but their colour never differs.  They’re both still in use frequently (although less frequently for telephone boxes as more and more people own mobile phones) and are home to Britain’s oldest history. 

The best thing about visiting a traditional British pub in London is the names you come across.  The World’s End, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, the Old Bull & Bush and The Only Running Footman.  Whilst you giggle along with your friends about the unusual names, why not tuck into the traditional pub-grub; pie and mash and a pint of beer.  The interior may be dark dingy and old-fashioned but it just adds character to the 150-year old pub you’re downing pints in. 

What to Sample

You can’t visit London and not take a bite out of a ‘fry-up’.  The best and British way to enjoy it is when you’re suffering from a hangover.  Not only is it the classic hangover cure but it is also the perfect way to start the day.  Order the iconic ‘full English’ from a greasy spoon café and you’ll get bacon, fried eggs, grilled tomatoes, sausages, black pudding, fried mushrooms, hash browns and baked beans.  Order a side of toast and an orange juice or tea and tuck in. 

Fish and chips are traditionally served by the seaside but London fish and chips are just as good.  Seek out a good fish and chips takeaway and your meal of battered cod or haddock (amongst other choices) and battered chips seasoned with salt and vinegar will come served in newspaper (the old-fashioned and iconic way to serve fish and chips).  Pick out a side of mushy peas and wander round the streets pretending you’re ‘from London geezer!’

Being the largest tea consumers in the world proves how iconic tea is to Britain and to London.  One sip and you’ll be hooked like the rest of us.  We Brits love a ‘builder’s tea’- strong with lots of sugar- but how you take it is your preference.  For the aristocratic in you, have a ‘cream tea’- a cup with an average amount of milk and sugar but enjoyed with scones, clotted cream and raspberry jam- and lots of it.

Souvenirs

The perfect London souvenir has the Union Jack splashed across it.  Tee shirts, baseball caps, socks, umbrellas, you name it they make it.  A collection of tea jars are also nifty souvenirs whilst black cab magnets and royal guardsman teddy bears remain popular for tourists and London citizens.  Of course don’t be surprised if Olympian souvenirs overwhelm you next time you pop into a shop- London is still living off the hype. 

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