They say that travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. As you go along exploring new places, you learn new knowledge and acquire a set of new perspectives which would not have manifested if you’ve stayed in one location all your life.
Similarly, one of the best ways to learn is to dig through history. Not just by reading books, but by discovering firsthand where certain instances took place as you step on the very same locations which became silent witnesses to these significant events. By putting the two together, traveling to a historically rich location will impart new learning and experiences which is otherwise unattainable without exploration.
A trip back in time through one of the world’s oldest cities
London is among the world’s oldest cities, dating back to the Roman times. To be exact, the widely accepted founding date was 43 AD and it was originally named Londinium, but the site was already inhabited long before. The original name was older still – a popular theory specified by the Londonist is that it was derived from the Celtic name Londinos, with its root word lond meaning ‘wild’. No one knows for certain where the name came from.
Since then, the settlement grew and rose to prominence. Eventually, the iconic buildings that still stand today were constructed like Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. At one point, London even became the most powerful city in the world. This was from the late 1700s to mid-1800s, when the British Empire was at the peak of its world dominance.
Then came the Industrial Revolution, which essentially kick started modern manufacturing with many of its concepts and processes still in use today. Once again, London was at the centre. This was the period when the London Stock Exchange was established, today’s premiere financial hub with a global influence.
Now if you aren’t from the city or a history geek, it’s totally forgivable if you’ve only just learned about all these things today. It’s even possible that Londoners have little knowledge about the ancient origins of their city. As such, you’ve already gained some an advantage.
Another fascinating find is the amazing animated rendering of London’s evolution that was published by The Guardian, showing the city’s development from 2,000 years ago all the way up to the 21st century. The roads and architecture from past to present, were highlighted and it’s very interesting to see how much London has changed.
Learning through culture
Another excellent way to learn is to immerse yourself in another culture which pertains to everything from transportation to food to fashion to traditions. The double-decker bus is also used in other cities, but none is more iconic than London’s classic red double-deckers and Project Britain showed how to enjoy riding one of these world-famous vehicles. Roaming around the city and enjoying the sights aboard one is a must-try experience for any traveler.
Perhaps the greatest means to take in the local culture is to indulge in its food. Restaurants that serve authentic English food are scattered across London and in fact, you won’t have to go far to find some of the best that the city has to offer. Even London’s airports have a myriad of food hubs which cook up world-class English cuisine.
In a blog post entitled Heathrow In Search of Perfection, it was mentioned that reputable English chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Heston Blumenthal have all opened their own restaurants in different terminals of London Heathrow, the UK’s busiest airport in terms of passengers as well as parking and vehicle traffic, according to Parking4Less. In case you want to embark on a food quest across the city though, The Culture Trip listed as many as 12 amazing British restaurants in London, all of which are able to offer the finest in British cooking.
It’s no wonder as well that London is one of the world’s fashion capitals, with many high street fashion designers using the city as a prime spot for exposing their creations through boutiques lined up along famous fashion spots such as Oxford Street. Moreover, London Fashion Week is enough reason for some travelers to visit the city, and the next one will happen this February. The event will once again showcase the talents of world-class fashion designers.
As for traditions, there’s no better way than to mingle with the locals. After all, you’d have two of life’s best rewards in the process: the opportunity to have travelled, and gaining new friends.