London has existed for over 2000 years, first established as a small town by the Romans and called Londinium. The town steadily grew to become a commercial centre and then became, and remained, the capital of England.
London is now a leading, global commercial city. It is home to the headquarters of many of the UK’s and Europe’s largest companies. It is also a major tourist destination with numerous attractions, from the many historic buildings to more modern sites such as the London Eye. It has huge influence in politics, media, art and culture.
The population of London lies a little over 7.5 million making it the most populous city in the European Union. Furthermore, it is a massively diverse city with inhabitants from various ethnicities, cultures and faiths, all complimenting the city’s unique appeal.
The capital city continues to flourish and grow in size and popularity. London is to host the Summer Olympics in 2012.
Business in London
With one of the largest city economies in the world, London is a centre for international business. The City of London ranks as the world’s largest financial centre along with New York City. London also generates around 20-30 percent of the UK’s GDP and has the largest city GDP in Europe.
The capital houses most of the UK’s top 100 listed companies. It is the base for many major banks, most media companies and the majority of professional services. Bustling town centres are found scattered throughout the districts, containing shopping centres with all the well known retailers.
However London is also replete with smaller businesses of every type. The busy urban estates require many convenience stores, barbers and other shops for basic necessities. Bazaars are to be found in high streets of each neighbourhood, comprising an array of vendors selling various products and services.
With the presence of every kind of business and with the scale at which they run in London, it has to be the commercial hub of any industry in the UK.
London has grown vastly since its capitalisation. It now comprises an area equivalent to a county. This is known as Greater London, which is then divided into smaller administrative areas. Thirty two boroughs make up Greater London, as well as the City of Londo,n which is not considered a borough. It is also divided into inner and outer London. Inner London has twelve boroughs while outer London has the other twenty. The boroughs are further divided into numerous wards.
City of London
Deep in the centre of London lies its original city boundary, now called the City of London. The area holds city status in and of itself. It is the financial and business centre where around 340,000 people work.
The city has a very small resident population. However, the many businesses and workers that use the area have required the construction of a number of skyscrapers in recent times, and many more are under way or being planned. One can now often see the contrast of old buildings lying right beside modern ones.
Neighbouring the City of London are some of the more important and popular boroughs including Westminster and Southwark.
City of Westminster
The City of Westminster is both a city and London borough. It neighbours the City of London and includes any famous districts such as Hyde Park, the shopping areas around Bond Street, Soho which is famous for its night life, and Westminster City Centre.
Westminster holds some of the most famous landmarks. Buckingham Palace, the Queens own house, is one of the most popular tourist sites and is located in Westminster. The Palace of Westminster, seat of the two houses of Parliament, is also located here, and on the palace lies London’s most iconic structure, the clock tower – Big Ben.
|Palace of Westminster –
with Big Ben clock tower to the right