Tag: london culture

Visiting The British Museum

Visiting The British Museum
Among the countless tourist attractions in contemporary London, such as the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace, the one that can easily be considered the unforgettable “Queen” amongst them all, is the British Museum. Britain’s national museum of archaeology and antiquities was established by an act of Parliament in 1753, when the government purchased three large private collections consisting of books, manuscripts, prints, drawings, paintings, medals, coins, seals, cameos, and natural curiosities. Today, home of approximately seven million objects from all continents, the British museum is considered to be the most popular and famous museum in the world. Located in the Bloomsbury district of London, the British museum’s collections in archaeology and ethnography are particularly outstanding. Being one of London’s principal tourist attractions, the visitor can admire its famous holdings, like the Elgin Marbles, carvings from the Athenian Parthenon, the Rosetta Stone, the Portland Vase, the Benin Bronzes, Egyptian Mummies, and the Chinese ceramics. Its drawings collection holds more than 2,000 drawings constituting the world’s largest and most comprehensive collections. Since it first opened its doors to the public, on January 15, 1759 the museum has been illustrating and documenting the story of human development and culture from its early years to the present day. The British Museum does not charge any admission fees, the exception being some temporary special exhibitions, interested publics from around the globe line up outside its doors waiting to enter its amazing gallery showrooms and admire the plethora of human creations kept in there. But some of its most prestigious holdings, like the Parthenon Marbles and the Benin Bronzes are among its most disputed collections. These collections are the subject of great controversy and political debates since various organizations lobby in favor of their return to their native countries of Greece and Nigeria respectively. But regardless of the harsh criticism, the British Museum has refused to return either collection, arguing that if the British Museum was to return to their original geographical location any of its current possessions that would mean empty rooms for a great many museums around the world. Although critics argue that these artifacts, among others, should now return to their home countries, the British Museum continues to support that it is an appropriate custodian and has the inalienable right over these disputed creations under British law. Nevertheless, the fact still remains that the British Museum is one of the most important London destinations one should not miss visiting when circumstances allow a ride to one of the most famous and interesting capitals in the world. ....read more

To Market To Market: London’s Borough Market

To Market To Market: London
There is nothing quite like the sights and smells of a bustling market. London’s Borough Market, located in Southwark, just a few minutes walk from Tower Bridge, literally smacks the visitor in the face with its abundance of culinary choices. Be it hard to find Indian spices, or the best bangers and mash in the country, all manner of exotic pleasures can be found at Borough Market. A long, long time ago… In 43ad Roman legions arrived at the south bank of the Thames on their way to the city of London and came across the early Borough Market. In order to reach the city, they needed to build a bridge to cross the river. The bridge they built was the first incarnation of London Bridge, and it is probably no coincidence that it was built nearby. Bridge building is hungry work. There has been a market in the area ever since. Changing times Having enjoyed a kind of renaissance in recent times, “London’s Larder” has tended towards more up market and exotic produce, and with prices to match. However it retains the feel of a village market, helped along by the locals who come here to shop for weekly supplies. Today the market is considered one of the countries most important retail centers for fine foods. Drawing over 70 gourmet food importers, organic farmers, world class bakers and butchers, it is a glorious escape from the masses of supermarket chains offering pre packaged, pre, prepared and pre processed food. It is also a key influence in the recent trend towards organic and locally grown produce. You can browse and “try before you buy” fresh ingredients for the nights dinner, or taste some of the international dishes on offer, as well as some home favorites. Sample cheeses ranging from mature and sharp to young and mellow, or line up for an organic falafel, but be prepared to queue for a while, such is their popularity. Open for business The market is open three days a week, from 11am to 5pm Thursdays, 12-6pm Fridays and 9am to 4pm Saturdays. Saturday is the busiest of all days and has an energy all of its own, where locals and visitors mingle and jostle for position in their claim for the last bottle of virgin olive oil, the perfect oyster or impossible to find anywhere else curry spice. Borough Markets history and swift progress is symbolic of London itself, and its frantic energy is representative of life in such a frenzied city. Borough Market is truly a little slice of London, where the ring of the nearby Southwark Cathedral bell blends with the roar of trains overhead and the shouts of vendors: “Organic sausages two pounds each. Get ‘em while they’re ‘ot”. ....read more