The Backpacking Appeal of London
London is a city steeped in culture and contrast. One of the worlds most famed cities it comes complete with its own set of icons – from the tower bridge and houses of parliament through to the millennium dome and millennium wheel.
It is a popular destination for backpackers from throughout the globe as its sheer size means it houses something for everyone.
London, like any big city, has many sides.
For those seeking out some history it’s full of it. If you’re seeking something from way bak in the day London has heaps to offer – checking out the Tower of London gives and insight into the cities darker past whilst tours and museums also give a glimpse into historic moments such as the plague and the great fire.
If your seeking some more modern history the British War Museum and many wartime tours about the blitz can fill the void.
If culture is your things it’s got that by the bucket full. A trip to the Tate Modern is a must for art fanatics, whilst the Royal Albert Victoria Museum covers everything from Roman Britain through to Darwin and his theory of evolution.
Or you could take a trip to the infamous Abbey Road from the Beatles album of the same name or simply have a wander around the streets and see if you can spot one of the many Banksy graffiti pieces that have made their way into the cityscape.
Failing that a tube ride to Camden Market with its abundance of stalls, world cuisine and alternative culture is sure to keep you busy.
For backpackers London provides a great place to stop off, either a single stop destination or part of a round the world trip.
Like many of its city counterparts – including Sydney, New York or Bangkok – its most people’s first taste of the country, and it contains all the ingredients for a great place to explore.
Throughout the city and its suburbs there are many pubs and clubs to suit all tastes – from the typical English pub with walls adorned with clutter to chic upmarket clubs where patrons are suited and booted. Where you end up is very much down to personal taste, but being a big city the depth of your wallet will also have a large impact!
A quick Internet search produces many great place to sample the live music scene that Britain and London have become famed for, from intimate venues through to larger venues such as a the Brixton Academy so be sure to get your fix.
Music lovers will also be glad to hear that London plays host to heaps of bigger music events throughout the year and is also an easy train ride to larger events such as Reading Festival.
Long Term Appeal
With so much to see and do many backpackers a using London as a base to work and study from. The sheer size of the place means that there is a great variety of work available and the opportunity to save some cash for the next destination, whether you choose to live in the thick of it or commute on the tube from slightly outside the main city.
More and more backpackers are using the opportunity to study in the UK too, especially those without English as a first language. What better way to start a trip through Europe than attending and English school in London?
My time in Ecuador taught me that there’s no better way to pick up a new language than to throw yourself in with two feet, living and breathing the culture is always a boost to learning curve and makes it a much better experience.
London is also a great place to start an adventure with Europe, and basing yourself there opens up the opportunity to explore it in smaller sections whilst working. Both Heathrow and Gatwick play host to numerous airlines who provide low cost flights all over the continent and within a few hours you can find yourself anywhere from the waterways of Venice to the gorgeous coastline of Croatia.
Not being a fan of the big smoke myself I found it hard to comprehend Londons appeal before I too hit the road, but after chatting to heaps of non British backpackers throughout my travels I can see why it has firmly made it’s way onto the global backpacking map – maybe I should take the time to explore it properly myself one day…whenever I actually make it back to the UK!
Image Credit; Jamie from DnJGoSeek.com