Updated: Oct 6, 2021
Home to Shakespeare, Dickens, the Beatles and Harry Potter, England no longer needs to build its reputation. But what about its capital? Europe's largest metropolis, shaped by centuries of history, has a unique personality. It is the pulsating heart of the nation, the place where everyone converges; in short, a World city.
"He who is tired of London is tired of life..." wrote the 18th century writer Samuel Johnson.
Today, London has lost none of its vitality. The capital with its bubbling energy is still the talk of the town.
It is considered one of the most important cities in the world, with its impact on the economy, the arts, the media, fashion and education. With a population of 8 million, the city is home to 270 different nationalities and almost 300 languages are spoken every day.
Along the Thames
Located in the south-east of England, London borders the Thames, a river with which it became inseparable very early on. As the city's main thoroughfare and a major trade route thanks to the Port of London, the river dominates the city. Many painters have taken pleasure in immortalising these iconic waters, but none better than the Englishman William Turner. On your run along the river, you may pass by the Tate Britain, where some of his greatest masterpieces are housed.
From its inception, the city has been built around the river and its commercial activities, as evidenced by the thirty-three bridges that it has. The most famous of these, Tower Bridge, has a striking neo-Gothic architecture and an ingenious mechanism that allows it to tilt to let boats pass. It is often confused with London Bridge, one of the first bridges to be built over the river. The latter links the business district of the City of London to Southwark, famous for its theatres, notably the Globe, which hosted many performances of Shakespeare's plays before being burnt down.
Palace of Westminster, Tower of London, Big Ben, London Eye: the monuments along the Thames are numerous and their history fascinating. While running you can learn more about their origin. Did you know, for example, that the hands of the clock on Big Ben were the size of a bus? The famous clock has recently undergone restoration and will be as good as new !
UNESCO world heritage
London has four UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London, the Abbey and Palace of Westminster, Kew Gardens and Greenwich village.
The site of Westminster, the seat of the British Parliament, will delight history buffs who may have already seen its majestic architecture in Tom Hooper's feature film
its majestic architecture in Tom Hooper's feature film, The King's Speech.
A must-see tourist attraction, the imposing Tower of London was originally a fortress built by William the Conqueror to defend the city. The Greenwich district is famous for its collection of buildings reflecting the artistic and scientific projects of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Take advantage of a clear day to visit the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew, a 121-hectare park, emblematic of the Victorian era!
London, a cosmopolitan city
London's influence is not limited to its monuments, or even its leading financial centre. The city also shines through its multitude of neighbourhoods, the diversity of which mirrors that of the communities that make up the city, giving each its own identity.
London has been named the food capital of the world and is the place to be for those who want to expand their culinary horizons. So if running whets your appetite, the terraces of Covent Garden or Chinatown are the place to be. For more local food, the city is full of fish and chips and pubs where you can sample the best beers in the country. Whether you fancy Jamaican, Indian, Chinese, vegetarian or British food, there's something for everyone and at every price point!
At night, London is alive and kicking. The effervescence of Camden Town will appeal to the most avant-garde, while others will prefer the intimacy of the trendy Soho district. To dance to the rhythm of drum and bass, head to Brixton, the Caribbean-coloured district.
London has become so iconic because many literary and cinematic works have chosen it as the setting for their stories. Among the cult films shot in London are James Bond, Clockwork Orange, Mary Poppins and Harry Potter. So maybe you'll bump into Hugh Grant while walking through Notting Hill... And if you're passing through King's Cross station, try to catch a glimpse of Platform 9¾ and its Hogwarts Express before heading to Charing Cross Road, the street of bookshops where J.K Rowling located the Cauldron pub.
Run with Runnin'City from King's Cross to Covent Garden!