London is a royal city. The British king or queen has a palace there-Buckingham Palace. Queen Eluzabeth lives there now. Important visitors often go to the palace. They meet Queen Elizabeth and the royal family inside the palace. Tourists go to Buckingham Palace too, but they don´t go inside, and they don´t meet the queen. They stand outside and see the Changing of the Guard. There are always guardsmen outside the palace. Every day a new guard of thirty guardsmen marches to the palace and takes the place of the „old guard“. That is the „changing of the guard“. The changing of the guard is not a big ceremony. London has important royal ceremonies too. The State Opening of Parliament and the Trooping of the Colour are two of these. The queen does not go in a coach to the Trooping of the Colour. She rides there, and she watches the ceremony from her horse. The „colour“ is a flag. The guards „troop“ (march with) the colour for the queen.
The British people like the queen and the royal family. They like important occasions too.
A royal wedding is always a big occasion. The royal family goes to the weding in a procession, and people love proccesions. The people watch the procession, and they see the royal family in their coaches. Horse guards ride with the coaches, and the procession goes between lines of foot guards along the road.
The Jubilee of Queen Eliabeth II-queen of the UK from 1952 to 1977. The Jubilee is a big ceremony. Important people come to London from every part of the world.
But there are occassions called Street party. The people of this London street are having a good party. The party is on the day of the Jubilee, and it is a Jubilee party. But it is not for important people. It is for the people of the street. The children of this street are going to remember the Jubilee.
Tourists in London always want to visit Westminster and see „Big Ben“. They want to see the clock in its tower, and they want to hear the bells.
„Big Ben“ is really a bell. You hear it at every hour. It is the big bell (13,72t) with a deep voice, and it counts the hours. You hear its deep voice on the radio: „This is the BBC. The time is six o´clock.“ And you hear the deep BOOM of Big Ben six times.
The famous clock tower stands beside the Houses of Parliament. The country´s leaders speak in the Houses of Parliament. The men and women there are the voice of the British people.
The people choose 650 men and women for the House of Parliament. The second „House“ is the House of Lords. The men and women in it are the dukes, earls, and lords of the great families, heads of the Church of England, head judges, and some modern „Life Peers“ and „Live Peeresses“. These two „Houses“are Parliament.
Westminstere Bridge is one bridge across the River Thames in London. Big Ben and the House of Parliament stand beside the River Thames. You can go on a boat from Westminster and see London from the river.
The Tower of London
Tower Bridge is one of the famous bridges across the Thames. It is near the Tower of London. You can see the buildings of the Tower from the river.
The Tower is old, and it has a long and cruel history. It is not only one building. The Bloody Tower is near the river. You do not see blood there today, but the Bloody Tower has a history of blood-the blood of men, women and children.
Are the ghosts in the Tower? People say, „The ghosts of famous men and women walk in the Tower of London. You often see the ghosts of Anne Boleyn and Lady Jane Grey in the night“.
The Tower of London is not a place of blood now. It is an interesting place, with its Beefeaters and the Crown Jewels. The Imperial State Crown is one of the Crown Jewels in the Jewel House in the Tower of London. It has 3000 stones in it : diamonds, red rubies, blue sapphires and beautiful pearls. The queen wears it on state occasions. Then it goes back to the Tower. The „Breefeaters“ are soldiers. Their real name is Yeoman Warders of the Tower. Their clothes are the clothes of royal guards of the year 1500. The Beefeaters guard the Tower and the Crown Jewels, and they help visitors. Guardsmen of today, from a regiment of foot guards, are always there too.
London has important ceremonies. Some are every day and some are every year. At the Tower of London is the Ceremony of the Keys. The keys in this ceremony lock the gates of the Tower. This ceremony is at ten o´clock every night. It is a very old ceremony-700 years old.
The Lord Mayor´s Show is an old ceremony too. The people of the City of London choose a Lord Mayor every year. And every year they see him in the Lord Mayor´s Show. The Lords Mayor´s coach takes him to the mansion House in a long procession-that is the show.
You can see a number of London´s famous churches from the river. St Paul´s Cathedral is not very near the river, but it stands at the top of Ludgate Hill. You can see it from the river.
You can go up 627 steps from the floor of the cathedral to the top.
Westminster Abbey is near the Houses of Parliament. It si near the Thames, too, and you can see its two towers from the river. It is old (1042-1065) and very big (158 metres).
A large number of the London churches have bells. The small church of St Mary-le-Bow is between St Paul´s Cathedral and the Bank of England. It is the Cockney church. A „Cockney“ is a Londoner, but not every Londoner is a real Cockney. The real Cockneys can hear Bow bells-the bells of St Marry-le-Bow from their houses.
The UK has only one Royal Family, but the Cockneys have their pearly „kings and queens“. The pearly kings and queens take their name from the pearly buttons on their clothes. They work in London´s street markets, and they are the „kings“ and „queens“ of the market people. But they do not dress in their pearly clothes every day.
London has its famous shops and big stores. But its street markets are the really interesting places. In Portobello Road they sell old things-old, but interesting. It is a collectors market.
Petticoat Lane, in the City, is the Cockney market. Go there on Sunday morning, and perhaps you can see a Pearly King and a Pearly Queen. The Cockneys of Petticoat Lane sell new things. Perhaps you do not really want those things, but the Cockneys in Petticoat Lane can sell them to you!
Covent Garden is famous. But the very old fruit and vegetable market is not there now. The big trucks take the fruit and the vegetables to a new market near the Thames. Without the trucks and the market, Covent Garden is a different place. But it is a busy place. It has new shops and cafes. You can sit at a cafe table and listen to music. You can meet friends and sit in the sun, or sit out of the rain in the old market buildings.
Meet some Londoners
360 Chelsea pensioners are old soldiers. They live in the Royal Hospital near the Thames at Chelsea.
The buskers are street musicians. They play music in the street and people give money to them.
There are speakers every Sunday in Hyde Park, and every day near the Tower of London.
The commissionaire is an old soldier. He works at the door of the Dorchester hotel.
The taxi driver can take you wherever yuo want.
The street performer...it is nice to stop in the street and watch a street performer.
London is a city, but to Londoners „the City“ is a place in London. St Paul´s Cathedral is in the City, and the banks and big companies have their head offices there.
City offices are in tall modern buildings, or in old buildings on narrow streets. The office people do not live in the City; they come to the City every day, from Monday to Friday. Only 5890 people live in the City;340 000 people work there. They come in trains, on buses, on the Underground, on bicycles, and in cars and taxis. They come in one hour-„rush hour“. Rush hour is from 8.30 to 9.30 in the morning, and the evening rush hour is from 5.00 to 6.00.
St Paul´s Cathedral is near the middle of the City. Perhaps the real middle is „the Bank“. Seven streets meet at the Bank. The Bank of England is there with the British Government´s money in it. The Royal Exchange is there; it is now the British money market, but it is a beautiful building. The Mansion House is there too. The Mansion House is the office and house of the Lord Mayor of London.
A „night out“ in the West End
Five important streets meet at Piccadilly Circus in London´s „West End“. The cars, the tourists coaches, the red London buses, and the taxis go round a statue there.
It is not the statue of a famous man or woman. People do not remember the statue´s real name. They say: „It is Eros, the Greek god of love.“
Under the road, two Underground lines meet. Piccadilly Circus is a very busy place. It is busy day and night. People come here to the shops in the day time, and at night they come for a night out.
Londoners like a night out in the West End. They take the Underground to Piccadilly Circus, and there they are in the middle of the West End.
They can eat in one of the restaurants in the West End near Piccadilly Circus. They can get food from twenty different countries in West End restaurants.
Londoners, and visitors, can go to a theatre in the West End, or to a concert, to an operea or a ballet. And there are fifty cinemas near Piccadilly Circus.
Or they can have a good „night out“ in a pub conservation and a drink or two.
Libraries, museums and art galleries
The British Library has 10 000 000 books in London. The Reading Room of the library is famous. That is only one library. London has hundreds of small libraries. The British Museum is famous, but young people often go to the museum in Kensington. In the British Museum, you look at things, but in Kensington museum you can do things. The National Gallery and the Tate Gallery are the two big London art galleries. They have some very famous pictures in them. You can see the history of British art in the Tate Gallery beside the Thames. London has small galleries too.
They often have exhibitions of famous pictures from galleries in Europe and America.
Exhibitions and shows
You can see a new exhibition or a show every week in London. Some of the London shows are famous. People come to them from many countries (Crufts Dog Show).
Madame Tussaud´s is famous for waxworks. There are waxworks of famous people (good&bad) in the show. You see not only people of the past but famous people of today there: kings, queens, princes and princesses, sportsmen and sportswomen, cinema stars and pop stars.
London´s parks and gardens
Londoners like the parks. Office workers often sit in them and eat their lunch. Band play at lunchtime and in the afternoon. Hyde Park is famous, but it is only one of London´s big parks. Come to London one day and walk in them. The parks are open to the people, but the big parks are really royal parks.
Regent´s Park has the London zoo. With the animals of the world. And in the summer it has an open-air theatre. You can sit in a chair or on the grass, and you see a play between the trees. The play is always by Shakespeare.
London has small parks and gardens too. You can walk in them, sit in them, play in them, take boats on the water in them – on good day in summer.
book about London -