The Rough Guide to London Mini 3 (Rough Guide (Pocket)) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2003/6/30
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With a population of just under eight million, London is Europes largest city, spreading across an area of more than 620 square miles from its core on the River Thames. Ethnically its also Europes most diverse metropolis: around two hundred languages are spoken within its confines, and more than thirty percent of the population is made up of first-, second- and third-generation immigrants. Despite Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish devolution, London still dominates the national horizon, too: this is where the countrys news and money are made, its where the central government resides and, as far as its inhabitants are concerned, provincial life begins beyond the circuit of the citys orbital motorway. Londoners sense of superiority causes enormous resentment in the regions, yet its undeniable that the capital has a unique aura of excitement and success in most walks of British life, if you want to get on youve got to do it in London.
For the visitor, too, London is a thrilling place and in the last few years, the city has been in a relatively buoyant mood. Thanks to the national lottery and the millennium-oriented funding frenzy, virtually every one of Londons world-class museums, galleries and institutions has been reinvented, from the Royal Opera House to the British Museum. In the Tate Modern and the London Eye, the city can now boast the worlds largest modern art gallery and Ferris wheel, and the first new bridge to cross the Thames for over a hundred years. Furthermore, following sixteen years of being the only major city in the world not to have its own governing body, London finally acquired its own elected assembly in 2000, along with a mayor whos determined to try and solve one of Londons biggest problems: transport.
In the meantime, Londons traditional sights Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St Pauls Cathedral and the Tower of London continue to draw in millions of tourists every year. Monuments from the capitals more glorious past are everywhere to be seen, from medieval banqueting halls and the great churches of Christopher Wren to the eclectic Victorian architecture of the triumphalist British Empire. There is also much enjoyment to be had from the citys quiet Georgian squares, the narrow alleyways of the City of London, the riverside walks, and the quirks of what is still identifiably a collection of villages. And even Londons traffic problems are offset by surprisingly large expanses of greenery: Hyde Park, Green Park and St Jamess Park are all within a few minutes walk of the West End, while, further afield, you can enjoy the more expansive countryside of Hampstead Heath and Richmond Park.
You could spend days just shopping in London, too, mixing with the upper classes in the tiara triangle around Harrods, or sampling the offbeat weekend markets of Portobello Road, Camden and Greenwich. The music, clubbing and gay/lesbian scenes are second to none, and mainstream arts are no less exciting, with regular opportunities to catch brilliant theatre companies, dance troupes, exhibitions and opera. Restaurants, these days, are an attraction, too. London is now on a par with its European rivals, and offers a range from three-star Michelin establishments to low-cost, high-quality Chinese restaurants and Indian curry houses. Meanwhile, the citys pubs have heaps of atmosphere, especially away from the centre and an exploration of the farther-flung communities is essential to get the complete picture of this dynamic metropolis.
Rough Guides are written by expert authors who are passionate about both writing and travel. They have detailed knowledge of the areas they write about—having either traveled extensively or lived there—and their expertise shines through on every page. It's priceless information, delivered with wit and insight, providing the down-to-earth, honest read that is the hallmark of Rough Guides.
The book opens with a discussion of London by theme. Whether it is museums, art, pubs, parks, the London Stage, or festivals and events, no visitor should be bored in London. Next, author Rob Humphreys offers descriptions and opinions of the major neighborhoods of London, from Trafalgar Square and Whitehall to Greenwich and Hampton Court, identifying in each case the most prominent attractions. Humphreys rounds out the book with a selected listing of accomodations by neighborhood and closes with some essential information on arriving and getting around London. The end pages include two larger scale maps and a color diagram of the London Underground.
For the traveler planning a short visit and lacking the time for extensive research, "Rough Guides London Directions" might be pretty close to one-stop shopping. For those travelers with more time and the enthusiasm to do extensive research, this book is an excellent start. To both audiences, "Rough Guide London Directions" is highly recommended.