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The Lure of London

By Afiya Khalid

It's fashionable to complain about the weather in London but it's the centre of so many social events and traditions that we just keep going back for more. Internationally, people are becoming more and more travel savvy, so a city has to offer culture, entertainment, luxury and convenience whether the trip is for business or pleasure. London has all this and more.

Uptown London
London is famous for its history, museums, traditions and of course, shopping. Bisecting the world renowned Harrods and Harvey Nicholas in Knightsbridge is the classy Sloane Street. Between the two high-end stores and this street, one can get all the latest in fashion - personal and home related. However, this is an area for the serious couture shoppers only. Hence you will glimpse many a celebrity figure around Sloane Square including Victoria Beckham, who is a regular on any given weekend.

Strategically placed just off Sloane Street is the Carlton Towers Hotel - a landmark of eminence and luxury in its own right. Recently the Jumeirah International group has bought out the management of Carlton Towers. This has created excitement in Dubai and London as Carlton is undergoing renovations to modernise its image even further. Holding onto its traditional English elegance the hotel continues to draw the rich and famous visitor as well as local patrons at its famed Rib Room and Oyster Bar restaurant and for the trendy Monte's cuisine.

The swanky shops on Sloane street at this time of the year are showing off the spring collections. Meanwhile in February, the London Fashion Week opened the autumn/winter collections and there is a flurry of excitement and anticipation regarding the upcoming events for the Queen's Golden Jubilee. London is very much the place to be this summer.

The Golden Jubilee
The year 2002 marks the 50th anniversary of the Queen's Accession to the Throne. The summer of 2002, from May to July, will be given over to celebrations in every region across Great Britain. A countrywide mix of pageantry, street parties and fireworks will reach a peak around the special four-day Jubilee holiday in June. The Queen herself will be visiting all parts of Britain between May and August and you may catch sight of her on ‘walkabouts' where she loves to meet the crowds. The Queen will be in Scotland from 23-29 May and Wales from 11 to 13 June and all around England on other dates in her Jubilee Tour.

At lunchtime on Monday 3rd June 2002 bells, drums, whistles and gongs will herald the beginning of the Golden Jubilee Summer Party - ‘The People's Party'. The Jubilee will be celebrated on this day with fun and festivities through the staging of Garden and Street Parties, the lighting of beacons, and the organising of many other large and small events. It will be a day when communities unite and celebrate with feasting, dancing and fireworks.

Hundreds of beacons will be lit from the Arctic to the Antarctic, Mount Kenya to Nepal, from the Shetlands to Land's End, from Australia to Holyhead and throughout the Commonwealth. Groups as diverse as Her Majesty's Armed Forces, heritage organisations, youth groups, local authorities and individuals will be present. A sweep of beacons from Scotland and Northern Ireland, through different regions to the Home Counties will culminate in the Queen lighting the National Beacon in London at 10:45pm.

City Councils and others are reporting huge celebrations involving thousands of people, incorporating parades, floats, live music, exhibitions and street entertainment. Villages are registering details of events on the village green, fancy dress competitions, teas, fetes and barn dances. There are record-breaking events for the longest street party, It's A Knockout competitions, flower displays and church services.

From the ‘coolest' street party in the Antarctic to the ‘hottest' beacon and barbecue in Nairobi, people across the globe will be joining in the celebrations. Many people are using these occasions also serve as a way to to raise money for local charities and for the Queen's five nominated charities.

Royal Windsor Horse Show
A celebration of the Golden Jubilee.and a truly British event, thr Windsor Horse Show is set against the backdrop of Windsor Castle. The Royal Windsor Horse Show combines tradition, thrills, style, fun and royal patronage to create the ultimate sporting and country experience for all the family.

The Queen's Birthday Parade
Trooping the Colour is a massive and traditionalceremony by the Massed Bands and Troops of the Household Division in honour of the Queen's birthday. The Queen leaves Buckingham Palace and goes down the Mall to Horse Guards Parade. See this from Buckingham Palace, London on 15 June, 2002.

Birds Eye Sightseeing
British Airways London Eye is a Millenium feature that represents the pace of time and celebrates London's past while looking forward to its future. It gives an opportunity to enjoy one of the world's major cities from a totally new angle. Conceived and designed by David Marks and Julia Barfield, these architects had in mind the concept of a wheel representing the cycle of life. Thus was created a beautiful new landmark but, above all, it allows passengers a unique perspective of London. It was constructed piece by piece throughout Europe. As the biggest observation wheel ever designed, there was no one place where it could be constructed. Vital statistics: Diameter 135 metres; Weight; 1,900 tonnes; Single cabin weight; 1.5 tonnes; Speed 0.26 m/s; Time to revolve 30 minutes; Viewing distance 25 miles/40 kilometers.

Culture Vultures
For art lovers and museum buffs there are the famous places to visit,s but for something contemporary, look up the National Portrait Gallery at St Martin's Place. Fashion photographer Mario Testino has captured some of the most glamorous men and women in fashion and Hollywood. Always found on the celebrity-party circuit, this 46 year old Peruvian is very popular. His exhibition at the Portrait Gallery in London features more than 120 of his finest images including Queen Rania of Jordan, Elizabeth Hurley, Robbie Williams and Catherine Zeta Jones.


Travel Desk (Previous Features)





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