Londoners take pride in the culture on their doorstep, with over 80% of them rating ‘access to high quality culture and artistic entertainment’ as absolutely necessary to a good quality of life.
As the city moves forwards, the powers that be are making sure that iconic landmarks on the London skyline aren’t blocked out by skyscrapers. Have you ever wondered why the Gherkin, the Shard, the Walkie-Talkie and the Cheese Grater are such weird shapes? It’s to ensure that the architectural beauty of St Paul’s can still be seen from (almost) all angles.
London is home to 857 art galleries, many of which are rated amongst the best in the world. Just take a spin around the National Gallery, the Tate Modern, or the Saatchi Gallery to see the incredible breadth of artistic history spanning centuries, continents, and cultures.
Londoners really do love their art – the Tate Modern is the most popular modern art gallery in the world, despite being one of the youngest (it’s only 12 years old.) It welcomes 4.7 million visitors every year.
It’s not just visual art that gets London going. It also boasts 900 bookshops throughout the city – twice as many as New York-which isn’t surprising given London’s literary history.
London has inspired some of the greatest creative minds in human history, including Shakespeare and Wordsworth, whose ‘On Westminster Bridge’ might be one of the best odes to the growing modern city ever written.
Tired of museums and galleries? Then take to the streets and discover why London is often voted one of the best cities for street artists. In 2008 the Tate Modern hosted a show of the best street artists in London, raising public appreciation for their work and meaning that a lot of street art in London is now permitted and even protected by plastic. Head to the East End for your best chance of spotting the next Banksy.
Londoners are lucky enough to have Shakespeare’s Globe, the West End, and countless independent theatres right on their doorstep. Every day there are over 200 shows to choose from; everything from Matilda to Les Mis. Amazingly, more people go to the theatre in London every year than watch football at Premiership clubs.
London may be the inspiration for works of artistic and literary merit, but it is also the muse of filmmakers from all over the world. The city provides a backdrop to everything from romcoms like Notting Hill and Bridget Jones’ Diary, to blockbusters such as Skyfall.
Not content with being home to the best galleries, bookshops, and theatres in the world, London also hosts 250 festivals each year celebrating everything from cultural holidays and events to gay pride and undiscovered musicians.