You can't blame other cities if they cast a covetous eye upon London and grumble, It isn't fair. How can a 2,000-year-old settlement with such a deeply entrenched history-and such familiar-to-the-point-of-predictable iconography-stand at the leading edge of design, architecture, fashion, cuisine, fine art, and pop culture? By embracing international styles and influences (and people) as much as its own. The city's millennial resurgence resulted from a blend of clear-eyed preservation, savvy reinvention, and bold innovation. Only here could a brash new landmark like the Tate Modern so swiftly find its place in the old cityscape; only here could the cutting-edge gastropub (an alien term just 15 years ago) so readily slip into local parlance and routine. Perhaps that's because behind all this novelty, the London that always was endures, unperturbed by these curious new arrivals, or just slightly bemused.
-Experiencing Parliament's House of Lords and House of Commons in rowdy action from the public galleries.
-Meandering the South Bank river walk and absorbing the glorious vistas-a promenade best taken at sunset for optimal romantic appeal.
-Seeing at least one West End or National Theatre play or musical; Shakespeare would've insisted on it.
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