London is without a doubt one of the most popular cities in the world. It's got absolutely everything; culture, history, sport, and its all mixed in with a youthful vibe that buzzes throughout the city. Despite the city being over 2,000 years old it feels so young, and its hard not to get caught up in it all. For backpackers and travellers on their gap year, there aren't many cities that alight all the senses like London does.
The largest capital in the European Union, stretching for more than 30 miles from east to west, and with a population of just under eight million, London has some the world's most well-known landmarks, such as Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London. And of course, there are more shops and restaurants to know what to do with.
The first thing that strikes you about London is how multicultural it is. There are people from all over visiting and working in London making it one of the most diverse cities in the world. English may be the national tongue but over 300 languages shape London's linguistic soundscape. It also means that if you want any kind of cuisine, from a Brazilian BBQ to a Turkish takeaway, then you certainly won't go hungry.
London has this ability of mixing the old with the new. In some of the oldest parts of London you'll find the newest and trendiest bars, clubs and restaurants. And if you like to party then the city never sleeps, offering anything from sell-out concerts at Wembley to impromptu streetside performances around many an unassuming corner.
2012 was one of the biggest years in London's history with the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympic Games, and a legacy certainly has been left behind. The city seems set on maintaining its worldwide presence and there are more events going on than ever before.
One of the greatest things about London is the sheer number of free sights and activities, making it an absolute dream for backpackers and travellers on a tight budget. Museums such as the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum are free for the public, and if there's one thing for certain is that you won't go bored. The London Underground makes it super easy to get around too.
Once you've been to London you won't want to leave.