London is truly one of the most multi-cultural cities on planet earth, and this rich diversity lends itself to a whole host of varied experiences unique to the nation’s capital. Here are a few of our favourite ways to explore London’s cultural melting pot.
The district of Chinatown offers an incredible window into Chinese culture, as well as many opportunities to ‘eat like a local’ and get a real taste of authentic south east Asian cuisine. Chinatown has a rich cultural history, evolving from just a small corner of London to becoming what is now one of the city’s many hotspots. Evolving over many centuries, the area of Chinatown has long been a popular venue for artists and a hive of activity among the UK’s immigrant population. Since the 1960s, Chinatown has been widely acknowledged as the hub of London’s Chinese community and a colourful, vibrant section of the city.
Sample Indian Cuisine
Indian immigration has had a profound effect upon British eating habits and tastes spanning hundreds of years, with the influence dating back as far as the 15th century. Recipe books from this era recount the growing dominance of spices as among the taste preferences of the wealthier British citizens who were keen to experiment with the newest taste and broaden their palate. Mayfair’s Gymkhana is a deluxe Indian dining venue with strong influences from the clubs of the former British empire of India, in both the décor and the cuisine, and is easily reached from the Piccadilly London West End.
View Italian Architecture
The Italian Renaissance influenced British design, art and architecture through its effect on London’s own 19th century Pre-Raphaelites, who echoed similar aesthetic values. Italian architecture is again enjoying its own renaissance within London, seen in everything from the modern Italian-designed Shard building to more modest interior design projects sweeping across the capital.
Visit Brixton’s Ground Breaking War Memorial
Recently unveiled in the city is the first ever war memorial honouring African and Caribbean servicemen. The memorial is located in Brixton’s Windrush Square and commemorates the contributions of regiments such as the British West Indies Regiment, whose brave activities in the First World War led to their ranks receiving no less than 81 medals for bravery. Over 55,000 men from Africa and the Caribbean have actively played an important part in the UK’s military past, with 166 receiving awards for their bravery.
Experience the Growth of ‘Greek Chic’
Greek culture has historically had a tremendous cultural impact not only on London but on the world with the Olympics held in London during 2012 being a prime example of this – and the UK’s capital is currently undergoing a love affair with all things related to Greek dining. Amongst the chicest new Greek restaurants is the traditional at heart yet thoroughly modern Notting Hill’s Mazi while Gourmet Goat has won numerous food awards for their contribution to food sustainability and quality and to farming.