London Calling

Burned to the ground in 61 AD by Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni Celts, Londinium was soon rebuilt by it’s Roman founders. The prosperous city became the capital of their province of Britannia. Anglo-Saxons and Vikings vied for control after Rome left around 410, but by the time William of Normandy was crowned at Westminster Abbey in 1066, London was again the largest and richest city within what are now the British Isles.

The next millennium would see the city become the center of an empire, with the wealth of a quarter of the world flowing into its coffers. The widespread use of English around the globe is a legacy of that period. So, too, is the interesting diversity of the city’s population. A third of Londoners were not born in Britain.

In the past few decades, the improvements in the lives of gay people have been truly astounding, and today’s gay scene rivals that of anywhere. There’s a vast array of gay bars, clubs, restaurants and saunas, meaning that no matter what time of day or night there’s fun to be had.

Samuel Johnson famously said: “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” Two centuries later, 25 million tourists each year might agree that a trip to London will never be forgotten – especially this year.

In 2012 London is the the host city for the Olympic Games, July 27 – August 12, and the London WorldPride Festival & Parade 2012 takes place June 23 through July 8. The main parade is July 7, hosted by one of the largest, and most diverse LGBT communities on the planet. The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II takes place in 2012 as well, marking 60 years of her reign, since her coronation June 2, 1953. With all the extra visitors, expect plenty of parties around town.

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