High-profile Londoners, including the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, actress Joanna Lumley, model and actress Twiggy and Michelin star chef Gordon Ramsay, have shared their thoughts on what they believe makes their hometown one of the greatest places on earth.
Whether it’s Gordon Ramsay’s reflections on the Royal Albert Bridge, Joanna Lumley’s love of duck ponds or Boris Johnson enjoying sausage and mash in his favourite pub, ‘The London Story’, a new video campaign launched this week, reveals a new and personal side to the British capital.
VisitLondon.com has compiled a series of films of people who live and work in the capital talking about the city they love. In his ‘London Story’ video, The Mayor of London Boris Johnson reveals there’s nothing better he likes doing than cycling to Hackney, east London, and then on to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, taking in the changing landscape and admiring how London has more parks and green space than any other city in the world.
The London Story
Speaking about what makes London so great, he says: “With so many fascinating museums, the best theatre scene in the world, more green space than any other European city, numerous top sporting venues, a low crime rate and much else besides, it is no wonder that people from all over the globe are flocking to London in record numbers.”
Hosting the Olympics has given London a massive boost on the world stage, with huge numbers of international visitors flocking to the city. In the first six months of 2013 almost eight million overseas visitors stayed in the city, and if visitor numbers continue to rise, London will be on course for a record breaking year.
Actress and human rights campaigner Joanna Lumley fell in love with London in the 1960s as the city acted as a ‘magnet’ for the young. For the last 20 years she has lived in Stockwell, south London, where she adores hearing the chimes of Big Ben.
Joanna says: “I've lived in London for certainly 45 years and every single day, I see another road or alley, or close or garden that I have never seen before. Holland Park is one of the best kept secrets in London. It's got parterres, winding paths, statues, a little opera house, a beautiful restaurant and an orangery. It has duck ponds and peacocks which roost in the trees. There are tulips in springtime and camellias coming out before the snow has disappeared. It's a fantastic place.”
Chef, TV personality and restaurateur, Gordon Ramsay, loves how London’s parks provide a fantastic place to spend time with his family. He says the city’s vibe, coolness and restaurants are second to nowhere else in the world.
“Whenever we are returning from a long trip, the first thing we do is go out for a great curry on Brick Lane, which is phenomenal,” he says. “I’ve been to India but I find curries in Brick Lane better – you can’t beat a good London curry. Shall I let you in to the ultimate London secret? The best place for the ultimate fry-up is the 24-hour café on Fulham Road called Vingt-Quatre. To me this is to die for. There is nowhere better anywhere in the world to eat than in London.”
The London Story
Model and actress Twiggy, who became one of the most famous faces on the planet in the 1960s, says London is in her genes. Once, when she was returning from working in New York for two years, she was so emotional to come back to her home city that she cried after the plane touched down.
“I just love cities and London is the best,” says Twiggy. “It’s probably because I was born and raised here and as I keep saying: ‘It’s in the bones, luv!’ We’ve got the best theatres in the world, so when you come to London, you’ve got to go to the theatre. Not only do we have wonderful performers, but the buildings themselves are iconic and beautiful and amazing. Another great thing about London is shopping! What girl doesn’t love shopping and London is the best. We’ve always been the best in fashion and you’ve got everything here whatever your budget is and all these amazing shopping streets.”