London is whatever you want it to be.
It is one of the greatest cities on earth. It stands on the Prime Meridian and draws in the best from East and West. It sits at the centre of Time and the world sets its watch by London's Big Ben.
London is built on commerce and trades with the world. It gave the world modern banking, the stock exchange and insurance and it remains the world's financial hub. London is home to the Mother of Parliaments and has given sanctuary to ideas, to freedom of speech and thought, to religions and refugees from across the globe. London has the best theatre, the greatest concentration of museums, opera and art; a musical and literary heritage second to none. London has the first underwater tunnels, the first and biggest underground transport system, the first international exchange, the highest Ferris wheel, the biggest dome, the loftiest church. London has over 2,000 years of history. It has survived pestilence, fire and war. It has Roman walls, Norman towers, Tudor palaces, Renaissance splendour, Georgian loveliness, Victorian grandeur, breath-taking modern wonders.
There is pomp and ceremony and spectacle, and yet London is also intimate with quiet corners, crooked cobbled streets, winding alleyways and sunny squares. It is the most liveable-in of all cities with more green spaces than any comparable metropolis, and gardens everywhere. London is its people and its characters who meet here from every corner of the planet. London cannot be tamed. All you can do is revel in its richness and enjoy the adventure.
From the Preface to I Never Knew That About London by Christopher Winn