BIG BEN TO BUCKINGHAM

Actress-model Urvashi Rautela, London Trip

London, arguably the most glamorous city in the world, is at the crossroads of globalisation. It leads in finance, architecture and design, and houses a cosmopolitan culture that truly makes it a megacity. Actress-model Urvashi Rautela, who debuted with Anil Sharma’s romantic action film Singh Saab the Great, was there for a short trip. Aside from shooting, she took the time to get to know the city, learning its history and indulging in the nightlife.
 
One of the world’s most visited cities, London was built on the Thames, and Heathrow Airport is the gateway. Urvashi began her expedition from the south bank of the river, with the London Eye as her first stop. At 135 metres, it’s the tallest structure on the Thames and provides the ultimate bird’s eye view of the city.
 
“There are 32 parts to the London Eye, and you can either book one for yourself or join a group. It’s very slow and takes about half an hour to complete the revolution, but the view from the top is amazing. On the way there, you realise just how big London is,” Urvashi said. The Eye leads to unique views over the houses of British Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and many more important sites. It’s advisable to get a knowledgeable London native to point out what you’re looking at.
 
Tower of London 
 
While the Eye is a modern addition to the riverbank, on the opposite side is one of the oldest landmarks: the Tower of London, which has a prominent role in English history. “A wonderful place, it’s where history literally comes alive. But to see the entire thing, one needs to climb a great deal. It’s worth it, as the Crown Jewels are on display, and it’s fabulous to look at them.”
 
The people of London are fond of their rowing, and you can spot plenty of practitioners on the Thames. And then there’s Hyde Park, the single largest green space within the city. A taste of nature, the best way to see the park is on horseback, especially if you also plan to explore the adjacent Kensington Gardens, as all that adds up to a few hundred acres. Albert Memorial also sits here in the garden, covered with real gold.
 
Sea Life London is an aquarium where Urvashi was mesmerised by underwater life. A stone’s throw from the London Eye, it is home to 400 different spices of fish right on the bank of the river. “The moment I walked in, I went over a glass plane with sharks swimming beneath. It was thrilling and adventurous,” said Urvashi. From Arctic fish to tropical ones and even penguins, the marine life is outstanding.
 
London City 
When it comes to food and beverages, London is about as world-class a city as it gets, with more than 40 Michelin Star restaurants within a ten-mile radius. Film premieres, concerts, fashion shows and football matches keep the city place alive, and sometimes offers regular folk a glimpse to the rich and famous. You just have to know where to find them. Places like Chiltern Firehouse, C London and China Tang are often rife with paparazzi and A-list names. You can hang out with the likes of Didier Drogba, Bradley Cooper, Kate Moss and Nicole Scherzinger.
 
“The city places everything at your fingertips. You want to party or simply unwind after work? London has something or the other to meet your demands,” Urvashi said, adding that she fell in love with the shopping culture, which has so much to offer. “There are retail districts and shopping streets, some of which have their own themes and specialities. Mayfair is good for people after luxury goods, and there’s Oxford Street, the heart of London’s shopping with landmark stores and designer outlets.”
 
While she had fun shop-hopping, Urvashi also enjoyed simpler pleasures like flying kites at Hampstead Heath and getting a look into royal life at Buckingham Palace. “I learned that you can just as easily while away an hour, an afternoon or a whole day in London,” she mused.