Visiting London was a wish come true for me. It is the city that mends broken hearts, lifts spirits and sets your soul on fire. The city’s greenery, pleasant weather, courteous people and appetising food are enough to keep you coming back for more. The skyscrapers and the ‘live and let live’ attitude of locals are also some noteworthy components to make you consider this world cultural capital in your vacation plans. A smile never leaves your face while ‘Londoning’, however it is the pricey element that might wipe off your grin!I had the good fortune of visiting London this past June and spent 11 magical days in the world’s most visited city. Here are some of the must-visits if you happen to fly to England’s capital anytime soon. KENNINGTON PARK – considering the nature lover in me, the first I thing I did after catching up on my sleep was visit the famed Kennington Park in the South of London. The white fenced gate has the power to pull you towards it, whispering to you about the treasures it holds. Visiting the park was not on my to-do list, but I somehow managed to find myself walking inside one of the Royal parks of London. Laid out by a Victorian architect, Kennington Park is rich in greenery, lakes, jogging and walking tracks and comfortable benches to relax in. The unruliness of the irregular cut grass is what makes it so unique; one feels as though they’re taking a breather in a mini forest and not a commercial park. One of the highlights of the park was a giant oak log placed in of the gardens on which I recline and took lots of pictures. The sky above was bright blue and the trees were so tall and daunting, it was hard to spot the birds flying overhead. Elderly couples and young athletes with children roamed around and read the newspaper basking in the English June sun.BUCKINGHAM PALACE – entering The Mall and seeing England’s flag on either side of you is an unbelievable feeling. For me, this I had only seen in films and on TV prior to Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s wedding. I had to pinch myself to believe I was on my way to see the beautiful Buckingham Palace with my own eyes live in front of me. Once it came into view, I witnessed scores of people from all over the world lounging around and excitedly getting their pictures taken in front of the black and gold gates. The Victoria Memorial right opposite the palace also raked in a humongous crowd, all eager feel the fountain’s cold water and get clicked there. One could also make their way inside the palace but only during the month of July as one of the guards told me, when there is an exhibition going on. For those who don’t know, Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. It’s located in Westminster and is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a focal point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and mourning. Originally known as Buckingham House, it was originally built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703. It was acquired by King George III as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and became known as The Queen’s House. During the 19th century it was enlarged by architects John Nash and Edward Blore. RIVER THAMES CRUISE – as much as I wanted to take this cruise at night, the 7pm one was the one the availed as I happened to be at the premises. Paying a fee of 10 pounds, I hopped into the cruise ship that sailed around the entire River Thames with a guide telling us about the various monuments surrounding it. Don’t forget to wear a light sweat or a cape shawl as it can get awfully cold regardless of the summer season.WESTMINSTER ABBEY – you cannot come back from London without visiting the historic Westminster Abbey. The structure is so beautiful and tall, one feels like a dwarf with big hypnotised eyes. It is one of the UK’s most notable religious buildings and the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English and, later, British monarchs. JAMIE’S ITALIAN – my trips are always marked with good food and quality beverages and a trip to Jamie’s Italian, owned by my favourite celebrity chef Jamie Oliver was a must. A beautiful double-storied restaurant in the heart of London, serves the most scrumptious Italian delicacies one could think of. I tried their meatballs with toast and later, roasted chicken and the bill was surprisingly light on my pocket.CAFÉ DE PARIS – even those who like keeping a low profile and are not that big on partying, visiting London’s famed Soho is a must. Just to experience the nightlife, I went to Café De Paris, where 10 pounds is the entrance fee. It’s an exclusive guest list club and you need to have either an invite or a reference to get in. Dance the night away to light music and lots of cocktails and make your trip memorable. PICCADILLY CIRCUS – rediscover the child in you while exploring the streets of Piccadilly Circus. It’s marked with masked Star Wars characters, street musicians and gold princesses. The circus is close to major shopping and entertainment areas in the West End. Its status as a major traffic junction has made Piccadilly Circus a busy meeting place and a tourist attraction in its own right. The circus is particularly known for its video display and neon signs mounted on the corner building on the northern side, as well as the Shaftesbury memorial fountain and statue, which is popularly, though mistakenly, believed to be of Eros.ST PAUL’S CATHEDRAL – I consider myself truly blessed to have seen the inside of the famous St Paul’s Cathedral where the historic wedding of the late Princess Diana and Prince Charles was held. With an entrance fee of 18 pounds for adults, I slowly made my way inside the church, having noticed the stunning dome of it even from afar. Once I was inside, I was paralysed. The church was huge, with the entire ceiling painted and neatly crafted into shards of glass with colours, holy figures and inscriptions marking the walls. I slowly made my way to the alter, and said a prayer or two. The calmness and serenity of the church engulfs you. The beauty of it can make you cry. The cathedral, dating from the late 17th century, was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The cathedral is one of the most famous and most recognisable sights of London. Published in Daily Times, September 5th 2018.