The best-known streets of London are Fleet Street, the Strand, Piccadilly, Whitehall, Pall Mall, Downing Street, and Lombard Street. Bond and Regent streets and Covent Garden are noted for their shops. Buckingham Palace is the royal family's London residence. Municipal parks include Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent's Park (which houses the London Zoo), and St. James's and Green parks. Museums include the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Gallery, the Tate Gallery, the Wallace Collection, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Saachi Gallery. London also has numerous commercial art galleries and plays a major role in the international art market.
The British Library, one of the world's great reference resources, is located in London. The city is rich in other artistic and cultural activities. Its many theater companies reflect the importance of drama, and it has several world-class orchestras, a well-known opera house, performance halls, and clubs. A working replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre opened in 1997. The Univ. of London is the largest in Great Britain, and there are other universities and colleges in the city. The state-owned BBC (British Broadcasting Company) is headquartered in London, and most of the country's national newspapers are published there. The New Scotland Yard, synonymous with criminal investigation, is located in the city. The Shard, an elongated pyramidal skyscraper that is one of Europe's tallest buildings (1,016 ft/309.6 m), is in Southwark. Also on the south bank of the Thames is the London Eye (2000), an enormous ferris wheel and one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. Sporting events draw large support from Londoners who follow cricket, soccer (at Wembley Stadium), and tennis (including the Wimbledon championship). Olympic Park in Stratford, E London, home of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, is the site of the AcelorMittal Orbit, a bright-red 35-story-high steel tower.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.