. . . THAT I LOVE LONDON SO
Tube delays, soaring prices, feral youths, rioting... you would think such things would deter tourists from visiting London.
But now, for the first time ever, Britain's capital city has been named the best place to visit on the planet - after jumping from eighth to first place.
And with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics almost upon us, it could not have come at a better time.
The league table, compiled by tourist feedback website TripAdvisor, is based on analysis of tens of millions of reviews by visitors to 440 destinations around the world, the Evening Standard reported.
It is a remarkable achievement for a city that, a few years ago, was widely seen as grubby, grey and expensive.
In 2010, London did not feature in the top three in Britain, beaten by Edinburgh, Brighton and York.
But the combined draw of spectacles such as the West End show War Horse and free attractions, from great museums and parks to street markets such as Portobello Road, has transformed the capitalís global image.
Gordon Innes, chief executive of the capitalís tourism agency, London & Partners, said its top position was 'a testament to the wonderful array of attractions, dining and accommodation that set London apart from all these other destinations'.
One traveller from Los Angeles wrote: 'London is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. Itís a virtual historical theme park. There are more free galleries and museums than anywhere in the world.'
A few other views:
Traveller from Thailand: 'I love the flower market in east London on a Sunday morning, full of colours, and also Spitalfields market.'
From Illinois, US: 'I love London. There is so much to do, one almost needs a month to see it. The city is rich in history, nostalgia. beautyÖ and pubs. It has something for everyone.'
From Rome: 'So much of what London has to offer is free. Itís unbelievable.'
From Portugal: 'I totally fell in love with London, its history, its monuments, its river, its parks, shopping markets etc.'
From Chennai, India: 'It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Nice parks, gardens and locations to visit. Go and check it out yourself.'
From Hong Kong: 'Our visit would not be complete if we hadnít visited a local pub and eaten fish and chips with a glass of beer.'
From Haifa, Israel: 'The most interesting place Iíve ever visited.'
London Pride: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PEOtZPHDjU