London, located on the banks of the Thames River, is often described as one of the more beautiful cities in the world.
All the attention on the city, in recent times, however, has been because of the forthcoming 2012 Summer Olympic Games and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Incidentally, not only is London the only city in the UK to have hosted the Olympics, the UK (and the US) is now the only one to have hosted three Olympics Games.
The city is receiving a major facelift, as one would expect, in the run-up to an event where more than 80,000 stadium spectators, 20,000 athletes and team officials and more than 50,000 people from international sports federations, the International Olympic Committee and media houses, in addition to millions of tourists, are expected to flood the country, according to the London Government. The major changes, also according to the government, included upgrading the London Metro and railway networks, as well extending river-based transport services
The Olympics will not be the only major event in town during 2012. Equally important will be the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of the Queen. It is an event for which the country has been preparing for some time now, as evinced by the £12 million renovation of Kensington Palace. Furthermore, a parade of events that included a display of royal cars, a tour of Commonwealth countries (by Prince Harry, on the Queen's behalf) and, most recently, a tour of Harrow, Redbridge and Walthamstow, by the Queen herself, have already been completed. There is, of course, more to come. Check out a full plan of events for the Diamond Jubilee here.
Prime Minister David Cameron, in his New Year's messge released on 2 January, was similarly upbeat about the spectacle of a year in which the United Kingdom would present its most royal and fantasticaly spectacular self. He promised Britons a "global drama of the Olympics and glory of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee" in the coming months, according to a Xinhua report.
"This will be the year Britain sees the world and the world sees Britain. It must be the year we go for it - the year the coalition government I lead does everything it takes to get our country up to strength," Cameron was quoted as saying.
Check out the slideshow showing popular landmarks from across the city, in the build-up to the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee and some images of Diamond Jubilee celebrations from earlier this year