The new edition of Lonely Planet's often controversial London guide gives Bermondsey and Borough top billing as up-and-coming neighbourhoods.
Past editions have criticised the capital as "the home of dirty pigeons and liquored-up lager louts" with hotels so awful "they made Fawlty Towers look like a documentary" but Sarah Johnstone, author of the fifth edition of the London guide, proclaims that the city richly deserves its surprise Olympic win.
Johnstone lavishes praise on Bermondsey in the guide: "Trendsetters might like to note that this area has been billed as 'the new Hoxton'. Okay, it might be in some five to 10 years. Admittedly, all the prerequisites are in place: a nearby trendy market (Borough Market), a community of creatives living in loft buildings like the former Hartley jam factory, and a growing cluster of gastropubs, restaurants and hip shops in and around popular Bermondsey St. With the area's proximity to the City and a mainline rail station, its already inflated property prices and its pretentious nickname SoBo (South Borough), local real-estate agents like to boast that it's attracted celebrities like Zandra Rhodes, the Chemical Brothers and Marc Almond. One famous rumour (it was just that) even had Robert de Niro buying a penthouse here."
The changing cityscape south of the river also gets a thumbs-up from Lonely Planet: "Millennium structures like Tate Modern and the London Eye now represent the city as much, if not more than, St Paul's Cathedral or the Houses of Parliament in the minds of international visitors," says Johnstone. "The "Gherkin" has won a rather unexpected place in the public's heart and while some Londoners aren't keen about the handful of record-breaking skyscrapers planned for the centre, like the 'Shard of Glass' at London Bridge, these really underline the image of a dynamic, forward-looking city."
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