London is a vibrant, bustling, multi-cultural city. It is also a city full of history, heritage and culture.
London has so many attractions that it is difficult to know where to start. It’s the hub of British business, political and financial life, the seat of government and the Royal family, the entertainment capital, home to the nation’s greatest treasures and the place that most overseas tourists to Britain visit.
London – England’s multi-cultural capital city. A city full of history, heritage and culture. Visit some of the many museums and art galleries. Here are just a few of the vast attractions within London.
- West End – Visit London’s West End one of the most best-known visitor areas. – Everything from theatre to nightclubs and gourmet restaurants.
- London’s theatreland is centered in the West End district around Covent Garden and Leicester Square.
- Westminster -has also become synonymous with British government.
- Notting Hill – Filled with fashionable shops, chic eateries and smart bars.
- Hyde Park – London’s largest Royal Park Hyde Park it has 340 acres of trees and grass with boating and swimming on the Serpentine lake and horse-riding in Rotten Row. Originally a hunting forest belonging to Henry VIII. Visit Speakers’ Corner and the beautiful formal gardens around Kensington Palace, the residence of the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
- Buckingham Palace – The State rooms of Buckingham Palace are open during August and September.
What to do in London;
- Tour Buses – Take the hop-on hop off double-decker buses. Enormously popular with visitors this is the way to get orientated with London on your first day.
- Guided Tours – There are a selection of guided coach tours visiting the main sights of London, half day or full day excursions of your choice. There is a wide selection of day tours which can be taken from London. The most popular are Stonehenge and Windsor.
- Days out;-
Greenwich – A couple of miles west of Central London on the River Thames and easily accessible. Famous for Greenwich Mean Time, Maritime museums and ambience. Take a great boat trip or speed along on the underground. Visit the Greenwich Village markets and sample the delicacies and view the crafts, great atmosphere.
Bath – A couple of hours west of London by train or coach. The main draws are the Roman Baths. There is also a multitude of museums, galleries and other attractions to suit all interests.
Oxford – Famous for its university and nearby Blenheim Palace, a world heritage site, home of the Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Oxford is just an hour or two by coach or train north-west of London.
Stratford upon Avon – Stratford is situated about 80 miles north-west of Central London. Organized coach trips combine with Oxford, Blenheim or Home of Shakespeare and on the edge of the Cotswold’s, picture perfect district of English villages. Organized coach trips combine with Oxford, Blenheim or Warwick Castle.
Windsor – On the western edge of London, very close to Heathrow Airport. The Main attractions are Windsor Castle and Eton College. Boat trips, theme park and much else. There are walks available, many are in the Queens grounds.
How to get there
Arriving in London
- By Air– London have five airports. Luton Stanstead City Gatwick and Heathrow.
The 3 major airports are Stanstead, Gatwick and Heathrow, all these airports are connected to London by rail services.
Heathrow is served by the new Heathrow Express train service which takes only 15mins to reach Londons Paddington rail terminus.
Alternatively is the tube which is cheaper but slower, the Piccadilly Line connects the airport with west and central London. These trains run every few minutes throughout the day. There is also an airport bus service with two routes into Central London or take the famous black cab taxis.
Gatwick Airport is south of the city and connections can be made by the Gatwick Express rail service from London’s Victoria Station.
Stanstead airport is North East of London is connected by the Stansted Express which operates from London’s Liverpool Street terminus.
- By Train – Eurostar is the company operating trains from London’s Waterloo station to Paris and Brussels. Regular services are operated throughout the day. Waterloo station has connections with London Underground services.
Traveling in London –
You will find it much better to use taxis and public transport. If you must drive in London, then buy a good London route map, as well as the A-Z Street Map.
The famous London black Taxis `cabs` will take you anywhere in London. You can stop a taxi in the street if the yellow `for hire` or `taxi` sign is lighted.
London has a quick and efficient underground (metro) train ‘tube’ system, and the famous red ‘double-decker’ buses. The tube is quicker, especially at rush hours. But you will see more of London from the bus. There is the One-Day Capital Card, which covers London buses, tube trains, and British Rail trains. After 09.30 am, you can buy the One-Day off-peak Travelcard. The One-Day Travelcard covers you for travel on underground trains and most London buses all day after 09.30 Mondays to Fridays, or anytime weekends and public holidays. Different prices cover different zones of the underground.
London has festivals every week of the year. Weekly guides available within London.
Eating Dining Shopping
- Shopping – London is the shopping capital of the world. From the boutiques of Bond Street to the Oxford Street fashion stores and vibrant street markets, there is something to suit even the most discerning of shoppers.
London’s main shopping areas tend to centre around Oxford Street and Regent Street, while Knightsbridge is home to stores stocking even more up market goods. Anyone looking for specialist items should visit Covent Garden, whilst those with serious money to spend gravitate towards New Bond Street (home to some of Britain’s most exclusive shops).
If you’re after bargain electrical goods Tottenham Court Road is a must, while Hatton Garden is the place to go for watches and jewellery.Visit luxury department store like Fortnum & Mason or spend an afternoon in the world famous halls of Harrods. You will find the markets around Camden Lock and Portobello Road.
Why not visit Burlington Arcade (Tube: Piccadilly Circus), the famous glass-roofed, Regency-style passage leading off Piccadilly, looks like a period exhibition and is lined with intriguing shops and boutiques. Lit by wrought-iron lamps and decorated with clusters of ferns and flowers, its small, smart stores specialize in fashion, jewelry, Irish linen, cashmere, and more.
Restaurants in London are famous for variety, you’ll find just about every type of food imaginable from all over the world. It’s a food lover’s paradise!
London’s dining scene, with more than 6,000 restaurants representing the cuisines of more than 60 countries, is booming. London has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any city but Paris.
The glory of eating in London is that almost every cuisine in the world is represented. Chinese in Soho and curry almost everywhere.
If you are looking for something cheap try a pub or a sandwich bar. Lunch starts around 12noon in London and dinner is at 8pm although traditionally people may eat as early as 6pm.
Most pubs serve food at lunchtime, many in the evening and some now stay open all afternoon. However the mad English licensing laws are still around and many pubs (especially in quieter areas) will be closed between 3 pm and about 5.30 pm.
The making of London was mainly due to the Roman invasion of Britain by Claudius in 43AD.
The Romans first Capital was Colchester, but London’s main attraction was the River Thames. London was strategically positioned for trading with the Roman Empire. In Roman times it was called the centre of commerce. London has a history that goes back 2,000 years. During this time is has experienced civil war, fire, plague, aerial bombardment and terrorist attacks, yet it has still grown to become one of the financial and cultural capitals of the world.
The City burned nearly to the ground twice, first in 1212 and then again (and more famously) in the Great Fire of London in 1666. Both of these fires were referred to as the Great Fire.
The City of London is a small area in Greater London. The City of London and the nearby City of Westminster is the centre of the royal government. The City of London is now London’s main financial district. It is often referred to as just the City or as the Square Mile, as it is approximately one square mile (2.6 square kilometers) in area. The City of London is still part of London’s city centre, but apart from financial services, most of London’s metropolitan functions are centered on the West End. The City of London has a resident population of about 8,000 but a daily working population of around 300,000.
The City’s population fell rapidly in the 19th century and through most of 20th century as many houses were demolished to make way for office blocks. This trend has now been reversed as the Corporation is encouraging residential use. Some of the extra accommodation is in small pre World War II commercial buildings which are not suitable for occupation by the large companies which now provide much of the City’s employment. Most of the current population live in the Barbican Estate.
Useful telephone numbers
Ambulance, Police, Fire.
Phone: 999 (toll free)
Airports- Heathrow airport; For general Airport and transport information call: 0870 0000 123
Gatwick Airport. Phone: +44 (0) 1293 535 353
Stansted Airport Phone: +44 (0) 1279 680 500
London Transport – Phone: + 44 (0)20 7222 1234 (24 hours).
Coach and Bus Information: Bus and Coach Traveline
Phone: +44 (0)870 574 7777