Intro to London
London, with more than 8 million inhabitants, is one of the most exciting cities in the world to visit. In addition to being the capital of England and the United Kingdom, London is also a major financial, tourist, cultural, artistic and educational center in the world. It is home to the residence of Queen Elizabeth, Buckingham Palace. London’s most prominent attractions include Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square and Tower Bridge.
In every travel to London guide, you can find several museums that are worth visiting, like Tate Modern, British Museum and Natural History Museum. You will also be delighted by the Victoria and Albert Museum, as well as the National Gallery.
When it comes to sightseeing, don’t forget the London Eye and The View observatory from The Shard. You will feel the spirit of this city best when you travel to the famous London markets such as Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill and Covent Garden in the West End. Also, there are Camden, Brick Lane and the Borough markets.
Soho district near Leicester Square, as well as Oxford Street, are known as the areas with the best nightlife. On the other hand, South Bank, located next to the River Thames, is London’s entertainment district with well-known places like National Theater, the London Dungeon and the Sea Life London Aquarium. You can also travel to the Spitalfields district in the East End of London, with many market stalls, restaurants and street food traders. The Mayfair district is a popular place for shopping, with boutiques, luxury shops, many bars and pubs. Other famous London districts are Shoreditch and Piccadilly Circus.
In search of interesting places in London, be sure to visit some of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Palace of Westminster, with the houses of parliament, and the Tower of London, with the Crown jewels and the White Tower. An exciting place for theater lovers is Shakespeare’s Globe. The children will be thrilled to visit the studio where the famous Harry Potter movies were filmed.
When you get tired of walking tours, relax in one of the green oases, such as Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens, or take a break for afternoon tea. Also, take at least one day to do day trips to Stonehenge and Windsor Castle.
Plan well what you want to see when you travel to London, and, based on that, find adequate accommodation. You can find cheaper service in hostels or apartments, while most expensive housing is in London hotels with Michelin starred restaurants.
You may think people in London are unfriendly, but that’s one of the most common stereotypes. They are welcoming, but a little reserved. Londoners like joking on their own or at someone else’s expense and adore sarcasm. But, when it comes to stereotypes, they do enjoy drinking afternoon tea, as well as craft beer. Don’t forget to try fish and chips or the famous English breakfast.
Plan Your Visit
Where is London?
London is the capital of England and the United Kingdom, situated in the southeast of the country. The River Thames flows through the city. Many consider London one of the most exciting cities in the world; it’s a significant financial center and features many educational institutions.
Getting Around London
London has six airports, the most used of which are Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead. There are also Luton Airport, London City and Southend Airport.
The most efficient way to move around London is the Underground (or Tube). There are 270 stations, and trains pass every 10 minutes. That is also the best way to get from Heathrow Airport to central London. Many passengers use public buses, trams and the famous London taxi – the black cab. Also, if you want to get to know the city better, you can rent a bicycle. You can use an Oyster card to pay for public transport.
Londoners speak English. However, as many as 250 world languages are spoken, due to the large number of nationalities living in the British capital. Yet, the English language spoken in London has different accents, depending on the part of the city. Cockney and Estuary accents are the ones you can hear more often.
The main currency in London and the United Kingdom is the pound sterling (GBP). Each pound is divided into 100 pence. Banknotes that are most in use are 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pounds. The cheapest option to withdraw money is from ATM or in any bank in London. You can also use a credit card to pay for services and products in London.
When is the Best Time to Visit London?
At Christmas and New Year, London is more crowded than any other period of the year. Airline tickets to London are the cheapest in September and October, and the most expensive from June to August and two weeks before Christmas. If you are planning to go shopping in London, discounts in the stores are usually in January.
What to Pack When Visiting London?
The climate is such that London does not have too warm periods, nor too cold. The average temperature in London ranges from 4-10 C (39-50 F) in winter, about 15 C (41 F) during spring and autumn, to 24 C (75 F) in summer. Since it often rains in London, you will need a jacket, waterproof shoes and sweatshirts. For the city tours that await you in London, do not wear hiking-style gear, but clothes and shoes in which you can easily move around the city. Don’t forget to bring a compact umbrella and a UK power adapter.
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