- City Urban Area : 1,737.9 km² (671.0 sq mi)
- Calling Code : +4420
- Currency : Pound Sterling – GBP £
- (EST) City Urban Population : 9,787,426
- Official Languages : English
- Time Zone : GMT (UTC) – Summer BST (UTC+1)
- Airports : Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, City, Luton and London Southend.
Tourists from all corners of the globe and locals returning home have difficult choices with the many airliners that land at London airports but this also affords a variety of special deals, prices and wonderfully cheap flights to London with certain airlines.
- London Gatwick Airport has 52 airlines with 35 long-haul routes operating in and out of Gatwick, reaching 200 destinations in 90 countries.
- London Stansted Airport has around 17 airlines landing and taking off that offer alternative options to cheap connecting flights.
- London Luton Airport offers travellers around 20 airlines that offer great low-cost flights including charters and scheduled flights to approximately 85 destinations focusing on popular European cities in Portugal, Greece and Spain. Additionally there’s a great selection flying to the Canary and Greek Islands, the Costa del Sol and the Algarve including budget airlines to Zurich, Amsterdam and smaller regional airports. Operations to Scotland and Ireland have been greatly improved and passengers can also fly out of Luton to Egypt and Tunisia.
- Airlines operating out of London Southend are ‘easyJet’, ‘Flybe’ (operated by Stobart Air) and ‘Volotea’ for seasonal charters.
- Heathrow Airport has thousands of visitors landing daily with numerous airlines, some that include:
- South African Airways
- Virgin Atlantic
- Garuda Indonesia
- Cathay Pacific
- Swiss International
Reasons to Visit London
- Other than the royal family, London has everything and more to offer every visitor. Pulsating with life 24/7, it’s an extraordinary city with a fascinating history that’s blended together with aged buildings, modern skyscrapers, gorgeous verdant areas and all types of people. The city affords visitors 569 sights and landmarks.
- With so many incredible sights to see plus 301 museums, taking guided group tours ensures you don’t miss a thing and can be loads more fun with travellers from other countries. There are plenty of tour options like Historic and Modern London Tour, Royal London Tour, London by Night Tour including cycling, walking, bus and ferry tours.
- London is home to four zoos, two aquariums, more than fifty theatres and over 1000 venues for a great nights’ entertainment. The city has over five ice-skating rinks, more than 150 outdoor activities on offer and plenty of castles to take you back in history.
- There are fabulous restaurants offering every cuisine imaginable, ancient and trendy pubs’ for a pint or a first-rate meal, wonderful markets, shops and famous stores, casinos and loads entertainment choices for all ages.
- Travellers on tight budgets have an array of affordable and decent backpacker/hostel establishments to stay in, some with age restrictions. Scattered in and around London are a great range of 1, 2 and 3-
Star hotels, a choice of luxurious 5-Star hotels and numerous Boutique Hotels. Visitors preferring the homely atmosphere of a B&B can choose from hundreds located all over London.
Places to Visit in London
- Make the EDF Energy London Eye your first stop and take in marvellous views of over 55 of the city’s most famous sights and then plan your itinerary.
- Kids and adults will enjoy a tour to Warner Bros Studios to see The Making of Harry Potter.
- Every visitor wants to at least walk through a famous department store, if not purchase an item just for the brand packet alone. Besides Harrods there’s House of Fraser, Fenwick of Bond Street, Harvey Nichols, John Lewis, Fortnum & Mason and more with plenty of exclusive boutiques for that special item.
- For a superb night out with good company, excellent food and service try one of these restaurants, Gastronhome, Humble Grape, Holy Smoke or The Five Fields, all highly recommended.
- To dance the night away and relish views over Kensington, The Roof Gardens provides an extravagant night of clubbing in London. Proud Camden is a must with DJs and great live music and a terrace for fresh air or alfresco boozing. Cargo in East London is very popular for clubbers with the largest decked garden and great dancing music. Blues Kitchen Shoreditch is fabulous for American Deep South blues, jazz and soul music including scrumptious steaks.
London is filled with museums, many with free entry. The Victoria and Albert Museum features 3,000 years of astounding artefacts from all over the world. Exhibits include textiles, furniture, sculptures, paintings and more while in the Science Museum you can touch, see and experience major advances made through science over the last 300 years. The National Maritime Museum is the world’s largest, and features the well-known Cutty Sark plus a host of other maritime collectibles that any seafarer would appreciate.
- Tate Modern on the banks of the Thames is a national British museum home to modern and contemporary art. The museums strange shape stems from it previously being a power station. It features temporary works from top artists that include Gauguin and Damien Hirst.
- The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square showcases 13 to 19th century Western European paintings with pieces by masters like Van Gogh, da Vinci, Renoir, Botticelli and more.
- The British Museum shows works of man from all over the world, from prehistoric to modern times. Popular exhibits are the Parthenon sculptures, the mummies from the Ancient Egypt Collection and the Rosetta Stone. Free entry but for special exhibition, tickets need to be purchased.
- The National History Museum comprises an amazing collection of the tallest, biggest and rarest animals in the world including a 40-million-year-old spider. Free entry with special exhibitions requiring a ticket.
Associated with castles and palaces are kings, queens, dukes, ladies in waiting, banquets, jousting, picnics, boating, fox hunting, whispered conversations, betrayals, wars, dungeons, executions and burnings on the stake. Each castle holds its own stories and secrets. West of London is Windsor Castle (close to Heathrow Airport) with its interior having developed into more like a palace over the years. Hampton Court Palace situated beside the River Thames has beautiful extensive grounds and is connected to Henry VIII. A whole day is easily spent viewing this wonderful palace.
- The famous Tower of London next to the Tower Bridge is a must and you’ll be within the original city walls of London (now London’s financial district). The Tower at the seaward end of the city wall was a watch for invaders along the river and is one of the most well preserved historical castles in England.
- The best time to visit Buckingham Palace is during August and September when its not used in its official capacity and visitors have entry into the State Rooms, of which all nineteen are lavishly furnished with exquisite treasures and some of the finest examples of French and English furniture including works of art from Rembrandt, Poussin, Rubens and others. Breathe in splendid views of the lake and Palace when concluding your tour with a pleasant walk along the south side of the Palace garden.
The Queens Gallery, open all year to visitors holds changing exhibitions of items from a large collection of treasures and art that the Queen holds in trust for the nation including items from the Royal Collection.
The British Royal Family’s stables, The Royal Mews are also open throughout the year to the public.
- Kensington Palace situated in Kensington Gardens was the preferred residence of succeeding sovereigns until 1760 when Buckingham Palace became more favourable. During a major renovation of Kensington Palace, further secrets were revealed of notable events and dramas that took place in this Palace. Savour all your eyes see in the marvellous Kings and Queens State Apartments and stroll through the beautiful manicured Kensington Palace Gardens.
Getting Around London
One can never be stranded in London with the excellent public transport systems that operate including London’s reliable taxis.
Every visitor wants to experience a ride on London’s well-known underground, the Tube. The oldest system in the world, it operates from 05h30 to midnight while Friday to Sunday nights, it provides a 24-hour service on the Central, Piccadilly, Victoria and Jubilee lines.
During week buses are plentiful and every five minutes! There are approximately 100 routes that operate in central London while another 700 routes service the wider city. They’re fast and reliable with their own dedicated lanes and cheaper than the Tube.
Not the cheapest mode of transport but ideal for a quick trip to a restaurant or a theatre where you’ll arrive on time, in comfort and relaxed. Some taxis accept credit card payments with a surcharge of 12.5% but most operate on a cash basis.
Minicabs are becoming increasingly popular. They operate outside the conventional taxi system and comprise Uber, Cabwise and Hailo amongst others. You can book a ride utilising numerous free Apps.
Hiring a rental vehicle for travelling in London isn’t the greatest idea as traffic is congested and parking fees very costly. Rental vehicle are available from Avis, Hertz, Alamo and many other reputable companies with branches in the city and at the airports.
Visitors thoroughly enjoy seeing sights and the city when utilising one of numerous ferry services with fares charged on distance travelled. If pressed for time, take a fast catamaran trip with Thames Clippers, available every 20 minutes from 9am to 9pm. A wonderful experience with your loved one is a narrow-boat trip that takes you along London’s many canals.
To get somewhere in a hurry that doesn’t cost much, rent a blue bicycle to get you from A to B. These bicycles are not available for full day rentals but have become extremely popular for people getting to work on time.