London

London Details:

London is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations for both business and pleasure. Once a neglected part of the Roman Empire, these days it’s indisputably a major centre of culture, finance, architecture, gastronomy – pretty much anything you can name, in fact. It’s connected to the rest of the UK by an extensive travel network, but this hugely diverse city can sometimes seem a million miles from it’s own country. Yet few places feel so close to the rest of the world.

Culture
London is a city of culture with something for all tastes. Despite its reputation as an expensive city, many of the museums are free – at least for their permanent exhibitions. The British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Museum of London are among those with no entrance fee. For art fans, the Tate Modern and the National Gallery are also free.

With the money saved on museums and galleries, buy tickets to a West End show. Extravagant musicals might be the order of the day around Shaftesbury Avenue, Charing Cross and the Strand, but there’s no shortage of drama in some of the more modest venues, such as the Arts Theatre and the Criterion. Otherwise, head to the Southbank for the National Theatre or Shakespeare’s Globe.

For an insight into the London of old, look no further than the Tower of London. Founded after the Norman Conquest in 1066, this imposing castle played its part in much of the city’s medieval history. Many other landmarks are just a short walk away, including Tower Bridge, the Monument to the Great Fire of London, and HMS Belfast – a former naval cruiser that’s now a floating museum.

London is a spectacular city to see from up high, and the greatest height around is at the top of the Shard. The UK’s tallest building has an open-air viewing deck on its 72nd floor, but perhaps you’ll think the London Eye is more fun. At 120 metres, it was the largest ferris wheel in the world upon its opening in 2000.

People and Traditions
London is incredibly diverse, with over 300 languages spoken across the city. The people are generally polite, often excessively so, which can be confusing for anyone unaccustomed to British culture. On the other hand, the sense of humour can be scathing and should be taken lightly.

British traditions aren’t as concrete in London as they often are elsewhere. You may need to search for them. The people you meet are unlikely to invite you home for afternoon tea, for example, as it’s more commonly served in high-end hotels and cafés in tourist areas. However, London is well connected to other towns and cities where local traditions are more commonplace.

Weather
In London, as with most of the UK, the climate is notoriously unpredictable, albeit forgivingly mild. Dressing smartly to adapt to changing weather is advised. Its reputation as a rainy city is based largely on frequent drizzle rather than anything likely to ruin your visit. Winter temperatures hover around 10ºC, while summer temperatures rarely exceed 25ºC. Humidity is a problem, however, so if it does get hot, it will feel much hotter.

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Currency
GBP
Electricity
Electricity 220 v
Language
English
Time Zone
GMT (May-Oct: GMT +1)
Tel Code
020
Things To Do

London is not a cheap city for shopping, so don’t expect a better deal in the large fashion chains than you’d get back home. Instead, take advantage of the quality on offer. Many luxury fashion houses have flagship stores here and you’ll find many quirky boutiques in Soho and skilled tailors along the famous Saville Row. Then there are the high-end department stores like Selfridges and Liberty’s. If you can’t fight the urge to bargain hunt, try the markets at Portobello Road, Petticoat Lane and Camden Town.

London is a deceptively green city. The Royal Parks are especially worth a visit. The largest are Richmond Park and Bushy Park – both former deer-hunting grounds. Other highlights include Regent’s Park, home to London Zoo, and St. James’ Park, which is bordered by St. James’ Palace and Buckingham Palace.

Explore

For an insight into the London of old, look no further than the Tower of London. Founded after the Norman Conquest in 1066, this imposing castle played its part in much of the city’s medieval history. Many other landmarks are just a short walk away, including Tower Bridge, the Monument to the Great Fire of London, and HMS Belfast – a former naval cruiser that’s now a floating museum.

London is a spectacular city to see from up high, and the greatest height around is at the top of the Shard. The UK’s tallest building has an open-air viewing deck on its 72nd floor, but perhaps you’ll think the London Eye is more fun. At 120 metres, it was the largest ferris wheel in the world upon its opening in 2000.