Travel Guide Europe United Kingdom England London



Piccadilly Square, London

Piccadilly Square, London

© Mavr8k

London is a cultural melting pot where people from around the world have found a home, a legacy of their colonialist past and a great contributor to its vibrant culture today: according to the 2001 census, over a quarter of the population of London was born outside the United Kingdom. Home to Big Ben, the Queen of the United Kingdom, the Tower of London, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace and fish and chips in your local, London provides days of distraction for the first time tourist. For return visitors, London's size and diversity offer something new to see on every trip. The city is the biggest in the UK and one of the biggest metropolitan regions in Europe with almost 14 million inhabitants.




London consists of the City of London, 32 boroughs and two liberties, which are informally divided into the following sub-regions.

City of London

How, you may be wondering, can there be a City of London within London itself? Because the modern municipality - the Greater London Authority - does not govern the actual City of London.

The City of London itself is located on the north bank of the Thames in the eastern part of the modern city centre. This was the Roman city of Londinium, and in its modern incarnation it is the world's largest international financial centre. It is a separate Ceremonial County from the Greater London and occupies a square mile, in comparison to the 609 square miles (approximately 1,500 square kilometres) of Greater London. Its cathedral is St Paul's.

Central London

Big Ben

Big Ben

© adamandmeg

Central London, like any other city centre in the world, is the place where the hive of activities and sights are concentrated. There is no official definition for the Central London boundary. Colloquially, Londoners refer Central London as the Zone 1 of the city's public transportation fare zoning system. Zone 1 covers the City of London; part of the boroughs of Camden, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark, and Tower Hamlets; and the City of Westminster.

The only borough with a city status within Greater London is the City of Westminster, a couple of miles upstream adjacent to the west of the City of London. This is the seat of government, and its protestant cathedral is the church of St Peter's, otherwise known as Westminster Abbey.

West London

West London is the area on the west side of London, on the north bank of the River Thames. The boroughs in this unofficial sub-division are Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, and Kensington and Chelsea.

North London

The London boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington are located in the area known as North London.

East London

The north eastern part of London – the east of the north bank of the River Thames – is commonly referred to as East London. The boroughs in East London are Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. The Summer Olympics in 2012 will be held on this side of the city.

South East London

South East London, the eastern half of the south bank of the River Thames in London, is occupied by the boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lewisham and Southwark.

Popular attractions in the south east include the Cutty Sark, Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory, home of 0° longitude, the Prime Meridian.

South West London

South West London is the western half of the south bank of the River Thames in London. The boroughs in this part of London are Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Lambeth, Merton, Richmond upon Thames, Sutton and Wandsworth.


Other boroughs within Inner London include Southwark, Hackney, Hammersmith and Fulham, Lambeth, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, and Wandsworth. Just east of the city in Tower Hamlets is Brick Lane is the heart of "Banglatown" in the east London Borough of Tower Hamlets, a street which runs from Bethnal Green, through Spitalfields and down to Whitechapel. Brick Lane has been the focus of several films and books, most recent being "Brick Lane" a book by Monica Ali - which was later made into a film. Tarquin Halls book "Salaam Brick Lane" was also about this wonderful part of London. Brick Lane is close to Aldgate, Aldgate East or Whitechapel tube stops.



Sights and Activities

Museums and Galleries

Further information: London Museums

British Museum

British Museum

© ckblink182

There is no shortage of world class museums and galleries in London and best of all, many of them can be entered for free, although usually there is a "suggested" donation.

Central London

  • British Museum - The British Museum is one of the world's great museums. Much content is loot from years of colonialism. It has especially notable Assyrian, Celtic, Egyptian, Greek and Roman collections, and it also houses the Elgin Marbles from the Acropolis of Athens, and the famous Rosetta Stone. Its Great Court is of architectural interest in its own right. Leave plenty of time to take it all in. Karl Marx wrote "Das Kapital" in the Reading Room.
  • Sir John Soane's Museum - Sir John Soane's Museum is the house of Sir John Soane (1753-1837), an architect and eclectic collector.
  • National Gallery - National Gallery houses over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century. The collection, which also includes paintings of Leornado da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Vincent van Gogh, belong to the British public. Entry to the main collection is free.
  • National Portrait Gallery - National Portrait Gallery is a collection of portraits of historically important and famous British people.
  • The Shard - The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe, its crystalline facade transforming the London skyline with a multi-use 310-metre vertical city of high-quality offices, world-renowned restaurants, the 5-star Shangri-La hotel, exclusive residential apartments and the capital's highest viewing gallery, The View from The Shard, offering 360° views. Address: Tooley St, London, Greater London SE1 9EX
  • Shakespeares Globe - Built in 1599 and destroyed by fire in 1613, the original Globe Theatre was at the heart of London’s seedy entertainment district in William Shakespeare’s time. The theatre was rebuilt after the fire but it was eventually torn down in 1644. Fast forward to 1997, when, following a decades-long campaign run by the late American actor Sam Wanamaker, the Globe was recreated near it’s original site. A visit here isn’t just a history lesson. The theatre productions are among the best in London. The Globe also now offers performances in the recently opened Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. Even if you’re not attending a play, you can do the Globe Exhibition and Tour. Open all year round, the tour explores the life and work of Shakespeare and theatre in his time.

West End

  • Science Museum - Science Museum has a collection of over 300,000 items, including the famous Stephenson's Rocket, Puffing Billy (the oldest surviving steam locomotive) and the first jet engine. It is not only a museum to see things, but also to touch and do things. Great for kids.
  • Natural History Museum - Natural History Museum includes some of the finest collections of animals, stuffed and skeletal, past and present, in the world – including some spectacular dinosaur skeletons. The museum has a collection of over 17 million specimens, though most of them are hidden behind the scenes.
  • Madame Tussauds - Madame Tussauds has a collection of waxwork models of famous people in this museum set up by an émigrée from the French Revolution, Marie Tussaud. Be prepared to queue.
  • Tate Britain - Tate Britain has a fine collection of British work from medieval times to the present day, particularly notable for its Turner collection.
  • Victoria & Albert Museum - Victoria & Albert Museum is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design.

East End

  • The Geffrye Museum - The Geffrye Museum is situated in a row of ex alms houses, showcases the lives of Londoners from 1600 to the present day.


  • The Clink Prison Museum - The Clink Prison Museum is a museum dedicated to The Clink, a notorious medieval prison from 1151 until it was burned down during the Gordon Riots of 1780.
  • Tate Modern - Tate Modern has the largest collection of Modern Art in Europe, spectacularly located in the old Bankside power station.

South East

  • Royal Observatory - Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park is where the line of zero longitude, the prime meridian, was finally established in 1884, to the chagrin of the French. Also the coordinate base for Greenwich Mean Time.
  • National Maritime Museum - National Maritime Museum is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Maritime Greenwich.

Parks and Gardens

Squirrel at Saint James's Park

Squirrel at Saint James's Park

© Hien

London has one of the largest ratio of park space per-capita in the world.

Central London

  • Sky Garden - Free public garden Address: 20 Fenchurch St, Hours: 10 -6 pm

West End

  • Hyde Park - Hyde Park is a big breath of fresh air bang in the middle of London, with boating ponds and flower gardens. It also has the Diana memorial fountain. Another famous part of the park is Speaker's corner. In summer the park is sometimes used for big scale music events.
  • Kensington Gardens - Kensington Gardens is the western part of Hyde Park.
  • Green Park - Green Park is a small park just south of Piccadilly.
  • St James's Park - St James's Park is a well-kept small park with views onto Buckingham Palace.
  • Holland Park - Holland Park is a park in Kensington & Chelsea. It houses a famous orangery and the ruins of the Holland house.

North London

  • Hampstead Heath - Hampstead Heath is the largest park in London, with great views over the city from Parliament Hill.
  • Regent's Park - Regent's Park is a park in the north of London in which the London Zoo is located.

South East

  • Greenwich Park - Greenwich Park has good views of London from the hill in the park.

South West

  • Battersea Park - Battersea Park on the southbank of the Thames between Albert bridge and Chelsea bridge, and near to the Battersea power station.
  • Richmond Park - Richmond Park is a wild park on the outskirts of London with a resident herd of deer.

Royal Palaces and Residencies

  • Buckingham Palace - Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837. The State Rooms, the Royal Mews and The Queen's Gallery are open to public visits.
  • Changing the Guard - Changing the Guard is the ceremony of hand-over of guards in the forecourt of the Buckingham Palace, usually consisting of Foot Guards in their full-dress uniform of red tunics and bearskins.
Queens Birthday - Guards

Queens Birthday - Guards

© adamandmeg

  • Palace of Westminster - Palace of Westminster is better known as the Houses of Parliament. It is the iconic landmark that represents not just London, but the entire United Kingdom as well. Until 1512, the site was a royal residence, but a fire forced Henry VIII to move out. However, the site remained a Royal Palace; therefore, its official title is the Palace of Westminster. Almost all of it now is newer than it looks: most of it burned down in 1834 and was rebuilt in neo-Gothic style. Today, it is where the two Houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (the House of Lords and the House of Commons) meet.
  • Big Ben - Big Ben – The Clock Tower, the main part of the iconic landmark to travellers, is often referred to as Big Ben, the nickname of the bell housed within the 96-metre-tall Clock Tower. Big Ben's official name is the Great Bell. Tours to the Clock Tower are open to UK residents only and must be arranged through the local MP.
  • Westminster Hall - Westminster Hall is the only major part of the ancient Palace of Westminster which survives in its original form. It survived the 1834 fire which destroyed the rest of the Houses of Parliament.
  • Hampton Court Palace - Hampton Court Palace is a former royal palace built by Henry VIII, located in the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames, South West London.
  • Tower of London - Tower of London - Once a fortress, a royal palace and also a prison (for high status and royal prisoners, such as future Queen Elizabeth I), this 1078 fortress built by William the Conqueror is now home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom since 1303. This monument is located in Central London and is just a stone's throw away from the Tower Bridge on the north bank of the River Thames.

Other Sights and Activities

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

© tahir2u

  • Westminster Abbey - Westminster Abbey is one of the most important buildings in Britain. Founded by St Edward the Confessor and consecrated in 1065, it was not completed until about 1500. But architecturally it is a Norman cathedral. Monarchs are crowned here, and plenty are buried here. The Henry VII chapel, in an apse, is particularly fine.
  • St Paul's Cathedral - St Paul's Cathedral - This Anglican cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of London. Located on Ludgate Hill in the City of London, this present building is generally reckoned to be the fifth St Paul's Cathedral of London.
  • The Inns of Court - The Inns of Court are located between the cities of London and Westminster, the four Inns of Court are the colleges of England's barristers, or specialist trial lawyers. Their open areas and gardens are open to the public and can offer welcome respite from the crowds. Middle Temple and Inner Temple are located to the south of Fleet Street; Lincoln's Inn is between Fleet Street and Holborn; and Gray's Inn is to the north of High Holborn.
  • Tower Bridge - Tower Bridge is the most iconic bridge of London and is often mistakenly referred to by many as the London Bridge, which is a different bridge that used to be located 800 metres away upstream on the River Thames. London Bridge was sold and relocated to Arizona after World War II.
  • HMS Belfast - HMS Belfast was a Royal Navy light cruiser in service from 1939 until 1963. In 1971, Belfast was turned into a museum ship and is permanently moored on the Pool of London, between London Bridge and Tower Bridge.
  • The London Dungeon - The London Dungeon - A recreation of various gory and macabre historical events about various tortures from the Medieval Age.
  • London Eye - London Eye - Nothing ocular about, it is a large and beautiful Big Wheel, located on the south bank of the river virtually opposite Westminster. Book in advance.
  • Piccadilly Circus - Piccadilly Circus is a famous circular open space at a street junction in London's West End is in a central location close to major shopping and entertainment areas. Many famous movies have been shot in this popular meeting point.
  • Abbey Road - In the north of London, near Regent's Park lie the famous Abbey Road studio's. Here you can do one of the most silly things in London: creating your own Abbey Road album cover.
  • Cycle Tours - Cycle Tours - There are numerous companies offering cycling tours around London; just search for 'london bike tours' and there are at least 10 popping up. This can be a great alternative of walking around and taking public transport and is fun as well! Guided tours of London's famous landmarks usually include stops like Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and Covent Garden, meandering through backstreet's and cycle paths. Tours to Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens for those who are wanting a longer tour are also available. Usually you can alos hire a bike and just travel around London at your own pace.
  • Theatreland - London's Theatreland in the West End of the city is the home of theatre. Centred on Covent Garden, Theatreland is a major tourist attraction for both home and foreign visitors. At any one time there are over 100 shows being performed from small fringe productions to blockbuster budget musicals like Wicked, The Lion King, Matilda the Musical and Blood Brothers. The oldest operational theatre in the world is the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, said to be haunted by actors passed, and the the city hosts both the longest-running play, The Mousetrap and the longest-running musical in the world, Les Miserables, which has been active here since 1985. There are a number of helpful websites for visitors to the London theatre scene, including Official Theatre, which provides the official box office information for every West End theatre, Seat Plan, which gives seating reviews for London venues, and the West End Whingers, who provide hilariously accurate reviews of West End shows.
Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar Square

© atbrady

  • Trafalgar Square - Trafalgar Square is located in the heart of London, making it a great place for the occasional celebration as well as a political demonstration. The square is situated in front of the National Gallery, and is named after the British victory over the French and Spanish navy at the battle of Trafalgar during the Napoleonic Wars. The most famous name from that battle is the one of Horatio Nelson, after which Nelson's Column is named, which stands in the middle of the square. Erected in the years 1840 to 1843, it was finished just before the square opened for public in 1844. The big fountains placed in the square were originally not meant to be decorative but an attempt to have less open space, reducing the risk of riots on the square. The 4 lions at the base of Nelson's Column were added in 1876. In 2003 a redevelopment of the square was completed, making it much friendlier for pedestrians.



Events and Festivals

Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival

© StephenJen

  • Notting Hill Carnival - Notting Hill Carnival held each August Bank Holiday in London; it's comprised of a Kids Day, an Adults Day, and a spectacular parade that rivals Rio. There are plenty of stalls selling foods from all over the world, but the majority of the cuisine remains true to its Caribbean roots. There are live bands, DJs, and sound systems set up in the streets so you can continue to party long after the midday parade.
  • Wimbledon Championships (24 Jun 2013 - 07 Jul 2013) - The Wimbledon Championship tennis tournament is held every year between late June and early July. Often called the "fortnight", this year the tournament starts on the 24th of June until the July the 7th 2013. With regards to things to do in London, people are very attached to this game and eager to see best tennis players from over 60 competitive nations.
  • City of London Festival - City of London Festival occurs each year in June-July and has done so since its inception in 1962. It offers a wide range of activities at indoor and outdoor venues across the square mile: a variety of music, literature, visual arts exhibitions, guided architecture walks and much, much more. Many free events can be found on the program, so it won't break the bank!
  • The Mayor's Thames Festival (08 Sep 2012 - 09 Sep 2012) - The Mayor's Thames Festival takes place along the River Thames every September. The festival's main spots are between Westminster Bridge and the amazing Tower Bridge; the event features street performers, markets, activities and eateries. The final day of the festival culminates in a night parade where thousands can enjoy the parade of lanterns, performers, spectacular floats, and a massive fireworks display.
  • 2012 Olympic Games - This will be the third time in modern history that London will host the Olympic Games. It will be a very exciting time for London and those visiting the city.
  • Whisky Live London - Whisky Live London is the most important whisky event of the year. It offers visitors a chance to learn about the history, culture, and process of making whisky. And of course, there will be opportunities to sample as many whisky brands as your liver can handle.
  • Carnaval Del Pueblo - This unique Latin event brings thousands to London each year. Latin American performers take to the streets and host parades, carnival games, music concerts, and dance shows to give Londoners a taste of authentic Latin culture.
  • London Marathon - This 42-kilometre race is very popular in London, with entrance fees raising a substantial amount of money for important charitable organizations. Approximately 32,000 runners participate in this race annually. The race begins at Greenwich Park and finishes in The Mall.
  • Lord Mayor's Show - A traditional procession dating back to the year 1215, when the city's citizens became allowed to elect their own mayor. Each year, the newly elected Mayor must travel to Westminster to pledge allegiance to the Crown. This historical show is watched by over half a million spectators annually. The parade is comprised of thousands of participants, including a variety of performers and military personnel. The event's finale is a grand fireworks display over Tames. Hours: 11:00am
  • SouthWest Fest - A grand community event featuring free comedy events, street theater productions, carnival parades, food, and much, much more. This event is organized by the community, for the community. A great taste of local culture if you're visiting the city.
  • Spitalfields Music Festival - Both the local and international community of musicians come together for this biannual event (held both in the Summer and Winter). This festival is filled with concerts, featuring the most talented classical musicians in the area. This event focuses on local music education.
  • Streatham Festival - This festival features a great variety of arts and cultural exhibits, all speaking a different theme every year. Although the event's theme may change year by year, there are always great music events and arts exhibits for visitors to experience.
  • The Great River Race - Both professional and amateur rowers race up the River Tames for this event. This festival is a fun day of sportsmanship, competition, costumes, and a forum for a variety of charity events.
  • The Mayor's Thames Festival - One of London's largest street festivals that promises to be one of the city's grandest "feel-good" events of the year. This popular multi-cultural event promotes community spirit and environmental awareness. Taking place on the banks of the River Tames, this event features: live music, dance, feasting, art exhibits, carnival games and events, river races and street performers.




London has a temperate marine climate, which is similar to the rest of the British Isles through in general it's one of the warmer places in the UK. There is generally regular although light rain throughout the year with around 600mm annually. The warmest month of July has an average temperature range of 13.6 °C at night to 22.8 °C during the day. Although during the summers there can be random days that are extremely hot with the highest recorded temperature being 38.1 °C. The coldest month is January, which has an average temperature range of 2.4 °C at night to 7.9 °C during the day. The driest month is February and snow is very rare in London. Central London, because of the large urban area, has a micro climate making it slightly warmer then the surrounding area. This allows some plant life to grow in London that does not grow anywhere else in England. It is always advisable to check the BBC weather forecast before heading outdoors!

Avg Max7.2 °C7.6 °C10.3 °C13 °C17 °C20.3 °C22.3 °C21.9 °C19.1 °C15.2 °C10.4 °C8.2 °C
Avg Min2.4 °C2.5 °C3.8 °C5.6 °C8.7 °C11.6 °C13.7 °C13.4 °C11.4 °C8.9 °C5.1 °C3.4 °C
Rainfall53 mm36 mm48 mm47 mm51 mm50 mm48 mm54 mm53 mm57 mm57 mm57 mm
Rain Days14.810.813.412.712.510.510.110.910.511.61413.2



Getting There

There are no less than 6 international airports serving the greater London metropolitan region. Be sure to check which airport you are flying to, because transport costs into London can vary dramatically. Also, if are in transfer, be sure to check if it's the same airport you are flying out of or otherwise add lots of extra travelling time between airport. For example, between Stansted and Gatwich, it's easily 2 hours (train) but 3 hours by direct bus, which goes via Heathrow as well.

By Plane

London Heathrow
London Heathrow (IATA: LHR, ICAO: EGLL) is the largest airport in the London area, and many international flights arrive at Heathrow. In fact, no airport anywhere in the world handles more international passengers than Heathrow does. One of the world's busiest airports, Heathrow is crowded and known for outrageous line-ups and lost luggage. Heathrow has four terminals. To determine what terminal you will be using, check out the which terminal information from the Heathrow airport website.

Major carriers that fly to London include:

There are numerous options to get to and from Heathrow Airport.

London Heathrow Express

London Heathrow Express

© Hien

  • Heathrow Express is a non-stop train service that offers the fastest travel option to Paddington station in central London. Services run every 15 minutes and the journey time is just 15 minutes; a few minutes more for Terminals 4 or 5. A standard single ticket (2010) purchased online is £16.50 (£18.00 from ticket machine/office; £23.00 purchased onboard) and a standard return is £32.00 (£32.00 from ticket machine/office; £37.00 purchased onboard).
  • Heathrow Connect is a stopping train service between London Paddington and Heathrow Airport, and calls at Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Hanwell, Southall and Hayes & Harlington. Running every 30 minutes, a journey takes up to 25 minutes. Single tickets are from £4.90 to £7.90, depending on the destination.
  • Heathrow is on the Piccadilly line of the London Underground network, with three stops at the airport – Terminals 1 and 3; Terminal 4 and Terminal 5. There are two different train services; one stopping at Terminals 1 and 3 and Terminal 4, while the other at Terminals 1 and 3 and Terminal 5. Journey time to central London is under an hour and you shouldn't have to wait longer than 10 minutes for a train - even off-peak. A single ticket into central London (Zone 1) costs £4.
  • Heathrow Airport is served by an extensive network of local buses which operate from the central bus station. Some services also stop at Terminal 4. Services into west London are part of the Transport for London network. A single adult fare for anywhere in London is £2. The bus station is well signposted from Terminals 1 and 3 and is located above the London Underground station. Access from Terminals 1 and 3 is via underground walkways. The approximate walking distance from Terminal 1 is four minutes, and from Terminal 3 is seven minutes. The routes from the airport can be found on this map. Information on services can be found at the TfL website or by calling +44 (0)20 7222 1234.
  • You can also connect National Express directly. Their buses numbers 032, 035, 403, 412 and 501 (one way/return from £10/15, tickets valid three months; 45 minutes to 70 minutes, every 30 minutes to one hour) link Heathrow with Victoria coach station (7730 3466; 164 Buckingham Palace Rd SW1) over 50 times per day. The first bus leaves the Heathrow Central Bus station (at Terminals 1, 2 and 3) at 5:35am while the last departure leaves at 9:35pm. In the other direction, the first bus leaves Victoria at 7:15am, the last at 11:30pm.
  • The The Tube (one way adult/child £4/2, from central London one hour, every five to nine minutes) is the cheapest way of getting to Heathrow. Operations start from approximately 5:00am (5:50am Sunday) to 11:45pm (10:50pm Sunday). You can buy tickets from machines in the baggage reclaim areas of the Heathrow terminals or in the station itself.
  • Taxis are available at Heathrow Airport 24 hours a day. There are taxi ranks at all terminals, as well as taxi information desks inside. It costs about £45 to £70 to central London and the average journey time is approximately an hour.

London Gatwick
London Gatwick (IATA: LGW, ICAO: EGKK) is the busiest single-runway airport in the world, the second largest airport in the UK and the seventh busiest international airport in the world. Around 90 airlines operate from Gatwick's two terminals, named North and South, serving around 200 destinations.

Ways to get to and from Gatwick include:

  • Gatwick Express offers dedicated, high-speed travel to London Victoria station with a journey time of just 30 minutes. A standard single fare is £16.90 and a standard return is £28.70.
  • Southern Railway offers services to London Victoria, London Bridge, East Croydon and Clapham Junction. Southern take about 35 minutes to London Victoria. Fares are up to £16.90, but advanced purchase or travelling off-peak can reduce the price. Access is from the South Terminal.
  • First Capital Connect offers services to London Bridge, St Pancras International and other stations in southern, central and northern London. First Capital Connect take 30 minutes to London Bridge. Fares are up to £11.80, but advanced purchase or travelling off-peak can reduce the cost.
  • National Express and easyBus both provide coach service to London from Gatwick. National Express tickets cost £7.50 while easyBus tickets start from £2.00.

By car, Gatwick can be reached by taking junction 9A from the M23. The M25 provides access to Greater London, while the A23 provides local access, as does the A217.

London Stansted
London Stansted (IATA: STN, ICAO: EGSS) has domestic and European connections, plus limited destinations in North America and Africa.

There are several ways to get to and from Stansted Airport.

  • Rail: Stansted Express provides services from Stansted Airport to London Liverpool Street station, with trains departing every 15 minutes with an average journey time of 45 minutes. A single ticket costs £18.80. and £26,80 for a return ticket, when tickets are prebooked at the website. If the tickets are bought at the airport or at Liverpool Station, they are £1.00 more expensive for a single ticket, and £2.00 for a open return ticket.
  • Bus: A cheaper option is easyBus, run by the easyJet company, which offers transport to and from central London from £2.00 each way. Other express coach services to London include the National Express and TerraVision (London Victoria and Liverpool Street stations). National Express also has services directly to Oxford. Excel operates a coach service to Capel St Mary and Ipswich every 2 hours. A few more companies and local lines operate from the airport as well.
  • Car: Stansted is connected to northeast London and Cambridge by the M11 motorway and to Braintree, Colchester and Harwich by the A120.

London Luton
London Luton (IATA: LTN, ICAO: EGGW), about 57 kilometres fron the centre of London, is a major hub for low-cost carriers. Airlines using this airport include easyJet, Ryanair and Thompsonfly.

There are a few options to get to and from Luton Airport.

  • Rail: The fastest way to get from the airport to the city is by train, which arrives at the St Pancras International Train Station in 30 minutes. Trains also go to Wellingborough, Kettering, Leicester and Nottingham. You need to get a shuttle bus to the Luton Airport Parkway railway station first.
  • Bus: GreenLine Coaches and easyBus operate direct bus services to London. National Express buses go to London Stansted Airport.
  • Car: The airport is just a few miles away from the M1 motorway. There are rental car facilities at the airport.

London City Airport
London City Airport (IATA: LCY, ICAO: EGLC) is situated just 10 miles (16 kilometres) from the West End (the major shopping centre) and Westminster (location of main government offices), six miles (10 kilometres) from the City of London (the financial district) and three miles (5 kilometres) from Canary Wharf (London's newest business and financial centre).

There are several ways to get to and from London City Airport.

  • Rail: Getting there and away is easy by public transit with the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) operating for connections to the City and Canary Wharf.
  • Bus: London Buses services 473 and 474 run to local East London destinations.
  • Car: There are short-term and long-termin parking places and car rental facilities at the airport, and taxis are available outside the terminal.

London Southend Airport
London Southend Airport is the newest star and is located near Southend-on-Sea, directly east of London proper. Easyjet has most flights, with regular connections to/from Malaga, Venice, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Faro, Jersey, Belfast, Alicante, Amsterdam, Geneva and Barcelona. A few other airlines fly to/from Dublin, Waterford, Dresden and Saarbrucken.
A regular rail service runs from Southend Airport Station to London Liverpool Street Station in central London.

By Train

Paddington Train Station - London, England

Paddington Train Station - London, England

© Calcruzer

There are numerous train stations in London serving locations across the UK. Details on services are available from National Rail.

International Services on the Eurostar via the "chunnel" currently arrive at St Pancras International Train Station from Brussels and Paris, and other destinations in France and Belgium. St Pancras International is served by the Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Northern, Picadilly and Victoria lines on the London Underground.

For transporting your own vehicle (car, motorcycle) through the 'chunnel', check the Eurotunnel website, and for all other international options check the|Rail Europe]] website.

By Car

London is well served by highways and roads into the town. Check out online maps like Google Maps for driving directions.

Drivers should note that the city is very busy, and traffic is a common problem. In addition, much of the centre of the city is covered by a congestion charge of £8.00 for any travel within the city centre, Monday to Friday from 7:00am to 6:00pm, excluding holidays.

By Bus

National Express has coach services from major cities and towns in the UK and Europe. Megabus has quite a few services within the UK as well and in general is cheaper as well, as they operate like a sort of low-cost airline, with seats for as little as £1.00 if you book early.
Greenline is another operator on UK routes. For more options on European routes check the Eurolines website.

By Boat

There are no ferries services directly into London, however a number of international ferry services run to coastal towns in the United Kingdom, and travellers can drive, take the bus or take a train from there. For more information about options regarding arriving or departing in the UK by ferry, check the UK Getting Around section.



Getting Around

By Car

With its narrow streets, busy traffic and congestion charges, most people leave the car at home and take the frequent public transport options. If you insist, there are numerous options to rent a car with both local as well as major international companies. Try Easycar, ElephantCar, Hertz, Sixt, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Thrifty and Enterprise, for a start.

Drivers should note that the city is very busy, and traffic is a common problem. In addition, much of the centre of the city is covered by a congestion charge of £8 for any travel within the city centre, Monday to Friday from 07:00 to 18:00, excluding holidays.

By Public Transport

Underground sign, London, UK

Underground sign, London, UK

© GregW

Transport for London (TfL) manages the bus, riverboat, tram and overground and underground train services in London. London uses a travel zone (PDF file) system, with crosses into other zones increasing the cost of fares. Informally, Central London is Zone 1 and the zone number increases as one travels farther away from the city centre.

For travellers who are spending multiple days in London, the best choice is either an Oyster card or a Travelcard. These are strongly recommended, because without them, ticket prices are obscene. Travelcards allow unlimited travels on the TfL network and come in Day, 7-day, Monthly and Annual validity. Oyster is a stored value travel smartcard that you use on the TfL network. Simply "touch" the card on a card reader when you enter and exit the system and you will be charged the lowest fare. For Oyster Pay-As-You-Go card, daily charges are capped at the price of a Day Travelcard even if you travelled more than that. Stored value in the card can be topped up at all tube stations.

The TfL Journey Planner is a great tool to find the route, mode and journey time to get from one place to another. Maps are also provided to assist travellers find their way around.

Underground, DLR, Overground

Bank Station, London Underground

Bank Station, London Underground

© Hien

London has the oldest underground transport system in the world, and it shows. Delays are common. That said, the network is extensive, especially north of the river. Londoners usually call the Underground "the Tube," named after the shape of the underground tunnels. In London, a "subway" is an underground passage used by pedestrians to cross under a road.

The DLR (Docklands Light Railway) is a driverless light rail service that serves mainly the South East London. Compared to other modes of public transportation which are built decades or even over a century ago, this railway is fully accessible, making access much easier for people using wheelchairs, or who have other mobility impairments, as well as people with young children in prams or with heavy bags.

Unlike the Underground system, the DLR does not have barrier gates where you touch your Oyster card or insert your ticket to enter or exit. Instead, it is an open system and travellers are trusted to purchase a ticket prior to boarding, or in the case of Oyster card users, a card reader is placed at the station entrance. Remember to "touch in" when you enter and "touch out" when you exit. Don't even think of taking a free ride as there are ticket inspectors on the trains who will not hesitate to slap you with a penalty for fare evasion.

Overground is a sub-urban train service in London. It runs on ground level mostly in Zones 2 and 3. It has a lower frequency with train arriving every 15 to 20 minutes. The Overground also has no barrier gates like the DLR. Options include the Thameslink and Silverlink. Silverlink links Richmond in the southwest with North Woolwich in the southeast via Kew, West Hampstead, Camden Rd, Highbury & Islington and Stratford stations. Thameslink goes from Elephant & Castle and London Bridge in the south through the City to King’s Cross and as far north as Luton.

Zone 1 only£4.00£1.80£1.80£7.20£5.60
Zones 1–2£4.00£2.30£1.80£7.20£5.60
Zones 1–3£4.00£2.70£2.40£8.60£6.30

* Oyster single fare: Peak hours are Monday to Friday from 06:30 to 09:30 and from 16:00 to 19:00. Off-peak hours are at all other times including public holidays.
** Day Travelcard and Oyster price cap: Peak hours are Monday to Friday from 04:30 to 09:29. Off-peak hours are Monday to Friday from 09:30 to 04:29 (the following day); Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from 04:30 to 04:29 (the following day).

Further information:

Bus and Tram
London has such a wide bus network that a Londoner's knowledge of the routes is just as good as the next visitor to the city. The iconic red double-decker bus is a good way to travel around while still being able to see London compared to the Underground. Standing is not permitted on the top deck when the bus is full. All bus stops have bus route information and it is not uncommon to see two or more bus stops in a row, each serving different routes. There are bus services 24 hours a day. However, only certain trunk and N-prefix (indicating night bus) routes run throughout the night to major parts of London.

Adult£2.00£1.20 (daily price cap: £3.90)£16.60
Children under 11sFree--

Tickets can be purchased on board of most buses. You can also find road-side ticket machines on routes where buses do not sell tickets on board. So if you see a road-side ticket machine and you don't have an Oyster card, get a ticket first before boarding the bus.

Tram services are only available in Croydon in South West London.

Further information: Bus maps, Tram maps, Bus and tram fares

Not entirely useful for commuters, but an enjoyable way to get around and see the traditional artery of the city at the same time, riverboats ply their trade between Putney in the west and Woolwich in the east, with several stops in the centre. This is a particularly good way to get to Canary Wharf or Greenwich. Thames Clippers offers commuter services running from 6am to just after 1am. The services (adult single/­return £5/8, child -5yrs and under- half-price, roughly every 20 to 30 minutes) give you access to lots of the river sights. Boats run from Embankment to Woolwich Arsenal Piers, passing the Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf, Greenwich and the O2.

Further information: River maps, River fares

By Taxi

Taxis come in two varieties: licensed and unlicensed.

Licensed taxis (aka black cabs, officially Hackney carriages), are black with a yellow 'taxi' light on top In order to get a license, a candidate must pass a demanding test called The Knowledge. Essentially, he or she must know every street in London and how to get between them. So vast is this amount of spatial information that MRI studies have shown that your average cabbie has an enlarged hippocampus. So if you go by black cab, you can be confident your driver will know the way (although he may not want to go there: many cabbies get a nosebleed if asked to go south of the river). You can also be reasonably confident of your security and can take the licence number of your driver if you wish to complain. The downside: you pay more.

If you travel in an unlicensed taxi, you will pay less. But you will need to know how to get to your destination, since you will probably have been in London longer than your driver, even if you are a tourist. And you will have no idea of the identity of the person driving you. Women on their own are especially advised to think carefully before using this means of transport.

By Foot

Greater London is a very large city, and it is not practical to explore all of it on foot. However, most of the sites of interest to tourists are in the centre of town. It is quite practical (and highly recommended) to walk between the central sites and then take public transport home. London is a very rewarding city to explore on foot, and both Westminster and the City of London are full of thousand-year-old nooks and crannies that can only be seen this way. Walking along either bank of the river is also recommended.

Several companies offer walking tours of the West End or the City. Almost every building in the centre has an interesting history to it, and this is one way to discover it.

Other rewarding areas for a day out on foot are the villages of Hampstead and Highgate and Hampstead Heath North London; Greenwich and Greenwich Park in South East London; and Kew and Hampton South West London.

By Bike

Provision in the UK for cyclists is pitiful compared to much of continental Europe. The Greater London Authority has carried out programmes to change that, the so-called London Cycling Campaign, and bicycle usage has increased sharply since the congestion charge for vehicles was introduced in 2002. Nevertheless, cyclists and motorists are constantly at loggerheads, and London is a challenging city for cyclists. It is essential to wear a helmet. Cycling around Hyde Park Corner offers a thrill comparable to that of parachuting. Heavy goods vehicles are particularly dangerous.

Cycle London, an initiative by Transport for London to promote cycling, provides information, and free guides and maps for cycling in London. The free maps can be found here. More online maps of cycle routes are also available at the London Cycle Network website.

The London Bicycle Tour Company offers tours and bike rental in London and surroudings. Go Pedal is another company offering bikes for rent, as doSouthbank Cycles and On Your Bike.

Another brand new company for bike tours in London is London Cycle Holidays: it offers self-guided tours in and around London and throughout main South England cities, by bike.

If you want to try something different try the London Pedicabs, which has three-wheeled cycle rickshaws, seating two or three passengers. Still, they are more typical tourist transport instead of a regular mode of transport.




Like any big city, London offers a mass of choices. From £2 breakfasts in greasy spoon diners up to £200 meals in the restaurants of some of the top chefs in the world, there are many choices.

For an inexpensive lunch, check out chains like Eat or Pret A Manager, both of which offer sandwiches, soups and salads for under £5.

Brick Lane, the heart of Banglatown, is the Curry Capital of the United Kingdom and is known for its "Cheap and Cheerful" atmosphere. You often come across touts for the restaurants trying to tempt you into their establishment. This is the time to negotiate your per-head price and attempt for a round of complimentary poppadoms or drinks! A Brick Lane curry is a must for anyone visiting London!

The High Street in Angel has an array of choices - even if you don’t know what you feel like eating! Everything is covered - from French to Turkish.

Borough Market, close to London Bridge Station, is one of the oldest and largest food markets in London. As well as restaurants and street food, you can also purchase fresh fruit & vegetables and specialty food products.

  • Le Mercury - Le Mercury is a wonderful example of a restaurant with affordable prices and delicious French cuisine! The place is small, so you may have to wait for a table (even during the week) if you don't make any booking. Address: 140A Upper Street, Islington, N1 1QY. (Tube: Northern line: Angel), Phone: 020 7354 4088
  • SAF - Healthy, all-vegan restaurant inside a great Whole Foods Market. Moderate price range, about £7-£13 for mains. Today's pasta and soup changes daily. Address: 63-97 Kensington High Street, The Barkers Building, London W8 5SE




Prices for a pint of beer in a pub range from £2 in the outer areas of London to £3.50 in the centre and at tourist areas. Clubs can charge significantly more, and drinks can cost £10 and above.

  • Gordon's Wine Bar - Gordon's Wine Bar is the oldest wine bar in London and has been serving London drinks (and meals) since 1890. It's a unique atmosphere and great experience for a night out in London. Address: 47 Villiers Street (just up from Embankment tube station, right next door to Charing Cross and a stroll across Hungerford bridge from Waterloo), Hours: Open from 11:00 to 23:00 every day other than Sunday which is 12:00 to 22:00
  • Edinboro Castle - Edinboro Castle pub in Camden is great for a pint or two if you're around the North London. They also have a great menu and a lovely big beer garden for when the sun comes out. Address: 57 Mornington Terrace, Camden, NW1 7RU (Tube: Northern line – Camden Town or Mornington Crescent), Phone: +44 20 7255 9651
  • Wetherspoon - Wetherspoon pubs generally offer reasonably priced drinks and food, though admittedly the atmosphere can be less than inspiring in some of them.




London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and as such finding places to sleep can be pricey. However, with some advanced planning an accommodation option can be found for most budgets. With the extensive tube and train system, travellers can stay a little further out of the city and still be close to the action.

Private rooms in hotels, B&Bs and studio apartments in flats can be found around London for £40 a day and up. Areas with lots of hotels and B&Bs include Earl's Court and Paddington. Travellers can also check out Gumtree for listings of short term vacation rentals in flats in the city.

London is home to some of the most luxurious hotels outside of Dubai (which seems to have cornered the market on luxury hotels).

Many upscale accommodations can be found in Mayfair in the West End, including The Ritz and Claridge's Hotel, both renowned for the lavish accommodations.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)




Before making plans to move to London and start working, make sure you are legally entitled to work in the UK so you do not face any legal difficulties by accidentally breaking the law. There are a number of ways you can apply for work permits and visas, and of course, this is also affected by your nationality. Check out the different types of work permits and visas to make sure you are entitled to work when you move to London.

With a number of UK and international companies based in London and a large population requiring goods and services, there are a lot of job options in London. Check out Monster or gumtree for job listings. Also, The Guardian Newspaper is also a major advertiser for skilled professionals – check out their website or pick up a copy in any newsagent's shop on a Wednesday for the biggest selection of jobs!




London has the largest population of students of any city in the UK. Here is a list of some of the more popular universities.

  • University of London is the largest university in London with over 135,000 students on campus, plus another 40,000 studying off the main campus. The university is a federation of colleges which specialise in different subjects. Many of these are world-class: the London School of Economics has a great reputation in the social sciences, University College London in law, and so on.
  • Imperial College London, formerly part of the University of London, specialise in science, engineering, medicine and business.
  • University of the Arts London is a very good art school with other non-art programmes as well.
  • London Business School, a constituent college of the University of London, offers very highly-rated postgraduate degrees in business.
  • Brunel University is in West London and is a great school.
  • City University is known for making very good workers out of their graduates and their alumni earn very high salaries.
  • Royal College of Art is the only postgraduate arts university in the world.
  • Royal College of Music is a great music university in London.
  • Conservatoire for Dance and Drama provides higher level vocational education in dance and drama at several different places.
  • Richmond offers liberal arts and business BA degrees and Masters programmes with dual US and UK recognition.



Keep Connected


For free Wi-Fi, check out the map maintained by Londonist. A number of bars and restaurants offer Wi-Fi service with a purchase, and will usually advertise this fact. You may need to get the security key from the service counter.

McDonald's also offers free Wi-Fi connection in its restaurants across the UK.

Internet cafés can be found throughout London, and charge from £1 to £2 per hour, usually payable in 30-minute segments.


See also: International Telephone Calls

The mobile network operators in the UK are O2, Vodafone, T-Mobile, Orange and 3; and often have store fronts in most shopping areas. There are also other "re-branded" mobile phone service using the infrastructure of the mobile network operators. The Carphone Warehouse is an independent mobile phone retailer with stores around the country.

Mobile phone service plans are usually packaged as Pay-Monthly for post-paid plans, and Pay-As-You-Go for pre-paid plans. Pay-monthly plans usually come with a 12- or 18- month contract, while Pay-As-You-Go plans require top up of credit, which can be done at ATMs, kiosks and convenience stores with a "Top-Up" logo displayed.

International telephone call centres can be found around London, allowing you to place calls using a land line and pay for the call. These are often co-located with internet cafés.

The country calling code to the United Kingdom is: 44. To make an international call from the United Kingdom, the code is: 00

In case of emergency, call 999 or 112 from any phone. Such calls are free and will be answered by an emergency services operator who will ask you for your location, and the service(s) you need (police, fire, ambulance, coastguard or mountain rescue). You can call this number from any mobile telephone as well, even if you do not have roaming.


The Royal Mail provides postal services in the United Kingdom. The Royal Mail's store fronts are called Post Office and offer services ranging from sending letters and packages to foreign currency exchange. Use the branch locator to find the nearest Post Office branch. There will be at least one post office in any town/city and there are quite often post offices in larger villages. It's common for a post office to be incorporated into a grocery store, where there will be a small counter located at the back of the store for dealing with post related matters. All post offices are marked with signs that say 'post office' in red lettering. Post boxes can be found at any post office and standalone large red post boxes on the streets or red boxes in the sides of public buildings.
For sending packages overseas, it might be a good idea to check prices and services with international companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.



  1. 1 Mid-2010 estimate. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved on 2011–08–01.

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London Travel Helpers

  • planxty

    Although I would never claim to be a Londoner, I have lived there now for 29 years and have a reasonable working knowledge of the place. My specific area of expertise is the "East End" where I have lived since moving here apart from an 18 month period in Soho in the heart of the West End whch I also know pretty well.

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    Ive been living here in London since 2000 and keenly exploring and attending events eversince. For the first few years the TNT magazine for antipodeans in London fed me with info of many events to pencil into my diary so i discovered a lot of interesting places through them.
    I worked to and from work 45 to 60 minutes each day and to many places around city which is great for noticing signs on buildings for example bomb marks from WW2 or blue placques advising someone notable lived in this place feeding the inner photo and architecture lover and my love for seeing how other people live.
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