London

London, nestled in the Thames Valley is where the timeline of humanity is portrayed in one city. The story of London began when the Romans established it as a small settlement called Londinium around AD 43.

From her humble beginning, she began to flourish in the 11th century when William the Conqueror built the Tower of London, which laid the foundation for modern London.

At its core, ‘City of London’ is only almost 3 square km in area, however nowadays London refers to the expansive metropolis engulfing the City of London.

London historically is split between various boroughs. London, the capital of United Kingdom, is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with well over 9 million people who are the cause of its prosperity.

While London retains its rich English history, it is also very diverse in the range of individuals and cultures, with more than 300 languages spoken within Greater London.

Brought upon by the 2 Millenia of civilisation London encompasses four World Heritage Sites namely The Tower of London, Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, the historic settlement of Greenwich (in which the Royal Observatory, Greenwich marks the Prime Meridian, 0° longitude, and GMT) and collectively the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret’s Church.

While London is blessed with impressive ranges of public transport, its real charm is best found on foot. When you think of London, you can almost see the iconic landmarks she has to offer.

However, by far the imposing Big Ben is where London is tied together. The timeless masterpiece rings every hour, on the hour for all to listen. It is a must visit and a great first site to start your exploration.

Just down the river is Tower bridge, not to be confused with London Bridge. This elegant bridge is an insight into the economic powerhouse London once was and still is. Unlike other buildings, it is painted blue as it was Queen Victoria’s favourite colour.

To know London through the ages, you must visit the Tower of London. This site is so deeply entrenched in London’s age old history. Once England’s grimmest prison, now it is a popular attraction where people of all ages marvel at the kings and queens long gone.

For today’s kings and queens, the Buckingham Palace is the place to go. Rivaling many royal courts around the globe this palace is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II.

For another imperial encounter, you should take a peek at the famous Kensington Palace. Since the 17th century, it is the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The State Rooms are now open to the public and managed by the independent charitable organisation, Historic Royal Palaces.

Escape the infamous hustle and bustle of London and spend some time in the Royal parks where the scenery is sure to never to let you down. Namely Bushy Park, Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Regent’s Park, Richmond Park and St. James’s Park. Together these eight parks leave 2000 hectares of serene space within Greater London.

If you are looking for a different legacy left in London, there is the St. Paul’s Cathedral which holy domes peers into the world-renowned skyline.  The Cathedral suffered heavily from the Great Fire of London which ravaged through the city in 1666 possibly from a bake-house.

Among the numerous celebrities in London, no one has such literary significance as Shakespeare. His legacy lives in London today in the form of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre.

While many landmarks serve as a reminder of the past, London also encompasses the refreshingly modern world of today. The towering London Eye protruding into the timeless skyline is in the heart of London, sitting on the Thames’ riverside. The Ferris wheel of colossal proportions gives a different perspective of London while retaining reasonable comfort.

Your journey to London is not complete without visiting its numerous pubs to experience the local tradition.

Knowledge is the language of London that never ceases to stop. The world’s greatest treasures can be found in no other than the vast British Museum, and the entry is free.

Another insight to the world of knowledge is interactive and possibly the most interesting museum in the world namely, the Natural History Museum. Be wary that these museums, these can leave anyone overwhelmed trying to explore in one day.

London offers much more than it can be said, so it leaves you no choice but to create your own story of London

  • Palace of Westminster & Big Ben
  • Wesminster Abbey
  • On Tower Bridge
  • Shard
  • Tower of London
  • Royal Observatory
  • Dome of St Pauls Cathedral
  • Trafalgar Square
  • London Cleopatra's Needle
  • Madame Tussaud
  • Shell Mex House
  • National Maritime Museum
  • Oxford Street shopping
  • The City Hall
  • Shakespears Globe Theatre
  • Northolt & Greenford Countryside Park
  • Westminster Central Hall
  • Westminster Station
  • Arundale Castle
  • Arch over King Charles Street
  • Busy Thames Bank
  • Cutty Sark
  • HMS Belfast
  • Famous No.10 Downing Street
  • Famous London Phone Booth
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • London Skyline

Airport information

London has 5 Airports.

City Airport located in London has services to Europe and specialised flights to Newyork.

Stansted airport the third busiest airports in the UK is located 45min Northeast of London. It serves mostly UK’s low-cost airlines and to other European and Mediterranean sectors.

Luton Airport located 56km Northwest of London is one of the largest airports in the UK with low-cost carriers, serving mainly to domestic and European sectors. Remember, local airports have limited luggage allowances.

Gatwick is a single-runway international airport, located 45km south of London servicing at least 200 destinations around the world.

Heathrow Airport, located 32km to the west, is one of the largest aviation hubs in the world with five terminals with all the facilities known.

Catching a Heathrow Express train is the fastest way to get to London Paddington Station in Central London, services are every 15min.

The most popular and the cost effective way to travel is to get Piccadilly line underground tube. The tube has three stops in Terminals 1-3, Terminal 4 and Terminal 5. It takes 50min to get to Piccadilly Circus in Central London. All of London airports are easily reachable through London Public transport network, Transport For London.

Alternatively, you can use our recommended shuttle service from any London airport to Central London or private transfer from any airport for a more convenient way to get to the hotel.

 

Transport

London has one of the leading urban transport networks in the world, with integrated bus, river and road systems bridging the city’s 32 boroughs.

London buses are a quick, convenient and cheap way to travel around London, with plenty of sightseeing opportunities en route.

London’s Underground rail network, the oldest Metro in the world “the Tube” as it is known, is usually the fastest and stress-free way of travelling in and around London, Tubes on all 12 lines run from 5 am until midnight all seven days with reduced services on Sunday.

The driverless Docklands Light Railway (DLR) can be used to access parts of East and South East London including Canary Wharf and City Airport.

Travelling by the river is an excellent way to travel across London. You are sure not to miss the traffic, while you enjoy the fantastic views.

Use London’s National Rails and Overground network to travel across the city and beyond the Tube. Some National and Intercity trains and buses leave from major railway stations like Victoria station, St. Pancras station(adjacent to Kingscross station) and more. These trains include national rail, St Pancras, East Midlands, Southern Railway, Southwest, Cross County, Scottish Railway, Thames link and much more.

South London is covered by trams between Wimbledon, Croydon, Beckenham and New Addington. The services are frequent and accessible.

London’s public bicycle scheme is a pleasurable way to travel around the city – and the first half an hour is free!

London’s cable car can take you on great views across the River Thames between Royal Dock and Greenwich Peninsula.

Hop on Hop off bus is another way to go from one attraction to another, as they allow you to see the best part of the city’s attractions without the hassle of walking to look for public transport.

Taxis are available for hire at all times. Uber is quite popular in London.

Planning to drive? You can instantly rent a car suited to your personal needs filtered by price, availability, time and pickup/dropoff locations, by major car service providers.

To plan your journey and to find out a timetable, stations, fares, and so on, visit Transport For London.

A Visitor Oyster Card is a smart card and is a quick and easy way to pay for most of London journeys on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, Rail, River, Bus and most National Rail services in London.  A Visitor Oyster card costs £3 (plus postage) and is pre-loaded with pay as you go credit for you to spend on travel. You can choose any amount from £10 – £50 to be added to your card. Prices are subject to change at any time. These cards can be topped at most stations and local shops.

Hitchhiking is quite uncommon and not recommended except in very remote areas. To quickly find out your various transport options use the Transport For London.

Prepaid Phone SIM 

If you do not bring in Prepaid international roaming SIM from your country, you can purchase no contract Pay As You Go SIM from the arrival hall in the airport shops and any news agency in the city or suburbs.

Traditional providers are three, O2, Lebara, giffjaff(online only), and others. Get the SIM activated and use your Whatsapp, Viber, Skype, and so forth to make calls. If you want to use Google maps for your navigation, consider buying a package with sufficient data.

For your convenience and ease, you can source an International sim card that will work for over 190 countries with no contract, well before you land in London.

If you are a frequent traveller, you can go for an International mobile phone plus phone number for life with no contract for use over 190 countries.

Lockers and Luggage Storage

Luggage can be stored at left luggage facilities at Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick, Luton & City airports for a fee. You can leave your belongings in left luggage offices at most of the main railway stations, Cloakrooms in Museums and galleries and Westfield shopping centres.

Victoria Coach station also has a luggage storage facility. Click here for more information regarding luggage storage facilities.

Try Safestore, if you are looking for a week or more to store your bags in Central London.

Visitor Information Center

London Visitor Center is located at St. Paul’s Churchyard, London EC4M 8BX, United Kingdom. Open from Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 5.30pm and on Sundays from 10am to 4pm. Phone no.: 0044 20 7332 3456. Website details are http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk.

Plan your holiday well ahead to book our recommended tours and save time and money to start your thrills of action packed holiday well ahead.

Get access to the best deals and top experiences right at your fingertips with the London Attractions Pass. There’s something for everyone to enjoy offers and big discounts on premium experiences at a faster pace. Need some kind of planning in advance to make the best use of the deals and freebies.

Weather

London, similar to the various parts of southern Britain, has a temperate maritime climate, meaning that while the seasons are definite, temperatures do not exceed to extremes.

It would be something quite out of the ordinary for the temperature to touch below freezing even in Mid-winter. Likewise, the heights of summer offer some mild days with pleasant temperatures averaging 22°C.

The main feature of London’s climate is that nothing can be taken for granted – heat waves and cold spells within the season can sneak up on you from time to time.

When in London be prepared for the unpredictable weather where a sunny English sky can turn into a bucketing rain in minutes.

Overall though London encounters some reasonable weather with inevitable clouds. It is a lifesaver if you bring your umbrella even in summer.

Best Time to Travel

During summer some say London comes to life both with its burgeoning fields and endless festivities. Unfortunately, many tourist attractions and general retail tend to get much more expensive, and the crowd start rolling in, where you can be waiting in a queue for much longer than expected.

On the other hand in autumn and spring, it is seen as the best time to visit London as the weather isn’t bad. Also, it is not a peak season, so you will miss out on the high prices and the over crowdedness, unless if it is early in autumn or late in spring.

If you are looking to holiday in London on a budget, we suggest winter except for December. Unfortunately, with winter comes cold. Some believe London is most authentic in winter. However, December time is the exception with high prices and bustling crowds. The silver lining is a sparkling city with twinkling lights and festive events during the holiday season.

Food

Food and London is a bond that cannot be broken. London the economic and tourist centrepiece has one of the world’s cream of the crop of pubs, markets, restaurants, cafés and culinary schools.

From the Borough Market to Billingsgate Market, from the Ivy to local gastropubs, London’s gastronomic prospect is vast and energetic. The enduring celebrity chef phenomenon is very easy to pinpoint like the vivacious Gordon Ramsay, the creative Heston Blumenthal, and the outgoing Jamie Oliver who are among the best in the world.

However, London is not just about exclusive cuisine; there is also a vast assortment of good-but-inexpensive venues dotting the city. Ultimately to enjoy London’s fresh food produce is to take a visit to the numerous pubs, markets, restaurants, and many more food venues.

Dangers, Warnings, Safety Tips & theft:

  • Beware of walking alone in inner London streets at night and keep your belongings to yourself as theft isn’t uncommon.
  • If you are driving, take into consideration that there is a Congestion charge in and around the city of London levied for driving during the weekdays between 7 am – 6 pm.
  • At times you might be overwhelmed by a number of people around you during peak hours especially in the railway’s stations and hence the time taken to buy tickets and customer service to popular attractions or railway stations can take longer than expected.
  • Always stand on the right in those long escalators at the railway stations.
  • When travelling at night, choose a carriage of train, tram, or tube with more people in it
  • VAT(Value Added Tax) is the 20% sales tax that you paid during your visit in London, some of these can be refunded at the airport. Check which items on your purchases can be tax refunded.
  • Although people are courteous, extending a smile to a stranger isn’t something natural for Londoners.

 

Top  Attractions  In London