The English capital, London, is the largest city by population in the European Union, with more than 7 million people. A settlement since ancient times, the historical city houses both United Kingdom parliament houses, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, The Tower of London, Tower Bridge and the Palace at Westminster. While many of these sites can be found along the River Thames, visitors to London will want to branch out into the London metropolitan area to get a greater feel for 21st century London, a city which has been a trendsetter for music, fashion, art, and culture for centuries.
One of the most important historical events in London's history is the Great Fire of London, which lasted from Sunday, September 2 to Thursday, September 6 in 1666. The fire, which began at a bakery on Pudding Lane, spread throughout London and destroyed more than 13,000 homes. It also destroyed 87 churches and the main buildings in the city. There were five causalities in the fire, and more than 2,000 people were left without food, clothing or shelter. The Great Fire of London has been depicted in numerous paintings, which you're sure to come across in London's museums.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
Visitors to London can expect to arrive at one of several airports: Heathrow is the largest, but Luton, Gatwick, Stansted and London City Airport are also options, depending on where you are flying from. There are many connecting flights where passengers must commute between the airports, but a bus service, London Flyer, will route connecting passengers to their next destination for a small fee. Otherwise most airports are accessible by train and/or bus.
Easybus links travelers from central London to Luton, Stansted and Gatwick. Heathrow is reached by the tube (Picadilly line) or by two trains that depart from Paddington train station in West London: the Heathrow Express and Heathrow connect (the former being slightly quicker than the latter). London City is closest to the center and can be reached by the underground as well.
The London Underground (also known as "the tube") is a very useful tool to be taken advantage of, especially since cabs are very expensive and traffic can be horrendous. Purchasing an Oyster Card is recommended as it will save you money if you intend to use the tube irregularly. Single trips paid for without an oyster will cost you significantly more! Day, week and month passes can also be purchased with one.
London and all of the UK currently uses the British Pound, which trades for about 1 GBP to every 1.98 U.S. Dollars (2008).
London's West End, actually in central London, contains the majority of the city's posh shopping centers and entertainment complexes such as Piccadilly.
Further out of the city's center, West London is home to the pricier property of the city, with such districts as Kensington and Notting Hill.
London's East End is, historically, one of the city's poorer sections, and branches out to East London, which contains much of the city's industrial center. This is rapidly changing as younger crowds have transformed its nightlife into a very hip, industrial locale. Many young artists and professionals now live in and around here.
An interesting tid bit to keep in mind before you go is that the view of the Big Ben set amongst the British Parliament buildings was the inspiration for the author of Peter Pan.
House of Parliament
King Street Station
Museum of London
Natural History Museum
St. Paul's Cathedral
The British Museum
The Covent Garden
Tower of London
Victoria and Albert Museum
There are plenty more things to see and do in ancient London.
Activities | Sights | Shopping | Science | Squares | Theatres | Zoos
Travelling around London
Sherlock Holmes Pub and Restaurant is more than delicious food. Located in Westminster, this pub has details of Sherlock Holmes stories scattered throughout, taking diners straight into the famous stories. The food is also a plus, being inexpensive yet still tasty. Their fish and chips are recommended.
Hummus Bros is an excellent hummus bar, serving hummus with toppings such as guacamole or chicken and warm pita bread. It has two London locations, one in Holborn and one in Soho. Great food for even better prices. The Holborn branch often offers student discounts.
A Ride on the London Eye