INFO on England
London is the capital city of both the United Kingdom and of England, and the largest European city. Situated on the River Thames in South-East England, Greater London has an official population of 8 million people, although the figure of over 14 million for the city's metropolitan area more accurately reflects London's size and importance. London is historically one of the great "world cities" and remains a global capital of politics, culture, fashion and finance.
The name "London" originally referred only to the once-walled "Square Mile" of the original Roman (and later medieval) city. "London", however, has taken on a much larger meaning, to include all of the vast central part of the modern metropolis, "London" having absorbed numerous surrounding towns and villages over the centuries. Reflecting the massive size of the metropolis, therefore, the term "Greater London" embraces central London together with all the outlying suburbs that lie in one continuous urban sprawl within the lower Thames valley. Though densely populated by New World standards, London retains large swathes of green parkland and open space, even within the city centre.
London is the place where the historic past and the vibrant present come alive. A blend of history, ground-breaking architecture and culture has created an amazing and constantly evolving city.
Not surprisingly the capital has become a mecca for visitors and a great place to live. There really is something to appeal to everyone and whatever your interests may be, the city has it covered.
With countless museums, galleries and entertainment options throughout the city there has never been a better time to come and find out just how much it has to offer.
Why travel to London?
London is one of the world’s most remarkable and exciting cities. It has something to offer every type of traveller. This vibrant metropolis embraces the diverse cultures of its population, reflected through cuisine, shops, music and colourful festivals.
London is a very accessible city; it has five international airports, an efficient road network and extensive Underground, train, bus, and taxi services. The city is famous for a wealth of history and culture. Home to Britain’s national art collections, the Royal family and a host of major attractions, London’s rich history, striking architecture and over 200 museums offer a unique cultural experience.
Despite a population of over seven million, more than 30% of London is made up of parks and green space, greater than any other city of its size in the world. This space provides the perfect opportunity for walks, relaxation or sporting activities. London also offers some of the best shopping opportunities in the world. From major department stores to designer boutiques and street markets - the choice is immense.As if that wasn’t enough, London is hard to beat when it comes to nightlife. There are huge numbers of restaurants, pubs, cinemas, theatres and nightclubs plus live music and comedy venues. So, at any time of day, whatever the weather, you’ll always find something extra special in London.
The National Gallery houses one of the greatest collections of European painting in the world. With paintings ranging from 1250 to 1900, the collection includes work by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Turner, Cezanne and Van Gogh.
The imposing British Museum exhibits the works of man from prehistoric to modern times with collections drawn from all around the world. Famous objects include the Rosetta Stone, sculptures from the Parthenon and the Portland Vase.
The impressive Tate Modern is Britain's national museum of modern art. Housed in the former Bankside Power Station on the banks of the River Thames, the gallery displays major works by Matisse and Picasso as well as contemporary work, exhibitions and installations.
The London Eye
The British Airways London Eye forms a major feature of London's skyline. It is the world's highest observation wheel and offers passengers spectacular views of over 55 of London's most famous landmarks in just 30 minutes.
Natural History Museum
As well as the permanent dinosaur exhibition, the gallery boasts a collection of the biggest, tallest and rarest animals in the world. Don't miss the life size model of the Blue Whale, the 40 million year old spider, the earthquake simulator and an elephant bird egg.
See, touch and experience the major scientific advances of the last 300 years at the largest museum of its kind in the world. With over 40 galleries and 2000 hands on exhibits, step into the future in the Wellcome Wing, visit the IMAX cinema and virtual reality simulator.
The Tower of London
The Tower of London has many important buildings and collections to explore and educational and entertaining events to take part in. These include: The Crown Jewels, Crowns & Diamonds, The White Tower, The Royal Armouries, The Medieval Palace, The Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters), The Ravens, Tower Green, The Chapels in the Tower of London, Traitors' Gate, The Wall Walk, The Fusiliers' Museum, Western Entrance & Water Lane, The Wharf and Tower Hill.
The Victoria & Albert Museum
The V&A celebrates all things art and design, and is home to 3000 years worth of amazing artefacts from many of the world's richest cultures. See their amazing collection of ceramics, furniture, fashion, glass, jewellery, photographs, sculpture, textiles and paintings.
The National Portrait Gallery
The gallery features portraits in all mediums depicting well known British people. In addition to historical portraits, it exhibits a rapidly changing collection of contemporary work with exhibitions by individual artists, and hosts the annual BP Portrait Prize competition.
National Maritime Museum
This is the largest maritime museum in the world with a collection of over two million objects relating to seafaring. Now a World Heritage Site, the historic landscape includes the 17th century Queen’s House and the home of the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory.
The Palace was built as a house for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703, and is now the permanet residence of the Queen.
It took eight years to build and opened in 1894. Impressive as it is today it must have been even more so back then. For many years London Bridge had been the only bridge over the Thames.
In the heart of London, on the north side of Regent’s Park, is London Zoo. When the Zoo opened in 1828 it housed a collection of exotic animals that were studied by eminent scientists of the day.
Madame Tussaud was born Marie Grosholtz in 1761 in Strasbourg.
The Cathedral is the Roman Catholic cathedral for the archdiocese of Westminster and is a few minutes walk from Westminster Abbey.
Trafalgar Square is probably most famous for the hordes of pigeons that frequent the area.
Big Ben is not the name of the famous London Clock as many believe, it is, in fact the name of the 13-ton bell (named after a bureaucrat) which can be found inside the clock. The Bureaucrat that the bell was named after was Sir Benjamin Hall. The Bell can be found in St. Stephen's Tower which is at the northern end of the Houses of Parliament.
London is served by a total of six airports - getting to and from the airports is made relatively easy by the large number of public transport links that have been put in place over recent years. If transiting through London, be sure to check the arrival and departure airports carefully as the transfer may be quite time-consuming.
1. London Heathrow is London and Europe's largest airport and the world's
2. London Gatwick is London's second airport, also serving a large spectrum of places world-wide.
3. London Stansted is currently London's third airport, the base for a large number of budget carriers and flights within Europe and a few inter-continental flights.
4. London Luton has traditionally been a holiday charter airport, but is now also served by some budget scheduled carriers.
5. London City Airport is a commuter airport close to the city's financial district, and specialising in short-haul business flights to other major European cities.
6.Southampton Airport is not officially a London airport, though accessible enough to conveniently serve the capital, especially South West London.
7. Birmingham International Airport is another non-London airport worth considering as a less congested and hectic alternative to Heathrow, being just over an hour away from London.
Docklands Light Rail (DLR)
Docklands Light Rail (DLR) is a dedicated light rail network operating in east London, connecting with the Underground network at Bank and Tower Gateway. Apart from the trains looking slightly different and running slightly less frequently than the Tube, visitors may as well treat the two systems as the same. The DLR uses the same system of Zones as the Tube, and travelcards are valid on DLR services. As the trains often operate without a driver, it can be quite exciting - especially for children - to sit in front and look at through the window, whilst feeling as though one is driving the train one's self.
Suburban Trains - Some areas of London are better served by trains than the tube, notably the northern suburbs. The North London Link stretches from Richmond across northern London to North Woolwich. Another useful rail service travels from Hampstead Heath to Kew. Often these suburban trains are cheaper than similar tube trains and leave the traveler closer to popular tourist destinations.
Most international and domestic long distance bus services arrive at and depart from a complex of coach stations off Buckingham Palace road close to London Victoria rail station. All services operated by
National Express or Eurolines serve Victoria Coach Station, which actually has separate arrival and departure buildings. Services by other operators may use this station, or the Green Line Coach Station across Buckingham Palace Road.
Buses are generally quicker than taking the Tube for short trips
London buses can provide a good orientation for first-time tourists. Several routes in particular connect popular travel destinations.
Double-decker red buses
Double-decker red buses seem to be synonomous with London, but there are "single-deckers" carrying travelers around the city, too. Single or double, there are a few basic tips to get the most out of bus travel in the London area.
Bus stop signs list the route numbers of the buses that stop there. If a bus is listed as "Request Only", then you must flag down the bus by raising your arm. If you don't, they won't stop.
Tube / Underground
The London Underground - also known popularly as "The Tube" - has trains that criss-cross London in the largest underground rail network anywhere in the world.
The Tube system is divided up into several Zones in concentric circles from Zone 1 (central London) all the way out to Zone 6 (outer suburbs). Fares for using The Tube depend on which zone you start in and how many zones you need to cross.
In July and August temperatures average around 18°C but can occasionally soar to 30°C or more.
In spring and autumn temperatures drop to between 11° and 15°C. In winter they hover just below 6°C; it very rarely freezes in London these days and snow is a very infrequent visitor.
INFO on England