>> London <<

Introduction

The English Capital. Londontown has everything anyone can imagine. London itself is divided - the City and the West End. Creations by Christopher Wren and the super modern buildings in the Docklands and the City ensure that all appetites for architecture will be met. There are numerous worthy sights to visit during the day and hundreds of restaurants, nightclubs and cafes to revel the night away! Don't forget to bring some rain gear as the clouds do tend to beat the sun over the country and a light drizzle is a common occurrence.
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What to See


Big Ben & Houses of Parliament
Big Ben

Houses of Parliament
The world famous Parliament clock situated next to Westminster tube station and overlooking the Thames, it towers over the streets and river ringing every hour with a chime every visitor to London has heard before. Big Ben is actually the name of the biggest bell in the tower.

The Houses of Parliament, or more officially titled the Palace of Westminster, span several blocks west of Westminster Tube Station and on the banks of the river Thames. This 19th century Gothic construction is definitely one of the world's most beautiful buildings and most famous.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
The Royal Family's main residence, Buckingham Palace is found at the bottom of Pall Mall and is well worth a visit. Lavish living quarters for a regal family. You can see the changing of the guard daily at 11 a.m., Monday to Saturday and an hour earlier on Sundays. If the flag is raised the Queen is in residence and you may just get a wave.

Bus Tours
We would strongly suggest that anyone wishing to take in the sights (some of which are detailed below) of London should take a trip on one of the sightseeing buses of London. The tickets cost a few pounds but are a great way to quickly see the major attractions. Many of the bus companies offer complimentary tickets for a boat ride or visit to Madame Tussauds, so be sure to compare them before making your choice. You can hop on and off wherever you please and the tickets are valid the whole day. Buses run from Embankment and Baker street tube stations.

Covent Garden
This trendy hub has a market place, street performers and is a hit with everyone. Also in the main square is the London Transport museum detailing the history of public transportation in the Capital.

Hyde Park
The city's biggest Park. Two ponds, many different walks, horse riding and just lazing about are all enjoyed in this mini ecosystem in the middle of the City.

Leicester Square
This is where you will find all the cinemas where the Premiers take place. They are pricier than cinemas outside the West End but definitely worth a visit. Just up from Leicester Square you will find China Town. There are many restaurants to choose from as well as Chinese buffets for the extra hungry! After a meal you may fancy walking through Soho. This part of the West End certainly rocks at night!

Madame Tussauds
World Famous and rightly so! Enjoy meeting up with the likes of Nelson Mandela, Prince Charles or Elton John to mention a few. The queues are long so make sure you go early. Nearest Tube is Baker Street.

Museums
London is home to some of the best museums in the world. Although visiting them all is probably out of the question during a short stay, a visit to at last a couple of the best are recommended. Among them are:
National Gallery
Tate Galleries
British Museum
Natural History Museum
National Portrait Gallery
Victoria & Albert Museum
Science Museum

Oxford Street
This is where you can do all your shopping. This road is the main artery linking you to every shopper's haven. There is a mixture of High Street stores and bargain shops which are mainly near Tottenham court road. Just off Oxford Street, opposite Topshop is a side road that leads to Liberty's and Carneby Street. Head towards Marble Arch and you will find a range of boutiques on Bond Street. Running parallel to Oxford Street is the famous Regent Street where there are a variety of stores unique to Britain. It does get very busy on the weekends so be prepared to wind your way through the mazes of people. If you fancy night shopping, the stores are open later on Thursday evenings.

Piccadilly Circus
London's version of Times Square - buzzing with people and plenty of vendors for nibbles and takeaways. For sports fanatics there is the famous Lily Whites store and a selection of huge CD megastores to take a stroll through.

St Paul's Cathedral
The city's biggest cathedral is dedicated to St Paul, London's patron Saint. It can be seen from most vantage points in the city. You may want to take a walk across the road where you will find the Millennium Bridge. This is a footbridge linking the cathedral to the Tate Modern Art Gallery. The artwork is free to the public apart from exhibitions that may be running at the time.

St-James' Park
English Flowers

St James's Park Lake
Next to Buckingham Palace, probably London's most beautiful park. A pond system stretches the entire length of the park where ducks, geese and other waterfowl swim and wait for kind offerings from visitors.

The London Eye
London Eye
This famous "ferris wheel" was built for the new millennium. It is a wonderful vantage point for anyone visiting London. It stretches high into the sky and on a clear day you can see as far as Gatwick airport and Windsor castle. The wheel, with glass capsules which carry large groups of people along with your very own tour guide, slowly moves continuously. It has proven itself to be very popular and runs night and day. You can book ahead or arrive on the day and wait your turn.

London Aquarium
Located right by the London Eye is the London Aquarium. Here you can see sharks, rays and a variety of sea life.

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge
In East London, and over a 100 years old, this landmark drawbridge is well worth a look.

The Tower of London is situated near the bridge and is open to the public. While you are in this part of the city you can also make a trip to the London Dungeons where you can see just what Jack the Ripper and those alike did get up to!

Trafalgar Square
Admiral Nelson's Column
The Square, with its' column dedicated to Admiral Nelson features in many movies and most of the city's other interesting tourist sites can be accessed from here by foot. The National Gallery and numerous Embassies surround this beautiful square.

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Regal Abbey, this is where the nation's elite gather for important weddings and funerals. The Abbey can be toured for a few pounds.

Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral
Just a few minutes from Westminster Abbey, up the road on Victoria Street, is Westminster Cathedral. This Roman Catholic Church is a beautiful red bricked building with a beautiful interior offering visitors a chance to go up the tower is a few pounds. Mass is held several times on Sunday morning and caters to both locals and tourists looking for a service.



What to Do


Go to the Theatre
London hosts some of worlds most famous theatre shows and tickets are available up to the curtain call at locations around the city. We suggest you go to Leicester Square and purchase tickets directly from official vendors early the day of the play or the day before, as seats are limited. You can also purchase tickets online at several web sites.

Ride the Thames

Greenwich Meridian
Get on a boat outside Embankment Tube station or Westminster Tube Station and travel the Thames heading towards the East to Greenwich Park, site of the Greenwich Meridian. Sights along the way include the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St-Katherines Docks up to the Cutty Sark at the final destination. You can take it one- way or return. Take a picnic lunch with you, walk up to the park at Greenwich and enjoy the masses of greenery.

Shop at Harrods, Selfridges or Liberty's
These world famous department stores attract millions of Londoners and visitors alike. They are beautifully laid out and have particularly special window settings at Christmas time.

Shop for Antiques in Notting Hill
London has some notable markets such as Brixton Market or Camden Street but our favourite is the famous Portobello road market in Notting Hill. The market is open every Saturday where you can feast your eyes on beautiful antiques or simply buy some freshly baked bread and pastries, fruit and vegetables and many varieties of fresh seafood.

Visit the markets
As mentioned above, there are numerous markets each offering something different. Brixton is predominantly a food market, open on Saturdays, while Petticoat Lane has everything from nibbles to clothes - closest tube is Aldgate East. Camden has a lot to see and is a must for high fashion and trendies. Its' at its' best on a Sunday. You could also venture out to Greenwich on a Sunday - the market is big and once again has a bit of everything.

Visit Kew Gardens

Spring time at Kew Gardens
The Royal Botanical Gardens located near Kew Bridge are a great way to spend the day out among the thousands of flower, tree and plant species on display in Kew Gardens. Among interesting Green Houses in the Royal Botanical Gardens are Alpine House, Palm House, Temperate House and the Princess of Wales Conservatory with it's huge variety of exotic orchids. The Gardens are spread over about 121 hectares and a great way to be with nature in London.

Go to a Football Match
The beautiful game, football or for others soccer, is followed with tremendous passion by most in the UK. In London, there is no shortage of teams to see but tickets for the more popular clubs are hard to come by. The most popular clubs in the country are Arsenal, Chelsea, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham.


What to Eat


Beers and Ales
With a huge amount of Ales, countless number of different beers, have a taste of all the varieties, you'll like them.

Fish and Chips
Traditional English dish with deep fried fish, French fries and peas.

Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding
A traditional English Roast for Sundays served with heaps of gravy, Yorkshire puddings and roasted potatoes.

Full English breakfast
The Brits love their breakfast and this one is hearty. Eggs, bacon, sausage, blood pudding, fries, beans and toast with a coffee will fill up even the greediest of eaters.

Pub Fare
London pubs have traditional English pub meals at affordable prices.

Curry
London is home to some of the best curry houses in England. You will be able to sample a curry-madras, balti or rogan josh just about anywhere around town but the most renowned spot for "having an Indian" is on Brick Lane in East London. The closest tube station is Aldgate East.

Cheese
Stilton, cheddar double Gloucester and Leicester, the English have an excellent cheese pedigree.


Where to Sleep


Hostels
There are loads of hostels around London. Prices vary from hostel to hostel but are generally affordable meaning you can stay in central London affordably. Search for and book London Hostels.

Hotel
There is no shortage of hotels in Central London. Most notably London hotels the Savoy, the Dorchester and Ritz Carlton. Bear in mind that these are in the top end of the market so don't expect to get a room at any of these for less than 180 a night. Many of the main hotel sites will have listings for you in centreal London. Find London Hotels.

Bed & Breakfast
There are a number of Bed & Breakfasts around central London that offer good value. It's a good idea to research the location and availability of a flat or bed and breakfast before your arrival in London.


How to Move


Airports
There are a number of different ways of getting into the City from any of the nearby airports. Visit www.baa.co.uk

You can book flights to and from London with the national carrier, British Airways.

 
Heathrow

 
Tube - Hop on the Tube to the Centre with a one day Travelcard and be in central London in less than an hour

Bus - A number of shuttle buses will bring you into a variety of Destinations around the city.

Heathrow Express - This train will take you into Paddington Station in 15 minutes. Visit www.heathrowexpress.com for more information.

Taxi - The most expensive option but will take you right to your door.

Gatwick

Train - There are frequent local trains into Victoria Station.

Bus - A number of shuttle buses will bring you into a variety of Destinations around the city.

Gatwick Express - This express train will get you into Victoria Station in about half an hour.Visit www.gatwickexpress.co.uk for more information.

Taxi - The most expensive option but will take you right to your door.

Stansted

Airbus - For 12, this bus will bring you into a variety of Destinations around the city and into Victoria Coach station in about an hour and a half.

Stansted Express - This train will take you to Liverpool Station in about 50 minutes.Visit www.stanstedexpress.com for more information.

Taxi - The most expensive option but will take you right to your door.

Luton

Bus - A number of shuttle buses will bring you into a variety of Destinations around the city.

Taxi - The most expensive option but will take you right to your door.

London City

Bus - The shuttle buses will bring you into a variety of Destinations around the city.

Taxi - The most expensive option but will take you right to your door.

Bus
Take one of the famous double deckers for 1 and it will get you around the city no problem.

You can also visit the country by bus and can find more information at - www.gobycoach.com

Car Rental
London is difficult to drive through and if you and we don't recommend renting a car but if you really want to rent a car to visit London and its' surroundings, it is worth it.

Taxi
Black Cab
The renowned black cabs of London know the best routes around the city and the fares are decent. Worth a look at night if you are not sure how to get back to your lodging.

Train
There is an extensive train network connecting inner London with the suburbs and the rest of the country. You can find trains in London and throughout the U.K. at www.thetrainline.com.

Eurostar
The Eurostar is a great way to get from London to France's major cities like Paris, and onto Amsterdam and Brussels at high speed.

Tube
The Underground covers the city and offers an affordable way around the city. Avoid it during the rush hours (7:30am to 10am and 5pm to 7pm) as the locals are commuting and in a rush. Visit www.thetube.com.


Locals


Cold
Due to London's size, Londoners are somewhat cold and short but the odd gem is out there. Most people will help if they can but don't expect to make too many friends in a short period of time.

Language
English - Obviously.

Time Zone
GMT

Currency
Great British Pound

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