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Tourist information and destination rating

Category: Cities, Local time: 01:13:13, Official WWW website:


clean metro
distinctive atmosphere
tasty beer
jazz clubs
breathtaking architecture
multicultural city
bustling destination
a nice port
splendid sceneries
attractive museums
delicious meals
nice weather
excellent wines
has an amusement park
nice people


uncomfortable summer temperature
high crime rate
heavy traffic
poor or deceitful service
unpleasant humidity
chilly in winter

Suitable for

active vacation
sport tourism
health tourism

Why to go there?

historical centre
old&new architecture
political centre

Transportation and means of transport

international airport

business travel (industry)



in-line skating

Information and Facts

GPS: 51.4893, -0.0883
Altitude: 11 m
Last update: 2012-10-22 07:02:38

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London: Reviews

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 Aura: 69Reviews: 1242011-08-03 10:53:08
London, the capital city of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, is a city sought after by people interested in British history and Royal family, by fashion fans, enthusiasts in art and technologies, by pub loafers, and even by tourists tracing punk, rock or Harry Potter. London is a vibrant city, and has several different faces. To get to know at least some of them, three or more days is a must.

First Time to London

On your first visit to London, you can definitely do without a tour around the Royal Buckingham Palace - it will be enough if you look at them from the outside. You do not have to plan any special time for the Big Ben , you can see it from anywhere, and it is the same with many other places which you already know from postcards - the Trafalgar Square with Nelson Column and the National Gallery, the famous Leicester Square with pigeons at the outskirts of the Soho, or the Piccadilly Circus. Those places are noisy and overcrowded, as well as the sights and monuments in the other capital cities around the globe as 30 million people arrive to London every year. Alike, you can skip the recommended-by-English-text-books Downing Street No. 10 - you already know the door from TV news. In fact, the British Prime Minister lives at No. 11 and he has a perfect reason for that. If you want to get to know London, it is worth going to places full of real Londoners, for example, to the Hyde Park . London has a reputation of the most multi- cultural city in Europe because several generations of people from Africa, India, the Caribbean and other countries, originally immigrants, have been living in London. Those people, as well as local businessmen and clerks on the way home from work, can be seen in the Hyde Park, throwing flying discs. Among them, you will notice women with large shopping bags, full of clothes - the Harrods, the largest department store, is just behind the corner, less than five minutes from the Hyde Park. Foreigners often say that Britons are much quieter in public, and perhaps too polite and respectful, despite the fact that London speaks nearly two hundred languages. You will probably find out that the Speaker´s Corner in the Hyde Park is not exactly the thing you had expected. Forget it, go and have a coffee in the famous Serpentine Restaurant instead. (I bet latte would be a perfect choice. There is a common belief that English coffee tastes like water screwed from floor cloth but it does not hold true any more.) If you do want to get to know the real London, in its cosmopolitan version, you should pay at least a short visit to the Chinatown and some of the streets sweetly smelling of spice. Exploring London, you should not forget, at least once, and turn off the main direction, away from the tourists with cameras. Each London quarter is original, has specific atmosphere and history, and its own rhythm.

First Impressions, Other Impressions

Traditional tourism - i.e. historic buildings, sights and monuments , including the Royal tradition, cannot be omitted, but - there is a big but, there are 17, 000 protected buildings in London so you cannot see them all during your first visit. On first arrival to London, it is quite difficult to comprehend the general layout of this large city. From the upper deck of sightseeing buses - double deckers - you can observe the symbols of London in the oldest part of the city, called - without any fantasy - just the City. Today´s City is full of impressive structures of financial centres erected around the dome of St. Paul´s Cathedral and a hundred of other churches in the City. Beyond the eastern border line of the City, there is the royal castle and fortress in one, named the Tower of London , as well as the famous Tower Bridge . When you come to see London next time, you should look around this quarter of London and spend a while in the surroundings, i.e. in the area of East End, as the streets Whitechapel and Spitalfield are connected not only with the history of immigrants and London dockyards, but with the history of art, design and music as well. Just at the northern border of the City is Clerkenwell. In this mysterious locality, you will come across monastery ruins, Islington with luxurious houses, prosperous periphery theatres.and you can have a rest and nice meal in a cosy restaurant. To the west of the City, there is the Westminster, the political and royal centre of London. To the north of the Westminster Bridge, you can walk to the Parliament and to the Big Ben , and to the Westminster Abbey , where coronation ceremonies take place and significant personalities are buried and honoured. Currently, the memorial is frequently visited also because of Dan Brown´s novel, Da Vinci Code. Then you can continue along the government quarter to the Buckingham Palace and the St. James´s Palace, surrounded by the St. James´s Park and the Green Park, and then to the Admiralty Arch and the Trafalgar Square . The elegant quarters of St. James´s and Mayfair are full of modern shops, artistic galleries and restaurants, gentleman clubs and luxurious hotels (e.g. the Ritz) , including both auction halls, Christie´s and Sotheby´s. From there, to the west, there are elegant residential and shopping quarters Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Chelsea, Kensington, etc. However, the part of London between the City and the Westminster is very different. The southern bank of the Thames is full of art and amusement facilities - there are theatres and galleries. On the northern bank of the Thames, you can walk through ancient, narrow lanes and quarters of Holborn, Bloomsbury, Covent Garden and Soho. Bloomsbury is characterized by squares of green trees, and there is the British Museum , a big part of the University of London, and many museums as well.

Full English Breakfast

After a night in London, it´s time for the Full English Breakfast. This traditional meal might be scary - beans in tomato sauce, fried halved tomatoes, salami, sausages, crispy bacon, a pile of mushrooms, a fried egg, and toasts -all that with thin coffee or strong black tea with a lot of milk (the colour is not important, and the tea is well tasted) . The full English breakfast is available everywhere, both in luxurious restaurant and in low-budget diner called "greasy spoon". After the breakfast, you will feel full for the rest of the day so that you won´t have to waste any time eating. The story goes that if you come back home without stomach-ache, you have never been to London.

Museums in London

Nowhere in the world would you come across so much quality in such a huge quantity. Many people plan to go to London and visit the British Museum , the Victoria and Albert Museum or the Natural History Museum . However, most of them do not have a slightest idea that there are nearly 300 other museums in London, as well as numerous commercial and artistic galleries since London is the world centre of art and trade. You just can´t skip the museum of modern art, called the Tate Modern . It is recommended to visit this former electric power plant on Saturday night, when nearly all tourists and natives sit in a pub and drink their beers. If you arrive at daylight, you can sit and relax in the restaurant on the 7th floor of the Tate Modern, enjoying the beautiful view of London, comparable to views from the Ferris wheel, the famous London Eye .

Theatres in London

London is a city of dramatic art, in recent years getting ahead of New York. The London dramatic art is world-famous, and visitors come to gain first hand experience. Anyway, they might be surprised or confused when they discover that, besides the Shakespeare´s Globe Theatre , there is a huge offer of more than a hundred of other theatres whose performances and musicals are staged simultaneously. Tourist might appreciate afternoon shows at weekends, called the matinees. Theatres are mostly found in the quarter named West End but you can enjoy excellent performances in more distant theatres as well. If you choose, for example, the National Theatre on the south bank, you may be surprised twice -in front of the theatre buildings, you can listen to young musicians, playing absolutely anything, from classic music to reggae. You can have a similar experience from contacts with live street art - music performances, dance and equilibrists - if you visit e.g. the Covent Garden.

London for Technicians

London has a lot to offer to tourists interested in technologies. Why not try the Thames Path along the Thames? You can send your friends, keen on historic monuments, to the other end of the Thames Path, to the Hampton Court Palace - I bet they will like the place where King Henry VIII would seduce his potential wives. And you can explore the eastern side of the city, the Flood Barriers and the quarter named Greenwich. You can see the Greenwich Meridian (or Prime Meridian) and you can visit the Royal Greenwich Observatory and the National Maritime Museum in the former Royal residence in the middle of the posh Greenwich Park. If you have more time, you can pay a visit to the Millennium Dome, the technical wonder which was built to celebrate the beginning of the third millennium. In this part of the city, you can sense the soul and the old glory of London as the world harbour. You can enjoy little pubs or restaurants near Southwark Cathedral, offering typical pies with a pint of beer - in fact, there are six different pints of beer.When it comes to technical wonders, this part of the city is proud of its own, elevated railway - Docklands Light Railway - which is connected with the underground transport system. St. Katharine Docks and the Isle of Dogs are magical - and the magic will be even stronger when the famous tea-clipper, Cutty Sark, will have been reconstructed. In 2007, it nearly burnt down but there is a plan that the reconstruction will have been completed by 2012. However, a few miles to the north, a strong rival has been developing to this lovely corner of London - unexpectedly, the Olympic Park, constructed for the Olympic Games 2012, has been becoming a sought-after tourist attraction.

London - Catering Power

London really is the catering power as there are nearly six thousand restaurants. You can eat in little pubs (there are five thousand of them) or you can have a simple meal in a bar, too. Many of the cosy restaurants are situated in historic buildings or along the Thames River. Sometimes there is a live band, playing music, and you can come across a theatre performance, too. Another alternative is e.g. the fast-food restaurant Yo! Sushi (the daily menu is fresh) . In London for the first time, you should not skip the traditional fish and chips. Do not forget to taste cider and some of the many local English beers.

Useful Tips

If you plan to go to London just for a weekend, it is good not to waste your time sitting in the Tube (metro) . It is widely known that most of the passengers, natives of London read books rather than newspaper or magazines while travelling by tube. You should book a hotel in the centre of the city. It is good to use the services offered by travel agencies that offer euro weekends. You can let them organize your accommodation and you can plan your own programme. We recommend the London Central Youth Hostel in Bolsover Street (just a few minutes from Oxford Street with the shopping centre named Selfridges, in order to make shopping easy and comfortable for you and your friends. People from Europe often come to buy clothes in London although it is very well known that shopping in New York is better and cheaper. If you seek for reduced prices, you should go to London in January or July. One definitely cannot miss the Harrods at Knightsbridge - beautiful and somehow decadent, because it is the only department store which sells natural fox, bear and other fur. Another unforgettable experience will be your visit to the Hamley´s, a specialist in toys and sports equipment. In London, there are approximately 350 street markets with little shops and stalls with antiquities, e.g. the Covent Garden and the Portobello Road. If you come to London on Friday and Saturday, you should not leave out the London Market, a traditional market with fresh foodstuff. If you would like to improve your home collection of books, you should definitely pay a visit to the perfect bookstore and second-hand book store Judd Books in Marchmont Street, not far from the British Library - they sell even new books much cheaper than the other sellers. For example, you can have the first edition of Harry Potter for 2 pounds. By the way, it is worth exploring London through tracing famous literary heroes connected with this great city. London is full of shadows of Oliver Twist and other characters created by Charles Dickens. It was in London that Oscar Wilde was arrested for the "act of indecency with other males". James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Zadie Smith.what is more, you can shake hands with real Sherlock Holmes in Baker Street, just next to the Madame Tussaud´s Wax Museum . The rich history of London offers other, very good options for theme trips around London, too. If you are interested in London ghosts and spirits, start off at the Bloody Tower and continue to Barnet Road and Enfield. If you are a fan of detective stories and crimes, you will definitely be impressed by e.g. the London Dungeon . Sportspeople may choose exploring stadiums of leading football clubs, or perhaps they prefer the tennis court at Wimbledon? Another good option is to trace the jewels of modern London architecture, such as the Canary Wharf Tower, the Millennium Bridge, the 30 St Mary Axe or, you can study the underwater world in the darkest and most fascinating labyrinth of the capital city, the London Aquarium at County Hall , or you can visit the London Film Museum .

Green London

People staying in London for a longer time usually need to leave the bustling and hustling city behind, at least for a while. You can take a walk to the Hampstead Heath in the north-western part of London, for example. There are three natural swimming -pools in this forest park, and you may be surprised by the traditional separation: there are separate swimming -pools for ladies, gentlemen and mixed groups. In addition, the park is an experimental exhibition hall in the open air and presents unusual architectonic ideas and inventions. In fact, London offers approximately 1700 parks of all types, and the parks occupy some 11% of the area of Great London. Tourists love to visit the Kew Gardens , which is a living museum of plants, landscape, buildings and sculptures. It is widely believed that the most beautiful park in London is the St James´s Park near the Buckingham Palace, which is unfair as some other parks, e.g. the Richmond Park or the Greenwich Park offer breathtaking panoramas. Peace and tranquillity may be found at cemeteries and church gardens. Some of them are just magical, e.g. the garden hidden inside the ruined church St. Dunstan -in -the East.

Transport and Useful Information

There are several airports in London (Heathrow, Gatwick, London City Airport, Stansted) . Information centres are at every popular tourist locality, the main information centre (Britain&London Visitor Centre, www.visitbritain.com, www.visitlondon.com) is at 1 Regent Street. You can move around London on foot, by public transport or by train, by tube (instead of single tickets, it is better and cheaper to buy the Travelcard (London Transport) - the options are: one day, weekend, week, family ticket) . The Travelcard is valid for city buses , DLR (Dockland Light Railway, elevated railway connected to the underground network) . The underground lines are distinguished by colours and the system is easy to understand. If having doubts, ask for advice, local people will help you, they sometimes lose the way , too. London is divided into six zones, zones 1 and 2 cover nearly the whole central London. Do not leave out a ride on the traditional red bus (double -decker) : their numbers are decreasing. Another good option is to take a cab ("black cab" or "minicab" , but, careful, if the traffic becomes difficult, the ride may become quite expensive. You can stop the black cab right on the street providing that it signals For Hire, or you can call them (020- 7272 027) . Minicabs are often driven by untrained drivers and sometimes the vehicles are not insured. There is a perfect exception , the Lady Cabs (phone: 020 - 7254 3501) , whose drivers are females so the service is often used by women who travel alone. For the first visit to London , the best choice is to take a boat trip on the Thames ( from the Westminster down the Thames to the Greenwich, to the Tower of London 20 - 25 minutes, to the Thames Barrier 1 hour 15 minutes) , or from the Westminster up the river to the Hampton Court, operator: the Westminster Passenger Services) . Guided trips on the bus are offered by e.g. the Big Bus Company, walking tours are organized by the Citisights and by the Tour Guides. If you buy the London Pass, you can visit several historic monuments for a cheaper price. You can find information about current events in London in the Time Out magazine. Main tourist attractions open every day. Some of them open longer on Sundays. Art galleries and museums often allow a short visit around a part of their expositions for free.

Cities around

LondonMitcham (11km)Kew (14km)Croydon (13km)Bexley (17km)Twickenham (18km)Wallington (15km)Teddington (18km)Hounslow (19km)

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