The capital of the United Kingdom and England is the UK's most populous city with nearly 15 million inhabitants and over 300 languages spoken. Gracing the banks of the River Thames, London has a history reaching back over two thousand years to the time of the ancient Romans, who called it Landinium. Now thought to be the most visited city in the world, the city is home to the busiest airport system (Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports) and Europe's largest concentration of degree-rewarding educational facilities, including the highly prestigious Oxford University and the University of Cambridge.
When to visit
It’s always time to visit London. If you are trying to avoid bad weather then we would recommend you to go in the summer. You can enjoy the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in June and the Notting Hill Carnival in August. Officiated by West Indian community members, this festival is one of the largest and most lavish street festivals in Europe and possibly in the world.
If you are not afraid of a bit of rain then come in the fall, that’s when the Trafalgar Day Parade takes place. Every January 1st, London throws its New Year's Day Parade, complete with a magnificent fireworks display set off on the south bank of the River Thames at the London Eye (also called the Millennial), the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe.
London has a temperate "Oceanic" climate that gives the city pleasantly warm summers and cool winters. Summer temperatures average a balmy 74.2 F (23 C). Winter temperatures in London average about 41 F (5 C). Rarely do Londoners experience heavy frost or snow but it does happen on occasion.
No matter your reason for visiting, London has something for everyone. Shopaholics will either find their happiness on Oxford High Street at Harrods or for a more bazaar-like atmosphere at one of the open-air markets such as Portobello Road Market and Camden Market. Families will enjoy the London Zoo and the many city parks including Regent's Park and Kensington Gardens. Additionally, Shakespeare fans can take in a show at the Globe Theatre, one of London's main attractions and the most well-known theater.
While the British Museum holds Egyptian mummies, Parthenon sculptures and the famous Rosetta Stone, you can catch a glimpse of master's works--from Botticelli and Da Vinci to Renoir and Van Gogh at London's National Gallery. Every day at 11:30 AM, the Queen's Guard changes at Buckingham Palace, a ceremonial ritual lasting about 45 minutes. However, be aware that when it is pouring rain, they don't make a guard stand outside the palace. Madame Tussauds Wax Museum is a must-see when visiting London. Where else could you see a lifelike wax statue of Shakespeare and Lady Gaga under the same roof?
Tips & Recommendations
• Leave a tip amounting to 10 and 15 percent of the bill when dining out. Tipping is not required in London pubs.
• Save a lot of pounds on taxi fare by taking the Tube around the city.
• The slang term for pounds is "quid".
• If you order "fish and chips", you'll get fried cod and American-style French fries. Order "bangers and mash" and you'll get a plateful of mashed potatoes and sausage.