London Travel Guide

For other places with the same name, see London (disambiguation).
Tower Bridge at night, bridging the River Thames.
The Millennium Bridge leading to St Paul's Cathedral
London is an enormous city. It is divided into thirty-two boroughs, although information on this page is divided between districts, inner boroughs and outer boroughs of the city . These district and borough articles contain sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.

Noisy, vibrant and truly multicultural, London is a megalopolis of people, ideas and frenetic energy. The capital and largest city of both England and of the United Kingdom, it is also the largest city in Western Europe and the European Union. Situated on the River Thames in South-East England, Greater London has an official population of a little over 8 million. However, London's urban area stretched to 9,787,426 in 2011, while the figure of 14 million for the city's wider metropolitan area more accurately reflects its size and importance. Considered one of the world's leading "global cities", London remains an international capital of culture, music, education, fashion, politics, finance and trade.

Districts[edit]

The name London originally referred only to the once-walled "Square Mile" of the original Roman (and later medieval) city (confusingly called the "City of London" or just "The City"). Today, London has taken on a much larger meaning to include all of the vast central parts of the modern metropolis, with the city having absorbed numerous surrounding towns and villages over the centuries, including large portions of the surrounding "home counties", one of which - Middlesex - being completely consumed by the growing metropolis. The term "Central London" is widely used on both signs and by the media to decribe the downtown area of the city, which encompasses The City, most of the City of Westminster, and some of the surrounding boroughs. 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.

Greater London consists of 32 London boroughs and the City of London that, together with the office of the Mayor of London, form the basis for London's local government. The Mayor of London is elected by London residents and should not be confused with the Lord Mayor of the City of London. The names of several boroughs, such as Westminster or Camden, are well-known, others less so, such as Wandsworth or Lewisham. This traveller's guide to London recognises cultural, functional and social districts of varying type and size:

Central London[edit]

Central London and inner boroughs.
Bloomsbury
Vibrant historic district made famous by a group of turn-of-the-century writers and for being the location of the British Museum, the University of London and numerous historic homes, parks, and buildings. Part of the Borough of Camden.
City of London
The City is where London originally developed within the Roman city walls and is a city in its own right, separate from the rest of London. One of the most important financial centres in the world with modern skyscrapers standing next to medieval churches on ancient street layouts.
Covent Garden
One of the main shopping and entertainment districts. Incorporates some of London's theatreland. Part of the City of Westminster and Borough of Camden.
Holborn-Clerkenwell
Buffer zone between London's West End and the City of London financial district, home to the Inns of Court
Leicester Square
West End district comprising Leicester Square, Chinatown, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus and the centre of London's cinema and theatre land
Mayfair-Marylebone
Some extremely well-heeled districts of west central London and most of the city's premier shopping street
Notting Hill-North Kensington
Lively market, interesting history, the world famous carnival and diverse population
Paddington-Maida Vale
Largely residential district of northwest central London with lots of mid-range accommodation
Soho
Dense concentration of highly fashionable restaurants, cafés, clubs and jazz bars, as well as London's gay village
South Bank
South side of the river Thames with good views of the city, several theatres and the London Eye
South Kensington-Chelsea
An extremely well-heeled inner London district with famous department stores, Hyde Park, many museums and the King's Road
Westminster
A city in its own right, the seat of government and an almost endless list of historical and cultural sights, such as Buckingham Palace, The Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey.

Inner boroughs[edit]

Inner London districts map.png
Camden
a diverse area of inner north London which includes eclectic Camden Town
East End
a traditional working class heartland of inner London to the east of The City made famous by countless movies and TV shows, and home to trendy bars, art galleries and parks, especially in the Shoreditch, Hoxton, Old Street area. Now redeveloped and world famous as the setting for London 2012 Olympic Games.
Greenwich
on the pretty southern banks of the Thames, home of the Greenwich Meridian, Observatory and the National Maritime Museum
Hackney
Hackney has risen the ranks and become fashionable in recent decades and is home to a thriving arts scene as well as many trendy, cafés bars and pubs.
Hammersmith and Fulham
Borough in west London with a diverse population and the home of the BBC, plus a hotbed for professional football
Hampstead
Bohemian and literary north London and the wonderful open spaces of Hampstead Heath
Islington
Area to the north of Clerkenwell which has undergone huge gentrification since 1990
Lambeth
a diverse Caribbean-flavoured district to the south of the Thames which includes the buzzing, bright-lights of Brixton
Southwark-Lewisham
inner southern districts of London, traditionally residential, with a large melting pot of communities. The area retains some leftfield, quirky attractions. You can just about find a resturant from any ethnic group in the world too.
Wandsworth
grand Thames-side areas and open green parks in the north and dense housing in south

Outer boroughs[edit]

Outer boroughs.
West
Taking in much of the ancient English county of Middlesex (which many residents still identify with rather than "London"). Heathrow Airport is located in this part of the city.
North
Largely made up of lush green upper middle-class/bourgeois suburbs, many of which were formerly part of the counties of Middlesex and Hertfordshire before being absorbed into Greater London.
East
Mostly originally part of the county of Essex, taking in former industrial areas on the upper Thames Estuary such as Beckton, Dagenham and Barking. To the North East lies the gateway to the affluent Epping Forest area
South
Containing many commuter suburbs as well as densely packed housing, as well as the well known urban centres of Kingston-upon-Thames and Croydon
Richmond-Kew
Leafy Thames-side scenery, Hampton Court Palace, the botanical gardens and some major parklands
Wimbledon
The annual tennis championships

Understand[edit]

The Tower of London
"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford" — Samuel Johnson

History[edit]

Settlement has existed on the site of London since well before Roman times, with evidence of Bronze Age and Celtic settlement. The Roman city of Londinium, established just after the Roman conquest of Britannia in the year 43, formed the basis for the modern city (some isolated Roman period remains are still to be seen within the City). After the end of Roman rule in 410 and a short-lived decline, London experienced a gradual revival under the Anglo-Saxons, as well as the Norsemen, and emerged as a great medieval trading city, and eventually replaced Winchester as the royal capital of England. This paramount status for London was confirmed when William the Conqueror, a Norman, built the Tower of London after the conquest in 1066 and was crowned King of England in Westminster.

London went from strength to strength and with the rise of England to first European then global prominence the city became a great centre of culture, government and industry. London's long association with the theatre, for example, can be traced back to the English renaissance (witness the Rose Theatre and great playwrights like Shakespeare who made London their home). With the rise of Britain to supreme maritime power in the 18th and 19th centuries and the possessor of the largest global empire, London became an imperial capital and drew people and influences from around the world to become, for many years, the largest city in the world.

The Royal families over the previous centuries, added much to the London scene for today's traveller: the Albert Memorial, Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Royal Albert Hall, Tower of London, Kew Palace and Westminster Abbey being prominent examples.

Despite the inevitable decline of the British Empire, and considerable suffering during World War II (when London was heavily bombed by the German Luftwaffe in the Blitz), the city is still a top-ranked world city: a global centre of culture, finance, and learning. Today London is easily the largest city in the United Kingdom, eight times larger than the second largest, Birmingham, and ten times larger than the third, Glasgow, and dominates the economic, political and social life of the nation. It is full of excellent bars, galleries, museums, parks and theatres. It is also the most culturally and ethnically diverse part of the country, making it a great multicultural city to visit. Samuel Johnson famously said, "when one is tired of London, one is tired of life." Whether you are interested in ancient history, modern art, opera or underground raves, London has it all.

The City and Westminster[edit]

The world famous Elizabeth Tower (which houses the bell named Big Ben)

If you ask a Londoner where the centre of London is, you are likely to get a wry smile. This is because historically London was two cities: a commercial city and a separate government capital.

However, the point from which distances to "London" are measured is in Trafalgar Square, where the original Charing Cross stood.

The commercial capital was the City of London. This had a dense population and all the other pre-requisites of a medieval city: walls, a castle (The Tower of London), a cathedral (St Pauls), a semi-independent City government, a port and a bridge across which all trade was routed so Londoners could make money (London Bridge).

About an hour upstream (on foot or by boat) around a bend in the river was the government capital (Westminster). This had a church for crowning the monarch (Westminster Abbey) and palaces. As each palace was replaced by a larger one, the previous one was used for government, first the Palace of Westminster (better known as the Houses of Parliament), then Whitehall, then Buckingham Palace. The two were linked by a road called The "Strand", old English for riverbank.

London grew both west and east. The land to the west of the City (part of the parish of Westminster) was prime farming land (Covent Garden and Soho for example) and made good building land. The land to the east was flat, marshy and cheap, good for cheap housing and industry, and later for docks. Also the wind blows 3 days out of 4 from west to east, and the Thames (into which the sewage went) flows from west to east. So the West End was up-wind and up-market, the East End was where people worked for a living.

Modern-day London in these terms is a two-centre city, with the area in between known confusingly as the West End. However, even this doesn't define the actual central area of London, which extends slightly beyond The City and Westminster, as inner portions of the surrounding boroughs (Kensington & Chelsea, Camden, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Southwark and Lambeth) also lie within Central London.

Climate[edit]

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) 8 8 11 13 17 20 23 23 19 15 11 9
Nightly lows (°C) 2 2 4 5 8 11 14 13 11 8 5 3
Precipitation (mm) 52 34 42 45 47 53 38 47 57 62 52 54

See the 5 day forecast for London at the Met Office
London Eye

Despite a perhaps unfair reputation for being unsettled, London enjoys a drier and milder climate than the rest of Britain on average. Only one in three days on average will bring rain and often only for a short period. In some years, such as 2010, there was no rain for several weeks.

Winter in London is mild compared to nearby continental European cities, due to both the presence of the Gulf Stream and urban heat effect. Average daily maximum is 8°C (46°F) in December and January. Snow does occur, usually a few times a year but rarely heavy (a few years being exceptions such as the winters of 2009 and 2010, with temperatures dipping down to sub-zeros regularly). Snow in London can be crippling, as seen at the end of 2010. Just 7cm (3 in) of snow will cause trains to stop running, airports to see significant delays, and mail service will halt. London is a city which does not cope well with snow; walkways, stairs, and streets will not be cleared by shovels or ploughs. The streets will be salted/gritted, but will remain slick and snow/slush covered until the sun melts it away. Daylight hours are short with darkness filling up the sky by 4pm in December.

Summer is perhaps the best season for tourists as it has long daylight hours as well as mild temperatures. The average daily high temperatures in July and August are around 24°C (75°F) The highest temperature since 2000 was recorded once in August at 38°C (100°F). This means London can feel hot and humid for several days in the summer months. Also, because of urban heat effect, during night time it could feel muggy.

Regardless of which time of the year, the weather in London could change quickly from sunny to rain and from hot to cold.

Tourist Information Centres[edit]

London has no single primary tourist information centre, after the closure of the Britain and London Visitor Centre in December 2011. Visit Britain now only exists on-line.

London's own visitor promotion body is known as London and Partners and also has no public office, but maintains the website Visit London.

The only tourist information centre in zone 1 is the City of London Information Centre, St Pauls Churchyard, EC4M 8BX. Officially the tourist information centre for the City of London, it became the tourist office for Central London by default when everything else closed. Open daily Monday-Saturday 09:30-17:30 (9:30am to 5:30pm), Sunday 10:00-16:00. Closed Dec 25-26.

There is also a tourist information centre in Greenwich, near the Cutty Sark, in the same building as Discover Greenwich.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Summary map of rail connections to London airports

Due to London's huge global city status it is the most served destination in the world when it comes to flights.

London (all airports IATA code: LON) is served by a total of six airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Stansted, Luton, Southend). Travelling between the city and the airports is made relatively easy by the large number of public transport links that have been put in place over recent years. However, if transiting through London, be sure to check the arrival and departure airports carefully as transfers across the city may be quite time consuming. In addition to London's five official airports (of which only two are located within Greater London), there are a number of other regional UK airports conveniently accessible from London. Since they offer a growing number of budget flights, choosing those airports can be cheaper (or even faster, depending on where in London your destination is).

For transfers directly between London's airports, the fastest way (short of a taxi) is the direct inter-airport bus service by National Express. Buses between Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton run at least hourly, with Heathrow-Gatwick services taking 65min (£18) and Heathrow-Stansted services 90min (£20.50) (note that services between Stansted and Luton run only every two hours). However, it's essential to allow leeway, as London's expressways, especially the orbital M25 and the M1 motorway, are often congested to the point of gridlock. Some buses have toilets on board.

London Heathrow[edit]

Rail and tube lines go to different terminals at Heathrow
Main article: Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR) is London and Europe's largest airport and the world's busiest airport in terms of international passenger movement, with services available from most major airports world-wide. Currently, four of its five terminals are operational.

(T2 is closed for redevelopment until 4 Jun 2014, with the first aircraft, a United Airlines flight from Chicago, due to land at 05.55. Terminal 2 will eventually serve 20 million passengers a year and be home to 23 Star Alliance airlines, as well as Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic Little Red and Germanwings.)

Heathrow is dominated by the UK's flag-carrier British Airways, who use the airport as its home base and principal hub, and consequently operate nearly 40% of all the airport's flights. BA occupy all of Terminal 5, and have a major presence in Terminals 1 and 3. Flights landing at Heathrow are often delayed by up to an hour as a simple result of air traffic congestion and waiting for parking slots. To complicate the matter, airlines that fly into Heathrow are currently playing a system-wide game of musical chairs as gate assignments are cycled through the new terminal, making it even more necessary for travellers to check their terminal and gate assignment in advance. Do plan your itinerary to allocate some time needed to get through Heathrow Airport T3, there can be long queues if you are not holding an EEA passport.

For transport options into town, see our Heathrow Airport article...

London Gatwick[edit]

(IATA: LGW) London's second airport, also serving a large spectrum of places world-wide. It is the world's busiest single runway airport and is split into a North and South Terminal. The two terminals are linked by a free shuttle train (5 minutes). The train station is located in the South Terminal. To get to the centre of the city, there are various rail options and two bus options; please note the wide range of prices. If you need a Travelcard added on, to cover any onward travel that same day on Underground or bus, Tickets valid on trains branded Express are most expensive - £30.10, compared to £15.20 with Southern and only £13 with First Capital Connect; this cheapest option connects with more Underground lines than the other two, and takes about the same time.

  • By rail: Gatwick Express, +44 20 8528 2900, [1]. Every 15 min, journey time 30-35 min. Gatwick Express is a brand name of Southern Railway, and used on certain trains. See entry for Southern below. One way £19.90, round trip £33.20, for the cheapest fare visit their website.  edit
  • By rail: Southern Railway, +44 20 8185 0778, [2]. Every 15 min, journey time 35-40 min. All services between Gatwick and Victoria are operated by Southern Railway. Some trains operated by Southern carry ‘Express’ branding: premium fares are charged for these services. The time saving on the “Express” trains compared to the normal services is minimal, 30/35 minutes for ‘Express’ compared to 35/40 minutes for normal services. The normal services call at intermediate stations (usually East Croydon and Clapham Junction) whereas services branded ‘Express’ run non-stop. There is little differentiation in on-board comfort - the ‘Express’ trains use commuter type carriages, similar to all other trains serving Gatwick. During rush hour periods the ‘Express’ services continue onwards to/from Brighton and will be busy with commuters. For most of the day, both ‘express’ services and ‘ordinary’ services run at least every fifteen minutes. Southern also operate services to Milton Keynes (north of London) - these use an orbital rail line through the Earls Court area which avoid central London. Prices (2013 fares, will be higher in 2014). One way £19.90 (valid on any train) or £14.40 (not valid on trains branded ‘Express’). Note that for many destinations in central or east London, the FCC services are a better option - quicker and cheaper.  edit
  • By rail: First Capital Connect, +44 871 200 2233, [3]. To London Bridge (28 mins), Blackfriars (36min), City Thameslink, Farringdon, St Pancras International (for Kings Cross, 46min), Luton Airport and further north. Until 2018 there is a major rebuilding programme affecting London Bridge station - this means occasional interruption to the FCC service pattern, especially at weekends. Details of service alterations are published at the FCC website. Cheaper than any other rail option - £10 (they occasionally have advance tickets priced at half that), and note the bargain with Travelcard added on (see above).  edit
  • By bus: easyBus, [4]. Every 15-20min, journey time 60-90min. To Earl's Court/West Brompton. Not recommendable as very unreliable. As of 2013, service is horrendous, and the company has no staff at Gatwick, so you're on your own. Factor in the cost of getting to the drop off location in London before booking. It is far from Victoria station. One way prices start from £2. Book online..  edit
  • By bus: National Express, [5]. Every 30min, journey time 75-110min. To London Victoria. One way prices start from £7. Book online.  edit
  • By Minicab, +44 7505 616915, [6]. Journey time 90-120 min. approx £70.  edit
  • By car. 47km (29 mi). The road journey from Gatwick to central London is slow - for most visitors a rail journey will be significantly quicker.  edit
  • By cycle, [7]. There is a long-distance cycle path into Central London, but as it involves an indirect route, going over the North Downs and through South-East London, it will likely be quite a ride. For adventurous people.  edit

After passing through security you will find no drinking fountains in the South Terminal departure lounge so as to increase the profits of drink vendors.

North Terminal: after passing through security, the intrepid traveller can find power sockets on many of the large columns. There are accessible sockets to the right of the left hand door from security, adjacent Super Dry. Starbucks also has sockets below the seating by the window around the corner from the serving area. All are unofficial. There are official mobile charging stations (paid) also.

London Stansted[edit]

Stansted (IATA: STN) is London's third airport, and is dominated by the two low-cost airlines EasyJet and Ryanair who use the airport as a hub, as well as holiday charter airlines Thomson and Pegasus. Stansted also accommodates a few other scheduled carriers within Europe and a small number of inter-continental flights.

Sleeping at Stansted Airport
A large number of budget flights depart from Stansted as early as 06:00 (when the lowest fares are available). However, this presents travellers with a problem, as the airport's location is a long way outside London, and transport to the airport is sporadic before 05:30.

Due to the high price of accommodation in the city and near the airport, and the fact that many budget airlines don't pay for accommodation in the event of cancellation, an increasing number of travellers choose to spend the night in the airport prior to their flight. A crowd of around 100 travellers (up to 400 in summer) camp in the main departure/arrivals hall every night, effectively turning it into a giant dormitory.

Tips for sleeping at Stansted Airport:

  • Arrive early, preferably around 22:00, and stake your territory immediately. Benches without armrests are in limited supply and fill up quickly.
  • If you arrive later, take a floor mat and sleeping bag. Sleeping on the floor is tolerated by the staff, but avoid making your bed in front of shops and counters.
  • A sleeping bag is generally recommended as the automatic doors constantly open and close as passengers arrive, and it can get chilly in winter.
  • Safety is not a problem. The airport is miles away from any settlement and security guards oversee the open-plan building 24/7.
  • Ear plugs and eye covers are a must, as the cleaning staff are noisy and shop assistants start arriving at 04:00 to open shutters.
  • At least one cafe is open all night, offering snacks and hot drinks. Boots the chemist is also open 24/7
  • Toilets remain open and are normally in good condition. There is a drinking fountain to the left of the Accessorize store front and the security entrance "Door 1", where you can fill water bottles for the night.

Stansted is very distant from the centre of London at Charing Cross - almost 38 mi (60km) away in Essex but less than 29 mi (47km) from either Cambridge or Colchester.

There are several commercial Wi-Fi hotspots covering most of the airport, but they charge extortionate rates. A free Wi-Fi hotspot is in the arrivals gate area, next to the phone booths offering fixed internet.

Getting to Stansted for an early morning flight is fairly straight forward, coaches run through the night, provided by Terravision and National Express from London Victoria and London Liverpool Street. Terravision costs £9 one way and run roughly every hour throughout the night(although, on the rush hours the qeues for boarding Terravision coaches at the airport may take more then an hour). Be aware that lines are very common at Stansted, security check can easily take an hour. Also getting to the airport can take longer than the proclaimed 90 minutes, expect more like 120 minutes. Arriving in the airport, queueing for passport control can easily take up to 2 hours for non-EU passport holders, especially for Sunday night arrivals.

Transport options into central London:

  • By rail: Stansted Express to London Liverpool Street, +44 845 600 7245, [8]. Every 15 min, journey time 45-60 min. One way £21.50, round trip £29.50. Cheaper if you book 7 days in advance or travel in a group. Travelcard not valid. Some budget carriers' websites offer reduced price deals for the Stansted Express, allowing you to save a few pounds.  edit
  • By rail then London Underground: Stansted Express to Tottenham Hale then London Underground (Victoria line), +44 845 600 7245, [9]. Every 15 min. If you are going to South London, the West End or West London then take Stansted Express to Tottenham Hale then the London Underground (Victoria line). At Tottenham Hale ask for an Oyster card  edit
  • By coach: National Express, +44 870 580 8080, [10]. Every 15-30 min. Journey time to Stratford: 1 hour. To Victoria: 90 min. To Stratford (tube: Stratford) or Victoria (tube: Victoria). Folding bicycles only. To Stratford: £8 one way, £14 round trip. To Victoria: £10, £16. Travelcard not valid.  edit
  • By coach: Terravision, +44 1279 680028, [11]. £9 one way, £14 round trip (Liverpool St, Victoria). To Stratford: £6, £11. Travelcards not valid. To Liverpool St Station (tube: Liverpool St), Victoria (tube: Victoria) or Stratford Station (tube: Stratford).  edit
  • By minibus: EasyBus, [12]. To Baker St (tube: Baker St). Buses are usually overbooked, leave plenty of time to avoid missing your flight. From £2 (advance web purchase) to £8 one way. Travelcard not valid.  edit
  • By taxi. 60 mins. This airport is a long way from London! It's normally better to take a train to London Liverpool St and continue by taxi from there. approx £70.  edit
  • By Minicab, +44 1279 816901, [13]. Journey time 90-120 min. Stansted Airport Cars, located just outside of the terminal complex. approx £70.  edit

London Luton[edit]

Luton airport (IATA: LTN) is physically much smaller than Stansted, but still a major hub for many Low Cost airlines, and over 10 million passengers fly through the airport each year. It boasts the same facilities of the other major airports and also like Stansted, it is common place for some passengers on early morning flight, to sleepover in the terminal before their flights. The Parkway Airport station, which serves the terminal is about 20 minutes walk back into town, though there is a regular shuttle bus charging £1.50 to take you to the station. If your train ticket says Luton Airport (rather than Luton Airport Parkway), then the bus ride is included in the ticket.

The airport is a major hub for easyJet, Ryanair, Wizzair, Thomson Airways and Monarch Airlines, with other airlines also serving the airport like Aer Arann, FlyBE and El Al, to cities primarily in Scotland, Europe, North Africa and the Mediterranean Basin. If leaving on a morning flight (departing 07:00-08:30), it is advisable to leave extra time to check in and clear security due to the large number of flights leaving (particularly Wizzair).

  • By rail: journey time: 20-55min and £13.50 one way, Travelcard not valid. The airport has its own railway station "Luton Airport Parkway", and is served by trains 24 hours a day from Central London using "First Capital Connect Trains" and connects with St Pancras International. There are up to 10 trains an hour, depending on the time of day. All trains go to London St Pancras International, but many also continue on to Blackfriars, London Bridge and Elephant & Castle, Gatwick Airport and Brighton. The station is nearly 2km (1 mi) from the terminal building, there is a shuttle bus service running between the terminal and airport every 10 minutes, costing £1.50 each way. At rush hour times, this journey can take up to 25 minutes.
  • By coach: Green Line number 757, 0844 801 7261 (premium rates from most mobiles and non-BT landlines), [14]. Every 20min, journey time 90min. To Victoria (tube: Victoria) via Brent Cross, Finchley Rd tube station, Baker St, Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner. £14 one way if bought from the driver. Service is run by Greenline and in conjunction with easyBus (but can be used by all travellers regardless of airline you travel with). Travelcard not valid.  edit
  • By coach: National Express, 0870 580 8080 (premium rates from most mobiles and non-BT landlines), [15]. Every 2 min, journey time 90min. To Victoria (tube: Victoria) via Golders Green and Marble Arch. From £1 (advance web purchase) one way. Travelcard not valid.  edit
  • By car. 60km (34 mi) north of London, just off the M1 motorway which connects London with the Midlands and the North of England. Depending on where you are travelling from in London and time of day, journey times take 45-90min. Road users should plan their journey and check traffic conditions, as if an incident occurs on London's busy roads, journey times can dramatically increase. There is no free location to wait or drop passengers off. It costs £1 to stay in the "drop off zone" for a maximum of 10 minutes (non-extendable without penalty). There is also a short stay car park nearby.  edit

London City Airport[edit]

(IATA: LCY) A commuter airport close to the City's financial district, and specialising in short-haul business flights to other major European cities. There are a growing number of routes to holiday destinations including Malaga, Ibiza and Majorca. There is also a business class only flight to New York JFK operated by British Airways.

Not as expensive to fly into as it used to be, and you may indeed find that from some origins, this may be your cheapest London airport to fly to, without even considering the cost savings of NOT coming from the distant larger London airports with £10+ transfer costs. Then there is the added bonus that it is close to central London, with a convenient link on the DLR. Minimum check-in time for most airlines is around 30 minutes, with some offering 15 minute check-in deadlines. Queues for security can be long at peak business times. From touchdown to the DLR (including taxi, disembarkation, immigration and baggage reclaim) can be as fast at 5 minutes, although 15 minutes is normal.

To get to the city centre the following options exist:

  • By Docklands Light Railway (DLR). See also: Get around. The DLR runs to Bank station (27 minutes). During weekday rush-hours, some trains operate to Stratford International. There is a convenient change to the Jubilee line at Canning Town. Travelcard valid.  edit
  • By taxi. Journey time approximately 30 min. £20-35.  edit
  • By car. 10 km (6 mi).  edit
  • By bus, [16]. Take the 474 bus to Canning Town station and then the 115 or N15 into central London. See also: Get around. Travelcard valid.  edit

London Southend[edit]

(IATA: SEN, ICAO: EGMC) only officially became London's sixth airport when it was recently included within IATA's classification of the Metropolitan Area of London, LON – meaning the airport is now officially London Southend to the rest of the world and airline booking systems.

There has been an ongoing programme of development and EasyJet started operating services in April 2012. A regular rail service runs from Southend Airport Station to London Liverpool Street Station in central London 36 miles (58 km) to the west.

By rail, a journey time of 55-65 min. Travelcards are not valid. The airport has its own railway station "Southend Airport", and is served from Liverpool Street, via Stratford by trains 17 hours a day. There are up to 8 trains an hour, depending on the time of day. The station is c. 200 yd from the terminal building.

Please note: Passengers from central London intending to use the first departures of the day (or the latest arrivals into SEN) should note that the earliest train from London arrives too late for first flights, and the final train to central London leaves before the final arrival of the day. The airport terminal building is not open 24 hours a day, opening at 4am and closing at midnight. Passengers will be asked to leave the terminal building after midnight when it closes. Therefore, this airport is not suitable for sleeping/camping out overnight for an early morning flight. There is a Holiday Inn Express hotel, a few minutes walk from the terminal, but it is advisable to book in advance for better deals and lower prices.

Other airports near London[edit]

  • London Ashford Airport, also known as Lydd Airport has rather seasonal, limited services and is used primarily for businessmen.
  • Southampton Airport, +44 870 040 0009, [18]. Every 30 min, journey time 1 hour. (IATA: SOU, ICAO: EGHI) is not officially a London airport, though accessible enough to conveniently serve the capital, especially South West London. A couple of budget carriers serving an increasing number of European destinations are based here. Direct trains connect Southampton airport to London Waterloo station. £30-35 round trip.  edit Bournemouth Airport similarly operates a couple of Ryanair flight amongst others, and is not too far west on the train line from Southampton.
  • Birmingham International Airport, +44 870 733 5511, [19]. (IATA: BHX, ICAO: EGBB) is another non-London airport worth considering as a less congested and hectic alternative to Heathrow, being just over an hour away from London. As a major airport serving the UK's second largest city, there is a good choice of long distance and European destinations. Direct trains connect Birmingham International to London Euston and Watford. The train station is connected to the terminal via a free shuttle train (2 minutes). From £10 (advance web purchase) one way, £35-100 round trip.  edit
  • Other small airports, such as Oxford Airport can also be useful. Kent International Airport and Shoreham Airport (near Brighton) are similarly small. Biggin Hill in Bromley borough had a rejected licence bid in 2010 for commercial flights for the Olympics but may recieve one in the near future.

By train[edit]

Wikitravel has a guide to Rail travel in the United Kingdom.

London is the hub of the British rail network - every major city in mainland Britain has a frequent train service to the capital, and most of the smaller, provincial cities and large towns also have a direct rail connection to London of some sort - although the frequency and quality of service can vary considerably from place to place.

Rail fares to London vary enormously from very cheap to prohibitively expensive - the golden rules are to book Advance tickets for a particular train time, don't travel into the city on Friday afternoons and Sundays, and avoid buying tickets on the day of travel. There are three basic types of ticket, which are summarised below. Note that much of the advice applies to rail travel in general within the United Kingdom.

  • ANYTIME - travel on any train, any operator at any time, returning within one month with few restrictions. Very expensive however - on a long distance journey from Northern England or Scotland for example - an Anytime return ticket to London won't leave you with any change out of £250!
  • OFF-PEAK - travel on certain trains within a specific time-frame; again returning within one month. Typically this excludes anything that arrives into London during the morning rush hour (before 10:00 typically), or any train which departs during evening rush hour (16:30-18:30). Weekends generally carry no restrictions on the use of Off-Peak tickets. There are however, a monumentally complex number of exceptions for which Off-Peak tickets are and aren't valid which are barely fathomable to the British, never mind overseas visitors. If you are in any doubt at all about the validity of an Off-Peak ticket, ask a guard at the station or a ticket office BEFORE getting on a train - as on-train conductors can be notoriously unforgiving.
  • ADVANCE - travel on a specific day and train time, booked up to 12 weeks in advance either in person at a railway station, over the telephone, or online. Two Advance single tickets for the outward and return legs of the journey are generally cheaper than the Off-Peak return ticket. Better deals can often be had by going directly to the train operator's website. The earlier you book, the more you save - you can get down to as little as £12.00 one-way from Scotland for example, but these tickets are non-refundable, and cannot be used on anything other than the date, train time and operator that is printed on the reservation. Go on any other train and get caught and you will be obliged to pay the Anytime fare for the journey you are making - which as we've said before is hideously expensive!

The local and commuter rail companies within the London and Home Counties area also have a bewildering array of special fares which are all in essence, variations of the Off-Peak ticket and are far too detailed to cover here, go directly to the website of the operator concerned for more information. Note that if you only intend to use trains within the Greater London boundary, then the Oyster Card (explained below) is by far the easiest and cheapest option to use.

Seats can be reserved for free on all long-distance trains to London - the reservation is always issued automatically with an Advance ticket, and with most Off-Peak and Anytime tickets bought on-line. If, for whatever reason you hold an Anytime or Off-Peak ticket and there is no seat reservation coupon, then it is highly recommended you get one from any railway station ticket office - if you want to avoid camping out in the vestibule for all or part of the journey!! First Class is available on all long distance services to London, the standard of service varies from operator to operator, but in general you get a wider, more comfortable seat, free tea/coffee for the duration of the journey, and some sort of complimentary catering service. If can be great value if you get an Advance first-class fare, but it is extremely expensive otherwise, and to be honest - not really worth it. You can pay a Weekend supplement (generally £15-£20) to sit in the first class section of the train on Saturdays and Sundays, - useful if the service you are on is hideously overcrowded - but you don't get the same catering service as during the week.

If you are the holder of a Britrail pass, things are simpler - but remember you still have to make a seat reservation for the train you intend to travel on - otherwise you run the risk of standing for the journey! If you intend to use the overnight Sleeper trains to London, you will have to pay a berth supplement for every member of your party - provided there is berth availability on the train.

London has one international high speed rail route (operated by Eurostar [20] 0870 518 6186 ) from Paris (2h 15min) and Brussels (1h 50 min) diving under the sea for 35 km (22 mi) via the Channel Tunnel to come out in England. It terminates at St. Pancras International Station. For domestic train services, there are no fewer than 12 main line National Rail [21] terminals (although in conversation you may hear the brand National Rail infrequently if ever it differentiates main line and London Underground services; journey planner online or phone 0845 748 49 50). With the exception of Fenchurch St (tube: Tower Hill) these are on the London Underground. Most are on the circle line. Clockwise starting at Paddington, major National Rail stations are:

  • London Marylebone, serves some north western suburban stations such as Amersham, Harrow on the Hill and Wembley Stadium. Also serves Aylesbury, High Wycombe, Banbury, Stratford-upon-Avon and the city of Birmingham. It is much cheaper but slightly slower to take a train from Marylebone to Birmingham instead of a train from London Euston.
  • London Moorgate, serves some northern suburbs.
  • London Liverpool Street, serves East Anglia: Ipswich and Norwich. Also the downtown terminus of the Stansted Airport Express.
  • London Fenchurch Street, serves commuter towns north of the Thames estuary to Southend.
  • London Blackfriars, serves Gatwick Airport and Brighton.

In South London many areas have only National Rail services (no London Underground services but there are buses). London Bridge, Victoria, Cannon St and Charing Cross serve the South East. London Waterloo serves the South West. First Capital Connect (frequently referred to as Thameslink) is a cross London route between Bedford and Brighton via Luton Airport (Parkway), St. Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars, London Bridge and Gatwick Airport.

By bus[edit]

Most international and domestic long distance bus (UK English: coach) services arrive at and depart from a complex of coach stations off Buckingham Palace Road in Westminster close to London Victoria rail station. All services operated by National Express or Eurolines (see below) 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. The following are amongst the main coach operators:

  • National Express, 0870 580 8080, [22]. is by far the largest domestic coach operator and operates services to / from London from throughout England, Wales and Scotland. Advance ticketing is usually required and recommended practice in any case. Fares are low - especially when booked in advance via the web. A few journeys are fast but most are notably slower than using the train.  edit
  • Eurolines, 0870 514 3219, [23]. is an associate company of National Express, and runs coach services to / from London with various cities in Northern Ireland, the Ireland and continental Europe. Advance ticketing is required.  edit
  • Megabus, 0900 160 0900 (premium rate), [24]. operates budget coach services from/to London (Victoria Coach Station) to/from several major regional cities in the UK and continental Europe. Fares are demand responsive but can be very cheap (£1.50 if you book far enough in advance). Megabus also offer a Sleeper service to Glasgow and Edinburgh.  edit
  • Greyhound, 0900 096 0000 (premium rate), [25]. coach services with free wi-fi, newspapers and extra legroom. From/to London (Victoria Coach Station) to/from several cities. Fares can be very cheap.  edit

By car[edit]

London is the hub of the UK's road network and is easy to reach by car, even if driving into the centre of the city is definitely not recommended. Greater London is encircled by the M25 orbital motorway, from which nearly all the major trunk routes to Scotland, Wales and the rest of England radiate. The most important are listed below.

  • M1: The main route to/from the North, leading from the East Midlands, Yorkshire and terminating at Leeds. Most importantly, Britain's longest motorway - the M6, branches from the M1 at Rugby, leading to Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, the Lake District and onwards to the Scottish border, and ultimately Glasgow.
  • A1/A1(M) The A1 is the original, historic "Great North Road" between England and Scotland's capital cities and has largely been converted to motorway standard; it runs up the eastern side of Great Britain through Peterborough, York, Newcastle and continues north through Northumberland and the Scottish Borders to Edinburgh.
  • M40/A40: Arrives in London from a north westerly direction, linking the city with Oxford and providing an additional link from Birmingham.
  • M4: The principal route to/from the West - leading to Bath, Bristol and cities South Wales (Cardiff and Swansea). It is also the main route towards Heathrow Airport.
  • M3: The main route to London from the shipping port of Southampton.
  • M2/M20: Together, these motorways are the main link to the coastal ferry (and Channel Tunnel) ports of Dover and Folkestone from Continental Europe.
  • M11: The M11 connects Stansted Airport and Cambridge to London, and it terminates on the north eastern periphery of the city.

In addition to the M25, here are two inner ring roads in London which skirt the central area:

  • A406/A205 North Circular/South Circular The North Circular is a half circle on the North of the Thames, and is mostly a dual carriageway. It has direct connections with the M4, M40, M1 and M11 motorways and can be useful if you want to quickly get around the northern suburbs of the city. The corresponding South Circular is really a local road which is made up of segments of main suburban thoroughfares. The two roads are connected at the east end of the circle in North Woolwich/Woolwich Arsenal by the Woolwich Free Ferry, which runs approx. every 10-15 min and is free of charge, although it can only carry a limited amount of vehicles so avoid during busy periods as the queues can be very long! The ferry stops running after 10pm, so it's advisable to travel through the Docklands and use the Blackwall Tunnel instead.

Comparatively few people will actually drive into (or anywhere near) the centre of London. The infamous M25 ring road did not earn its irreverent nicknames "The Road To Hell" and "Britain's biggest car park" for nothing. The road is heavily congested at most times of the day, and is littered with automatically variable speed limits which are enforced with speed cameras. Despite the controversial "congestion charge", driving a car anywhere near the centre of London remains a nightmare with crowded roads, impatient drivers and extortionate parking charges (that's if you can find a space in the first place, that is!). From Monday through Friday, parking in the City of London is free after 18:30; after 13:30 on Saturday and all day Sunday. For totally free street parking, try the area around Canada Water Underground Station (Zone 2). It's also outside the Congestion Charge Zone. Opposite the huge Decathlon, there's a residential area with no parking limitation. Further along there's also free parking at the massive car park at the cinema area (near the 24 hour Tesco Extra). There are also a number of Pay as you go car rental companies operating around London including WhizzGo [26] and Car Clubs [27]

Get around[edit]

Transport maps

London is the home of the famous tube map, and TfL produce some excellent maps to help you get around:

London has one of the most comprehensive public transport systems in the world. Despite residents' constant, and sometimes justified, grumbling about unreliability, public transport is often the best option for getting anywhere for visitors and residents alike.

In central London use a combination of the transport options listed below - and check your map! In many cases you can easily walk from one place to another or use the buses. Don't be a Londoner and only use the tube as a way of travelling longer distances - you're here to see London - you can't see it underground!

Transport for London (TfL) is a government organisation responsible for all public transport. Their website contains maps plus an excellent journey planner. They also offer a 24-hour travel information line, charged at premium rate: ☎ 0843 222 1234 (or text 60835) for suggestions on getting from A to B, and for up to the minute information on how services are running. Fortunately for visitors (and indeed residents) there is a single ticketing system, Oyster, which enables travellers to switch between modes of transport on one ticket.

The main travel options in summary are:

Central London

  • By Docklands Light Railway (DLR) Runs only in the east of the city, providing links with London City Airport, Canary Wharf/Docklands, Stratford (For Westfield Stratford City and the Olympic site) and Greenwich, privately run but part of TfL's network.
  • By boat Commuter boats and pleasure cruises along the River Thames, privately run but part of TfL's network.
  • Airport Express Express rail services run to Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton airports (tickets are generally sold at a premium), privately run and not part of the TfL network.

Suburban London

  • By tram (Tramlink) A tram service that operates only in southern suburbs around Wimbledon and Croydon.
  • By Overground Orange-coloured lines circling the northern suburbs; connecting Stratford (For Westfield Stratford City and the Olympic site) with Richmond Upon Thames. At Highbury and Islington it is possible to connect to Croydon and Crystal Palace in South London via the East End. There is also an interchange for Barking in East London at Gospal Oak and a line connecting Euston Station with Watford Junction in Hertfordshire. Another line runs from Willsden Junction in North West London to Clapham Junction in south via Shephard's Bush (For Westfield). At Clapham you can connect to Brighton,Gatwick Airport, Southampton and other points south. Part of TfL's network.
  • By National Rail A complex network of suburban rail services, mostly running in the southern suburbs, but also connecting to some areas to the north. privately run and not part of the TfL network, although all operators now accept Oyster payments.

Oyster Card[edit]

Oyster Card in use

Oyster [28] is a contactless electronic smartcard run by Transport for London. In general, Oyster is the more cost effective option than paper tickets if you plan to be in London for any more than a couple of days, or if you intend to make return visits to the city - the savings quickly recover the initial purchase cost. You can buy an Oyster Card from any Tube station for a deposit of £5 and load it with a 7 Day Travelcards. You can "charge up" an Oyster card with electronic funds. This cash is then deducted according to where you travel. The cost of a single trip using the Oyster card is considerably less than buying a single paper ticket with cash. Prices vary depending on distance travelled, whether by bus or tube, and on the time of day. You can also add various electronic 1 week, 1 month and longer-period tickets onto the card, and the card is simply validated each time you use it. The deposit is fully refundable if you hand it in at the end of the trip. However, there is no expiry date on the Oyster Card or any pay-as-you-go credit on the card. If you have any pay-as-you-go credit left this will also be refunded. You will get refunds in cash only if you paid in cash. Be prepared to give your signature on receipts or even show ID for refunds over a few pounds.

Pay-as-you-go (PrePay)[edit]

You can charge up your Oyster card with electronic cash at any tube station ticket machine or ticket desk (you can even use a credit card to do this if your credit card has a PIN number) with Oyster pay-as-you-go, also known as PrePay. This money is then deducted from your card each time you get on a service. The fare is calculated based on your start and end points. Pay-as-you-go is much cheaper than paying in cash for each journey. For instance, a cash tube one way in Zone 1 is £4.50, while with an Oyster Card it costs £2.10. Furthermore, a cash bus fare is £2.40 while with Oyster it is £1.40. If you are intending to do a lot of travelling in London then a day travel card is much cheaper and offers a whole days free access on London's public transport. It will cost you £7.70 for anyone over the age of 15 and for 15 and under you can but a travel card for £3.70. These can be purchased at a post office or tube station. Oyster cards are also capped at the amount of the day travel card, so the price of travel within one day will never exceed the price of the day travel card.

The amount of PrePay deducted from your Oyster card in one day is capped at the cost of the appropriate paper day ticket (day Travelcard) for the zones you have travelled through. For zone 1-2 (central London including everywhere inside the Circle line and some places outside) this is £7.00 (£8.80 M-F before 09:30).

On the tube, be sure to touch in and touch out again at the end of your journey. If you forget to touch your Oyster card at the start and finish you will be charged extra! This is usually a hefty charge of £7.20. This fine can be disputed by calling TFL using the phone number on the back of the card. Just quote your Oyster number and remember where you finished your journey.

Oyster also saves time getting onto buses. If you don't have an Oyster, tickets have to be bought at a machine by the bus stop in the central area or from the driver if outside the central zone.

If you have a National Railcard, such as the 16-25 year old Railcard, you can register this with your Oyster card at a Tube ticket office and then continue to receive special discounts on your TFL travel. So for every journey on the Underground/DLR/Overground you get 34% discount and also qualify for a daily price cap. Do note the discount applies only during off-peak times.

Travelcards[edit]

A Travelcard may be loaded onto an Oyster card or may be purchased as a paper ticket.

  • Day Travelcard - Zones 1-2 - Anytime: £9.00, Off-Peak £8.90
  • 7 Day Travelcard Zones 1-2 - £30.40
  • Monthly Travelcard Zones 1-2 - £116.08
  • Annual Travelcard Zones 1-2 - £1,216.00

The above prices are Adult prices and only for Zones 1 & 2. However, off peak one-day travelcards are only issed as zone 1-6 (changed in 2014). The "daily cap" using Oyster is cheaper at £7.00 for zones 1 & 2. For a more comprehensive list of the prices visit the TFL website:

1 Day Travelcards [29]

7 Day, Monthly & Annual Travelcards [30]

Travelcard season tickets[edit]

Weekly, monthly and longer-period Travelcard season tickets can be purchased at all tube station ticket offices. These can be used on any tube, DLR, bus, London Overground, National Rail or tram service. You have to select a range of zones when you buy it, numbered 1-9. If you happen to travel outside the zone, you can use PrePay (see above) to make up the difference. Note that they can not be used on any Airport Express trains (Heathrow Express, Gatwick Express and Stansted Express). However, a Zone 1-6 Travelcard can be used on the London Underground (Piccadilly line) to/from Heathrow Airport. Notice a travel card is much cheaper than an Oyster card if you are looking to do a lot of travelling in London.

Tips[edit]

  • Touch the card against a yellow disc, prominently displayed on the entry and exit gates for the Tube (do not try to insert it into the slot!) and on buses and trams.
  • On the Docklands Light Railway, and on the Overground railway stations in the outlying parts of the city there are no entry or exit gates (except at interchanges with the Tube like Bank or Stratford), so you have to be sure to touch your Oyster card on the readers (which are clearly signposted) as you enter and leave. Failure to do this when you begin a journey is regarded as fare dodging (carrying a penalty fare or even a fine if you are caught). Equally, failing to touch out when you leave a station will result in you being overcharged for your journey, as the system will make a default deduction of £6.50 since it doesn't know which station you left at.
  • Theoretically you don't need to remove your Oyster card from your wallet or bag to do touch in/out - the card reader can work through a bag, but in reality you may need to take the card out to get it to work. Keep other contactless cards such as bank cards separate, as the fare might be deducted from them instead of your Oyster.
  • Be careful standing near the readers on some buses, they are often quite sensitive and may read your card from several centimetres away, even if you did not intend this.
  • If you keep your Oyster card in your wallet try not to sit on it as sometimes they will crack and stop working.

Validity[edit]

The following table summarises the validity of the different tickets you can use on Oyster. For most tourists, tubes and buses are the only transport you will use, but be aware that these tickets are not valid on Airport Express trains.

Bus London Underground London Overground National Rail DLR Tram Airport Express trains
Pay-as-you-go yes yes yes yes yes yes no
Travelcard yes yes yes yes yes yes no
Bus pass yes no no no no yes no
  • Bus (and Tram) Passes are only available for periods of 7 days and longer.
  • Travelcards are valid only within the zones you buy.
  • Piccadilly line to Heathrow is a London Underground train, so PrePay and Travelcards are valid.
  • Airport Express trains are Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Express.
  • Travelcards are valid on Thameslink but if you are heading all the way to Luton airport, you will need a ticket between the edge of your travelcard zone and the airport.
A reminder on the streets of London to "Look Right" when you cross the road

By foot[edit]

London is a surprisingly compact city, making it a walker's delight and often being the quickest method of transport.

The city is incredibly well signposted so it is very easy to find your way round by foot.

Because Britain drives on the left hand side of the road, for most foreign visitors it can be all too easy to forget that traffic will come at you from the opposite direction than you are used to when crossing a street - for this reason remember to look right when you cross the road.

Particularly on Central London's busiest streets, it is easy to spot native Londoners as they are able to weave in and out of the large crowds at fast speed. Refrain from walking slowly in tight spaces to avoid annoying any fast walking people that may be trying to pass.

By Tube / Underground[edit]

To-scale Central London Underground map
Full to-scale London Underground map

Tube etiquette

  • Beware of pickpockets.
  • Drinking alcohol or smoking anywhere on the underground is illegal. Flash photography within stations is prohibited because it may interfere with fire detection systems.
  • When using the escalators, always stand on the right to allow people in a hurry to pass. If you are standing on the left people will occasionally ask grumpily for you to get out the way, especially during rush hour when commuters are far less forgiving.
  • Allow passengers to get off the train before boarding yourself by standing to the right or to the left of the train doors.
  • Move down the cars if standing during busy periods
  • Have your Oyster card or ticket ready for the top of the escalators so not to obstruct barriers.
  • Be careful at the ticket barrier of people coming up close behind you in an attempt to get through the barrier on your ticket. This isn't a huge problem, but it does happen.
  • Some platforms in Zone 1 have the words "Mind the Gap" written on the platform edge. When the train stops, the carriage doors will usually line up with this warning.
  • Give up your seat to the elderly and those less able to stand, especially if the seat is reserved for such a purpose.
  • Never try to board or leave a train when the door warning (a rapidly-repeating high pitch beep) is sounding. Many older trains are not fitted with sensors to detect if the doors are blocked and it's all too easy to become stuck in the doors, although the train cannot start if the doors are still open.



The London Underground [31] - also known popularly as The Tube - has trains that criss-cross London in the largest underground rail network in the world (it was also the first, the first section of the Metropolitan Line dates back to 1863). The Tube is an easy method of transport even for new visitors to London.

Tube maps [32] are freely available from any station, most tourist offices and are prominently displayed in stations and in the back of most diaries. The Tube is made up of 11 lines each bearing a traditional name and a standard colour on the Tube map. To plan your trip on The Tube work out first which station is closest to your starting point and which closest to your destination. You can change between lines at interchange stations (providing you stay within the zones shown on your ticket). Since the Tube Map is well designed it is very easy to work out how to get between any two stations, and since each station is clearly signed it is easy to work out when to exit your train. Visitors should be aware, however, that the Tube map is a diagram and not a scaled map, making it misleading for determining the relative distance between stations as it makes central stations appear further apart and somewhat out of place - the most distant reaches of the Metropolitan Line for example are almost 60 km (40 mi) from the centre of the city. In central London, taking The Tube for just one stop can be a waste of time; Londoners joke about the tourists who use the Tube to travel between Leicester Square and Covent Garden stations. This is especially true since the walk from a tube station entrance to the platform at some central stations can be extensive. The Tube map also gives no information on London's extensive overground bus network and its orbital rail network.

Trains run from around 05:30 to about 01:00. They are usually the fastest way to travel in London, the only problem being the relative expense, and that it can get extremely crowded during rush hours (07:30-10:00 and 16:30-19:00). On warm days take a bottle of water with you. Also note that engineering works usually take place during weekends or the evening. Contact TfL or visit their web site [33] especially if you plan to travel on a Saturday or a Sunday when entire lines may be shut down.

All lines are identified by name (Circle Line, Central Line, Piccadilly Line) and by colour (on maps). Many lines have multiple branches rather than running point-to-point so always to check the train's destination (which is shown on the front of the train, the platform indicator screens and will be broadcast on the train's PA). Some branch lines (such as the Chesham branch of the Metropolitan Line or the Kensington Olympia branch of the District Line) run as shuttles and require a transfer onto the 'main line'. Note that the Northern Line has two separate routes through the city centre which split at Euston and rejoin at Kennington, one (officially called the Charing Cross Branch but known by locals as the West End branch) runs through the West End serving Leicester Square, Charing Cross and Waterloo, while the other route runs via the City of London (officially called the Bank branch but also referred to as the City branch) with major stops at Kings Cross and Bank.

Despite the confusing layout of the line, it is fairly easy to work out which way your train is going; for example a northbound Northern Line train to Edgware along the Charing Cross branch will be displayed on the indicator as 'Edgware via ChX' and the on-board PA will announce 'This train terminates at Edgware via Charing Cross'. Finally, note that direction signs for the platforms indicate the geographical direction of the line, not the last stop of the line. Always always advisable to carry a pocket Tube map (available for free at most stations) to help you with this.

Almost all stations have automatic ticket barriers. If you pay by Oyster card, just tap your card against the yellow pad to open the barriers (both upon entrance and exit). If you have a paper ticket, insert it face-up into the slot on the front of the machine, and remove it from the top to enter the station. If you have a single-ticket it will be retained at the exit gate. If you have luggage or if your ticket is rejected there is normally a staffed gate as well. Paper tickets can be purchased from vending machines in the station lobby. There are two types of machine: the older machines that have buttons for different fare levels and accept only coins and the new touchscreen machines that have instructions in multiple languages, offer a greater choice of ticket and accept bills and credit/debit cards (note that if your card has no embedded microchip, you cannot use these machines, you pay at the ticket counter).

Single tickets are charged at a premium (often costing only a little less than a 1-day travelcard) of £4.50 flat fare for journeys within or beyond Zone 1 or £3 for journeys outside of Zone 1. Single Oyster fares are charged by the number of zones crossed, starting at £2.00 for 1 zone up to £5.50 for 6 zones. Paper travel cards valid for 1 day, 3 days or 7 days are also available and can also be used on buses, National Rail trains, the DLR and Croydon Tramlink. They are priced by zones: a 1-day travelcard for Zones 1-2 costs £8.80 (day anytime).

By bus[edit]

Double-decker bus in London
Bus stop

London's iconic red buses are recognized the world over, even if the traditional Routemaster buses, with an open rear platform and on-board conductor to collect fares, have been phased out. These still run on Heritage Route 9 and 15 daily between about 09:30 and 18:30, every 15 minutes. Buses are generally quicker than taking the Tube for short (less than a couple of stops on the Tube) trips, but for longer ones can be much slower especially when traffic is heavy. For sightseeing, buses are a much more pleasant way to travel than the Tube, and cheaper too for a single journey. Out of central London you're likely to be closer to a bus stop than a tube station.

Over 5 million bus trips are made each weekday; with over 700 different bus routes you are never far from a bus. Each bus stop has a sign listing routes that stop there. Bus routes are identified by numbers and sometimes letters, for example the 73 runs between Victoria and Seven Sisters, and the C1 (C for Central) runs from Victoria to White City. The letter N before a number designates a night bus, but a few services without the letter N run 24-hours - these are uncommon but clearly indicated and can be very useful!

Importantly, since the 6th of July 2014, it is not possible in London to purchase a bus ticket on the bus, nor can you expect a ticket machine at your bus stop! You must either have a Pay-as-you-go Oyster card with sufficient funds, a Travelcard ticket, a bus pass, or a contactless bank payment card (see note below). For the vast majority of tourists, Oyster cards (either pay-as-you-go or with a Travelcard loaded) remain the best option.

London Transport has recently enabled using contactless bank cards (e.g. Visa payWave, MasterCard PayPass) to pay for bus fares. Simply use your credit or debit card as if it were an Oyster card and pay the usual £1.45 for a single fare. Daily and Monday-Sunday capping also work, so if you only use buses and not trains or the Tube, Oyster cards are exactly the same as contactless cards - but you should be wary of bank charges for foreign transactions. If you are from overseas and your bank charges £2 for each transaction in British pounds, a few buses a day can quickly get very expensive! From late 2014, contactless bank cards will be accepted everywhere where Oyster is and charged the same way.

Youngsters aged 11-15 travel free on buses with an 11-15 Oyster photocard (which are available for visitors, but unlike Oyster cards, these require an online application form and you must be prepared to wait four weeks). Similarly, if aged 16-18, half-price travel is available, but this again requires an application form and a long wait. Student Oysters (only available to students studying in London) are available from age 18 and provide a 35% discount on weekly and monthly travel cards.

Buses display their route number in large digits at the front, side and rear. All bus stops have their location and the direction of travel on them.

The iBus system has now been rolled out the iBus on every bus and garage in London. This new system provides bus times and destination information on a audio-visual display.

Unlike The Tube one way tickets do not allow you to transfer to different buses.

Bus route map

Night bus[edit]

Standard bus services run from around 00:30-05:30 (12:30 AM to 5:30 AM). Around half past midnight the network changes to the vast night bus network of well over 100 routes stretching all over the city. There are two types of night buses: 24 hour routes and N-prefixed routes.

24-hour services keep the same number as during the day and will run the exact same route, such as the number 88, for example. N-prefixed routes are generally very similar to their day-route, but may take a slightly different route or are extended to serve areas that are further out. For example, the 29 bus goes from Trafalgar Square to Wood Green during the day; however, the N29 bus goes from Trafalgar Square to Wood Green and on to Enfield.

Night buses run at a 30 minute frequency at minimum, with many routes at much higher frequencies up to every 5 minutes.

Prices stay the same, and daily travelcards are valid until 04:00 the day after they were issued, so can be used on night buses. Most bus stops will have night bus maps with all the buses to and from that local area on it, although it is good to check on the TfL website beforehand, which also has all those maps easily available.

London's night buses are occasionally used by loud drunks who when provoked, can be quite confrontational but rarely violent. Stay polite and on the bottom deck of the bus to best avoid them although there will be just as many if not more friendly drunks who would be up for a chat. Use your instincts.

By DLR[edit]

Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is a dedicated light rail network operating in East London, connecting with the tube network at Bank, Tower Gateway (close to Tower Hill tube station), Canning Town, Heron Quays (close to Canary Wharf tube station) and Stratford. 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 oneself. The DLR also runs above ground on much of its route, and travels through many picturesque parts of London, including the Docklands area where most of London's skyscrapers are located. 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.

Unlike the tube, the DLR uses the honor-system at all stations apart from Bank and Stratford. Tickets are available from the machines at stations (most stations are unstaffed so make sure you are armed with a handful of coins or low-denomination notes) and are distance-based. Travelcards are also accepted, as are Oyster cards, which must be validated when entering the platform, and then validated again when exiting the station.

The DLR can be a little confusing as the routes are not easily distinguished - generally trains run between Bank - Lewisham, Stratford - Lewisham, Bank - Woolwich Arsenal, Stratford - Woolwich Arsenal and Tower Gateway - Beckton. Displays on the platform will tell you the destination and approximate wait for the next 3 trains, and the destination is also displayed on the front and side of the train.

By train[edit]

Wikitravel has a guide to Rail travel in the United Kingdom, with information applicable to using the National Rail system within London.

The British railway system is known as National Rail (although some older signs still refer to it as "British Rail"). London's suburban rail services are operated by several private companies under tightly-written government contracts, and mostly run in the south of the city, away from the main tourist sights. Only one line (Thameslink) runs through central London - on a north-south axis between London Bridge or Blackfriars stations, and the underground level of St Pancras main line station. There is no one central station - instead, there are twelve mainline stations dotted around the edge of the central area, and most are connected by the Circle line (except Euston, Fenchurch St and those South of the river like London Waterloo and London Bridge). Most visitors will not need to use National Rail services except for a few specific destinations such as Hampton Court, Kew Gardens (Kew Bridge station), Windsor Castle, Greenwich or the airports, or indeed if they are intending to visit other cities in the UK. Since 2 January 2010, pay-as-you-go Oyster cards are accepted on all routes within London travel zones 1-6.

Visitors are well advised to remember that the quickest route between two stations might be a combination of the Tube as well as the National Rail network. (For example: getting to Wimbledon from central London by Tube using the District Line takes significantly longer (around 45 minutes) than taking the National Rail service from Waterloo to Wimbledon (around 15 minutes).)

Airport Express Rail services run to Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton airports - tickets are generally sold at a premium and Oyster cards not valid.

By Overground[edit]

In common parlance, Londoners may refer to travelling by "overground" (or "overland"), meaning going by National Rail (as opposed to going by Underground). However, only one service is officially called Overground - London Overground is a Transport for London rail service. It is operated and promoted just like the Underground, with the logo like the Tube (except orange) on stations and full acceptance of Oyster cards. London Overground appears on the Tube map as an orange line, and services run across North London suburbs from east to west. Overground services can be a useful shortcut for crossing the city, bypassing the centre, for example from Kew Gardens to Camden. London Overground services also connect busy Clapham Junction railway station in the Southwest to West London (Shepherds Bush and Kensington) and Willesden Junction in the Northwest.

By tram (Tramlink)[edit]

Tramlink, opened in 2000, is the first modern tram system to operate in London. South London is poorly served by the Tube and lacks east-west National Rail services so the network connects Wimbledon in South West London to Beckenham in South East London and New Addington, a large housing estate in South Croydon. The network is centred on Croydon, where it runs on street-level tracks around the Croydon Loop.

Route 3 (Wimbledon to New Addington - green on the Tramlink map) is the most frequent service, running every 7 1/2 minutes Monday to Saturday daytime and every 15 minutes at all other times. Beckenham is served by Routes 1 and 2 (yellow and red on the Tramlink map), which terminate at Elmers End and Beckenham Junction respectively. Both services travel around the Loop via West Croydon and run every 10 minutes Monday to Saturday daytime and every 30 minutes at all other times. Between Arena and Sandilands, these two services serve the same stops.

By cycle[edit]

Cycling in the United Kingdom

  • Cycling on the pavement (sidewalk) is illegal, except where a cycle route has been designated by signs or painted lines.
  • When cycling on roads, you must ride on the left with other vehicles and not more than two abreast.
  • You must have working front and rear lights during hours of darkness. Flashing LED lights are legal. Reflective clothing is always a good idea even during the day.
  • Helmets are not compulsory for cyclists in the United Kingdom, and their effectiveness is as much a matter of debate here as anywhere else. In London, many cyclists, especially those seen in rush hour, also wear filter masks, but their efficacy is even more disputed.
  • It is as illegal for cyclists to jump through a red light as it is for motorists. Advance stop lines at traffic lights allow cyclists to wait ahead of other traffic at red lights. In practice, most car drivers ignore this and occupy the cycle space when waiting at lights.

The rules for cyclists are available in the British Government publication "The Highway Code"

Due to the expense of other forms of transport and the compactness of central London, cycling is a tempting option. Excellent free cycle maps can be obtained from your local tube stations, bike shop, or ordered on-line.

London now offers a city-wide cycle hire scheme, operated by Transport for London. For an hourly charge, bicycles may be hired from automated hire stations around the city. The bikes, all coloured a distinctive bright blue, can be unlocked and ridden around the city with a credit card, and must be returned to another hire station by locking the bike into the rack.

Despite recent improvements, London remains a relatively hostile environment for cyclists. London motorists seem reluctant to acknowledge the existence of cyclists, especially at busy junctions. The kind of contiguous cycle lane network found in many other European cities does not exist. The safest option is to stick to minor residential roads where traffic can be surprisingly calm outside rush hours.

Most major roads in London will have a red-route (indicated by red-painted tarmac) which is restricted to buses, taxis and bicycles. There are many bus stops on red routes, which can present a problem cycling around buses.

Cycle-lanes exist in London but they are often sporadic at best - usually a 3-foot wide section of tarmac barely wide enough for one cyclist typically indicated by green-painted tarmac. Many improvements have been made for cyclists in the city over the last few years, even if they remain no more than gestures in most places. Noticeably, there are many new signposted cycle routes and some new cycle lanes, not to mention more cyclists since the 2005 public transport attacks. A new network of "Cycle super-highways" has recently been launched: these are indicated by bright blue-painted tarmac. Motor vehicles often park on cycle lanes, rendering them unusable.

The towpaths in North London along the Grand Union Canal and Regent's Canal are the closest thing to a truly traffic-free cycle path in the capital. The Grand Union canal connects Paddington to Camden and the Regent's Canal connects Camden to Islington, Mile End and Limehouse in East London. It takes about 30-40min to cycle from Paddington station to Islington along the towpaths. In summer they are crowded with pedestrians and not suitable for cycling, but in winter or late in the evening they offer a very fast and safe way to travel from east to west in North London. Many cyclists enjoy cutting through one of London's enormous parks. It is more of a peaceful way of cycling than riding on the road.

Care should be taken as to where you choose to park your bike. Many areas, some surprisingly busy, attract cycle thieves, while chaining a bicycle to a railing which appears to be private property can occasionally lead to said bike being removed.

Taking bikes on trains is very limited in London due to overcrowding. Non-folding bikes can be taken only on limited sections of The Tube network, mostly only on the above-ground sections outside peak hours. For this reason, folding bicycles are becoming increasingly popular. There is a map showing this on the Transport for London website. Most National Rail operators allow bicycles outside peak hours also.

Critical Mass London is a cycling advocacy group which meets for regular rides through central London at 6PM on the last Friday of each month. Rides start from the southern end of Waterloo Bridge.

The London Cycling Campaign [34] is an advocacy group for London cyclists. With active local groups in most of the city's boroughs, it is recognised by local and regional government as the leading voice for cycling in the capital.

By taxi[edit]

London Cab

London has two types of taxis: the famous black cab, and so-called minicabs. Black cabs are the only ones licensed to 'ply for hire' (ie pick people up off the street), while minicabs are more accurately described as 'private hire vehicles' and need to be pre-booked.

The famous black cab of London (not always black!) can be hailed from the curb or found at one of the many designated taxi ranks. It is possible to book black cabs by phone, for a fee, but if you are in central London it will usually be quicker to hail one from the street. Their amber TAXI light will be on if they are available. Drivers must pass a rigorous exam of central London's streets, known as 'The Knowledge', in order to be licensed to drive a black cab. This means they can supposedly navigate you to almost any London street without reference to a map. They are a cheap transport option if there are five passengers as they do not charge extras, and many view them as an essential experience for any visitor to London. Black cabs charge by distance and by the minute, are non-smoking, and have a minimum charge of £2.40. Tipping is not mandatory in either taxis or minicabs, despite some drivers' expectations! Use your discretion: if you like the service you may tip otherwise don't. Londoners will often just round up to the nearest pound.

Taxis are required by law to take you up to 12 miles or up to one hour duration, if the destination is in Greater London (20 miles if starting at Heathrow Airport)[35] if their TAXI light is on when you hail them, unless they have a good reason. However some, especially older drivers, dislike leaving the centre of town, or going south of the River Thames. A good way to combat being left at the side of the curb is to open the back door, or even get into the cab, before stating your destination.

Minicabs are normal cars (not small cabs, go figure) which are licenced hire vehicles that you need to book by phone or at a minicab office. They generally charge a fixed fare for a journey, best agreed before you get in the car. Minicabs are sometimes cheaper than black cabs, although this is not necessarily the case for short journeys. Minicabs can be significantly cheaper for airport journeys - for example, a minicab from Heathrow to South-West London will cost around £36, whereas a black cab will cost over £100. Drivers are not tested as rigorously as black cab drivers, so they will typically not speak English very well and rely on a GPS to find their way, but will still get you from A to B. Licensed minicabs display a Transport For London (TFL) License Plate - usually in the front window. One of the features of the license plate is a blue version of the famous London Underground "roundel". A list of licensed minicab operators can be found at TfL Findaride: [36]. Note that some areas in London are poorly serviced by black cabs, particularly late at night. This has led to a large number of illegal minicabs operating - just opportunistic people, with a car, looking to make some fast money. Some of these operators can be fairly aggressive in their attempts to find customers, and it's now barely possible to walk late at night through any part of London with a modicum of nightlife without being approached. You should avoid mini-cabs touting for business off the street or outside nightclubs, and either take a black cab, book a licensed minicab by telephone, or take a night bus. These illegal drivers are unlicensed and sadly they are often unsafe: a number of women are assaulted every week by illegal minicab operators (11 reported per month).

  • Cabwise, Liverpool Station, 60835. 1.30. A free service provided by TFL which texts you local licensed minicab numbers. Text CAB to 60835. Costs the price of a text message.  edit

By car[edit]

Londoners who drive will normally take public transport in the centre; follow their example. Unless you have a disability, there is no good reason whatsoever to drive a car in central London.

Car drivers should be aware that driving into central London on weekdays during daylight hours incurs a hefty charge, with very few exemptions (note that rental cars also attract the charge). Cameras and mobile units record and identify the number plates and registration details of all vehicles entering the charging zone with high accuracy. The Central London Congestion Charge [37] M-F 07:00-18:00 (excluding public holidays) attracts a fee of £8 if paid the same day, or £10 if paid on the next charging day. Numerous payment options exist: by phone, online, at convenience stores displaying the red 'C' logo in the window and by voucher. Failure to pay the charge by midnight the next charging day (take note!) incurs a hefty automatic fine of £80 (£40 if paid within 2 weeks).

Despite the Congestion Charge, London - like most major cities - continues to experience traffic snarls. These are, of course, worse on weekdays during peak commuting hours (i.e. between 07:30-09:30 and 16:00-19:00). At these times public transport (and especially the Tube) usually offers the best alternative for speed and reduced hassle. Driving in Central London is a slow, frustrating, expensive and often unnecessary activity. There are many sorts of automatic enforcement cameras and it is difficult (and expensive) to park. A good tip is, that outside advertised restriction hours, parking on a single yellow line is permissible. Parking on a red line or a double yellow line is never permissible and heavily enforced. Find and read the parking restrictions carefully! Parking during weekdays and on Saturday can also mean considerable expense in parking fees - fees and restrictions are ignored at your extreme financial peril - issuing fines, clamping and towing vehicles (without warning!) has become a veritable new industry for borough councils staffed by armies of traffic wardens.

For the disabled, driving can be much more convenient than using public transport. If disabled and a resident of a member state of the EU, then two cars can be permanently registered for free for the congestion charge.

Motorcycles and scooters are fairly common in London as they can pass stationary cars, can usually be parked for free and are exempt from congestion-charging. Scooters and bikes with automatic transmission are much more preferable - a manually-geared racing bike is completely impractical unless you have excellent clutch-control (although it has to be said you will see plenty of them being ridden aggressively by motorcycle couriers and locals as it can be the fastest way to get around!) Likewise to bicycles, car-drivers have a disregard to anyone on two wheels and larger vehicles have an unwritten priority so take care when crossing junctions. Crash helmets are mandatory. Parking for bikes is usually free - there are designated motorcycle-parking areas on some side-streets and some multi-level parking lots will have bike parking on the ground level.

By boat[edit]

A river bus at Tower Millennium Pier

London is now starting to follow the example of cities such as Sydney and Bangkok by promoting a network of river bus and pleasure cruise services along the River Thames. London River Services [38] (part of Transport for London) manages regular commuter boats and a network of piers all along the river and publishes timetables and river maps similar to the famous tube map. While boat travel may be slower and a little more expensive than tube travel, it offers an extremely pleasant way to cross the city with unrivaled views of the London skyline - Big Ben, St Paul's Cathedral, the Tower of London, etc. Sailing under Tower Bridge is an unforgettable experience.

Boats are operated by private companies and they have a separate ticketing system from the rest of London transport; however if you have a Travelcard you get a 33% discount on most boat tickets. Many boat operators offer their own one-day ticket - ask at the pier kiosks. Generally, tickets from one boat company are not valid on other operators' services. Oyster cards can be used as payment for the 'Clipper'-styled commuter services but not for tour boats.

View from Greenwich Observatory which is easily reached by boat services plying the Thames

Boats run on the following routes:

  • Bankside - Millbank
  • Barrier Gardens - Greenwich - St. Katharine's - Westminster
  • Blackfriars - Embankment - Cadogan - Chelsea Harbour - Wandsworth (RQ) - Putney
  • Canary Wharf - Hilton Docklands
  • Canary Wharf - London Bridge City
  • Embankment - Blackfriars - Chelsea Harbour - Cadogan
  • Embankment - London Eye - Bankside - London Bridge City - Tower - Canary Wharf - Greenland - Masthouse Terrace - Greenwich - QEII for the O2 - Woolwich Arsenal
  • Embankment - London Eye - Blackfriars - London Bridge City - Tower - Canary Wharf - Greenland - Masthouse Terrace - Greenwich - QEII for the O2 - Woolwich Arsenal
  • Embankment - London Eye - Blackfriars - London Bridge City - Tower - Canary Wharf - Greenwich - QEII for the O2 - Woolwich Arsenal
  • Embankment - London Eye - London Bridge City - Tower - Canary Wharf - Greenland - Masthouse Terrace - Greenwich - QEII for the O2 - Woolwich Arsenal
  • Greenwich - Tilbury - Gravesend
  • Greenwich - Tower - Westminster - London Eye
  • Hampton Court - Kingston (Town End Pier) - Kingston (Turk's Pier) - Richmond (St Helena)
  • Hampton Court - Richmond - Kew - Westminster
  • Hilton Docklands - Canary Wharf
  • London Bridge City - Canary Wharf
  • Millbank - Bankside
  • Putney - Wandsworth (RQ) - Chelsea Harbour - Cadogan - Embankment - Blackfriars
  • Richmond (St Helena) - Kingston (Turk's Pier) - Kingston (Town End Pier) - Hampton Court
  • Tilbury - Gravesend - Greenwich
  • Westminster - Embankment - Festival - Bankside - London Bridge City - St. Katharine's - Westminster
  • Westminster - Embankment - St. Katharine's - Westminster
  • Westminster - Kew - Richmond - Hampton Court
  • Westminster - London Eye - Tower - Greenwich
  • Westminster - St. Katharine's - Greenwich - Barrier Gardens
  • Woolwich Arsenal - QEII for the O2 - Greenwich - Masthouse Terrace - Greenland - Canary Wharf - Tower - London Bridge City - Bankside - Embankment - London Eye
  • Woolwich Arsenal - QEII for the O2 - Greenwich - Masthouse Terrace - Greenland - Canary Wharf - Tower - London Bridge City - Blackfriars - Embankment - London Eye
  • Woolwich Arsenal - QEII for the O2 - Greenwich - Masthouse Terrace - Greenland - Canary Wharf - Tower - London Bridge City - Embankment - London Eye

Some key tourist attractions that are easily accessible by boat include:

  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Greenwich
  • Shakespeare’s Globe
  • Tate Galleries
  • London Dungeon
  • Tower of London
  • Tower Bridge
  • St. Katharine Docks
  • Millennium Dome/The O2
  • Ham House
  • Kew Gardens
  • HMS Belfast

plus all the central London sights in Westminster and the South Bank

As well as the Thames, consider a trip along an old Victorian canal through the leafy suburbs of North London. The London Waterbus Company runs scheduled services (more in summer, less in winter) from Little Venice to Camden Lock with a stop at the London Zoo (pick up only). The 45-minute trip along Regent's Canal is a delightful way to travel.

By skate[edit]

Inline skating on roads and pavements (sidewalks) is completely legal, except in the City of London (a district). Roads are not the greatest but easily skatable. In the centre drivers are more used to skaters than in the outskirts.

See[edit][add listing]

London with children
London can be stressful with kids - check London with children for slightly less stressful sightseeing


London is a huge city, so all individual listings are in the appropriate district articles and only an overview is presented here.

Landmarks[edit]

Tower Bridge behind the Girl and Dolphin sculpture
Buckingham Palace
London Eye
  • Buckingham Palace - The official London residence of the Queen, also in Westminster. Open for tours during the summer months only, but a must-see sight even if you don't go in.
  • The London Eye. The world's third largest observation wheel, situated on the South Bank of the Thames with magnificent views over London.
  • Marble Arch is a white Carrara marble monument designed by John Nash. It is located in the middle of a huge traffic island at one of the busiest intersections in central London where Oxford St meets Park Lane in Mayfair. It used to stand in front of Buckingham Palace, before it was moved to its present location.
  • Piccadilly Circus is one of the most photographed sights in London. The statue of Eros stands proudly in the middle while the north eastern side is dominated by a huge, iconic neon sign.
  • St Paul's Cathedral, also in the City, is Sir Christopher Wren's great accomplishment, built after the 1666 Great Fire of London - the great dome is still seated in majesty over The City. A section of the dome has such good acoustics that it forms a "Whispering Gallery".
  • Tower Bridge - Is the iconic 19th century bridge located by the Tower of London near the City. It is decorated with high towers and featuring a drawbridge and you can visit the engine rooms and a Tower Bridge exhibition.
St Paul's Cathedral
  • Tower of London - Situated just south east of the City, is London's original royal fortress by the Thames. It is over 900 years old, contains the Crown Jewels, guarded by Beefeaters, and is a World Heritage site. It is also considered by many to be the most haunted building in the world. If you are interested in that sort of thing its definitely somewhere worth visiting. Sometimes there are guided ghost walks of the building.
Trafalgar Square
  • Trafalgar Square - Home of Nelson's Column and the lions, and once a safe haven for London's pigeons until the recent introduction of hired birds of prey. It recently attracted controversy over the 'Fourth plinth', previously empty, being temporarily home to a Marc Quin sculpture, 'Alison Lapper Pregnant'. Overlooked by the National Gallery, it's the nearest London has to a 'centre', and has recently been pedestrianised. Classical music concerts at St Martin-in-the-Fields.
  • Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster (including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament) in Westminster. The seat of the United Kingdom parliament and World Heritage site, as well as setting for royal coronations since 1066, most recently that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. The Palace of Westminster is open to the public for viewing parliamentary debates, tours of the building are available during August-September when Parliament is away on summer recess and every Saturday throughout the year.
  • 30 St Mary Axe or The Gherkin, a peculiarly-shaped 180 m- (590 ft-) building in the City, which provides a 360-degree view of London on the 40th floor.
  • The Shard, a futuristic skyscraper that was topped-out in 2012 and dominates the London skyline. It's the tallest building in the EU at 310 m (1,017 ft) and features a viewing deck on the 72nd floor.

Museums and Galleries[edit]

London hosts an outstanding collection of world-class museums. Even better, it is the only one of the traditional "alpha world cities" (London, Tokyo, New York City and Paris) in which the majority of the museums have no entrance for their ever shrinking permanent exhibitions, thus allowing visitors to make multiple visits with ease. Although London can be expensive, many of the best museums and galleries are partially free including:

and most museums in Greenwich. Sadly, admission to temporary exhibitions can cost £10.00-£15.00, and many museums websites are quite vague about these charges. Often museums will boast of free admission, which may be only for one small room while the majority of the space requires a substantial entry fee.

Aside from these world famous establishments, there is an almost unbelievable number of minor museums in London covering a very diverse range of subjects. The British government lists over 240 genuine museums in the city.

Parks[edit]

St James' Park

The 'green lungs' of London are the many parks, great and small, scattered throughout the city including Hyde Park, St James Park and Regent's Park. Most of the larger parks have their origins in royal estates and hunting grounds and are still owned by the Crown, despite their public access.

  • Regent's Park is wonderful open park in the northern part of central London.
  • St James's Park has charming and romantic gardens ideal for picnics and for strolling around. St. James's Park is situated between Buckingham Palace on the west and Horse Guards Parade on the east.
  • Hampstead Heath is a huge open green space in north central London. Not a tended park as such and is remarkably wild for a metropolitan city location. The views from the Parliament Hill area of the heath south over the city are quite stunning.
  • Richmond Park also is a huge green space, but has a thriving deer population that is culled in the spring. Excellent place for cycling.
  • Holland Park is a large woodland located in the centre of London. It is a great place to go if you are after some peace and quiet. In the middle of the park is Kyoto gardens were you can buy food and drinks.
  • Bushy Park, near to Hampton Court Palace, is the second-largest park in London. More low-key than its larger cousin, Richmond Park, it too has a large deer population. Bushy Park contains numerous ponds, bridleways, two allotments, and at its northern edge, the National Physical Laboratory.
One of more than 800 Blue Plaques throughout London

Blue Plaques[edit]

English Heritage runs the Blue Plaques [39] programme in London. Blue Plaques celebrate great figures of the past and the buildings that they inhabited. These are among the most familiar features of the capital’s streetscape and adorn the façades of buildings across the city. Since the first plaque was erected in 1867, the number has grown steadily and there are now more than 800. Recipients are as diverse as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sigmund Freud, Charles de Gaulle, Jimi Hendrix and Karl Marx. Look out for these around the city.

Do[edit][add listing]

London is a huge city, so all individual listings should be in the appropriate district articles. To make the most of the city's tremendous cultural offerings (performing arts, museums, exhibitions, clubs, eateries and numerous others), visitors will do well to pick up a copy of a cultural magazine like Time Out London (available at most corner shops and newsagents) which gives detailed information and critiques on what's around town including show times and current attractions. Their website also has major shows listed and there is also an iPhone/iPod app available - though these tend to not be as detailed as the print version.

  • Take a walk through London's Royal Parks. A good walk would start at Paddington station, and head through Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park (passing Buckingham Palace) and St James Park before crossing Trafalgar Square and the River Thames to the South Bank and Waterloo Station. At a strolling pace this walk would take half a day, with plenty of places to stop, sit, drink, eat en-route. A good pictorial description of this walk can be found online at Trips By Trains Royal Parks Walk [40].
  • The Science museum, located right next to the Natural History museum is a very popular museum. It is enormous and is a fascinating place to visit.
  • Another great place to walk is through Regents Park. It is full of some fantastic cafe's, bars and tennis courts. London Zoo is just on the other side of the park from the tube station. There are cycle and footpaths so it is definitely a place worth visiting
  • Live Music London is one of the best cities in the world for concerts, spanning from new musical trends to well known bands. Popular classical concerts at St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square.
Between huge concert facilities and small pubs, there are hundreds of venues that organise and promote live music every week. Many concerts, especially in smaller or less known places are free, so there is plenty of choice even for tourists on a budget. London has long been a launchpad for alternative movements, from the mods of the 60s, punks of the 70s, new romantics of the 80s, the britpop scene of the 90s and in recent years the indie rock movement spearheaded by The Libertines and their ilk. It has one of the world's most lively live music scenes: any band heading a British, European or World tour will play London, not to mention the local talent.
London's Music Scene is incredibly diverse, covering all genres of music from electro-jazz to death-metal, and all sizes of bands, from the U2s and Rolling Stones of the world to one man bands who disband after their first gig.
This diversity is reflected in prices. As a rough guide: £20+ for 'top 40' bands in arena sized venues, £10+ for established bands in mid sized venues, £6+ for up and coming bands and club nights in smaller venues, £5- for start up bands in bars and pubs. London has hundreds of venues spread out over the city and the best way to know what's going on where is to browse on-line ticket agencies and music magazine's gig directories. One of the easiest to use and most comprehensive listings websites is "LONDONEARS".
However, there are a few areas which have higher concentrations of pubs and venues than others. Kilburn is situated in North West London. It's long been known as an Irish area, and though their numbers have somewhat declined any visit to a local pub will show their influence remains today. Kilburn's important venue is The Good Ship.[41] Due to its inclusive policies and fair payment system, The Good Ship is a favourite place for young aspiring bands to try to get a foot off the ground. Good for those who would like to see bands "before they were big", who appreciate £5 entrance fees, good beer and friendly staff.
  • Theatre The West End, especially the areas concentrated around Leicester Square, Covent Garden, Shaftesbury Avenue and Haymarket, is one of the world's premier destinations for theatre, including musical theatre.
Covent Garden has the only Actor sponsored school in the city called the Actors Centre [42] which also gave way to the London Acting Network [43], a London acting community support group. In the centre of Leicester Square there is an official half-price TKTS booth.
For up-to-date listings check the official London theatreland site.
The South Bank is another area well-known for world class theatre, and is home to both the National Theatre and the Globe Theatre, the latter of which is London's only thatched building and an attraction in itself. Each Globe performance has over 700 £5 tickets. London's theatre scene outside of these two main districts is known as "the Fringe". There are tour companies worldwide that take travellers to see London theatre. These companies sell themselves on being able to deliver unique and behind-the-scenes access to some of the world's greatest theatre (like this company in Colorado http://mytheatretour.com). </do>
  • Watch a movie As well as the world-famous blockbuster cinemas in the West End, London has a large number of superb art house cinemas. In the summer months, there are often outdoor screenings at various venues, such as Somerset House and in some of the large parks.
  • Watch football Take in a home match of one of the city's 15+ professional football clubs for a true experience of a lifetime as you see the passion of the "World's Game" in its mother country.
London will have six clubs in the top Premier League in the upcoming 2012–13 season: Arsenal, Chelsea, Fulham, Queens Park Rangers (QPR), Tottenham Hotspur, and West Ham United. A level down, in the Football League Championship, finds Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace, and Millwall. Five other clubs are in lower levels of the professional league system—Brentford and Leyton Orient in Football League One; and AFC Wimbledon, Barnet and Dagenham & Redbridge in Football League Two. Many of the bigger clubs will require booking in advance, sometimes many months ahead, but smaller clubs allow you to simply turn up on match day and pay at the gate. You will be able to find a ticket to a quality football match on any Saturday during the season.
  • Wimbledon, [44]. Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and is widely considered the most prestigious. Naturally it is a regular feature on the Tennis calendar. London goes "tennis crazy" for two weeks when the competition commences in late June and early July. One of the greatest traditions is to eat Strawberries and Cream, with sugar.  edit
  • Open House London Weekend, [45]. Explore many of the city's most interesting buildings during the London Open House Weekend - usually held on the third weekend of September. During this single weekend, several hundred buildings which are not normally open to the public are opened up. See website for details of buildings opening in any given year - some buildings have to be pre-booked in advance - book early for the popular ones!  edit
  • Winter Skating. London has a number of outdoor ice rinks that open in the winter months. Considered by some to be somewhat overpriced and overcrowded, they nonetheless have multiplied in recent years, easing congestion and increasing competition. Most charge from £10-12 (adults) for an hour on the ice, including skate hire. See the district articles for the City of London, East End and Leicester Square.
  • Summer Skating. In summer (and also in winter, for the more dedicated) there is also a thriving roller skating (on inline and traditional "quad" skates) scene in London, catering to many disciplines including street hockey, freestyle slalom, dance, general recreational skating (including three weekly marshalled group street skates) and speed skating. This mostly centres around Hyde Park (on the Serpentine Road) and Kensington Gardens (by the Albert Memorial). See the district articles for Mayfair-Marylebone and South West London.
  • Do-it-yourself bus tour If you don't feel like splashing out on one of the commercial bus tours, you can make your own bus tour by buying an Oyster card and spending some time riding around London on the top deck of standard London buses. Of course you don't get the open air or the commentary, but the views are very similar. You will likely get lost but that is half the fun; if it worries you go for a commercial tour.
  • Spitalfields Markets, 65 Brushfield St E1 6AA (Straight down Bell Lane past 66-68 and keep walking). Visit the thriving old Spitalfields markets which were the original London fruit markets. They have a daily market selling amazing vintage odds and ends and new fresh clothes! Visit 66/68 Bell Lane nearby to see a wealthy merchants house, rumor has it John Lennon once played on the roof of this building with Yoko Ono.  edit
  • For a guided tour of London check out The Literary London Walking Tour [46] - an interesting, informative and funny walk through London and its literary hotspots of the past and present. Meet local writers and poets and listen to them perform their works (£15 per person).
  • Discover Walks, 4 Coney Way London SW8 1LW, +44 20 3514-0211, [47]. Meet actual Londoners in addition to exploring major landmarks. Join a walk with locals who will "decode" the city with you, and also learn from an insider about local events and festivals, about where to shop, good places to eat or drink, secret places locals keep to themselves.  edit

Learn[edit]

London attracts more students from overseas than any other city in the world, and is home to a huge variety of academic institutions. Its universities include some of the oldest and most prestigious in the world.

  • Imperial College London (ICL), [48]. UK's leading university specialising in science, engineering, business and medicine. The campus is located in a beautiful South Kensington area (Central London), surrounded by numerous cultural institutions.  edit
  • University College London (UCL), [49]. The first university established in London, offering a wide range of courses. UCL academic research is cited more than any other university in the UK, and its courses are regarded as amongst the best.  edit
  • London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), [50]. The only college in the UK focused exclusively on social sciences, whose courses are regarded as amongst the very best in the world. Often associated with neo-liberal political economic theory. Its glittering list of alumni include many foreign leaders.  edit
  • King's College London, [51]. Situated in the heart of London over 3 main campuses. Offers undergraduate and postgraduate courses for a range of subjects at a high academic level.  edit
  • Queen Mary, University of London, [52]. Queen Mary was formed from the merger of four historic colleges and since joining the University of London in 1915 has grown to become one of its largest colleges.  edit
  • School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), [53]. Offers highly regarded courses in law, languages, social sciences and humanities, with a unique focus on Asia and Africa.  edit
  • London Business School, [54]. Postgraduate business school offering one of the world's leading MBA programmes.  edit

Learn English[edit]

London is a natural place to learn and improve spoken and written English. There are a huge range of options, from informal language exchange services to evening classes and formal language schools. There are a number of unaccredited schools charging hefty fees and offering qualifications that are viewed as worthless. If choosing a course from a privately-run school or college, it is important to ensure the institution is accredited by the British Council.

Some links to British Council accredited schools:

  • Linguaenglish London, [55]. Lingua London is a family-run English language school and has been teaching English only courses in London for over 10 years.  edit
  • Language in London, [56]. This is the first school in the world to win the British Council prize for innovation in English teaching. Located in central London with homestay and residential accommodation, we can help you with everything you need to have an amazing experience living and studying in this city.  edit
  • Rose of York, [57]. Rose of York has been teaching English language courses for over 21 years and they offer full-time, intensive or part-time English courses  edit
  • Franglish, [58]. Franglish is a French/English and French/Spanish language exchange event taking place in some of the best venues across London.  edit
  • Kunaal Tailor, 07517 253423 (), [59]. Private 1-2-1 English Classes with a Native Speaker and British Council observed tutor. Specialising in General English, Exam (FCE, PET, CAE and IELTS) Preparation, Business English and Online Classes via Skype.  edit

Work[edit]

London is one of the world's leading financial centres and so professional services is the main area of employment, although this sector has been hit hard by the global financial crisis. As of Mid 2010, the job market in London has recovered somewhat, it is best to check with recruiters and staffing agencies.

London is hugely popular as a working holiday destination - work in bars and the hospitality industry is relatively easy to find.

Wages are generally higher in London than the rest of the UK, although the cost of living is higher still.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Oxford Street December
Harrods

London is also one of the world's most fashion conscious cities, which explains the abundance of clothing shops from the flagship shops of Oxford Street to the tiny boutiques of Brick Lane.

Though not particularly known for bargain shopping, nearly anything you could possibly want to buy is available in London. In Central London, the main shopping district is the West End (Bond St, Covent Garden, Oxford St and Regent St). On Thursdays many West End stores close later than normal (19:00-20:00).

  • Oxford Street. Main shopping street home to flagship branches of all the major British high street retailers in one go including Selfridges [60], John Lewis [61] (includes a food hall), Marks & Spencer [62] and other department stores. Really overcrowded and has pretty ordinary shops actually.
  • Regent Street (between Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus). Includes such gems as Hamleys, considered to be London's flagship toy store, on seven levels, and the London Apple Store.
  • Bond Street. Some of the world's most luxurious designer stores such as Cartier, D&G, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton and Versace.
  • Tottenham Court Road. Contains some of the world's most luxurious designer interior stores such as Heals, whilst the southern end is famous for its large concentration of hi-fi, computer and electronics stores.
  • Covent Garden [63]. Fashionable area home to quaint outlets and relatively expensive designer stores. Around Seven Dials chains include Adidas Originals, All Saints, Carhartt, Fred Perry, G Star Raw and Stussy. For shoes head for Neal St. Also the London Transport Museum whose gift shop has some of the best souvenirs in the city (old maps, vintage Tube posters, etc). But the vendors are now not allowed to sell merchandise with Union Jacks on. Sad.
  • Charing Cross Road (near Covent Garden). A book lovers haven! New, second-hand, antiquarian and specialist.
  • Soho . Offers alternative music and clothes. Now home to Chappell of Bond St's historic music shop.
  • Camden Town. Alternative clothing and other alternative shopping, popular with teenagers and young adults. Also nearby Camden Lock market. Has lots of really cool and affordable stuff but kind of gothish.
  • Chelsea. The King's Road is noted for fashion, homeware and kids. On Wednesday many stores close late.
  • Knightsbridge. Department stores include the world famous Harrods [64] (includes a food hall) and Harvey Nichols. On Wednesday many stores close late.
  • Beauchamp Place.Shop where royalty and celebrities shop.One of the world's most unique and famous streets. Over the years it has developed its strong reputation as one of London’s most fashionable and distinctive streets, housing some of the best known names in London fashion, interspersed with trendy restaurants, jewellers and speciality shops including the world famous trademark Fortuny [65], .
  • Westminster. Some of the world's most famous shirts are made on Jermyn St. Savile Row is home to some of the world's best men's bespoke tailors including Henry Poole, Gieves & Hawkes, H. Huntsman & Sons, Dege & Skinner and many other.
  • Westfield. In Shepherd's Bush and now Stratford. Hard to miss. Has designer shops in with the more affordable chain shops. It's the biggest shopping centre in Europe. Has lots of good places to eat. It can get very busy on weekends though. Has its own train station.

Markets[edit]

Borough (tube: London Bridge) [66] is a great (if expensive) food market, offering fruit, veg, cheese, bread, meat, fish, and so on, much of it organic. Th-Sa (best to go in the morning, since it gets unpleasantly crowded by around 11:00).

Old Spitalfields Market [67] is an excellent market for clothes from up-and-coming designers, records, housewares, food, and all things trendy, it was once the London fruit markets. Find it at 65 Brushfield St London E1 6AA (Straight down Bell Lane past 66-68 and keep walking). Visit 66/68 Bell Lane nearby to see a wealthy merchants house, rumor has it John Lennon once played on the roof of this building with Yoko Ono. Also checkout Brick Lane, Greenwich and Portobello, [68].

Airports[edit]

Tax-free shops in airports are not strong in variety, prices are equal to London, and they close rather early as well. Shop listings at airport web sites can help to plan your tax-free (vs traditional) shopping. In the evening allow extra half an hour as closing hours are not always strictly respected.

Eat[edit][add listing]

This guide uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Below £15
Mid-range £15-50
Splurge £50+

Smoking Ban
Smoking is banned in all UK pubs and restaurants.


It is a huge task for a visitor to find the 'right place' to eat in London - with the 'right atmosphere', at the 'right price' - largely because, as in any big city, there are literally thousands of venues from which to choose, ranging from fast food joints, pubs, and mainstream chains all the way up to some of the most exclusive restaurants in the world which attract the kind of clientele that don't need to ask the price. Sorting the good from the bad isn't easy, but London has something to accommodate all budgets and tastes. Following is a rough guide to what you might get, should you fancy eating out:

  • Up to £5 - you can get a good English pub or cafeteria breakfast with a rack of bacon, beans in tomato sauce, egg, sausage, orange juice and coffee or tea. Most pubs stop this offer at 11:00, but there are literally hundreds of backstreet cafes (collquially known as "greasy spoons") which will serve this sort of food all day.
  • £7 - will buy you a couple of sandwiches and a soft drink, some takeaway fish and chips, or a fast food meal. There are also a number of mostly Chinese restaurants which serve an all you can eat buffet for around this price. These are dotted about the West End and it is well worth asking a member of public or a shopkeeper where the nearest one is. These restaurants make much of their revenue on drinks although these are usually still moderately priced. The food whilst not being of the finest standard is usually very tasty and the range of dishes available is excellent. There are literally thousands of so called takeaways in London and a cheap alternative to a restaurant meal. Check with your hotel management if they allow food deliveries before ordering in. Most takeaways will offer some form of seating, but not all do.
  • £6-10 - will get you a good pub meal and drink or a good Chinese/Indian/Italian/Thai/Vietnamese buffet. Be aware that many pubs have a buy-one-get-one-free offer, and you can either order two main dishes for yourself or bring a friend.
  • £15 - some more expensive French, Mediterranean and international restaurants do cheaper two or three course lunch menus.
  • £25 - offers you a lot more choice. You can have a good meal, half a bottle of wine and change for the tube home. There are plenty of modest restaurants that cater for this bracket.
  • £50 (to almost any amount!) - with more money to spend you can pick some of the city's finer restaurants. It may be a famous chef (like Michel Roux, Jr or Gordon Ramsay) or simply a place that prides itself on using the finest ingredients. Worth the splurge to impress a special someone. Note that these establishments often need to be booked well in advance, and most will enforce a dress code of some sort, like Rules of Covent Garden, the oldest resturant still extant.

Prices inevitably become inflated at venues closest to major tourist attractions - beware the so-called tourist traps. The worst tourist trap food is, in the opinion of many Londoners, is served at the various steak houses (Angus Steak House, Aberdeen Steak House etc - they are all dotted around the West End and near to the main train stations). Londoners wouldn't dream of eating here - you shouldn't either! Notorious areas for inflated menu prices trading on travellers' lack of knowledge are the streets around the British Museum, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. Even the major fast food chains charge a premium in their West End outlets - so watch out.

Pubs within the touristy areas of London are usually a poor choice for food although there are some brilliant 'gastro-pubs' hidden away - use the internet or a good guide (such as Time Out or Datemojo) to find them. In general avoid all pubs that have graphic-designed and printed menus - it's peoples experiences in these kind of places that gives Britain a bad name for food! Look around you - see any locals tucking in? No? - then you shouldn't either. The other rule to follow when avoiding poor food is the same as in any other part of Europe - is the menu available in multiple languages? If yes then start running!!

In the suburbs, the cost of eating out is reduced drastically. Particularly in large ethnic communities, there is a competitive market which stands to benefit the consumer. In East London for example, the vast number of chicken shops means that a deal for 2 pieces of chicken, chips (fries) and a drink shouldn't cost you more than £3 especially on Brick Lane. Another good (and cheap) lunch option is a chicken or lamb doner (gyro) at many outlets throughout the city, though meat quality is often poor.

For more authentic Cockney food, try pie and mash, which originates from the working-class in the East End.[69] Usually minced beef and cold water pastry pie served with mashed potato, mushy peas and 'liquour' gravy, it tastes a lot better then it sounds. Some of the best pie houses are M. Manze in Peckham or F. Cooke in Hackney Broadway Market.[70] Water Souchet and London Particular (green-pea and ham) are classic Cockney soups, though hard to find on menus. For those game, jellied eels, pickled-cockles and whelks are all traditional London seafood.[71] For cheap, quality fish and chips frequented by many black cab drivers, try Super Fish near Waterloo station.

Tipping may also be different than what you're used to. All meals include the 20% VAT tax and some places include a service fee (10-12%). The general rule is to leave a tip for table service, unless there's already a service charge added or unless the service has been notably poor. The amount tipped is generally in the region of 10%, but if there's a figure between 10 and 15% which would leave the bill at a conveniently round total, many would consider it polite to tip this amount. Tipping for counter service, or any other form of service, is unusual - but some choose to do so if a tips container is provided.

Restaurant Streets[edit]

Many Londoners, especially in the evenings, eat out in their local neighborhood or a nearby restaurant hub, rather than eating in central London. The reasons are simple; the the quality of the food will be better, the quality of the service is better, and the cost is significantly lower. Generally in zones 2-6 you will get a much more pleasant, better value, and less crowded eating experience than you will find in the West End. The suburbs are home to many independent restaurants that keep standards high in order to attach repeat custom. Even the chain restaurants tend to be better outside zone 1 serving identical menus to their West End outlets but without tourist premiums being added to the prices.

Restaurant streets are best visited in the evenings as many places are closed or very quiet during the day.

European / British Cuisine

  • Upper Street - Head to Highbury & Islington (Victoria line) or Angel (Northern line). Dozens of excellent restaurants, popular with young professionals.
  • Stoke Newington Church Street - has a fantastic range of independent restaurants and cafes. Stoke Newington Rail Station or the 73 bus.
  • Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia has a wide range of chain and independent restaurants covering all cuisines. It is particularly popular with workers in the media industry, especially during weekday lunchtimes. Goodge Street Tube
  • Clapham Junction is not just a train station (lots of quick trains from Victoria and Waterloo) - but also home to many good restaurants and bars, in three clusters, all within 10 minutes walk of the station: Northcote Road / Battersea Rise, Lavender Hill, and St Johns Hill
  • Lordship Lane in the southern suburbs - head to East Dulwich station - a good selection of European restaurants and a few award winning gastropubs
  • Kings Street extends on to Chiswick High Road from Hammersmith Tube Station and is one long road of a choice of restaurants at very reasonable prices, some bargain mentions are the Thai restaurants offering 2 course lunch for £7. Nearby Shepherds bush is about a 15min walk and is alive with bars and pubs in the evening.
  • South End, Croydon Croydon is derided by most Londoners as the end of the earth, however this suburban gem of a road has at least 30 decent restaurants, including three Argentinians, a Peruvian, a fish restaurant, and a couple of fancy modern European brassieres. Sadly chain restaurants are moving in (Zizzi's, Pizza Express) but most of the places are still independent. Get a quick train to East Croydon station from Victoria or London Bridge (or South Croydon station, slower but nearer).

East Asian, South Asian, Middle-Eastern, Caribbean, and other

As one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities, you can find restaurants serving food cuisine from nearly every country, some of it as good as, if not better than in the countries of origin. Indian food in London is especially famous and there is hardly a district without at least one notable Indian restaurant.

If you are looking for other particular regional foods these tend to be clustered in certain areas and some examples are:

  • Brick Lane in the East End is famous for Bangladeshi curries. Aldgate East or Shoreditch High Street tube stations.
  • Brixton for African/Caribbean. Brixton tube.
  • Drummond Street (just behind Euston railway station in the London/Camden district) has a fine mix of Indian / vegetarian restaurants - a short walk from Euston railway station.
  • Tooting, East Ham, Wembley and Southall for authentic & cheap Indian eateries including authentic South Indian restaurants serving hot pongal, dosas, idlis and other South Indian "tiffin" items.
  • New Malden in south west London (zone 4) for Korean food.

Other nationalities are equally represented and randomly dotted all over London. It is usually wisest to eat in restaurants on main thoroughfares rather than on quiet backstreets.

Chains[edit]

Like other capitals in the world, London has the usual array of fast food outlets. Sandwich shops are the most popular places to buy lunch, and there are a lot of places to choose from including Eat and Pret a Manger. Some Italian-style sandwich shops have a very good reputation and you can identify them easily by looking at the long queues at lunchtime. If all else fails, Central London has lots of mini-supermarkets operated by the big British supermarket chains (e.g. , Sainsbury's, Tesco) where you can pick up a pre-packed sandwich.

Fast food with an Asian flair is easy to find throughout the city, with lots of Busaba Eathai, Wagamama, and Yo! Sushi locations throughout the city. Nando's has spicy peri peri style grilled chicken.

Vegetarian[edit]

London has plenty of vegetarian-only restaurants many of them championing organic foodstuffs, and a quick search in Google will produce plenty of ideas, so you never have to see a piece of cooked meat all week.

If you are dining with carnivorous friends most restaurants will cater for vegetarians and will have at least a couple of dishes on the menu. Indian/Bangladeshi restaurants are generally fruitful, as they have plenty of traditional dishes (good Indian/Bangladeshi options can be found in the Brick Lane area of Spitalfields or further afeild in East Ham, Tooting Broadway and Southall. These also tend to be very cheap eats with authentically prepared dishes with a true local ambience). There are also many vegetarian Thai buffet places where you can eat fake meat in tooth-achingly sweet sauces for under £5. These can be found on Greek and Old Compton Sts in Soho and Islington High Street.

Religious[edit]

Due to the mix of cultures and religions, many London restaurants cater well for religious dietary requirements. The most common signs are for Halal and Kosher meat, from burger joints to nice restaurants. There are lots of Halal restaurants [72] and shops all over London including Whitechapel Rd and Brick Lane in the East End, Bayswater, Edgware Rd and Paddington and in many parts of north London. There are plenty of Kosher restaurants in Golders Green, Edgware and Stamford Hill along with some central delis such as on Charing Cross Road. There is also Hare Khrisna vegan resturant just off Charing X in Soho Square.

Convenience stores and supermarkets[edit]

Convenience stores such as Tesco Metro, Sainsbury Central/Local, Budgens, Costcutter, SPAR, Cooperative as well as privately-run 'corner shops' sell pre-made sandwiches, snacks, alcohol, cigarettes, drinks etc. Most are open from 05:00-23:00 (5 AM-11 PM) although some such as Tesco Metro or convenience stores located at petrol stations may open 24 hours although they will stop selling alcohol after 23:00 (11 PM). Be aware that Whistlestop convenience stores (located in or around train stations) are notoriously overpriced and should be avoided. If using a petrol-station convenience store late at night (i.e. after 23:00/11 PM) the store will be locked and you should order and pay through the external service window.

Full-size superstores such as Tesco, Asda and Morrisons are rare in the city centre and usually require a 15-20 min tube ride to reach them. One of the closest is the ASDA store close to Crossharbour DLR Station on the Lewisham line - about 15-minute ride from Bank Station or at the end of the 135 24-hour bus line. There is also a Tesco in the Surrey Quays shopping mall which is next to Canada Water station on the Jubilee line - again about 10-15 minutes from the centre of town. If you plan on buying lots of groceries it's worth the trip as prices are much lower than in any downtown supermarkets.

Drink[edit][add listing]

London is home to a great many pubs, bars and nightclubs. The online city guide View London [73] and the weekly magazine Time Out [74] can inform you of what's going in London's night life, as well as with cultural events in general.

Pubs & bars[edit]

London is an expensive place and your drink is likely to cost more than its equivalent elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Expect to pay around £4 for a pint of lager or Guinness (or around £3.50 for a pint of ale) in an average pub, but be aware that as with restaurants, pubs close to major tourist attractions cash in on travellers' gullibility so be on your guard for the tourist traps where higher prices are not unheard of. Despite this however it is still possible to find a sub-£3 pint in central London - but it takes some determination. If you're looking to save money and meet travellers then pub crawls are guided tours that run nightly in London. You'll save the ticket price on the savings you get from discounted drink deals and what you would have spent on club entry. Two operators "1 Big Night Out" and "Camden Pub Crawl" operate nightly in Leicester Square and Camden town respectively.

Many local pubs, especially those run by chains like Wetherspoons and Scream tend to be more reasonably priced with good drink promotions on weekday nights and during the day. As with the rest of the UK, chain pubs abound which Londoners tend to avoid like the plague. A good place to get cheap beer is at any one of the Sam Smith's run pubs that are dotted around Soho and north of Oxford Street. These pubs are good traditional boozers which are frequented by the local working population and odd celeb.

In the Bloomsbury area, check out The Court (near the north end of Tottenham Court Road) and The Rocket (Euston Road). Both are fairly cheap to drink at, given that they cater for students of the adjacent University College London. However since both pubs have been taken over by a new company drinks have become noticeably more expensive. Directly opposite the British Library is The Euston Flyer, popular with locals and commuters alike given its close proximity to St Pancras International railway station.

Classier bars and pubs can be much more expensive. However, the cost of alcohol drops significantly the further away you go from the centre (though be aware that West London tends to be an exception, with prices pretty much the same as the centre).

Two important endemic London breweries are Young's and and Fullers. Young's was founded in Wandsworth in 1831 (but has recently relocated to Bedford) and nowadays it boasts 123 pubs in central London alone. The Founder's Arms on the South Bank is one of the brewery's most well known establishments. Fullers was founded a bit later in 1845 at Chiswick (where you can take a most enjoyable tour of the brewery, including beer-tasting) and the jewel in its crown is probably the Grade I listed Old Bank Of England on Fleet Street, thanks to its breath-taking interiors. Fuller's flagship beer is the famous 'London Pride', however to try a truly authentic Cockney pint, ask at bars if they serve a seldom seen now Porter, a dark style of beer originating in London in the 18th Century, similar but less heavy then a Stout.[75] For a different taste, try London Gin, a popular type of spirit, often mixed with tonic water, (and a slice of lemon) to make G & T's.

It's hard to say which pub in London is truly the oldest but it's easy to find contenders for the title. Many pubs were destroyed in the Great Fire of London – indeed, Samuel Pepys supposedly watched the disaster from the comfort of the Anchor in Borough. Pubs were rebuilt on sites that claimed to have been working pubs since the 13th century. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street is on the site of an old monastery and its cellar dates back to the 13th century. The Princess Louise and Cittie of Yorke (22 High Holborn, WC1V 6BN Tel +44 20 7242-7670) are two lovely pubs close by, along High Holborn with interesting decor; as is the Jerusalem Tavern of Farringdon, a converted Georgian coffee shop, which sells the Norfolk beer, St. Peters. The Royal Oak of Borough, is another pub which is the only representative of an out-of-town brewery in London, that of Harvey's of Lewes. The food is fantastic as is the atmosphere. Those interested in London's historic and literary connections can't miss The Spaniard's Inn in Hampstead. Dick Turpin is said to have been born here; John Keats and Charles Dickens both drank here; it's mentioned in Dickens' The Pickwick Papers and Bram Stoker's Dracula. The Goose at Catford, was reputedly a favourite hole of Karl Marx.

For the best view in the city, try pubs on the banks of the Thames. The South Bank has lots of good bars with plenty of iconic bridges and buildings in sight the cocktail bar in the OXO tower is a secret that most tourists walk by everyday. Heading towards Bermondsey, pub crowds become a little less touristy.

If you're after gastropubs, you may like to visit London's first, The Eagle, in Clerkenwell, established in 1991. You can also try Time Out's favourite newcomer, The Princess Victoria on Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush.

Wine buffs can enjoy the famous Davys wine bars that dot the city. The company, established in 1870, import wines and own over thirty bars in the centre. Other big names in wine include the Michelin-starred Cellar Gascon and Vinoteca, both in Smithfield. For a posh wine tasting experience, there is Vinopolis by Borough Market, though a tour price will be as eye-watering as the produce sampled.

Big hotels, such as The Dorchester and The Ritz, and upmarket clubs around Leicester Square and Soho are reliable bets for a date at the bar. The Connaught Hotel in Mayfair-Marylebone boasts its house bar, plus the Time Out favourite, The Coburg. Still in Mayfair, The Polo Bar at The Westbury is very intimate.

You can rely on most up-and-running bars to offer a short cocktail menu and there are also bars that position themselves as cocktail specialists.

Nightclubs[edit]

Nightlife is an integral part of London life and there are countless nightclubs in and around Central London with music to suit even the most eclectic of tastes. Districts in London tend to specialize to different types of music.

The Farringdon/Hoxton/Shoreditch area has many clubs playing drum and bass, house and trance music and is home to the superclub Fabric. The clubs in this area are often home to the world's top DJ's and attracts a lively, hip and friendly crowd.

The area around Mayfair is home to the more upmarket clubs in London. This area attracts a rather more showy crowd who love to flaunt what they have and is a must go to celebrity spot. Beware that drinks are ridiculously expensive and many clubs operate a guestlist-only policy. Music played here is often of the commercial chart, funky house, hip hop and R&B genre. Notable clubs include China White, Luxx, Maddox, Jalouse, Funky Buddha, Whisky Mist, Mahiki, No 5 Cavendish Square, Embassy, Vendome and Maya.

Nightclubs around the Leicester Square area hold the same music policy, but are rather more accessible, with numerous club and pub crawl promoters scattered around the area offering deals on entry. Notable clubs are Cafe De Paris, 1 Big Night Out pub crawl, Penthouse, Sound, Tiger Tiger, Zoo bar and Ruby Blue.

The Camden area is home to clubs which play Indie, metal and rock music and notably the Electric Ballroom, the world famous Koko (Fridays) and Underworld, however be aware that Camden clubs are mostly shut (or empty) on the weekdays.

Gay and lesbian[edit]

London has a vibrant gay environment with countless bars, clubs and events in almost every district in the city.

The nucleus of London's gay scene is undoubtedly Old Compton St and the surrounding area in Soho, whilst Vauxhall has also grown significantly in the last decade - with a generally more seedier and fetish-oriented selection of bars and clubs compared to those of Soho. You will find that many areas, particularly in Camden Town and Shoreditch, that straight bars will have a mixed clientele.

To find out what is going on during your visit, you can check:

  • qmagazine.com [76] a weekly magazine that comprehensively covers the London gay scene with handy night by night listings available on-line and in print
  • Boyz Magazine [77] which is published fortnightly and is freely available at most London gay venues, and contains listings of everything that is happening in all the major clubs in London and the South East.

Pride is held every year in June with parade and street parties. The choice of places to go sometimes seem to be unmanageable.

  • London Gay and Lesbian Switchboard (LLGS), +44 20 7837-7324 (), [78]. This voluntary service has been operating since 1974 and as well as providing counselling they offer an incredibly thorough information service about Gay events, accommodation and businesses in London.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Under £70
Mid-range £70 to £140
Splurge Over £140

London has a wide range of accommodation to suit all tastes from hostels through historic bed and breakfasts (B&Bs), mainstream chain hotels and apartments all the way to some of the most famous and exclusive luxury hotels in the world such as The Savoy, The Ritz and Claridges. Hotel rates in London are notoriously expensive, and considerably higher than the UK (and indeed, European) average. Prices invariably become even more inflated close to major sporting tournaments (such as the London Marathon, Wimbledon or major England football/rugby fixtures), or other important events (such as Royal ceremonies) taking place in the city - so it pays to plan your trip around such occasions or book your accommodation well in advance.

Most people want to base themselves within the central area of London (Zones 1 and 2 of the Underground) - but this is also by far the most expensive part of the city to stay in, with even the traditional "budget" hotel chains like Premier Inn or Travelodge charging a premium in the centre compared to properties located just on the fringes of Zone 2 or in the outer boroughs. Be wary therefore of big-name chain hotels with the word "London" in their title that look suspiciously cheap - you may find that they are actually on the outskirts of the city with a commute of nearly an hour into Zone 1. Hotel prices are often linked to their proximity to a Tube or overground railway station with a fast link to the centre of town, so for this reason do your research carefully - sometimes being that extra five minutes away from a station can make the difference in cost and quality and local food and drinking options. In any case, you can always catch a bus anyway - by far the best way to see the city and get about generally.

Hotels[edit]

Your budget will have a lot to do with what part of London you will want to stay in. Generally speaking, the rates you can expect to pay are as follows:

  • £15-£30 p/n will buy a bunk within a shared dormitory in a hostel within Zone 1, or possibly a Bed and Breakfast within the outer suburbs. It is also possible to find an advance purchase rate in any of the budget hotel chains (Premier Inn, Travelodge, ibis) at this price, but again you will be basing yourself in at least Zone 3 probably or further out.
  • £40-£80 p/n expect to pay this for a small independent 1- or 2- star hotel or guest house in Zone 1 or 2. Rooms at this price range tend to be very small and the quality can admittedly be somewhat hit and miss. Some of these establishments offer excellent value for money, whilst others can be very poor indeed. Always do your research online before booking therefore!
  • £80-£150 p/n is realistically the starting point for a room in a 2-3 star mainstream chain hotel within Zone 1 or 2. The aforementioned budget chains tend to average out at the £100 p/n mark.
  • £150-£300 p/n is the rack rate for a 4-5 star hotel such as a Hilton or Marriott. As with most things, prices can be volatile, and can occasionally sink to less than the lesser brand names, but inflate markedly depending on time of year.
  • £400+ p/n (to almost any amount) is the going rate for a luxury hotel within the West End or the City, and even the more modest chain hotels have been known to charge this amount during periods of high demand - the Summer Olympics of 2012 was a prime example. Suites in famous luxury hotels such as The Savoy or Claridges can run into £1000s per night (even tens of thousands!), and are generally aimed at those who don't have to ask the price!

Many of the big name hotel chains now offer substantial discounts (with rates often down as low as £30-£50 per room per night) if you book well in advance, but the drawback is that you have to pay the full amount upfront at the time of booking and there are no refunds if you cancel. The heart of the West End is the most expensive place to stay with most hotels being either 4 or 5 star and are therefore priced accordingly.

The City can also be very expensive during the week, as it relies heavily on the business market but prices often drop over the weekend and it can be a good way of getting into a higher standard of accommodation than you could otherwise afford. Bear in mind though that this part of central London becomes a ghost town over the weekend, and you will find that few (if any) bars and restaurants will be open.

A top tip however is to always check the likes of LondonTown.com, Expedia and LateRooms as well as the hotel's own website - since there are often deals to be had which can reduce the costs significantly.

The extra cost of getting around is probably not significant compared to savings made by staying in a hotel further out. With the excellent Tube system where you stay won't limit what you see. Always be sure though to check where the closest tube station is to your hotel. Staying further out will be cheaper but when travelling in allow 1-2 min per tube stop (near the centre), around 2-3 min per stop (further out) and 5-10 min per line change. This can easily total up to a 1 hour journey if there is a walk at each end.

A more imaginative alternative could be to stay in a nearby town with quick and easy train travel to London. For example, lively Brighton (otherwise known as 'London by Sea') is only an hour away, but your budget will go much further and there are excellent accommodation options.

Some of the better value options are to be found in the following central districts:

  • Bloomsbury. Relatively quiet district with a wide range of accommodation, and has enjoyed a surge in popularity following Eurostar's move to St Pancras International station. Cartwright Gardens features a dozen small B&Bs in historic houses. Many budget options are located on Argyle Square (just off the Euston Road). Gets a little seedy towards and beyond King's Cross railway station.
  • Earl's Court and West Kensington in west central London. Budget and modest accommodation as well as good 4-star hotels. Be careful with the cheapest accommodation in this area though as it will likely be very seedy indeed.
  • Paddington and Bayswater in north west central London. Has undergone a lot of change recently largely resulting from the Heathrow Express train coming into Paddington station. Good hotels can be found in the immediate area of the station and in quieter spots a short walk away as well as in the traditional mid-range accommodation area further south in Bayswater.
  • Westminster. Lots of small B&Bs around the back of Victoria railway station in the Pimlico area.
  • Heathrow (and surrounding area) - although it is 15 mi (20km) from the heart of the city, you are spoilt for choice for hotels both in and around the airport boundary, and with the frequent transport links to and from the centre, not too much of a handicap. You can often get into big name chain hotels a lot cheaper than their equivalents in the West End for example, with the obvious advantage of being close to the airport on the days when you are travelling.

A slightly left-field option is to check the Landmark Trust, a building preservation charity who purchase notable old buildings in the UK, renovate and run them as holiday lettings. An interesting approach to saving old buildings for sure.

Popular Budget Hotel Chains include Premier Inn, Travelodge and Britannia Hotels so it is usually worth checking these out first. The standard is of course suited to the budget traveller but rooms are usually clean, comfortable and well maintained. Travelodge in Barking is a good pick. Although you are further from the City Centre you are still on the underground system (Zone 4) and just 35 min from Kings Cross. And if you're lucky you can get rooms there from £19 per room per night, which might make the extra travel time worth it!

Hostels[edit]

Not necessarily as unpleasant as you may think, and as long as you don't mind sharing with others, they are the most cost-effective option and also offer breakfast as well as kitchens for self catering. The "official" Youth Hostel Association of England and Wales [79] (YHA) operates five hostels in Central London. Like everything else, you should book online well in advance - the hostels usually fill up on Friday and Saturday nights about 14 days before. A top tip is don't be put off if there is no availability left online, phone the hostel in question to see if there are still beds available or if there has been a cancellation. Some of the YHA's properties also offer a limited number of private family rooms - expect to pay around £60 per night.

Keep in mind that for foreign visitors, the YHA hostels will require to see a form of ID (a passport or national identity card) and a valid membership card from a local YHI (Youth Hostelling International)-recognised Youth Hostel association. For British visitors, a valid YHA (SYHA for Scotland) membership card is all that's required. For all non-YHI members, the YHA will levy a £3 welcome stamp per day.

There are a number of other, independent hostels throughout the city and these are listed in the relevant district articles.

In the summer season, many of the colleges and universities in Central London open up their student halls of residence as hotels during vacations, at usually much lower rates than proper hotels, but expect very basic facilities (e.g. communal bathrooms, no catering facilities), but you will get the personal privacy that you don't get in hostels for not very much more cost. London University vacation accommodation providers include; UCL Residences LSEVactions, TravelStay.com and Cortisso.

Apartments[edit]

Some apartment-hotels offer good value accommodation for those travelling in a group - often better quality than many hotels but at a cheaper individual rate per person.

Capsule-style crash spaces are just arriving, but currently these are only in central locations.

Short-term apartment or flat rentals are an attractive option for many travelers to London, and there are innumerable agencies offering them, almost all of them nowadays through the internet. A key consideration for renting a short term flat is if you are visiting in a large group or a family. In such cases a short stay in London can be more affordable compared to staying in a hotel. Your best protection is to deal only with London apartment rental agencies which have been recommended by independent sources you feel you can trust, and to deal only with those that accept confirmations via credit card.

Alternative Accommodation[edit]

Travellers can choose from a variety of homestay styles such as homeswapping (lovehomeswap.com), living in a temporarily vacated room (anyfriendofours.com) or the high end version where companies specialize in homestays with full hotel services such as housekeeping and concierge (viveunique.com). Most of the time these options are safe but it is important that guests and home-owners take equal precaution to ensure their valuables are safe guarded. Home-owners should always provide guests with terms and conditions of their live-in house rules to ensure there are no mishaps and both parties are at ease. This new trend allows guests to enjoy a less touristy version of London as most of these homes will be in residential areas which each have their own unique charm and experiences. This new trend also allows them to generate additional income or to cover their rental bills whilst they do so.

Holiday Rentals[edit]

Hotels are generally expensive in London comparing with other European cities, as a result the city has a vast number of self-catering accommodation on offer, many of them are apartments in various central areas of the capital. Well established local sites include holidaylettings.co.uk, Owners Direct and Alpha Holiday Lettings. If you are looking to stay in just a room or part of the property, Airbnb matches holiday makers with hosts who only rent out part of their homes.

Contact[edit]

Wi-Fi access[edit]

London is unfortunately not noted for free public Wi-Fi access - although the number of hotspots is continuing to grow. In general, good places to start looking are coffee shops (usually free with a purchase, typically The Cloud - or otherwise ask the person on the till if they have a local hotspot) and pubs, since many offer free Wi-Fi to boost business.

  • O2 Free Hotspots, [80]. . O2 is offering free Wi-Fi around London's busiest streets including parts of Oxford- and Regents Street. Click on the link to see the map. Free.  edit
  • Online-4-Free.com, [81]. One of the most promising (it seems) for traveller-frequented areas, a service that provides blanket coverage along the banks of the River Thames (and some surrounding streets) from Millbank down to Greenwich Pier, and a small 'cloud' in Holborn - the free service asks only that you view a short advertisement every half hour in order to get 256 kbps (higher rates and ad-free come at a small charge). Free.  edit
  • Tate Modern, [82]. Offering for a trial period free Wi-Fi internet access.  edit
  • British Library, [83]. Offers free internet access throughout the library with registration.  edit
  • Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre, [84]. Offers free unencrypted Wi-Fi throughout the building without registration.  edit

Another good place for free Wi-Fi would be McDonald's, where free 24-hour period Wi-Fi are offered to customers. Starbucks offers free Wi-Fi for customers registering their prepaid Starbucks Card. Furthermore, Pret-A-Manger franchises offer free internet without a login. A number of shops around Oxford Street are also beginning to offer free Wi-Fi, handy whilst you wait.

Mobile/cellular networks[edit]

The main mobile networks are EE, Vodafone, Three and O2. However there are a host of MVNOs that use the infrastructure of these networks, these often offer plans tailored towards expat communities and tourist who wish to call abroad, the main players are LycaMobile, Lebara and giffgaff. Giffgaff is by far the best, with perfect coverage, fast internet, calling and text for extremely cheap, and they'll ship the sim (regular, micro or nano) right to your door. All you do is click here and order the sim about 3 days before you head out, to your hotel, apartment or friend's house. It comes with a free 5 pounds once you activate! Most of these sim cards can be picked up in local shops however giffgaff do not have shops and only post out sims to the UK - therefore if you'd like a giffgaff sim abroad you can order one here If staying connected is a priority you may want to compare the data speeds of the networks, OpenSignal provide London coverage maps.

Stay safe[edit]

In an emergency, telephone "999" (or "112"). This number connects to Police, Ambulance and Fire/Rescue services. You will be asked which of these three services you require before being connected to the relevant operator.

Beware when crossing the roads, as cars drive on the left side of the road. Be sure to look BOTH ways before crossing. Tourists often forget to check cars approaching from the right.

Crime[edit]

Like many big cities, London has a variety of social problems, especially begging, drug abuse and theft (mobile phones are a favourite, often snatched by fast-moving cyclists).

London has the oldest police force in the world, The Metropolitan Police Service [85], and on the whole, London is a safe place to visit and explore. Alongside the regular Police, there are over 4,000 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) that provide a highly visible presence on the streets and are able to deal with low-level crime. Normal precautions for the safe keeping of your personal possessions, as you would in any other city, are suggested.

Crime mapping has been launched in London allowing residents and visitors to see the level of recorded crime for different areas [86].

If you're planning to go out late at night and are worried about safety, frequent crowded areas such as the West End. There are always plenty of people on the street, even at 4AM. Generally, outside central London, the South, and East suburban areas are considered more dangerous, notably Brixton, Peckham and Hackney, although some parts of North-West London such as Harlesden and northern Camden are also known trouble spots. While muggings are rare, they do happen. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially if you find yourself on a lightly traveled or poorly lit street.

The main problem right throughout London to various degrees is drunken behaviour, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights and after football matches. Loud and rowdy behaviour is to be expected and fights and acts of aggression also occur. If you are harassed, it is best to simply ignore and walk away from those concerned. Trouble spots can be expected around popular drinking locations such as Soho and in various suburban centres.

Every night, Soho presents a particular danger: the "clip joint". The usual targets of these establishments are lone male tourists. Usually, an attractive woman will casually befriend the victim and recommend a local bar or even a club that has a "show". The establishment will be near-desolate, and, even if the victim has only a drink or two, the bill will run to hundreds of pounds. If payment is not immediately provided, the bouncers will lock the "patrons" inside and take it by force or take them to an ATM and stand over them while they extract the cash.

To be safe, if a woman you just met suggests you a place, try to recommend a different bar. If she insists on hers then walk away and do not listen to her suggestions. Sometimes this con trick takes place when someone is lured into a private club with the promise of something perhaps more than a drink (like a 'private show' or sex for a small amount of money). A 'hostess fee' will appear on the bill for several hundred pounds, even though there has been nothing more than polite conversation.

The Metropolitan Police have placed significant resources in combating street level crime. Working in conjunction with borough councils, they have been able to bring the level of theft and pickpocketing in major retail areas in London to a level that is manageable. A particular problem is 'snatch' thefts, typically of mobile phones. Be careful using a smartphone as you get off the tube, or in subways.

Street gang culture is a growing problem in London as with many other cities in England. While most groups of youngsters are not likely to present any danger to tourists, some people feel the need to be slightly more vigilant in certain areas, especially certain outer suburbs.

Stereotypically the East End and the Southeast of London have long been seen as hotbeds of crime Firms, a term given to organized criminal groups from the mostly White British working class. Nowadays the presence of those groups has greatly diminished but still exists in said territories and sightings of shady figures are not uncommon, especially in local pubs and businesses. The pose no threat to tourists however and won't bother you if left alone.

If anyone offers you a free "stress test", they are likely trying to recruit you into the Church of Scientology. The best option is to walk away or just say "No thank you" politely, as people are commonly harassed into giving personal details.

Scams/Con Artists London has a large number of con artists around, all trying to convince you to hand over your hard-earned money one way or another. In a well-known scam, an older gentleman will ask you for directions, convincing you that he thought you were English. This scam has been used for over ten years.

Other popular scams are a man in a suit asking for emergency money for the phone (seen in Shoreditch many times). Also a man with a very convincing fake gash on his arm - asking for money to get to hospital (strangely refusing the offer of calling an ambulance).

One of the most popular scams in London, is the ticket machine scam, when, while buying a ticket at a train station someone will approach you and act as if they want to help you buy the right ticket. In reality they will wait until your money is in the machine, then lean across, cancel the transaction and pocket your cash.

Transport[edit]

Don't take illegal minicabs (see Get around for details).

Travelling on lower deck of a night bus is generally safer, as there are more passengers around, and you are visible by the bus driver.

If you have been the victim of crime on the railways or the London Underground, you should report the crime as soon as possible to the British Transport Police, who have an office in most major train and tube stations. Elsewhere, you should report your crime as normal to the Metropolitan Police. Non-emergency calls to the police should be made on 101.

Stay healthy[edit]

The UK's National Health Service (NHS) will provide emergency treatment for anyone in the UK, irrespective of whether they reside in the UK. In a medical emergency, dial 999 or 112 and ask for ambulance service. These numbers are free of charge from any telephone. For advice on non-emergency medical problems, you can ring the 24 hour NHS Direct service on 0845 4647 or ring NHS 111.

Emergencies can be dealt with under the NHS system at any hospital with an A & E (Accident & Emergency) department. At A & E departments, be prepared to wait for up to 2-3 hours during busy periods before being given treatment if your medical complaint is not too serious.

Major A & E hospitals in London are:

  • Central Middlesex Hospital, Acton Ln, Park Royal, NW10 7NS
  • Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham Palace Rd, Hammersmith, W6 8RF
  • Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, 369 Fulham Rd, Chelsea, SW10 9TR
  • Greenwich District Hospital, Vanbrugh Hill, SE10 9HE
  • Guy's Hospital, St. Thomas St, Bankside, SE1 9RT
  • Homerton University Hospital, Homerton Row, Homerton, E9 6SR
  • King's College Hospital, Denmark Hill, SE5 9RS
  • Lewisham Hospital, High St, SE13 6LH
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Stadium Road, Woolwich, SE18 4QH
  • Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton Ln, SW15 5PN
  • Royal Free Hospital, 23 East Heath Rd, Hampstead, NW3 1DU
  • The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets, E1 1BB
  • St. Marys NHS Trust, Praed St, Paddington, W2 1NY
  • St. Thomas' Hospital, Lambeth Palace Rd, South Bank, SE1 7EH
  • University College London Hospitals NHS Trust, 25 Grafton Way, Bloomsbury, WC1E 6DB
  • Whittington Hospital, Highgate Hill, Archway, N19 5NF

For advice on minor ailments and non-prescription drugs, consult a high street pharmacist.

London is also home to some of the most renowned (and most expensive) private medical treatment facilities. Most notable of all are probably the host of private consultants and surgeons on Harley St in Marylebone.

Cope[edit]

Embassies and High Commissions[edit]

  • Af-flag.png Afghanistan, 31 Princes Gate SW7 1QQ, +44 20 7589-8891, [87].  edit
  • Al-flag.png Albania, 33 St. George's Dr SW1V 4DG, +44 20 7828-8897, [88].  edit
  • Ag-flag.png Algeria, 54 Holland Pk W11 3RS, +44 20 7221-7800, [89].  edit
  • An-flag.png Andorra, 63 Westover Rd SW18 2RF, +44 20 8874-4806.  edit
  • Ao-flag.png Angola, 22 Dorset St W1U 6QY, +44 20 7299-9850, [90].  edit
  • Ac-flag.png Antigua & Barbuda, 45 Crawford Pl W1H 4LP, +44 20 7258-0070, [91].  edit
  • Ar-flag.png Argentina, 65 Brook St W1K 4AH, +44 20 7318-1300, [92].  edit
  • Am-flag.png Armenia, 25A Cheniston Gdns W8 6TG, +44 20 7938-5435, [93].  edit
  • As-flag.png Australia, Australia House Strand WC2B 4LA, +44 20 7379-4334, [94].  edit
  • Au-flag.png Austria, 18 Belgrave Mews W, SW1X 8HU, +44 20 7344-3250, [95].  edit
  • Aj-flag.png Azerbaijan, 4 Kensington Ct W8 5DL, +44 20 7938-3412, [96].  edit
  • Bf-flag.png Bahamas, 10 Chesterfield St W1J 5JL, +44 20 7408-4488.  edit
  • Ba-flag.png Bahrain, 30 Belgrave Sq SW1X 8QB, +44 20 7201-9170, [97].  edit
  • Bg-flag.png Bangladesh, 28 Queens Gate SW7 5JA, +44 20 7584-0081, [98].  edit
  • Bb-flag.png Barbados, 1 Great Russell St, WC1B 3ND, +44 20 7631-4975, [99].  edit
  • Bo-flag.png Belarus, 6 Kensington Ct W8 5DL, +44 20 7937-3288, [100].  edit
  • Be-flag.png Belgium, 17 Grosvenor Cres SW1X 7EE, +44 20 7470-3700, [101].  edit
  • Bh-flag.png Belize, 3F 45 Crawford Pl W1H 4LP, +44 20 7723-3603, [102].  edit
  • Bn-flag.png Benin, 87 Ave Victor Hugo, 75116 Paris, +33 1 4500-9882, [103].  edit
  • Bt-flag.png Bhutan, Windacres, Warren Rd, Guildford GU1 3HG, +44 1483 538189.  edit
  • Bl-flag.png Bolivia, 106 Eaton Sq SW1W 9AD, +44 20 7235-4255, [104].  edit
  • Bk-flag.png Bosnia & Herzegovina, 5-7 Lexham Gdns, W8 5JJ, +44 20 7373-0867, [105].  edit
  • Bc-flag.png Botswana, 6 Stratford Pl W1C 1AY, +44 20 7499-0031, [106].  edit
  • Br-flag.png Brazil, 32 Green St WlK 7AT, +44 20 7499-0877, [107].  edit
  • Bx-flag.png Brunei, 19/20 Belgrave Sq SW1X 8PG, +44 20 7581-0521, [108].  edit
  • Bu-flag.png Bulgaria, 186-188 Queen's Gate London SW7 5HL, +44 20 7584-9433, [109].  edit
  • Cb-flag.png Cambodia, 64 Brondesbury Pk NW6 7AT, +44 20 8451-7850, [110].  edit
  • Cm-flag.png Cameroon, 84 Holland Pk W11 3SB, +44 20 7727-0771, [111].  edit
  • Ca-flag.png Canada, 1 Grosvenor Sq W1K 4AB, +44 20 7258-6600, [112].  edit
  • Ci-flag.png Chile, 37-41 Old Queen St SW1H 9JA, +44 20 7222-2361, [113].  edit
  • Ch-flag.png China, 49-51 Portland Pl, W1B 1JL, +44 20 7299-4049, [114]. M-F 09:00-12:00 except British holidays.  edit
  • Co-flag.png Colombia, 3 Hans Cres SW1X 0LN, +44 20 7589-9177, [115].  edit
  • Cg-flag.png Congo (Democratic Rep), 281 Gray's Inn Rd WC1X 8QF, +44 20 7278-9825.  edit
  • Cs-flag.png Costa Rica, 14 Lancaster Gate W2 3LH, +44 20 7706-8844, [116].  edit
  • Iv-flag.png Côte d'Ivoire, 2 Upper Belgrave St SW1X 8BJ, +44 20 7235 6991, [117].  edit
  • Hr-flag.png Croatia, 21 Conway St, W1T 6BN, +44 20 7387 202, [118].  edit
  • Cu-flag.png Cuba, 167 High Holborn WC1V 6PA, +44 20 7240 2488, [119].  edit
  • Cy-flag.png Cyprus, 13 St James's Sq SW1Y 4LB, +44 20 7321 4100, [120].  edit
  • Ez-flag.png Czech Republic, 26 Kensington Palace Gdns W8 4QY, +44 20 7243 1115, [121].  edit
  • Da-flag.png Denmark, 55 Sloane St SW1X 9SR, +44 20 7333 0200, [122].  edit
  • Do-flag.png Dominica, 1 Collingham Gdns SW5 0HW, +44 20 7370 5194, [123].  edit
  • Dr-flag.png Dominican Republic, 139 Inverness Ter W2 6JF, +44 20 7727 7091, [124].  edit
  • Ec-flag.png Ecuador, 3 Hans Cres SW1X 0LS, +44 20 7584 8084, [125].  edit
  • Eg-flag.png Egypt, 26 South Street, W1K 1DW, +44 20 7499 3304, [126]. 09:00-17:30.  edit
  • Es-flag.png El Salvador, 8 Dorset Sq NW1 6PU, +44 20 7224 9800, [127].  edit
  • Ek-flag.png Equatorial Guinea, 13 Park Pl SW1A 1LP, +44 20 7499 6867, [128].  edit
  • Er-flag.png Eritrea, 96 White Lion St N1 9PF, +44 20 7713 0096, [129].  edit
  • En-flag.png Estonia, 16 Hyde Park Gate SW7 5DG, +44 20 7589 3428, [130].  edit
  • Et-flag.png Ethiopia, 17 Princes Gate SW7 1PZ, +44 20 7589 7212, [131].  edit
  • Fj-flag.png Fiji, 34 Hyde Park Gate, SW7 5DN, +44 20 7584 3661, [132].  edit
  • Fi-flag.png Finland, 38 Chesham Pl SW1X 8HW, +44 20 7838 6200, [133].  edit
  • Fr-flag.png France, 58 Knightsbridge SW1X 7JT, +44 20-7073 1000, [134].  edit
  • Gb-flag.png Gabon, 27 Elvaston Pl SW7 5NL, +44 20 7823 9986, [135].  edit
  • Ga-flag.png Gambia (The), 57 Kensington Ct W8 5DG, +44 20 7937 6316, [136].  edit
  • Gg-flag.png Georgia, 4 Russell Gdns W14 8EZ, +44 20 7348 1941, [137].  edit
  • Gm-flag.png Germany, 23 Belgrave Sq SW1X 8PZ, +44 20 7824 1300, [138].  edit
  • Gh-flag.png Ghana, 13 Belgrave Sq SW1X 8PS, +44 20 7201 5900, [139].  edit
  • Gr-flag.png Greece, 1A Holland Pk W11 3TP, +44 20 7229 3850, [140].  edit
  • Gj-flag.png Grenada, The Chapel, Archel Rd W14 9QH, +44 20 7385 4415.  edit
  • Gt-flag.png Guatemala, 13A Fawcett St SW10 9HN, +44 20 7351 3042, [141].  edit
  • Gv-flag.png Guinea, 258 Belsize Rd NW6 4BT, +44 20 7316 1861.  edit
  • Gy-flag.png Guyana, 3 Palace Court Bayswater Rd W2 4LP, +44 20 7229 7684, [142].  edit
  • Vt-flag.png Holy See (The), 54 Parkside SW19 5NE, +44 20 8944 7189, [143].  edit
  • Ho-flag.png Honduras, 115 Gloucester Pl W1U 6JT, +44 20 7486 4880, [144].  edit
  • Hu-flag.png Hungary, 35 Eaton Pl SW1X 8BY, +44 20 7201 3440, [145].  edit
  • Ic-flag.png Iceland, 2A Hans St SW1X 0JE, +44 20 7259 3999, [146].  edit
  • In-flag.png India, India House Aldwych WC2B 4NA, +44 20 7836 8484, [147].  edit
  • Id-flag.png Indonesia, 38 Grosvenor Sq W1K 2HW, +44 20 7499 7661, [148].  edit
  • Ir-flag.png Iran, 16 Prince's Gate SW7 1PT, +44 20 7225 3000, [149].  edit
  • Iz-flag.png Iraq, 4 Elvaston Pl SW7 5QH, +44 20 7594 0180, [150].  edit
  • Ei-flag.png Ireland, 17 Grosvenor Pl SW1X 7HR, +44 20 7235 2171, [151].  edit
  • Is-flag.png Israel, 2 Palace Green Kensington W8 4QB, +44 20 7957 9500, [152].  edit
  • It-flag.png Italy, 14 Three Kings Yard Davies St W1K 4EH, +44 20 7312 2200, [153].  edit
  • Jm-flag.png Jamaica, 1-2 Prince Consort Rd SW7 2BZ, +44 20 7823 9911, [154].  edit
  • Ja-flag.png Japan, 101-104 Piccadilly W1J 7JT, +44 20 7465 6500, [155].  edit
  • Jo-flag.png Jordan, 6 Upper Phillimore Gdns W8 7HA, +44 20 7937 3685, [156].  edit
  • Kz-flag.png Kazakhstan, 33 Thurloe Sq SW7 2SD, +44 20 7581 4646, [157].  edit
  • Ke-flag.png Kenya, 45 Portland Pl W1B 1AS, +44 20 7636 2371, [158].  edit
  • Ks-flag.png Korea (Republic of), 60 Buckingham Gate SW1E 6AJ, +44 20 7227 5500, [159].  edit
  • 100px-Flag of Kosovo.png Kosovo, 100 Pall Mall SW1 5NQ, +44 20 7659 6140.  edit
  • Ku-flag.png Kuwait, 2 Albert Gate SW1X 7JU, +44 20 7590 3400, [160].  edit
  • Kg-flag.png Kyrgyzstan, 119 Crawford St W1U 6BJ, +44 20 7935 1462, [161].  edit
  • Lg-flag.png Latvia, 45 Nottingham Place W1U 5LY, +44 20 7312 0040, [162].  edit
  • Le-flag.png Lebanon, 21 Palace Gdns Mews W8 4RB, +44 20 7727 6696, [163].  edit
  • Lt-flag.png Lesotho, 7 Chesham Pl SW1X 8HN, +44 20 7235 5686, [164].  edit
  • Li-flag.png Liberia, 23 Fitzroy Sq W1T 6EW, +44 20 7388 5489, [165].  edit
  • LibFlag.png Libya, 15 Knightsbridge SW1X 7LY, +44 20 7201 8280, [166].  edit
  • Lh-flag.png Lithuania, 2 Bessborough Gdns SW1V 2JE, +44 20 7592 2840, [167].  edit
  • Lu-flag.png Luxembourg, 27 Wilton Crescent SW1X 8SD, +44 20 7235 6961, [168].  edit
  • Mk-flag.png FYROM, 75-83 Buckingham Gate SW1E 6PE, +44 20 7976 0535, [169].  edit
  • Ma-flag.png Madagascar, 10 Hallam St W1W 6JE, +44 20 3008 4550, [170].  edit
  • Mi-flag.png Malawi, 70 Winnington Rd N2 0TX, +44 20 8455 5624.  edit
  • My-flag.png Malaysia, 45 Belgrave Sq SW1X 8QT, +44 20 7235 8033, [171].  edit
  • Mv-flag.png Maldives, 22 Nottingham Pl W1U 5NJ, +44 20 7224 2135, [172].  edit
  • Mt-flag.png Malta, 36-38 Piccadilly W1J OLE, +44 20 7292 4800, [173].  edit
  • Mp-flag.png Mauritius, 32/33 Elvaston Pl SW7 5NW, +44 20 7581 0294, [174].  edit
  • Mx-flag.png Mexico, 16 St. George St W1S 1FD, +44 20 7499 8586, [175].  edit
  • Md-flag.png Moldova, 5 Dolphin Sq, Edensor Rd W4 2ST, +44 20 8995 6818, [176].  edit
  • Mg-flag.png Mongolia, 7 Kensington Ct W8 5DL, +44 20 7937 0150, [177].  edit
  • FlagOfMontenegro.png Montenegro, 11-12 Waterloo Pl SW1Y 4AU, +44 20 7863 8806, [178].  edit
  • Mo-flag.png Morocco, 97 Praed St W2 1NT, +44 20 7581 5001, [179].  edit
  • Mz-flag.png Mozambique, 21 Fitzroy Sq W1T 6EL, +44 20 7383 3800, [180].  edit
  • Bm-flag.png Myanmar, 19a Charles St W1J 5DX, +44 20 7499 4340, [181].  edit
  • Wa-flag.png Namibia, 6 Chandos St W1G 9LU, +44 20 7636 6244, [182].  edit
  • Np-flag.png Nepal, 12a Kensington Palace Gdns W8 4QU, +44 20 7229 1594, [183].  edit
  • Nl-flag.png Netherlands, 38 Hyde Park Gate SW7 5DP, +44 20 7590 3200, [184].  edit
  • Nz-flag.png New Zealand, 80 Haymarket SW1Y 4TQ, +44 20 7930 8422, [185].  edit
  • Nu-flag.png Nicaragua, 58-60 Kensington Church St W8 4DP, +44 20 7938 2373, [186].  edit
  • Ni-flag.png Nigeria, 9 Northumberland Ave WC2N 5BX, +44 20 7839 1244, [187].  edit
  • No-flag.png Norway, 25 Belgrave Sq SW1X 8QD, +44 20 7591 5500, [188].  edit
  • Mu-flag.png Oman, 167 Queens Gate SW7 5HE, +44 20 7225 0001, [189].  edit
  • Pk-flag.png Pakistan, 35-36 Lowndes Square SW1X 9JN, +44 20 7664 9200, [190].  edit
  • Palestinianflagproposed.png Palestine, 5 Galena Road W6 0LT, +44 20-8563 0008, [191].  edit
  • Pm-flag.png Panama, 40 Hertford St W1J 7SH, +44 20 7493 4646, [192].  edit
  • Pp-flag.png Papua New Guinea, 14 Waterloo Pl SW1Y 4AR, +44 20 7930 0922, [193].  edit
  • Pa-flag.png Paraguay, 344 Kensington High St W14 8NS, +44 20 7610 4180, [194].  edit
  • Pe-flag.png Peru, 52 Sloane St SW1X 9SP, +44 20 7235 1917, [195].  edit
  • Rp-flag.png Philippines, 6-8 Suffolk St SW1Y 4HG, +44 20 7451 1800, [196].  edit
  • Pl-flag.png Poland, 47 Portland Pl W1B 1JH, 0870 7742 700.  edit
  • Po-flag.png Portugal, 11 Belgrave Sq SW1X 8PP, +44 20 7235 5331, [197].  edit
  • Qa-flag.png Qatar, 1 South Audley St W1K 1NB, +44 20 7493 2200, [198].  edit
  • Ro-flag.png Romania, 4 Palace Green W8 4QD, +44 20 7937 9666, [199].  edit
  • Ru-flag.png Russia, 13 Kensington Palace Gdns W8 4QX, +44 20 7229 2666, [200].  edit
  • Rw-flag.png Rwanda, 20-122 Seymour Place W1H 1NR, +44 20 7224 9832, [201].  edit
  • Sc-flag.png Saint Kitts and Nevis, 10 Kensington Ct W8 5DL, +44 20 7937 9718.  edit
  • St-flag.png Saint Lucia, 1 Collingham Gdns SW5 0HW, +44 20 7370-7123.  edit
  • Vc-flag.png Saint Vincent/Grenadines, 10 Kensington Ct W8 5DL, +44 20 7460-1256.  edit
  • Sa-flag.png Saudi Arabia, 30 Charles St W1J 5DZ, +44 20 7917-3000, [202].  edit
  • Sg-flag.png Senegal, 39 Marloes Rd W8 6LA, +44 20 7938-4048, [203].  edit
  • Flag of Serbia (state).png Serbia, 28 Belgrave Sq SW1X 8QB, +44 20 7235 9049, [204].  edit
  • Se-flag.png Seychelles, 111 Baker St W1U 6RR, +44 20 7935 7770, [205].  edit
  • Sl-flag.png Sierra Leone, 41 Eagle St WC1R 4TL, +44 20 7404 0140.  edit
  • Sn-flag.png Singapore, 9 Wilton Crescent SW1X 8SP, +44 20 7235-8315, [206].  edit
  • Lo-flag.png Slovakia, 25 Kensington Palace Gdns, +44 20 7313-6470, [207].  edit
  • Si-flag.png Slovenia, 10 Little College St SW1P 3SH, +44 20 7222 5700, [208].  edit
  • Sf-flag.png South Africa, Trafalgar Sq WC2N 5DP, +44 20 7451 7299, [209].  edit
  • Sp-flag.png Spain, 39 Chesham Pl SW1X 8SB, +44 20 7235 5555, [210].  edit
  • Ce-flag.png Sri Lanka, 13 Hyde Park Gdns W2 2LU, +44 20 7262 1841, [211].  edit
  • Su-flag.png Sudan, 3 Cleveland Row SW1A 1DD, +44 20 783 8080 (digit missing), [212].  edit
  • Wz-flag.png Swaziland, 20 Buckingham Gate SW1E 6LB, +44 20 7630-6611.  edit
  • Sw-flag.png Sweden, 11 Montagu Pl W1H 2AL, +44 20 7917-6400.  edit
  • Sz-flag.png Switzerland, 16/18 Montagu Pl W1H 2BQ, +44 20 7616 6000, [213].  edit
  • Sy-flag.png Syria, 8 Belgrave Sq SW1X 8PH, +44 20 7245 9012, [214].  edit
  • Ti-flag.png Tajikistan, 27 Hammersmith Grove W6 ONE, +44 20 8600 2520, [215].  edit
  • Tz-flag.png Tanzania, 3 Stratford Pl W1C 1AS, +44 20 7569 1470, [216].  edit
  • Th-flag.png Thailand, 29-30 Queen's Gate SW7 5JB, +44 20 7589 2944, [217].  edit
  • Tn-flag.png Tonga, 36 Molyneux Street W1H 5BQ, +44 20 7724 5828.  edit
  • Td-flag.png Trinidad and Tobago, 42 Belgrave Sq SW1X 8NT, +44 20 7245 9351.  edit
  • Ts-flag.png Tunisia, 29 Prince's Gate SW7 1QG, +44 20 7584-8117.  edit
  • Tu-flag.png Turkey, 43 Belgrave Sq SW1X 8PA, +44 20 7393-0202, [218].  edit
  • Tx-flag.png Turkmenistan, 14-17 Wells St W1T 3PD, +44 20 7255 1071, [219].  edit
  • Ug-flag.png Uganda, 58-59 Trafalgar Sq WC2N 5DX, +44 20 7839 5783, [220].  edit
  • Up-flag.png Ukraine, 60 Holland Pk W11 3SJ, +44 20 7727 6312, [221].  edit
  • Ae-flag.png United Arab Emirates, 30 Princes Gate SW7 1PT, +44 20 7581-1281.  edit
  • Us-flag.png United States, 24 Grosvenor Sq W1A 1AE, +44 20 7499 9000, [222].  edit
  • Uy-flag.png Uruguay, 125 Kensington High St W8 5SF, +44 20 7937-4170.  edit
  • Uz-flag.png Uzbekistan, 41 Holland Pk W11 3RP, +44 20 7229 7679, [223].  edit
  • Ve-flag.png Venezuela, 1 Cromwell Rd SW7 2HW, +44 20 7584-4206, [224].  edit
  • Vm-flag.png Vietnam, 12-14 Victoria Rd W8 5RD, +44 20 7937 1912, [225].  edit
  • Ym-flag.png Yemen, 57 Cromwell Rd SW7 2ED, +44 20 7584 6607, [226].  edit
  • Za-flag.png Zambia, 2 Palace Gate W8 5NG, +44 20 7589 6655, [227].  edit
  • Zi-flag.png Zimbabwe, 429 Strand WC2R 0JR, +44 20 7836 7755, [228].  edit

Go next[edit]

  • Avebury - A village in Wiltshire, famous for its neolithic stone circle. The henge and stone circles are thought to date from about 2500BC to 2000BC, pre-dating Stonehenge.
  • Aylesbury - Historic market town, 35 miles North-West of London.
  • Bath. Roman relics, rich in Georgian architecture and makes an easy day trip from Paddington Station.
  • Berkhamsted - Historic market town, features ruined castle of William the Conqueror, canalside pubs and Ashridge Forest
  • Birmingham. England's second city - trains can take as little as 85min from Euston or Marylebone or a coach from Victoria takes 3 hours. Massively regenerated in recent years, this post-industrial city offers fantastic shopping, eating and an amazing variety of architecture.
  • Bournemouth. Large beach resort on the edge of the New Forest, with seven miles of golden sand, a two hour ride on the train from London Waterloo.
  • Brighton. Fashionable beach town about 90km (55 mi) south, less than an hour by train from Victoria Station.
  • Bristol. Arty and bohemian city, 110 miles west of London in South West England. Only 90min by train from Paddington, this historic port town is home to the world's first suspension bridge at Clifton as well as amazing nightlife.
  • Canterbury. Site of the foremost cathedral in England, constructed during the 12th-15th centuries.
  • Chichester. Attractive small city, with a distinct market cross and a cathedral which possesses the only separate bell tower in England. Just outside the city are the well-preserved remains of the Roman Fishbourne Palace.
  • Colchester. England's "oldest town" is only an hour by train from Liverpool Street and well worth visiting for its Roman remains, old houses and churches, museum (in the ancient castle) and zoo.
  • Dover. Port town famous for its castle and white chalk cliffs, symbolising England.
  • Eastbourne. A leafy, seaside resort town, of 'timeless' Victorian architecture, with a lovely pier and bandstand. Famous for Beachy Head chalk cliffs, popular viewing platform and suicide spot!
  • Ely. Small city in East Cambridgeshire, with an attractive centre which includes the cathedral, Old Vicarage and castle ruins.
  • Exeter. City in South West England and county town of Devon, yet only 2.5h by train from Paddington. It has a cathedral and other interesting places.
  • Guildford. County town of Surrey, mid-way between London and Portsmouth. A bustling historic place with cobbled High Street - the most attractive and safe shopping destination in the UK (Hugo Boss, Gant, Armani Exchange and Mappin & Webb). Street market on Fridays & Saturdays.
  • Hastings. Sea-side town, famous for the Battle of 1066.
  • Hemel Hempstead. 30 miles north of London, a small town dating back to the 8th century. Also home to the UK's largest indoor ski slope.
  • Henley on Thames. About 55km (35 mi) west of London, a quaint and typical English town, great for walks by the Thames.
  • Lewes. Delightful mid-Sussex town, with a picturesque brewery and famous Guy Fawkes festival in November.
  • Maidstone, county town of Kent, known as the Garden of England.
  • Manchester. If you have time it is worth visiting Britain's other great cities and Manchester has very much to offer. Manchester can be reached in around 2 hours by train and is about 320km (200 mi) to the north. It is the 2nd most visited city in England (after London). The nearby port city of Liverpool is about the same distance from London and can be reached in less than 3 hours by train. It boasts numerous attractions such as the Walker Art Gallery and the Liver Building, and, of course, is the birthplace of the Beatles.
  • Marlow. Attractive quaint Thames-side town west of London.
  • Medway Towns. Has a strong naval history in Chatham Dockyards, with medieval attractions like Rochester Cathedral and Castle. Has a strong literary connection with Charles Dickens, you can visit his museum and a former residence.
  • Norwich. City with a medieval castle (now the local museum), several interesting old churches, and a cathedral with the second-highest spire in the country.
  • Oxford and Cambridge. The university cities make for ideal days out of London.
  • Portsmouth. Historic home of the Royal Navy, with 12 museums, a pleasure beach, shopping and nightlife. Also offers access to the Isle of Wight, New Forest and South Downs. Can be reached in 90 minutes by train from Waterloo railway station.
  • St Albans. Small, quaint 'Cathedral city' just north of metropolitan London.
  • Shaftesbury. One of the oldest and highest towns in Britain. This small Dorset town is also considered one of the most beautiful.
  • Shrewsbury. A very traditional town full of medieval black and white timber-framed buildings along winding, steep, narrow streets set on the River Severn easily reached by taking the train (change at Wolverhampton or Crewe) from Euston. Charles Darwin's birth place
  • South Downs and North Downs National Parks offer beautiful, rolling chalk hills for a days stroll or longer hikes.
  • Stonehenge. Among the most famous landmarks in England. The mysterious stone ring was built thousands of years ago, today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can get there by a guided bus tour or by train (1h30) to the nearby city Salisbury, where you also can visit the 13th-century cathedral with the highest spire in the country.
  • Warwick. A nice little town famous for its very well-restored Warwick Castle. Lovely hour and a half train ride from London.
  • Watford. Home of Leavesden Areodrome, where a lot of the Harry Potter movies were filmed - is now home to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, which is a great day out for families. Watford can be reached from London using an Oyster Card.
  • Winchester. Former capital of England and attractive cathedral city with lots to see, about an hour away by train from Waterloo.
  • Windsor. Nearby Thames-side town with magnificent castle and Royal residence only one hour by train outside of London. Makes for a very easy day trip.
  • York. Although about 337km (210 mi) north of London, this historic city can be reached in only 2h30 by train from King's Cross. It is famous for the Minster (cathedral), Jorvik Viking Centre, and the National Rail Museum.









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