London is the place where the historic past and the vibrant present come alive. A blend of history, ground-breaking architecture and culture has created an amazing and constantly evolving city.
Not surprisingly the capital has become 'the' destination for visitors and a great place to live. There really is something to appeal to everyone and whatever your interests might be, the city has it covered.
London has the greatest concentration of major attractions in Britain and boasts four World Heritage sites. There are over 200 attractions that are free to enter, so there's nowhere else in the world where you can see so much for so little. Choose from the modern icon of the London Eye to the historic site of the Tower of London, from about 100 museums and galleries - or head outdoors to one of London's many parks and gardens. In addition, there are over 40,000 shops and 83 major street markets and numerous famous theatres, clubs and cinemas, plus special events throughout the year.
Population: About 7 million Climate: There is no season of the year when the weather is too bad for visitors to enjoy the sights of London but there is usually not as much rain between May to June and September to October.
Main Language(s): Although English is the official national language in the UK, 275 separate languages are actually spoken in this multicultural capital Time Zone: GMT (GMT + 1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October)
Phone Area Code: Country code - 44
Best Time To Visit: Spring and Autumn are the best seasons for visiting parks and gardens. The summer season is marked by traditional events. Autumn and winter are the best time for visiting museums and galleries or for shopping as places tend to be less crowded, except for shopping in the weeks before Christmas where the large stores and traditional shops are a busy delight! Getting Around: The city of London is well connected by rail, buses and taxis.
Airport Distance from City Center: Heathrow airport is located approximately 20 miles (32 kms) to the west of London Taxi Rates from Airport to City: Travelling by London's famous black cabs offers a unique, safe, door to door service. Fares are regulated and all drivers and vehicles are licensed by the Public Carriage Office. Expect to pay about £45-50.
The London Eye
The British Airways London Eye forms a major feature of London's skyline. It is the world's highest observation wheel and offers passengers spectacular views of over 55 of London's most famous landmarks in just 30 minutes.
Madame Tussauds & The London PlanetariumAt Madame Tussauds you can mingle with all of your famous celebrities, including the likes of Kylie Minogue, David Beckham, Jerry Springer, and Brad Pitt. At the interactive London Planetarium you can learn all about space travel, the planets and astronomy.
Somerset House is home to some world famous paintings, with the Courtauld Institute of Art, the magnificent Gilbert Collection and the Hermitage Rooms. It also houses the Christmas Ice Rink in the grand courtyard from November until January.
The London DungeonDiscover the world's most chillingly famous horror attraction, and re-live over 2,000 years of the city's gruesome history. Explore the scary features including the Theatre of the Guillotine, the Jack the Ripper Experience, and the terrifying boat ride.
The imposing British Museum exhibits the works of man from prehistoric to modern times with collections drawn from all around the world. Famous objects include the Rosetta Stone, sculptures from the Parthenon, and the Portland Vase.
Tower of LondonTake a free guided tour with one of the Yeoman Warders around one of the most famous fortified buildings in the world. Discover its 900 year history as a royal palace and fortress, prison and place of execution, mint, arsenal, menagerie and jewel house.
Tate ModernThe impressive Tate Modern is Britain's national museum of modern art. Housed in the former Bankside Power Station on the banks of the River Thames, the gallery displays major works by Matisse and Picasso as well as contemporary work, exhibitions and installations.
Westminster AbbeyThis architectural masterpiece is one of Britain's finest Gothic buildings. The scene of many coronations and marriages, it also houses the tombs of many of the country's notorious Kings and Queens, as well as the grave of the Unknown Warrior.
Hampton Court PalaceThis is the oldest Tudor palace in England and contains over 500 years of Royal history. It holds many attractions including the Tudor kitchens, 60 acres of riverside gardens, the world-famous Maze and the magnificent State Apartments of Henry VIII.
Dali UniverseLondon's most surreal experience lies in a labyrinth of dreamlike corridors and interactive spaces in the heart of the South Bank. The Dali Universe is an innovative permanent 3,000 square metre exhibition, dedicated to the awe-inspiring works of Salvador Dali
London's major galleries are homes to work by some of the world's most famous artists. Many offer free admission, so you can't afford to miss them.
The National GalleryThe National Gallery is a 'must' for any art-loving visitor to London. The Gallery displays western paintings from about 1260-1900 and includes works by Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Van Gogh.
The National Portrait GalleryThe National Portrait Gallery houses a permanent collection of portraits of famous men and women from the Tudors to the present day. The likenesses of poets and princesses, sportsmen and statesmen are all on display. There are also pictures of royalty, including Annigoni's portrait of the Queen as well as the less traditional 1985 version by Andy Warhol. The Ondaatje wing has a Tudor Gallery, Balcony Gallery, a roof top restaurant with fantastic views over Whitehall, a lecture theatre and an IT gallery.
Tate BritainThe original Tate Britain houses the national collection of British painting from 1500 to the present day, from the Tudors to the Turner Collection. It holds the greatest collection of British art in the world including works by Constable, Gainsborough, Hodgin, Hogarth, Moore, Rossetti and Turner.
The Tate Modern is the largest and one of the foremost museums of modern and contemporary art in the world. Its displays feature some of the art world's most famous movers and shakers such as Andy Warhol, Rachel Whiteread, Henri Matisse and Henry Moore. All works are arranged into four themes; landscape, still life, the nude and history paintings.
Royal Academy of Arts
The Royal Academy of Arts is world famous for its continuous programme of outstanding exhibitions. Highlights for 2004 include The Art of Guston and Vuillard from Post-Impressionist to Modern Master.
Saatchi GalleryThe Saatchi Gallery moved to County Hall in April 2003, transforming the former GLC Headquarters into a museum for modern art. The gallery's primary focus concentrates on and promotes young British artists exhibiting art from its own collections, including large scale shows by the Chapman Brothers, Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas and Jenny Saville.
Hayward GalleryPart of the South Bank Centre, the Hayward Gallery shows four exhibitions of international stature annually. The Gallery specialises in the works of modern masters and the most exciting names in contemporary art.
Barbican Art GalleryThe Barbican Art Gallery has changing exhibitions of photography, art and design covering an exciting range of distinctive work. It reopened in April 2004 following major refurbishment which added 140 square metres of display space over two levels.
Major MuseumsLondon's museums are a treasure trove waiting to be explored - from contemporary design to the animal kingdom.
British MuseumThe British Museum is the oldest public museum in the world and houses a treasure trove of objects. In more than two hundred years, the museum has built up a collection of over six million objects. Highlights include the Elgin Marbles, Egyptian mummies, Rosetta Stone and the Mildenhall Treasure.
There are extensive collections of Greek, Roman and Egyptian antiquities, plus coins, medals, prints and drawings. The recently opened Great Court has transformed the museum by covering the inner courtyard with a glass and steel roof. It houses new galleries, a restaurant and a dynamic new piazza.
Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum contains hundreds of exciting interactive exhibits with sections on ecology and the animal world. Highlights include the Earthquake Experience, the Earth Galleries - which tell the story of our planet - and the Dinosaur Gallery. You can see creepy crawlies magnified hundreds of times, hear the roar of a dinosaur, explore the world of mammals, learn more about human biology and see the huge diplodocus skeleton.
The Science Museum is home to the world's most comprehensive collections of science, technology, industry and medicine. Learn about space flight or find out about steam locomotives and the world's first aeroplanes. Charles Babbage's calculating machine, Stephenson's Rocket and the Apollo 10 command module that made the first manned flight around the moon are all on display. There is a special interactive gallery for children called Launch Pad, where you can build a bridge and fly a plane.
Victoria & Albert Museum
The V&A is one of the world's finest museums of decorative arts. Particular gems in the collection are the glass gallery, with its stunning glass staircase, the new silver gallery with its superbly made artefacts in precious metal, and the dress collection.
The Canon Photography Gallery shows part of the museum's wonderful collection of photographs from the 19th century to the present. The Late View Programme each Wednesday and one Friday of every month has DJs, bars and a lively social programme as well as a chance to look around the museum until 2200.
Imperial War Museum
The award-winning Imperial War Museum illustrates life on the home front and on the front lines in the First and Second World Wars. The museum also tackles other conflicts with sensitivity and style. Walk through the Trench experience, share the dramatic Blitz experience complete with the sounds, smells of London during an air raid. The museum has a permanent section on the Holocaust and a changing programme of temporary exhibitions.
Royal Observatory Greenwich
The Royal Observatory Greenwich was founded in 1675 by Charles II to find out the 'so-much desired longitude of places for perfecting the art of navigation'. The architect was Sir Christopher Wren, who was himself an astronomer. John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal, moved into the new building, now named Flamsteed House, in July 1676. The Royal Observatory in Greenwich is the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the Meridian Line.
National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum explains Britain's worldwide influence through its explorers, traders, migrants and naval power. The galleries include Oceans of Discovery, Nelson, Prince Frederick's gilded royal barge and ship models as up to date as P&O's Grand Princess cruise liner. Visitors will also find features on costume and the ecology of the sea as well as many beautiful maritime paintings.
Design MuseumDedicated to the world of contemporary design, visitors can discover one hundred years of the best in international design and view state-of-the-art innovations at the Design Museum. Furniture, domestic appliances and graphics show the importance of design in our everyday lives. The museum has an innovative year-round programme of special exhibitions that have covered subjects as diverse as vacuum cleaners and Porsche cars.
London's Transport Museum
London's Transport Museum tells the story of London's famous transport system, from 1800 to the present day. There are displays of buses, trams and trains plus the very latest in interactive displays.
Theatre MuseumThe Theatre Museum illustrates the history of performance in the UK including displays on theatre, ballet, dance and music. There is an unusual programme of special events like workshops on stage make-up and costume.
Imperial War Museum Duxford
The Imperial War Museum in Duxford offers a fascinating day out for aircraft enthusiasts of all ages. Learn the story of aviation through a variety of aircraft on display from biplanes and Spitfires though to Concorde and Gulf War jets.
Many of the historic planes housed at Duxford still fly, and you may see one take to the skies during a visit. Other highlights include the largest collection of American combat aircraft outside the US and an interesting collection of tanks and military vehicles. Duxford Airfield also stages a wide range of exhibitions, including 100 Years of Flight.
Royal Air Force MuseumThe Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon is home to a world class collection of over 70 aircraft, aviation memorabilia and artefacts, graphically depicting one hundred years of aviation development. In the Battle of Britain hall, the presentation, Our Finest Hour, uses film footage, audio and special lighting effects to portray the reality of the battle. The interactive Fun 'n' Flight gallery and flight simulator provides entertainment for all ages.
Museum of LondonThe Museum of London illustrates over two thousand years of London's social history, from prehistoric times to the twentieth century. On display are reconstructed Victorian shops and the Great Fire Experience, which shows how fire destroyed more than three quarters of the city and many of its churches, including St Paul's Cathedral. Archaeologists at the museum recently excavated two deep Roman wells in the City of London, discovering the remains of mechanisms used to lift water to the surface in Roman times.
London is home to more than 6,000 restaurants and 3,000 cafes and bars, offering something to suit everyone's taste.
For detailed information, we suggest you to visit www.visitlondon.com
Christmas is the most widely celebrated festival across Britain. Christmas is to the Brits what Thanksgiving is to most Americans.
From mid-November onwards, the city of London is ablaze with Christmas lights along the famous byways such as Bond Street, St. Christopher's Palace, Regent Street and Convent Garden Market.
Every year the Norwegians present the people of Britian with a fir tree as a salute to their assisstance during World War ll. This tree is decorated and placed at Trafalgar Square amongst a host of concerts and festivities which attract visitors from all across the globe.
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