Destination Guides


London

General   Weather   Airports   Attractions   Kids Attractions   Events   Restaurants   Shopping   Nightlife  

Introduction Region

London nights ©Dimitry B

Whether you arrive in London via the underground or inside one of the city's ubiquitous black taxicabs, you will immediately be greeted by a deep sense of history and met with the unique vibrancy of this incredible destination.


In its dark and troubled past, the city of London has survived Roman occupancy, sackings from the Celts, Romans, Vikings and Saxons, a Norman invasion, two great fires, the bubonic plague, Nazi bombings, the Spice Girls and Damien Hirst.


This resilient and proud city promises something for everyone and is one of the iconic tourist destinations. The London Eye lifts visitors high above the river into stretching urban vistas. Further down on the South Bank, the Tate Modern contains one of the world's most incredible collections of Modern Art, while the city's 30,000 stores and boutiques will exhaust even the most avid shopper, and its 6,000 restaurants are only too eager to demonstrate why Britons revere their chefs as celebrities.


For those interested in exploring the country's heritage, the Tower of London is an excellent starting-point. First constructed in the 11th century, the Tower has been rebuilt several times as later monarchs have left their mark. Still one of London's biggest attractions, and a great celebration of pomp that is free to all visitors, is the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, which happens daily.


As the great dome of St Paul's reflects the colours of the setting sun, London comes alive with an unrivalled nightlife. For those up for something more energetic than dinner and the West End musicals and theatre, London has a vast number of bars and nightclubs catering to all tastes.


Climate Info

London has a temperate climate without the extremes found in continental Europe. There are four distinct seasons, although the weather can be unpredictable, with out-of-season storms, icy spells, and even heatwaves. Summer temperatures range from 57°F (14°C) to 75°F (24°C), while average winter temperatures range from 37°F (3°C) to 46°F (8°C). July is the hottest summer month, averaging 66°F (19°C), and January is the coldest winter month, averaging 39°F (4°C). London is a great city to visit whatever the weather, but most visitors prefer to visit between April and October, when the temperature is usually warm and the days are long and frequently sunny.


Convert to Imperial

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Getting Around

London's legendary Tube network remains the quickest and easiest way to get around the city, though it is best avoided during rush hour. The famous red buses are a more pleasant, if slower, way to get around. The ubiquitous black cabs are excellent, or you can use private hire minicabs which must be ordered in advance. Unlicensed cabs should be avoided.


London's main attractions are fairly close to one another: if the weather is nice, walking or taking a riverboat are good options. Driving is not a good option in central London, as parking is difficult to find and very expensive. A 'congestion charge' is also payable by those driving into central London from Monday to Friday 7am-6pm.


London City Airport (LCY)

LocationThe airport is situated at the Royal Docks, 10 miles (16km) from the West End.
Time DifferenceGMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
Contacts

Tel: +44 (0)20 7646 0088.

Getting to city

Docklands Light Railway (DLR) departs from London City Airport every 8-15 minutes to Canning Town, Woolwich Arsenal and Bank. There are regular Transport for London buses from the airport to stations throughout London. Nearby National Rail stations are reached via the Jubilee line from Canning Town (a seven-minute DLR journey). Licensed taxis (black cabs) are available outside the terminal building, a taxi to the centre of London will take only 20 to 30 minutes and cost roughly £20. Car rental desks are situated on the ground floor. There are also chauffeur services available from Quay Cars.

Car Rental

Car rental desks are situated on the ground floor, rental companies include Avis, Europcar and Hertz.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis from London City Airport can be hailed outside the Arrivals Hall and a taxi to the centre of London will take only 20 to 30 minutes and cost roughly £20. A taxi to Canary Wharf will cost £12.

Airport Facilities

There are shops, bars and a restaurant at City Airport, other facilities include left luggage, a mother and baby room, tourist information and business facilities including Internet and fax. There are also ATMs, a bureau de change and Internet facilities. The disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should ideally inform their airline in advance.

Car Parking

Parking at London City Airport is located within easy walking distance of the terminal. Short-term parking starts at £4.20 for the first half hour, £8.40 for up to an hour, £12.60 for two hours, £18.90 for four hours, £29.20 for up to 12 hours and £45 per day. The Main Stay car park starts at £14.70 for up to four hours, £25.20 for up to 12 hours, and £40 per day. Credit card facilities are available.

Depature TaxNone.
Websitewww.londoncityairport.com


London Gatwick Airport (LGW)

LocationThe airport is situated 28 miles (45km) south of London.
Time DifferenceGMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
Contacts

Tel: +44 (0)870 000 2468.

Transfer terminals

The two terminals are linked by the Inter Terminal Transit train that leaves every three minutes.

Getting to city

The easiest and quickest way into London from Gatwick is on the Gatwick Express train, which takes 30 minutes to the central Victoria railway station. Local buses call at both terminals and run between Gatwick and key destinations including Crawley, Horley, Redhill and Horsham. Taxis are also available from the airport into town, while coaches take passengers to destinations including Heathrow, central London, Bristol and Brighton (ticket desks are in the North and South Terminals). Car rental companies operate from both terminals.

Car Rental

Car rental companies such as Avis, Budget, Europcar and Hertz operate from both terminals.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis from Gatwick Airport are available outside the Arrivals Hall and a taxi to London city centre will take roughly an hour to an hour-and-a-half as this road can be very busy.

Airport Facilities

Both terminals have shops, restaurants, bars, left luggage, bureaux de change, ATMs, an Internet café, baby changing rooms and children's play areas. In the South Terminal there is a post office, a medical centre offering vaccinations, and the BAA Conference and Business Centre, which provides meeting rooms, videoconferencing, fax, photocopy, Internet access and secretarial services. Disabled facilities at the airport are good; those who require special assistance should contact their airline in advance.

Car Parking

Short-term and long-term parking is available and a free shuttle services the parking areas farther away from the terminal building.

Depature TaxNone.
Websitewww.gatwickairport.com


London Heathrow Airport (LHR)

LocationThe airport is situated 15 miles (24km) west of London.
Time DifferenceGMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
Contacts

Tel: +44 (0)8700 000 123.

Transfer terminals

Terminal 1 is no longer in use. Terminals 2 and 3 are within walking distance of each other, with an average walking time of 11 minutes from one end to the other. Terminals 4 and 5 are connected via the free Heathrow Express train. Allow around 15 minutes for the journey time between terminals.

Getting to city

The quickest way into London is on the Heathrow Express train, which leaves every 15 minutes for Paddington station, takes 15 minutes, and costs £22 if booked online or at a ticket machine, or £27 on-board. Paddington has good connections to the other London railway stations and all parts of London via the London Underground. Heathrow is also on the Piccadilly underground line, which takes passengers into central London in around 50 minutes. The National Express coach service runs to central London and other towns and cities throughout the UK.

Car Rental

Car rental options include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt.

Airpor Taxis

London's black taxis service Heathrow Airport; the journey time to central London is around 30-60 minutes, depending on traffic. Taxis are metered, but pre-booked fares to central London start from £40 fixed rate. Taxis are available from outside each terminal.

Airport Facilities

There are numerous shops, bars and restaurants, ATMs, currency exchange facilities, left luggage facilities, pharmacies and postal services in all terminals. A spa offering massages is located in Terminal 5. There are VIP Lounges in Terminals 2 and 3. There are multi-faith prayer rooms in each terminal and St George's Chapel is located close to the central bus station between Terminals 2 and 3. There are shower facilities located in Terminal 3.

Car Parking

Short-term parking is available adjacent to the airport. A free shuttle service links the terminals and the long-term and business car parks. Valet parking is also available at all terminals.

Websitewww.heathrowairport.com


London Luton Airport (LTN)

LocationThe airport is situated 32 miles (52km) northwest of London.
Time DifferenceGMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
Contacts

Tel: +44 (0)1582 405 100.

Getting to city

Trains leave regularly to Kings Cross, Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars and London Bridge stations. Train journeys to central London take 20-25 minutes with providers such as East Midlands Trains and First Capital Connect. Tickets can be bought from the Onward Travel centre at the airport or online. Luton Airport Parkway Train Station is connected to the terminal by a free shuttle bus service. Easybus, Green Line and National Express buses run daily between the airport and central London. Taxis operate from outside the airport terminal 24-hours a day and car rental is also available.

Car Rental

Car rental companies include Avis, Hertz, Europcar and National Alamo.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis operate from Luton Airport 24-hours a day and can be hailed outside the Arrivals Hall. A taxi to central London will cost anywhere between £60 and £90 and will take approximately 2 hours.

Airport Facilities

Facilities at the airport include shops, bars, restaurants, bureaux de change, ATMs, a children's play area and baby changing rooms. Facilities for the disabled are good; those with special needs are advised to contact their airline or travel agent in advance.

Car Parking

There is short-term parking, and 'executive' parking next to the terminal. Long-term (valet) parking operates near the terminal - your car will be taken away to another compound while you are away. Passengers who book in advance via the airport website get discounted parking rates.

Depature TaxNone.
Websitewww.london-luton.com


London Stansted Airport (STN)

LocationThe airport is situated 34 miles (55km) northeast of London.
Time DifferenceGMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
Contacts

Tel: +44 (0)844 335 1803.

Getting to city

The Stansted Express rail service operates between London's Liverpool Street station and the airport, taking approximately 45 minutes. There are also bus and coach services to Victoria Coach Station, Heathrow and Gatwick airports, among other London and national destinations. The bus and coach station is opposite the main terminal entrance. Coach tickets are available from the ticket desk in arrivals and at the station; a ticket to Victoria costs £10.50. Taxis are available outside the terminal building and car rental is also available.

Car Rental

Car rental companies available at the airport include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Alamo, National, Enterprise and Hertz.

Airpor Taxis

The following taxi services operate from London Stansted Airport: Stansted Taxi Service (01279 816901), Stansted Airport Cars (08456 436705), Stansted Chauffeurs (08444 481 481) and 24 7 Stansted(01279 661111). You'll find the operators in the arrivals area. A taxi to central London from Stansted Airport will cost in the region of £100.

Airport Facilities

There are a number of popular restaurants, shops and bars in the terminal, both before and after security. Other facilities include ATMs, a bureau de change and Internet cafe. There are VIP lounges for international travellers at gates 16 and 49, which can be booked via the airport's website. There are also shower facilities at both arrivals and departures, with towels and access available for a small fee at the airport information desk. There is a multi-faith chapel near Check-in Zone J, accessible after security. Disabled facilities are good; those with special needs should contact their airline or travel agent in advance. Stansted is a smoke-free airport, and there are no smoking facilities past security.

Car Parking

The short-term parking is located next to the terminal building. Long-term parking is further away and is linked to the airport by a free shuttle bus; passengers should allow an extra 30 minutes to access the terminal from the car parks. The airport also offers valet parking. Travellers who pre-book on the Stansted Airport website receive discounted car parking.

Websitewww.stanstedairport.com


Southampton International Airport (SOU)

LocationThe airport is located in Hampshire, a few miles outside of Southampton,
Time DifferenceGMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
Contacts

+44 (0)23 8062 0021

Getting to city

The airport is connected to Southampton Central and other parts of England via several train services, including South West Trains and CrossCountry. The journey to Southampton Central takes approximately 8 minutes, while London is 67 minutes away. There are also buses to downtown Southampton, with the U1C running every 15-20 minutes; the journey takes roughly 35-40 minutes.

Car Rental

The Car Rental Reception Centre is located near the short-term car park, opposite the terminal building. Car rental companies include Hertz, Avis, Europcar, National, Alamo, and Enterprise.

Airpor Taxis

Checker Cabs are available 24 hours a day from the taxi desk in the main concourse, near the exit. Prices are fixed in advance, and bookings can be made online or by calling +44 (0) 2380 627 100.

Airport Facilities

Airport facilities include a duty-free shop, currency exchange, internet cafes, and several restaurants both before and after security.

Car Parking

Short-term and long-term parking is available.

Websitewww.southamptonairport.com


Madame Tussauds


Madame Tussauds is the most famous wax museum gallery in the world, with more than 400 life-sized models of stars, famous politicians, royals, comic book characters and sportsmen, as well as exhibits presenting the most infamous criminals the world has known. Inside the museum, the 'Spir
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Madame Tussauds and the London Planetarium ©SkErDi&Ana



Tower of London


The Tower of London is perhaps as famous for its traditions as its imposing structure, located on the Thames River. It is guarded by a special band of Yeoman Warders, known as Beefeaters, and dotted with several large, black birds - the ravens. Legend has it that if the ravens ever leave
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White Tower, Tower of London ©Bernard Gagnon



Abbey Road Studios


The Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road was recorded at this unassuming studio in St John's Wood, London. While many other famous bands, including Pink Floyd, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, Kate Bush, Radiohead, Oasis and Sting, all recorded tracks here, it is almost always the Beatles fans w
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Abbey Road, London ©Aaron Webb



Speakers Corner at Hyde Park


Located right in the middle of London, Hyde Park is a huge patch of green and blue tranquillity in the midst of the bustling city. Covering 350 acres, it features restaurants, fountains, monuments and flower gardens, and offers a range of activities including ice skating, swimming, boati
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Speakers Corner ©Tom T



Tate Modern


Housed in the former Bankside Power Station, which has been transformed by Swiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron into a spectacular new modern building, the Tate Modern is Britain's greatest museum of modern art. It showcases an exhaustive collection, featuring works from 1900 to the prese
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Tate Modern, London ©Christine Matthews



National Gallery


The National Gallery has an imposing and regal façade stretching across the northern side of Trafalgar Square, and houses over 2,300 paintings from every major European school of painting from the 13th to the 19th centuries. It was opened in 1938 at its present location, which was chose
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National Gallery ©Rudolf Schuba



British Museum


The British Museum is widely regarded as the world's greatest museum of human history and culture. Containing more than 13 million artefacts from all corners of the globe, the British Museum boasts an overwhelming collection of fascinating objects. Most prized among its collection are it
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British Museum ©Paul Micallef



London Eye


At 443ft (135m) tall, and weighing more than 250 double-decker buses, the London Eye is a truly spectacular feature of London's skyline. Offering incredible views of most of London's major attractions, and an opportunity to put the city's geography into perspective, it is a must-see attr
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London Eye at night ©Tunliweb



Shakespeares Globe Theatre


Situated on the bank of the Thames, just 656ft (200m) from the site of Shakespeare's original Globe Theatre, this fantastic recreation will transport visitors back to the time of the very first productions of Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night. The reconstruction took a total of
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The Globe Theatre ©GaryReggae



Buckingham Palace and the Queens Gallery


No visit to London would be complete without experiencing the pomp and ceremony of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, but now visitors can actually get a peek inside during the annual summer opening of the State Rooms, and see some of the Queen's private art collection at th
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Harrods


Harrods, which proprietor Mohamed Al Fayed calls his 'Palace in Knightsbridge', promises one of the most extravagant and luxurious shopping experiences in the world. With 22 restaurants, and a wide range of departments and services across its seven floors, it is easy to see why this is t
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Harrods, London ©Targeman



Camden Market


Camden Market is one of the most exciting shopping experiences London has to offer. Even if you're just browsing, Camden Market is still definitely worth a visit for its huge variety of food, antiques, bric-a-brac and clothing stalls, bars, nightspots and crowds of people ranging from th
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Camden Market, London ©Grim23



Greenwich


Greenwich is the home of the Greenwich (or Prime) Meridian, which splits the globe into East and West, and is responsible for setting the world clock on zero degrees longitude. Apart from this curious distinction (which has earned Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site status), Greenwich h
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The Cutty Sark, Greenwich



London Dungeons


Take a trip through London's dark and gruesome history, meet Jack the Ripper and see what became of his victims, or see the chaos and destruction caused by the great fire of London. The London Dungeon brings history's most notorious killers and evildoers back to life in an experience def
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London Dungeon ©www.CGPGrey.com



St Pauls Cathedral


The great dome of St Paul's Cathedral has been a distinctive landmark on the London skyline for centuries. Built in 1673 by Sir Christopher Wren, after the previous St Paul's was burnt to the ground during the Great Fire of London, it is the greatest of several cathedrals dedicated to St
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St. Paul's Cathedral. ©pocar



Piccadilly Circus


Surrounded by neon advertising and fast-food restaurants, Piccadilly Circus is London's answer to New York's Times Square and, at the junction of Piccadilly, Regent Street and Shaftesbury Avenue, it is the gateway to the West End. With its highly accessible tube station, Piccadilly Circu
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Piccadilly Circus, London ©Onecanadasquarebishopsgatecommons



Canterbury


The historic cathedral city of Canterbury, with its narrow streets and walkways, is best explored on foot. It is the home of Christianity in England, and has been the ultimate destination for pilgrimages in England for centuries, as described in Chaucer's famous Canterbury Tales. The imp
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Canterbury Cathedral



Leeds Castle


Set above a lake in a picturesque valley near the town of Maidstone in Kent, with imposing battlements and a 500-hectare Tudor garden, Leeds Castle proudly describes itself as 'the loveliest castle in the world'. Once a residence of British Queens and a playground for King Henry VIII, it
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Leeds Castle ©Adusha



Windsor Castle


The charming town of Windsor sits on the River Thames, 20 miles (32km) west of London, and is dominated by the magnificent Windsor Castle, the world's largest and oldest occupied castle. The castle was built by William the Conqueror almost a thousand years ago, and has been lived in by E
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Windsor Castle ©visitingeu



Hampton Court Palace


Situated on the banks of the River Thames, 14 miles (23km) southwest of London, Hampton Court is perhaps the most spectacular royal palace in England, and makes a wonderful day-trip destination from the capital. The palace was built by Cardinal Wolsey in the early 1500s, but later it bec
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Hampton Court Palace ©Andreas Tille



West End Shows


There are always plenty of child-friendly musicals and shows playing on London's West End, perfect for family holidaymakers looking to soak up some of the great atmosphere of London's Theatre District. Some West End favourites include The Lion King, Roald Dahl's and Shrek: the Musical,
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Aladdin and Jasmine ©Loren Javier



Hamleys


Children will love visiting this world-renowned toy store, located in the heart of London on famous, bustling Regent Street. Hamleys is one of the world's largest toy stores, with six floors of magical, cutting-edge toys and games. The store draws over five million visitors each year and
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Hamleys ©Sheep Purple



London Zoo


Boasting a plethora of exciting, cute and fuzzy animals from over 750 species, the London Zoo is a must for all children and animal lovers. Kids will love the Animal Adventure area, where they can climb, touch, tunnel and splash their way through the zoo discovering animals along the way
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Lion at London Zoo ©jimbowen0306



London Science Museum


Perfect for inquisitive children, the Science Museum will captivate, educate and thrill kids of all ages. Featuring dozens of state-of-the-art exhibits, the Science Museum also features a 3D IMAX Theatre. The Museum's rotating exhibitions are topical and intriguing ensuring that kids can
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Science Museum ©nyaa_birdies_perch



Chessington World of Adventures


Located in southwest London, Chessington World of Adventures is a theme park and zoo catering to children of all ages. Featuring rides, roller coasters and two water slides, this theme park is best visited during the summer months. The zoo, however, is open all year round. A new 'African
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Dragon\'s Fury at Chessington ©gnislew



Westminster Abbey


This church in the heart of the city is one of London's top tourist attractions, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and rivals Notre Dame for the accolade of most famous church in the world. Westminster Abbey draws millions of tourists each year, in addition to the locals who worship there ev
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Westminster Abbey ©Mark Ramsay



Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament


Originally built for Edward the Confessor more than 1,000 years ago, the Houses of Parliament, or Palace of Westminster, remained the principal residence of Britain's monarchs for the next 400 years. Thereafter, it became the administrative centre of the country. In 1834 the Great Fire b
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Big Ben ©Tim Morris



Tower Bridge


The twin spires of the iconic drawbridge known as Tower Bridge stand 213 feet (65m) above the Thames River, and form one of the most popular tourist attractions in London. Often mistakenly referred to as London Bridge (which is a bit further upstream), Tower Bridge functions as both a ro
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Tower Bridge ©Miquel C



Victoria and Albert Museum


Originally known as the Museum of Manufacture, the Victoria and Albert Museum (or V&A Museum, as it is popularly known) in London is a veritable treasure-trove of artefacts from cultures around the world. Devoted to art and design, it houses more than 27,000 works, including paintings, p
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V and A Museum ©M.chohan



Natural History Museum


The Natural History Museum is one of England's very best tourist attractions. Located on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the Natural History Museum truly will appeal to everyone, from excitable kids to discerning adults. Housed in a gorgeous Romanesque building, the Natural History
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Natural History Museum ©Gareth Williams



Borough Market


The Borough Market, located on Southwark Street at the southern end of London Bridge, is one of the United Kingdom's premier food markets, and a simply wonderful place to ramble around and find some delicious treats to fuel the day's sightseeing. What distinguishes the Borough Market is
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Borough Market ©Jack Gavigan



Imperial War Museum


An absolute must for history buffs, London's Imperial War Museum endeavours to give visitors an understanding of modern warfare, and an appreciation of its effects on both individuals and societies at large. The Imperial War Museum is, in fact, a 'family' of five museums, three of which
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Imperial War Museum, London ©MilborneOne



Shopping

London is not just a European shopping destination, but a global one. The city has fantastic fashion stores, with famous brands lurking around every corner. Visit the renowned Oxford and Regent streets for big brands like Gap, Zara, Topshop, H&M and United Colours of Benetton. Don't be put off by their loud exteriors; some shops are actually quite affordable, and the frequent sales are famous for the bargains they provide.


London is also renowned for its markets. Camden in North London has become one of the most visited attractions in London and is a haven for punks, goths and other alternative sub-cultures, with myriad stalls and shops selling outrageous retro outfits, colourful accessories and modern party outfits that really have to be seen to be believed. For an enjoyable weekend outing, Portobello Market is a gem (look out for the Farmers Market in the vicinity). The Notting Hill market, made famous by the romantic Hollywood film, offers many attractive coffee shops, independent retailers and cheap stalls selling clothing, jewellery and music. If you are a foodie then head to the Borough Market adjacent to London Bridge; dedicated to gastronomy, visitors can sample homemade pâté, buy fresh cherries, olive oil, sweet cakes and the like.


General groceries can be bought at the major English supermarket chains such as Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Sainsbury's.


Nightlife

The nightlife in London is some of the best in the world, offering pulsating dance floors at famous clubs and more chilled out and intimate music lounges and bars. Hardcore party animals wanting to strut their stuff will love the clubbing scene, complete with well-known local and international DJs, while the countless bars and cosy independent theatres featuring local and international live music acts will blow your mind. London is arguably the best possible travel destination for lovers of live music, and on any given night there will be an international or local band playing in more than one of the many venues.


The West End in particular is home to many bars, clubs and restaurants, and Soho is one of the trendiest and coolest places to drink. This is also where most of London's gay bars and clubs can be found. The perpetually cool Notting Hill and Portobello Road areas still draw large crowds.


Those in the mood for a quiet drink and some conversation should head down to one of the many traditional English pubs scattered around this cosmopolitan city, where they can enjoy some of the finest ales, stouts, ciders, and malt whiskies on offer in the world. It's also often possible to combine the pubbing and the clubbing because many of London's bars these days have clubs and dance floors inside them, transforming them into miniature nightclubs and ushering in a new era for those 'heading down to the pub'.


The West End is also known as 'Theatreland' and those in the mood for Broadway-style theatre shows should head down to the Lyceum Theatre or the Queen's Theatre to catch a show or musical. And while in the area, culture lovers can enjoy an evening at Covent Garden watching the Royal Opera or the Royal Ballet, while lovers of classical music can sample the delights of Albert Hall. There is also plenty of fringe theatre outside of the West End with young professionals and amateurs performing anything from classic plays to cabaret. Common fringe venues range from well-respected miniature theatres to cramped rooms above some of the city's local pubs. Other non-commercial theatres include the world-renowned National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Globe Theatre and the Old Vic.


Avenue

The Avenue Restaurant and Bar is a favourite with the inhabitants of St James, and produces good modern British and Mediterranean food. This minimalist restaurant is good value and always packed, despite a sometimes patchy service. The best tables are towards the back, on the mezzanine level. Set menus are usually excellent, and competitively priced. For starters try the crayfish salad, and for mains the roast Atlantic halibut (flounder) and the White Park sirloin come highly recommended. Quality wines are available by the glass. Open daily for lunch and dinner.


Food Type: Modern Eclectic     Style:     Price: 4

Address: 7-9 St Jamess Street

Website www.avenue-restaurant.co.uk



Star of India

When in London, visitors should experience the English national dish - Chicken Tikka Masala - and there is no better place to go than the Star of India, in the heart of South Kensington. Situated on the first floor of a Georgian house, this small restaurant has a pseudo-classical interior and continues to be popular with locals, despite the price. For years the Star of India has been at the forefront of modern Indian cuisine and it continues to impress with innovative and interesting menus, and specialities such as Sunehri Khaste (stuffed coriander pancakes) and Malai Adraki Champen (lamb cutlets marinated in cream cheese, black pepper and ginger).


Food Type: Indian     Style:     Price: 3

Address: 154 Old Brompton Road (South Kensington)

Website www.starofindia.eu



1 Lombard Street

Situated in the domed interior of an old banking hall, opposite the Bank of England, 1 Lombard Street has become a city institution. The brasserie is always bustling with investment bankers and offers a full á la carte menu for both lunch and dinner, featuring seasonal specialities and an extensive wine list. The Michelin-starred restaurant, situated behind the brasserie, is a better bet for discreet conversation and for enthusiasts of haute cuisine. Menu favourites include roast monkfish, Angus beef tournedos and the praliné 'Lombardo' with chocolate, whisky and coffee. The formal dining environment provides a tranquil setting for appreciating Herbert Berger's sophisticated cuisine. Open weekdays only for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the dress is smart casual. They run a tapas menu from 5pm at the bar.


Food Type: French     Style:     Price: 5

Address: 1 Lombard Street (Bank)

Website www.1lombardstreet.com



Montpeliano

On a quiet side street just off Knightsbridge and a minutes walk from Harrods, Montpeliano is a wonderfully old-fashioned Italian restaurant, where the food is authentic and the service excellent. The owner is always available, the staff are friendly and welcoming, and the atmosphere has a feel of casual elegance. On warm evenings it is possible to dine al fresco on the outside patio. The grilled chicken diavola (devil's style/butterflied) and the fillet stroganoff are delicious!


Food Type: Italian     Style:     Price: 3

Address: 13 Montpelier Street (Knightsbridge)

Website www.montpelianorestaurant.com



The Abingdon

The bar at this small but atmospheric pub is always buzzing with locals, while the restaurant often draws visitors from farther afield. Set on a side street a few blocks from High Street Kensington the eating area is awkwardly narrow but makes a good spot for a private and romantic evening á deux, or with a small group of friends. The crumbed camembert comes with a chicory, red wine and vanilla reduction, and is beautifully followed by the organic salmon with Jerusalem artichokes. Open daily for lunch and dinner.


Food Type: Gastropubs     Style:     Price: 3

Address: 54 Abingdon Road (Kensington)

Website theabingdon.co.uk



Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

One of London's finest eateries, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay opened in 1998 as the chef's first independently owned venture. Today it has three Michelin stars - an honour held by only one other British restaurant. With 14 tables seating 44 guests, this exclusive venue has become a must for connoisseurs of fine contemporary cuisine from around the world. Feast on butter poached Scottish lobster tail, roasted Barbary duck and Gianduja chocolate soufflé. Open for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday, book well in advance.


Food Type: French     Style:     Price: 5

Address: 539-547 Wandsworth Road, London

Website www.gordonramsay.com/royalhospitalroad/



Fire and Stone

A cosy atmosphere with contemporary trimmings and the smell of fresh oven-baked pizza in the air, the trendy Fire and Stone pizza joint in Covent Garden is ideal for a family outing, a casual meal with friends or a romantic dinner. Boasting the largest wood-fired oven in the northern hemisphere, this franchise pizzeria produces a large variety of pizzas, themed on the different flavours of the continents and made with only the freshest ingredients. Complement your meal with some of their quality red wines, or try an exotic smoothie. Open daily for lunch and dinner.


Food Type: Pizzeria     Style:     Price: 2

Address: 31/32 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden

Website www.fireandstone.com



Zaika

A highly creative contemporary Indian restaurant, Zaika offers sensational Indian cuisine in a cool and vibrant setting. Situated in trendy Kensington, Zaika has won Best Indian Restaurant in the London Restaurant Awards and holds three AA rosettes. Try the tasting menu to get a fuller understanding of the extensive Indian flavours. The Indian home-smoked salmon and Masala duck breast are also favourites. With great service, plush interiors and excellent cuisine, Zaika is a fail-proof night out. Open for lunch from Tuesday to Sunday, and every evening for dinner.


Food Type: Indian     Style:     Price: 3

Address: 1 Kensington High Street, Kensington

Website www.zaika-restaurant.co.uk



Blue Elephant

A full throttle Thai experience, eating at the Blue Elephant is a must. Greeted with welcoming smiles at the door, guests will love the Thai décor, lush indoor garden of tropical plants and the flowing carp pond. The Blue Bar's counter was carved out of a single piece of teak and layered with 50,000 sheets of goldleaf, adding to the restaurant's exotic and luxurious feel. The starter menu offers familiar fare such as satay sticks, dumplings and spring rolls, with the main menu displaying a broad range of dishes, from herb-marinated sea bass grilled inside a bamboo wrap to Massaman, a typical Thai dish of braised lamb in a medium spicy sauce. Open daily for lunch and dinner.


Food Type: Thai     Style:     Price: 4

Address: The Boulevard, Imperial Wharf, Townmead Road

Website www.blueelephant.com/london



The Gun

The Gun is a lovely, British-styled restaurant that is gaining plenty of popularity for its up-market take on classic dishes. Open for lunch and dinner (reservations essential), be sure to try the Herdwick mutton with pearl barley stew or the grilled fillet of royal bream, served with squid and parsley risotto. This waterside pub is delightfully British!


Food Type: Modern British     Style:     Price: 3

Address: 27 Coldharbour Road, London

Website www.thegundocklands.com



Stefs

Stef's describes itself as 'your local Italian restaurant in London', and its laid-back, family-run atmosphere is a real winner for those looking for unpretentious and high-quality Italian food in England's capital. Choose from pizza, pasta or a range of 'Chef's specialities'. Booking recommended.


Food Type: Italian     Style:     Price: 3

Address: 3 Berners Street, London

Website www.stefsitalian.co.uk/



London Marathon

The Virgin Money London Marathon (commonly known as simply the London Marathon) is a 26.2 mile (42km) race from Greenwich Park to the Mall, passing by many famous London landmarks including the Cutty Sark, Canary Wharf, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. Around 30,000 professional and amateur runners compete every year, many dressed in fancy dress to raise money for charity. The route is lined with spectators and the race has a very festive atmosphere. As it is an extremely popular marathon, it is worth booking as far in advance as possible.


Date 2018-04-22 to 2018-04-22     Website www.london-marathon.co.uk
Flora London Marathon ©onEdition 2006



Chelsea Flower Show

The Chelsea Flower Show is an annual event organised by the Royal Horticultural Society and, since its inception in 1913, has been recognised as the foremost show of its kind in the world. An immensely popular event, the show draws crowds of thousands every year with its colourful and beautifully sculptured displays. Experts from the Royal Horticultural Society are on hand, ready to impart gardening advice to the show's many visitors. Tickets can be bought via the website and visitors are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.


Date 2017-05-23 to 2017-05-27     Website www.rhs.org.uk/shows-events/rhs-chelsea-flower-show
Clivia Miniata ©Raul654



Trooping the Colour (Queens Birthday Parade)

The ceremony of the Trooping the Colour (or Queen's Birthday Parade) takes place each year on the Queen's birthday and dates back to the time of Charles II in the 17th century. Although the Queen was actually born on 21 April, her official birthday is celebrated in the summer, when the weather is better. The parade begins with one of the Foot Guard regiments of the Household Division escorting their regimental colour, before giving the Queen a salute in front of Buckingham Palace, and is followed by a march of the Massed Bands before the Queen is escorted back home by the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment on their magnificent black chargers.


Date 2017-06-17 to 2017-06-17     Website www.royal.gov.uk
Royal Fly By, Trooping the Colours ©Carfax2



Wimbledon Tennis Championships

The Wimbledon Championships are the highlight of the year's tennis calendar, bringing together the world's leading tennis professionals in a battle for glory. The first championship event at Wimbledon dates back to 1877, but the first Ladies' Singles championship was only introduced in 1884. Since then the tradition of strawberries and cream on centre court has been enjoyed by thousands of fans from around the world. The Wimbledon Championships are the most famous of the four tournaments known as the 'Grand Slam' and many fans of the sport make the pilgrimage to London to watch their favourite players battle it out on the famous grass courts.


Date 2017-07-03 to 2017-07-16     Website www.wimbledon.com
Wimbledon Championships ©Albert Lee



Notting Hill Carnival

The first Notting Hill Carnival took place in 1964 when London's Caribbean community introduced the carnival to ease racial tensions. Since then it has become a popular and colourful annual event celebrated by more than two million Londoners of all backgrounds. It is said to be the world's second largest street party after the Rio Carnival held in Brazil. The carnival consists of costume parades, a steel band, jazz and reggae performances, and countless street vendors selling exotic Caribbean food, as well as a rollicking street party which attracts people from all walks of life. For more information, check out the official website listed below.


Date 2017-08-25 to 2017-08-27     Website www.thenottinghillcarnival.com
Street celebrations in Notting Hill



Lord Mayors Show

The Lord Mayor's Show is an annual event held in the City of London when the Mayor makes his way from Mansion House to the Royal Courts of Justice to swear allegiance to the crown. The procession has been marked by each Lord Mayor since 1215, including Dick Whittington (famous for having a cat). Since then the journey has grown into a rich pageant, ending with a magnificent fireworks display over the Thames. The parade has proven extremely resilient - being held through war and plague - and is now one of the world's most beloved processions, attracting about half a million people and watched on the BBC by millions the world over.


Date 2017-11-11 to 2017-11-11     Website
Lord Mayor's Show, London ©Rodolph



Changing of the Guard

This is one of the oldest and most familiar of all royal ceremonies. Every other day, a throng of tourists gather outside Buckingham Palace to watch the exchange of duty between the Old Guard and the New Guard. The Foot Guards wear their traditional uniforms, complete with bearskins, but carry modern weapons as their role is practical as well as ceremonial. The handover is accompanied by a band from one of the five Foot Guard regiments who play anything from traditional military marches to pop tunes. Guard Mounting also takes place daily at the same time at Windsor Castle and the Tower of London. The Changing of the Queen's Life Guards involves the handover of duty between the two mounted regiments, the Blues and Royals, and the Life Guards. When the Queen is in residence (most weekdays), it is more flamboyant as the Captain of the Guard and trumpeter lead the procession.


The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace takes place daily at 11.30am between April and July, and on alternating days the rest of the year. It is always best to check the calndar for the exact times of the changing of the guard because adjustments are sometimes made to the schedule.


Date 2016-01-01 to 2016-12-31     Website www.changing-the-guard.com
The Queen's Guard, London ©bortescristian



Carling Weekend Reading

One of the English summer's great festivals of music, Carling Weekend boasts many of the biggest names in Pop/Rock/Indie/Folk and Comedy. The Carling-sponsored event is increasing in popularity each year and tens of thousands make their way to the fields to enjoy the finest in popular and world music. The festival normally falls on the bank holiday weekend in August. Over the same weekend, a sibling festival is held in Leeds. Headliners like Blink 182, Arcade Fire, Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age, Blur, the Kaiser Chiefs, Bonnie Tyler, Muse and Eminem have drawn massive crowds.


Date 2017-08-25 to 2017-08-27     Website www.readingfestival.com
Reading Festival ©C Ford



Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race

An annual tradition since 1829, the rowing race between two of Britain's oldest university sides creates a festival atmosphere along the banks of the Thames between Putney and Mortlake. Thousands of people gather at various vantage points along the riverbank, many of them conveniently close to pubs, to watch the famous four-and-a-quarter mile race that marks the beginning of the English social season. This famous sporting event is a huge thrill to witness and also a big party for spectators. Naturally the students of Oxford and Cambridge come out in force to support their teams and the rivalry is epic, though good-natured.


Date 2017-04-02 to 2017-04-02     Website www.theboatrace.org
The Boat Race



BBC Proms

The Proms claims to be the 'greatest classical musical festival in the world', and every summer it presents a wide range of music, from symphony orchestras to operas and contemporary music. Performances take place in one of the capital's most majestic venues, the Royal Albert Hall, and visitors to London during the summer months would be foolish to miss it. Soloists and ensembles among the greatest in the world are on show during the Proms, and visitors are sure to find the experience enriching. For more information regarding the programme and ticket prices check out the official website listed below.


Date 2017-07-14 to 2017-09-09     Website www.bbc.co.uk/proms
Royal Albert Hall ©www.freedigitalphotos.net



West End Shows

Famed for its musicals, the West End in the centre of London boasts some of the best theatre in the world, from musicals to comedy and drama, featuring many famous actors. There are ongoing shows that have been running for years, such as , , and Blood Brothers, and new shows are added to the lineup regularly. There is plenty on offer for the whole family and catching a show on the West End is an iconic London experience for travellers. For information on what's showing and ticket prices check out the official website listed below.


Date 2014-01-01 to 2014-12-31     Website www.londontheatre.co.uk
Piccadilly Circus, London ©Onecanadasquarebishopsgatecommons



V Festival Chelmsford

Richard Branson's contribution to Britain's busy summer music festival schedule offers many of the biggest live acts from around the world. The festival is noted for its professionalism and low queuing times, ensuring its sold-out status every year. Like the Carling festivals, this one has a sibling festival too (with acts playing on alternate days), held in Weston Park, Staffordshire. It is a good idea to book tickets as early as possible - the line-up is guaranteed to be impressive. For information on the programme, camping options and facilities, and tickets check out the official website listed below.


Date 2017-08-19 to 2017-08-20     Website www.vfestival.com
V Festival, England ©EchetusXe



FA Cup Final

The cherished FA Cup (The Football Association Challenge Cup) is football's oldest tournament and has a special place in the hearts of fans in the UK and all around the world. What separates this tournament, first held in 1871, from many of the others is that it champions the underdog, as lower division teams have a chance to play the Premier League teams, and often heroes are created before the tournament has run its course. The supporters of local teams lower down in the official pecking order relish the chance to challenge the top dogs! The dates below are for the final match; for fixtures for the whole tournament and other details check out the official website listed below.


Date 2017-05-27 to 2017-05-27     Website www.thefa.com/thefacup
Wembley Stadium ©Cushdy



Times BFI London Film Festival

Film-fever spreads all across London for two weeks during The Times and British Film Institute-sponsored London Film Festival. It is the most important film festival in the UK and features premieres, short films, experimental pieces, world cinema jewels and a healthy programme of classics. Many famous British actors and filmmakers attend and a fair amount of celebrity-spotting can be indulged in. Although not yet as large or prestigious as the Venice or Cannes film festivals, the London Film Festival is growing in size and popularity every year. For details on what's showing check the official website listed below.


Date 2017-10-04 to 2017-10-15     Website T
The London IMAX ©Robert Aleck



Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair

Showcasing the finest selection of Christmas gifts, fabulously-festive home decorations and a delicious range of food and drink from luxury Christmas puddings to Cornish Cheese and fine wines, the Country Living Magazine Christmas Fair is the ultimate Christmas bazaar. Thousands of visitors are expected to attend the annual fair, where a multitude of products are on offer at over 400 exhibitor stands. From local and national crafts, bespoke fashion and jewellery to handmade products including rocking chairs, kitchenware, tree swings and soaps, there are gift ideas to suit all the family. All the ingredients and the trimmings needed for a simply scrumptious Christmas dinner can also be found. If you are in London just before the festive season this is a great opportunity for buying gifts.


Date 2017-11-08 to 2017-11-12     Website www.countrylivingfair.com
Country Living magazine ©chatiryworld



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