London is one of the greatest cities in the world. It’s the most populous municipality in the European Union, England’s and UK’s capital. It draws millions of tourists annually, offering incredible historical sites as well as a nightlife to rival even Ibiza.
London stands on the river Thames in South-East England. The city of London is still “confined” in its medieval boundaries but when we refer to London, we refer to the entire metropolis.
How to get to London
There are six airports serving London and each receives flights from all over the world. Most of the low-cost carriers operate on Stansted or Gatwick, while Heathrow still reminds London’s biggest airport and the world’s busiest airport. Heathrow receives flights from virtually all over the world.
Transfer from one airport to another is easy because of the numerous public transport options but allow plenty of time as the city is rather crowded.
London can also be reached by train via the Channel Tunnel. Trains connect England’s capital to Paris and Brussels. Aside from this International rail station, there are also 12 national rail stations, offering connections to the entire United Kingdom.
A lot of European bus carriers offer connections to London, departing from virtually any capital in Europe.
Climate and temperatures
London has a temperate marine climate and is famous for its “fine London weather” (bring an umbrella, always!). It rains often but the precipitation is light compared to the rest of the country. Snow is not very common mainly because the heat from the urban area makes the city warm enough not to have snow. But light snowfall has been recorded. The hottest month is August while the coolest is January.
Jan: avg high 7.9 C/ 46 F; avg low 2.4 C / 36 F
Aug: avg high 22.6 C / 73 F; avg low 13.3 C / 56 F
>>more information on Weather in England
Things to do
The public transport is incredibly well organized and it’s the best way to move between the city’s landmarks. London’s double-deckers are world famous. The old-fashioned red buses with an open-rear platform and conductor to collect fares now only run daily from 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM, on Heritage Route 9 and 15 every 15 min
London is a huge city and each district offers plenty of places to visit and plenty of things to do.
London is home to some of the world’s most interesting museums. Places such as British Museum, Tate Museum, National Gallery or National Portrait Museum are not only incredible but also free to visit.
The iconic Hyde Park is London’s largest park and well known for plenty of recreational possibilities. It’s also home to the Speakers’ Corner, a place where everyone can voice their opinion on anything. If you want to try to voice out your opinion make sure that they are lawful as police can stop the unlawful speeches.
St. James’s square is the home of some of the most famous London landmarks: Westminster Abby and Palace of Westminster, with Big Ben (the Clock Tower) (see photo left) and the Houses of the Parliament. Downing St. is also here but it’s closed to the public (Downing St. 10 is the official residence of the Prime Minister).
Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s residence and the place to see the Changing of the Guard, which takes places daily, between May and June, each morning at 11:30 AM. The rest of the year, the guards change on alternate days and only when weather permits. This is yet another of the free things to do in London.
Trafalgar Square is home to Nelson’s column. Until recently it was the home of pigeons but lately birds of prey were introduced to get rid of the poor pigeons. Trafalgar square is “the center” of London (or pretty much as close to a center as possible) and lately it’s been a pedestrians area only.
The Tower Bridge (see photo right) and the Tower of London are located just south east of the City of London. The Tower of London was the original royal fortress on the Thames. It contains the Crown Jewels and is guarded by Beefeaters.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is yet another landmark. Famous for the Whispering Wall, it was built to replace the Gothic medieval cathedral destroyed in the Great Fire.
Everyone’s heard of Madame Tussaud’s. The famous wax museum now has branches all over the world but visiting the London one is always a great experience.
The London Eye offers some of the best views of London. It’s the world’s third largest observation wheel.