London Mini Guide
More tourists visit London than any other city in the world and there is more to this bustling metropolis than just hanging around outside Buckingham Palace and hoping to get a sight of the monarchy. How far London has come is evident from its many world class restaurants. England's capital was once ridiculed for its cuisine but is now so thrillingly multicultural that you can find French food to rival the best in Paris, better curry than is cooked in Bangalore and everything else from Argentinian to Zimbabwean.
A trip to London is well worth it. Combine the fantastic history of touring Westminster Abbey, the burial place of Charles Dickens and home to a statue commemorating former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, with visits to Kew Royal Botanical Gardens with its new tree top walkway. And of course don't miss the multitude of charming bars, pubs and trendy nightclubs.
If you are coming from Gatwick then you join the M23 at junction 9A, though this will be well signposted. Luton can be reached along the M1 motorway and is to the north of London city. If you are using London City Airport you should take the DLR which is part of London’s extensive underground system. London Stansted can be reached by driving along the M11 and it is to the north east of London City.
London is the capital and largest built up area of England and renowned for its pageantry. London Heathrow airport is approximately 24km from central London and just under one hour by car. London Gatwick Airport is approx. 50km from central London and about a 80 minute car journey. Good train and bus transport is available at both airports and also taxis and car hire. London has an excellent underground metro system which is an extensive network covering outlying urban areas. There is also a direct route to London Heathrow Airport.
A second railway metro system, the Docklands Light Railway, serves East London and Greenwich. High-speed Eurostar trains operate from St Pancras International station in London and provide links with Lille and Paris in France
and Brussels in Belgium. London has an excellent bus service network and many tourist buses with international commentaries. Good motorway connections include the M25 which is a circular road going around London but note it can be very congested.
The attractions in London are boundless. Some of the most popular are Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the London Eye. Most of the museums such as the Science, Natural History and Imperial War Museums and the British Museum are free. Also no charge is made for entrance to the two Tate Galleries and the National Gallery.
For evening entertainment there are numerous theatres with West End shows. Boat trips are available on the River Thames and Greenwich can be accessed by boat. London has an abundance of shopping areas such as Oxford Street, Bond Street, Covent Gardens and the famous Harrods departmental store in Knightsbridge. The Greenwich Market and the Portobello road markets are also worth a visit.
- London has just been voted the World's best destination by Tripadvisor in the Travelers' Choice Awards 2012. Don't forget, in June the capital will celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with plenty of parades, parties and events to take part in. Then in July and August there are the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games being hosted in London. There's a lot to look forward to in London this year!
- OK, the BIG year may have passed but 2013 still promises a lot to do in London. It's the anniversary of the queen's coronation in 1953 and there are many events around the city to celebrate the occasion. For four days from the 11th July, the Coronation Festival will take place in the grounds of Buckingham Palace with exhibitions, concerts and more. Join in another big year of fun in the capital.