London Visitor information
London, the UK's capital and largest city, is one of the leading tourism cities in the world and receives over 14m visitors a year. Here we provide a little more information and some advice.
London has enough variety and substance to satisfy the appetite of the most energetic traveller. It contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; the historic settlement of Greenwich; the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, and Westminster Abbey. A visit to Buckingham Palace, St Paul's Cathedral, and Hampton Court should also be considered.
The entertainment district of the West End has its focus around Leicester Square, where London and world film premieres are held, and Piccadilly Circus, with its giant electronic advertisements. London's theatre district is here, as are many cinemas, bars, clubs and restaurants, including the city's Chinatown district, and just to the east is Covent Garden, an area housing speciality shops and an abundance of street theatre.
A visit to London is not complete without enjoying some of its many beautiful green spaces including The Royal Parks of Hyde Park, its neighbour Kensington Gardens, Regent's Park (housing London Zoo), the smaller Green Park or the delightful St. James's Park, surrounded by palaces and government buildings.
The United Kingdom's Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Royal Opera and English National Opera are based in London and perform at the Royal Opera House, The London Coliseum, Sadler's Wells Theatre and the Royal Albert Hall as well as touring the country. Whilst horribly over-crowded, Europe's busiest shopping area is Oxford Street, a shopping street nearly 1 mile (1.6 km) long — which makes it the longest shopping street in the world — and home to many shops and department stores including Selfridges.
Our humble view is that hostels are an under exploited resource in London. Whilst few provide a level of luxury that you could expect from a hotel, they are so much cheaper and in our view offer a good service for the price. However of course we welcome any feedback where this is not the case.
Getting around London
We would recommend purchasing an Oyster card which gives you access to all underground trains and buses. See www.tfl.gov.uk for more information.