WELCOME TO LONDON

One of the world's most visited cities, London has something for everyone: from history and culture to fine food and good times.
Time Travel
Immersed in history, London's rich seams of eye-opening antiquity are everywhere. The city's buildings are striking milestones in a unique and beguiling biography, and a great many of them – the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben – are instantly recognisable landmarks. There’s more than enough innovation (the Shard, the Tate Modern extension, the Sky Garden) to put a crackle in the air, but it never drowns out London’s seasoned, centuries-old narrative. Architectural grandeur rises up all around you in the West End, ancient remains dot the City and charming pubs punctuate the historic quarters, leafy suburbs and river banks. Take your pick.
Art & Culture
A tireless innovator of art and culture, London is a city of ideas and the imagination. Londoners have always been fiercely independent thinkers (and critics), but until not so long ago people were suspicious of anything they considered avant-garde. That’s in the past now, and the city’s creative milieu is streaked with left-field attitude, whether it's theatrical innovation, contemporary art, pioneering music, writing, poetry, architecture or design. Food is another creative arena that has become a tireless obsession in certain circles.
Diversity
This city is deeply multicultural, with one in three Londoners foreign-born, representing 270 nationalities and 300 tongues. The UK may have voted for Brexit (although the majority of Londoners didn't), but for now London remains one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities, and diversity infuses daily life, food, music and fashion. It even penetrates intrinsically British institutions; the British Museum and Victoria & Albert Museum have collections as varied as they are magnificent, while the flavours at centuries-old Borough Market run the full global gourmet spectrum.
A Tale of Two Cities
London is as much about wide-open vistas and leafy landscape escapes as it is high-density, sight-packed urban exploration. Central London is where the major museums, galleries and most iconic sights congregate, but visit Hampstead Heath or the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to flee the crowds and frolic in wide open green expanses. You can also venture further out to Kew Gardens, Richmond or Hampton Court Palace for beautiful panoramas of riverside London followed by a pint in a quiet waterside pub.

In and around London

  • British Museum
    Museum in The West End

    The country's largest museum and one of the oldest and finest in the world, this famous museum opened in 1759 and boasts vast Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek, Roman, European and Middle Eastern galleries, among others. It's London’s most visited attraction, drawing 5.9 million people annually. Don't miss the Rosetta Stone, the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics; the controversial Parthenon sculptures, taken from Athens' Acropolis by Lord Elgin (British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time); and the large collection of Egyptian mummies.
    Great Russell St - London
    10am-5.30pm Sat-Thu, to 8.30pm Fri
    https://www.britishmuseum.org/
  • Tate Modern
    Gallery in The South Bank

    One of London's most amazing attractions, this outstanding modern- and contemporary-art gallery is housed in the creatively revamped Bankside Power Station south of the Millennium Bridge. A spellbinding synthesis of modern art and capacious industrial brick design, Tate Modern has been extraordinarily successful in bringing challenging work to the masses, both through its free permanent collection and fee-paying big-name temporary exhibitions. The stunning Blavatnik Building opened in 2016, increasing the available exhibition space by 60%.
    Bankside, Lonfdon
    10am-6pm Sun-Thu, to 10pm Fri & Sat
    https://www.tate.org.uk/
  • National Gallery
    Gallery in The West End

    With more than 2300 European masterpieces in its collection, this is one of the world's great galleries, with seminal works from the 13th to the mid-20th century, including masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Titian, Vincent van Gogh and Auguste Renoir. Many visitors flock to the eastern rooms on the main floor (1700–1930), where works by British artists such as Thomas Gainsborough, John Constable and JMW Turner, and Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces by Van Gogh, Renoir and Claude Monet await.
    Trafalgar Sq, London
    10am-6pm Sat-Thu, to 9pm Fri
    https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/
  • Hyde Park
    Park in Kensington & Hyde Park

    Hyde Park is central London's largest green space, expropriated from the church in 1536 by Henry VIII and turned into a hunting ground and later a venue for duels, executions and horse racing. The 1851 Great Exhibition was held here, and during WWII the park became an enormous potato field. These days, it's a place to stroll and picnic, boat on the Serpentine lake, or to catch a summer concert or outdoor film during the warmer months.



    London
    5am-midnight
    https://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/hyde-park
  • Westminster Abbey
    Church in The West End

    A splendid mixture of architectural styles, Westminster Abbey is considered the finest example of Early English Gothic. It's not merely a beautiful place of worship – the Abbey is still a working church and the stage on which history unfolds. For centuries, the country's greatest have been interred here, including 17 monarchs from King Henry III (died 1272) to King George II (1760). Much of the Abbey's architecture is from the 13th century, but it was founded much earlier, in AD 960.


    20 Deans Yd, London
    9.30am-3.30pm Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri, to 6pm Wed, to 3pm Sat May-Aug, to 1pm Sat Sep-Apr
    https://www.westminster-abbey.org/
  • Shakespeare's Globe
    Historic Building in The South Bank

    The new Globe was designed to resemble the original as closely as possible, which means having the arena open to the fickle London skies, leaving the 700 ‘groundlings’ (standing spectators) to weather London’s spectacular downpours. Visits to the Globe include tours of the theatre (half-hourly) as well as access to the exhibition space, which has fascinating exhibits on Shakespeare, life in Bankside and theatre in the 17th century.


    21 New Globe Walk, London
    9am-5pm
    https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/
  • Tower of London
    Castle in The City

    The unmissable Tower of London (actually a castle of 22 towers) offers a window into a gruesome and compelling history. A former royal residence, treasury, mint, armoury and zoo, it's perhaps now most remembered as the prison where a king, three queens and many nobles met their deaths. Come here to see the colourful Yeoman Warders (or Beefeaters), the spectacular Crown Jewels, the soothsaying ravens and armour fit for a very large king.


    Petty Wales, London
    9am-4.30pm Tue-Sat, from 10am Sun & Mon
    https://www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/

London


London is the capital of and largest city in England and the United Kingdom, with the largest municipal population in the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities[17][18][19] and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, innovative, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, and the most vegetarian-friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transportation. London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP. It is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games.

London has a diverse range of people and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken in the region. Its estimated mid-2016 municipal population (corresponding to Greater London) was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census. The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925.

London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret's Church; and the historic settlement in Greenwich where the Royal Observatory, Greenwich defines the Prime Meridian, 0° longitude, and Greenwich Mean Time. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries, libraries and sporting events. These include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world.


Climate
London has a temperate oceanic climate receiving less precipitation than Rome, Bordeaux, Lisbon, Naples, Sydney or New York City. Temperature extremes in London range from 38.1 °C (100.6 °F) at Kew during August 2003 down to −16.1 °C (3.0 °F) at Northolt during January 1962.[191] However, an unofficial reading of −24 °C (−11 °F) was reported on 3 January 1740, and another reading of −21.1 °C (−6.0 °F) was reported on 25 January 1795. Conversely, the highest unofficial temperature ever known to be recorded in the United Kingdom occurred in London in the 1808 heat wave. The temperature was recorded at 105 °F (40.6 °C) on 13 July. It is thought that this temperature, if accurate, is one of the highest temperatures of the millennium in the United Kingdom. It is thought that only days in 1513 and 1707 could have beaten this.

Summers are generally warm, sometimes hot. London's average July high is 24 °C (74 °F). On average each year, London experiences 31 days above 25 °C (77.0 °F) and 4.2 days above 30.0 °C (86.0 °F) every year. During the 2003 European heat wave there were 14 consecutive days above 30 °C (86.0 °F) and 2 consecutive days when temperatures reached 38 °C (100 °F), leading to hundreds of heat-related deaths.[194] There was also a previous spell of 15 consecutive days above 32.2 °C (90.0 °F) in 1976 which also caused many heat related deaths.[195] The previous record high was 38 °C (100 °F) in August 1911 at the Greenwich station.[196] Droughts can also, occasionally, be a problem, especially in summer. Most recently in Summer 2018 and with much drier than average conditions prevailing from May to December. However, the most consecutive days without rain was 73 days in the spring of 1893.

Winters are generally cool with little temperature variation. Heavy snow is rare but snow usually happens at least once each winter. Spring and autumn can be pleasant. As a large city, London has a considerable urban heat island effect,[200] making the centre of London at times 5 °C (9 °F) warmer than the suburbs and outskirts. This can be seen below when comparing London Heathrow, 15 miles (24 km) west of London, with the London Weather Centre.

Although London and the British Isles have a reputation of frequent rainfall, London's average of 602 millimetres (23.7 in) of precipitation annually actually makes it drier than the global average. The absence of heavy winter rainfall leads to many climates around the mediterranean having more annual precipitation than London. Climate


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