|Zip past Buckingham Palace on an open-air double decker bus, see the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London, experience Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre, sail down the Thames River. That's London, one of the greatest cities of the world.||As a tourist in London you want a guide to help you better understand the city, what to see, when to see it, and also manage the details like the best time to visit, what to wear, and the currency, time & weather. European Best Cities Travel Guide to the rescue!|
What to Do in London
|See the Top London Attractions||London's Top Tourist Activities|
|Best Day Trips from London||The Best London Food & Beer Activities||Visit the Top London Museums|
In a city as vibrant, as old, and as varied, you can be sure that there are a lot of great things to do every month.
In our monthly guide we keep you updated on current events, activities, and celebrations, as well as the best things to do in London when you're there.
| • August 2016 London Activities… |
• September 2016 in London…
• October 2016 in London…
• November 2016 London Events…
• December 2016 London Events…
• Christmas in London…
The Best Time
"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life."
The best time to visit London is whenever the fancy strikes you. London is a wildly popular destination year round.
If your schedule is flexible, traveling in spring or fall is ideal with the best weather conditions. And, if you can, Christmas in London is magical, with seasonal markets, outdoor skating rinks, decorated trees, and spectacular window displays.
London's Top Tourist Attractions
THE LONDON EYE
BUCKINGHAM PALACE A symbol of the British monarch, Buckingham Palace is located in the City of Westminster. It's a big palace with almost 800 rooms and a lush garden where a posh summer party is hosted by the Queen every year.
ST PAUL'S CATHEDRAL
TOWER OF LONDON The official name is Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London. We know it as the "Tower" and as the home of the Crown Jewels. Built by William the Conqueror, it was completed in 1078.
THE BRITISH MUSEUM Paris has the Louvre, London has the British Museum. The vast collection covers history, art and culture, including the controversial Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon.
DAY TRIPS FROM LONDON
• Founded by the Romans, London's history stretches back two millennia. The Roman founders called the city on the Thames Londinium. Today, What we call "London" is actually three cities — The City of London, Westminster and Greater London.
• The original one-mile-square patch from Ancient Roman days is known as The City of London, nicknamed The City. Its mayor is the Lord Mayor of London. The City is the financial centre and it's where you find the dazzling skyscrapers, including the pointy Shard.
• There's a seamless border between Greater London and the City of Westminster. Each also has their own mayor — Westminster's Lord Mayor and Greater London's Mayor of London. Confused? Don't worry, none of this affects your travels, but it does make you think about London in an entirely new and fresh way.
• As the country's capital, London is home to the government of the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister lives at 10 Downing Street. Did you know that the British Parliament is called the "Mother of Parliaments" and has been the model for parliamentary governments around the world?
• London food is as varied as the countries taht were part of the British Empire — think of tea, curries, chapatis & chutneys.
• Today, London is an international food city well known for its variety of Asian cuisines — Vietnamese, Chinese, and the granddaddy of them all, Indian.
• Closer to home, British classics that rule are fish & chips, Sunday roast beef with Yorkshire Pudding, beef Wellington, bangers and mash, a full English breakfast, sticky toffee pudding and classic afternoon tea. And of course, the most popular food in England is a good ol' pint.
Tons of well-known people were born in London — artists, writers, sculptors, filmmakers, musicians, politicians, and royalty.
Famous Londoners include —Singers Adele, Marianne Faithful, David Bowie, Cat Stevens, Pete Townshend. Poets Lord Byron, Robert Browning, and John Donne. Editor Anna Wintour. Personages Queen Elizabeth and her kin. Actors Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Taylor. Director Alfred Hitchcock, naturalist David Attenborough, mathematician Alan Turing, songwriter Andrew Lloyd Webber.
As you would expect, since London is located in a foreign country, they have their own language. It's called English!
English is, of course, the official language, but there are 300 languages vying for that position in central London alone!
• With five major airports in London — Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW), Stansted (STN), Luton (LTN) and London City (LCY) — it's important to check your itinerary to make sure you're headed to the right one.
• Heathrow is the central airport for most international flights, with Gatwick now a close second. Stansted and Luton are used for many low-cost European destinations. London City airport is used for business travel with a focus to NYC
• London has nine train stations that take you within the UK and beyond — Waterloo, Paddington, King's Cross, St Pancras (the Eurostar station), Euston, Charing Cross, Victoria, London Bridge, Fenchurch Street, Liverpool Street.
Tipping in England
Although it's customary to add a 10% to 15% tip in a restaurant, it's not necessary to tip if you are in a pub or establishment where the food is ordered at the bar. If you're in a large group, there will be an automatic service charge included, so check your bill before you add anything.
Time in London
London (and the UK) are in the Western European Time Zone. Daylight savings is used with British Summer Time (GMT+1) from the end of March to the end of October
Safety in London
London is a safe city. There are strict gun laws and therefore violent crimes are low. However, as a tourist, it's important to adopt the same safety measures you would in any large city. Don't carry large amounts of cash on you and keep it out of your wallet hanging off the back of your jean's pocket.
Don't talk to strangers who approach you, walk in well-lit streets, and only use licensed taxis. Keep your cell phones out of reach in crowded areas — they are an easy theft target for drug users and petty criminals. The British transport police are helping to thwart pickpockets through education. Check out their website for helpful tips.
• It's illegal to enter the House of Parliament wearing a suit of armour — at least according to a statute passed in 1313.
• London Black cab taxi drivers must memorize every street and monument within six miles from Charing Cross and pass a test called The Knowledge before they are licensed to drive.
• The Queen must have permission to enter the City of London. The City residents still retain their ancient privilege of being able to bar the sovereign.
• There is a plaque to mark the the exact centre of London. It's found in the Church of St Martin's-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square in Westminster.
• During World War II Buckingham Palace was bombed sixteen times, nine times were direct hits.
Weather in London
One of the biggest surprises about London's weather is that it doesn't rain as much as you may think. It rains more in New York City, Boston, and Dallas! London has an temperate oceanic climate. In summer the average temperature is 75ºF (24ºC) and in winter the average temperature is 46ºF (8ºC). As you might expect, January is the coldest month in London and July the warmest.
Getting Around London
London is a compact city with a variety of fun ways to get to the top attractions — the Tube, a double-decker bus, black taxi, bicycle, boat & walking. The underground system is the oldest in the world and the bus system is one of the largest with 19,500 bus stops! London's public bike rental system was launched in 2010 and is very similar to the Velib system in Paris.
What to Wear in London
Quirky and colourful, Londoners' fashion sense is far more adventuresome than their Parisian cousins. You've already read our weather section, right? It doesn't rain that much in London, so no need to bring your touristy rainproof attire. A travel-size umbrella will do the trick. If you're planning to attend the theatre, take tea at the Ritz, or go for dinner at a fancy restaurant, bring your dressy clothes.
Money in London – Tourist Guide
London and the UK use the Pound Sterling (GBP) as their currency. Even though they are a member of the European Union they have not adopted the Euro. There are 100 pence to a pound, much like pennies to dollars. Notes are in denominations of £5, £10, £20, and £50.